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Venture Into The Mexican Jungle At Chablé Yucatan

As we wait for winter to turn into spring, Mexico beckons. While the Riviera Maya might be tempting for a beach holiday, venture further into the Yucatan Peninsula where, deep in the tropical tangle, you’ll discover Chablé Yucatan.

A remarkable estate just 30 minutes from buzzy Merida, Chablé Yucatan was recently crowned the 13th best hotel in the world and is a place with flavourful cuisine, unique culture and a varied landscape. 

The Vibe

Occupying the site of a 19th-century hacienda, the original estate was largely abandoned and used as a cattle ranch by the inhabitants of neighbouring village Chochola before the current owners nursed it back to life, and opened the doors to Chablé Yucatan seven years ago. A sprawling wonderland with more than 750 acres of wilderness to explore, Chablé (which translates to ‘home of the anteater’) is set deep inside the steamy Yucatan jungle, and enshrouded in a particular strand of Mayan mysticism that beats fiercely in this corner of the peninsula.

Remnants of the former plantation remain: sisal plants (which were farmed during the colonial era) line the pruned pathways, crumbling arches and doorways have been left untouched among the gardens, and the original hacienda buildings preside over the manicured lawn in bold strokes of maroon and mustard.

The Rooms

Despite the hotel’s long history, bedrooms here are strikingly modern: guests wind their way through the dense jungle, making themselves at home among the hotel’s 40 casitas and villas, each of which are encased in dense thicket, and come complete with private pools, generous beds swathed in linen hangings, and plenty of space to spread out. Glossy bathrooms are clad in marble and floor-to-ceiling glass – and the unique positioning of each within the jungle ensures optimal privacy, even when you’re using the outdoor shower.

The Food + Drink

All Day Dining At Ki’ol

Start the day at Ki’ol, the hotel’s laidback poolside restaurant, where breakfasts include a generous spread of pastries, fruit, and granola, along with home cooked dishes including classics (pancakes, avocado toast, waffles) and local dishes such as chilaquiles and huevos rancheros. After spending the day poolside, you can easily segue into lunch and dinner at Ki’ol, where a menu of Mexican and international favourites are served, from zingy fish tacos to wagyu beef burgers. Back in your casita, you’ll find homemade sweets waiting by your bedside each evening.


Fine Dining At Ixi’im

Occupying the former hacienda’s sisal factory, the hotel’s award-winning restaurant Ixi’im is a shimmering marvel of glass and stone – it’s no wonder that visitors from all over Mexico flock here just to try chef Luis Ronzón’s cooking. Opt for the sensational chef’s tasting menu, where you’ll be plied with dishes that offer an inventive and contemporary take on Mexican dishes – expect plenty of flavourful surprises during your meal. Dine inside, where the walls are lined with thousands of tequila bottles, or underneath the palms (and stars) outside. After dinner, sashay over to one of the hotel bars for a nightcap: guests can puff on hand-rolled cigars at the Sikar Bar or sink a tipple at the Casa Principal bar, where complimentary snacks and drinks are also served at 5PM every day.

The Spa

Thanks to the vastness of the estate, the hotel almost always feels hushed; even when at full occupancy, you can easily while away your stay without encountering any other residents. When you’re not swimming laps in your private pool, head to the hotel’s spa, which features another pool, amongst the treetops, as well as a spacious gym and massage cabins which dangle over the estate’s own cenote (yes, really).

There’s even a smattering of temazcal saunas (traditional Mayan steam rooms) located within the tangle if you want to lean into the hotel’s Mayan heritage. All guests are invited to take part in a complimentary hydrotherapy circuit at the spa, which includes dips in the hydrotherapy pool, along with steaming off in the sauna. Go one step further, and book a revitalising massage, which will begin with a traditional Mayan ceremony and honey and salt foot scrub.

The Little Extras

The hotel has an onsite palapa – a traditional Mayan shelter made from palm fronds – fondly named the Casita Maya, where you can try your hand at Mayan cooking. Book in for intimate cooking lessons, where you’ll learn to plate dishes such as cochinita pibil, poc chuc and panuchos – taste-testing each along the way, of course. A kids’ zone and farm restaurant are also in the works for 2024.

The To-Do List

Get active

There are plenty of activities to get stuck into during your stay. The hotel boasts a nine-hole golf course which can be booked out for private sessions, as well as tennis and padel courts. Take part in a mix of complimentary daily activities led by members of the team, from sunrise yoga to golf with other guests. Or, book a Green Route cycle tour of the estate, which acts as a crash course in the hotel’s history: a gentle peddle around the grounds will allow you to spot plenty of wildlife along the way – from free-roaming deer to iguanas, bees, and even the hotel’s resident armadillo – and reveal the extensive kitchen gardens, where traditional Mayan farming techniques give seed to the restaurants’ crop. 


Wine, tequila and honey tastings

After lining your belly at Ki’ol and Ixi’im, wash it all down with wine tastings in the hotel cellars, or tequila tasting at Ixi’im, where the walls are encased with almost 4,000 different types of tequila: it’s the largest collection of tequila in the world. Honey tastings at the onsite meliponarium are also available, where you can extract and taste honey from the hotel’s stingless melipona bees.


Día de Muertos

Visit at the start of November to experience the hotel’s Day of the Dead celebrations across one of Mexico’s most important calendar dates. The grounds are transformed into a riot of colour, with members of the team building kaleidoscopic altars in honour of their lost relatives, and performing for guests in the all-singing-and-dancing Catrinas parade. Expect complimentary face painting and plenty of revelry. The next evening, traditional Mayan celebrations are observed, including a candlelit Hanal Pixán procession to the altars at the Casita Maya. Across both nights, guests are plied with plenty of treats along the way, including tasty Mexican sweets and drinks.

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