태양빛이 강렬한 만큼 포도 또한 맛있게 익어 갑니다.
멕시코의 유명한 나파벨리 바자벨리에 위치한 에뎀미코 호텔은 특이한 생김새 만큼이나
특색있는 하룻밤을 제공합니다. 지역의 유명한 드넓게 펼쳐진 포토밭과 60여개의 와인농장 그리고
이 모든것들을 아우르는 아름다운 풍경을 감상할 수 있는 호텔의 입지는 계곡의 능선을 따라
펼쳐져 있습니다. 16개의 유닛으로 구성된 객실은 200제곱미터의 원베드룸과 240 제곱미터의
투 베드룸으로 구성되어 있으면 각각 야외활동을 즐길 수 있는 프라빗 데크를 포함하고 있습니다.
이것은 캠핑의 자유로움과 호텔식 서비스를 동시에 누릴 수 있는 특색으로 특히 와인을 담그는
시즌에는 여기서 생산되는 와인을 집적 객실이나 레스토랑에서 맛 볼수도 있습니다.
어떻게 보면 우리네 펜션과도 많이 닮아 있습니다. 게다가 유닛 개수도 그리 많지 않아
번잡스럽지 않고 일단은 호젓하게 여행의 참맛을 즐길 수 있을 것 같아 보입니다.
멕시코를 방문할 계획이 있으신 분은 꼭 한번 들려보시고 후기 부탁드립니다.
reviewed by SJ
Sun-splashed beaches have long been the main draw for vacationers in
Baja, Mexico. In recent years, however, an inland wine region two hours
south of San Diego has increasingly attracted tourists seeking an
alternative to the sand and surf. With verdant fields ringed by hills
and mountains, Valle de Guadalupe harbors some 60 wineries scattered
among colorful shops, modest dwellings, and a handful of quaint inns.
Untouched by commercialization, the area often elicits comparisons to
the early days of Napa Valley.
Hotel Endémico, a striking newcomer designed by Tijuana architect
Jorge Gracia, blends with the milieu while catering to the sophisticated
traveler. Opening in July, the resort features 20 Modernist cabins on
pilotis—all nestled within a rural setting teeming with flowering
shrubs, sculptural boulders, and desert wildlife. “I conceptualized them
as camping tents with all the comforts of a luxury hotel,” Gracia says
while giving a tour of the grounds. “They're sealed boxes in this
aggressive nature.” The 232-acre site is also dotted with small
vineyards and includes a 19,400-square-foot wine-production facility
(designed by Gracia) that, once complete, will house a tasting room and
Endémico marks the 13th property in the portfolio of Grupo
Habita, a Mexico City–based hotelier that offers fashionable
establishments for the jet set, such as the Enrique Norten–designed Hôtel Americano
in Manhattan that debuted last year. Given its earthy atmosphere,
Endémico is a departure for the group; guests are best advised to leave
their stilettos and slim-cut suits at home. “It's not about
1,000-thread-count sheets,” says Rafael Micha, Grupo Habita cofounder.
“The luxury here is sitting outside on the terrace, enjoying one of the
wines you selected that morning.”
While operated by Micha's company, the rustic getaway was developed by Grupo Metalco, a steel manufacturer, and is owned by several investors. The consortium acquired the site years ago with an eye toward creating a winery, resort, and housing development (collectively referred to as Encuentro Guadalupe). When it came time to hire an architect, they turned to Gracia. “We called him immediately,” says Juan Yi, one of the investors, noting that the ambitious young designer is gaining renown in northern Mexico. Since launching his studio in 2004, Gracia has completed dozens of houses and Tijuana's Culinary Art School, among other projects. All of his buildings share a similar vocabulary: clean lines, simple forms, and low-cost (often salvaged) materials.
For Endémico, Gracia's overall strategy was to create
singular architecture that would catch the attention of motorists
winding through the valley. He succeeded. While some cabins are tucked
out of site, others jut from a hilltop overlooking a main road; drivers
often pull over to examine the curious boxes perched overhead. The guest
experience also played a key role in the site layout. “We focused on
views and privacy,” says Gracia, who positioned the cabins between 30
and 600 feet apart. Sixteen units contain one bedroom and encompass 200
square feet; four have two bedrooms and total 240 square feet. Each has a
small deck with chairs and a clay fireplace.
Though the cubes appear to be clad in wood, it's not the case, says the architect: “It's so warm during the day and so cold at night. Wood would crack and deteriorate very fast.” Instead, Gracia used rusted steel panels that he coated in flaxseed oil to slow further rusting (Cor-Ten was too pricey). Still, he doesn't mind if the exterior walls show their age. “They will grow old with dignity,” Gracia says.
The panels are affixed to steel frames that were precut at the client's manufacturing facility in Mexicali, located 130 miles away. Hovering over each cube are angled corrugated-metal canopies that provide shade and mitigate solar heat gain. “The sun hits the roof, not the box,” Gracia explains. In order to preserve the environment, he lifted the structures off the ground. Steel stilts of varying heights are anchored to a layer of granite several feet below the earth's surface.
Inside, the rooms are notably restrained. White or black plastic laminate walls are paired with concrete floors and minimal furnishings. Bathrooms, while stylish, offer the bare necessities. A tight budget “pushed us to be more creative,” Gracia says. To wit: The architect crafted bedside lighting fixtures of steel pipes and Edison bulbs—a clever, inexpensive solution that adds industrial flair to the pared-down space.
The architect faced numerous challenges throughout the project: a rugged topography, dearth of water, lack of on-site electricity, and searing summer heat. Moreover, Gracia was determined to protect the landscape throughout construction, which meant working without large cranes.
Patrons, too, will be asked to tread lightly. No cars are allowed on the grounds; instead, staff members will shuttle visitors around in all-terrain vehicles. Upon check-in, guests will be given a radio to call for a ride, along with a flashlight and emergency whistle. They won't forsake all creature comforts, though. The property boasts an infinity pool and Jacuzzi, wireless Internet, and built-in stereo systems in each cabin (and, yes, the units have heating and cooling systems and hot water). Still, “this hotel is not for everybody,” admits Gracia. “It's for people who really want to be in nature.”
Local residents seem impressed with their stunning new
neighbor. “It's something completely different,” says Luis Pelayo, who
runs a charming café with his mother in the valley. With overnight
accommodations hard to come by, Hotel Endémico could help draw more
tourists to this idyllic wine country. Perhaps someday, Baja will be
more revered for its merlots than its margaritas.