One of Mérida’s most charming B&Bs, Hotel Marionetas (Calle 49 between Calles 62 and 64, tel. 999/928-3377, www.hotelmarionetas.com, US$85 s/d with a/c) gets its name from the building’s former tenant—a well-known puppet theater company. The eight spacious rooms are each slightly different, from the color of the walls to the design of the tile floors. Decor is attractive but uncluttered, making the most of select items—an ornate wood-framed mirror in one room, a wrought-iron vanity in another. There’s a sunny inner courtyard, small pool, and a covered dining area where a full fresh breakfast (included in the price) is served. The cheerful owners and staff provide excellent service.
Another excellent option is Hotel MedioMundo (Calle 55 between Calles 64 and 66, tel. 999/924-5472, www.hotelmediomundo.com, US$60 s/d with fan, US$75–80 with a/c), a hacienda-style guesthouse just a few blocks away. Within high blue-painted walls are a courtyard with fountain and a small inviting pool area, where a great South American–style breakfast is served. (One of the owners is Uruguayan.) The decor is intentionally spare—for maximum relaxation—and all 12 rooms have deep beds, large spotless bathrooms, and beautiful tile floors from the original construction. The friendly owners can arrange various outings, including alternative ones like exploring natural medicine and Maya shamanism.
The award-winning Casa Mexilio Guesthouse (Calle 68 between Calles 57 and 59, tel. 999/928-2505, U.S./Canada tel. 800/210-4341, www.casamexilio.com, US$50–95 s/d, penthouse US$120, all include continental breakfast) occupies a gorgeous colonial casona a block from Parque Santiago. Nine rooms are tucked into the home’s many nooks and crannies; the plant-filled courtyard has a small clear pool, connected by stairways and short bridges to the 2nd-floor dining room and quiet rooftop bar. Rooms vary from cozy fan-cooled units to the penthouse, with air-conditioning, king-size bed, and large private terrace; all have spotless tile bathrooms and comfortable beds. The hotel is literally brimming with high-quality artwork from Mexico and around the world. Service can be hands-off to the point of brusqueness, more like a European inn than a typical B&B. Online reservations required.
Virtually every inch of wall space at Los Arcos Bed & Breakfast (Calle 66 between Calles 49 and 53, tel. 999/928 0214, www.losarcosmerida.com, US$75 s, US$95 d, US$15 extra person) is filled with artwork, some from Mexico, some from Africa, some painted by the owners themselves. Add potted houseplants, a small swimming pool, and a troop of tiny dogs, and you’ve got this unique, eclectic guesthouse. The rooms—there are only two—are comfy, with high ceilings, canopy beds, big bathrooms, and CD players. There’s wireless Internet throughout, but no parking (street parking is plentiful, however). Big breakfast included.
Designed to drown out the city sounds, Cascadas de Mérida (Calle 57 between Calles 74-A and 76, tel. 999/923-8484, www.cascadasdemerida.com, US$75 s with a/c, US$87 d with a/c) is surrounded by stone walls with water cascading down them. Guests hear the faint sound of gurgling water instead of city buses careening down the streets. Best of all, each shower—designed with walls of thick glass—looks onto a private waterfall (no worries about being seen lathering up, the walls are close to one another). The rooms themselves are comfortable and classy with exposed stone walls, sky lights, Mexican furnishings, and bright Guatemalan bedspreads. All have cable TV, wireless Internet, and mini-split air-conditioning. They open onto a sunny courtyard with a large pool, hammocks, and lots of leafy plants. A full breakfast is included.
© Gary Chandler & Liza Prado from Moon Yucatán Peninsula, 9th edition