The Spirit of Family at Punta Caliza in Holbox, Mexico

Architect Claudia Muñoz in conversation with AHL Design Editor Ruby Kean

All suites have direct access to the main pool
All suites have direct access to the main pool

By Ruby Kean on 9.03.21

“It all started before we even realized it,” says Claudia. “My parents have always been travelers — my brother and I were born on the road — and they were always looking for a place where they could settle when they grew old. When we visited Holbox for the first time about 10 years ago, we all fell in love with the beauty and simplicity of the place, and that dream of a small house turned into Punta Caliza,” she adds.

This love for place and country is seen in the property’s sensitivity to its environment, and the innovative design inspired by a sunken Mayan ruin. Whilst the hotel is every bit a celebration of modern architecture, it is in the same breath an ode to traditional Mexican practice — from the palapa roof typical of the coast, to the stucco-like finish on the exterior walls that are made using an ancient Mayan material known as Chukum paste.

A look inside a wood-covered suite
A look inside a wood-covered suite

The property is clad with striking red cedar wood, contrasting the soft sparkle of the pool. Each of the rooms features sliding cedar wood doors that lead directly out into the central pool. Each door is like a portal, leading to the family’s vision of a fresh and modern hotel. Yet it’s also a fond nod to the past, with the wood being harvested from trees Muñoz’s father planted almost 30 years ago as an investment into his children’s future at their family farm in Tabasco. “It’s something very personal and sentimental, but the fact that the wood was intended to provide for our family over 30 years ago, and now brought us together after more than 10 years of us being in different places … is quite special,” says Claudia.

 

 

Inside the semi-outdoor restaurant
Inside the semi-outdoor restaurant
A view from above
A view from above

Perhaps the most enchanting aspect of all is the ethos of the hotel. As Claudia details, “We want Punta Caliza to feel like a home, like you are visiting friends. Most of our staff throughout the years have been family, friends, and friends of friends; we don’t really look for experience in the tourism industry, but rather good people, with an interest in connecting with others and learning from other cultures. Marta, our cook, used to be my nanny when I was a kid; Julio and Bartolo, who make sure every piece of equipment runs smoothly, were part of the crew that built Punta Caliza; and Javier, at the front desk, met my brother in university. Even our dogs hang out here. We like to sit down with our guests and share stories and mezcal with them and, hopefully, when they leave, they do so as friends. We try hard for our guests not to feel like just another room number.”

A
A "casa en el agua" experience!

With a goal to open three more destinations in the next 10 years, the first a jungle paradise in the south of Mexico, it is safe to say the Muñoz’s are a family to watch. On Holbox alone they continue to work at growing a sense of community. In April, Claudia and Cuauhtemoc opened a small restaurant and cultural center on the island, as well as the Apollo, by Claudia showcasing young Mexican designers and artisans. If these spaces are anything like Punta Caliza they will be top of my list for a visit.

You can check Punta Caliza Hotel review by Ruby Kean, here

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