Soaking up the essence of the Yucatan Peninsula

Published on: November 28th, 2014

Last modified: December 22nd, 2016

Awaken your senses at perfumery and boutique residences Coqui Coqui on Mexico’s sublime Yucatán Peninsula.


Sleepy fishing villages and long stretches of idyllic white-sand coast that’s lapped by the turquoise Caribbean sea is what many people come to Mexico‘s Yucatán Peninsula for, but venture inland and you’ll find vividly coloured limestone sinkholes hidden within lush green rainforest that’s abundant with wildlife.

Seek out the mammals and birdlife of the national parks, dive off the coast to swim with whale sharks and see turtles as they nest along the sandy shores. As well as exhibiting natural beauty, this peninsula is the setting for astounding archaeological sites that tell tales of the ancient Maya civilisation, with a vibrant contemporary culture of music and the arts; not to forget Mexico’s coastal cuisine.

Coqui Coqui founders Nicolas Malleville and Francesca Bonato.


The Yucatán is also home to Coqui Coqui, a collection of four boutique hotels in Tulum, Merida, Valladolid and Coba, with an onsite perfumery in the Valladolid residence and spas that showcase their signature scents.

Inspired by the peninsula, Coqui Coqui fuses aromas of coconut and tropical woods, vanilla orchids and wild frangipani, tobacco leaf, lime and orange blossom, to create perfumes with reverence for the tradition and craftsmanship of this artisanal skill.


Each residence and spa pays respect to its setting’s traditional architecture, as well as the aesthetics of modern design; each offering a different experience to reflect the character of its location. The Tulum residence – the first to be established, back in 2003 – is a beachfront property with a limestone structure and Caribbean flavour.

In the Yucatán’s capital of Merida, the Coqui Coqui residence showcases the city’s Porfirian architecture, while is Coba the hotel is set amongst the Mayan city’s ancient ruins, with two towers that look over the nearby pyramids. The one-room residence in the colonial city of Valladolid is situated close to the historic convent of San Bernardino de Siena, and is also the setting for Coqui Coqui perfumery.

Argentine perfumer and hotelier Nicolas Malleville, who along with his Italian wife Francesca Bonato established Coqui Coqui, tells us about the perfume he creates and what you can experience by staying at the residence in Valladolid.


“Each perfume captures the smell of the surrounding landscapes around the different locations – from Tulum, Coba, Valladolid and Merida – in their flora, folklore, traditions and culture


The scent

“The perfume is a bouquet of different aromas, creating a formula that turns into an eau de parfum or eau de cologne. Each year a new perfume is created, but our signature scents are coco-coco, orange blossom and tobacco, as well as flor de mayo. Each perfume captures the smell of the surrounding landscapes around the different locations – from Tulum, Coba, Valladolid and Merida – in their flora, folklore, traditions and culture.”

A family affair

“It is a family business that began as a friends and family affair, with a simple desire of having houses in the tropics. Our team makes and produces the perfumes in the laboratory Calzada de los Frailes.”

Nicolas studied botany and landscape architecture at the Univerity of Cordoba in Argentina, before going on to a modelling career. He later bought the perfumery in Valladolid, which was the beginning of the Coqui Coqui residences. Francesca, who led the interior decoration of each property, has a background as a fashion designer, from her home town of Milan to New York, Paris, London and Brussels, before finding her new home on the Yucatán Peninsula.


The setting

“Valladolid is a simple colonial sleepy town, with the main characteristics being the austere lifestyle, with the kitsch style of the contemporary Mexican Yucatecan culture. In Valladolid people can visit the famous seven churches, get lost in the beautiful pastel tones of the streets, enjoy the sleepy ambiance of the colonial town, and of course savour the delicious organic food found in the markets.

“Buy a sombrero on Calzada de los Frailes, or perhaps a beautiful hand-woven hammock, and get the chance to experience a unique treatment at the local vintage barbereria [barber shop]. Coqui Coqui Valladolid offers the opportunity to relax and enjoy the lush gardens surrounding the spa, waking up all of your senses with scented candles in beautiful green surroundings.”

“The guests can experience the perfumery by coming and trying on any of the 13 existing scents or treating themselves with an incredible spa treatment where the essential bath and massage oils are used to create a unique experience. We can manage people’s sensorial memories, with each fragrance offering a beautiful memory.”