Cenote Spa: 2015 BoY Winner for Spa

PROJECT NAME Cenote Spa
LOCATION Playa del Carmen
FIRM Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos
SQ. FT. 5,000 SQF

When limestone bedrock collapses, it can reveal subterranean water. And the Mayans traditionally used these shimmering pools, called cenotes, for bathing and worshipping. They have now given their name to a hotel spa where today’s water-worshippers can partake in more luxurious rituals.


Visitors to the Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen Resort, a Rockwell Group collaboration on a slope overlooking the Caribbean, first get an inkling of the spa’s existence as they walk through a breezeway that meanders to connect reception to the pools and beach. Rising through the breezeway’s floor, what appears to be a small volcano is actually the way sunlight gets into the conical chamber housing the subterranean spa’s “cenote” reflecting pool. “The integration of the spa and the sea is a new way to generate an exciting architectural experience,” Javier Sordo Madaleno Bringas says.


Actual entry to the spa is via a staircase at the far end of the breezeway. From there, the 5,000 square feet unfold to reveal not only the pool chamber—glowing from the votivelike lamps scattered around the floor—but also eight treatment rooms, a eucalyptus steam room, fiber-optic chromotherapy showers, and hydrotherapy stations, all featuring the neutral tones and natural textures of slate and local hardwood. For a decadant tribute to ancient wellness techniques, try a head massage incorporating cocoa oil and that other liquid with magical healing powers: tequila.


Project Team: Javier Sordo Madaleno de Haro; Andrés Cajiga; Nadia Borrás; Enrique Ralph.


> See more from the December 2015 issue of Interior Design

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