One of the newest resorts to open on the Yucatan Peninsula may also be one of the most intriguing. Chablé Resort, located some 25 miles from Merida, comes as a welcome segue from many of the mass-marketed golf and family resorts on the Riviera Maya and the quaint, but less sophisticated boutique properties scattered about the coastal by-ways of the Yucatan on the Gulf of Mexico.
Rather, Chablé puts 40 ultra deluxe villas and spreads them upon 750 acres of Mayan forest to create a private retreat that not only takes guests back in time, it slows it down to a long slow breath.
The ultra precious resort does not focus on baking on the beach as many places on the nearby coast do. Rather is looks to its stunning cenote and focus on wellness to keep guests mystified and enthralled. A cenote is a deep pool of fresh water located in a limestone cave and very much part of the Mayan landscape and legendary lore in these parts. Healing ceremonies were often performed by shamans in just such settings.
At Chablé the unseen forces of nature are driven through modern comforts of relaxation, pampering and meditation areas circulating through nine treatment rooms, a steam room, a salt cabin and a floatarium. Water circuits in mini-pools of varying temperatures and pressures complement the treatments. Yoga and meditation sessions infuse the options as guests pick magical ingredients in the garden and mix their own treatment elixirs, using many of the same techniques that were used during the 17th century.
The forested setting shrouds casitas in luscious vegetation for privacy as each expansive stand-alone villa or casita comes with outdoor showers, hammocks, and outdoor living space. Warm woods and local stones of the interiors are complemented by open spaces that give way to a private plunge pool and soothing views. Two presidential suites measure 10,000 square feet with three bedrooms, living and dining rooms, private spa, media room, bar, butler kitchen and a large private pool terrace. Of course, there is a large meandering pool in the center of the resort and garden paths the lead to shaded forest clearings for meditation and contemplation.
Dining, not surprisingly, centers on organic local ingredients and menus, influenced by traditional Mayan flavors and traditions, change with the seasons. Lessons in the culinary customs of these parts are offered to guests as part of their stay.
A precious and extensive wine cellar complements the culinary performance. And for those who prefer the spirits of Mexico, Chablé boasts the largest private tequila collection in the world. Chable is a proud member of Small Luxury Hotels.
Chablé is surrounded by the legacy of an ancient civilization now the vision of magnificent ruins set up in complexes of archaeology discovery. These can be found among the legendary sites of Chichen Itza, Coba and Tulum, and are well worth the trek for those who have come this way in search of wisdom. These trips are best accomplished with the guidance of the concierge to arrange drivers and interpretive guides. In the summer months, the sites can bake and visitors may want to consider other activities, such as swimming with whale sharks near Holbox, a cooler and perhaps once in a life time thing to do. The whale sharks come into these areas seasonally to feed and, gentle giants that they are, can reach behemoth proportions of 50 feet in length. Curious mammals, they are friendly to swimmers and snorkelers who want to spend an afternoon frolicking with friendly cetaceans.
Merida has its merits as a city to explore. It’s still moored in the 15th century in parts and remains one of Mexico’s charmed colonial towns. Find regular festivals there, stunningly preserved churches, and ancient mercados of chattering locals selling everything from odd souvenirs to miniature carvings to fresh fish.
The most notorious craft find in these parts is the venerable hammock, designed in Technicolor palates of nylon or cotton. Several shops sell quality cotton garments made to order. Carved religious artifacts in beeswax are also ubiquitous as are silver jewelry creations using semi-precious stones.
Cenotes are everywhere in these parts of Mexico as rain waters seep and flow through limestone layers and creating stunning wells of sunlight, pools of bright and clear water and stone formations. Caves often lead out from these pools, pathways to the sea or to other cenotes nearby. They have been the quarry of shamans and mystics, if only for the sense they offer of entering the world below and the land of the unseen. Visitors can take cenote tours or seek these out for themselves, stopping at clearly marked swim spots off main roads.
To get to Chablé, it’s best to fly to Merida and even arrange to spend some time exploring this preserved medieval city so close to the resort. Flights can be booked from the U.S. on Aeromexico, United, American and Delta.
Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates– Curator of undiscovered luxury travel locales with insider info and news from our worldwide portfolio of hotels, wellness retreats, and eco-resorts. View our portfolio on our Online Directory.
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