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Rosewood Mayakobá Modern Style and Tropical Luxury Mingle on the Yucatán Peninsula Architecture and Interior Design by Casa & Jardín Text by Penelope Rowlands Photography by Michael Calderwood


t seems only fitting that the entrance to the Rosewood Mayakobá, one of Mexico’s newest resorts, takes the form of an inverted pyramid. For while traces of Mayan culture, including these monuments, can still be found in the region, here, at the Rosewood, they’ve been gently turned on end. The indigenous past feels inescapable along this strip of Caribbean coast —known as the Riviera Maya—where just a smooth line of beach separates the azure sea from the Yucatán jungle, with its clamorous wildlife. Even so, architect Gonzalo Martínez-Pita Copello, of the venerable Madrid firm Casa & Jardín, was determined to bring it into a streamlined, modernist context. “We wanted an eclectic style; we didn’t want something folkloric,” he says. “We wanted 

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Designed by the Spanish firm Casa & Jardín, the all-suite resort is built over a stretch of coastal lagoons between Cancún and Playa del Carmen, Mexico. A bove: The lobby leads to the hotel’s main pool. Below Left: “The light in Mexico is strong. We needed to limit it,” architect Gonzalo Martínez-Pita Copello says of the sapote-branch screen that shields a lagoon suite. Below R ight: The tequila bar, lounge and restaurant.

“We wanted an eclectic style, something more free, more natural,” says Martínez-Pita.


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something free, more natural, like trees.” Dallas-based architect Carl Ede collaborated with Casa & Jardín on the resort’s design and recalls aiming for “a modern look, as if it grew up out of the jungle, out of the ecosystem. We asked ourselves, If we were modern Mayans, how would we build? How would we be sensitive to the site? How would we think about the materials around us?” Perched on the edge of a lagoon, the dynamically angled reception area—flanked by a tequila bar on one side, a Europeanstyle restaurant on the other—acts as a gateway to nature. Guests enter the resort by descending a spiral staircase beneath an outsize, dangling mobile of metal stars, then board boats that take them to the private docks of their suites. Heading into the lagoon waterways feels like entering another world. The motorboats used by the resort are virtually silent, leaving jungle life, with its whirring

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yet gentle sound track, undisturbed. The air over the water is alive with birdsong, including an intriguing click-clicking sound emitted by the ubiquitous, brightbilled toucans. The Rosewood Mayakobá—situated on a 1,600-acre property just south of Cancún—is bisected by a mangrove forest containing trees and shrubs that thrive in saline water. The resort’s 128 suites are laid out on either side, mostly along the lagoon, although some face the beach. A few taller versions, on stilts, overlook the grove itself. Martínez-Pita took an unapologetically European approach to the resort’s interiors. “We didn’t want to use color as the Mexicans do.” So the often sizzling national palette is present in the most minimal way: in the form of drenchingly orange accent pillows, for example. But beyond that, all is muted. The feeling is spare, sophisticated—and decidedly nonfolkloric. Just as the designer intended. l

The resort’s suites are expansive (the smallest is 1,400 square feet), and each has a private deck and plunge pool. A bove Left: The Presidential suite’s terrace. A bove and Top: Lagoon suites offer an earthy palette that complements the watery landscape. Baths have Mexican marble mosaic tubs and outdoor showers. All of the furnishings were designed by Casa & Jardín.

Rosewood Mayakobá 52-984-875-8000

Rosewood Mayacoba  

Editor, Architectural Digest, November 2011