Text by Konstanze Wagenhofer
The most sacred secrets of the Maya are hidden deep in the jungle of Yucatán. At the Chablé Resort & Spa, you can discover those secrets in sustainable luxury.
Travellers seeking the wisdom of the Maya on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula may even find themselves. The descendants of the Maya still live out their millennia-old culture and pass on their knowledge of holy springs and healing rituals from generation to generation. Since prehistoric times, the temazcal, a semispherical clay sweat lodge, has been considered to hold special healing powers.
A visit to a temazcal can push your spiritual boundaries.
Unlike a conventional session in the sauna, a visit to a temazcal can push your spiritual boundaries. You are exposed to the four elements: fire, water, earth and air. Add traditional healing herbs, and the temazcal frees your body and soul from negative energy and disease, and restores your spiritual balance. At the Chablé Yucatan spa resort, medicine woman Abuela Akba’al supervises this and other rituals that use the rich Maya heritage for selfdiscovery and healing.
The spirit and richness of Maya tradition
Fifteen years ago, on the site of what is now the multi-award-winning Chablé Yucatan spa hotel, the jungle was encroaching ever further on a deserted hacienda. The new owners wanted to build the world’s best hotel and involved the local Maya communities in the planning process from the outset. That is why the spirit and richness of Maya tradition can now be felt throughout the resort, and not just under the experienced hands of Abuela Akba’al.
If the Mayan aristocracy still existed, it would surely live like guests at the Chablé: nearly 304 hectares of land in the heart of the Yucatán jungle are home to 36 individual lodges, the “Casitas”, and four family villas, in which modern design meets traditional craftsmanship and local art. Instead of restrictive walls, lush vegetation guarantees absolute privacy.
A source of life
Those who want to head out exploring don’t have to go far: major Maya sites and amazing beaches, nature reserves with breathtaking cenotes, limestone sinkholes full of water, and museums, galleries and art boutiques are all within easy distances, and the airport is just 25 minutes away.
In fact, you don’t even need to leave the Chablé to feel the magic of a cenote, a place of power and strength for the Maya. One such “sacred spring” is the energy centre of the resort, around which the elegant spa cabins are arranged.
Rocco Bova, director of the Chablé Yucatan, told us just what the Chablé Resort & Spa is about.
What experience awaits guests at the Chablé?
Rocco Bova: Chablé is a luxury spa resort, built on the site of an abandoned hacienda deep in the Maya jungle of Yucatán. Our guests experience the luxury of one of the world’s most beautiful and most modern resorts, the richness of Maya culture and its rituals, folklore and cooking – and above all its long history. We want our guests to experience joie de vivre, and to value what is truly important in life.
The cenote is your wellness source. How do you use it?
Rocco Bova: Water is the source of life, not just for the Mayan people. Our cenote is one of the most attractive in the area, and our architects have skilfully integrated it into the spa facility. Yet we do not see our cenote as a natural pool. To us, it is a sacred energy source that we use for rituals, meditation and yoga.
The temazcal ritual sounds pretty adventurous. How do people feel afterwards?
Rocco Bova: Temazcal really is an adventure, and not one to embark upon lightly. Here at the Chablé, our spiritual guide Abuela Akba’al takes you through the c. three-hour ritual, in which you pass through the doors of your past life to be reborn as a new person. Temazcal is a challenge, and I am not ashamed to admit that I have yet to experience it. I have not felt ready until today.
Photos: Chablé Resort & Spa