Hacienda San Jose, Yucatan [Master Thread]

Old Jul 15, 03, 10:11 pm
  #1  
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Arrow Hacienda San Jose, Yucatan [Master Thread]

I scoured the web, including FlyerTalk, for information on the Haciendas before booking 4 nights for my recent honeymoon. There wasn't a lot of good information. I just got back and would like to report on my experience.

In a nutshell, it was fantastic. Everything met or exceeded my expectations, and I will look forward one day to exploring the other Haciendas. Here are the details:

SERVICE
I had high expectations, and they exceeded them. Some examples... Every day, they asked where we were going and packed us cold drinks (H20, beer, whatever we wanted) in a cooler with ice, sandwiches, a basket of towels, bug spray, umbrellas, etc. All this was automatically loaded into my trunk every morning. Amazingly, there were NO extra charges for any of this (a recurring theme of reasonable billing practices - also, for example, no charge for high-speed internet access in the office). Twice, without our asking, they set special tables in separate locations of the hacienda for private dinners, and they took great pains to make the experiences as romantic as possible (tons of candles, flower petals on the tablecloth, etc). On our last day, the manager noted my wife itching a bug bite and gave her a whole tube of bug-itch stuff. The manager and head chef met us at just about every meal for custom entres, itinerary suggestions, etc. Fresh flowers every day in the room, and a different turndown treatment of the bed every night (flowers arranged in a heart, a Chitzen-Itza candle the day we visited the ruins, etc). Everybody made a great effort to learn our names and make us feel special in every way possible. Just couldn't possibly ask for anything more.

PLATINUM TREATMENT
I booked the only "superior" room in the Hacienda (the cheapest room) with a 4th night free breakfast included package. I was upgraded to one of the 4 "Mayan Villas" - the best room there except for one super-suite that was occupied when I arrived. I noticed at reception the roster of guests. By my name was "SPG Platinum/Honeymoon - upgrade to best available room". Occupancy was very low when I was there (I think non-platinums were getting upgraded as well), so results may differ at peak periods.

FOOD
I was really nervous about the food there, primarily the potential for a lot of very expensive meals given the remote location and our lack of other options. However, the food was all very reasonably priced ($5-$8 for appetizers, $8-$14 for entres with most options at the lower end of the range). Based on some of things I have read about other remote Luxury Collection properties, I thought this was VERY reasonable. On top of that, the food was GREAT...without doubt the best value for money food we ate during our 7 nights in Mexico.

FACILITIES
The pictures on the SPG web site just don't do the place justice. Better pictures at http://www.differentworld.com/mexico/hotels/hacienda_san_jose/pages/entrance.htm , but they still don't give you the true feel for the place. Hard to desribe the effect of the mix of crumbling old hacienda with ultra-luxurious, modern amenities. It is just a tranquil, peaceful place. Beautiful pool, amazing rooms (Mayan Villa reminded me of some of the ultra-luxury Conservation Corp. lodges in Africa), and a beautifully appointed and situated restaurant and bar.

ACTIVITIES
Lots to see and do in the area...it was very easy for us to stay busy for a 4 night stay. The manager was very helpful in helping us with daily itineraries, maps, etc. I could have used a couple more just to relax and enjoy the pool.

GETTING THERE
The hacienda is sort of an adventure to get to (directions provided by the hacienda are to go to town X, look for the road to town Y, then find the road to town Z). For us, that was part of the charm. It is remote, and a lot of the street signs in the towns you pass through to get there were blown down in a storm a few years ago. It really isn't hard to get to, but our first time there we had to ask directions a couple times. Some packages do include transportation to/fron other haciendas or the Merida airport, but without your own car, your activity options will be limited.

That's it. I really can't emphasize enough how happy we were with our visit. The place is just designed and run the way a luxury hotel should be run. Perhaps our best hotel experience ever, in fact.

[Edited to fix URL]

[This message has been edited by LAFlyer (edited 07-15-2003).]
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Old Mar 1, 05, 7:15 pm
  #2  
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I posted a detailed review of my Hacienda San Jose visit a couple years ago (I know search is disabled). I loved the place.

As for the specific questions of food and weather. We visited in August. It was hot, but tolerable. We got a platinum upgrade to one of the Mayan Villas at the Hacienda, which had AC in the bedroom that made sleeping more comfortable. We were very impressed by the food - both quality and varieity. We were also blown away by the affordability of the food. Prices were very reasonable considering they pretty much have you locked in.

Service is what makes this place special. The staff would pack picnic lunchs (with CERVEZA), towels, umbrellas, etc into our car for us. We had romantic candle-lit dinners by ourselves in the courtyard (be nice to the wait-staff - they did this by themselves).

My one recommendation for an activity you might miss is the cenotes. There are some cenotes listed in every tourist book, but we went to some that required riding on a donkey-led cart that ran on train tracks. These tracks were used by the working haciendas in times past. Very cool experience. The manager at the hacienda can guide you there.

These are relaxing, quiet, and rejuvenating places to hang out. You will need to rent a car, and you will need to be a little adventurous to find your way around (and also to avoid stepping on bugs and scorpions). Bring a swim suit and some good books.

I found the best info on the haciendas through a non-SPG website that specializes in cool Mexian hotels. Links to the individual haciendas are as follows. Note there are LOTS of links to follow about each hacienda. Follow the links for maps of the hotel rooms, suggested excursions, etc.


http://www.differentworld-mexico.com...s/entrance.htm

http://www.differentworld-mexico.com...s/entrance.htm

http://www.differentworld-mexico.com...s/entrance.htm

http://www.differentworld-mexico.com...s/entrance.htm

http://www.differentworld.com/mexico...uerta_campeche

Here are some suggested “hacienda hopping” itineraries to give you an idea what you can do with either 5 or 7 nights in the Yucatan. These don’t cover either of the haciendas (Uayamon or Puerta Campeche) that are a bit further south.

http://www.differentworld.com/mexico...ht_package.htm

http://www.differentworld.com/mexico..._package_B.htm

http://www.differentworld.com/mexico...ht_package.htm
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Old Dec 22, 06, 12:01 pm
  #3  
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Exclamation Directions to Hacienda San Jose

I would call the Hacienda to get as precise directions as possible to the San Jose. Getting through the town (Tixkokob, I think) before you get to the Hacienda was [I]very[I] confusing, as the directions said to stay on such and such road, but there were no signs in town stating which way the road turned around the main square. We must've gone through the town at least 3 times before we stopped to ask someone. (Stupid pride!)
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Old Apr 26, 08, 12:31 am
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Staying at the Hacienda San Jose right now. Great property worthy of LC brand. You can definitely have dinner in Merida and stay at this location. It's only 45 minutes to an hour from central Merida. I would take the drive from the hacienda to Merida before sunsets so you know how to get back. You definitely don't want to drive to the Hacienda San Jose for the first time from Merida at night since the roads are small.

They seem to treat Platinums well since we were upgraded to the "Presidental" suite on the property (room 1). It's larger than three standard rooms put together and includes a terrace and a private outdoor swimming pool.
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Old Jun 19, 09, 10:48 am
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San Jose

Mrs. G and I just spent a couple of nights at San Jose almost a year to the date after our first hacienda trip (Campeche and Santa Rosa). This year was a two night add-on to a week in Cancun. We drove on the cuota (toll road) and it was probably about 3 hours each way. The drive was easy and painless. We hit Chichen Itza on the way in and picked up a great chicken lunch at a local hangout in the town of Piste.

I’ll preface this by saying that our expectations were pretty high after last year’s stays, especially since I’ve since moved up from Gold to Platinum. Our experience at San Jose was very nice, but I think it lacked the special feeling we got from Campeche and Santa Rosa last year. That could be because of our inflated expectations or because the novelty of the first time makes it more special.

Check-in was smooth, but unenthusiastic. We were upgraded from a standard room (used my Plat gift for one night and a promo free night for the other) to a junior suite. I inquired about a better upgrade and was told that the Mayan Villas were being renovated since this was their low season. They didn’t mention the presidential suite, which was showing availability online, but they put some other guests in their later that day. No platinum amenity was offered at that time and my Spanish, while passable at times, isn’t that good so I didn’t push it.

The room (#103) was cute with 20 foot ceilings, timber framed ceilings, wood furniture, and a nice sitting table in the middle. The bathroom was decent sized with all the usual hacienda accoutrements and a door that opened out to a small sitting area with an outdoor bathtub/plunge pool. The room was not as big as our suite at Santa Rosa, but the furnishings felt better suited for it and it felt like a more comfortable space, but our junior suite at Campeche is still our favorite of the hacienda rooms we’ve stayed in.

We ate two dinners and two breakfasts on site and all were excellent and reasonably priced. Breakfast entrees ran about $100-$140 MXN each and dinner entrees ranged from $180-$350 MXN, with most in the low to mid $200s. Our waiter at dinner, Alberto, exemplified what we loved about the haciendas the first time around. He was personable, caring, and willing to endure our attempts to conduct conversations in Spanish even though I think his English is pretty good. He always addressed us by name and also served as a bit of a concierge making recommendations for activities and restaurant recommendations. We had a couple of different waiters at breakfast, both of which were fine, but neither seemed to exude the enthusiasm or personality we had come to expect and enjoy.

We ran into the Resident Manager several times and he was very friendly and welcoming. He told us we could have our choice of a complimentary bottle of wine at dinner or a small gift from the shop as our Platinum amenity. After further investigation, the gift from the shop was a small sisal angel, which we already had from our last hacienda trip so we took the bottle of wine.

We took a day trip to Izamal and walked the city and ate lunch there, per Alberto’s recommendation. It was probably a 30-40 minute drive and reminded us a small version of Campeche with its colonial architecture and yellow buildings. The convent is beautiful and a local man gave us an impromptu tour of it. There are also some ruins in town. While they don’t compare to the magnificence of Chichen Itza or Uxmal (or we would have all heard of them), they provide an interesting perspective of the town. Izamal was definitely a worthwhile excursion for a few hours.

There were two other couples staying at San Jose our first night and three others our second night. It appeared that several rooms were getting some off season deep cleaning by the staff. We enjoyed our stay very much, but I think we both preferred Santa Rosa (and Campeche for that matter). The service at Santa Rosa was amazing across the board and everyone seemed like family welcoming you into their home (Mrs. G was even greeted with a fresh bouquet of flowers). The porch at Santa Rosa serves as a bit of a hub and since it houses the dining and office and is adjacent to the pool, it seems to lend itself to more interaction with the staff and that “family” feel. San Jose is more spread out, which makes for more quiet time, which I’m sure many prefer.

I’m happy to try to answer any questions. I think we’ll probably try Temozon in a couple of years…

Last edited by Sam P. Goodman; Jun 19, 09 at 11:30 am
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Old Jun 19, 09, 10:58 am
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Thanks, Sam, for taking the time to give us your impressions. Really appreciate your insights with these unique properties.
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Old Jan 20, 10, 8:20 pm
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Arrow Hacienda san jose, Yucatan [master thread]

It was first time in meixco for myself and my girlfriend and we spent 3 nights at this wonderful Hacienda San Jose resort.

First of all, the hotel wasn't easy to find, it was about 3.5 hours drive from the Cancun airport and we don't advise you to drive at night for a few reasons. There is a highway connects you from Cancun to about 2 hours away from the hotel but then everything turns into a local road with 2 ways traffic and it could get quite scary at night. We called and ask the hotel if they could pick us up at the cancun airport and they said for $450 USD, yes.

On the way to the hotel, you must pass through a few local towns and we spent so much time trying to follow the GPS (and we were lucky that we got one, please be sure to have a map and a GPS handy), and the difficult moments come when we pass through the city center and get lost there, directing us to various different towns by 1 street sign and the signs were not exactly visible especially, at night. Also, there were speed bumps everywhere in the city and we got hit a few times too.

The hotel is in the middle of nowhere, which means you must go through these towns and speed bumps every time you drive, and no matter where you drive to.

We check into our hotel at night and I didn't get a good glance of how it looks, but from the lighting, the hotel looks wonderful. We made a trip to the dining room at night and the restaurant has good vibe, we sat outdoor and enjoyed our meal by the fireplace, but the food was so-so.

We booked a Mayan Villa and got a deal at about USD400 a night (compare to 600+ a night) and the room was impressive for its location. The villa is as pictured on the hotel's website. It is modeled after the Mayan construction dating back hundreds years ago and it is really quiet and secluded. The hotel manager is nice and the staff was very helpful.

About the villa itself - the room is very spacious. It comes with this hanging bed (with fresh flower decor on your bed everyday), if you don't have motion sickness, it is definitely fun to try. There is this outdoor pool that we took full advantage of. You are bathing in the wood and the pool is huge, you could fit a family of 4 for sure. Watching the star at night or just listening to the sound of nature is one of the things that we enjoy a lot. The bathroom and the shower is connected by the corridor with water sink and a hallway. I needed to wake up to go to the bathroom and thought the walk was quite a bit, but it was manageable.

The villa is basically in a mini forest/ plantation and there are some buds. There were spiders on the shower floor, it wasn't a big deal but things happen. Likewise for the outdoor pool as well, there were bees, ants and other things, but it is as natural as it could be. If you completely completely can't stand bugs, you shouldn't go there already.

About the food - we ordered room service twice, both for breakfast and we got sick both times. I was told not to drink any unbottled water but still that doesn't help. I think we got some different degree of food poisoning but that wasn't that serious, we didn't go to the hospital.

About the staff -- i have to say the staff are friendly and they are trying to helpful with the hot water situation, killing the bugs, delivering the room service, speaking English and preparing meal and carrying your staff with their bikes.

The resort is really big for its size and the whole resorts have 11 rooms. The staff to guest ratio must be larger, and from a big city person like myself, I know they could do better. But if you really try to feel the village and think about being in the wood, in a fine, decent, clean, safe place - I would still recommend you this hotel even after all this driving and food poisoning. Afterall, you are in Mexico, somewhere in the middle of a few villages.
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Old Jan 20, 10, 9:23 pm
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Have a trip planned in March for this hotel. But will be flying into Merida International Airport. Think it's like a 35 minute drive....
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Old Jan 20, 10, 9:29 pm
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Yeah, driving from the Merida airport is definitely faster, but we were told that only Taxes and Mexico City have flights to Merida.

The drive should take about 45 mins from our experience, we drove to Merida twice and you will be passing through the various town as well.
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Old Mar 14, 10, 7:34 am
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I will be going to the Hacienda San Jose this summer, and would love to hear from anyone that has recently stayed there, and what kind of upgrades they got.
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Old May 17, 10, 10:41 pm
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Anyone have any new updates about Hacienda San Jose? I will be there next month, and would like any new info that could be had. Does anyone know which room types have the outdoor showers and bath?
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Old May 18, 10, 10:28 am
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San Jose is great. I went 4 years ago, hopefully Alberto is still the head waiter, he is terrific.

We looked at the Mayan huts, they are nice but far from the restaurant and the pool, requires some walking and some possible mud. We had a Jr Suite in the main area by the chapel, it was great.

Food is phenonimal, as is the service. Try the Pina Colada. In fact, one day by the pool, we asked if we could eat lunch up there and they carried a table and chairs up. They definitely went above and beyond!

What a great place.
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Old May 18, 10, 10:17 pm
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Originally Posted by 62asr View Post
San Jose is great. I went 4 years ago, hopefully Alberto is still the head waiter, he is terrific.

We looked at the Mayan huts, they are nice but far from the restaurant and the pool, requires some walking and some possible mud. We had a Jr Suite in the main area by the chapel, it was great.

Food is phenonimal, as is the service. Try the Pina Colada. In fact, one day by the pool, we asked if we could eat lunch up there and they carried a table and chairs up. They definitely went above and beyond!

What a great place.
Thank you for the update. I really am looking forward to this trip as are my kids.
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Old Jun 22, 10, 11:27 pm
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Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
Staying at the Hacienda San Jose right now. Great property worthy of LC brand. You can definitely have dinner in Merida and stay at this location. It's only 45 minutes to an hour from central Merida. I would take the drive from the hacienda to Merida before sunsets so you know how to get back. You definitely don't want to drive to the Hacienda San Jose for the first time from Merida at night since the roads are small.

They seem to treat Platinums well since we were upgraded to the "Presidental" suite on the property (room 1). It's larger than three standard rooms put together and includes a terrace and a private outdoor swimming pool.
I just got back from a stay at this property. They had given my double bed room to another guest, and offered me the Presidential Suite as a gesture of goodwill. Wow, what a room! Huge back porch, private pool, nice telescope to stargaze, and a massive 2 rooms(at least 1000 sq feet) and large bathroom.
If you do not like total isolation and seclusion, this is not the place for you. There were only 3 rooms out of 15 booked while I was there so we had everything to ourselves. You are so removed from the fast pace of civilization, that it might panic some folks. We built fires in a pit by the pool at night and cooked marshmallows. What other hotel can that be done at? Lots of frogs and spiders, with the occasional horsefly. Kinda like camping in total luxury.
Staff here are tremendous, with no request unfilled. Food was good, and service was prompt. I am now trying to find time to go back. This place is now on my and my kids favorites list.
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Old Aug 19, 10, 4:50 pm
  #15  
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We have a 9am flight out of Merida in December. I'm not sure what time daybreak is then. Is it practical to stay here the prior night, or would we be better off to turn in our rental car the prior day, stay in Merida, and go to the airport by taxi?
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