Tara Bernerd fills Maroma hotel in Mexico with artisanal elements

Interior designer Tara Bernerd worked with local artisans when dressing the cavernous rooms at the Maroma hotel in Riviera Maya, Mexico, which were renovated to reflect hacienda-style living.

Housed within white stucco volumes arranged on a coastal plot between lush jungle and the Caribbean sea, the longstanding Belmond hotel was renovated earlier this year but retained much of its traditional-style architecture.

Maroma hotel in Riviera Maya, Mexico
The Maroma hotel is housed within rounded stucco, palapa-topped volumes

Bernerd and a team of local artisans conceived the eclectic interiors to reflect the palapa-topped structures, creating a range of bespoke curved furniture and ornaments.

“The buildings themselves are organic in shape and form and were originally positioned in response to the sacred Mayan geometry,” she told Dezeen.

“We sought to retain and enhance the beauty of the hotel’s original character.”

Guest room with a rounded alcove
Tara Bernerd sought to reflect this “Mayan geometry” in the interior design

Among the custom pieces are over 700,000 tiles hand-painted and crafted by ceramicist José Noé Suro using clay from Mexico’s Jalisco region.

The tiles cover the floors in all of the 72 guest rooms, which are characterised by rattan wardrobes and amorphous timber furniture pieces – 80 per cent of which were hand-carved.

Rattan wardrobes at Maroma
The guest rooms are characterised by rattan accents and blown glass

Artisan Max Kublailan blew bulbous glass sconce lights, which feature throughout the rooms and are reminiscent of glowing gemstones.

“We built up the layers of design within the spaces, with rich pops of colour being brought in through the tiled or mosaic floors, the use of decorative tiles in the walls and dado rail as well as cushions and fabrics,” explained Bernerd.

Open kitchen clad in ceramic tiles
An open kitchen clad in glazed ceramic tiles features in one restaurant

Maroma’s two restaurants follow a similar design, with accents such as rattan pendant lights and tables featuring textured legs that give the appearance of tree trunks.

An open kitchen clad entirely in caramel-hued glazed ceramic tiles was tucked into a corner of the Woodend eatery while Casa Mayor includes clusters of hand-painted plant pots.

Painted pots and rattan lampshades in Casa Mayor
The other restaurant includes painted potted plants and oversized rattan lampshades

Throughout the hotel, cavernous alcoves were also dressed with custom interiors made up of stone, clay, wood and natural fibres.

“Location and layout were key and I am especially proud of how we have managed to reimagine previously under-utilised areas and have created a balance between unique, dramatic spaces and cosier, slightly hidden areas,” said Bernerd.

Traditional Yucatán doors with dense timber frames and chandeliers made from clusters of seashells were chosen to respond to Maroma’s setting.

The hotel’s central swimming pool was renovated with Sukabumi turquoise tiles handmade from volcanic stone to emulate the cenotes – water-filled sinkholes formed by the collapse of limestone – found in the Yucatán Peninsula.

Cavernous corridor with a curved staircase
Cavernous corridors reflect the hotel’s architecture

“In essence, we wanted to create something that was effortlessly serene and had the feeling of a chic home,” said the designer.

“So we also drew inspiration from traditional hacienda-style living to create a relaxed, almost residential vibe throughout the resort and evoke a sense of connection, unity and flow between all of the public area buildings,” she concluded.

Cenote-style swimming pool
The central swimming pool was informed by cenotes

The British designer is the founder of the London-based architecture and interiors office Tara Bernerd & Partners.

Elsewhere in Mexico, local firms Productora and Esrawe Studio designed a San Miguel de Allende hotel with planes of green tile. Architect Alberto Kalach added a series of vaulted, brick arches to a resort in Oaxaca.

The photography is courtesy of Belmond. 

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