Hacienda Xcanatun, Angsana Heritage Collection seamlessly blends Yucatán roots with Asia-inspired sensibilities. Plus: new plunge pool suites, a luxurious spa and world-class cuisine.
Last updated: September 2023
Tucked into the lush Yucatán jungle a mere fifteen minutes north of Mérida is quite possibly the region’s best-kept secret: Hacienda Xcanatun, newly expanded under Banyan Tree’s culture-rooted Angsana Heritage Collection. Experiencing this tranquil enclave is, in a word, a journey. One whisking guests through old and new, west to far east.
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Hacienda Xcanatun, Angsana Heritage Collection: a Transformative Journey
Steeped in transformation, Hacienda Xcanatun – meaning “tall stone house” in Maya – was originally built in 1789 as a country estate dedicated to breeding horses and mules. By the late 1800s, the property had evolved into one of the region’s most prosperous henequen haciendas. Henequen – a native agave plant producing a highly prized textile fiber – was so significant that it became known as “green gold” and propelled the Yucatán Peninsula into one of the wealthiest destinations in the world in the late 19th century.
Fast forward to the 1990s, and the hacienda breathed new life as a luxury boutique hotel following meticulous restorations by Jorge Ruz Buenfil (son of renowned archaeologist Alberto Ruz Lhuillier, who happened to discover King Pakal’s tomb in nearby Palenque) and his wife Cristina Baker. In 2019, global hospitality leader Banyan Tree came calling.
Hacienda Xcanatun, Angsana Heritage Collection: Today
Today, Hacienda Xcanatun presents as a multi-faceted refuge under the wing of Banyan Tree’s new Angsana Heritage Collection: a set of sensorial boutique properties grounded in local culture, adventure and authenticity. A newly expanded property layout – covering four verdant acres in total – retains a commitment to the property’s storied Yucatán heritage, while harmoniously infusing the signature, Asia-inspired essence synonymous with Angsana and Banyan Tree.
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Hacienda Xcanatun, Angsana Heritage Collection: Rooms & Suites
Upon arrival you’ll enter the heart of the property: a grand, original edifice once home to henequen-processing machinery and equipment; now housing the hotel’s lobby, a colonnaded outdoor lounge, meeting spaces and venerable eatery Casa de Piedra. Next, you’ll be personally escorted to your room: one of six room types across 18 original, hacienda-style quarters or 36 new, contemporary suites.
Those seeking an authentic hacienda experience will want to choose the former, appointed with such transportive features as exposed wooden beams, elegant hardwood furnishings and traditional pasta floor tiles. Sprawling terraces boast hammocks, vaulted ceilings, intricate lattice ironwork and some – outdoor soaking tubs. The singular Xcanatun Pool Suite further harbors a private plunge pool.
Continue past the ochre-hued facades of the hacienda rooms and you’ll soon emerge into the new, second half of the property. “Crossing the border,” our porter quipped as we toured the grounds, via golf cart, en route to our room. Rightfully so, as surrounds seamlessly transition from old to new; west to far east influence.
A tranquil lily pond anchors the decidedly zen setting, dotted with neutral-hued casitas featuring distressed chukum walls, natural stone enclosures and dark wood accents. Here, rooms offer guests a more contemporary experience with modern finishes, high ceilings and illuminative floor-to-ceiling windows.
My stay in the Itza Plunge Pool Suite was nothing short of divine. The spacious garden terrace no doubt had something to do with it, equipped with a private dipping pool, daybed, outdoor rain shower and seating area. All, encircled by natural stone walls lined with climbing tropical vines and sultry palm fronds. A beautiful freestanding bathtub – an Angsana signature amenity – further awaits for restorative soaks. Almost all rooms at Hacienda Xcanatun have one.
Connecting the two halves of the property? Leafy walkways lined with luxuriant foliage, stone carvings and a plethora of wildlife ranging from iguanas to herons to adorable coatis. At night, paths are guided by the enchanting glow of subtle uplights.
Hacienda Xcanatun, Angsana Heritage Collection: Wellness / Pools
Wellness runs manifold at Hacienda Xcanatun, perhaps most evident with not just one swimming pool oasis – but three. Two original pools are located within the hacienda side of the property, taking the form of secluded havens surrounded by cushioned wooden loungers, gently rustling palms and transportive, colonial-era architecture.
Among the newly expanded grounds – a shimmering, Olympic-sized swimming pool takes grand yet casual residence. Canopied daybeds, cushioned loungers and the full service Lol-Ha Pool Bar flank the crown jewel, where I found myself returning for late afternoon dips and sundowners.
Hacienda Xcanatun, Angsana Heritage Collection: Wellness / Spa
Those looking to achieve a deeper state of bliss need look no further than the true inner sanctum of the property: the brand new Angsana Spa. This world-class sanctuary just opened to guests this month, offering a curated range of sensorial rituals rooted in both Mexican and Asian traditions. Think: a restorative Javanese Deep Tissue Massage, decadent Avocado Smoothie Body Conditioner or rejuvenating Face Refresher. All, centered around a heavenly hydrotherapy circuit.
The spa is located along the property’s signature lily pond, accented by an open-air yoga and meditation deck. Steps away, a spacious gym fully equipped with cardio and resistance training.
Hacienda Xcanatun, Angsana Heritage Collection: Dining
Dining at Hacienda Xcanatun manifests as a passionate homage to the region, anchored by landmark restaurant Casa de Piedra. Here, responsibly sourced local ingredients are transformed into elegant takes on traditional Yucatecan cuisine. The queso relleno (stuffed cheese drowned in gravy) was perfectly decadent, the aguachile negro de camarón (spicy ceviche with shrimp) bright and crisp and the tacos de chicharron de rib eye (crispy rib eye tacos) downright mouthwatering. A handful of Asia-inspired dishes are on the menu too, like comforting Thai-style chicken soup, pork teriyaki and chicken with yellow curry.
While the A/C in the sophisticated indoor dining room was tempting, I preferred the lovely outdoor patio with garden views. Vaulted ceilings and a myriad of suspended fans manage to keep the setting cool – even in August.
On Sundays, tables are reserved well in advance to indulge in Casa de Piedra’s legendary brunch. The epicurean affair stars the region’s famed cochinita pibil (slow-roasted, stewed pork), prepared in centuries-old Maya style the night before in an on-property pib: underground oven. If you ask, you can even witness the dish being unearthed Sunday morning.
Prefer breakfast in bed? All day in-room dining is also available, and for those looking to turn up the romance – consider reserving a private, candlelit dinner in front of the hacienda’s original chapel.
Of course, while lounging at the Olympic-sized swimming pool, you’ll be hard-pressed not to yearn for a poolside cocktail or light bite. Here, Lol-Ha Pool Bar delivers with an extensive menu of cocktails, spirits and cerveza, plus cravings like guacamole with crispy pork belly, vegetable crudités, fresh ceviche and tacos gobernador (cheesy shrimp tacos).
Hacienda Xcanatun, Angsana Heritage Collection: Day Passes
Staying elsewhere but still want to experience Hacienda Xcanatun? You can do so by making a breakfast, lunch or dinner reservation at Casa de Piedra, or better yet – go all in with their Day Pass. For $1,459.00 pesos (approximately $85.00 USD) you can access the property from 9am – 6pm. The pass includes breakfast at Casa de Piedra, use of all three swimming pools and common areas, complimentary wifi and $600.00 pesos back as a food and beverage credit (redeemable at Casa de Piedra and/or Lol-Ha Pool Bar). Plus, a 10% discount on spa services.
An upgraded Spa Day Pass runs $3950.00 pesos (approximately $231.00 USD) which includes all of the above plus a 60-minute massage at Angsana Spa. Note the food and beverage credit is adjusted to $400.00 pesos back. With the massage alone running $3,375.00 pesos, this is a no-brainer for someone seeking a day of ultimate relaxation in a fabulous setting.
Book your stay at Hacienda Xcanatun: Angsana Heritage Collection
Stay smarter: Book Hacienda Xcanatun through Under the Palm and enjoy VIP treatment and perks (think: priority room upgrades, complimentary breakfast, resort credits, early check-in, late check-out and more) – for free.