In the coastal village of Tulum, 800-year-old Mayan ruins still stand guard at the edge of the sea; the briny waters surge with bonefish and barracuda. Cell-phone reception comes and goes. So it’s no wonder that the Yucatan Peninsula beach enclave—the very embodiment of pared-down luxury—has become a magnet for celebrities and fashion-world insiders seeking a way to unplug from big-city life. And if it were up to me, I'd be right behind them.
Where to check in? Coqui Coqui Tulum, a cluster of rustic limestone bungalows on the crystal waters of the Caribbean. Owned by Nicolas Malleville, an Argentine model turned landscape architect, and Milanese accessories designer Francesca Bonato, the hotel's seven unerringly chic rooms establish an aesthetic with its own sense of place. There are no multicolored walls or shell decorations, no tchotchkes or oceanic seascapes. “We chose tropical dark wood, natural stuccos, and Mayan pastels,” Bonato says. Almost everything in the hotel is made in and around the Yucatan Peninsula, from the wood bed frames and tables to the linens, glasses, and ceramics.
Cotton-blend hammocks—which take about one month to create and are woven from the local plants henequen and sansevieria—beckon guests to ease into the regional lifestyle. “Mexico has incredible resources for handicrafts and locally sourced raw materials,” says Bonato. “Plus, we have the heritage and skills passed down through generations of craftsmen.”
The couple have perfected the art of disconnecting—which is precisely Coqui Coqui’s charm. What Bonato and Malleville take away—namely, televisions—they make up for by providing guests with, in Bonato’s words, “a simple and exuberant place.”
To those expecting fully stocked minibars and iPads that control everything from room service to lighting, Bonato has only one suggestion: “Just unplug yourself and wake up with the sun.” If luxuriating in the simple life is what you're after, I think we've found the sweet spot.