It’s such a shame to see the old Hotel Misión Mérida on Calle 60 and 57 sit empty. Mérida is pretty flat, with few tall buildings, so to be able to actually climb something and enjoy a vista is all the more special. I imagine you can see several parks (At the very least Lucia, Hidalgo, Parque de la Madre and the Plaza Grande) from this pretty pink hotel’s roof. And it looks like it was pretty swinging, in its day. Of all the hotels in the city, why is this one closed? Somebody needs to rescue it, and install a rooftop bar, open to the public. Somebody please do this.
Over on 62, the Colonial has a rooftop retreat, but it’s only five stories high and only for guests. Five stories is plenty high in a city as flat as Mérida, but I’d rather be even higher up — am I miscounting when I say the pink hotel has 10 stories? The highest we have been is on the top floor of Los Aluxes, further up the road — a building filled with missed opportunities. The Hyatt, in the hotel district, is the tallest hotel, but I haven’t bothered to see if there are public spaces atop that building yet. Although I can imagine swell views of Paseo de Montejo. Hotel El Conquistador, also on the Paseo, does have a rooftop pool, but doesn’t seem particularly festive or romantic, and it’s only for guests. (It’s also rated No. 39 out of 70 hotels on Tripadvisor.)
After years of extinction, rooftop bars have been in vogue in NOB cities for over 10 years now. Even in New York City’s less fashionable areas, roof gardens have become lively and hip attractions. It doesn’t need to be a Top of the Mark revolving restaurant — just create a terrace, put together a good cocktail menu and a make sure you have a working elevator. The idea is unthinkable in the heat of day, but at night, people like to be up high to feel the breeze, see the lights and gawk at the little ant-people down below.
This building on 60 appears to be a historic casona with a hotel 180-room tower added on, maybe in the 1940s. It’s situated perfectly to lure pedestrians headed to or from the main square or Santa Lucia park, especially when 60 is closed to motorized vehicles. I’m not sure when it was open last, but the former Hotel Misión Mérida was part of a large chain that also operates a much more modern hotel on 59 closer to Mejorada Park. Judging by Tripadvisor again, the hotel went through some rough years before moving to its present location sometime in 2009. A 2005 photo shows that the view from what I guess is the third floor was pretty good. Nobody seems to have had access to the roof. (Maybe they would need insurance against jumpers?)
My backup plan for the pink hotel on 60: Condos! Someday, that market has got to open up. Backup to the backup plan: Time shares! Backup to that backup: Expand the university across the street to this nice building, and turn it into dorms, classrooms, what have you.
Just don’t let it sit there like that, so conspicuously derelict. It’s depressing, and an embarrassment to Mérida.