Located in the heart of Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico, a 3,200m2 plot of land neighbors the busiest and most important touristic avenue in the city known as the 5th Avenue, a 5 km long pedestrian-oriented street filled with vitality and 24 hour activities. Existing since the early 1980’s flea market type stalls and local restaurants, bars and stores have grasped both international and national attention. Because of the intensity and vibrancy of the area, the client’s request was to maintain the synergy and a relationship with the street without losing the tranquility and privacy of the hotel guests.
Cacao Hotel Boutique had to integrate correctly to the street to maintain the vitality of the area and trigger future developments that would continue to promote the pedestrian activities within the area. Therefore resulting in a mixed use project with commercial areas that open to the active street fronts, without compromising the privacy of the hotel guests.
The hotel had to respond to the aesthetic values of the Mexican culture and translate it into a whole new contemporary artistic concept, placing close attention to details and permanence to the area. Cacao contributes to the activation of the city’s streets while creating self-monitored sidewalks that remain busy and self-monitored day and night. As a result, achieving to be a part and a promoter of city life.
The building’s floor area is 9,067 m2 on a plot of 3,200 m2. Contains 60 spacious guest rooms and suites with a dining area, roof top bar and infinity pool.
Inspired by colonial Mexican architecture, a traditional central patio is incorporated to the design. Allowing the entrance of natural light and crossed ventilation. Moreover, the paved stone courtyard covered by parasols provides natural shade with a light white textile canopy that provides the illusion of open space and gently diffuses the intensity of the sun during the day. One of the major influences within the design schemes were the bioclimatic factors, located on an extremely humid and hot climate, a grid that allows crossed ventilation was incorporated allowing the cooling down of temperatures and shadings within the building.
During the beginning of the design process the sidewalk was defined to be a fundamental aspect of the Project. It was considered to be the integrating factor with the exterior of the building; being so, the existing gap between the sidewalk and the street was removed, resulting in the integration and expansion of both elements; giving a greater importance to the pedestrian and revitalizing the surrounding street areas.
Since the building is located adjacent to the 5th Avenue, consisting of single and two level buildings, Cacao Hotel recess its facades and incorporates the use of balconies and terraces in order to become less invasive and to maintain a connection with its surroundings.
Cacao Hotel Boutique accomplishes the integration of the Fifth Avenue, the project communicates the interior to the exterior life of the building. The sidewalk is lowered to the street level creating a “seamless” effect, in order to extend the restaurant area and integrates the pedestrian activities within the building, resulting in the creation of a vibrant ambience that promotes the desired recreation level without losing the privacy of the hotel guests.
In regards to the election of materials, the elegant combination of local materials integrates the building within the area bringing a new avant-garde and contemporary building with a timeless design. This in relation to the sound inquiries made by the client, the project resolves the noise caused by the intensity of the area by placing the hotel rooms in pairs facing the interior corridors, turning away from the noise.
The project has proved the functionality of this scheme and considering the success of the intervention with the revitalization of the area, the local authorities are now considering expanding the pedestrian street areas perpendicular to the 5th Avenue allowing the continuous sprawl of economic activity through the city’s inland.
Surrounded by vegetation and open corridors that contrast the light colored marble walls, the central patio serves as a the heart of the complex, which in turn stands out for its special care for geometry and the use of natural Mexican materials. The patio is composed by a restaurant area, a reflecting pool, vegetation and a dividing waterfall, together contributing to give the space an identity and a sense of belonging. As the heart of the project, it is the main view for the adjacent circulation corridors and serves as an integrator of the whole.
Located beside the painted mural, the restaurant acquires a unique and contemporary character while being bounded by the vivid colors of the painting. Water is incorporated to the project to increase the sensory experience, both the wooden corridors and the restaurant are delimited by a delicate border of pebbles
The tonality of the stones differ from each other depending on the area resulting in different shades and contrasts. The whole area is covered by a series of white tensioned shade sails designed to withstand light weather conditions and wind. Shade sails allow the circulation and ventilation of cool air, and reduce the sun’s direct exposure. Depending on the weather, they can be removed and reinstalled.
The building incorporates the use of acoustic treatment in walls, roofs, and floors to maintain a practically zero noise level within the hotel rooms and achieve the client’s requirements where the guests are immersed in the tranquility of the Boutique. The interiors of the hotel rooms strive to provide spacious solutions with a creative use of space. All rooms meet with handicap requirements and offer easy access. The interior design incorporates materials like marble, textiles and wood with warm lighting tones.
108 m2 area room with a spacious living room, bath and double shower. Additionally, contains a Jacuzzi on the terrace with a view to the 5th Avenue.
70m2 suites with a view of the 5th Avenue or the Caribbean ocean. Every suite has a terrace with lounge chairs.
51 m2 rooms with a king bed or two double beds with a view.
The materials used in Cacao vary from marble, treated wood, vegetation and textiles. The mix of these achieve to create a comforting and warming effect on spaces. The changes in between materials are subtle; wood is used to differentiate the areas of amenities and terraces, marble in the majority of the building, vegetation to accentuate and humanize the areas and finally textiles that bring a Mexican and cultural accent to the project.
Marble is used entirely throughout the project’s floors, interior and exterior walls. It is used for its light color, beauty and mainly because it is a local material. The marble planks were cut locally and then placed with different insets in order to create different shadow effects during the course of the day. Likewise, wood is present throughout the project’s corridors and terraces to add a warming effect.
The use of vegetation is seen from the building’s facade and interiors. The terraces contain large planters filled with a variety of tropical plants that beautify the area and can be seen from the street’s view. Furthermore, the central courtyard contains large vegetation areas that retain rainwater, moderate the temperature and create a visually positive effect.
The central courtyard is covered by light weighted textile sun shades that offer shading and a natural diffusing of light with an elegant design that can be removed if necessary during hurricane season.