Art, Angels and Landscape

by Joelle

   Here I am , going down from the Continental Airline staircase. The sky is of a deep dark blue I only recall seeing once in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The warm and noisy breeze reminds me of the desert Khamseen from the East. The  afternoon sun is striking my face and with a smile, I feel immediately captured by the vibrational energy around me !

Having passed immigration I notice several brown skinned men with different types of mustaches all wearing short sleeved safari shirts . They are sitting one after the other like in a contest behind very tall counters with absolutely no signs on them .  At their back, gigantic photographs cover the walls with scenery depicting boats, fish and jeeps in sunset deserts.   I am called  from every direction.

Curious as usual, I ask to the group what exactly they are selling since there are no signs on their counters.  Looking at each other one replies with an answer that looks obvious: ” Whatever you need miss! ” Is your driver expecting you outside ?” ‘Actually yes, Thank you.”‘  “Let me take you to him, Senhorita , we’ll have time to chat , can I help you with the luggage?”

My name for security reason is not mentioned in the small paper sign hold by a young handsome man with the whitest teeth I have ever seen. Welcome to Los Cabos Miss Maslaton.( Does he read my blog maybe?) Please follow my partner while I take care of your luggage. Your car is outside waiting , air conditioning is on.”

A younger man dressed in the same white uniform with a delicate yellow and turquoise  embroidery that says Las Venatanas opens my door while in a split of a second, inside the car I am offered a small bottle of fresh Evian, and an aromatic cold wet towel . “How was your trip?”  He asks politely. An after briefly chatting about the weather ,who almost never changes all year round, he adds: ” My colleagues and I from Las Ventanas al Paraiso, would like to offer you a small gift as to make your stay as sweet as possible.

The gift , a  small white linen bag  tied with a rope and two small shells contain Tentationes Mexicanas ( Mexican temptations) which consist on assorted delicacies of marzipan in the three colors of the Mexican flag and small Cajeta en Obleas , deliciousDulce de Leite (caramel ‘s goat milk) sandwiched between two large powder-lite wafers, a notorious specialty of the region.

I was not necessarily hot, not very hungry, but I guess in paradise you reach a level where basic needs are not as important and only pleasure is your guiding star. The fourth angel, takes me with the pretty silver Mercedes G-Class to a majestic white entrance gate with no sign landscaped with sand, Cacti and torches . At the patio entrance I am greeted by a fifth pretty one wearing a charming straw hat and holding tray with two small glasses  next to a freezing container with a freshly prepared welcome Margarita .

Walls are in stucco, ocher sand stucco! This is so chic. Furniture is Spanish hacienda- style in heavy thick wood. Massive candles with names, hearts and writings  from renowned local artist Ernesto Cruz lay on the floor as coffee tables while other reign supreme on the entrance glass tabletop whose base, a large tree trunk was sourced in the interior region of Mexico.

A brilliant multicolored canvas by Mexican painter Rodrigo Pimentel and a gracious bronze sculpture representing a siren by Deloss McGraw give this magnificent resort interior a local multicultural aspect curated by Joan Warren- Grady a renowned  art consultant from San Diego.

My thoughts are interrupted by a voice coming from my back:  ” Welcome to miss Maslaton , my name is Armando and I will be your suite personal butler during your stay at Las Ventanas al Paraiso. Should you need anything day or night,  Silvia, my partner and I will make sure that your stay will be as expected . In the meantime would you like me to show you the way to your room and take care of your check- in comfortably over a fresh tropical fruit platter, maybe at your  terrace overlooking the Sea of Cortes ?”

I am not really listening, my eyes travel around this beautiful blend of Mediterranean-Mexican architectural open space. Still sipping my Margarita I follow the sixth angel without saying a word.

Las Ventanas al Paraiso, a Ty Warner property purchased from Televisa moguls the Azcaraga family estate and today managed by Rosewood hotels, was designed by HKS Architects with interiors by Wilson & Associates, both companies from Dallas. The idea was to blend into the natural ecological environment, reflecting the surrounding desert and sea, and incorporating water features that echo the original desert landscape.

The concept has been achieved by anchoring  a network of serpentine waterways that meander down the gentle natural slope of the terrain, beginning with a water feature in the open-air lobby, spilling through several ponds and culminating in a series of swimming pools by the Sea of Cortez. From the lobby, I am descending toward the sea, the infinity-edge design creating an image of an endless horizon, I am ready to redeem myself into the stillness of my new status.

Close to my suite,  the landscape mirrors the local desert; It uses plants that are indigenous or whose natural requirements and characteristics are appropriate to the local climate. Las Ventanas is planted with cactus, succulents and other desert plants, largely set in desert-sand gardens, and many are blooming varieties that splash the resort with the many brilliant colors of indigenous nature.

Aligned in a Japanese Bonsai atmosphere the echo and the voluptuousness of the natural setting endows the waterways with a curvaceousness that mimics the curves of a woman (fulfilling another fundamental goal of making Las Ventanas one of the most sensual and romantic resorts anywhere);  and create the most natural swimming pools possible.

Armando, the angel-butler, tells me that the resort literally was built entirely by hand, with tender loving care.  No heavy machinery or equipment was used by the large crews that built the entire framework of the resort. Then all the finish work was done by skilled Mexican artisans whose beautiful hand-crafted décor – from inlaid-pebble walkways and bed headboards to hand-carved cedar doors to latilla screens – imbued Las Ventanas with its distinctive style that has since been imitated worldwide.

The building materials were Mexican and largely organic in their own way:  The inlaid-pebble walkways (the “stone carpeting”) used pebbles from local riverbeds; the latilla ceilings were made with wood from Mexico’s mainland; the palapas were created from local palm thatch; and, instead of carpeting, Mexican conchuela stone floors were put down.

A visit in 1996, when the resort was under construction, was an extremely novel experience: Being hand made it was a “quiet” construction site where stucco blocks and buckets of freshly mixed cement were being raised by hand pulleys  and artisans everywhere were painting, installing wrought iron and setting pebble headboards.

All this is great….I am getting to my suite. I was told from secure sources  hat Mr Lionel Alvarez Las Ventanas managing director  has prepared a special surprise for me…” Armando  opens this impressive,  massive, masterly wood-hand-carved cedar door at once please…

Et Voila!

Joelle’s Tips:

The Resort: Las Ventanas al Paraiso

The Landscape Architects: SWA GROUP (Dallas) Chuck Mc Daniel , David Thompson principals in charge , project designers ,Lindsey James  Associate

Owners: Ty Warner / Javier Burillo Azcarraga

Architects: HKS Architects ( Dallas) Nunzio de Santis, Jeff Jensen

Developer: Thannisch Development Services Inc. ( Atlanta)

Operator: Rosewo0d Hotels and resort LLC

Interior Designers; Wilson & Associates ( Dallas) Paul Duesing Designer

Art Consultant: Joan Warren- Grady

Artists and Artisans:  Rodrigo Pimentel paintings , Deloss McGraw bronze sculptures, Vincente Godinez Espinoza bronze jars , Ernesto Cruz candles, Fernando Andriacci pottery and murals, David Luna Blown glass wall ceramic , terracotta

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