Drawing from the region’s rich craft history, the Conrad Tulum features local materials and work sourced from nearby artisans.
The pool at the Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya, a new luxury resort located on the Yucatàn Peninsula.
Tucked between a tropical mangrove forest and the sparkling blue waters of the Caribbean, the Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya—a luxury resort designed by HBA San Francisco—embraces locally sourced materials and craftsmanship to create an immersive experience that connects guests with the surrounding nature of the Yucatàn Peninsula.
“[Our team] was informed by the local history, culture, and location to create a sensory experience that is sophisticated and allows for exploration and discovery at every turn,” says Meghann Day, a partner at HBA San Francisco. “The resort is located a few miles north of Tulum in a secluded bay. We paid homage to the locale by maximizing the sweeping ocean views and surrounding landscape in every space.”
The large entry doors at Conrad Tulum are hand-carved by a local artisan. The lobby's rope installation, also created by local artists, is a nod to Tulum's rope-making past.
Careful attention to materiality was paid throughout the project, as seen throughout the hotel, from the lobby to the guest rooms. Wood, rope, screens, travertine, and limestone abound, with metal accents such as oil-rubbed bronze and copper adding to the earthy aesthetic. Upon arrival, guests are greeted by 20-foot-tall entry doors made of Tzalam, a tropical wood that grows in the south of Mexico. For the door’s geometric carved patterns, HBA partnered with a local artisan based outside of the city of Mérida who specializes in hand carving. In the lobby, a jaw-dropping macrame installation covers the ceiling, adding texture and softness to the space. “The three-dimensional installation is composed of ropes of varying lengths that recall the rope-making past of the Yucatan Peninsula,” Day says of the artwork, which is made up of more than 7,000 individual strings. “The hanging ropes gently sway to the rhythm of the ocean breeze and cast different shadows throughout the day.”
The layered materials and neutral color palette of the Chaak bar emulate the aesthetic of the resort at large.
Also in the lobby is a reception desk made from a single, fallen tree—three tons of Tzalam wood.
“Tzalam wood is a sensory experience in and of itself,” Day notes. “It has vivid expressions of the grain, which lend well to dramatic color variations, deep carvings, depressions, and ribbed patterns to establish plays of texture and light.”
The Kengai restaurant at Conrad Tulum.
Other public spaces include 11 dining venues (several of the eateries, including Kengai, and Autor) have darker interiors that contrast with the light-toned bohemian feel of the rest of the resort. An on-site spa further taps into the geological history of the region.
The open-air lounge at the spa at Conrad Tulum. Striated dark granite and patterned cement block (a familiar element of the region’s architectural vernacular) form the walls.
“The design of the spa takes cues from the legendary cenotes of Tulum,” Day explains. (A cenote is a natural sinkhole that results in exposed groundwater. Historically, the ancient Maya on the Yucatán Peninsula used cenotes as a water source). “Entry to the limestone-clad, open-air spa lounge is a journey of discovery into the enchanting depths of the cenote. Above, warm-toned wood at the ceiling is a modern expression of indigenous craftsmanship. A spherical opening welcomes rain to trickle down into the circular pool beneath and sunbeams to dance upon the water’s surface.”
Guest rooms continue the use of wood and stone in furniture and finishes.
The layered natural materials continue in the guest rooms, where palettes of wood, rattan, stone, and gray upholstery create a relaxing escape that looks out onto the secluded bay. Caledonia granite floors are reminiscent of volcanic rock formations, and carved screens made from locally sourced wood add texture without being obtrusive.
“We sought to honor the location by designing spaces inspired by Mexican culture, infused with modern touches,” Day says. “Locally sourced materials and local artisanal elements combine with refined detailing and craftsmanship to establish a modern lifestyle sanctuary with curated moments of authenticity in the brand’s signature of luxury.”