It's a brave concept for a hotel: modeling
the entire aesthetic on the industrial oil rigs of 1950's Mexico.
Especially for one that's "moored" at the hedonistic Caribbean
adventure playground that is Playa Del Carmen. But Hotel Basico
- the chic offering from boutique hoteliers Grupo Habita
pulls it off with unapologetic conviction.
gist is as follow. The building, perched on Playa del Carmen's
exclusive Fifth Avenue shopping and restaurant strip, references
Mexico's rustic petroleum industry, with the rooms looking out onto a
central mess hall-like restaurant area (note: best fish tacos in the
'hood). Above is a rooftop cocktail bar that features luxurious cabanas
made from the back of old trucks with inbuilt mattresses and
white-as-white cushions, two concrete petroleum tanks that serve as
swimming pools (note: from the pool you can sip old-school margaritas
and look down on the crowds below and out to the Caribbean, one block
away). Breezy house music and handsome hotel staff waft throughout the
building all day. Effortlessly surreal.
personally go by the theory that if you're going to work with a
gimmick, be sure to go the full distance. Basico's architect, Hectar
Galvan, seemingly agreed with the sentiment when he put this project
In the rooms, no detail is left un-themed. Exposed
pipes with fire hydrant-style taps run along the walls. An
industrial-strength bath and the king-sized, multi-purpose bed (perched
on an elevated palate) sit in the middle of the room. Everything is
exposed and raw; the toilet is the only thing in the room concealed.
There are rubber curtains on the floor-to-ceiling window and pulley
chain detailing throughout. The signage around the hotel references the
typography of Mexican taxis from the 1950s. Superbly
The effect is softened, however, with
what one of the managers referred to as "nana touches". Continuing with
the retro feel, mosaic planter pots are smattered throughout and the
recycled floor tiles are straight from "a Mexican grandmother's patio".
Or so said the manager. The freight lift that takes you from the
open-air reception to the rooms and restaurant above is decorated with
succulents in red pots.
Some adventures in
life are about the journey. And some holidays are about a wild hotel
room experience. A sojourn at Basico taps into this ideal. This isn't
the romantic experience for honeymooners wanting to hide in their own
Caribbean cocoon. No, it's all about the exhibitionist couple who get
into the flirtatiousness of the concept, who want to be part of the
party that goes on up at the rooftop bar every night until 1am. And who
are open to "having lots of sex", as suggested in the hotel
introductory manual that's chained to the bed. It doesn't have to be
Be sure to borrow the hotel snorkeling gear and visit the
surrounding cenotes (underwater caverns teaming with colorful fish).
While in Mexico check out the other offerings in the Grupo Habita
in Playa Del Carmen and Condesa
in Mexico City.. by Sarah Wilson