The coastline of Baja California Sur, a finger-like peninsula that stretches down the west coast of Mexico and separates the Gulf of California from the North Pacific, is the stuff of postcards. The natural topography here, shaped by tectonic activity, is filled with mountain ranges, jagged rock formations, and coastal planes. This arid landscape is a magical place where the desert meets the sea. The sparkling blue waters long ago attracted Spanish settlers with the promise of pearls, while its remoteness made it a prime hiding place for pirates.
Despite its natural beauty, the area remained largely undeveloped until the 20th century, when the country began to promote the region for tourism. The fact that this infusion of modernity came so late means a place where the land, mostly untouched for millions of years, has remained largely unscathed. It is a majestic stretch of unspoiled paradise, one with plenty of solitude to offer travellers.
Located on the southern tip of the peninsula, Los Cabos is a particular draw. It was here, among the contrasting ochres and blues of the land and water, that a site was chosen for a new landmark hotel.
Solaz Los Cabos, a new Luxury Collection Resort, is an expansive retreat perched upon an enviable piece of oceanfront property. Here, the azure waters of the Sea of Cortez — the original name of the Gulf of California — lap against white sand beaches. Designed by Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos, a Mexico City based architecture firm that has been practicing for over 80 years, Solaz takes a lot of visual cues from its surroundings. Its 9.8 hectares of land encompass unique topographical formations that meant the hotel would need to be integrated in an innovative manner. The site’s natural steepness resulted in three large, curved terraces on an east-west orientation, while the hotel rooms were placed at the western edge. (The apartments, situated within three square volumes, were placed on the southern extremity.)
The terraces are separated by narrow passageways planted with greenery, which enhances the hotel’s privacy. These rise above each other like steps and feature south-facing facades that allow for uninterrupted views of the waters below.
The building materials were chosen for their ability to create harmony with the landscape, while a use of organic forms was employed to echo the movement of the nearby waves. The principal building, which resembles three stacked blocks, is six stories high. This unique silhouette ensures excellent views while echoing the tectonic shifts that originally shaped the region.
To reach the hotel’s suites and rooms, a courtyard-lobby functions, according to a recent press release, as both an entryway and “a bridge between the topographic undulations of the exterior and the welcoming geometry of the interior.”
Key to the project was the landscaping, which was achieved in partnership with Gabayet 101 Paisaje. Plants native to the region helped to facilitate and shape the external walkways and outdoor amenities, while also adding a distinct local character to the lobbies, restaurants, and green roofs.
A contemporary Mexican design was employed throughout the interiors. Traditional Mexican coloured textiles, tropical woods, and streamlined stonework all help to create a warm, modern atmosphere.
As vital as the landscaping is the use of artwork throughout the hotel. Local art was a conceptual pillar of the project. Mexican artist Cesar López Negrete exhibits over 400 works throughout the rooms, open plazas, and common spaces, all nodding to the history and culture of Baja California.
There’s a lot that makes the Solaz Los Cabos a destination worth seeking out, from its restaurants, spa, swimming pools, and beach club to the waterfront sun loungers. But perhaps our favourite detail is the hanging seats in the Mako Restaurant, which offer extraordinary, watercolour-like views of the beach at sunset. Here the evening sky is reflected in an adjacent infinity pool as guests dine on fresh catches from the sea, produce from local biodynamic farms, and refreshing cocktails, all while relishing in some unobstructed whale watching.
Photos via v2com