The Upgrade

Made in Mexico

From intimate city boltholes to upscale beachside retreats, the latest crop of Mexican hotels are diverse in nature but share a binding commonality: an enthusiasm for local materials and motifs.

A view from a suite at Hotel Amapa in Puerto Vallarta.

Intent to redefine “Made in Mexico,” Hotel Amapa opens soon in Puerto Vallarta, some 300 feet from Playa los Muertos—yes, that means “beach of the dead”—at the base of the Sierra Madre mountains. Antoine Ratigan of Circleminds in Mexico City mixes herringbone brickwork, bohemian weaves by fiber artist Mariella Motilla, authentic barro ceramics from Oaxaca-based Studio David Pompa, and terrace hammocks from the Yucatan peninsula to highlight Mexican craftsmanship in the 55 individually designed rooms, most with private balconies.

Midcentury Mexican furnishings and local artwork outfit Hotel Amparo.

I’m already debating which of the five guest rooms to book at the just-opened Hotel Amparo near the central square of El Jardín in the colonial mountain town of San Miguel de Allende. For now, I’m leaning towards the eponymous suite, with its four-poster bed and enticing soaking tub inside the sun-kissed bathroom. Houston interior designer Aaron Rambo recast the former mayor’s house with midcentury Mexican furnishings, eye-popping ceramic tiles, and hand-loomed textiles, some of them collected at the nearby makers market, Mercado de Artesanías. The custom bedding, towels, and linens come courtesy of the property’s owners, Hibiscus Linens founders Taylor Goodall and Mariana Barran de Goodall.

A rendering of a guest room at Nobu Hotel Los Cabos.

April will bring the next collaboration between actor Robert De Niro and chef Nobu Matsuhisa with the opening of the 200-room Nobu Hotel Los Cabos. Architects Monica Cuervo and Mark Yoshizaki of WATG approached the oceanside resort just west of town with a minimalist Japanese beach house vibe. Inside the high-ceilinged spaces, Severine Tatangelo of Malibu’s Studio PCH makes her mark with polished Mexican woods, locally crafted textiles, and contemporary artworks. Wooden soaking tubs, teak furnishings, and Japanese lantern lights complete the East-meets-West effort. De Niro and Matuhisa lured their favorite farm-to-table chef, Helene Henderson, to open her first Mexican outpost of Malibu Farm, while the other dining outlets will be helmed by Nobu himself. So expect plenty of yellowtail sashimi with spicy jalapeño.

A rendering of the Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas, opening this summer.

Fresh off his $450 million overhaul of the Four Seasons Resort Lanai for exacting owner Larry Ellison, Todd-Avery Lenahan and his TAL Studio are putting the last sandy palette touches on Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos before it opens in late spring at the intersection of the Sea of Cortez and rugged Sierra de Laguna Mountains. The 145-key, low-density enclave designed by Guerin Glass Architects spreads over 1,000 acres along two miles of swim-able white-sand beach on the eastern shore of the Baja Peninsula, with a 200-slip marina, 14-room spa, 18-hole Robert Trent Jones II golf course, and acres of organic farms. 

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