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 colours 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 conceptualised 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 Athenee 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 fantasising 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.