This Family-Owned Hotel on a Mexican Island Is as Enchanting and Intimate as it Gets
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This Family-Owned Hotel on a Mexican Island Is as Enchanting and Intimate as it Gets

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By Kelly Dawson
Hotel Punta Caliza on the island of Holbox only offers 12 rooms so that guests feel like part of the family.

Cradled by the turquoise waters off the Yucatán Peninsula, and colored by the verdant greenery of the surrounding Yum Balam Nature Reserve, the Mexican island of Holbox immediately feels like a departure from the crowds of nearby Cancún and Tulum. It takes a plane, a two-hour car ride, and then a ferry just to get here, but that’s part of the allure at family-owned hotel Punta Caliza—it's as much of a literal separation from the "scene" as it is a figurative one. 

Each of Punta Caliza’s 12 rooms are connected to a private pool. 

Each of Punta Caliza’s 12 rooms are connected to a private pool. 

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"Holbox is a small, pedestrian island surrounded by mangroves and sandy roads," Claudia Muñoz, a collaborator on the construction of the hotel, says. 

Besides being secluded, the hotel also feels like a well-kept secret, as the Muñoz family built it for a lucky handful of visitors. There are only a dozen rooms on the property, which was thought of as a way to make this getaway feel like a family vacation. 

 "What we want most was for people to feel the passion and love we put into the hotel," notes Claudia Muñoz, who helped build the intimate, family-run hotel.

 "What we want most was for people to feel the passion and love we put into the hotel," notes Claudia Muñoz, who helped build the intimate, family-run hotel.

"Before we even started thinking about Punta Caliza, our dream was to have a house with some rooms to rent where we could share stories and drinks with our guests," says Muñoz. "Having 12 rooms gives us the opportunity to meet all of our guests and create relationships with them. It also allows our guests to befriend each other. I love seeing them in town having dinner or dancing at the local bar." 

And to further that homespun feel, the family relied on a construction ethos that valued local supplies and community-driven design. Each of the 12 guest rooms are connected by a swim-in, swim-out pool, and its own sky-colored water contrasts with the wooden details of the private spaces. 

The guest rooms were all built from Western red cedar, which was sourced from the family's plantation. 

The guest rooms were all built from Western red cedar, which was sourced from the family's plantation. 

"We wanted the pool to be the center of the project," she continues. "We pictured people swimming before breakfast, or meeting their friends at the bar." 

Most of the structures are made from Western red cedar, which was grown on the family's plantation, and their thatched roofs—known as palapas—are a nod to the traditional properties on the Mexican coast. The interiors are intentionally comfortable, yet minimalist. It's all the more reason to spend time relishing the outdoors. 

Either spend time swimming in this secluded pool, or go to the nearby beach. In fact, do both. 

Either spend time swimming in this secluded pool, or go to the nearby beach. In fact, do both. 

"Before Punta Caliza, we had never built anything on an island. Here, the most basic things are a luxury, so we had to learn how to be creative with what we had," Muñoz says, noting that the hotel opened in December 2017 after nearly three years of construction. "There are many fun stories to tell. But the most satisfying part has been meeting all our guests." 

Surely, guests will have plenty of stories to share upon their return home, too—if they decide not to keep this secret to themselves.   

"Running a business with your family is complicated, but being back together after six or seven years of living on our own has been a beautiful experience," she says. 

"Running a business with your family is complicated, but being back together after six or seven years of living on our own has been a beautiful experience," she says. 

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Related Reading: 7 Modern Hotels in Mexico You Have to Visit

Project Credits: 

Architect of Record: Estudio Macias Peredo / @maciasperedoarquitectos

Builder: Cuauhtemoc Munoz Caldera

Structural Engineer: Juan Aguirre

Civil Engineer: Cuauhtemoc Munoz Caldera

Landscape Design: Estudio Macias Peredo

Interior Design: Claudia Munoz Vargas 

Photographer: César Béjar / @cesarbejarstudio