State: Yucatan

Type of Hacienda: Sisal

Service: Hotel, restaurant, spa, banquets

Location: Xcanatún is very close to Merida, a mere ten kilometers to the northeast. To reach it, take the Merida-Progreso road, and turn right after 12.5 kilometers (level with the Non-Contaminating Industrial Park) onto a side road that leads to the village of Xcanatún. It is only 20 minutes from the beach at Progreso.

History: As happened with others of its time, Xcanatún functioned originally as a cattle and corn ranch before becoming a sisal hacienda. There is not much historical information about the property, but it appears to have been constructed by Manuel Zapata y Bolio, who was related by marriage to the Montejo’s, according to the present owners. Originally, the place was used for cattle and horse raising, specifically, they say, of mules. Building began during the 1820s, and at the time of the sisal industry it belonged to Manuel Zapata Martínez, son of the abovementioned, who at the same time as he converted the hacienda to sisal, supported the founding and development of Progreso as a gateway for sisal export, which had previously been concentrated in the port of Sisal. With the coming of the first railway line, which crossed hacienda lands in 1881, it became a strategic point on the commercial export route for the “green gold”. With the coming to Yucatán of agrarian reform, the lands of Xcanatún were handed over to the one-time wage laborers of the hacienda. With the fall in the world market for natural fibers the property was sold by the Zapata family to new owners. In time, desertion and the bad weather severely damaged the buildings, and in 1988 hurricane Gilbert finished off the serious deterioration of the site. The hacienda was acquired by Mr. Jorge Ruz Buenfil – son of the archaeologist Alberto Ruz Lhuillier, the discoverer of the Tomb at Palenque, Chiapas –, who bought the property in 1994 from María del Rosario Solís Marcín de Palomeque. Finally, the building opened its doors again in January 2000 as an exclusive luxury hotel with – at the time – 18 individually decorated suites.