Posted in Projects on 14 July, 2022

Nature versus nurture? Hilton pledges to safeguard the beautiful landscape that its latest luxury resort embodies.

In a secluded bay, surrounded by a tropical forest and pristine Caribbean waters, designers have gone all out to provide guests with a deep connection to Tulum’s distinctive landscape. Inspired by jungles and beaches, underground chambers of water, and colourful flora and fauna, as well as the area’s history as a trading post and Mexican culture, HBA San Francisco designers aimed to create an immersive journey of discovery through layered spaces that stimulate the senses and encourage intuitive exploration.

This vision has been brought to life with locally sourced materials, artisanal elements, and refined detailing and craftsmanship to establish a modern lifestyle sanctuary with a relaxed, luxury feel and authentic highlights at Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya, which marked Hilton’s debut in the Mexican Caribbean when it opened in January. Located eight miles north of Tulum, the 349-room resort offers a retreat for guests seeking a transformative getaway, with signature restaurants, destination spa, oceanfront pools and access to Tulum’s celebrated sights and attractions.

Conrad Tulum, Mexico. Above: Lobby. Top: Spa. Credit all photos: Noah Webb

“The design narrative of Conrad Tulum embraces the local culture, history and artisanal craft seen through a modern lens. Drawing from Tulum’s historical legacy as a major trading centre, we incorporated accents of oil rubbed bronzes and copper into the visual vocabulary of this project along with materials inspired by obsidian, volcanic rock, limestone, and woven goods found at local markets. We also worked with local artists and craftsmen in traditional trades such as woodworking, carving, weaving and ropemaking,” said HBA San Francisco associate Jacob Royster.

Entering the lobby, guests pass through intricately hand-carved wooden doors. Pivoting shuttered walls along the length of the lobby frame sweeping vistas of the ocean and surrounding landscape, ushering in the ocean breeze and natural light to cast shadows from morning to night.

Suspended above, ropes of varying lengths compose a three-dimensional installation that gently sways to the rhythm of the wind and recalls the rope-making past of the Yucatan Peninsula while making a bold, textural statement. Warm wood tones at the walls and ceiling beautifully contrast the accents of stone and polished-and-matte, black granite floors inspired by indigenous textile patterns. Salvaged Tzalam wood at the reception desk is a single fallen tree, providing a more literal connection to nature.

Maratea, Conrad Tulum.

HBA San Francisco partner Meghann Day said: “The simplistic materiality allows the form and spirit of the interiors to cohesively blend with the organic surroundings and create warm, comfortable environments that incite relaxation and exploration with visual appeal. Each space seamlessly flows from one to the next. The design of Conrad Tulum allows curiosity to quietly guide each guest on their own journey of discovery with each stay, time and again.”

The textural, tonal palette and handcrafted sensibility carry into the adjacent Chaak Bar transfer lounge where decorative art and artifacts were commissioned from local makers, and lighting is evocative of native handicrafts.

Tulum’s legendary cenotes – underground chambers or caves filled permanently with water – are referenced repeatedly throughout the hotel where each building features a central area in which rain falls and drains out like a cenote.

References to basket weaving, Mexican textiles, ropework and woven tapestries can also be found throughout the resort’s other public spaces and guestrooms as well as dining venues. Nestlike tunnels lead to a Japanese Izakaya restaurant, where black walnut wood and tundra grey marble are reflective of rock formations and stone found in Tulum.


Guestrooms and suites continue the sensory experience and material palette of locally inspired stones, woods and metals. Caledonia granite at the floors and in guest bathrooms is reminiscent of volcanic rock formations, while volcanic rock textures at the door drops are a striking expression of dark stone. Screening elements made of locally sourced wood and open-plan vanity areas provide separation of functionalities without obstructing views of the tropical forest or ocean. Hanging swings present a playful diversion in a cosy corner for enjoying the breath-taking landscape. Each of Conrad Tulum’s accommodations is complete with private balcony and relaxation tub or plunge pool. Suites include a spacious living room and dining area for up to eight people, as well as a spa-inspired master bathroom.

Guest bathroom.

Chaak Bar.












The resort has five restaurants, and six bars and lounges featuring globally inspired cuisine, casual poolside fare and world-class catering for meetings and events.

Spa Pool.

Nestled within lush mangroves, the spa offers a wide range of services inspired by the legends of the Mayan gods and traditional Mexican herbalism in individual treatment rooms. These include an extensive menu of body rituals, a sensory water ritual including an outdoor pool and thermal facilities, and an ancient massage technique in which shawls are tied around the waist to relax and realign the body. The property has an in-house Shaman to perform ancient rituals.

The resort is dedicated to safeguarding Tulum’s landscape and its resources. From an environmental education curriculum to multiple rescue and relocation programs for its mangroves, wildlife and coastal forest, conservation is ingrained in the DNA of Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya. The hotel emphasizes meticulous preservation and sustainability through its sea turtle protection program as well as an innovative waste management system and water quality monitoring projects. The sea turtle protection program reduces the impact of the hotel’s activities during the turtles’ nesting season and guarantees the conservation of the protected species.

Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya offers the destination’s first and largest separate event centre, featuring indoor and outdoor event space. The convention centre’s modern yet elegant décor has large windows giving way to breath taking views.

The hotel is the latest addition to Hilton’s portfolio of iconic luxury hotels in premier global destinations. This year, Conrad Hotels & Resorts will significantly expand its footprint in key urban and resort destinations including Los Angeles, Nashville, Sardinia and Rabat, Morocco.

Danny Hughes, executive vice president and president, Americas, Hilton, said: “The Caribbean and Latin America has long been a priority market for Hilton with Mexico leading the way – it’s our fifth largest presence globally by number of hotels with Tulum as a central part of our growth strategy.”

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