Angsana by Banyan Tree Group debuts a Heritage Collection brand extension of curated properties in Mexico and Morocco
To mark 23 years since its inception, Angsana, a brand under Banyan Tree Group, presents a curated portfolio of properties steeped in architectural heritage, history, and culture. Known as Angsana Heritage Collection, this brand extension offers intimate experiences and deep-seated stories that weave together past glory and present comforts.
The recently expanded Hacienda Xcanatun, Angsana Heritage Collection in Mexico is located just 15 minutes away from downtown Merida, the capital city of the Yucatan region known for its tropical rainforests and being the home of the ancient Mayans.
During Mexico’s colonial period, haciendas – large rural estates – were the epicentre of the country’s economic and social life. Named after the Mayan word for “tall stone house”, Hacienda Xcanatun was first built to house and operate livestock in 1789. Soon, it became a prosperous henequén hacienda – henequén being the Spanish term for Yucatan sisal – the fiber of a maguey plant native to the region that became the main material for fabrics, cords and textiles exported worldwide between the mid-19th to early-20th centuries.
In the 1990s, Jorge Ruz Buenfil, the son of a noted archaeologist, and his wife Cristina Baker, transformed Hacienda Xcanatun into a hotel by restoring the architecture to its 18th-century grandeur. After two years of careful expansion with attention to detail, the resort unveils 36 brand new suites, in addition to the 18 historic suites that have been part of the original architecture for centuries. Each of the new suites features a harmonious blend of natural wood, leather, regional limestone (which lent the city of Merida its nickname “the white city”), and native pasta tiles traditionally found in henequén haciendas.
The resort expansion also includes new recreational areas and wellbeing space: an Olympic-length swimming pool, a solarium with a poolside snack bar, a fully equipped fitness centre, and an Angsana Spa for guests to rejuvenate and renew in nature.
Surrounded by four acres of private gardens and lush vegetation, Hacienda Xcanatun, Angsana Heritage Collection redefines the concept of a luxurious urban resort, where history and tradition meet contemporary sensibilities.
Minutes away from the landmark Jemaa el-Fna Square, Riads Marrakech, Angsana Heritage Collection takes pride of place in Marrakech, Morocco, with six riads – large traditional houses built around a central courtyard – totalling 42 rooms and suites showcasing Moroccan architecture and design.
The six riads were originally family homes, known as dars, built in the traditional Maghreb habitat. Rectangular doors in varying sizes are built around a central square patio to regulate the temperature of the house during summer and winter. Dars were renamed to the more poetic riads (or “garden” in Arabic) and have remained immutable and quintessential in Morocco’s cityscape.
Built in the year 1860, Riad Si Said was built by a wealthy Marrakechi family in the Oriental style. The house was inspired by the nearby Bahia Palace, and meticulous effort has been made to preserve the design and décor for centuries. Riad Si Said features an airy courtyard garden with stunning zellij (handmade ceramic mosaic tiles on floors and walls), surrounded by three well-furnished lounges with fireplaces and a library. There are a total of six accommodations in this riad, including 3 suites and an Ambassador Suite, all facing the central courtyard. Riad Si Said also houses an outdoor pool, roof terrace, and a solarium.
Named after its sugar-white interior courtyard, the intimate and elegant Riad Blanc was built in the 1970s and is reminiscent of the famous white villages of Andalucia in southern Spain. One of its most distinctive features is the duplex roof terrace – shaped like the sundeck of a cruise ship – along with Andalucian design inspirations of elaborate wrought iron railings and window grills, stained glass windows, potted orange trees, and a turquoise-tiled plunge pool. Riad Blanc features six well-appointed rooms and suites.
Guided by the theme of water, a revered natural resource in the deserts of Morocco, Riad Bab Firdaus (meaning “gateway to heaven” in Arabic) was built in the late 19th century, and features a stunning central courtyard ornamented with gabs (picked, honeycomb-shaped plasterwork) and tagguebasts (cornices of sculpted plaster) around its central columns. A discreet light well illuminates the basin fountain, and its vast terrace offers a spectacular view of Atlas Mountains.
Each of the six rooms and suites are fitted with stucco walls, smooth tadelakt (waterproof lime plaster) and elaborate furnishings, a nod to the Tamazight culture of Southern Morocco. Riad Bab Firdaus also houses a Thai restaurant in the courtyard, a rooftop sun deck and Angsana Spa, which features a hammam with barrel-vaulted brick ceiling to enhance the mystery of the place.
This discreet riad tucked in a 14th century alley in the Riad Zitoune quarter offers complete privacy. Renovated in the 2000s, local architectural details have been preserved such as warm cedar woodwork, wrought iron latticework, and intricate Berber motifs, reminiscent of the towns surrounding Atlas Mountains: Azilal and Imilchil and the Todra canyon. Its five airy rooms decorated with traditional artifacts are certainly a feast for the eyes – also known as tiwaline in Arabic.
Meaning “a place of retreat” in Arabic, Riad Dar Zaouia was built in the 19th century on an old zaouia, a religious school. Situated in the heart of the old Medina (walled city), near the historic Bahia Palace and Dar Si Said Museum, it consists of 10 rooms and suites. With a large patio and skylight, Riad Dar Zaouia emanates a serene and convivial vibe, ideal for those seeking an intimate retreat in a refined and relaxed setting.
Located in the Kasbah, the aristocratic district of the medina, Riad Lydines offers seven stylish rooms opening onto a vast patio, a swimming pool, and a green terrace. Traditional craftsmen worked entirely with their hands to restore this unique house, hence, the name lydines, or “hands”. Riad Lydines is within walking distance to the Royal Palace and the Saadian Tombs.