Malinalco luxury spa resort is a project located two hours outside of Mexico City, in a valley between Nevado do Toluca and Popocatepetl, two of Mexico’s highest volcanic peaks.
The amenities of the 45-room eco-retreat includes temazcal (pre-columbian sauna) spa treatment, yoga, and meditation rooms. The client wished to create a place that is aware of the unique pre-Columbian culture of the land. The concept is to revive the once intimate relationship with nature established by the Aztec culture. The design was inspired by their reverence for precious natural resources, the legend of the rain god Tlaloc, and the poetic view of the mountain as a water jar with waterfalls as gifts from the gods.
A rainwater collection cistern that serves both as a look out/folly, also distributes water throughout the resort to individual villas. The openings in the wall align with Aztec cosmology marking significant dates on their calendar.
The landscaping of the resort is conceived as a floating Persian carpet of flowers and vegetation to be enjoyed from terraces of various elevations, not unlike the near by Terraces at Teotenango. The Malinalco Valley is a unique site for wintering Monarch butterflies from all over North America. The design for the shape of the resort was also inspired by the Sun & Moon Lagoon in the crater of Nevado de Taoluca.
Floating circular villas provide panoramic views of the beautiful mountain ranges nearby, guests can swim in the pool with indigenous Mallinali plants and water lilies providing privacy. The circular shape is inspired by the local temple of Jaguar, one of the only pre-Columbian temples excavated from a mountain side, and also by the circular Kiva of the American Southwest.