Upon arriving in Merida last night we immediately b-lined for the hotel. Getting to the City Center was actually fairly easy in retrospect, and gave a chance to see the outskirts and real everyday neighborhoods versus the center which is very, mmmmmm.... I guess you can say tourist friendly and oriented, with out being way over done or losing its true purpose, the colonial history truly shines here. Parking was a bit of a challenge as it was Thursday night and since the center is still the Cultural center of town even for Meridians, it was full of people and activities as every night of the week something is happening!
The site of driving through the lights and people, the cathedrals and old buildings, even in the dark the charm and warmth of Merida comes through, as does the influence of Spain. After checking we walked to the local corner pharmacia to pick up a few market item for the fridge and room, walking there was an instant transportation for my mine back to Madrid, and at any moment I expected to turn and see Nat or Abby coming down the side walk and I could easily hear Mike and Adam yelling out hamon! I won't lie I looked for the hamon flavored Doritos, but no dice!
The hotel Luz En Yucatan, has an incredibly modest front and is attached onto Santa Lucia cathedral on Calle 55 between Calles 60 and 58, but blink while driving by at night and you will miss it! Luz En has an interesting history as it used to be the convent for the Santa Lucia. The front is painted a beautiful lavender color and has simple and traditional double wood doors. There is no fancy signing or bright lights, just a simple plaque next to the door.
Upon walking through the doors you are immediately transported into a place that you KNOW you could permanently move into and never leave, a writers haven, a stressed out neurotic managers escape, a perfect place for long overdue reunions, or to find new possibilities... A place you could be on your own to rejuvenate and to find new inspirations in life. A since of calming and new beginnings and no that's not an exaggeration, its rare that you walk into a place and have such an immediate feeling. It is also the first time ever in my traveling domestic and foreign, that I have ever checked into a hotel that was everything it claimed to be and looked EXACTLY as it portrays itself on its website (www.luzenyucatan.com). Which is the ONLY way you can make reservations at this hotel, which is really more if a Hacienda.... They do not take credit cards and you cannot book them through any other means. There are 7 apartments (we had the studio) and two traditional rooms, and everyone is allowed it use the kitchen and dining room and all the common areas. The staff is amazing and kind, and you will never have another experience like it. It is one of those great places people discover through word of mouth and in my case that fantastic travel research tool called TripAdvisor.com.
The front foyer is decorated with large murals of orchids on the walls, in rich, warm, relaxing tones. Walking down the hallway it instantly becomes roofless as you look up into the stars shining down on the palm trees and flowers, whose fallen petals have decorated the concrete stairwell leading up to the apartments and opening to patio that all the doors lead to, including mine. Off to the side is in an enclosed reading room complete with a book exchange library, keep going straight and you're back inside and in the dining room, traditionally dressed with a full kitchen off to the side. Through the kitchen and to the left you have a formal living room equipped with seating, bar, and of course hammocks, through that room and the double iron door and back outside is the pool, an oasis inside an oasis. Everywhere you turn there are photos and little works of art, it is a museum, and art house, and it is home away from home. You could easily envision that if my generation had real "beat" writers this would be their home.