The Nobu Hotel Los Cabos Fuses Japanese Minimalism With Mexican Craftsmanship

The Nobu Hotel Los Cabos Fuses Japanese Minimalism With Mexican Craftsmanship

By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
This Pacific-facing hotel expertly blends two architectural traditions into one luxurious escape from everyday life.

The Nobu Hotel Los Cabos, the Japanese hospitality empire's first resort in Mexico, overlooks the Pacific Ocean from the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula. Opened in March 2019, the luxury resort fuses a contemporary interpretation of Japanese design with indigenous Mexican elements, resulting in a relaxed environment defined by clean lines and an array of vernacular materials.

The dramatic entry features a stone-framed ocean view that creates a "portal to the Pacific" and a zen rock garden designed by WATG and David O. Design. 

The resort offers 200 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, and multiple dining options. Upon arrival, guests are led through a Japanese garden created with local Cabo stone and an elevated rock pathway, evoking a mountain journey. The path continues to a serene courtyard that features its own zen rock garden. Sleek minimalist lines frame the dramatic entry and open to a stunning ocean view.  Thoughtful orientation of structures and outdoor elements throughout the resort make the most of the site and its spectacular vistas, which can include glimpses of migrating whales and breathtaking Pacific sunsets.

The immersive atmosphere is infused with a strong sense of place that feels unique to Cabo San Lucas, while still being authentic to the Nobu brand. 

The landscape architecture is designed to echo the desert environment of Cabo San Lucas and reference Japanese gardens. 

The architecture and the interiors are unified by a light, desert-influenced color palette with an emphasis on natural materials. The hotel walls are clad in rough stone—a nod to Cabo’s native materials—and paired with warm woods like teak and ipe. "Nothing was imported," explains Severine Tatangelo, the founder and principal of Studio PCH. The firm was responsible for the interiors of the rooms, the public spaces, and the restaurants. "There is a Japanese feeling in the architecture and the simplicity of materials, and we brought in an authentic local aspect by working with local materials and local craftsmen onsite." 

The Pacific restaurant is an indoor/outdoor space that exudes warmth by mixing materials like polished granite, warm local Cabo stone, and limestone with teak and ipe woods. 

The Playa Bar is an open snack bar that overlooks both the pool and the Pacific Ocean. 

Malibu Farm is an indoor/outdoor space that features sustainably-sourced, farm-to-table cuisine. Bright and airy, it is the Los Cabos outpost of Chef Helene Henderson’s Malibu restaurant.

The guest rooms mix contemporary Japanese minimalism with locally sourced Mexican materials and finishes. The millwork is all Parota wood. 

The guest rooms exhibit the same clean, minimalist aesthetic and feature furniture, accessories, and rugs that have been custom-designed by Studio PCH and handcrafted locally.  The laid-back Cabo sense of style comes through in the use of color, textures, and geometric design elements. The Japanese influence is seen in the use of wood joinery techniques to create the beautiful teak soaking tubs that add a spa-like quality to the bathrooms; the table lights meant to resemble Japanese lanterns; and the shoji screen-inspired closet doors.  "It was a luxury to work with such generous proportions and sizes with the guest rooms," concludes Tatangelo. "It lets us design better spaces." 

"Throughout the whole project, we were looking for calm and peace, highlighting the views and the nature," says Tatangelo. 

The thoughtful incorporation of simple joinery details and lighting highlight the quality of materials. The light fixtures were custom-designed by Studio PCH and made in Guadalajara. 

The bathrooms all feature a skylight that brings natural light into the space. "We felt that it was very important to bring the sky into the most private space. We really pushed to have this," says Tatangelo. "It makes the room feel completely different." The pebbles in the wall element were all hand cut and hand placed. 

The bathrooms feature spacious open showers, double vanities, and traditional onsen-style teak soaking tubs together with decor handcrafted by local artisans. The stone vanities are made from mocha creme limestone and the walls are Ojinaga marble. 

Related Reading:

10 Modern Vacation Homes in Mexico That Guarantee an Epic Escape

This Expansive Beachside Home on Mexico's Pacific Coast Puts a Modern Spin on Tradition

Project Credits: 

Architect of Record: Ares Arquitectos (Interiors), Idea Asociados (Core, Shell) 
Builder/General Contractor: De la Pena
Design Architect: WATG / @watgdesigns
Landscape Design: WATG/@watgdesigns
Landscape Architecture: David O.
Lighting Design: Isometrix
Interior Design: Studio PCH / @studiopch
Cabinetry Design: Grupo Solarix (guest rooms, restaurants) 
Public Spaces: Garcia & Lopez
Spa: M4H Mexico  

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