A Taste of Architecture
10 Boutique Hotels And Art Spaces To Discover In Mexico
Mexico is well known for its all-inclusive resorts but a select group of design hotels is captivating travelers in hotspots from bohemian Tulum to colonial Merida and vibrant Oaxaca.

I have rounded up ten the most designer boutiques and art spaces in Mexico that await your arrival.
Casona Sforza

Located in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico, Casona Sforza is a boutique hotel that embraces a hospitality concept of comfort and elegance combined with a setting where nature and design stimulate the senses.

The project reflects the commitment to environmental care, reevaluation of roots and the development of the local community. Conceived and designed by the entrepreneur Ezequiel Ayarza Sforza and renowned Mexican architect Alberto Kalach, the initial process took years of inspiration, planning, sketches and successive modifications. The vernacular inspiration for the final design was based on ancient techniques for creating arched vaults.

Casona Sforza financed and supported Pueblo del Sol, a social project aimed at building a community of indigenous artisans in Oaxaca, and improving the strength and visibility of their work, recovering their native roots.

Website: https://www.casonasforza.com
Directions: La barra Santa María Colotepec, 70934 Puerto Escondido, Oax.
Casa TO

In La Punta Zicatela, a spot on Mexico's Pacific coast with golden sunsets where the sea, the sand, and the cliffs form a unique panorama, Casa To nestles in a discreet oasis of unusual architecture where you can immerse yourself in a state of total contemplation.

The project, by the renowned architect Ludwig Godefroy, was developed under the watchword of simplicity and conceptual elegance, bringing together tradition and the avant-garde in a unique structure embraced by a peaceful natural setting. The name, Casa TO, comes from the idea of serene contemplation of an enclosed space, like the reinterpretation of a Oaxacan temple, generating a radical sensory experience upon entering.

Website: https://casato.mx
Directions: Morelos s/n, Brisas de Zicatela, 70934 Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca
Nobu Hotel Los Cabos

Situated on the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula, Nobu Hotel Los Cabos opened in March 2019. The architecture uses a contemporary interpretation of Japanese design, utilizing clean lines to create a fresh, open, minimalistic feeling. Upon arrival, guests walk through a serene Japanese-inspired courtyard before experiencing a dramatic stone-framed ocean view that creates a portal to the Pacific.

To strike a balance of laid back luxury, sophisticated materials that are simple yet dramatic were used throughout –including polished granite, warm local Cabo stone, lime stone and contrasting woods. Placement of the hotel structure focuses fully on the ocean, views of the migrating whales, and Pacific sunsets. Throughout the hotel, the clean lines, light color palette and natural materials enhance the splendor of the austere desert beauty.

The landscape architecture throughout the hotel subtly strikes a balance between fire and water elements–bringing Yin and Yang in harmony.

Website: https://loscabos.nobuhotels.com
Directions: Polígono 1. Fracción D. Fraccionamiento Diamante, Los Cangrejos, 23473 Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S.

A luxury resort Azulik together with its two museums is a new multi-faceted art center in Tulum founded by Roth (Eduardo Neira). Roth is responsible for the captivating architecture of each of these locations, all of which are environmentally conscious and are each built to ensure they leave no carbon footprint.

The spaces are a refreshing and imaginative combination of locally sourced materials including polished cement surfaces that undulate from floor to ceiling and raw 'Bejuco' wooden floors - a vine-like plant native to the region.

Website: https://www.azulik.com
Directions: Carretera Tulum - Punta Allen KM 5 Zona Hotelera, 77780 Tulum, Q.R.

Casa Etérea

Conceived as an off-grid hideaway for two – by Mexico-based Singaporean writer and designer Prashant Ashoka – Casa Etérea is a 75-square-metre dwelling that draws all its power from solar energy; its water supply from collected rainwater; and uses a patterned ultraviolet coating on the mirror making it visible to birds while remaining reflective to the human eye.

Heavily inspired by the concept of "emotional architecture," – coined by Mexican architect Luis Barragán and sculptor-painter Mathias Goéritz – Casa Etérea achieves this deeper sensory resonance by using exterior mirrored panels to create a visually abstract and interactive experience. The mirrored façade diffuses the liminal space between the wild and the structured while allowing the volume to take on a transitional quality as it reflects the unfolding seasons.

Working from an intention to leave the landscape untouched, the foundation of the house was built entirely from rock collected off the mountain. And by utilizing site orientation, efficient ventilation design, and insulated glass, the house naturally regulates temperature in the semi-arid desert climate of the central Mexican highlands.

Website: https://casaeterea.com
Directions: San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, México
Casa Wabi

Founded by Mexican contemporary artist Bosco Sodi and directed by Carla Sodi, Casa Wabi is a non-profit, civil organization that aims to promote collaboration and social commitment through art. The foundation adopts its name from the concept "Wabi-Sabi," which represents a vision of the world focused on the acceptance of the ephemeral and the imperfect.

Casa Wabi was designed by the renowned architect Tadao Ando (Pritzker 1995), to promote of interaction; where the residents and the communities of the region come together.

Ando brought together a collaboration of eight architects to conceive of six freestanding residences clustered around the main central complex. The floor plan is laid out to resemble a mammoth compass, with a 312-meter-long concrete wall running east to west that acts as a framework for the residency.

The wall follows the coastline, providing multiple zones where the six freestanding residences run off, these buildings house studios, exhibition spaces, and bedrooms. Currently Casa Wabi is a boutique beach house and artist residency.

Website: https://casawabi.org
Directions: Salina Cruz - Santiago Pinotepa Nacional Km 113, 71983 Puerto Escondido, Oax.
Coqui Coqui Merida

Coqui Coqui Merida is set within a 1903 townhouse, reminiscent of the Belle Époque era. Merida's L'Epicerie balances the vibrancy of the city with the charm of a hidden century-old colonial home. With the experience of the boutique, with its high-end local handcrafts, the timeless style of the Epicerie, with the smell of freshly brewed coffee, or the tasteful selection of gourmet treats, along with a unique urban spa, all of which will transport back in time.

With four hotels in the Yucatan Peninsula (two of which have just one lavishly-extravagant room) Coqui Coqui has certainly made an international name for itself in the last few years.

The hotels were all designed and built by Argentine architect and perfumer Nicolas Malleville. The charm of each of the 'residencies', as the Coqui Coqui staff prefers to call them, is that they reflect something of the environment around them. The Coba residency has been mistaken for being an extension of the archeological zone that it sits beside. The Merida residence reflects the colonial elegance of yesteryear and Valladolid boasts the same laid back tropical atmosphere as the city in which it resides.

Website: http://www.coquicoqui.com
Casa Malca

This luxury hotel in Tulum was created at a private residence formerly owned by infamous drug baron Pablo Escobar. A prominent art dealer turned the local estate into an art-filled hotel, complete with 42 rooms that meet a sandy yet shaded beachfront.

The hotel is on the beach, the Caribbean ocean just 25 yards away. Positioned at the quiet end of Tulum's beachfront road, it's next to the protected Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve. It's a 25-minute drive to downtown Tulum, though you're likely to spend more time around the beachfront's little boutiques, bars and restaurants, just a three-minute bike ride or one-minute drive away.

Website: https://www.casamalca.com
Directions: Km 9.5 Zona Hotelera Tulum-Boca Paila CP. 77780 Tulum, Quintana Roo

Xinalani was conceived as a tropical haven to host mind-body-soul retreats for individuals, couples and groups in search of a one-of-a-kind experience made of adventure, exclusive contact with nature and inner-discovery. Featuring a state-of-the-art studio, specially designed for the practice of yoga and other physical and spiritual disciplines. Immersed in a natural environment of spectacular views, the resort is filled with a serenity that allows guests to discover - and reawaken a more balanced lifestyle.

Born out of the vision of a Mexican-French family with a strong anchor in architecture, interior design, yoga, surf and adventure, Xinalani opened in October 2010 and has offered guests a relaxing WOW ever since.

Offering sea views, spacious palm thatched villas float on stilts. These luxurious handmade eco-chic suites are surrounded by lush jungle, edging a pristine beach, with the only access by boat (a shuttle service available).

Website: https://xinalaniretreat.com
Directions: Playa Xinalani, Quimixto, 48399 Puerto Vallarta, Jal Quimixto, 48399 Puerto Vallarta, Jal.
Flavia Hotel

The architecture studio directed by João Boto Cæiro has created a boutique hotel with a design where harmony with the surroundings and the contrast between the exterior structure and the cozy interior enhance the sensory experience.

The building, designed by João Boto Cæiro for RootStudio, is situated in Oaxaca. It was developed in accordance with the rhythms of an organic and sculptural planning method. Boto Cæiro shaped the building in such a manner that it maintained the specific characteristics of the land surface—adapting itself to the natural slope of the terrain—and alternating the spaces, proportions, light and shadow with the endemic vegetation and raw materials such as concrete, timber, and glass.

The result is a unique lodging with a restaurant, panoramic pool and 11 rooms each with their own atmosphere and layout. Guests can enjoy the eclectic character of this building with four double-height stories, in combination with landscaping by Luis Zárate—renowned for his work on Oaxaca's Ethnobotanical Garden—that introduces cacti, pochote trees, pitayas, and aquatic plants to the gardens, courtyards, and terraces.

Website: https://hotelflavia.com
Directions: De la Cruz 7, Agencia Municipal de San Felipe del Agua, 68020 San Felipe del Agua, Oax.
What do you think about designer hotels from the list?