Once a quiet little Mexican fishing village, the town of Tulum in the state of Quintana Roo has evolved into a laid-back beach destination that has become the topic of many travel conversations. Located just one-and-a-half hours by car from Cancun International Airport, Tulum sees loads of visitors each year who come to enjoy its sunshine and sandy beaches.
Though visitors are offered a variety of accommodations here, it's rare to find hotels in the area that hit the mark in terms of simple and modern design. However, the newly-opened Hotel Tiki Tiki Tulum has caught our eye. With a built-in area of approximately 10,000 square feet, and a 36-foot-long pool, this charming hotel embodies the spirit of barefoot luxury with a generous dose of Miami midcentury cool.
Not wanting the hotel to be sited in the middle of heavy tourist activity along the main beachside strip, Arturo Zavala Haag—the Swiss-Mexican architect and photographer who designed the hotel—chose to place it in the middle of the jungle, within a yoga retreat community center known as Holistika Tulum.
Designed in an architectural style that was popular in the Miami Beach area in the 1950s, the hotel—with its rattan chairs and soothing aquamarine palette—is a pared-down, retro-inspired jungle oasis.
All the floor tiles were designed by Haag who had them custom-made in Guadalajara with Mooma Mosaicos. The walls in the guest rooms were made with local sand mixed with white cement. A type of local limestone, known as Mayan stone, was used for the feature wall at the back of the bar. A water bio-digester treatment plant was incorporated so that water can be treated on-site and used for watering the lush gardens surrounding the property.
Wood from Tzalam trees, a species that grows in abundance in Tulum, were used for the doors and joinery. Furniture from Mexican brand La Metropolitana were used in the bedrooms. The two coffee tables, bamboo and Zapote wood bar, bar shelves, and turquoise sofa in the reception area were all designed by Haag.
"I love the art deco architecture of Miami Beach and all the midcentury buildings. We're not that far away from Miami, so I thought if that architecture works very well over there and we have the exact same climate, why not bring that kind of architecture and revive it in Tulum," says Haag, who kept design-savvy travelers in mind while developing the hotel.