Step into a glass-and-gold Coqui Coqui perfume bottle when you spend the night at the trend-setting brand’s restored Belle Epoque hotel, Coqui Coqui Mérida Residence & Spa. Your imagination couldn’t have dreamed up a sexier, more well-designed pied-à-terre than this one-suite hideaway – with its high ceilings, marble tiled floors and a breeze ruffling the richly hued drapes – in the cobblestoned heart of historic Mérida.
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability (US$60). Check-in, 3pm–8pm, but flexible, subject to availability. Contact the hotel for instructions on how to check in after hours.
Double rooms from $313.65, excluding tax at 19 per cent.
Rates include a Coqui Coqui classic breakfast of toasted granola with seeds and crystallised fruit, homemade yogurt and bread, house jam honey, freshly pressed juices and herbal infusions.
Save some extra cash to pick up a few choice pieces at the boutique downstairs, which is stocked with a hand-picked selection of high-quality local handicrafts that attract a discerning clientele.
At the hotel
Roof terrace, music library, laundry service and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD player, CD player, radio, air-conditioning and free bottled water.
Our favourite rooms
This one-room hideaway’s sprawling solo suite is an airy homage to Porfirian design, complete with glittering glass chandeliers, two claw-footed tubs, rich velvet drapes and the original Mexican floor tiles. A private balcony overlooking the courtyard and the rooftop terrace with sunloungers add to the opulence.
The rich scent of tabaco wafts through the hotel's luxury spa. Set around a peaceful courtyard with an outdoor bath tub, it's s an excellent spot for a break from the buzz of the city. Completely unwind with a deep-tissue massage and rejuvenate your skin with a facial using locally-inspired ingredients. For full body relaxation, treat yourself to one of their rituals; their signature Coqui Coqui ritual includes four different types of massage, a brown sugar and honey scrub, a detoxifying drink, a facial and ends with a botanical bath.
Don’t worry about finding a 3oz bottle of your perfume to bring on the plane; Coqui Coqui started as a perfumery and the fragrant shop downstairs from the suite has plenty of sweet-scented choices.
In addition to intimate, East-meets-West treatments at the one-room on-site spa, your hosts can also arrange a 90-minute private yoga and pilates class for USD 40. Be mindful that the hotel isn't easily navigable for those with mobility issues.
Breakfast can be served anywhere you like – in your room, on the roof terrace, in the courtyard or in the café. If the sun isn’t too scorching, we’d opt for the rooftop terrace, but the café is a pleasantly cool respite from the heat.
Coqui Coqui might be the ultimate in laid-back tropical chic – flowy maxi dresses and linen pants are the name of the game – but Mérida is a stylish, artsy city, so throw on a few statement pieces to amp up your look around town.
Situated in the L’Epicerie boutique on the hotel’s ground floor, Bistrot is more casual afternoon café than restaurant. You can take your breakfast – a refreshing hodgepodge of fresh seasonal fruit and whatever you’d like Wendy to whip up for you – at one of the small café tables inside or at one of the white wrought-iron tables that spill into the interior courtyard. Otherwise, the only real food served is coffee (Italian expat Beatrice makes a means cappuccino) and house-made chocolates. A casual lunch can be prepared with advanced notice.
The hotel has plans to serve a selection of high-quality mescal and tequila along with tacos and ceviches at the coffee bar in the café in the future.
Breakfast is served from 8am to 11am; the café is open until 8pm.
Breakfast can be served in your room for a romantic wake-up.
Coqui Coqui Merida Residence & Spa
Calle 55 N. 516 Col.
On a cobbled street in the heart of the historic Mexican city of Mérida, Coqui Coqui Mérida Residence & Spa is perfectly places for exploring the city on foot and the Yucatan Peninsula by car.
Manuel Crescencio Rejón is 20 minutes away and offers limited flights to the US with United Airlines (www.united.com), as well as domestic flights with Aeromexico (www.aeromexico.com) or Mexicana (www.mexicana.com) to Mexico City. From there you can fly to cities throughout the US and Europe.
You’ll want a car for trips to the ruins and surrounding towns such as Valladolid. Rent your wheels at the airport. Parking is free on the street around the hotel or for 10 Mexican pesos (approximately USD 0.80) in a nearby parking lot.
Worth getting out of bed for
The boutique at L’Epicerie, on the ground floor, draws well-heeled locals and discerning travellers to its curated selection of handicrafts and accessories, as well as Coqui Coqui’s Perfumeria collection. Take advantage of the city’s abundant history of art and strike out on a walking tour of the some of the city’s most beautiful buildings, just steps away. Stop by Mérida's Museum of Anthropology and History, housed in a gorgeous Baroque-style building, to see pre-Columbian artefacts. Visits are free to the Mérida City Museum at 529-A Calle 56, and the building itself is a piece of history (+52 999 923 6869). Study the stars at the Mérida Planetarium, located in the Olimpo Cultural Center in downtown, open Tuesday to Sunday. The famous archaeological site Chichén Itzá is worth the two-hour drive. Craving a day by the sea? Head to Progresso beach, just 25 minutes outside Mérida.
Start the day with a visit to one of Wayan’e’s two Itzimná locations – one on Circuito Colonial between Avenida Aleman (Calle 4) and Felipe Carrillo Puerto (Calle 6), and the other at the corner of Calle 20 and Calle 15 just north of the Parque de Itzimná – for authentic tacos. Once they’ve sold out, that’s it for the day – they close at 2pm during the week (+52 999 938 0676). Back in Centro, stuff yourself on delicious (and affordable) traditional Mayan cuisine at the relaxed Restaurante La Chaya Maya at 481 Calle 62, a popular spot any time of day. Nearby, Los Almendros has been a local favourite for traditional Yucatecan meals since opening in 1972. Next door, Gran Almendros offers the same menu in a more formal setting (+52 999 923 8135). For a trendier experience, enjoy fresh pizzas and a Mexican take on Italian cuisine at airy sideway restaurant La Tratto, on Calle 60 at Calle 65 (+52 999 923 3787).
Located between Avenue Paseo de Montejo and Calle 58A, a short taxi ride from the hotel, Slavia is one of the city’s favourite after-dark hotspots. End your evening on a tufted seat with a puff or two on a hookah in this red-hued restaurant and lounge with a Middle Eastern mood (+52 999 926 6587).
Out of the shadows of our wardrobe emerge some well-buried summer favorites. We’re finally escaping New York’s arctic-like conditions and heading to the latest addition to the Coqui Coqui family – and we could not be more excited.
On arrival, the unique facade of this stylish stay has us instantly captivated and ready to explore this Mexican hotel once described as ‘the empire of the senses’.
Francesca, an accessories designer, and her husband, Nicolas, a contemporary landscape architect and perfumer, have woven their Coqui Coqui magic again, creating a space that steals your breath in the first few moments. We walk through the perfumery where the scent of orange blossoms, roses and native Mayan tobacco fill the air with a moody ambiance.
With the reception desk mere footsteps away, I try not to get too distracted by the stylish selection of straw fedoras, leather goods and what seems likes hundreds of fragrances on display. Our bags disappear up to the second floor and Mr Smith and I are handed the key to this uniquely majestic one-suite guest house.
Meandering through the internal courtyard, we marvel at the well-weathered walls painted a vivid shade of persimmon. Vintage blue patterned tiles join the two spaces and a single palm tree arches its trunk towards the afternoon sun.
The newly opened Salon Degustación located at the back of the hotel is everything we could of dreamt of: intimate, imperial and littered with home-blended teas, local honeys and artisan chocolate.
Eager to explore our suite, we climb the steep staircase to the second floor where deep-cherry-and-chartreuse velvet drapes the windows to separate the two spaces.
Both rooms are elegant and mildly rustic with a mix of custom design and vintage furniture; every design aspect eerily symmetrical. A matching pair of freestanding clawfoot tubs sit beneath an oversized brass mirror – just one of the views from our four-poster king sized bed.
We unpack and I take a short but sweet bath (Mr Smith tries out the shower option instead) and we head out on the hunt for a late lunch. Surrounded by quaint cafés and traditional Mexican eateries we are spoiled with choice and opt for the Organico Cafe, just a four minute stroll away.
Homemade hummus, an oversized huevos rancheros and a pair of iced coffees later, we relax deeper and deeper into our chairs as the afternoon rain shower rolls through Merida.
After a few hours of exploring and eyeing up the rainbow exteriors of the local houses, we retreat to our hotel for a hot tea. Sitting back in what seems like our very own private courtyard, surrounded by lush green vines, we enjoy the soundtrack of the three-tiered fountain trickling beside us. Every detail of this boutique stay is perfection, even our tea is served in custom Angora Para for Coqui Coqui china.
Before we arrived, we’d made our first dinner reservation at Los Almendros – as recommended by the hotel. Mr Smith orders way too many margaritas to be able to fully confirm what we ate – we just know it was good, authentic and has us moving at a much slower pace as we head for one last round at the Malahat Speakeasy.
The streets are dark as we arrive back at the big glass doors and we’re amused as onlookers watch with curiosity as we slip inside what looks like a closed shop and lock the door behind us.
Then it’s back up the steep staircase to our dimly lit, romantically scented quarters. We’re a little bit buzzed and it feels just a little bit special.
With breakfast being served at 9am, we’re up early to catch the morning light on our private pool, getting in a quick dip before we cascade down the stairs to the parlor to start our day.
Freshly squeezed orange juice and fruits from the local market start us off, in a setting so exclusive I realize I could have come down fresh faced in my robe.
‘It really feels like a home,’ I rattle off again and again to Mr Smith, picking out charming design elements I plan to emulate in our own home. Wendy, our host, quietly appears again to gently remind me of my spa treatment. There was no chance I was missing this appointment – poring over the detailed therapy menu, I’d made this reservation within moments of getting our booking confirmation email.
Tucked away upstairs beyond the private courtyard, the spa is secluded and pint-sized with just one treatment bed. It echoes the design theme with jade walls with tonal mosaic tiles and stairs leading to secret outdoor garden. The warm, rich and elegant scent of rose sets the mood for 60 minutes of relaxation. I shut my eyes and sigh ‘Coqui Coqui, you have stolen my heart…’
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