This Pleasant, Wallet-Friendly Boutique Hotel Is in One of Mexico’s Most Underrated Culture Capitals

Touted as Mexico’s ‘safest city’ and one of the country’s design hubs, Yucatec capital Mérida is perfect for travelers who want to experience a bona fide version of our southern neighbor. Forget the cruise ships, mega-resorts, and the cliché Señor Frogs of the Mexico you thought you knew. Merida is much more than a Hard Rock Café t-shirt or a spring break-oriented bar with a ‘bottomless tequila shot special’ on its menu; the midsize city is an exhibition of Mexico’s throbbing culture. It’s a magnet for Mexico’s design scene’s most talented, visible at local outposts such as Casa Tho, a must-visit, contemporary concept store selling homespun accouterments, artisanal jewelry, and boho-chic furnishings. 

Mérida is more wallet-friendly than places such as Tulum and Cabo San Lucas. To that tune of not ‘breaking the bank’ but staying somewhere pleasant, spend your nights here at Wayam Mundo Imperial. Situated on a street with weathered mansions from centuries ago when Mérida was an affluent powerhouse due to its erstwhile henequen plantations, the unimposing hotel is an archetype of successful biophilic design. 

After walking past the lobby, you enter the hotel’s centerpiece courtyard, where towering trees, verdant plants, and a fountain invoke a sense of calm. Spanning up five levels, accommodations connect via suspended walkways and one-sided hallways open to the courtyard garden. In fact, Wayam Mundo Imperial is one of Merida’s most sustainable stays, from its LEED certification—the only hotel to have it in the city—to its robust solar panel system that reduces energy consumption by 20%. 

Forget rooms, Wayam Mundo Imperial prefers suites—52 of them, to be precise. Each equips a balcony, an expansive bathroom sporting a clawfoot tub, and modern fixtures, from coffee makers to automatic lighting. 

The hotel’s second-floor restaurant, Cuna, boasts a plant-clad terrace that looks out towards the street. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You’ll find a clutch of ordinary dishes, such as hamburgers and pizza, alongside traditional Yucatec delights (we ate lots of fried plantains and didn’t regret it after one bit). 

Other benefits of staying here include an inviting rooftop pool and bar, fitness center, plus a spa service that comes to your suite.

Top Takeaways

Location: Mérida, Mexico

Rating: Four-star

The vibe: Gardens, suites, private balconies… oh my!

Food + Drink: The hotel has a restaurant by the name of Cuna that’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—the plant-dappled terrace is exceedingly pleasing. Expect delights like pizza and hamburgers alongside a couple of local dishes on the menu. Separate from the restaurant, the hotel also has a pool bar. 

Our favorite thing about the hotel: The courtyard garden is impressively integrated into the hotel’s blueprint—and, worth mentioning, the sight of it naturally injects a sense of tranquility into guests’ veins. 

What’s nearby? Plaza Grande, Mayan World Museum of Mérida, Cathedral Mérida, Museum of Yucateca Gastronomy, plus Quinta Montes Molina

Amenities: Pool, in-room spa treatments, restaurant, fitness center, and free-WIFI

Pricing: $98 is the starting nightly rate 

Room count: 52 suites 

Closest Airport: Mérida International Airport (MID)

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