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“Unique location, attentive staff and plenty of bugs”

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Hacienda San Jose, a Luxury Collection Hotel
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Tixkokob
Certificate of Excellence
Chicago, IL
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Unique location, attentive staff and plenty of bugs”
Reviewed September 30, 2012 via mobile

Location: yes, it is remote but not too difficult or impossible to find. There's a big sign at the main road right at the entrance way to the property. Not sure what everyone is complaining about. The grounds are beautiful, right in the middle of a tropical rain forest. It's conveniently located for day trips through the northern parts of the peninsula, including chicken itza, uxmal, celestun, Merida or progresso.

Staff: super friendly and attentive.

Rooms: we had the ones next to the restaurant for 4 nights; pretty spacious with comfortable beds, good pressured shower and wifi. The a/c unit worked fine, but weather wasn't extremely hot yet either.

Food: menu is authentic yucatan with a twist. Very flavorful, using fruits and veggies from their own garden on the property. But since we were there for a number of days, we wanted to branch out to some other places as well. Can recommend Kinich in Izamal and la Palapa in celestun.

Bugs: yes, you are in a rain forest, so bugs live here. I wasn't too bothered by them, but they do walk/fly around in the open air restaurant. The staff are pretty good about removing them quickly.

Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank DeLaCampo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
roberto o, Manager at Hacienda San Jose, a Luxury Collection Hotel, responded to this review, October 25, 2012
Greetings from Yucatan.

Thank you for your stay and for your review De La Campo; I am pleased to hear you enjoyed your accomodation - as you mentioned, they are gorgeously decorated and very spacious. I will be sure to pass your kind review along to the rest of our staff as we take pride in knowing our guests enjoyed their time with us. We very much look forward to your return.

Sincerely yours,

Roberto Otalora, Operations Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
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English first
Newton, Massachusetts
Level 6 Contributor
274 reviews
150 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 227 helpful votes
Reviewed September 28, 2012

This is a tough review because although most reviews on TripAdvisor need to be weighted based on who the reviewer is, this is paramount in the case of this hotel. So I will best disclose who I am as a traveller to then convey my review so you can decide how relevant what I say is to you.

First, my characterization in one sentence of what this hotel is: upscale and comfortable camping in an authentic havienda in the midst of the jungle, where your room is no more than a masonry "tent" allowing the predominantly nocturnal wildlife to enter your room at will.

Second, the unqualified realities:
- the hotel is hard to find, even with the right location on google maps, and using GPS function on previously downloaded map on Google Maps for iPad, I got lost briefly and I am extraordinarily good at directions. The streets through the small pueblos you pass through are hard to follow at times at intersections. All in all it's not that complicated, though, but be prepared.

- this IS isolated as others have said, not by much, but bad enough that there is NO cellphone signal, and occupancy seems to be consistently quite low so that it may just be you and the staff. I thought this was great, my wife felt very vulnerable. When I thought of it in her terms, I understood how she felt, but rationally, the place is safe. Effectively, it is not as latches on doors are not exactly industrial strength and if someone wanted to get in, it wouldn't be hard.

Third, who we are as travelers:
- as you can see in other reviews, we've stayed in bush lodges in Kruger Park, the desert in Sossusvlei, lodge near Vic Falls, etc. so we have experienced nature and come close to it, albeit not in the full jungle in a WET environment.
- we prefer city travel (urban anthropology) and desert/glacial environments for their desolation and true solitude from almost all living things (death valley, the Namib, the Rockies, etc.), although we do recognize that those have living things, they are not TEAMING with life.
- we love nature, but we like to come into contact with it on our own terms and in the outside environment (game drives, hikes, strolls through nature, etc.)

Fourth, the positives:
- the staff is very affable and fixed things when we asked relatively quickly, they were ready and willing to do whatever
- the grounds are amazingly beautiful
- the place is very agreeable to do strolls around
- they will arrange very romantic dinners for you just about anywhere on the property

Fifth, the negatives:
- we alerted that insects were a concern prior to arrival, candidly more could have been done to help in that regard, in the room alone
- when we arrived, the hotel was still being brought to order and was not to order until other guests arrived the next day. This included the cleaning of the pool when we arrived where a gentleman was at work but with a pump basically spewing all of the detritus onto the pool deck with a power cord and extension cord literally inches from the spewing water. Needles to say, such practices often will not yield injury, will cause a short, or other, but it just isn't safe anyway you slice it and my wife refused to enter the pool for the duration of the trip. Not to mention a slug we saw on side of pool which initially looked like a leach. Further, the first couple of days the pool chairs were never setup for use which we only noticed was done after the other guests arrived.
- the food, as other reviewers said, was passable but not extraordinary for the price. Will pay for quality, but there was a mismatch here, and no good food in the vicinity.
- the junior suites are cavernous and done in the original style by some "talented" architect who should stick to museums and not livable spaces. This architect should be forced to live in his product for a week (cretin). While the rooms are authentic, they do not deliver luxury, they deliver authenticity with comfort. Last I checked, this was the LUXURY Collection, not the Authenticity with Comfort Collection.
- A/C was not turned on when we arrived, this is basic, anyone who says to contrary or that it is so so that guest may choose at their leisure, is full of it. If the guest doesn't like the room being cold then they can open all the windows and it will be hot in two seconds, but to cool these cavernous 25 foot ceiling rooms, with windows and doors with NO insulating properties is very difficult, the 2 foot thick walls make no difference if you have gaping holes in them!
- the fans are set to updraft since hot air rises and there are high ceilings for that purpose, but when the small A/C unit is 25 feet up, it struggles to deliver air down. Reverse the flow of the fans.
- the doors are like sieves, just about any insect can pass through and any small mammal. For example, a 4 inch tarantula I killed in the middle of the night, and several large millipedes running around above your head as you sleep, with thuds in the night as they lose their grip (thankfully not on our heads). While I appreciate that keeping all critters out is impossible, some basic weather stripping, insulation, and sealing would be well warranted, FIRST (memo to the foolhardy architect) because we are no longer in the 19th century and SECOND because it is oh so in vogue to be "green" and provide better insulation while retaining the charm of years gone by.
- fix the potholes on the incoming driveway
- have more explanations of the property around the property, not just on some sheet given to the guest on arrival. I learned more about sisal production and haciendas in the Yucatan from a shop owner in Merida than I did while at the hacienda.
- having managed many items and restaurants previously, there is a lack of consistent direction at this property. The level is good overall, but the detail is lacking. For example, we have a small plunge pool in the junior suite back porch with an outside chair with cushion. Both were filthy and not ready for use, we were politely, but still unceremoniously told that these could be made ready for use if we so desired. But In fact they should just be ready, even if only for the guest to look at. Otherwise, next year's capital plan, just have them all removed. We had no desire to use them after we saw how they looked. Perception is half of everything. Also, some bulb was burnt out on our front porch on arrival and for first dinner. We are the only arriving guest, who did the pre-arrival inspection? It was replaced thanks to restaurant staff noticing. housekeeping, first line of defense, final line of defense is not the restaurant staff, it SHOULD be MOD or GM or RM ensuring that the SOLE concern they have at such a small property is that everything is set for the arriving guest. This property needs reports the opposite of this one, it needs occupancy up even in the low season, that's "found" money. Low season is not time to be down on your game, this review posts just as a new flock of guests considers their high season arrival.
- I'm a platinum SPG, I generally (but not completely) accept the reason why I was not given a better upgrade at an empty property (less bugs in the junior suites apparently), but regardless I did not feel special in any way. I was Diamond VIP with Hilton for many years while I was Platinum with SPG as well, I chose SPG as my lone horse for the one and only fact that they have small properties like this across the world and Hilton does not. Again, I forgive the "jungle" aspects of my stay, that is a matter of preference, but the other elements of the stay were generally unacceptable. As a Hotelier, I appreciated when my guests delivered the information to me in person while still on property so that I could remedy the issue, but sometimes when the list is so basic and yet comprehensive, you don't want to sit there and tell someone how to do their job on vacation, just want to move on and make the most of your vacation somewhere else where you can actually enjoy yourself. Also, management with good English should contact the guest on arrival. A well meaning and sweet Spanish speaking desk agent is not enough, particularly when, even with the best training in the world she cannot be truly in tune with the guest since she has simply never ever experienced the lifestyle of that guest. It is why we have sophisticated, cosmopolitan hoteliers plying the world's best secluded hotels, so that they can provide guidance to the indigenous staff who has no frame of reference.
- there is noting, really toning of interest that is convenient to this property, you need to drive a good 45 minutes to find anything. If that's the case, then stay in merida where there are things to do there and you still have to drive 45 minutes to see the same other things.

All in all, this is a great property but it is overrun by nocturnal insects, more could be done in guest rooms, both from a physical standpoint (sealing) and a preventive standpoint (second line of defense such as sticky tape, spraying outside every night, etc.). I regret that I have to post such a scolding review for what has clearly been a positive experience for many others (just don't wake up in the night, that's when the tarantulas are in your room), but it is my experience and I write many many reviews and this is what I have to say . . .

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Manny S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
roberto o, Manager at Hacienda San Jose, a Luxury Collection Hotel, responded to this review, October 25, 2012
Greetings from Yucatan,

Thank you Mr. Manny S. for choosing to spend your most special of occasions with us. I'm so pleased and we appreciate you taking the time to write such a detailed review. I will be sure to pass along your kind remarks to rest of our staff .

In regard to your comments about your dining experiences, thank you the feedback which I will share with our Food & Beverage team and the Chefs. I apologise for the shortcomings you experienced in this area and rest of the Hacienda locations and I assured I will address the concerns you ´ve mentioned to us.Thanks again for bringing that to my attention.

We truly appreciate your recommendation of our lovely Hacienda, and I look forward to personally welcoming you back soon.

Sincerely yours,

Roberto Otalora - Operations Manager.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviewed August 25, 2012

The Hacienda is not easy to find, and you should not trust Goggle map to get there.... you will end up in the wrong village. The Hacienda is far from any kind of activity, but that's the main reason we loved it. It is Beautiful, peaceful and the staff is adorable.

Food was good, maybe not excellent though.
I would not come her just for the SPA treatment (quite average) but the surrounding / the buildings are just breathtaking.
Be aware you are in the jungle .... with the buggs that belong there.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ParisSuperbob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Copenhagen, Denmark
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed July 23, 2012

We stayed one night at the Hacienda. With this being a luxury hotel with rates starting from 330 USD without tax there were several things that was unacceptable:

- The restaurant was over prized, it had an uninspiring menu and plain flavor. Not the authentic Mexican Hacienda style I was expecting and I would get bored eating there for several days.
- Drinks were insanely over prized as they charged us 250 pesos for a shot of tequila and 160 pesos for a jug of juice.
- The staff were nice but it seemed fake as if they were only putting up appearances
- The waiter in the restaurant tried to trick me into making a double tip when paying the bill!
- The water in the shower was only luke warm
- The jacuzzi in the pool was out of order
- Taxi service showed up 40 minutes delayed

There is no doubt about this is a beautiful location far away from everything with a beautiful garden and a nice pool area. Our room was beautiful, with a high ceiling, an amazing bed and our own plunge pool which the staff prepared with hot water and candles after our dinner. But with the things pointed out above I would not come back.

Room Tip: The junior suite with a king size bed and plunge pool
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank klitgaardj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed July 16, 2012

And I mean it's a destiny on its own because it's not located near anything; from the Hacienda to Merida, it's something like 45 minutes. To the haciendas at the south of Merida, 1h 10 minutes. To Chichen Itza, close to 1h 30 minutes. So if you plan to visit a lot Merida, this is probably not your place.

A tip; don't trust Google Maps on the location of the hotel; it is not in the middle of Tixkokob, but midway between Cacalchen and Euan.

This said, this is a hotel to relax on and enjoy yourself. The service has always a smile on their faces, and always go the extra mile. Every small issue we had during our stay was solved quickly and effectively. Compared to Hacienda Temozon (that we visited), we liked a lot more Hacienda San Jose; much more intimate, less hotel-like than Temozon.

It's expensive, yes. Probably very expensive. But if you want to spoil yourself, you will not find a better place to do so than Hacienda San Jose.

Room Tip: We had a Jr Suite for three nights; room was very comfortable, with a big private terrace including...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank redderzooming
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Munich, Germany
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed July 15, 2012

Hacienda San Jose is a very private and peaceful place. From the moment you're driving along the long road surrounded by trees to get kindly welcomed at the reception area with a refreshing drink, you totally calm down. Very nice grounds and rooms, which are decorated lovingly with flowers. We really enjoyed the private bath tub on our patin and the hammock. The staff is also very helpful and nice, the food is pretty good, and the best thing: you always have the feeling that you're the only guest in the entire hacienda! Housekeeping is excellent as well, they came several times a day to check if everything was perfect. The pool is absolutely stunning, especially because of those hammocks over the water. We will definitely come back!

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank WorldTraveller F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed June 18, 2012

We actually traveled in November 2010 for a late honeymoon staying in Playa del Carmen ,Al Cielo, Tullum & the 2 haciendas. We Stayed 3 nights before driving on to Hacienda Santa Rosa & meant to write a review earlier. I would agree with all the beautiful coments from other reviewers. We were staying using starwood points & cash which made the stay particularly good value but after 5 nights were were a little bored with similar food at both places and the rather pricy wine. Having drunk a good bottle of white Mexican chardonay wine at Zebra in Tullum its a bit disapointing to see it at double the price here. But as long as you are prepared for the price or drink beer it doesnt detract from a truelly memorable expierence

Do Drive or take a car to Izmal good fun to walk around & we took a horse drawn buggy stayed for dinner one night at a place near the pyramid you can climb cant remember its name Mojitos 30% of the cost of the hotel so that is 3 for the price of one and they were just as good and you get the flavour of a more local place in town.

In all I would recomend anyone to come here it was a refreshing change from the over exploited coast & a fantastic project from the mexican architect who developed these hotels.

I loved the room big walk in shower hot tube after dinner with candels all around absolutely fabulous place liked the shampoo & tolietries which are in a ceramic pot need to be a bit carefull not to drop them but so much better that mean little plastic bottles . Apparently Starwood asked the manager to do away with them to make more margin . What is so great about the haciendas is that you don't feel you are in a sheraton etc.

Driving Tips
I drove from Tullum to san Jose in about 3 hours I found it no problem but then i still use a map (not gps!) Buy a map in adavnce if you intend to drive . and there are signs off the toll road . Very easy to drive in this part of mexico if you are worried very little traffic on the toll road & just watch out for sleeping policeman in every village. Got stopped and searched by Police once at a road block including looking in our luggage (so dont carry drugs from Tullum!) but as my wife is Russian she just repeated the comunist Cuban slogan they learnt at school which got them laughing and they realised we were not going tp paying anything.
Oh yes had one bad expierence at one petrol station comon scam gave them a note & they say you gave them less. I just took out my note from his other pocket he didnt complain.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank hkajax
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hacienda San Jose, a Luxury Collection Hotel

Property: Hacienda San Jose, a Luxury Collection Hotel
Address: Km 30 Carretera Tixkokob-Tekanto, Tixkokob 97470, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Yucatan > Tixkokob
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Tixkokob
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Hacienda San Jose, a Luxury Collection Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hacienda San Jose is an emblematic building erected in the 18th century that, even after undergoing restoration, preserves the pastel blues of its facade, its decoration, and the murals in the chapel. Located just a 45 minute drive from Mérida’s International Airport, this place is perfect as a starting off point to visit other sceneries such as the Balancanche caves, Izamal or the mythical Pyramids of Chichén Itzá. Lavender blue colors are all around the corners of Hacienda San Jose. Its 15 rooms and suites, spread around a colonial patio with captivating ambience, will take you back in time to the past but with the amenities of this century. The former vegetables garden of the old residence is currently a site for a fantastic pool and Jacuzzi that, along with the surrounding Mayan palapas, present guests with a unique life experience. ... more   less 
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Hacienda San Jose, a Luxury Collection Hotel Yucatan, Mexico - Tixkokob

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