Designing a Transformative Sanctuary in the Heart of Mexico’s Napa Valley

How do you authentically design for a place where the destination itself, is the draw? We’re increasingly interested in designing hotels and resorts that act as a base for exploring idyllic natural environments, with an understanding that guests will be looking to hotels as portals to experience.

We craft engaging experiences that dissolve the barriers between people and their environments. For a recent project in Valle de Guadalupe, we mimicked nature, mirrored façades, and utilized large expanses of glass to blur the boundary between indoors and outdoors, allowing the built environment to disappear into the surrounding olive orchards.

Historically agrarian land, the resort is nestled amongst 900-hectares of historic olive trees. Naturally modern and refreshingly authentic, the design celebrates and showcases the traditions of the region. The destination boasts a 70-key hotel, 30 branded residences, ample event space, a luxury spa, and a carefully curated selection of F&B, including a ‘farm-to-table’ restaurant. Home to more than 100 wineries, Valle de Guadalupe has become Mexico’s answer to Napa. With a dedicated wine cave and tasting cellar on-site, the resort is destined to become an unrivaled destination for oenophiles.

The master plan is guided by the area’s diverse terrain, utilizing a 100-meter-tall hill as a key design feature and anchor. Creating moments of calm and reflection, the resort is situated to the South allowing for sublime sunrises and sunsets over the majestic foothills. Invigoratingly immersive, guests check their cars upon arrival and navigate the site either on foot or by golf buggy, allowing guests to seamlessly transition into the destination.

Starkly beautiful, the low-density architecture enhances the surrounding arid landscape, drawing the guest’s eye out and over. Contemporary clean lines match the desert’s understated grace and lusher pockets, such as natural reflecting pools create moments of surprise.

The design employs broad overhangs to provide protection from the wild desert sun. Preserving the pattern of history, perforated tree canopy markings on the rooftops, reflect the surrounding landscape and create a feeling of calm continuity from above.

At a base level, reflection is used as a tool for discovery, transformation, and healing, a way to simultaneously see the past as you transition into the future. For example, as the guest approaches the spa, a deep overhang provides shade to the façade of the architecture, allowing the glazing to act a mirror. Once underneath the canopy, the reflection of the ancient olive orchard comes into view as the guest moves through the space. SB Architects design allows for dramatic, endless views at every turn and encourages the guest to look inward and ground themselves in nature.

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