A resort in the Yucatán jungle is the best in the world, and two of its creators were recognized at a ceremony in Paris last week.
Rather than service or comfort, this global award is based on design and architecture. This year, the grand prize for hotels went to the Chablé Resort outside Mérida.
The Prix Versailles, in partnership with the International Union of Architects, was held Thursday at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters.
The jury was formed by some of the most outstanding minds in the world of architecture and culture, including the philosopher Gilles Lipovestky and two Pritzker Prize winners, Toyō Itō and Wang Shu.
The Chablé Resort & Spa, a 750-acre luxury compound that opened last year, had stiff competition. Other nominees represented international firms such as Yabu & Pushelberg, Rockwell, Dubai Atelier POD and Philippe Stark.
The owners broke with traditional hacienda design, but worked with local artisans to create high quality pieces and integrated ancient Mayan techniques to finish walls and floors, as well as to design spa treatments and to build the ka’anchés, a Mayan orchard.
“We imagine how Mayan royalty would live these days and we incorporate high-quality craftsmanship with luxury materials such as jute, linen, silk, cotton, ceramics, tropical wood and Dytzia limestone to create an exquisite experience that fuses the original with the everyday, the ancestral architecture with modern spaces, nature with the interior,” comments Paulina Morán, a Cancun-based designer who collaborated with architect Jorge Borja. Both arrived in Paris to receive the award in person.
A half an hour from Mérida by car, the resort sets a new standard in prices, as well. Suites were posted at $1,500 USD a night last winter — not including a hot breakfast.
The resort was built by Hamak, a Playa del Carmen hotel company.
The 2016 award for best hotel went to Phum Baitang Siem Reap, a five-star luxury resort in Cambodia.