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Ser Casasandra

Holbox Island, Quintana Roo, Mexico

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PROPERTY FEATURES

The Premises 

On car-free, carefree Isla Holbox, just off the tip of the Yucatán Pensinsula, Ser Casasandra hotel is a retreat of bougainvillea-covered beach bungalows and hammocks strung between palm-trees. On this still-undiscovered paradise island, the waves are gentle, shoes are frowned upon and sunset cocktails are the only commitment of the day.

Ser Casasandra

Calle Igualdad, Lazaro Cardenas Holbox Island, Quintana Roo Mexico

Hotel Lobby

SMITH EXTRA

Compliments of the House 

Bottle of sparkling wine and a fruit plate on arrival

At the Hotel 

CHECK-OUT: Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Rates include daily American buffet breakfast, welcome cocktails, dawn yoga sessions (Wednesday to Sunday), crystal therapy lessons (Monday and Tuesday) and use of the glass kayaks (one hour a day).

FACILITIES

Art gallery, reading room, board games and free WiFi in common areas. In rooms: free bottled water, Nespresso coffee machine, herbal bath products.

PACKING TIPS

No need to bring extra shoes here. The locals pad around barefoot, and it usually takes less than an hour before guests opt to do the same. Bring an underwater camera to catch whale sharks and the brightly coloured fish that swim around the mangroves. There are only three ATMs on the island, and they frequently run out of pesos, so bring plenty of cash with you.

ECO-FRIENDLY

Please note that IHG Way of Clean and Clean Promise do not apply to Mr & Mrs Smith hotels. As part of our ongoing promise to ensure the safety of our members, the separate health & safety standards Mr & Mrs Smith have outlined for their hotels can be found at mrandmrssmith.com/safety.

SPA

Be transported by the glorious massages at the hotel's spa, Alma CasaSandra. Choose from a balancing massage with reflexology, classic massages ranging from the soothing to the knot-banishing varieties, hot stone massages and facials. Alternatively, have one in your room for ultimate indulgence.

POOL

The outdoor pool is shaded by palms and surrounded by sunloungers. The sea’s on the doorstep, too, and day-beds, palapas and loungers are available on the North Beach.

ALSO

Check the tidal forecasts before booking: occasional changes in currents send heaps of seaweed onto Ser Casasandra’s adjacent beach, which can make for iffy beach conditions (and fishy fragrances).
Simubi Spa offers reiki, massages and reflexology just off the beach. Keep an eye out for Bernardo, the friendly local raccoon who wanders the resort every so often to check up on things.

USEFUL INFORMATION

Please note that the hotel charges a mandatory $110 plus 15% service charge per person for any bookings made on 27 November (Thanksgiving dinner) and 24 December (Christmas Eve dinner). For bookings made on 31 December (New Year's Eve), the hotel charges an extra $145 and 15% service charge per person.

Rooms 

Suite 12 is especially private at the end of the resort, and has its own hammock for afternoon naps. It’s often called the Honeymoon Suite because of its secluded spot overlooking the ocean. Room 1 in the main house was owner Sandra’s bedroom before she converted the property. It has sweeping ocean views and a private twine-woven balcony. Take a look at your shower head: many are fashioned from conch shells that were collected along the beach.

Food & Drink 

Unforgettable Features 

The laid-back restaurant, which opens out to the beach, is Holbox’s finest, serving fresh fish with a mix of Cuban and Mexican flavours. Dishes include lobster tamales, mango-spiked ceviche, fresh fillets with coconut curry, and saffron fish with garlic. On Saturdays, the restaurant serves Cuban dishes, including ropa vieja with fried sweet potatoes, and beer-soaked shrimp. For breakfast, sip fresh watermelon juice with spicy cheese-topped eggs. With advance notice, the restaurant can arrange for a romantic, torch-lit dinner on the beach.

Liquid Bliss 

The casual Blue Bar by the pool has a few stools, where guests can order light snacks and cocktails with a Cuban angle, including mojitos. Still peckish? Ask for some fresh seafood, and watch as the friendly chefs prepare it on the grill.

Experience the Extraordinary 

Holbox is the best place in the world to glimpse the planet’s biggest fish, whale sharks. Between June and September, the gentle sharks – which can weigh more than 50 tonnes – swim in the waters off Riviera Maya, and the hotel can arrange boating trips to see them. Ser Casasandra will also arrange visits to local islands, including Isla Pasion, Yalahua and the bird-watching hub of Isla Pajaros, where crocodiles lurk. On the mainland, take tours of the colonial city of Valladolid or the ruins at Ek Balam. Isla Holbox has good conditions for wind surfing; there is also deep-sea fishing, horseback riding and wildlife walks. Ser Casasandra can arrange tours, and bring golf carts around for guests who explore the island on their own (there are no cars here). There are also bikes available to borrow, so you can cycle explore the island at your leisure. Ser Casasandra hosts a cinema night on the beach every Friday and live Cuban music every Saturday night.

Transportation 

Ser Casasandra is on the island of Holbox off the Yucután Peninsula, where the Caribbean Sea meets the Gulf of Mexico.

Planes 

Cancun International Airport is the nearest airport, and is 180 km away. The airport runs several flights from the US through United (www.united.com), Virgin America (www.virginamerica.com) and others. There are also domestic flights with Mexicana (www.mexicana.com) to Mexico City, which serves Europe. You can connect from Cancun on a small plane for a 25-minute flight to the island of Holbox for $800 one-way; the views of the Yucatan Peninsula are pretty special.

Automobiles 

The hotel can arrange land transfers to Ser Casasandra from the airport for $245 one-way for two; for each extra guest add $90 except for under fives, who travel free; the journey takes around two-and-a-half hours. A luxury transfer (with bar service, snacks, on board WiFi and music) costs $320 for two, one-way and can accommodate up to six people. If you want to rent a car and drive there yourself you'll need to arrange the ferry crossing, which can take up to three hours. If renting your own car, follow the road from Mérida to New Valladolid, turn right at Kantunilkin and continue on to the small port Chiquilá. You will have to leave your car at the port as Isla Holbox is strictly car-free, but golf carts are available from rental kiosks in town, and can be delivered to the hotel.

Other 

Ferries and small private boats depart from Chiquilá to Isla Hollbox. The last ferry boat leaves at 7pm, but the private boats do not have regular schedules.

Location

Calle Igualdad, Lazaro Cardenas Holbox Island, Quintana Roo Mexico

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