In the small, ochre-hued city of Izamal, an historic city in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, Coqui Coqui Casa de Los Santos promises a saintly and characteristically well-scented stay.
Izamal, among the oldest cities in the Yucatán Peninsula, harbours a certain mysticism - it's known as the "pueblo magico" (magic town) so that observation is not likely to win us any prizes in astute observation. However, if awards were to be dished out we'd certainly present one to Coqui Coqui Casa de Los Santos - a secluded retreat in the so-called "yellow city".
Housed in a restored colonial building, Coqui Coqui de Los Santos lives up to its name (and the town's religious reputation) sporting a selection of St Anthonys in one dimly lit corner, glass bell jars and rosary beads in another. Authentic peeling blue-and-pink frescoes, antique tapestries and ornate floor tiling populate communal spaces that interiors fanatics would go gaga for. Yet, true to all Coqui Coqui residences, it's the heady scent of the perfume shop, which drifts across three open-plan rooms, that is most likely to draw you in…
With only two rooms, Coqui Coqui books up quick (particularly at Easter and in late December). Bed down in The Pyramid suite (which sits adjacent to an ancient Mayan pyramid) or, for something worthy of a Madonna (or a papal saint), check in to The Convent - climb the stone-slabbed stairs to your room and, on turning the lock, reveal a black-and-cardinal-pink hideaway. A wrought-iron bed frame, topped with gilded crown, white-fringed sheets, a sofa at the foot of the bed and hand-painted ceiling draws the eye in all directions. Mottled charcoal walls, candelabra and twin claw bathtubs create a vibe that would suggest this room is much less saintly than its name suggests.
What's for breakfast?
Take breakfast on the open-air patio - the rustic open kitchen, framed by wooden arches and columns has been known to beckon even the most resistant of breakfasters from their chambers. An assortment of breakfast foods, including freshly squeezed orange juice, Coqui Coqui own-blend coffee (served from individual black Le Creuset cafetieres), homemade granola and vanilla yoghurt and a selection of toast and Mayan honey (the vanilla-bean infusion is particularly good) are presented on a large dining room table plotted under a low-hanging lampshade. Closely inspect the gold-dipped glassware and white linens as you sample your munificent offering.
How about lunch and dinner?
Lunch can be arranged on special request but generally, the only meal plated up at Coqui Coqui de Los Santos is breakfast. The locale is small, as is the choice of dining options. Still, Kinich's offering of hearty Yucatecan cuisine more than compensates for the town's otherwise (very) limited gastronomic offering.
Is there a bar?
Crack open the minibar mezcal or mix your own margarita in-room and enjoy on the terrace with views of the convent as the sun melts into the canary-hued town.
Though the spa may be simple in its layout (two beds in a wooden shuttered room), treatments are nothing to sniff at - starting from under £60, all treatments use Coqui Coqui Perfumeria massage oils. We recommend the Rebozo Technique which begins by "cleaning your energy" with a bouquet of healing herbs and lemons or the Healing Stones for Body and Soul - an ancient therapy that helps release tension on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level.
Things I should know
The hotel isn't wheelchair friendly.
Within a short walk I can find…
Convento de San Antonio de Padua. The centrepiece of the city, this baroque monastery is an easy spot - like much of the Izamal, it's adorned in ochre yellow.