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Discovering Untapped Wellness in the Yucatan

Mérida is quickly becoming the go-to destination for travelers searching for restoration and rejuvenation

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Chable, pool

When it comes to wellness retreats in Mexico, certain destinations tend to take all the glory. Everyone has heard of the hot spots: Tulum, Sayulita, Los Cabos, and so on. For years, these beachy escapes have lured yogis, spiritualists, and the like. But Mexico has another rising wellness star—if it’s not on your radar yet, it will be soon enough.

Mérida, the capital of Yucatán state, is having a moment. For years this centuries-old city, steeped in Mayan and Spanish traditions and heritage, was merely a stopping point for tourists, who were usually ushered in from their all-inclusive Cancún resorts en route to a cenote or to Chichén Itzá. It wasn’t until the last few years that the spotlight landed here as well. Spanish Colonial architecture, Mayan ruins, tree-lined promenades, leafy parks, a growing gastronomy scene, and an abundance of beautiful hotels with luxurious spas are draws for today’s visitors. For a unique wellness vacation far away from the throngs of tourists, there are three spa experiences, in particular, that make the trip to Mérida worth seeking out.

Hacienda Xcanatun beds

A short trip from downtown, Hacienda Xcanatun by Angsana explodes from the lush jungle in a blaze of ochre. The AAA Four Diamond hideaway dates back to the 18th century but has been remodeled for 21st-century comfort and elegance. In fact, the resort is set to unveil 36 new suites this July. Wellness is top of mind at the resort’s Angsana Spa, which brings traditional Asian healing to the Yucatán peninsula. Thai massage, Balinese techniques, and foot bath rituals are available, as is an Avocado Smoothie treatment, which uses avocado, rice flower, yogurt, milk, and honey to hydrate the skin.

Hacienda Xcanatun

The expression “don’t believe the hype” does not apply to Chablé Yucatan. Considered one of the most beloved resorts in Mexico, Chablé Yucatan is a hotel one needs to see to believe. This magnificent jungle-and-stone oasis draws inspiration from Mayan traditions, offering casita-style rooms built with stone, glass, and wood. In a nutshell: jungle tree houses with high thread counts.

Wellness is baked right into the spa’s design, which is intended to harness spiritual energy. The resort’s outlook is about tapping into soulful healing, from spiritual therapy to oracle readings and a traditional temazcal ceremony. One treatment highlight is the Mayan Ceremony, a self-renewal exercise and secret rite performed by several j’men (Mayan priests). The master spa room is simply breathtaking, overlooking a cenote speckled with blooming water lilies no matter what treatment you book.

Chablé Yucatan spa

Many of Mexico’s historic haciendas have been converted into luxury hotels, offering guests the opportunity to step back in time—and Mérida’s Hacienda Temozon is no exception. It’s a crimson-colored, palatial paradise with sumptuous rooms, fine dining, and the enigmatic Hol Be Spa, built within the property’s mystical underground caves. All treatments here are tailored to the environment, but the one to book is the candlelit massage inside the cave, next to the shimmering turquoise waters of the nearby cenote.

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