In Quintana Roo, Casa Hormiga Boutique Hotel

General / People / Places / July 14, 2021

Casa Hormiga is a new, design-forward, boutique hotel in Bacalar, a small town on Mexico’s southern border (near Belize) in the state of Quintana Roo. This jungle sanctuary opened in August of 2020 with 18-rooms, a spa, a restaurant/bar and a pool. Its design acknowledges the beauty of imperfection and takes inspiration from Morocco by incorporating handmade artisanal objects and aesthetics throughout the property. A+A recently interviewed the owners:

Background on the architect here?
It was a local architecture firm that worked under the direction of a Mérida, Yucatán based architecture studio. Sofía Lynch, the owner, worked on creation and interior design, and José María Padilla, also an owner, collaborated on the architecture.

The assignment?
Like many design projects, the initial concept for Casa Hormiga was much different from what it looks like today. The original plan by the previous owners was for a more generic Quintana Roo feeling, which was drastically modified after we visited Morocco and swooned over the region’s aesthetic. We loved the high walls, ancient doors, handmade elements and the beautifully executed simplicity. This influenced our new vision for Casa Hormiga, plus similar elements seen in Mérida and other Latin American cities, like Spanish Colonial architecture, thick walls with stucco finish, wooden support beams, central courtyards and little or no decoration. The architects were able to understand our vision and bring it to life. When the pandemic hit in 2020 and the world was put on pause, we had the opportunity to let the project settle and then, when life came back to normal, we knew exactly where their focus needed to be.

The design intent?
A Wabi-Sabi philosophy fused with Spanish Colonial architecture but where the true essence of rural or rustic Mexico is present. This includes lots of handcrafted work, the use of natural fibers and items where the personality of its creator is felt. Following the same line, the team worked with several Mexican artisans with a sustainable fair trade approach: Oaxacan weaving, Guadalajaran furniture, local clay pottery (some 30+ years old with history behind them), local sustainable woods, traditional Mayan woodworkers and reclaimed wood worked with local antiquarians. You can also find antique furniture, doors and objects throughout the property. The presence of past quality rings true in many of these objects and their naturally aged aesthetic resonates with Casa Hormiga’s philosophy.

How did the site drive the design?
There was extreme attention to the dense nature that surrounds the property and the town of Bacalar that was, and still is, the main priority of Casa Hormiga’s design.

The material palette?
The palette we used is aligned with the natural environment found in Bacalar – a desaturated palette that transmits relaxation and comfort.

The context of the hotel?
Casa Hormiga is always thinking about tomorrow. We have plans to expand, further developing unique offerings and design elements, as Bacalar begins to attract more and more travelers. We invite our guests to be free, disconnect and explore themselves as they truly are in a journey of self-acceptance. While this may not always be the case for every guest, the message was always top of mind in the creative process when bringing the property to life.

For more, go here.

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Michael Welton




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