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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Historic Mérida, where the ‘cool kids are flocking to’

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Casa T’ho. Photo: Hemispheres

All the cool kids are flocking to the Yucatán’s historic cultural center, Mérida. At least that’s the word from a hot-off-the-press inflight magazine.

“Mérida is so cool right now, because there’s a modern and ancient mix in almost everything, from designers to food,” said Piñuela’s owner, Eduardo Rukos, in the October 2018 Hemispheres magazine.

The glossy is published by United Airlines, which flies passengers from Houston to Mérida.

Rukos is just one of several name drops in the article, the latest of many that position Mérida as a hip, up-and-coming destination.

The story mentions that the city boasts the third-largest historical center in the Americas, after Havana and Mexico City, “but it has nonetheless remained largely off the tourist radar.”

“For years, the henequén barons’ mansions sat neglected, but that’s now changing, as creative types flood back into the revitalized old city,” the article says, echoing a controversial T Magazine story in 2013.

The restaurant Piñuela, in the Hotel Mérida, is one of many new businesses taking advantage of the city’s glorious old mansions. Casa T’ho sells fashions and fashionable objects occupies an early-19th-century mansion on the Paseo de Montejo, “Mérida’s tree-lined answer to the Champs-Élysées.” (Nearby, the Lagalá complex is another example of a renovated mansion with a chic vibe.)

The Ya’ax Hotel Boutique opened last year after being restored by local artisans using regional techniques and building materials such as chukum.

The story also recommends a meal at the brewpub Hermana República, “to taste craft beers and cochinita croquettes amid dangling strings of lights and crumbling walls lined with greenery.”

“Next to the beach, close to Mayan monuments, and rich in culture,” says the brewery’s managing director, Gabriel Méndez, “Mérida feels like paradise.”

On social media, some readers reacted with humor in defense of a city they don’t want to be “discovered.”

“Please, cool people, stay away. You won’t like it here, it’s HOT, HOT, HOT!” wrote one.

“Big, bad bugs,” wrote another.

“All of the coffee and beer and pastries and tacos will soon KILL ME,” said yet another. Don’t make the same mistake I did, folks… stay away!”

Read the entire story here.

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