In 2019, Studio PCH celebrated the opening of the Nobu Hotel Los Cabos, the first Mexico outpost of the chef-multihyphenate’s namesake hospitality enterprise. Studio PCH founder and principal Severine Tatangelo, who collaborated with architecture firm WATG seamlessly blended Japanese minimalism with quintessentially Mexican materials—just don’t call any aspect of the Nobu empire “fusion.”
“Still, nobody knows the Nobu style of food. It’s kind of our joke: if something is fusion, there is confusion too,” said chef Nobu Matsuhisa, emphasizing the clarity of vision at play in the property’s cuisine and design direction, while in conversation with Surface during the summer at his Los Cabos property. Surface was on-site for the ribbon-cutting of the Nobu Residences, a new 60-key addition executed by Studio PCH and WATG.
Like the 200 hotel rooms, each residence is executed in a soothing palette of teak, walnut, linen, and sandstone, which feels right at home in the surrounding tropical desert. Matsuhisa worked closely with Tatangelo to solve the woes of frequent travelers through good design: Motion sensors flick on low lighting to softly illuminate the room during jetlagged, middle-of-the-night wakeups. Full kitchens can host Nobu-trained private chefs in each residence, from the single-bed “Hikari” suite to the four bedroom “Kogane” penthouse.
Of course, the defining feature of any Nobu accommodation is the teak soaking tub: a must for every room, at every property, according to the man himself. “It’s from Japanese culture,” he says. “Even myself, before I go to sleep, I take a bath, stay in there for 10 minutes, but after, I go straight to sleep for six to seven hours and don’t wake up until the next morning.” As someone with 18 properties around the world and another 20 in development, Matsuhisa knows the value of deep, uninterrupted sleep.
The vision drew inspiration from the distinctive charm of Los Cabos, situated near the ocean’s edge. Our goal was to craft an environment that seamlessly blended interior spaces with the natural beauty of the Pacific. By merging elements of indigenous Mexican style with a contemporary interpretation of Japanese design, we employed clean lines to create an uncluttered, open, and minimalist aesthetic.
What colors and materials are central to the visual identity?
Our intention was for the visual identity to mirror the captivating surroundings. We aimed to establish interior spaces that effortlessly connect guests to the outdoors, ensuring a strong sense of place. The color palette is subtle, warm, and tonal, enhancing the views of the nearby landscape. The materials blend simplicity and luxury, creating an inviting ambiance throughout the hotel interior. We incorporated elements like lime plaster, various natural stones, and accent walls adorned with natural pebbles.
What stands out to you the most now that you’ve finished it?
The peaceful feeling that fills the whole place. We’ve managed to blend the calm style of Japanese design with the lively essence of Mexican aesthetics in a way that just works. This mix has created an atmosphere that’s soothing yet energizing, and it’s something I’m really proud of. It’s not just about how it looks—it’s about how it makes you feel when you’re in the space.
References of inspiration:
The interior design of the guestrooms and public areas was sparked by combining modern Japanese minimalism and locally sourced Mexican materials. This is evident in the custom furniture, teak soaking tubs, Shoji-style closet doors, trellis accents, and other wooden elements throughout the hotel. The spaces capture Cabo’s relaxed essence through color, geometric art, and textured surfaces. The architecture complements beachfront living, fostering an indoor-outdoor flow.
Our utilization of materials indigenous to Mexico. Inside, we’ve integrated Ojinaga Limestone, and the inclusion of natural Madera de Parota brings a subtle warmth to the space.
A welcome distraction:
When you arrive, they offer you a welcome drink of Japanese matcha tea.
Next project on the horizon:
The highly anticipated Nobu Abu Dhabi. With meticulous attention to detail and a commitment to delivering an exceptional guest experience, our goal is to create an iconic landmark destination.