Once a sprawling plantation for the production and manufacture of henequen (an agave fiber used for twine) that peaked in the early to mid 1800s, Hacienda Petac is today a luxury, all-inclusive retreat on the outskirts of Merida, Mexico. With its top-notch service from two dozen year-round employees; gorgeous and colorful grounds that honor the estate’s history; sublime cuisine featuring Yucatan specialties; and plenty of on-site options for relaxation and entertainment, a stay at Hacienda Petac is ideal for a family reunion, multi-couple trip, or a big ol’ girlfriend getaway.
While I enjoyed just a taste of the offerings at this luxury villa vacation destination on a three-night visit with some gal pals, the entire hacienda is generally rented to your exclusive group — up to 14 people at a time in seven bedrooms — for a full week amid lush, tropical surroundings. Here are the highlights:
The Grounds at Hacienda Petac
After purchasing the 250-acre estate in 2000, Hacienda Petac’s current owners set out to restore the crumbling buildings to their former splendor. Their painstaking work paid off (when you visit, be sure to look at the album of before/after photos on-site manager Colleen will be happy to share). Original 200-year-old wooden window frames, a former factory chimney turned water feature, and a swimming pool where the old well once sat, all pay homage to the hacienda’s rich history. Buildings feature Moorish arches, brightly colored exteriors, and even wooden pegs where hammocks for the plantation workers’ siestas were strung. The buildings that are currently in use today — which include Casa Principal housing the main dining room, kitchen, bar area and multiple terraces, plus the game room, spa/fitness center, and all of the freestanding casas with charming bedrooms — are surrounded by lush vegetation and the most magnificent orange-leaved flamboyan trees.
Accommodations at Hacienda Petac
Seven bedrooms in four different casas on the property accommodate 14 people total, and each bedroom has its own bathroom, distinct decor and enchanting features. Casa Ramon has two master suites (one with two queen beds and one with a king) connected by a large living area with big-screen television (the only lodging option with a TV) and comfy couches, as well as a humongous terrace. I think this space is great for a family with children, and the communal area also serves as a fabulous meeting place for your entire 14-person group.
I stayed in the Pitaya bedroom in Casa del Mayordomo, which formerly housed the henequen factory manager. I could enter from either of two majestic sets of doors, each leading to a shared terrace: I could take my morning coffee (delivered on request) while seated on a rocking chair facing lush gardens or the orange-leaf-covered gravel entrance to the property. No matter in which room you lay your head for the night, you’ll enjoy air conditioning, which was certainly welcome during our hot and humid June stay. Another nice lodging perk: included daily laundry!
Meals at Hacienda Petac
All of your meals are included during your stay at Hacienda Petac, and they are, in one word, outstanding. We started our days with hearty breakfasts featuring dishes like chilaquiles and huevos rancheros, plus multi-grain toast, a variety of fruit, and granola and yogurt. Lunches and dinners included delicious tortilla soups or fresh salads, followed by traditional Yucatan favorites, such as poc chuc (a grilled pork dish). I could not get enough of the homemade guacamole (the best I’ve ever tasted) and deep fried corn chips we often enjoyed at happy hour. Flan, fruity sorbet and other tasty treats marked dessert. Do not plan to diet at Hacienda Petac; you don’t want to miss a single food offering! While non-alcoholic drinks are also included in your weekly stay, if you want to drink wine, beer or spirits, that will cost extra.
The gourmet cuisine was indeed a highlight of our stay at Hacienda Petac, and so were the most lovely place settings. So much care was taken to create a pretty place for dining, whether we were on the terrace, in the main dining room, or even seated in the small chapel. Gorgeous flower arrangements and colorful, creatively folded napkins made us smile each time we sat down for a meal.
Things to Do at Hacienda Petac
In my mind, Hacienda Petac is all about rest and relaxation: connecting with the friends and family you’ve gathered to meet at this extraordinary location in Mexico in a soothing setting. Kicking back by the pool; playing in a communal room stocked with board games, billiards and chess; and drinking coffee (or margaritas!) on your choice of multiple shady terraces rank high among my favorite “relax and chill” activities at Hacienda Petac.
But included in your stay — to add some diversity and entertainment to your week — are a city tour of Merida, an interactive on-site cooking class, and a delightful evening of music from Los Tres Yucatecos. For an additional fee, you can also have a yoga instructor come to the property, enjoy dance lessons, or take a guided bird walk. And I highly, highly recommend at least once service in the on-site spa; my deep-tissue massage in the intimate space was divine.
For the kids, the resort can plan activities such as pinata making, a simple cooking class (such as creating fruit-based popsicles), and a “junior archaeologist scavenger hunt,” where kids will follow a map to find ancient Maya treasures.
Truly, you can make your visit to Hacienda Petac as active or laid back as you like. But if you do want to explore more of the Yucatan Peninsula outside of the included city tour, I recommend a custom tour to swim in a cenote and climb a temple at Uxmal, an ancient Maya archeaological site. My group of travel-writing friends enjoyed a great day of adventure with Lawson’s Original Yucatan Excursions, and truly enjoyed the insight of our friendly guide, Ralf.
And if you’re looking for any other additions to or excursions during your stay at Hacienda Petac, don’t hesitate to ask amiable on-site manager Colleen, who’s been at the helm of directing the operations of the property since it opened. She’s a wealth of knowledge, and is always present to direct the staff to make your vacation at Hacienda Petac as smooth and as delightful as possible.
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I enjoyed a complimentary visit to Hacienda Petac for purposes of editorial review.