Mérida and the state of Yucatán offer many venues for weddings and events, and indeed, many haciendas. Hacienda Dzibikak however, with its superb reconstruction and stunning panoramas is a truly special ‘hidden gem’, located 20 minutes driving distance from Merida, just outside Umán.
Richard Nichols, was born in England to a Mexican mother and British father, and consequently was a frequent visitor to Mexico, along with his wife Lena, however always to Mexico City, where his mother’s family lived. They found that they didn’t enjoy the weather in the capital, and, during one visit, decided to come to Mérida, where they stayed at Hacienda Xcanatun, their first taste of hacienda life. Suddenly, an idea started to form in their minds.
Realizing that for the price of their small apartment in London, they could be the owners of a hacienda in Yucatán, Richard and Lena started investigating the possibilities, and in 2005, took the plunge with the purchase of Hacienda Dzibikak; at the time, an overgrown ruin. The development and reconstruction of the hacienda took 6 years, the first 4 years remotely from the UK, and the final 2 years on site in Mérida. It was, as Richard tells it, a nightmare, well beyond anything he could possibly have imagined at the start. Having seen the ‘before’ pictures, I fully understand the extent of the work that was done, and can only congratulate Richard and Lena on seeing it through to its conclusion.
While Richard and Lena had the vision of owning a hacienda, they were not so sure what they were going to do with it once it was reconstructed, and the arrival of the first wedding inquiry came out of the blue, when a passing ‘father of the bride’ knocked on the door one day. Four years later, the business has grown steadily, and in the years to come, this side of the business will doubtless continue to increase.
A big part of the appeal of holding a wedding in Mérida is the safety and security offered by the location, and this is proving a major attraction for couples from other parts of the Mexican republic, particularly the northern cities, where large family gatherings can be considered unwise. Destination weddings increase in popularity all the time, and the Mérida area is riding the wave started by Cancun.
The hacienda charges between $20,000 and $35,000 pesos (US$1550 – US$2700 at current exchange rates) for the venue for a wedding, accommodating up to 1200 guests for 8 hours. The average attendance at weddings to date is in the region of 350 – 400 guests. The big appeal of holding a wedding at Hacienda Dzibikak is the ‘homelike’ atmosphere, with attendees free to roam throughout most of the property. The rate includes overnight accommodation in a deluxe suite for the bride and groom.
In addition to weddings, the hacienda is popular for photo sessions, often catering to wedding couples who are looking for a spectacular location for their photos, even if they are holding their reception elsewhere. Other clients include ‘quinceañeras’ as well as corporate photo shoots, an area which they are particularly keen to see developed further. Corporate events have been held at the hacienda, and a ballet with 300 attendees was a recent success.
While continuing to develop the wedding and corporate business areas, a future focus will be the rental of the entire hacienda, for family getaways or incentive events. Available for a minimum duration of 3 or 4 days, the hacienda can accommodate 12 people, with staff to cater to their every need, and will cost from US$15,000 per week off peak and US$25,000 per weak in peak season. Richard is currently working on a website featuring hacienda rentals, which in addition to Hacienda Dzibikak, is planned to showcase other haciendas in the area, providing a one stop shopping site for anyone in the market for a hacienda rental.
A range of hacienda style furniture is also being developed, and Richard and Lena employ a fulltime carpenter on this project. Various items are on display at the hacienda, and can be ordered, to enjoy the ‘hacienda at home’ experience.
A major event in the hacienda’s calendar is the Mérida Music Festival; a partnership between Richard, musician Colin Gow, Sean Hennessy (owner of Hennessy’s Irish Pub), and Jürgen Eggers (owner of La Bierhaus); the third edition of which will be held this year on March 29. Six hours of live music will start at 2pm, and during the course of the afternoon and evening will feature Los Lásgori, Golden Years, Flus Boox, Eduardo Rodriguez (performing a Santana tribute) and CopyPaste (featuring Maydel García). Presale tickets are $225 pesos at Hennessy’s on Paseo de Montejo, and La Bierhaus – Colonia Mexico. Learn more at http://meridamusicfestival.com/?lang=en.
If you are planning a wedding, corporate or incentive event, or fancy taking over a hacienda for a few days for an unforgettable family reunion, why not consider Hacienda Dzibikak? Richard, Lena and their team stand ready to assist you with whatever you need. For more information, visit http://haciendadzibikak.com/?lang=en or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Lena.Khee.Tang