The Big House
If you ever make it to Valladolid, you will undoubtedly walk down La Calzada de los Frailes; a beautiful road bordered on either side by a collection of shops, cafés and restaurants painted in dreamy pastels: pinks, oranges, blues, greens and canary yellows. The temptation to step into their worlds was great as I made my way down the cobblestoned road, however, I had an appointment I simply could not be late for.
Past the Coqui Coqui perfumeria and right around the corner from a lovely vegan café I had lunch at, stands the grand Mesón de Malleville. Although I didn’t know it at the time, this 16th-century beauty is the former home of Coqui Coqui founders, Nicolas Malleville and Francesca Bonato. Decades of memories were made here, and a certain sense of reverence is accorded to the space.
Already from the outside, you can tell you’re about to enter a completely different world. The façade is deep red, not quite clashing with the pastels of surrounding buildings, but standing out and hinting at the richness inside.
Through the black French doors are impossibly tall ceilings, and rooms nearly cluttered with beautiful things; furniture, antiquities, art, bottles filled with perfume and amazing-smelling tinctures. The walls are painted in rich jewel tones—emeralds, rubies and sapphires aplenty.
My time marvelling in the foyer is cut short as someone comes to whisk me away. I make it past all the opulence and onto a refreshing inner courtyard. There, in the heat of the Yucatán summer, are hammocks swaying in the breeze, a fountain glittering in the sun and a door which opens to reveal the true oasis.