Photos and Words by Ellen Christina Hancock
I arrived in Merida having spent several weeks in Oaxaca in Southwestern Mexico. There it was pleasant and sunny and the afternoon light gently illuminated the colorful city streets. In Merida the sun is intense and ever-present, adding an urgency to a city so alight with possibility. Moments from the bustling, crowded zocolo, behind a grandiose door and golden sign, calm and tranquility called to me from within L’Epicerie, Merida’s arm of the Coqui Coqui Residences & Spas. Entering the charming colonial townhouse, built in 1903, you will be greeted by a kind welcoming smile, and then by a cool, much needed breeze and finally, by the flirtatious aromas of freshly picked tobacco leaves and citrus, the signature scent of the residence from the in-house perfumery.
Hidden within this grandeur there are just two suites, so the luxury of privacy is abundant. Upstairs, L’Epicerie Suite is rich with mysterious shadows, but when it sees fit, the sun will embolden the luscious textures of period furniture and expose the two claw-foot tubs side by side at the end of the bed for roomy reclining.
Past a small courtyard surrounded by golden yellow walls, a melodious water fountain and of course an array of vibrant succulents, the Carlotta Suite awaits. Surely a welcome environment in which to pause and catch your breath before turning the large, golden key to the suite. The glass doors disclose a mirrored wall reflecting an opulent four-poster bed, floor to ceiling drapes speckled with light from a glass ceiling, and a fringed chaise lounge poised perfectly for lazing. The hardest decision you will make during your stay is which mode of relaxation to indulge in first.
If, perchance, relaxing becomes momentarily tiresome, a few doors down on the same street, is Coqui Coqui Oficios Artesanos which sells handcrafted local artisanal items including clothing and homewares. Neighboring this beautiful shop and set around a tranquil patio, is a gallery that beckons to be explored. It is also home to L’Epicerie café, should you require a coffee pit-stop.
The only disappointment from my stay and seemingly my only regret, is that I did not see enough of Merida. It was very time consuming enjoying the breakfast in my room, testing all the handmade honey and jams. Then I really did have to take a long bath with the orange blossom bath oil made by the perfumery. Of course, I needed time to sit in the private garden, listening to the city murmur as the sun slowly set – I suppose, I will just have to return!