From Morocco to Mexico, these new properties that are the definition of good taste
Words by KELSEY McKINNON
LEFT: VILLA MABROUKA, the former home of late designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé, has been transformed into a 12-room boutique hotel by British designer Jasper Conran. RIGHT: The renovation preserved and restored the home’s 1940s modernist architecture while adding traditional Moroccan design elements.
A Taste of Tangier
“I will never forget that first sensation of coming off the narrow Tangier streets and into the villa’s green and shady courtyard,” says British designer Jasper Conran of his initial impression of Villa Mabrouka. The hotel, which opened this summer, is an airy, white-washed respite with pops of buttercup yellow, cornflower blue, blush pink, and emerald green. Says Conran, “It is like a house you might have once found in 1940s south of France. A mood of the halcyon moment in the interwar period, a moment of feeling light and bright, where everything had a bit of dazzle and twinkle.”
“It is like a house you might have once found in 1940s France”
Conran added several new rooms and garden cottages, three restaurants, a rooftop terrace and coffee bar, a second swimming pool and a hammam, as well as three dining pavilions for private events and 6,500 new plants to the already lush gardens. Almost everything has been custom designed, from the tableware and linens to the fabrics, furniture, and lighting — all based on sketches by Conran or inspired by original pieces from the villa’s past. The Murano chandeliers, crenelated archways, and checkerboard marble floors, for example, feel just as how Saint Laurent and Bergé left them. villamabrouka.com.
Designer Tara Bernerd worked with local artisans on finishing touches like textiles and tile to create interiors at MAROMA that honor Mexican craftsmanship.
Go Mayan in Mexico
If something feels supernaturally right about the newly renovated Maroma, A Belmond Hotel in Riviera Maya, it may be because the property was designed according to the sacred geometry of Mayan masons. In other words, everything here — from the three pools to the biophilic spa by Guerlain — is perfectly in sync with its natural setting on 200 acres of lush tropical jungle along the white, sandy Caribbean beach. London-based designer Tara Bernerd set about the arduous task of hand-selecting local artisans to create everything from handwoven textiles from Oaxaca to Sukabumi tiles handmade from volcanic stone. L.A. celebrity chef Curtis Stone lends his gastronomic talents and celebrated open-fire technique to the property’s signature restaurant, Woodend by Curtis Stone. Days can be spent meandering from jungle bike rides to tequila tastings, snorkeling, and visits to the on-site Melipona bee sanctuary; at night, it’s the place for stargazing after a hot shell constellation massage on the beach and a private dinner for two. belmond.com.
REID CREEK LODGE offers bucolic isolation.
Into the Wild in Wyoming
Yellowstone, the TV series starring Kevin Costner, has inspired all manner of cowboy wanderlust, but perhaps the most alluring real-life alternative to Dutton Ranch is the newly opened Reid Creek Lodge. Surrounded by 300,000 acres in the Laramie Range of the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming on a private working ranch, the luxurious 8,000-sq.-ft. timber lodge is equipped with a private chef and seven traditionally appointed bedrooms for friends and family.
Experiences include picnics via e-bikes and canoeing on the alpine lakes
Bespoke experiences include everything from horseback riding (on one of the property’s pedigreed quarter horses), guided 4×4 trips, wildlife safaris (expect to encounter elk, pronghorn, deer, and bald eagles), hunting, fishing, landscape painting classes, picnics via e-bikes, and canoeing in one of the many alpine lakes. Another option is to do absolutely nothing but slow down and behold the beauty of mother nature from the private national park in the backyard. wagonhound.com.
Feature image: Conran added more than 6,500 new plants to the grounds at VILLA MABROUKA during an extensive refurbishment.
This story originally appeared in the Fashionable Living 2023 issue of C Magazine.
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