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Etéreo Riviera Maya: A luxurious and sustainable mayan inspired resort immersed in nature

Project name:
Etéreo Riviera Maya
Architecture firm:
Migdal Arquitectos, Jaime Varon, Abraham Metta, Alex Metta
Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Rafael Gamo, Ian Lizaranzu
Principal architect:
Jaime Varon, Abraham Metta, Alex Metta
Design team:
Guillermo Olvera, Guillermo Choque, Gerardo Sandoval
Built area:
32,800 m²
Site area:
99,205 m²
Design year:
February 2019
Completion year:
December 2021
Auberge Resort Collection (Hotel Management)
Interior design:
Meyer Davis Studio
Civil engineer:
CTC Ingenieros Civiles
Structural engineer:
CTC Ingenieros Civiles
Environmental & MEP:
GP PA Consultores
Grupo MAI
Migdal Arquitectos
Migdal Arquitectos
Tools used:
Migdal Arquitectos
Limestone, Metal, Concrete
GIM Developments, Auberge Resorts Collection
Hospitality › Hotel

The hotel is a luxury resort located inside the Kanai Riviera Maya complex, in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. The project is placed in a 10 hectares property situated in a mangrove swamp area, in the Mexican Caribbean. As it stands over three big platforms just 4 meters above sea level, the project evokes the feeling of floating above the mangrove, respecting its surrounding nature -reducing the impact on it- and highlighting the value of local flora.

The hotel is divided into 4 platformed luxury zones: a public area (oval), a rest area (rectangle), a recreational area (trapeze) and the beach, arranged through a main axis that interconnects them for the users as well as for service purposes, it also provides organic connections through wooden pedestrian bridges that float above the mangrove swamp.

The public area hosts the access plaza, reception, multipurpose room, meeting room, reading room, spa, treatment rooms, gym and yoga, all independent buildings interconnected by walkways over water mirrors that provide an entrance to the special atmosphere of the place.

The design of the spa visually expresses Mestre’s concept of highlighting the Mayan belief of connection between human beings and the universe. To create their cultural journey of wellness, the spa plan creates transitions and thresholds between programmatic elements that guide guests effortlessly toward and through various destinations. Visually, water below and sky above are exhibited in the interior through pools that step down, and cenote-like ceiling cut outs that ask guests to gaze up. Materials are simple, natural, and organic, highlighting the transition from earth to universe.

The rest area, placed at the center of the complex, consists of eight buildings of three to four levels. Each one of them features five different kinds of suites that go from 60 to 240 square meters, with private green terraces, and some include a small swimming pool. These volumes are inspired by local Mayan architecture, as they are conformed by staggered blocks with double vertical and horizontal displacement which create plazas, circulations and terraces that bring privacy and shade to the spatiality of the suites.

To pay homage to Mayan tradition and to region-specific inspired design elements but still add a contemporary spirit to the design, the main materials utilized are stone based, wood, and chukum style stucco. The main facade of the suites is oriented to the East, looking out into the sea with large-scaled private terraces that integrate the inner with the outer space. This facade involves a characteristic kind of lattice, designed and done in wood and prefabricated concrete that works as a dimmer of morning sun rays while it gives the rooms more privacy.

The design embraces the perfectly balanced tension between the natural and the man-made. Residential quality spaces are designed to allow for the surrounding vistas to become the true focal point. Warm, natural materials juxtaposed with high-level finishes create unexpected drama through a seductively inviting palette.

The design language of the public function areas draws on the wild and mystical nature of the surrounding landscape - looking at the design experience that can be created when it collides with the clean lines of contemporary Mexican architecture, embracing notions of tropical industrial - where wild organic meets modernist restraint.

The recreational area creates an environment for rest and relaxation, prioritizing the ocean views and surrounded by water mirrors that exalt the proximity to the ocean and the mangrove. This section houses the different pools, sunbathing areas and restaurants.

The complex is equipped with diverse systems that mitigate the environmental impact on the site and feature a sustainable project of the highest standard. The energy and resources saving technologies include a wastewater treatment plant, reuse of treated water for irrigation of green roofs and gardens, recharge of excess wastewater and rainwater at different depths of the aquifer, filtering of drinking water for general use, recirculation of hot water system with heat exchangers for public and private pools, dimmable LED lighting systems, control systems and automation of facilities, efficient air conditioning equipment, motion sensors to disable air conditioning in suites and lighting and dehumidifiers to maintain optimum humidity in each space.

The project is a magnet for those seeking an immersion in nature and an escape focused on wellness, leaving each individual with a tractive, restorative and inspiring experience.

By Stephany Mata Garcia

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