The greatest city of the Itza Maya is a place of wonder and magic and at Mayaland, you'll feel its heartbeat. Mayaland was the first hotel built at Chichen Itza in 1923, and, with its superb location amidst the temples, the first within an ancient site in the world. In a way, it's as much a landmark as the pyramids that tower above it.
Mayaland is a creation of Old Yucatan, built and operated by its original owners and their descendents in a style reminiscent of the hacienda nobility of a century ago. Its air of genteel hospitality and old-fashioned charm is a legacy enhanced by the addition of every amenity. The grounds are alive with birdsong and butterflies, and all the exotic fruits and flowers of tropical Yucatan.
Over 100 acres of gardens surround the main house and its outlying Mayan bungalows, offering a choice of accommodations. The main building was designed by Sylvanus G. Morley, the head of the Carnegie expedition that rebuilt Chichen Itza in the 1920s. Its Hacienda-style main corridor offers views of the ancient Mayan Observatory. The Mayaland Hotel is an experience in itself; one that will enrich your stay at Chichen Itza.
The hotel has pools, several bars, four restaurants, a convention hall, masseuse, gift shop and tennis courts. To facilitate getting about and enjoying Mayaland's spectacular gardens, the grounds are laced with a collection of interconnected paths. Three kilometers of trails for walking, jogging, cycling and horseback riding are available as well. Golf cart service is available for those who prefer to ride. Added attractions are the ancient Mayan sites that dot the grounds: four buildings are currently being excavated and restored. The hotel is proud to offer its own entrance to the archaeological site.
Guests may choose to stay in the main house with breathtaking views of the Mayan temples or in one of the Mayan bungalows located amidst tropical flowering trees.
The main house is beautifully proportioned and is embellished with the trappings of a bygone era. The staircase sweeps from an open mezzanine down into an entrance hall filled with antiques, polished tile potted plants and sunlight. The 55 rooms and five suites in the main house have garden views along with the Observatory of Chichen Itza to the west. The spacious air-conditioned rooms come with ceiling fans, satellite TV, mini bars, bathrooms hand-tiled in ceramic, marble and stone tubs, and breezy private balconies. Suites offer Jacuzzis.
In addition, individual, dual and three-unit villas are nestled among the trees and flowers of the beautifully landscaped hotel. Hand-carved mahogany woodwork and delicate stained glass compete for attention with the many exotic birds and butterflies that are perennial resident guests in the gardens. The villas all have large shaded terraces and verandas, a perfect place for relaxing after a day among the Mayan temples.
Mayaland's three restaurants and the poolside grill aim for variety and authenticity with successful results on both counts. Options include international cuisine as well as the best of both Mexico and the Yucatan.
Regional Yucatecan cooking is a world apart from the tacos and the re-fried beans one generally associates with Mexico. The Yucatecans take pride in being different, and so they are. Their cuisine depends heavily on turkey and pork, rare spices, Mayan cooking techniques and a quirky love of peas and olives. The kitchen takes its fruits and herbs and many of its vegetables straight from the garden; it's no wonder the results are so delightful. Service is low-key and efficient in dining rooms whose ambiance ranges from informal to refined. School children perform regional folk dances at lunch, and in the evening, guitar-strumming minstrels fill the air with the music of Yucatan's favorite composers.