Staying in an eco-hut above the clouds and overlooking Mexico’s Valle de Guadelupe in the remote region of Baja California is Emy Mordue’s new travel dream for 2012.
If you’re looking to travel abroad this year but want to avoid those bland hotels found the world over, Endémico Resguardo Silvestre can hardly disappoint, particularly if you’re also looking for a hotel with some wow factor and eco-credentials. The hotel is ultimately a gathering of 20 cabanas that stretch across what is commonly known as the wine country in the Valle de Guadalupe – around an hour’s drive (70 miles) south from the US border. These eco-friendly cabins clinging to the Mexican mountainside comprise the latest additions to the Grupo Habita hotel group, designed by architects at the San Diego based Gracia Studio.
On first inspection, staying in an Endémico Resguardo Silvestre cabin looks more suited to adventure and nature loving travellers than urbanites used to their creature comforts. However, all is not as it seems. These ecolofts are actually rather luxurious, not to mention a little bit romantic in an incredibly off-the-beaten-track kind of way. Inside each 215 square foot eco-hut is a minimalist design paired with sleek finishings in a contemporary grayscale colour scheme – a surprising juxtaposition from the clay coloured and almost wild terrain outside. Outside the stylish elevated cubicles there is also a furnished patio area featuring a clay kiva fireplace and chairs, perfect for enjoying a sunset (or sunrise if you’re an early bird) in this stunning setting. The minutely planned cabana designs mean that you cannot see any of the other cabins from the interior, providing the sense of being unequivocally immersed in nature. Is this camping pegged up several notches, or a plush hotel brought back to nature? No doubt less than enthusiastic campers would choose an Endémico Resguardo Silvestre cabana over a tent any day, and will find each and every dollar of the $200 per night rate well worth the cost.
Made from corten steel, the ecolofts are both protected from corrosion and benefit from a rust-colouring that helps them blend into the Mexican mountainside with minimal visual pollution . Purposely raised off the ground to reduce the impact of the cabanas on the soil, Endémico Resguardo Silvestre ticks yet another eco- box. Environmentally- friendly, striking vistas, vineyards merely a stone’s throw away, au courant and chic design. It’s the stuff of dreams. Throw into the mix a swimming pool carved out of the mountainside, the local Encuentro Guadalupe winery and an on-site restaurant, managed by the Culinary Arts School of Tijuana and famed for slow-cooking organic produce, and you may never leave this mountainside.
Forget tequila while at Endémico Resguardo Silvestre: the vineyards of Valle de Guadalupe are one of the few places left in the world that grow exceptional grapes weaved between traditional haciendas, giving that back to the old country feeling you’d be hard-pushed to find elsewhere. Although Baja California ’s ruta del vino (wine route) is where 90% of Mexico’s wine is produced, there are plenty of non-wine related activities to get stuck into in the region too. Traditional tacos and fresh seafood is available in abundance for foodies, the cave art in Tecate is ideal for history and art buffs, while Tijuana is home to Mexico’s largest casino, the Hipodromo Caliente Casino, for those who like to flash their cash.
Endémico Resguardo Silvestre is the twelfth hotel in twelve years to be completed by the Grupo Habita hotel group; their eleventh was the already iconic Hotel Americano in New York. With their design and eco credentials building momentum year on year, we’re waiting with baited breath to see Grupo Habita’s lucky number thirteen…