MEXICAN MEMORIES VOL. 3: ONE-WAY TICKET TO PAPAYA PLAYA PARADISE
Have you ever been at one place which you did not want to leave? A place where the set up is just perfect? A place with the right crazy crowd, with creative and spiritual vibes, with electrifying music, with delicious food? A place on top with sun and beach and palm trees and turquoise sea water? A place where you just live the dream and enjoy every minute of the day?
Well, I had serious problems packing my luggage and leaving such a place… This is why I will book only a one-way ticket next time. Ladies and Gentlemen, I herewith present paradise on earth: THE PAPAYA PLAYA PROJECT (www.papayaplayaproject.com).
Behind all this stands Design Hotels’ founder Claus Sendlinger, a creative master mind and visionary, who found a shabby beach stretch with some 100 cabanas which got refurbished by the Design Hotels’ creative team. Together with like-minded partners he built up this experiment, a 5 months pop up project lasting from December 2011 until May 2012, offering a platform for sustainable but at the same time cool and stylish tourism.
The hotel bar is run by KaterHolzig, Berlin’s legendary Bar25′s offspring, being also responsible for the recording studio and all the unforgettable special event nights with DJs from around the world.
42 RAW, an organic restaurant concept from Copenhagen, fulfills all culinary dreams by preparing all food under 42 degrees and using only organic ingredients from near by.
On top “So Happy Spa” treats you with all kind of Mayan shaman secrets to pamper body, mind and soul and twice a week you can “oooooohm” good morning to sun rise.
Shopping addicts or simply those who want to buy fancy and traditional souvenirs will get to know Konstantin and his Mini Super shop. It specializes in eccentric finds from solar-powered gadgets to unusual jewelry designs, beach wear, accessories, erotic toys and handicrafts from the region and beyond. And once the project is closed or you forgot to bring your nearest and dearest something special -> Konstantin will tour around Berlin with his mobile mini super. Have your eyes open!
So.. Around you is probably the most magical part of nature, set deep in the heart of mystical Mayan Tulum, where pleasure, travel and livelihood coexist in an eclectic life style, where ideas of the future are born. In this context, feel free to check www.findinginfinity.com, a non-profit organisation searching for this future powered solely by renewable energy and at PPP working on a system to use underground water for the hotel area.
Claus and general manager David explained us how they want to build up an open office space for creatives who can set up their work base once they reopen most probably in September 2012. Please think of me as I can’t wait to live this gypset lifestyle and continue working on some new collections inspired by Mexico for www.silviagattin.com.
MEXICAN MEMORIES VOL. 2: TULUMINIZED BY COQUI COQUI
Their story sounds like a wonderful Hollywood, or actually more Bollywood film production (only that it does not play on the beach of Goa but instead of Tulum): Young, handsome man is camping on the beach, beautiful woman passes by, he invites her for a coffee, they chat and.. fall in love. He is Nicolas Malleville, an Argentinian model spotted by photographer Mario Testino and from then face of DKNY, Burberry, Gucci, Armani Campaigns. She is Francesca Bonato, graduated translator and international relations employee from Milan. They travel together around the world, she accompanies him on his fashion shootings and in between they slowly build up their first holiday home on exactly that point where they got to know each other on Tulum beach on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. To cover the costs they start renting the rooms to their friends Jade Jagger, Sienna Miller and Daria Werbowy. A couple of years and a hurricane, that changes their life, later they have a string of three hotels along Yucatan.
Our first Coqui Coqui (www.coquicoquispa.com) experience was in Valladolid, a sleepy Spanish colonial town in the middle of Yucatan’s jungle. Today Francesca’s and Nicolas’ home base it also is the centre of their organic perfume line made out of natural ingredients of nearby flora and fauna, which they successfully sell at concept stores such as Colette in Paris. Latest masterpiece is in Cobà, a tiny village only known for the Mayan temples and otherwise home of maybe five houses along a lagoon. Though, hidden you can find two old ruins renovated into coqui-coquied earthly nirvana with only nature around you. Last but not least they expected us in Tulum, where everything began.
All Coqui Coqui residences represent the same unique atmosphere: low-key but high taste, low-tech but high relaxation. It’s actually all about luxurious downsizing, being happy and satisfied with what the surrounding offers with focus on the essential. This also includes the food, starting from breakfast with fresh mangos, papayas, natural yoghurt and granola and ending with dinner – a delicious, catch-of-the-day fish with seasonal vegetables from nearby. The friendly and helpful staff contributes to the whole free and easy atmosphere. Francesca and Nicolas definitely succeeded in this exotic experiment giving their guest sense of their ultimate gypset lifestyle.
Moreover, they really seem restless. Since the birth of their son, Francesca is also working on her fashion and accessories line Hacienda Montaecristo while sharing the same interest as www.silviagattin.com – supporting traditional and artisanal handwork.
I say muchas gracias from the bottom of my heart to have had the chance of living the dream.
MEXICAN MEMORIES VOL.1: YUCATÁN AND QUINTANA ROO
Climbing a 1300-year-old Maya pyramid, diving and cooling down in a cenote, snorkling or kayaking around the Caribbean reefs, biking through the jungle, living la pura vida on Tulum’s beaches, dining a traditional mole at a Mexico City fusion restaurant… I have to admit, I don’t know exactly which of these adventures my personal highlight was.. But what I can do is to recommend: pack your things and vamos a México!
Last month I combined business with leisure (and pleasure) and joined a friend to travel the Yucatan peninsula and make a pit stop in Mexico city to get inspired for a new collection for www.silviagattin.com. It was my first trip to Mexico (and for sure not the last), such a large country, stretching 5km into the sky and along 10.000 km of coastline, with a city of 21 (!!!) million people at its centre and countless tiny pueblos everywhere.
After a comfortable Condor flight we touched down at Cancún, an American tourist hot spot, which we abandoned immediately to cruise with our little rent-a-(racing)car direction Valladolid – on Yucatan highways where getting lost is nearly impossible as curves are a foreign word and streets are simply and monotonously straight (which makes you fall asleep quite easily, so ¡cuidado!). The peninsula is covered by a jungle and steadfast traditions of the Maya, the mystery of the ceremonial centers created by their ancestors, inbetween colonial masterpieces such as Mérida and Valladolid and finally followed by white sand beaches. Around here, the past is the present and the present is the past, what you witness in the towering temples of the Maya and in the cobblestone streets of the colonial villages. Time has a different meaning and brings you down to awareness, fusion of nature, spirituality and leisure.
Valladolid, the 3rd largest city in Yucatan, was our first stop being known for its quiet streets and sun-splashed, pastel walls. This provincial little town is poised at that magical point where there is a lot to do, yet it feels still small, manageable and affordable and thus kind of hippie-sh and also makes a great hub for couple of visits. Such as breath-taking Chichén Itzá, the most famous and best restored of the Yucatán Maya sites where many mysteries of the Maya astronomical calendar are made clear when one understands the design of the terrific time temples. Another Maya highlight are the ruins of Cobá set deep in the jungle, where most of them have yet to be excavated, but still with the possibility to climb up the temples and enjoy a spectacular view of the surrounding forrest. For the ultimate fun factor don’t forget to rent a bike to visit all archaelogical sites there. Just a couple of kilometres away, on the sugar sand, jade-green water, balmy breezes and bright sun coastline, another ancient Mayan get-together awaits you: the ruins of Tulum and thus their only center at the coast. But Tulum stands for more: it has one of the top beaches in whole Mexico, interesting and fun cenotes, terrific snorkeling and a variety of cool restaurants for every budget; actually everything that will make you want to tear up your return ticket home..
For more civilisation don’t miss Mérida and its colonial history with narrow streets, broad central plazas and thus meeting points for salsa dancers, market sellers and playing children and the region’s best museum.
Vol. 2 online next week: The world behind Coqui – Coqui