Casa Chaká: A boutique hotel with nature at its center

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Veronica Garibay
Veronica Garibay
Verónica Garibay Saldaña is a Mexican columnist, communications major, and poetry enthusiast. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Karlo Meneses and Carlos Salomón. Photo: Courtesy

Walking around Calle 37, a couple of blocks east of the Paseo de Montejo in Mérida, keep an eye out for the modern block facade of Casa Chaká.

Facade of Casa Chaká, on Calle 54.
Facade of Casa Chaká, on Calle 37. Photo: Verónica Garibay

The boutique hotel is housed in a restored Centro home made up of two rooms, each with its own concept and private terrace, designed by architects Karlo Meneses and Carlos Salomón. 

“We found the property in 2016 and were immediately drawn to it,” says Karlo, “a very well-located space that we could turn into whatever we wanted.”

Entrance to Casa Chaká.
Entrance to Casa Chaká. Photo: Verónica Garibay

The house was first bought to be a carpentry workshop and eventually became the main office of the pair. After three years the workshop was closed, and the idea of starting up a boutique hotel came up. Their approach was straightforward, working mainly on restoration projects to maintain the essence of the home and the neighborhood, which was the reason they were attracted to it in the first place.

“Nothing has really changed that much except for the bathroom on the first floor. The rest of the home has been renovated with a light touch.”

Casa Chaká opened its doors in 2020 with an aesthetic that evokes a return to nature.

The boutique gets its name from the chaká tree, a native species known for its white and green aromatic flowers. Karlo says their intention in designing the space was for guests to reconnect with their environment.

“It used to be the case that architects overlooked nature. But we not only respect it, we emphasize how important it is to the guest experience.”

Lu'um bedroom in Casa Chaká.
L’uum bedroom in Casa Chaká. Photo: Verónica Garibay

Each room was designed in its own style and features a private terrace.

Downstairs, in the L’uum bedroom, a set of doors opens to a private pool and garden. The inside is decorated with a selection of colorful Mexican handcrafts like alebrijes, folk art depicting colorful, fantastical creatures.

Decor in L'uum bedroom.
Decor in L’uum bedroom. Photo: Verónica Garibay

Guests are often surprised by the Chaká tree growing right in the shower, and towering through the roof via a skylight. 

Skylight over the bathroom, through which the Chaká tree grows. Photo: Verónica Garibay

Upstairs, the Ka’an room welcomes guests through a blue stairway that mimics the sky, and delivers them to a rooftop lounge complete with a swimming pool.

Rooftop outside of the Ka'an room.
Rooftop outside the Ka’an room. Photo: Verónica Garibay

Left of the stairs, a blue door opens to a room decorated with hammocks, embroidered pillows and paintings by Karlo and other artists. The bathroom shines bright with yellow accents and subdued details of green, with a window that overlooks the beautiful terrace.

Ka'an room in Casa Chaká.
Ka’an room in Casa Chaká. Photo: Verónica Garibay

Karlo personally oversaw the restoration of all of the boutique’s furniture. 

“All of the furniture is original but has been recently restored. We paid close attention to each and every single detail. This includes everything from the general design of the boutique to our choice of cutlery and even the bathroom soap,” says Karlo.

Bathroom in Ka'an room.
Bathroom in Ka’an room. Photo: Verónica Garibay

Down the stairs, to the right, we find Karlo’s and Carlos’ office. Past it, a large Chaká tree dresses the entrance. Cast iron letters proudly spell out the name of the boutique beneath the shade of the tree.

Facade of Casa Chaká.
Facade of Casa Chaká. Photo: Verónica Garibay

Karlo notes that most of their guests have been domestic tourists.

“We were surprised to see Mexican visitors were so interested. I think the style is a little different from the architecture we normally see in the city, and that resonates with them. Surprisingly, we’ve been fully booked since we opened.”

Decoration in Ka’an room. Photo: Verónica Garibay

Currently, Casa Chaká is undergoing the construction of a third bedroom, a sure signal of the success they’ve enjoyed so far. The final design of the new bedroom is yet to be determined, but as in everything they do, nature will surely be at its center.

Follow Casa Chaká on Instagram: @casachakaboutique

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