SB Architects combine Art and Wellness in Design of New Conrad Punta De Mita
SB Architects, a full-service global architecture firm with expertise in the site-specific design of luxurious resorts, is proud to have pioneered the design for Conrad Punta de Mita, a new destination resort recently opened in September 2020 in Litibu on the Riviera Nayarit. Designed as a portal into the landscape, history and rich multi-cultural identity of the region, the 324-room hotel is designed to offer a respite from the fast pace of Mexico City and immersion in the world-class destination known as Mexico’s ‘Pacific Treasure.’
“Inspired by Huichol traditions, indigenous art and spiritual rituals, the entire design team embarked on a creative journey to honour Mexico’s remarkable culture, as well as its people who have kept their traditions and customs alive for centuries,” said SB Architects Senior Associate Ana Ramirez. “The serene, white contemporary architecture blends seamlessly with evocative symbolism to embrace the natural beauty of the mystical landscape and celebrate the rich local identity.”
As an integral part of the creative design process, SB Architects, along with designers EDSA and Arquitectura de Interiores, incorporated indigenous mandala patterns across the landscape, interiors and décor at Conrad Punta de Mita. From an architectural perspective, SB Architects created an enhanced guest experience that pays homage to the traditions of the Huichol people and reinforces their reverence for nature. From the unobstructed guest room views of the Pacific Ocean to the integration of rich cultural influences with luxurious amenities – including four dining venues, a pool, a spa and 45,000-square-feet-of combined function space – the design details and motifs tell a meaningful story unique to the region.
Design That Bridges the Natural World
Drawing inspiration from the dramatic coastline and majestic Sierra Madre mountains, SB Architects designed resort bungalows and pavilions to complement the gorgeous Litibu scenery. Accentuated by lush tropical vegetation, open corridors and contemporary and costal décor, the resort’s nature-centric design enhances wellness and reflects a core belief of the Huichol that transformation and personal development occur through connection to nature.
Regionally sourced stone and a muted colour palette allow the landscape and natural environment to shine, while exterior doors designed to open wide and lush green bathroom walls with hanging vines blur the line between the natural and built environment. The butterfly roof in the resort beach grill and sunset bar, a framed pergola welcoming guests in the main building and an event lawn surrounded by mangroves are either open to the sky or contain apertures inviting guests to look up and connect to the natural world.
Motifs and Materials Express Indigenous Mexican Culture
Areas throughout the resort integrate ancient symbols with sacred geometric figures and patterns in honour of Huichol religious symbolism and decorative art. At the social heart of the resort, an authentic pattern adorns the pool grill and bar roof with woven wood, allowing light to enter and dance in a pattern across the bar floor. At the resort’s edge, the specialty restaurant creates a transportive sense of intimacy through a curated arrival; first entering an enclosed courtyard surrounded by water, guests will wander through a forest of mangroves before reaching their dining destination, which rests on elevated wooden deck beneath a bamboo ceiling and atmospheric lighting.
Such immersive experiences gesture toward Ojo de Dios, a ritual amulet of the Huichol representing odysseys of the soul through the mandala’s woven and awe-inspiring colours. A special mandala representing five points – the centre as origin, and north, south, east and west – is expressed in built structures, columns and terraces throughout the hotel. Strong connections to the rich Mexican culture and Huichol peyote rituals and ceremonies are found in a material palette of natural fibres and locally sourced stone in the spa, along with outdoor cocoon-style pods inspired by the indigenous peyote plant.
A Guest Experience Aligned with Spiritual Awakening
SB Architects designed spiritually engaging guest experiences in homage to the shamanism traditions of the Huichol. Working with EDSA, the firm opened the view corridors from the lobby into the landscape and out over the pool toward the ocean. Floating outdoor terraces not only increase circulation around the hotel, but also resonate emotionally with guests.
The spa design enhances wellness and mindfulness through indigenous rituals and natural elements. Guests are led through green tunnels to outdoor cocoon-style treatment rooms. The spa also features a traditional clay Temazcal – or ‘house of heat’ – providing a cleansing experience for body, mind and spirit that has been a tradition within Mexican culture for over 1,000 years.