Xcanatún “House of Stone”

   

 

This small, luxury hotel is operated by its owners, with personalized service and all the comforts of the modern world set in the surroundings of an old, Yucatan hacienda. Conveniently located only a few minutes from the center of Merida and close to the main points of interest, like the convention center, Mayan archaeological sites, colonial cities and the beach, as well as easy access from the cities of Cancun and Merida. The hacienda has facilities for groups and business meetings; pools and gardens for relaxing and spa services are available.

 

Hacienda Xcanatun through the centuries

 

This hacienda was built in the 18th century and operated as a farm and ranch, mainly in the cultivation of corn and the raising of horses and mules. The large haciendas of the period frequently represented the only job opportunity for hundreds of Mayans who lived around them. In Yucatan, a revolt began in the 1840's known as the Caste War and economic changes transformed the haciendas and their properties into large producers of henequen, an activity that required new buildings to house the machinery. During the world wars, there was increased international demand for strong twine and cordage made from the natural, tough sisal fibers, which made Yucatan the principal henequen producer in the world.

Thanks to this, the haciendas prospered for several decades. In 1956, the first Krupp brand "desfibradora" (the machine used to render henequen leaves into fiber) in Yucatan was inaugurated by the president of the Mexican Republic at Xcanatun.

The development of synthetic fibers during the second half of the 20th century and the new politics of Mexico, where land was redistributed, caused the decline of the haciendas in Yucatan. In the 1970's, Xcanatun turned into more of an occasional retreat for its owners than a productive villa. Before the arrival of the 1980's, the better part of the machinery had been dismantled and its old owners had stopped visiting the hacienda.

Xcanatun was abandoned for almost a decade and nature began to destroy the structures. In 1998, hurricane Gilbert gave a "coup de grace" to Xcanatun, leaving all of its buildings in ruins. In 1994, the Ruz-Baker family acquired what had been the Casa Principal, the machine room and parts of the corrals and fruit gardens, to transform them into a low- density, luxury tourist complex.

The Restoration

Many experts in Mayan and colonial architecture helped in the reconstruction effort and developed a plan to restore the existing buildings whenever possible or construct authentic new ones when the damage was too great.