Price Band: $
Tags: City, colonial, sightseeing
Price Band: $
Tags: City, colonial, sightseeing
In a nutshell:
Delightful and centrally located Merida hotel, with a swimming pool and restaurant. Each of the three Master Suites is special in its own way; one has a large terrace overlooking the pool. Standard rooms are light and spacious, good for families. Guests receive friendly and helpful service.
The Casa del Balam has all the expected advantages of a great location, plus a few pleasant surprises. The central courtyard is a tropical delight and the ground floor swimming pool is unusually large for a traditional city hotel. Both spots are perfect retreats from Merida’s sweltering summers.
We love the big, bright rooms with windows overlooking the University buildings and filled with afternoon sunlight. If you can, try to book one of the three master suites in the oldest section of the mansion – you’ll be rewarded by huge rooms, balconies and terraces, plus more character than you’ll find anywhere else in town.
We particularly recommend the Casa’s restaurant for great atmosphere and superb food, especially the regional dishes. Breakfast here is hard to beat too. There’s plenty of choice for dining in Merida, but eat here once and you may be inclined not to venture too much further.
There is a wide range of tours available from the hotel’s travel agency, so you can make the most of your days here. Wherever you explore, you’ll be sure of a welcome return.
Spacious, sunny rooms full of colonial charm make the Casa del Balam a perfect choice for a comfortable stay in Merida. Standard rooms have two double beds and overlook Calle 57. They are roomy enough for a family with two young children to share.
The Honeymoon Rooms are located at the corner of the building and have one queen bed. They are particularly light rooms with lots of windows.
If you want something particularly special, take a look at the three Master Suites available at the hotel. These are all situated in the original section of the house and feature king size beds, balconies and amazingly spacious rooms. The quietest room is the splendid suite overlooking the swimming pool, whilst the two suites at the front of the hotel have balconies with much sought after views during Merida’s many festivals.
Modern amenities at the hotel include efficient and quiet air conditioning, telephone and satellite TV. A novel servibar arrangement means that you order the contents of your fridge when you arrive and have the cost charged to your room. This eliminates the need for pre-checkout inspections and keeps prices down.
Summary of room facilities
Air-conditioning, TV, soundproof windows, hairdryer, minibar, cable TV
Two double beds, bathroom with tub and shower above
Queen bed, corner room
One king bed, sitting room and large balcony overlooking Calle 60
One king bed, dressing area and large balcony overlooking the pool
One king bed and balcony overlooking Calle 60
All the Standard rooms are similar in size and decor, with two double beds and tall windows overlooking pretty Calle 57.
Dark wooden furniture and wrought ironwork on bed heads and mirrors are in keeping the character of this charming mansion. We particularly like the cream and terracotta floor tiles and the heavy wooden doors that give the air of an ancient hacienda.
The Standard rooms are located on six floors and are served by two elevators. Good soundproofing means that you can enjoy the convenience of the city center without the disadvantage of excessive street noise.
We rate these accommodations as supremely comfortable for a couple or even a family.
This is the room to reserve for a first class view of Merida’s fiestas – a large balcony right above the entrance to the hotel overlooks Calle 60. At any time of the year there’s plenty to see from this shady spot, but closing the patio doors keeps the noise of the street at bay.
The suite is located in the original section of the house and boasts beamed ceilings and spacious rooms. It has a bedroom and separate sitting room, with space for entertaining or relaxation, and a roomy bathroom.
Windows on the opposite side of the suite face the hotel’s pretty courtyard . The bedroom includes a king size bed with dark wooden headboard and bedside tables.
The balcony, shown below, has views along Merida’s colonial streets. You can generally enjoy festivities during most weekends in Merida, as well as special occasions.
Everyone loves a room with some history, and as soon as you enter this suite on the second floor, you can tell it has a story to tell.
The Casa del Balam was once the home of the Barbachano family, who were instrumental in bringing tourism to Mexico and are still at the forefront of the industry. When the family were in residence, this suite was the main bedroom.
The accommodation consists of an extremely large bedroom with beautiful dark wooden furniture, a dressing area and an oversized bathroom. Much of the original furnishing has been retained, including the heavy wooden wardrobes and the enormous semi circular headboard on the king size bed.
The bathroom includes a shower, tub, washbasin and toilet. It’s about the size of the bedroom in a modern hotel.
The room has a large private balcony with outdoor furniture overlooks the swimming pool at the rear of the hotel, away from the streets.
It’s highly unusual to find this amount of outdoor space in a city guest room and we reckon this alone is well worth the small supplement for the suite. When Mérida gets hot and sweaty, this is a great place to spend your siesta.
Suite 210 is on the third floor of the hotel, also in the original section of the house. This suite also has a balcony overlooking Calle 60 and windows with views of the courtyard garden in the middle of the hotel.
The large bedroom features a king sized bed with an imposing semicircular headboard. As you might expect, the furnishings are in keeping with the character of the room and dark wooden furniture predominates.
Guests at the Casa del Balam are in for a treat at the hotel’s restaurant. Eat here once and you’ll be tempted to take all your meals in this comfortably informal dining room. The setting is charming, overlooking the gardens and pool area, but it’s the food that will compel you to return.
This is the place to try some of the specialties for which the Yucatán is famous. The restaurant’s version of Poc Chuc, a spicy pork dish, was the most delicious we’ve encountered – very tasty but not too hot. Any fiery salsas are served separately.
Also don’t be put off by the name of the popular ‘Sopa de Lima’ or Lime Soup, it is actually an aromatic blend of chicken broth, tortilla strips, chopped tomato and peppers.
More international selections, such as chicken in orange sauce or beef cutlets are also available.
We find it difficult to resist the delicious warm bread served while we order (and recommend the mango mousse as a suitably light dessert for those who overindulge). Needless to say, there is a wide choice of beverages to accompany your meal, including a good selection of wines. A weekly Yucatecan party adds to the flavor.
You may be rising early to reach the ruins before the crowds, but don’t miss breakfast, served from 7:00am in the same restaurant or in the delightful courtyard.
A full American breakfast is available, though you may prefer to go ‘a la carte’ for scrambled eggs a la mexicana or other more exotic selections.
Whatever you order, you’ll probably be treated to a basket of fresh bread and warm toast, served with homemade jams such as papaya (heavenly) and pineapple. Worth setting the alarm for…
Towards the rear of the hotel on the ground floor, the delightful swimming pool and patio offer a refreshing break from the city’s sights.
The terrace is surrounded by leafy foliage and sunloungers are available.
The hotel’s informal bar is located by the swimming pool and is a popular spot for afternoon refreshments.
The nearest airport is Merida- by road the journey to the Casa del Balam takes about 15 minutes.
Central Mérida is a grid of one-way streets, numbered sequentially. The streets running roughly west-east have odd numbers and those running roughly north-south have even numbers. What’s more, where Calle 59 takes traffic one way to the east, Calle 57 and 61 take traffic one way to the west etc. Therefore it is easy to navigate to a particular address, though the central streets are all very narrow and extremely busy.
Note that the weekly “Sunday in Mérida” festivities involve the closing of Calle 60 to vehicular traffic and the whole of the historic center will be very busy on this day.
The Hotel Casa del Balam is on the corner of Calle 60 and 57. If you call a bell boy over from the hotel he will take in your luggage and direct you to the car park, which is one block away.
From Mérida airport: From the airport, you’ll enter the city on Avenida Itzaes, which runs approximately in a north-south direction just west of the center. After you have passed the Zoo, turn right down Calle 59. Then turn left on Calle 60. You’ll find the Casa del Balam at the corner of this road and Calle 57. You’ll be able to park outside the hotel whilst you drop off your luggage and the bell boy will direct you to the car park which is a couple of blocks away .
From Cancun airport: From the airport, follow the signs for Merida and Chichen Itza on the toll (“quota”) highway #180. You can also take the free (libre) highway #180, but this will take longer because of the speed bumps or “topes” at the entrance and exit to every town. The toll and free highways merge about 40 miles outside of Merida. Keep following the signs for Merida “centro” and you will cross a junction with the periferico (ring road) and enter the city on Calle 65. Follow this road for a while then turn right on Calle 60. The Hotel Casa del Balam is on the corner of Calle 60 and 57. You’ll pass the cathedral and then the Parque Hildalgo, a small square with a statue. The hotel will be on your right on the next block. If you call a bell boy over from the hotel he will take in your luggage and direct you to the parking lot.