Price Band: $$$
Tags: Beach, ecological, family friendly, secluded
Price Band: $$$
Tags: Beach, ecological, family friendly, secluded
In a nutshell:
Hotel Xixim is a true ecological hotel, located in a nature reserve that is home to flamingos, crocodiles and many species of birds. The thatched roof bungalows are family friendly and there are activities for children, including a wonderful interpretative trail. Now with a fitness center, yoga and spa, this is a tranquil and inspirational location for a retreat.
The Yucatan peninsula is so rich in archaeological treasures and natural wonders that visitors who don’t venture far from the beach seriously miss out. On the other hand, those who shun the Caribbean’s busy resorts in search of the real cultural highlights run the risk of overheating as they pursue a demanding schedule of cities and ruins (especially if they have children in tow).
Hotel Xixim is the perfect antidote to both scenarios; a beach resort that is tranquil, ecologically sound, children-friendly, and close to some of the most spectacular attractions in the country.
Just one of the resort’s expertly led excursions will make a visit here unforgettable. The early morning tour of the flamingo’s nesting grounds, mangrove swamps and petrified forest is impossible to appreciate on a day trip from Mérida. And where else can you spend the evening exploring the mangroves in search of crocodiles?
Even without leaving the hotel grounds, children will be excited by the “interpretative trail” that introduces them to the local plants and wildlife. In the evening, they can enjoy a game of table football or pool in the club house, while their parents relax with a cocktail or catch up with the news in the TV area.
A recent renovation program has seen the addition of new spa facilities, an impressive yoga palapa, a second swimming pool, and a magnificent club house. All the casitas have been extended and improved, whilst some romantic Master Suites with plunge pools have been added.
The Hotel Xixim is now an outstanding choice for yoga groups and retreats, as it’s one of the few places that can offer such off-the-beaten track and ecologically sound accommodations for groups of around 60 people. It’s also a very intimate honeymoon location for couples who want to relax in a pristine, natural environment but still be pampered.
If you are visiting Merida and want to spend some time by the sea, Xixim is an obvious choice. While the city swelters, there are always sea breezes here to refresh and invigorate guests. From Cancun, it’s a lengthy drive, but one that’s worthwhile if you really want to escape the crowds on the Caribbean coast and find your own piece of paradise.
The Hotel Xixim now has 24 Junior Suites and 8 Master Suites, all located along the coastline of this pristine estate. Each is an independent little bungalow with a bedroom and a private bathroom, and a large shady terrace that faces the beach.
In keeping with the ecological emphasis of this property, the bungalows do not have air-conditioning nor televisions. However, they remain beautifully cool due to the good ventilation afforded by the palapa roofs, enhanced by ceiling fans. In addition, all windows are well screened.
Both the Junior Suites and Master Suites have electricity 24 hours a day, room safes, a minibar and a telephone. Our favorite features are the large terrace, shaded by the palapa roof and furnished with a hammock, and the indoor-outdoor rain shower.
The Junior suites have two double canopy beds and a comfortable sofa, whilst the Master Suites have one king canopy bed. The Master Suites are larger, split level rooms that open onto a large terrace with a plunge pool. In the Master Suites the bathroom also faces towards the sea.
Summary of room facilities
Ceiling fans, room safe, minibar, telephone, terrace with hammock and seating
Two queen beds, sitting area
King bed, sitting area, plunge pool
These spacious suites have full height windows along the entire front of the bedroom, looking out over the low dunes towards the sea. Behind the two double beds is a dressing area with closets that contain a minibar and room safe. A door leads through to the bathroom, which has a vanity area stocked with purified water and a hairdryer.
One of our favorite features here is the indoor-outdoor rain shower. It’s divided from the bathroom by a glass door, which essentially takes you out into a walled garden. Two sides of the shower are a finely meshed screen, there is a solid roof above and a tiled shower floor below. As a result, you can feel the warmth of the sun and hear the birdsong while showering; a very tropical experience!
Each suite has a comfortable sitting area and a writing desk, but the nicest place to relax is outside on the terrace. During the day, there are cool breezes and glimpses of the ocean to enjoy. At night, the terrace has outdoor lighting but turn off the lights and you’ll see the moon reflecting off the ocean and thousand stars in the night sky. With no large scale development in the area and the wide expanse of the Gulf of Mexico stretching ahead, there’s little to detract from the celestial display.
The Master Suites are the newest rooms at the Hotel Xixim and are a real treat for honeymooners. They have all the same amenities as the Junior Suites, but with a few romantic extras.
The king size beds are draped in fine netting and face towards the sea. There’s a split level sitting area and sliding doors that open onto the extra large terrace. Partly sunny and partly shady, the terrace features a long mirror pool (a shallow area) and a deeper plunge pool, as well as a hammock that’s plenty big enough for two.
The Master Suites have the same indoor-outdoor shower feature as the Junior Suites, but in the Master Suites the vanity area faces towards the beach.
The large dining room is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. An enticing menu is offered, with highlights being the fresh fish and ceviche. Snacks are also available by the swimming pools during the daytime. All the meals are nicely presented and served by smartly dressed and attentive staff.
After dinner, most guests retire to the bar and lounge above the restaurant. There are games for children, including table football and pool, and a lounge area with a satellite television that receives international channels. There is also a book and DVD libary and board games available to borrow. This is a popular place for families to relax together in the evenings. Out on the terrace there are cozy tables where guests can enjoy the night sky with a cocktail or glass of wine.
The Yucatan’s Gulf Coast may not have the transparent turquoise waters of the Caribbean, but the calm and warm sea is still very enticing. This is a real nature lover’s beach; the dunes are home to a variety of exotic plants that are nurtured by the owners instead of being swept clear to make way for rows of sun loungers.
Look closely at the sand and in places you can see thousands of tiny sea shells (‘Xixim’ is Mayan for seashell). A stroll along the beach (it extends for miles) reveals more shells of all sizes in beautiful shapes and colors, so many that the hotels’ plea for guests not to remove them from the beach seems a little mean until you reflect upon the cumulative effect of years of visitors.
During the months of April to August, sea turtles frequently lay their eggs on this quiet beaches. They hatch around two months later, so visitors in June to October may also be able to observe the baby turtles starting their watery pilgrimage. Further out to sea, it is possible to glimpse dolphins jumping the waves in addition to the numerous species of sea birds.
There is often a strong breeze in the afternoon so the nicest time to swim is in the morning, when the ocean is amazingly clear and inviting. The breeze can also deposit seaweed in the shallow water for a part of the day but it rarely lasts for long. Like the tiny fish swimming beside you in the ocean, it’s a reminder that this stretch of coast is – for the moment at least – still just as nature intended it to be.
There are now two swimming pools at the Hotel Xixim. The original pool has been enhanced with the addition of stylish lounge chairs and a snack bar that serves ceviche, hotdogs, sandwiches and more. The pool terrace overlooks the ocean and is close to the restaurant and club house.
The new pool is located near to the spa and yoga palapa. It’s a large circular pool, with a Jacuzzi inset. Who wouldn’t enjoy relaxing in this pool as the sun sets over the Gulf of Mexico, with the promise of another day of fun and sightseeing ahead?
The new spa offers a range of massages and treatments (including the delicious sounding “Chocolate Cream Wrap”. The private palapa-roofed spa cabins include one that’s designed specially for couples, and they all overlook the jungle gardens. It’s easy to relax and concentrate on the therapist’s skillful hands in this serene environment, far from city pollution and traffic noise.
For the energetic, the Hotel Xixim also has an excellent new gym, with plenty of the latest equipment. The gym is housed in a bright and airy building with a soaring palapa roof.
With the addition of the large yoga palapa, the Hotel Xixim is one of the best places we know of for yoga groups and retreats. The property can accommodate groups of up to 60 people comfortably. With the ecological emphasis and pristine natural environment, it’s easy for group members to immerse themselves in their program without distractions, yet be close to some of the most amazing sightseeing attractions in Mexico.
The closest airport is Mérida, about 60 miles away, and the journey by car takes about 75 minutes. The hotel is remote, so public transportation is only available to the nearest town, Celestun. We recommend using the hotel’s transfers or driving to the hotel (note that the last few miles of the journey to the hotel are on an unpaved road).
From Merida airport:
From Mérida, drive south of the city towards Uman and make a right turn at the first corner of the plaza there (before the church) to take road 281 to Kinchil-Celestún.
From Uman to Kinchil and on to Celestún you will pass picturesque Mayan villages and travel on quiet but good conditioned roads.
In Celestún, pass the main plaza and turn right at the seafront, following the coastal road for a distance of around 6 miles. The road between Celestún and the resort is unpaved, but is in reasonable condition and a 4 wheel drive vehicle, though recommended, is not essential.