Monday, February 7, 2011

Remembering Merida

The Villa Merida, Boutique Hotel

Walking down the streets of Merida, the air is thick with humidity, artistic inspiration, and the sounds of trova played on delicately out-of-tune instruments.  As you stroll the colourful walled streets, luck smiles upon you and a window is left open to reveal hidden palaces or ruins begging for your creativity.  Pink and purple bouganvilla peep over rooftop gardens.  The creek of hammocks swinging to and fro seeps though metre-thick walls.  Culture, art, history: Merida is Mexico's oldest city with French and Spanish influences and a thriving Mayan community.

While channel surfing this evening, International House Hunters was featuring Merida again.  I remembered what it was like to discover Merida; and how overwhelming it was to oversee building projects there.  After three years though, I developed relationships with some amazing architects and designers, artisans and tradespeople, real estate brokers and hoteliers - not to mention an admirable fluency in Spanish constructions terms.  I'd like to share those resource in hopes to maximize the joy in someone else's renovation of a colonial gem.

Design images below are from Estilio Yucatan, an award-winning architectural firm and design group regularly featured in Mexico's most exclusive design magazines and competitions:

3 of many publications featuring the design savvy of Estilio Yucatan. 

Casa JB53 was a project on which I worked with Estilo Yucatan. 

Rumor has it that there will soon be a rental website for this property.

The Villa Merida was one of the my largest projects while in Merida.  I'm sure there have been changes since my time there, but the images on their website are still of the original design.  All the furniture, with the exception of a few, unique antiques, was designed with inspiration from traditional pieces, materials, and forms from the region.  They were crafted by a local carpenters and blacksmiths as specified.  The result was stunning.
Original 'pasta' tiles were restored and new floors were created in that same traditional style and technique by Mosaicos La Peninsular  A great article on these tiles can be found in Yucatan Living Magazine .  More Villa images can be found in the Fitz & Suko Interiors Projects Gallery.
Rated highest among Merida's finest Hotels, Villa Merida is luxury wrapped in history.
The purchase of this property was facilitated by Mitch Keenan of Mexico International Real Estate. I adored Mitch; he was thorough, honest, and to the point. In 2003, he was one of the only USA and Mexico trained and certified real estate agents working in Merida.  He knew the laws & processes plus knew where I was coming from as well; so he facilitated my understanding of the process.   
I'd had other real-estate dealings there.  Those went more like playing hopscotch on a chess board. 
General resources:
Yucatan Today ~Online and print magazine for visitors and locals: resources, events, great maps...
Yucatan Living ~ Online magazine with various resources aimed at expats living in or moving to Merida
Mexico International Real Estate ~ They have some great links for those relocating or visiting under 'Resources'  (and Mitch is particular about who he will recommend) 

When in doubt, just ask Victor or Atahualpa of Estilo Yucatan. 

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