|Hacienda Merida VIP|
Step through the door and you are in another time – Mexico two hundred years ago. The Mexico of haciendas, sisal plantations, Spanish nobility and Mayan peasants. Colonial Mexico, with cool fountains, rustling palm trees, candle lanterns and hushed secret courtyards inside thick stone walls that protect the hacienda.
Secluded courtyards have been prized in homes since the time of the Greeks, and Romans. The Moorish invaders brought this architecture to Spain in the 700’s and the Spanish conquistadors brought it to the New World in the 1500’s.
The inner facing design provides defence, ventilation, and illumination for the occupants of the house. The plants and fountains help mitigate the heat and dryness. The design is very appealing, relaxing. In Mexico it is still a very desirable design – when the space allows.
|Entrance to Hacienda Merida & VIP Merida|
Outside the courtyard, the city traffic of Meridá rushes by on the street, a scant eighteen inches from the door of the Hacienda VIP boutique hotel.
A rushing bus nearly catches my camera’s leather strap as I lean back, snapping a photo of the entrance. I gulp, and hop a step towards the doorway.
Having escaped that life-altering-close-call, I hustle back inside to the quiet calm interior of the hotel. Lawrie is already relaxing with a complimentary cold beer. My glass of wine arrives moments later. Civilized.
The Hacienda VIP is a tiny hotel with only four deluxe rooms or suites. It is located on Calle 62, close to the historic cento area of Meridá. It is the newer section of the nearby sister hotel, the Hacienda Meridá featuring eight deluxe rooms or suites.
We were on a half-business-half-pleasure road trip first to Progresso, and then over-nighting in nearby Meridá.
This was our treat – a night at a hotel rated “Best New Hotel in the World” by the travel company Conde Nast. Lawrie and I have our own rating system; Dependables, Delights, and Disasters. The Hacienda VIP is definitely a Delight.
|Beach vendor Progresso Mexico|
Before the hushed privacy of our hotel, we were in the hectic and hot Port of Progresso just 30 minutes east of Meridá looking after a bit of business. Progresso is on the ocean – but the Gulf of Mexico water is green, slightly opaque, nothing like the turquoise Caribbean Sea that surrounds Isla Mujeres.
Traffic is bumper-to-bumper through the town. Police stand in the intersections, waving drivers through red lights, trying to clear the back log of cars. Horns honk. Engines rev. People laugh, shouting out greetings to friends.
The beaches were busy with domestic tourists, vacationing with exuberant children free from school for the week. It’s hot! We’re hot. The white sand reflects the intense mid-day sunlight. We hide under a cool palapa, enjoying a light lunch, waiting until our 1:30 appointment with a government contractor.
|Beach Vendor – white sand, green water|
Vendors trudge up and down the beaches, toting a collection of wooden carvings, yummy sweets, inflatable toys, plastic buckets and shovels.
Our favourite is the man with the tray of sweets balanced on his head, shouting: “Meringues, meringues, meringues.” His hands stay calm, not reaching nervously to steady the tray. His walk is relaxed, smooth.
|Merinques, merinques, merinques|
Later with our business successfully completed we arrive at our hotel in Meridá with its secluded courtyard. After sundown with the heat of the day slowly dissipating, we venture out.
A short taxi ride takes us to the La Tratto Restaurante, on Paseo de Montejo. We sip wine and share an appetizer, people-watching.
We sleep well at the hotel. It’s cool and quiet, silent.