We are happy to share this beautiful article, first published on chiccollection.com. We believe it is a lovely explanation of our story and we are honored to share it with you all.
As you wander into Hotel La Semilla Mexico, stopping at the front desk, you may notice a discrete message that displays on the desktop of the computer there. It says, ‘There is beauty in simplicity.’ For this quaint, boutique hotel, one block from the azure shores of Playa del Carmen, the significance of this phrase is striking. As you peer around the vintage inspired décor and whitewash walls, the absence of vibrant colors and noise is so calming and surprisingly distant from the party that rages on just a few blocks away.
It Started with a Dream
Hotel La Semilla Mexico is a retreat. It was carefully constructed and conceptualized by its owners, couple Alexis Schärer and Angie Rodriguez. The story of Hotel La Semilla Mexico is a love story and the passion they have for each other translates into the passion they have for the hotel they created. In their vision, La Semilla would be a place to call home. But what differentiates La Semilla from other sleepy bed and breakfast type hotels is that here, you are greeted with five-star service and impeccable attention to detail that all stem from the strong hospitality background the couple shares.
Angie and Alexis met while both working at Hotel Plaza Athénée in New York City, and it was love at first sight for the pair. From the beginning of their relationship, they dreamed of owning a hotel one day — a hotel near the water. Little did they know the twists and turns of life would lead them to Playa del Carmen to open their vision of the perfect boutique hotel.
Alexis grew up in a hotel lifestyle. He comes from a long lineage of hoteliers, and his father was a general manager for several properties, which afforded the family to live in hotels for most of Alexis’ life. This enabled him to develop a keen eye for detail, an intimate knowledge of the guest experience, and a strong affection for hospitality; all of these things he beautifully translated into the fibers of Hotel La Semilla Mexico.
When Alexis met Angie, they began fantasizing about the hotel they could have one day. During the couple’s journeys around the world together, they would always file away details they admired of places they visited: souvenirs, photographs, and journals filled with notes. Many years after leaving New York, Angie, being Mexican herself, developed a strong desire to return home and without much trouble convinced Alexis to move their growing family to Playa del Carmen. They both began working in hotels in the area until one day Alexis knew the time had come to take a risk and begin to fulfill their dreams of becoming hoteliers themselves.
Road Bumps Along the Way
The road to open Hotel La Semilla Mexico was not the smoothest. Angie’s father — well versed in finance and accounting — offered to assist the two in the development of the business plan, but tragically passed away during the beginning stages of the project. The path of departing from the stability of working in big brand hotels was scary for Angie and Alexis, who had two children at the time. But the troubled waters didn’t deter them from moving forward. When they were searching for a space to build the hotel, Alexis pointed to an apartment building and said to the realtor, ‘I would like a building like that.’ As luck would have it, that very building had gone on the market that same morning. And so the project began.
Angie, with a keen eye for design, resolved that all the furnishings in the hotel should be restored and repurposed antiques. They spent months scouring markets across Mexico City to assemble the authentic look and feel of the property; the inspiration being the old fashion haciendas of Mexico that provide a real feeling of home. This homeliness aura is among the finest qualities of Hotel La Semilla Mexico. Staying there is like being home, but better. The fragrance of fresh white lilies that welcome you as you ascend the staircase to find your room, the small packet of chocolates that welcomes you on your bed, telling you that chocolate was once only consumed by kings during Mayan times and the fresh breakfast of eggs, croissants, and homemade passion fruit jam — all of these signal that you are somewhere comfortable and very special.
As Alexis and I speak of their adventures in creating Hotel La Semilla Mexico, it is clear that he has achieved the success he has always dreamed of with the property. For him, he defines success as, ‘doing something well and with passion,’ but having enough freedom to spend with your family. In this, while he has plans to expand to Tulum with a second property next year, he and Angie wish to go no further.
‘The idea is to create a lifestyle, so this is why we choose to go into business for ourselves.’
The lifestyle both Alexis and Angie have is one that would make anyone envious, and their story of success serves as a reminder that anything is possible with hard work, passion, and the right types of priorities.
Isn’t it beautiful how we get a chance to reinvent ourselves every 365 days? At Hotel La Semilla, we are always excited to shed our skin from last year and emerge as a better version of ourselves in anticipation for everything that lies ahead. For this reason, we find it helpful to set an intention or purpose for the upcoming year. In our opinion, part of the process is a proclamation of what you intend to do. Our goal for 2016 is to expand the vision we have for our hotel and the community we’ve developed. For this reason, we have started this blog as an outlet to share our dreams, ideas, and action with you all.
For those of you that do not know, the Spanish word Semilla, means seed. This word is one we hold near and dear to our hearts. To us, a seed is something that you nurture and love—something that blossoms right before your eyes into something more beautiful and extraordinary than you could have ever imagined. They represent the things you are most passionate about. Hotel La Semilla is the seed that we’ve nurtured for many years. Long before this small hotel was even an idea, we were preparing and driving ourselves onto a path that has ultimately led us here. We are living our dream and seeing our precious seed thriving—and for that, we are filled with gratitude everyday.
“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.”
– Thomas Merton
But as human beings, we have a few seeds to cultivate and the process of finding those seeds is an internal journey we must all face. A long time ago, when creating the personality of Hotel La Semilla, we went on this journey to discover our most core values and find a way to live lives that nurture these values. In this, we try to focus on community/family, nature, and self – these are our seeds and have become the pillars we live by. We wake up every day with the intention of giving thanks to our community, to nature, and to ourselves—what a gift it is to be alive. In the upcoming year, our aim is to share our seeds and inspire others into action. We hope you will continue on this journey with us.
We know that living a purposeful life is not always easy. Our daily lives do a wonderful job of setting us off course—and distractions are everywhere. However, we invite you to the first step in being more aware and present. We invite you to decide what your seeds are and write them down. What are the two or three things you find the most joy and peace doing or thinking about? During the year, we will be sharing the different ways that we nurture our seeds. We hope that you can cultivate your seeds along with us and share them with our community.
Never stop dreaming…
With Love and Gratitude,
Alexis and Angie
This is our guide to enjoy and experience Playa del Carmen to it’s full potential. Each place shown here was specifically chosen for you to have a unique experience as a local. A few years ago, Playa del Carmen was a very small town, which became a unique destination rich in history and culture.
Brief History of Playa del Carmen
In it’s earliest days, Playa del Carmen was inhabited by the Mayan culture. It later spent time developing as a fishing area before growing to become the tourist destination we know today. Before the early 1900’s, Playa del Carmen started becoming more popular in the international community. In the midst of commercialization, Playa del Carmen’s local government has tried to keep the city’s reputation as a small, charming fishing area—making it perfect for travelers who want a comfortable and fun-filled vacation.
Our property, located in Calle 38, was once a remote area of Playa del Carmen; however, it is now in the middle of the trendiest part of town, next to the famous restaurant La Cueva de Chango, surrounded by cenotes, a Mayan ruin and jungle. Our neighborhood became a sanctuary for intellectuals, artists and other bohemian misfits and non-conformists from around the world.
Today it is considered, perhaps, the most charming neighborhood in Playa del Carmen, a vibrant blend of creative residents, lively bars, restaurants and unique small shops.
Los Aguachilies– A wide selection of Mexican sea food and Mexican-Caribbean taste. Calle 34 Nte, DOWNTOWN, 77720 Playa del Carmen, Q.R
Almirante Pech– A Mexican restaurant with great atmosphere. A wonderful spot to have a fancy dinner with a loved one. 5ª Av Esq C/30 esquina Calle 30, Calle Quinta Avenida, Centro, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R.
Il Baretto – A restaurant that serves Italian and Mediterranean food right at your table. Calle Quinta Avenida, Centro, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R.
Cenacolo– A cozy Italian restaurant that serves Italian food and fresh, handmade pasta. Calle Quinta Avenida, Centro, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R.
Kampai – This Japanese restaurant has some of the best sushi in town with a unique gourmet cuisine. Quinta Avenida LOC-3 Mz 71 Lt1, Gonzalo Guerrero, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R.
Wok Playa – This is the perfect little spot if you are craving authentic noodles or curry freshly prepared.
Oh La La– A really wonderful little restaurant with very good food and personal service (reservation needed) Calle 14 Norte Bis #147, Centro, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R.
La Cocina (Hyatt)– Experience a Mexican and Caribbean style restaurant in a laid back environment.
El Fogon– Get a taste of Authentic Mexican tacos where every local eats from time to time. Av Constituyentes, DOWNTOWN, 77720 Playa del Carmen, Q.R.
El Pirata– Restaurant/ Fish Market with fresh sea food prepared at the very moment. 40 Avenida Nte., Zazil-ha, 77720 Playa del Carmen, Q.R.
Art and Culture
Nuestra Señora Del Carmen Church– It is simple, plain but architecturally very beautiful, take your time to see a monumental building here in Playa. 15 Avenida esq. Calle 12 Norte s/n, Centro, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R.
Art Gallery 5th Ave- Walk down on 5th Avenue to admire different artists who show their work and so many different styles of art (Thursday evenings). 20th Street between 5th Av. & 10th Av., Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Live Music Bars and Restaurants
Fusion– A unique restaurant with live music and different shows during the night. 6th street and the beach, Playa del Carmen 77710,Mexico
Fah Bar– Late night dinner with a round of drinks listening to classics and fun music. 5a avenida between calle 8 y 10 norte Col. Centro 77710 Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo Mexico
Playacar Beach- A beautiful beach where you can relax on your own to enjoy the sun and the ocean.
Kool and Mamitas Beach Club- If you’re looking for a beach to mingle and meet people from all over, these are the hot spot in anyone’s book.
Mahekal Resort- Enjoy a day in this beautiful beach resort just down the street from our home.
Canibal Royal- Enjoy yourself next to the ocean listening to music having lunch and a few drinks.
Zenzi- The atmosphere of good vibes and peace; a great lively place to make friends and enjoy the day.
Gluay Maai Thai– A great, laidback restaurant that serves Thai food. Calle 38 Nte., Gonzalo Guerrero, 77720 Playa del Carmen, Q.R.
La Piola– An Italian restaurant right in front of our hotel. They are well-known for their wide selection of pizzas. Via Plaza 38, Avenida 38 Norte, Lote 2, Local-1, Playa del Carmen Centro, 77710 Q.R.
Cocotte Citta– A very small but good French restaurant (cash only). Calle 38 Nte., Gonzalo Guerrero, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R.
Regina– A Mexican fonda that serves great meals and seafood. Calle 38 Nte., Zazil-ha, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R
La Cueva Del Chango– One of the 1st restaurants in Playa del Carmen, very popular and unique. Av 38 Norte Mz. 4 Lote 3, Zazil-ha, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R.
Alamo Sakahua- A great tree located just down the road. It is more than 18 meters high.
Milos– This restaurant provides authentic Greek cuisine prepared by their Greek Chef. Calle 38 Norte Mz 8 Lt 2, Centro, 77720 Playa del Carmen, Q.R.
El Campeon- This is our typical local market similar to the ones that you would find on every corner around Mexico.
DAC– All natural store, well-known for their wide organic selection. 30 Avenida Nte. LB, Playa del Carmen, Q.R.
Troupe– One of the most well-known shops in Playa, with all 100% 1st quality and handmade items. L 2 B, Calle Quinta Avenida 101, Centro, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R.
Jula Luma- Get an outfit and dress like a local, this boutique has a great section of Playa-style goods. MZA 152 LTE 2, Calle Quinta Avenida, Solidaridad, 77720 Playa del Carmen, Q.R.
Casa Ines – Find many treasures from all over Mexico from blown glass, paintings, to pottery.
Biuriful Boutique – Tropical and authentic wear, perfect to go along with a calm and relaxing vibe.
Night Clubs and Bars
Santanera– 3 floors with different types of music from a blue techno room to a lounge area with a view. Calle 10 Norte , Mz 29, Lote 1, Centro, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R.
Diablito– A great bar right in the middle of all the clubs—a great place to start your night and meet people. Calle 12 S/N, Centro, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R.
(Looking for late night fun? Visit 12th street where most of the clubs and bars are located.)
Travel has played a big roll in our lives for many years. We believe passionately that travel and immersing oneself in other cultures broadens the mind and the vision… This is why we are sharing this section to promote local culture, artists, hidden places, and many other tips to encourage our guest, friends, family and fans to travel and explore the universe.