The Yucatan´s Luxury Collection of Marriott is an exquisite array of boutique hotels tucked away in the peninsula jungle.
Patio central en Uayamon
My story is tied to an indigenous experience and I’m inspired to write for “Día de Los Muertos.” We (a group of four journalists, photographers, and writers,) were spending a couple of days in each one of the haciendas as members of the media. They were a part of the Starwood Collection of old haciendas which date back to the sixteenth century. They were bought and restored, becoming a part of the Luxury Collection of Marriott, an exquisite array of boutique hotels across the globe. The Yucatan’s ones, except for Puerta Campeche, are tucked away in the peninsula jungle. All of them have been tastefully restored and adapted to today’s needs. Biodegradable products, energy, and water conservation along with intelligent irrigation systems are all part of their commitment to the environment.
I’ll have to start with the last one, Hacienda Puerto Campeche in Campeche city because is the only one that we visit that isn’t in the jungle. The manager of those days Regina Chai made sure we wouldn’t be too visible taking photos in the schedule that Mr. Peña Nieto and his wife were around. He was the favorite candidate for the presidential Mexican elections at that time and he was horse-riding with his wife, the future first lady. But the Hacienda Puerto Campeche has many special places for enjoying the property, and neither they nor we felt uncomfortable when being around in the terraces, the restaurant, walking by the property, or in the lobby. At night, we went walking by the malecón or in the beautiful downtown area. All these activities were extremely pleasant.
The other three haciendas in which we spent a few days were Hacienda Santa Rosa, Temozón Sur, and Uayamón, all in the Yucatán Península and part of the Luxury Collection, which owns exquisite boutique hotels across the globe. We could expand writing about each one of the haciendas because they were a real threat, but today we want to talk about Uayamón and its aluxes because in this time of the year we talk about the dead, the shape-shifting, the Catrina, the Llorona, all kinds of spirits, and the aluxes. And it was in this working cattle ranch, later ravaged by English pirates and years sold to the Carvajal family, where it was like a small village where cattle, corn, sugar cane, dyewood, and henequen reined for centuries.
The Main House, the chapel, the cemetery, the irrigation systems, the workers' houses, the engine room, and the old railroad, made us feel the legacy of this land and its ancient ambiance in every corner. As one walks up the wide manicured path towards the bi-level hacienda, a huge century-old Ceiba tree greats the guests with its sacred reverence, known to the Mayans since before Christ. The Ceiba was associated with the dwelling place of their ancestors and represented heaven, earth, and the underworld. A moonlit dinner with torch lights under the moon was a real pleasure for our senses. Uayamón counts with a long rectangular swimming pool peering through open windows into the outside jungle. Huge columns set within the pool provide a dramatic Romanesque effect, the perfect backdrop for a glass of wine and dip before heading to dinner.
We were intrigued by so many stories about the legend of the aluxes, which are supposed to be ancient little “people” of the rain forest. Energetic, happy, and playful like small children, they’re noted for their trickery. We wanted to hear more about them because, at Suite 1, where luminaries like Sting have stayed, I don’t know how to explain it but it was like … there were other “presences,” besides my husband and I. That’s why when having dinner at the colonial restaurant we brought the subject to the workers. One of them told us the story of a visiting French couple with three children that spent a week on the premises. Having seen the kid playing in the jungle, the workers got familiarized with them. At the check-out, they were happy and relaxed, but they wanted to know why those children that were playing with their kids for several days weren’t dressed and were running naked.
Aluxes are believed to be related to Ireland’s leprechauns, Scandinavia’s gnomes, and Europe’s trolls and gremlins. The night calls of the jungle with the morning sounds of a variety of exotic birds, and all this exotic environment puts the mind at ease and the body at rest. The French family was delighted not only with walking, swimming, and bicycling, in such a paradise, but with the little companions that were running free and naked all over the place. My Mayan experiences were marked for this singular story and I recommend these haciendas to anyone wanting or needing an escape from reality and isn’t afraid of this type of extra sensorial experiences,