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On the Baja California Peninsula, an early 20th century villa is reborn.  Located on a beautiful plot of coastal boardwalk in the historic centre of La Paz, Mexico, Baja Club’s spring 2021 opening is a welcome bright spot on the travel horizon. For their 14th project, Carlos Couturier and Moisés Micha (the duo behind Grupo Habita) looked no further than their own coastline to draw inspiration from the legendary Sea of Cortés. Originally built in 1910, the classic hacienda, once known as Casa Antigua and belonging to the local Cornejo family, was the site for oyster pearl harvesting. 

Seamlessly blending old with new, a chic new four-story extension maintains the sleek low-profile of the original mission-style villa yet provide generous terraces with views of La Paz. Architecture and design firms Max von Werz Arquitectos and Jaune Architecture collaborated on the new vision. Taking cues from the country’s rich tradition of colours, textures, and craftsmanship, spaces are defined by the same green and red tones common to Mexican earthenware, old metals and woods, and woven materials. Nods to the historic origins come in the form of a massive double door main entrance with original ironmongery, tall ironwork windows, exposed wood beams, tiled bathrooms, and striking red terrazzo floors. Outside, a rough stucco façade highlights the villa’s character, while the L-shaped new build and 32 rooms frame a central courtyard, creating clusters of peaceful patios and gardens. From the central courtyard, guests will feel cocooned in the intimate nature of the property. 

Working with local artisans, Grupo Habita paid special attention to respect the surrounding environment. An original pergola was restored, integral to the preservation of native vegetation, while an outdoor kitchen encourages further guest interaction with the open-air and extensive greenery. “We use a local team every time we build a hotel—the surroundings and their local traditions are the very heartbeat of our projects,” says Carlos Couturier. ‘’The idea is for guests to feel welcomed by the hosts of the Baja Club.’’

Located on a seafront promenade in the historic centre of La Paz, Baja California, Baja Club’s location is a stone’s throw from the area’s restaurants, bars, parks, and public art by Mexican and international artists. It is an ideal destination for ecotourism, and boasts such rich biodiversity that Jacques Cousteau referred to it as ‘the aquarium of the world’.

Grupo Habita has been leading a design revolution in Mexico’s hospitality industry since 2000 so it is no surprise that this new offering will be the hippest hotel in town.

LUXURY LINKS: www.grupohabita.mx , www.designhotels.com 

Hilary Doling, 17/03/2021
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