Atelier Playa Mujeres

Atelier Playa Mujeres was designed by Curioso with the beauty and simplicity of its environment in mind giving each space touches of it’s surrounding area.

  • area / size 753,474 sqft
  • rooms 600
  • Year 2019
  • Location Cancun, Mexico,
  • Type Hotel,
  • The Yucatan Peninsula, and Cancun specifically, is a place that overwhelmingly evokes images of sand and water. The landscape is coastal, Caribbean and flat.

    The design embraces this subdued energy. In fact, design is the supporting character in this project. It supports what is found in place and reflects the atmosphere which is calming, tranquil and understated.

    This is a new kind of luxury. It is not informed by the cost of showy materials, but by craftsmanship and the source and context of materials. Likewise, hotel leadership communicates a message of “handcrafted hospitality.” This is the ethos of how they operate.

    Following this lead, a calming, sober palette pervades every space, from guest rooms and public areas to the spa and restaurants. Natural stone, wood and chukum – a limestone-based stucco mixed with resin from native chukum trees – are a consistent pulse throughout myriad venues.

    To use these humble and simple materials in a luxury environment is surprising. It is also quietly beautiful and serene. This innovative approach to luxury involved careful attention to details. For example, every room number across the expansive property is carved in stone. This simple, elegant solution is the antithesis of gilding and flash. Far from relying on expensive materials, volume and space were the focus with the intention of creating an authentic Yucatan experience that is also luxurious.

    The resort’s spa represents a larger-scale example of how this local, contextual thinking was applied. Cenotes – deep, hidden sinkholes in limestone with fresh pools of water at the bottom, found throughout the Yucatan jungle – were cherished by the Mayans. The 3,000 square meter spa is an homage to this lifeblood of the ancient civilization. Natural limestone and organic foundations jut out from seemingly bottomless pools, reflecting the deepest shades of blue and creating a sense of peace and revitalization.

    This intention to provide an authentic experience, reflecting a true sense of place in an expansive, all-inclusive environment is an important element in the property’s story. Though well-known, Cancun itself has a short, 50-year history, without the colonial heritage or storied Mexican history some other cities enjoy. Rather than conceptualize a dreamlike, colonial city, this resort’s atmosphere honors its true narrative, which is a tranquil, natural landscape and the artisans living nearby who hand-crafted every detail.

    Because of this, Atelier Playa Mujeres’ lasting impact is one that benefits its collaborators and contributors just as much as its guests. The majority of the work to create this new-construction property was done by local artisans. Stone and chukum work was crafted by community masters of their trade. Millwork was sourced from the Yucatan Peninsula and custom furnishings were made in nearby Merida.

    Today more than 2,000 Mexican employees take pride in a space that celebrates their home everyday. There is recognition that priceless natural resources, such as the native mangroves, now integral to the spa experience, are preserved and honored.

    Design: Curioso
    Photography: Daniel Kelleghan