At the upcoming design-led, all-white hotel Mar Adentro in Los Cabos, Mexico, spa consultant Bonnie Baker, co-founder of Satteva Spa & Wellness Concepts, is creating a spa in stark contrast – a dark, cave-like area inspired by local cenote swimming holes that aims to focus on the concept of water and reflect a sense of the internal.
A signature hotel for Mexican architect Miguel Ángel Aragonés, Mar Adentro (“The Sea Inside”) is designed to encourage guests to contemplate the immensity of the ocean, with 198 guestrooms with ocean views and a minimalist all-white aesthetic. Aragonés envisioned the hotel and residences as chambers suspended over mirrors of seawater.
“I imagined floating houses, houses like boxes that I would harvest in order to trap light,” explained Aragonés. “At Mar Adentro, the houses are made of glass on the seaside, and of concrete where they meet both sun and desert. They are cubes in the middle of the ocean that use water not to navigate, but to sustain life. Everything becomes water, flooding your eyes and running through your body as well.”
The Mar Abierto Spa is located deep within the property, and a spiral walkway provides the sense of entering into a secluded cavern, with seawater cascading into the core of the spa. Baker’s concept focuses on the idea of the spa as a portal that takes guests deep within and opens them up to existence, life and wellbeing, she said.
“The spa’s concept speaks to a state of duality – the meeting place between sky and sea, the above and below, the inner and outer,” said Baker. “It speaks to that ability to remove yourself from what’s happening out there and find yourself in such a deep place.”
In contrast to Aragonés’s all-white aesthetic, the Mar Abierto Spa is designed to be dark and cave-like, and reflects the interaction of water both within and surrounding us, with the environment inspired by the colours and textures of the ocean and the rhythm and motion of the waves.
“The whole concept of water is something we really wanted to take deeper,” said Baker. “A lot of inspiration for the spa menu was taken from that – how do you experience water on the inside? How do you experience water on the outside? There’s this really dualistic nature with the whole thing.”
Baker created openings in the spa’s ceiling – inspired by local swimming holes, or cenotes – through which water will cascade into the aqua therapy lounge, and also provide direct light and blue sky vistas for spa-goers.
The spa will include a steamroom, sauna, reflexology stone path and men’s and women’s water therapy areas with thermal features, as well as six multi-purpose treatment spaces and three spa couples’ suites with private whirlpools.
An organic apothecary and blending bar will allow guests to personalise products using essential oils, base oils and pure waters. The spa menu will be simple and minimalistic, said Baker, with a focus on the rhythm and intensity of the massage. The spa will also include a movement studio for yoga and fitness classes, workshops and lectures.
Mar Adentro is set to open in June 2016.