It is said “fate loves the fearless” and if that is so than it is never more true than for the owners of Hotel La Semilla in Playa del Carmen, Mexico – Alexis Schärer and Angie Rodriguez. Adventurous of spirit and authentic of heart, they met by chance if one believes in coincidence. In theory it sounds like good old-fashioned romantic cinema —a wayfaring, globetrotting couple who start working at The Plaza Athenee Hotel on the same day, become fast friends and discover they both want to open their own hotel.
One might say both Angie and Alexis were headed for hospitality if one believes in such things being destined or fated. In Alexis Schärer’s case, he grew up in the hotels his father ran and later the same career choice took him to London, Mallorca, and St. Moritz, amongst others. Mexican-born Angie Rodriguez studied hotel management too but also tried her hand at photography, jewelry design, and painting. With their combined sensibilities and experience a passion project unpetaled and bloomed into Hotel La Semilla, very fittingly, Spanish for “seed.”
HOW WILL MY GUESTS GET HERE?: Hotel La Semilla is just over a mile from Playa del Carmen’s ADO International Bus Station, and about an hour’s drive from Cancún International Airport (CUN).
Outside of the super chic flea market finds strewn throughout this boutique B & B, the other cool factor lies in the location, at Calle 38, once a remote área of Playa del Carmen, now in the trendiest part of town. The location is ideal, you will be surrounded by cenotes, a Mayan ruin and jungle. The hotel provides bikes for you and your crew, so you can all cycle to the famous restaurant La Cueva del Chango next door or the few minute jaunt to the beach!
La Semillais a romantic setting earthed in a distinctly global flavor, but its real roots are found in the surrounding Mexican culture. The design principle of the property is referred to as “rough luxe”, defined as the style of imperfection created by the wear of time. The idea is that treasures don’t lose, but gain value as they age. Scattered around the B & B you will find handmade items purchased from local artisans or pieces sourced from the finest flea markets in the Yucatan region and around the country. These pieces are artfully arranged around the hotel, lending it a carefully curated yet comfortable look and feel. Natural, local materials such as stone, polished concrete and bricks were used to create the hotel’s earthy vibe while outdoor bathrooms provide the ultimate in laidback luxury. The perfectly placed decor means you don't have any decorating to do for your intimate gathering here.. Additionally, there are hammocks and lounge chairs to relax in and the garden is lit up with candles in the evening.. Perfect for a cocktail party.
Pillow Talk. Hotel La Semilla is made up of nine rooms (just for adults, sorry kiddos) predominantly outfitted in a light, white color. The four room catergories range from the quaint Cuartitos: small on size but large on style, to the Suites Terraza featuring a private terrace and views of the surrounding jungle, lounge area and outdoor bathroom.
This is the perfect paradise for an elopement, group getaway, reunion, corporate retreat, or creative workshop. Each corner is inspired, thoughtfully arranged and imbued with a sense of history coupled with contemporary sophistication. As a final, sweet touch, each guest receives a bag of seeds to plant roots wherever they choose. It not only carries with it the memory of a wonderful stay but allows for growth and the tradition of sustainability to be carried around the world.
To add to the homey atmosphere, the owners are on hand in the Cocina Loft, either serving breakfast or ready for a chat. By only serving breakfast, it allows guests to dig into the exploration of the local culture planted so lovingly throughout the property. Guests are also encouraged to explore the owner's favorite restaurants—ones that offer up a truly local experience—or to bring their own food and beverage into Hotel La Semilla to be enjoyed in any of the lounge spaces or even in the garden surrounded by candles. At La Semilla, the timeless white palette throughout translates into a seaside chic that could be home on the shores of the Atlantic, the Aegean, or here on Caribbean.
Additionally, this is a hotel with a cause. Hotel La Semilla works with the organization Amigos de Sian Ka'an, one of the best Mexican institutions for conservation, sustainable development and education. During construction, in the middle of the Mayan jungle mind you – not only, single tree was cut down. There’s even a tree going through the ceiling of the Cucina Loft. But that’s not all. When construction began next door to Hotel La Semilla, Alexis asked the construction crew if they would transfer one of the trees that they were going to cut down to the Hotel La Semilla garden. They did and it’s thriving.
Thanks to owners Alexis Schärer and Angie Rodriguez’s ecelectic, worldy and carefully cultivated style, much of the style & decor has been pre-determined (in the most perfect way!) Yet, here at The Venue Report, we believe the true magic of any experience lies in the details and thoughtful touches. Here are a few of ours that may help to make your event space sing:
1. Invitations. The old Fashion Way. Let’s face it – in the day and age of email good-old-fashioned hand-lettered invitations with a wax seal are more coveted than gold. It’s almost a rarity and therefore makes it all the more special to receive one. Regardless of whether you’re hosting a getaway, retreat, shower or creative workshop at La Semilla, you’ll absolutely set the tone with your invitation. We love these with the darling donkey, and a touch of the bygone era formality to help stir up the kind of excitement that can only come when Hotel La Semilla is your destination. via de Alma blog 2. Eat Like a Local: La Semilla has a very organic, unfussy and perfectly pulled together feel - we love the idea of setting the table the same way. Plop local ingredients and foods from the markets on the table - possibly order food 'to go' from a local taco joint and serve it up family style. 3. Pops of Color: There are so many beautiful tables to choose from at Hotel La Semilla itself that you wouldn’t need to source any rental furniture. I’m sure if asked the owners would help to artfully arrange their wares to your liking. However, as far as tablescapes go – white abounds so why not add a little pop of color? We love these tables set with local blankets and colorful cacti! They can be purchased down at the 5th avenue shops and also help to support the local economy and heritage. Via 100 Layer Cake | Photography:Wild Whim Design
The terrace has great views over the Caribbean and is the perfect spot to watch sunrise or set. If you get too hot soaking up the rays you can cool down by having a shower right on the terrace itself. At night the garden and terrace are lit by candlelight making it the most romantic setting in Playa Del Carmen. The hotel has bikes that you can use, which are great for a ride around the city along with their spot on restaurant recommendations. You are a one minute walk away from the Playa's busy street but hidden away is amazing and perfect.
The staff is incredibly knowledgeable and ready to help you find the perfect souvenir or activity. The breakfast is not just your basic fruit and toast and this is the kind of place that you will see glowing reviews like "Best Boutique Hotel I have ever stayed at" and you hesitate to spread the word about.. This is one that you almost want to keep to yourself.
- The name La Semilla or “seed” in English was inspired by a Yoga position of the same name. When you check out you are given a small bag of seeds to plant at a location of your choosing.
- The intimate setting is home to a variety of carefully chosen Mexican antiques from the finest flea markets.
- Smaller events shine here, from inimate weddings to creative workshops or group getaways.
- Views include the Mayan jungle and Caribbean Sea and offer a lovely respite from the hustle and bustle of Playa del Carmen.
- Rough luxe is the purveying design theme where value is placed on the imperfection of pieces due to the wear of time.
- Organic breakfast is served each morning.
- The terrace and garden are candlelit at night providing the most romantic, subtle setting of all time.
There’s nothing we like here at The Venue Report more than a unique venue and that’s what you’ll get here at Alux Restaurant & Bar, set within a labyrinth of caves. Yes, CAVES. It’s named after a mythical creature of Mayan lore. According to legend, Aluxes are the guardians of property and only appear at night. Born in the moonlight, they seek magical places in which to hide and play, such as in caves and cenotes. "Sensitive" diners claim that they feel their ancient power in this cenote - in between the stalactites.
If you’re heading to Playa del Carmen in the month of May, don't miss the Sacred Maya Journey. Since 2007, the area has been reenacting La Travesía Sagrada Maya (Sacred Maya Journey), a ritual for more than 1,000 years by the ancient Maya. Tracing the steps of their ancestors, they participate in a 17-mile canoe trip from Ppolé to the island of Cuzamil (Cozumel). The modern-day pilgrimage begins days before, with a marketplace at Xcaret, where they trade objects to be offered to the goddess.
Looking for off-the-beaten-path eats? Located well off the tourist path, Los Aguaschiles is one of the best kept secrets in Playa. Simple, fresh, perfectly built tacos – is there anything better in life? Serving a variety of seafood tacos and tostadas, Los Aguaschiles is known for their fresh ceviches and the delicious sauces and salsas that accompany them. There’s no website - only a Facebook page, so all we’ve got is an address for you and our word that you won’t be sorry! Calle 34 and Ave. 25 (984) 142 7380
Photos provided by Hotel La Semilla