Yucatán is enjoying an extraordinary period of growth and investment—among the latest news is a recent alliance between the huge Singapore-based hospitality investor, Banyan Tree Holdings, and the exquisite Hacienda Xcanatún, a centuries-old henequen plantation-turned-boutique-hotel owned, restored, and run by Christine Baker and her husband, Jorge Ruz.
A member of several luxury groups including Tesoros de México and Virtuoso, to name a few, and home to the award-winning Casa de Piedra restaurant, Xcanatún opened in the year 2000 with 18 rooms and suites and renowned white-glove service. It is located about 20 minutes from the “White City” of Mérida and its wide, leafy streets and European flair.
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The investment by Banyan spread out of a period of five years, will bring the current total of accommodations to 50 rooms and suites and will remodel the public areas under the concept of their Angsana brand. Subsequent phases are planned to include additional hotel rooms and full-service private residences.
Those who have visited Hacienda Xcanatún and experienced its handmade hospitality will be happy to know the investment will only serve to enhance what’s already there. The husband and wife team had already been considering their next steps in their journey, taking into account Yucatán’s growth and advancement.
When an opportunity arose to meet with Banyan through a mutual friend (and prior guest at Xcanatún), Baker did her homework. “When I read about KP (Ho Kwon Ping, Executive Chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings) and the whole Banyan story, I was blown away,” said Baker. “It was right up our alley. Especially one of KP’s quotes where he said all his hotels/resorts had to give the visitor a “sense of place,” which is our philosophy.”
She says serendipity played a part, but there’s no doubt Xcanatún itself won the Singapore group over. After they arrived, “the first thing they said was that the Hacienda had to be the heart and soul of the new expansion project—to the degree that our name will be Hacienda Xcanatún by Angsana.”
“We were just at Mayakoba […] for the 25th-anniversary celebration of Banyan Tree, and it turns out it is also 25 years since Jorge and I bought Xcanatún. Very auspicious, as KP said!”
By incorporating the Banyan Tree Group as the operator of the Hacienda under the Angsana brand, the hotel guarantees its continued progress within the top international hotel industry standards, a very positive trend for both the city of Mérida and the state of Yucatán as a whole. Of note: the majority of the capital invested in renovating and expanding the Hacienda comes from a group of local Yucatecan investors who are committed to the development of their state and its tourism industry.
Since the launch of its first resort, the Banyan Tree Phuket in 1994, the Banyan Tree Group has received nearly 2,400 accolades and awards for its outstanding resorts, hotels, and spas, among them ample recognition for its commitment to environmental protection and its emphasis on corporate social responsibility.