In a nutshell: The Hyatt Regency Merida offers excellent value whether your staying on a cash rate or on points. With friendly staff, comfortable rooms, and a nice breakfast spread, I got fantastic value during my three nights. The center of Mérida is a convenient taxi ride away, or a decent walk if you’re so inclined. There are also rental car agencies conveniently across the street if you are interested in taking a day trip from Merida, something I highly recommend. 

Booking the Hyatt Regency Merida

Mérida has been on my travel radar for a few years now, ever since I read an article in Hemispheres, the United in-flight magazine (which happens to be by far my favorite of the airline publications). The Yucatán sounded mesmerizing, with its Mayan ruins, cenotes, and vibrant local culture. When I decided to finally rebook something with the Aeromexico voucher I received from an unfortunate COVID-19 cancellation, Mérida was the first destination that came to mine.

Fortunately for me, the city boast a single Hyatt property, the Hyatt Regency Merida. It’s in award Category 1, requiring just 5,000 points per night. I booked three nights for just 15,000 points. Cash rates were only $70 per night, so this would have been an inexpensive stay even if it wasn’t on points.

Due to Hyatt promotions, I ended up earning 5,500 of my points back, which meant that I essentially spent just 9,500 points for the stay. I’ll happily take 2.2 cents per World of Hyatt point all day, every day.

Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

Arrival in the Yucatan

My first experience flying Aeromexico 737 business class was a fine one. I flew a one-stop itinerary through Mexico City, originating in San Francisco. Unfortunately, due to the flight timing changes, I had to overnight at MEX. I touched down around 10:00 AM the following morning. The trip would give me just about three days to enjoy the Yucatán.

A taxi from the airport cost me 200 pesos (~$10 USD). My driver was super friendly and gave me some advice about where to visit and where to eat in the city. I’ve been enjoying visiting Spanish-speaking countries, as it gives me a great opportunity to practice the language.

The Hyatt Regency Merida is located north of the city center, one block off the Paseo Montejo. It’s the tallest building around, and you can spot it walking along Calle 60 close to centro. Calle 60 will actually take you straight from the Hyatt all the way to Plaza Grande. Personally, I preferred walking Paseo de Montejo.

Hyatt Regency Merida exterior

The lobby of the Hyatt Regency Merida is fairly large and open, with comfortable seating in a sunken area across from the front desk. This area also operates as a bar in the evenings.

My room wasn’t quite ready when I arrived. I didn’t clarify with the desk when they said they’d upgraded me to the best room in the hotel. I figured this was a suite and was content to wait for about an hour, checking email and making sure nothing pressing had come up during my Monday morning of travel. Turns out this was just to the best club room in the hotel. Which was totally fine, but doesn’t quite live up to the published Globalist benefits.

I chilled in the biblioteca during the wait, off in one corner of the lobby. There is a small coffee shop to one side. I left my computer here on accident. More on that later.

The front desk staff I spoke with throughout the stay were all excellent. All spoke English, and only one was difficult for me to understand. I tried to show a preference for Spanish and our conversations were usually a mix of the two. One of my travel rules is to try to learn some of the local language before traveling. Spanish is the only language I’m truly conversational in, though.

Club King Room

A club king room at the Hyatt Regency Merida is quite nice, if not overly large. It was right in line with what I expect from the brand. Bed, desk, TV, couch, table. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. The minifridge in the room did not appear to be turned on.

Hyatt Regency Merida club king room

Hyatt Regency Merida club room desk

Hyatt Regency Merida club room welcome

The COVID-19 measures taken in the room consisted of providing a sanitizing wipe and hand sanitizer. Unlike some other hotels I’ve stayed at during the pandemic, things like the remote and cups were not wrapped in plastic. I’m not particular about this, but I definitely want to note it, as the pandemic is still ongoing. The other change was the need to call guest services if you wanted ice.

As has been typical of international Hyatt hotels, the Hyatt Regency Merida left me a handwritten note and welcome gift. In this case, it was a fruit bowl. Personal touches like this and service rescues when something goes awry are two of the reasons I’ve really come to love being a Hyatt Globalist.

Hyatt Regency Merida Globalist welcome

I’m glad I checked the closet. The front desk had my luggage brought to the room, and if I hadn’t looked inside, I likely would have left my jacket in Mexico. You don’t exactly need it in the Yucatán…

The club room bathroom is not all that large, but it has a reasonably sized sink and counter and a nice shower. The shower did have trouble getting up to a nice temperature my second morning, but not the other two. Not sure what was up with it that day. Took around 10 minutes to finally be comfortable.

Hyatt Regency Merida bathroom

Ah, the view. Now this is why I loved being on the 17th floor. The Yucatán sky was lovely at almost every moment during the trip. This is facing north from the the hotel toward the coast (although you can’t see it).

Hyatt Regency Merida view

Dining

The Hyatt Regency Merida offers breakfast dining in the Peregrina Bistro with dinner being served in Spasso, the upscale Italian hotel restaurant. There is also the Papillon Market just off the biblioteca, which offers coffee, pastries, and a small assortment of other things. You can also enjoy the lobby bar in the evenings. There is currently no sit-down lunch available during COVID-19. Normally, the Peregrina Bistro is open for lunch. But there are plenty of restaurants in Merida and hopefully you’re out enjoying your vacation during this time anyway.

As a Globalist, I was able to enjoy complimentary breakfast in the bistro each morning. I was in for a surprise the first day: the buffet was actually open! I think this is a first for me since March 2020. Items were typically still individually plated, but you could serve yourself most things. For the hot food, you had to ask one of the staff to make you a plate. 

Hyatt Regency Merida breakfast buffet

I liked the ambiance of the restaurant. The staff were also excellent, clearing dishes very quickly, making sure my cup of coffee was always full, and addressing me as Mr. Snyder every single time. Way above and beyond. I was impressed.

I tried a few different dishes at breakfast. The spread included eggs, sausage, beans, beef and vegetables, fried plantains, plus tons of cold options: pastries, fruit, yogurt, smoked salmon, cold cuts, cereal, fresh juice, and even some dessert options. There was also cochinita pibil, a Yucateco staple, which was quite good. I could probably eat an entire plate of just fried plantains, but I resisted the urge.

Hyatt Regency Merida breakfast

The breakfast buffet normally costs 200 pesos (~$10 USD), which is expensive for Mexico standards but really a great value if you’re a U.S. traveler. Mine was free, of course.

Regency Club…In The Lobby?

Due to COVID-19, the Regency Club is closed. However, until this reopens, you can enjoy the club benefits in the lobby bar from 5:00-8:00 PM every evening. The hotel offers drinks and light food.

Hyatt Regency Merida club closed COVID-19

Hyatt Regency Merida lobby bar

The food spread included an assortment of salads, cold cuts, empanadas, and a handful of other items plus dessert options. You can have a decent dinner with 4-5 plates.

I ate here twice during the stay, although the final evening I ended up heading out to have a real dinner as well. There was one dish left of my short list of Yucateco foods to try, and I didn’t want to miss it before leaving Mérida.

My drink the first night was a total mix-up. I asked (in Spanish) for a water and a red wine. What I got was rum mixed with sparkling water. I just let it go and didn’t try to order something else. If I’d have known that there was more than beer and wine available on the house, I would probably have gone with a real cocktail. 

Hyatt Regency Merida evening appetizers

Other Hotel Services and Facilities

There were two services that were invaluable for me during the stay. The first was the hotel’s own security. I forgot my laptop in the biblioteca after my initial wait for the room to be ready. It took me until the evening to realize that I’d forgotten it, and I started to panic. Fortunately, security had retrieved it, and after identifying it to the front desk, they brought it to me.

The second service that provide invaluable was the option to have an on-site COVID-19 test. The Hyatt Regency Merida does not conduct these themselves, but it’s super easy to request that one be scheduled. I scheduled one for my final morning. I used the quick antigen test for returning to the U.S. since it is far cheaper than the PCR test (900 pesos vs. 2,700 pesos). It is also much quicker. The results were provided by email within 3 hours or so. The hotel has a list of providers available, two of which make hotel calls. You can either have them come to your room or use a small conference room for the test.

The hotel pool is on the third floor and is an excellent place to relax after a day in the hot Mexico sun. For a hotel with as many rooms as the Hyatt Regency Merida, it isn’t all that large, though. There is a poolside bar that is open in the afternoons and evenings (far right in the overhead photo).

I swam during a midafternoon break during my second day. I’d spent the morning visiting a couple Mayan ruins and driving along the coast. It was a nice break before heading to centro for the evening.

Hyatt Regency Merida pool

The hotel fitness center is open 24/7.

The door out to the rooftop tennis courts was locked. These look like they’ve seen better days.

Hotel Neighborhood

I highly recommend walking from the Hyatt Regency Merida all the way to Plaza Grande at least once. It’s best around sunset, when nice and warm but without the sun. The tree-lined Paseo de Montejo is much nicer than Calle 60. You’ll also get to enjoy some lovely historic buildings, a couple of which are museums. I recommend taking most of an hour to enjoy the Quinta Montes Molina house. It’s right around the corner from the hotel.

If you can’t let your U.S. coffee go for a few days, there is also the bougiest-looking Starbucks I’ve seen just around the corner from the Hyatt Regency. You should head further down the street, though, and enjoy a cup from Marago Coffee instead.

Paseo de Montejo ends in a monument. Head west a block, and you’ll find Parque Santa Ana where you can enjoy a cheap bite to eat or agua fresca. Turn south again on Calle 60, and you’ll be to the central plaza in less 15 minutes.

Final Thoughts

You can’t go wrong with a Category 1 Hyatt property in terms of value. The Hyatt Regency Merida may not be the fanciest Hyatt Regency I’ve enjoyed, but it was a solid pick for my trip. The rooms are nice, the breakfast very good (yay buffet!), and the staff and service excellent. If you’re a Hyatt loyalist, it’s an no-brainer. The other major convenience was the rental car agencies right across the street. There is a lot to see outside Mérida, and this made it incredibly easy to rent a vehicle.

Merida selfie sign Paseo de Montejo