77 F
Mérida
Saturday, May 28, 2022
###

Villa Verde’s busy party-givers keep giving

Latest headlines

Deborah LaChapelle masters the art of conjuring cloud-like hues that look ready to float away  

After two decades in Mérida, her homes are among the most distinctive around. They are richly styled, embrace available materials and connect to their surroundings.

Mérida’s Noche Blanca 2022 is finally here, and it’s going to be enormous

Five free buses will help visitors navigate La Noche Blanca in Mérida. Photo: Courtesy The citywide arts celebration...

WhatsApp hacks in Yucatán reach ‘alarming rates’

Over the past few days in Yucatán, a growing number of people are reporting having their WhatsApp accounts hacked. 

A Progreso beach is more popular now that the pigs have moved in

A simple concept is drawing more and more visitors to Pig Beach in Yucalpetén,
Lee Steele
Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012. Sign up for our weekly newsletters, so our top headlines will appear in your inbox each Monday and Thursday.

The inaugural White Party Ball in 2013 was a sensation, and raised funds for AANY, which supports local crafts people.
The inaugural White Party Ball in 2013 was a sensation, and raised funds for AANY, which supports local crafts people. Photo: Villa Verde

Even for them, this has been a busy couple of months. The 2nd annual White City Ball is less than a week away, and down the street, they are putting the finishing touches on their new tienda/café in Parque Santa Lucia. Meanwhile, they’re taking in guests daily and throwing private happy hours nightly at their casona-scale guesthouse, Villa Verde Mérida. Did Michael Berton and Robert Klie really have time for an interview? No, but they paused for a quick chat, anyway.

yucmaginterviewsigYou have a lot going on right now! A gala fundraiser you’re organizing is coming up, as well as the inauguration of your second Merida business, Botella Verde. That’s a lot on your plate all at once. How are you coping?

Michael: Vino.

You’re nice enough to open up your guesthouse, Villa Verdé Mérida, to the annual White City Ball fundraiser to support local artisans. What’s different at the ball this year? What can guests expect?

Lots of balloons set the scene for the White City Ball at Villa Verde Mérida.
Lots of balloons set the scene for the White City Ball at Villa Verde Mérida. Photo: Villa Verde

Robert: This year the ball is coming along beautifully. Guests can expect more great food this year – several wonderful restaurants and caterers are providing some incredible hors d’oeuvres and desserts. Lots of great music and dancing along with live trova in our “chill” area. The auction items are fabulous this year — bring your wallet (the white one of course)!

That’s right, I remember last time everyone was asked to wear white, and most everyone did! That was stunning. Around the same time, Botella Verde is opening. Can you describe the concept?

Botella Verde's sign is already hanging on the colonnade at Santa Lucia Park, Calle 55 and 60.
Botella Verde’s sign is already hanging on the colonnade at Santa Lucia Park, Calle 55 and 60. Photo: Carlos Eduardo Ocampo Ortega

Michael: Botella Verde is the sort of small casual place that we and our guests would like to frequent – casual atmosphere with light food, wine, beer and many locally made artisanal desserts, breads and gourmet ice cream. A place where you can pop in wearing shorts and sandals for a quick espresso or that reasonably priced glass of wine and a salad. Almost tapas.

That sounds like the perfect “next thing” for Santa Lucia. What has moving from the U.S. to Merida taught you?

Robert: That your office can be anywhere you make it — beside the pool, on a lounge – or one of the beautiful squares.

Michael Berton on the colonnade of Santa Lucia Park, where Botella Verde will soon be open to the public.
Michael Berton on the colonnade of Santa Lucia Park, where Botella Verde will soon be open to the public. Photo: Yucatán Magazine

Michael: It has taught me that it really is a bit magical here – so much occurs which cannot be attributed to just coincidence. Love it!

What advice would you give to anyone from north of the border who has decided they’re going to be like you and move here and, rather than retire, start a business?

Michael: We both are asked this many times by our interested hotel guests. We tell them to visit here often to get to really know the city and its dynamic, its feel. Really explore what would be successful here and be very open to changes.

Robert Klie in 2012, when he and Michael were restoring the grounds of the future Villa Verde boutique inn and guesthouse.
Robert Klie, back when he and Michael were restoring the grounds of the future Villa Verde Mérida. Photo: Villa Verde

Robert: We completely love it — but everyone has such different expectations.

One last question, a kind of a curveball. If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?

Robert: An iPad, the internet and Netflix

Michael: Malbec, Chianti Classico and maybe a Côtes du Rhône …

Sounds like you were prepared for that question! OK, one more question then: What inspires you, or keeps you in a positive frame of mind? Is it music? Spirituality? Art?

Michael: We both practice yoga – real yoga that includes meditation. It helps to clean out those cobwebs and daily frustrations in mind and body. We are also very very fortunate to live in a space that is so inspirational – surrounded by plants, birds, music, sounds of running water, etc. Your environment is key.

Tickets to the second annual White City Ball were still available when this interview was posted. This year’s White City Ball is set for 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Oct. 18 at Villa Verde Mérida on Calle 56 #468 x 53 y 55. The gala event will include music, dancing, complementary botanas from some of your favorite restaurants and caterers, a cash bar and silent auction. Some local hotels and B&Bs are offering a discount for visitors. More details here. 

- Advertisement -

Subscribe Now!

More articles

Yucatán boosts its own unique brand in Europe

Authorities from Yucatán announced a new campaign to promote the state as a destination for European travelers. 

After more than 2 months, why are Mérida’s most iconic monuments still covered in graffiti?

Since the protests held on International Women’s Day back in early March, several of Mérida’s historic monuments remain covered in graffiti. 

Scientists warn some types of sargassum could impact on human health

Large amounts of sargassum are now washing a shore in locations previously relatively untouched by the algae, such as the theme...

The sights, sounds, and flavors of vibrant Chinatown in CDMX

Mexico City’s Chinatown is crowded, frenzied, and chaotic — but in an oddly great sort of way.

Mérida, but not the Caribbean resorts, named in Airbnb survey

Mérida Yucatán is one of the oldest cities on the American continent and boasts the oldest cathedral on the continent’s mainland....

Yucatán goes from 0 to 78 daily COVID cases in 6 weeks

The Yucatán health ministry reported 78 new COVID infections, the highest number of daily new cases since March.

Pig farm accused of hiding cenotes and filling them in with cement

A pig farm in the municipality of Homún is being accused of filling in and hiding two cenotes from environmental authorities. 

New augmented reality app tells the story of Mérida’s iconic corner plaques

Mérida´s municipal government is launching a new mobile phone application to tell the story of the city’s iconic Centro corner plaques.

Tortas in the Park: Family carries on the tradition for 63 years 

Taqueria Don Beto in Parque Las Américas. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht Strolling through charming Parque de...

Kankí, the Maya city where the stone eyes of ancient gods burn as hot as the sun

Kankí may be only 10 miles or so from the Mérida-Campeche highway, but feels a world away.