Wanderings

A blog focused on design, style and travel, never forgetting that the journey is sometimes the best part of the experience. Behave well, travel lightly, stay under the radar screen and always carry good luggage. Just go.

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Sandy Sheets

Wisecracker Design’s interior design projects have been concentrated in Merida, Yucatan, and the Riviera Maya for the first half of 2011. This is great news for us as it affords us more time to work out of our office/home, Casa Pocito (www.casapocito.com). After a site visit to a client’s penthouse condominium in Cancun, we decided to decompress for a few days on the coast. No gated, all-inclusive resort with A/C whirring 24/7 or grand infinity-edge pools or golf carts whisking guests to their suites, for us. The Wisecrackers (including Cassius, our Norwich terrier) wanted something rustic, less complicated and more real. So we fled to Tulum, a mere two hours but light years away from busy Cancun.

The vibe in Tulum is strictly boho: no pretention, no nonsense. It has a slightly hippie feel, recalling beach hideouts like Essaouira, Tarifa, Negril or Goa. The pristine, powdery white sand beach is lined with mature palm trees, a hodgepodge of small hotelitos, beach shacks and, while we were there at least, very few people. The surf rushing to the shore, combined with mysterious mist coming from inland jungles, created a hazy, painterly quality. Our refuge for the next five days was a simple, thatched roof bungalow literally steps from the “gin clear” waters of the Caribbean. (PS: once you experience the sea in Tulum, you know why someone invented the gin analogy.) Casita Albaba was up a steep flight of hand-hewn wooden stairs. All the walls were glass, discreetly frosted for privacy or hung with billowy white canvas curtains. The simple platform bed was dressed in white sheets with an aubergine duvet; immaculate at check-in, it didn’t remain that way despite the best efforts of the housekeepers. Why? Because of eight sandy feet (David’s, Cassius’s and mine). Furnishings were simple and functional. The view looked out at the palms and down at the beach. It was like living in a tropical treehouse. What’s not to love? The bathroom was fitted with a large semicircular stone shower and other basic amenities. This authentic, restrained, elegant simplicity is interior design at its best.

Photos of Shambala Petit Hotel in Tulum Mexico

Promptly at 9:30 a breakfast tray was set on a low table under a private palapa. Croissants, very fresh fruit, goat cheese and croutons, thick tropical juices and French press coffee. The rest of the day was spent reading; lounging in hammocks; splashing around in the sea; walking, walking, walking the beach; dodging the sun; making excursions into town to buy wine and charcoal-BBQ chickens; napping; watching a tropical storm whip things up one night; and did I say walking the beach? There is really very little to do in Tulum. No vendors hawking trinkets on the beach, no Banana Boat rides, no distractions, a handful of simple restaurants … Lights out by 9 pm either because the hotelito’s solar-powered generator was rebooting or because we were ready to drift off for the night. Boring for some—bliss for us.

And pure luxury. Not room service, private butler, 1200-thread-count sheet, 52” flat screen “luxury,” but honest, real eco-chic hospitality, all served up by a gentle, well-trained, unobtrusive staff, two resident Labradors and Robert Hernandez, the worldly and charming owner. Hernandez has gotten it just right. Even though we are reluctant to share such a special place, here goes: The Shambala Petite Hotel, Tulum … There, it’s out. (www.shambalapetithotel.com) Remember to wipe your feet and tell Roberto the Wisecrackers sent you!
Photos of Shambala Petit Hotel in Tulum Mexico

This summer at MRKet, the menswear show in New York in July, Wisecracker will introduce En La Playa, a capsule collection of casual weekend and beach bags co-branded with Perennials®, manufacturers of To The Trade luxury outdoor textiles. Stay tuned.

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