Yucatán Revisited: The Magical Chablé Resort and Spa

Chablé Resort and Spa
Chablé Resort and Spa

I almost don’t want to tell you anything about Chablé Resort and Spa. I certainly don’t want to let you know how absolutely amazing it is, because I don’t want it to be entirely sold out for my next stay. And there will definitely be a next stay. Trust me, you will feel the same when you go.

This part of Mexico holds a special place in my heart. This was my second time flying into Mérida, my fourth hacienda hotel stay in the Yucatán, and my fourth visit to the general area. You can see all of my past Yucatán posts here.

Arrival into Mérida (MID) couldn’t be easier. If you have visions of Cancun in your head, let them go, because the Mérida airport while equally modern, is pretty much the exact opposite. You will clear immigration and customs in about twelve minutes, even with a checked bag, and I am being generous. Walk down a short hall and your driver will be there waiting for you.

It’s a quick 30-35 minute drive from the airport to the hotel which is located southwest of Mérida, just outside the small town of Chocholá. I arranged my transfer with the hotel, and my driver was courteous and the SUV was brand new.

Ixi’im Restaurant
Ixi’im Restaurant

Chablé is all about duality, and you can see it right from the start. Cool pod swings hanging from ancient trees next to original hacienda walls that are left partially and beautifully in ruin. Haute cuisine that could compete with any restaurant in Mexico City made with herbs grown twenty feet away in a traditional raised bed Mayan garden called a Ka’anche’s.

And then there are the rooms. While some of the original hacienda structures have been rebuilt and modernized for public spaces, the rooms are 100% completely new construction. The hard product is stunning. Every one of the 38 rooms and two villas has it’s own plunge pool, outdoor hangout and dining space, and of course the traditional Mayan hammock. The air conditioning is cold, the in-room technology is fun, and the moon shower is romantic.

Chablé is a resort, so you will find all of the usual amenities. A gorgeous main pool that is a centrally located oasis, with full poolside food and beverage service. A large gym, with all of the latest fitness equipment. If they added a couple of Pilates Reformer machines it would be absolutely perfect (hint, hint!). There are multiple restaurants and bars, as well as a small boutique.

Chablé is also a spa, and what a spa it is! I am usually a Swedish Massage person when it comes to spa treatments. It is my standard test, because it is the most basic of spa options. If a spa cannot do one correctly, then there is little hope for anything else. This time, because the spa is truly so inspiring, I went big. I did one of the two hour signature journeys and it was AMAZING. You are going to have to trust me on this. I don’t want to tell you any more, because the spa at Chablé is best experienced with as little preconception as possible.

There is a lot to see and do outside of Chablé , but the truth is that most people end up canceling their plans because the resort pulls you in and it is hard to let go.

My advice? Double whatever length of stay you had in mind, so that you ave plenty of time to be active and to relax.

Contact me today via email or phone at +1-508-485-3061 about booking your stay at this world-class gem in the Yucatán and take advantage of the following complimentary Virtuoso amenities for all stays in 2017 and 2018:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Full Breakfast for two daily, served in restaurant
  • $100 USD equivalent Resort or Hotel credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Complimentary transfers to and from Mérida Airport
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Additionally, there is currently a great promotion that offers your third night free for stays through December 20, 2017!

Stay 3 nights stay in a Casita with private swimming pool and daily breakfast, daily activities, roundtrip transfer to and from Mérida and $100 resort credit.

Casita King or Double starts from $2,259 per package based on 2 people.

**50% Deposit required at time of booking. Cancellation without penalty if cancelled 7 days prior to arrival. If cancelled within 7 days of arrival deposit it’s non-refundable. A 3 night minimum stay is required. Tax and service charges apply.

Disclaimer: My stay was at a reduced rate for travel advisors. 

Adventure in the Yucatan

 

Our Ride to the Cenote
Our Ride to the Cenote

Our Yucatan adventure started a few weeks before our departure when it came to my attention that American Airlines still did not have approval to fly to Merida. Luckily, even though it was a prime holiday travel week I was able to find two seats in Business Class on AeroMexico.

This was my third trip to the interior of the Yucatan, and my primary goal was to see Uxmal. The other goal was to stay in one hotel for the duration of the trip, so we booked the centrally located Hacienda Temozon, a part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection (yes, I can get you VIP perks here too!).

Hacienda Temozon
Hacienda Temozon

Our Junior Suite was located near the main entrance, and was appointed with all of the creature comforts that one would expect at this level of hotel. I appreciated the cold air-conditioning, crisp clean sheets, abundance of bottled water, and last but not least, the adorable towel art.

Towel Art Elephant
Towel Art Elephant

For our first full day we toured some of the Puuc Route visiting Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, and had lunch at the beautiful Hacienda Xocnaceh. Uxmal exceeded my expectations, and is quite different in comparison to the other Mayan ruins in the Yucatan.

Our lunch at Hacienda Xocnaceh was amazing. A beautiful setting with more food than we could ever hope to eat, although we gave it our best try. Plus, impeccable service from Juan Carlos who never let our glasses go empty.

Lunch was followed by a swim in the former water tank that has been converted into a pool. There’s nothing better after a hot day of exploring ruins than taking a cold refreshing dip.

The next day we went to Celestun Biospehere Reserve to take a boat ride to see the pink flamingos. Another nice break from seeing ruins. It was refreshing to be out on the water, ans interesting to get to go into the mangroves.

Day Four was where the adventure truly began. Our journey back in time to see what Mayan ruins looked like before they were excavated and reassembled. The first stop was the parking lot at Labna where we met our archaeologist guide, an assistant, and Juan Carlos. We all smushed into a small well-loved pickup truck and barreled down some dirt roads into the jungle. What fun!

Our first stop was Huntichmul, a largely unexcavated site. We hiked up a hill, or what appeared to be a hill. Upon closer inspection everywhere you looked there were piles of stones, rubble, from ruins that had collapsed.

Huntichmul
Huntichmul

Of course, Juan Carlos was waiting for us with comfy chairs and refreshments after we hiked back down to the truck.

 

We got back in the truck and bounced down the roads toward our final destination of the day, Kiuic. The site is surrounded by the Kaxil Kiuic the Millsaps Biocultural Reserve, operated by an international organization that carries out archaeological and biological research.

It was interesting and sobering to see ruins that had never or only partially been excavated. To be able to picture in your mind how this carries through the entire Yucatan peninsula. There were so many people living here and now there are so few, and so much of their culture has been lost.

Beyond that, the amount of effort and skill that goes into creating sites like Uxmal and Chichen Itza, and how much more money is needed to maintain, preserve, and continue exploration. And to whose benefit? We had lots to think about on our way back to Hacienda Temozon that evening.

Day Five was purposefully planned as a free day, since it would be the last day of our vacation. We slept in and had a leisurely breakfast. Took a ride on the old rialway to the cenote for a swim. Participated in a cooking class, ate a delicious lunch, had a couples massage, and lazed by the pool for a couple of hours.

The perfect end to another amazing trip to the Yucatan with Catherwood Travels.

Interested in having your own adventure in the Yucatan? Contact me via email or phone at 508-485-3061.

PS: Stayed tuned for our next adventure in Mexico when we visit Chiapas later this year!

Paradise Found: The Brando

The Brando
The Brando

 

There are some hotels that tug at your heartstrings from the very first photo. I knew from the moment that I was introduced to The Brando that I was destined to stay there. Lucky for me, my 10th Wedding Anniversary presented the perfect opportunity.

We arrived into Fa’a’a airport from our stay in Bora Bora at the St. Regis and Four Seasons. After collecting our luggage we made our way to the Air Tetiaroa terminal.

Aie Tetiaroa has their own private terminal and their planes serve one and only one destination, Tetiaroa, also known as Marlon Brando’s private island, or simply The Brando.

I am a fan of traveling, but not so much of flying, so I was a little hesitant about the small plane, but thankfully the views are gorgeous and it is a short flight.

Upon arrival at The Brando, all guests are greeted with music and dancing, have their photographs taken, and are whisked away on golf carts to their villas.

We spent seven nights in a One Bedroom Villa which is a generous 1,033-sq.-ft. (96-sq.-m). The resort also offers two and three bedroom villa options. The Brando is a new build from the ground up and the villas reflect a thoughtful and balanced design; neither to heavy on form, nor on function.

There is a media room with flat screen television, sofa, and desk. This opens into a living room with dining table, mini-fridge, and coffee / tea area. You then proceed up a short flight of stairs to the bedroom with attached dressing area and bathroom with tub outside, for baths while stargazing.

 

The best part about the villa, however, was the outside. The views were stunning, the grounds were lush and private, the plunge pool deep and cool.

It is truly an eco-friendly resort that doesn’t compromise on luxury. Cold air conditioning from sea water, plenty of hot water in your shower from the sun, rain water in the toilets.

They don’t play lip service to an environmental ethic with a stupid placard on your bed whose sole purpose is to save the hotel money, nor do they skimp on providing the quality level that guests expect.

In fact, their groundbreaking non-toxic mosquito eradication project means that you are almost guaranteed a bite free vacation. No repellent required!

If you book the all-inclusive plan then all meals and drinks are included in your rate, as well as activities and spa treatments (the number of which depends on the length of your stay). I absolutely loved having the spa treatments included as I don’t normally indulge in multiple spa visits.

View from the Varua Spa
View from the Varua Spa

There are two restaurants and two bars at The Brando, and far and away our favorite was Bob’s Bar. It truly is one of the word’s great beach bars. They have a great mixology program, and some addictive bar snacks.

Finished with your cocktail? How about a dip in the pool? There is only one on property, yet hardly anyone was ever there. On an island where everyone has their own beachfront pool, there is no shortage of swimming opportunities.

In short, it is a unique and exclusive experience that you cannot have anywhere in the world. Contact me today at 508-485-3061 or via email to discuss your next vacation at The Brando.

Exclusively for Virtuoso guests:

For 2016 & 2017

  • Upgrades are not applicable with this participant
  • Daily Buffet breakfast, for up to two in room guests
  • 100 EURO Resort or Hotel credit per villa to be utilized during stay (cannot be used at Hinerava Pearl Shop, not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability