Having stayed in our share of small Mexican hotels that are trying to copy the larger chains, usually with limited success, we had been regarding the newly-opened Ibis Hotel with a bit of a raised eyebrow. An overnight in “the big city” is not uncommon for us; we book a hotel room at the drop of a hat. Whether it is for an early-morning flight, or to allow ourselves to become falling-down drunk on tacos al pastor, a night in Merida happens more than you’d think.
Because of this, we’ve become pretty snooty. Our real lives are filled with enough frustrating details, and we won’t accept that in an expensive hotel room. That unwillingness to accept quirkiness has limited us to the “big three” in Merida: The Hyatt, the Fiesta Americana, and the Intercontinental. They’re all around $100-150 a night, depending on the time of year, and their sterility can be a blessing after you’ve, say, been sweeping crabs out of the kitchen or watching your house get hit by ocean foam.
Unfortunately, the Hyatt is bland, the staff at the Fiesta aren’t very good, and the Intercontinental lately doesn’t seem able to keep floors one and two from smelling like the inside of a septic tank. And, of course, $150 a night (post-tax and everything) is nothing to sneeze at. We had been looking for a new place to lay our heads in Merida, and we found it in the Hotel Ibis.
We were convinced to try the Hotel Ibis after reviewing their website, where we learned that the chain actually has 800 location worldwide. Their price also can’t be beat: our room cost 500 pesos, or around 38 bucks. After not having running water at the house for 48 hours, we decided to try it, figuring that even if it were awful and we didn’t stay the night, a hot shower would still be worth at least that much.
The hotel, located on the road that leads from behind the Fiesta Americana to the Monumento a la Bandera glorieta (the “Fakey Ruin” glorieta), has all the sheen of new construction still on it. The sleek, 120-room hotel boasts ample, secure parking, manicured lawns, and is close to all amenities. The lobby, which features a restaurant and breakfast buffet, looks like a Cafe Metro: there is that modern vibe that is created when you use cheap furniture with clean lines. The restaurant features pastas, pizza, and a 68 peso breakfast buffet.
The staff at the counter was courteous, and speaks English. Check-in was a breeze, and we were on our way to our room in no time.
The first thing you notice about the rooms is that they are absolutely tiny, with room, it seems for only a bed. But then, you realize that the room isn’t lacking in a single amenity, due to some very carefully though-out design. There is a closet, a desk, a cushioned bench, a television, two nightstands, and tons of lighting, not freestanding as in a normal room, but built into the room itself. The smallness of the room isn’t an issue, because the design is so smart, that you are never missing anything. The bathrooms are a little roomier, but still very spare and modern. Everything is spotlessly clean.
The overall feeling of the room is that you are staying in one of IKEA’s in-store fake bedrooms. Everything is beech-colored laminated pressboard, and very smooth. We also felt like it would be the way bedrooms would be on an airplane, if such a thing existed, or on a ship. The bed was comfortable, and there was no noise from the street.
What We Liked:
- Spotlessly clean room and public areas
- Genius room design means you can be comfortable in a space so small that you can almost spread out your arms and touch the walls on either side of you
- Nice showers, with ceiling-mounted fixtures
- Free internet with no pesky access codes
- The price!
What We Disliked:
- Dopey card-key access on the parking lot gates. They don’t make the parking lot more secure, they just make it hard to get in and out of.
- The wall-mounted soap dispenser in the bathroom. But when economy is key, we’ll take smart cost-saving measures like these.
We slept soundly, and, at $38 bucks, wouldn’t hesitate to stay at the Hotel Ibis again. Look, this isn’t a place to unwind in the bathtub (there isn’t one), sip a cold drink (there’s no ice) and browse the room service menu (Hungry? Walk downstairs). There is, however, no better cost-to-value proposition anywhere in the city. What you get, for what you pay, can’t be matched.