IF WALLS COULD TALK, THE STORIES LIVING INSIDE THESE RESTORED HISTORIC LANDMARKS WOULD BE PRICELESS
BY AMBER GIBSON
Just 40 minutes from Mérida, the capital of the Yucatán, Mexico, this jungle paradise was built upon ancient Mayan ruins. All 40 standalone casitas and villas are incredibly spacious, with private plunge pools, double showers, and coffee and pastries delivered each morning. Spa treatments begin with a spiritual smudging and yoga classes are held each morning beside the natural cenote, a sacred limestone sinkhole used for Mayan ceremonies.
After the Mayans but before its current incarnation as a wellness retreat, Chablé was a sprawling 19th century hacienda harvesting sisal, a species of agave known as green gold in the Yucatán, whose raw fibers were used to make rope that was exported to Europe and the United States. Many of the hacienda buildings still stand, like the reception area, the former residence of the owners of the sisal factory. Fallen trees from the property were repurposed into one-of-a-kind furniture pieces and thousands of hand-painted tiles, objects d’art, and decorative pillows were all made by local artisans.
Nearly all the produce you’ll eat on property comes from the resort’s own ka’anches, traditional raised Mayan gardens that guests are welcome to tour. Everything is made from scratch, from ice cream sweetened with honey harvested from stingless melipona bees to succulent slow-roasted cochinita pibil, a traditional pork dish cooked underground in true Mayan fashion. Vegetarians can enjoy cold-pressed juices and avocado toast served with a trio of house made salsas beside the pool. You can even learn to make chocolate by hand like the Mayans did, crushing cacao beans with a heavy stone metate. It’s hard work, but you’ll savor each bite that much more knowing you made it yourself.
Rates start at $1,650 for a casita king. Tablaje 642 San Antonio Chablé, 97816 Chocholá, Yucatán, Mexico, chablehotels.com/Yucatan
Located in the heart of Amsterdam’s museum district, the Conservatorium was originally designed by Dutch architect Daniel Knuttel as the Rijkspostspaarbank (National Savings Bank) and sparked the regeneration of the Museum Quarter at the end of the 19th century. It was then home to the Sweelinck Conservatory of Music for 25 years with modernized acoustic classrooms. When the conservatory outgrew its home in 2008, the building underwent a four-year restoration that preserved its Art Nouveau interiors, original terrazzo hallways, and elegant arched windows, while infusing modern technology and color into the light filled space.
Today the hotel comprises 129 guest rooms, including 46 generously sized suites designed by Milan-based designer Piero Lissoni. Rooftop suites are uniquely located in the towers of the historic building, offering breathtaking views over Amsterdam’s rooftops. The Conservatorium is also home to the city’s largest spa, the Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre, where Western and Eastern healing modalities are combined with treatments like Watsu massage, body wraps using Dutch seaweed and magnesium, and a private hammam steam room. The eclectic cuisine at the brasserie in the hotel’s central atrium has an equally global influence, with a menu ranging from cauliflower quinoa salads and panini caprese to sushi and Wagyu gyoza dumplings. In the spirit of the Conservatorium’s musical history, there are live music performances during the weekend in the lounge to accompany afternoon tea and evening cocktails.
Rates start at $632 for rooms and $864 for suites, including breakfast. Paulus Potterstraat 50, 1071 DB Amsterdam, conservatoriumhotel.com
This Art Deco gem was once the largest Coca Cola bottling facility in the world. Now it’s home to the 139-room Bottle works Hotel, the cornerstone of Indianapolis’ new Bottle works entertainment district, with hot yoga, duckpin bowling, and an eight-screen, European-style cinema. The building’s original terrazzo tile floors, millwork, and brass railings and doorways have all been carefully restored to 1930s splendor. The rotunda, with its spiral staircase and effervescent, soda-inspired ceiling detailing, is the perfect place to strike a pose for social media.
Hunt for historic artifacts, like the still-functioning 1930s icebox in one of the boardrooms. The old employee lounge has been converted into a glamorous lobby library and a pink-tiled restroom off the second floor landing previously belonged to the factory secretary. Splurge on the Pemberton Penthouse if you’re entertaining, complete with a billiards table, dry bar, and spacious veranda with outdoor seating.
Begin your day with breakfast in bed, perhaps a Gallery Pastry croissant with whipped goat cheese and honeycomb. At lunchtime, cross the promenade to the Garage Food Hall, where Coca-Cola trucks used to park. Today more than a dozen local chefs are serving everything from Venezuelan arepas to Peruvian pastas and Pakastani chapati. Shuffle from your room in a plush robe and slippers over to Woodhouse Spa and enjoy a massage or detoxifying seaweed wrap before relaxing in heated zero-gravity pink Himalayan salt loungers.
Rates start at $249 for a classic king and $2,000 for the Pemberton Penthouse. 850 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 100, PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE ADDISON GROUP Indianapolis, bottleworkshotel.com
HOTEL KANSAS CITY
Originally built as the Kansas City Club, a men’s social club connecting leaders in the city, Hotel Kansas City now unites local artists, creators, and entrepreneurs in a celebration of the city’s progressive spirit. The club denied access to its first woman applicant, Bertha Goodwin, and in her honor, there’s now a portrait of the fiery redhead in all 144 guestrooms by local artist Amy Abshier. The contemporary art game here is strong, including creative busts of former club members like Presidents Truman and Eisenhower.
The building’s Gothic Revival architecture has been preserved, with a graceful but gritty style reflecting the city itself. Tiling on 13th floor guestrooms are leftover from the five-lane swimming pool, and the stained glass murals in the two-story Tudor Ballroom are original. The club’s champagne bar is now home to the lobby cafe, where executive pastry chef Helen Jo Leach dishes out gooey butter coffee cake and mochi donuts to accompany locally roasted Messenger Coffee brew. Her husband Johnny Leach is the hotel’s executive chef, running the show at the Town Company next door. Expect polished Midwestern fare like stinging nettle ricotta dumplings and chile-smoked country pork chop with corn bread. Most dishes are kissed by fire or slow-roasted in the embers of the white oak burning hearth.
Hotel Kansas City is part of the Unbound Collection by Hyatt, and the property’s secret weapon is late-night basement bar Nighthawk, where music is the star. The DJ booth features Altec A5 speakers and an impressive vinyl record collection, and there’s a large stage for live performances. This is where Kansas City comes to play a game of pool, sip house made hard seltzer, and dance the night away.
Rates start at $200. 1228 Baltimore Ave, Kansas City, Missouri, hotelkc.com