Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo, México
Blending into the spectacular unspoilt landscape, this resort respects nature and supports artisans.
Creating a hotel on a pristine coastal reserve that for centuries has been completely off the grid demanded careful handling to fulfil a commitment to preserve the natural landscape, celebrate Mexico’s rich heritage and provide the ultimate luxury travel experience. That was what Four Seasons required of the special development on a private peninsula on the Pacific coast surrounded by more than 3,000 acres of verdant jungle that would connect guests to Mexican culture in an outstanding nature experience.
Architects Victor Legorreta, Mauricio Rocha and Mario Schjetnan – who formed the firm LegoRocha specifically for this project – along with Uribe Krayer and Nodo Taller – envisioned a resort that blends seamlessly into the peninsula’s unique topography, supports rewilding practices and creates a perfect balance between the comforts of indoors with the exceptional outdoor opportunities offered.
The 157-room resort blends into the landscape. The team studied the terrain’s curves so that they could insert the buildings while respecting the reserve, which allows for breath taking ocean views from towering cliffs.
The contemporary architecture and interior design blend with the natural surroundings and showcases local materials and textiles. The teams created an architectural look and feel that is authentically Mexican, with elements of pre-Hispanic culture, colonial heritage, and contemporary local architecture seen throughout. It features many surprises as a sense of mystery is common in Mexican architecture. It is an architecture that is about emotions, one that makes you discover it as you walk through it.
Lead interior designers were Uribe Krayer and Estudio Esterlina, landscaping is by Mario Schjetnan, and restaurant designers were Esrawe Studio and Bibiana Huber. Mexico City-based designer Kris Goyri created employee fashion.
The resort features work by incredible artisans from all areas of Mexico. The team is working with philanthropic alliances and organisations, such as Ensamble Artesano and Taller Maya to protect pre-Hispanic culture, support Mexican artisans and offer financial recognition. Both organisations´ craftsmanship is reflective of Mexico’s incredible abundance of beautiful, handcrafted fabrics and art.
A boutique features many handcrafted items as reminders of the beautiful pieces used throughout the resort.
For the architecture to be timeless, and to embrace the elements, the teams chose local stone laid by artisans using pre-Hispanic methods. A cement was created to match the colour of sand on the beach below and with a distinct finish compatible to the environment. It was important to work with materials that behaved well in the salt air and that complimented the natural surroundings. Cement, lava rock and wood are seen throughout the project – all organic and commonly used in this region of Jalisco.
“In Tamarindo, we are creating a new resort experience that is deeply connected both physically and spiritually with its surroundings,” said Vince Parrotta, Four Seasons president, hotel operations – Americas West. “Working closely with our visionary owner partners and myriad local and regional designers and artisans, we are offering something entirely new. To put it simply, if you think you know Mexico, you haven’t been to Tamarindo.”
Only two percent of the surrounding 3,000-acre private nature reserve has been developed, offering endless opportunities for visitors to explore through guided excursions on land and sea. The resort includes 157 cliffside and beachfront accommodations – many with private pools – along with authentic dining options, an outstanding golf course, spa and wellness experiences, three pools and three nearly-deserted beaches for water sports and long days in the sun.
Felix Murillo, the resort’s general manager, said: “We are dedicated to the concept of rewilding, enabling Earth’s natural rhythms to flourish and nature to recover its balance. Everything we are doing is guided by this ethos, and it is our hope that our guests will form a deep connection both to the land and the coastline, and that in doing so they can recover their own balance and leave inspired and energized.”
The Discovery Centre is the ideal starting point to engage in the natural cycles of the region from ocean to jungle across the reserve. An on-site team of biologists and researchers is eager to introduce guests to the area’s biodiversity, including more than 70 endemic species of wildlife and hundreds of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. The team leads guided hikes along natural footpaths created by wildlife through jungle and along the coastline. Guests can learn about medicinal plants used since pre-Hispanic times, and the rewilding efforts that enable the Earth’s natural rhythms to flourish here.
Onsite chef’s gardens have become familiar at many hotels, but the resort team saw the broader possibilities offered by the region’s microclimate, and so Rancho Ortega, a 35-acre working farm, was born. Here, under the vision and leadership of Four Seasons Culinary Director Nicolas Piatti, the cultivation of indigenous and newly introduced plants supplies the resort’s restaurants with true zero-mile, root-to-dish produce. The farm also serves as a study centre for rare species, sustainable farming, and creative culinary exploration.
“We have a flock of egg-producing chickens roaming the farm now, and there are 17 varieties of fruit trees already producing pomegranates, figs, cocoa, guava and more,” said Piatti, who has spent months sourcing additional products from throughout the country, including a selection of endemic corn varieties from the Yucatan.
“We are particularly excited at the progress of more than 8,500 agave azul plants that we are cultivating here with the blessing of Mexico’s Tequila Regulatory Council.”
Celebrating the region’s dramatic seasonality and blending traditional flavours with modern techniques and ingredient-forward creativity, the four food and drink outlets offer settings for everything from starlit dinners to barefoot lunches.
The creatives have excelled in their challenge to devise a hotel that is a testiment of Mexican colonial heritage yet is contemporary and modern.
At a glance
Owner Paralelo 19
Operator Four Seasons
Interior design Uribe Krayer and Estudio Esterlina