Often referred to as ‘el otro Mexico’ (‘the other Mexico), the wine region of Baja California is the setting for the latest venture from Carlos Courturier and Moisés Micha
With its old fishing and mission towns, Baja California offers an interesting blend of modern and traditional Mexico, with a thriving cultural and artisanal scene. As regular visitors to the region, and with a strong affinity for the isolation of the desert, Carlos Couturier and Moisés Micha, owners of Grupo Habita, chose the municipality of Ensenada, in the village of Valle de Guadalupe as the location for Endémico – 20 luxury cabins that blend seamlessly with their stunning natural surroundings.
This is glamping — ‘glamorous camping’ — at its finest. Art enthusiasts and veteran hoteliers Couturier and Micha, view Endemico as a realisation of their commitment to build a hotel on environmental, social, economic, and cultural levels: “Our mission is to impose a certain philosophy on society. We are not here only to create hotels; we are here to make people understand that creativity is good for society. We don’t only build hotels. We build experiences.”
Set among boulders on an isolated hill in the wine-growing region in the heart of Bara California, each of the 20 luxury cabins is erected above a sloping terrain, transformed into an eco-loft by San Diego-based design practice Gracia Studio. Endemico, Spanish for endemic, was designed to highlight and pay homage to the organic beauty of the landscape. Living up the vision of Couturier and Micha to preserve the beauty of nature and the authenticity of the place, Gracia worked hand-in-glove with a team of hand-selected local tradesmen worked to ensure the cabins seamlessly blend with their surroundings.
Known for their passion for creating economical architecture, Gracia is also known for its use of modular and flexible buildings. The eco-friendly cabin crafted by the studio is intentionally raised off the ground to minimise impact on the landscape, while purposefully oriented to maximise the unobstructed view for each unit. Constructed from Corten steel and wood, the cabins are designed to weather over time, aiming to eventually blend with the hills on which they are staggered. Each of the cabins is attached to the private wooden terraces and a traditional clay fireplace, known locally as kivas, allowing guests the freedom to extend their personal space directly into the outdoors even during the cooler nights.
Read the full story, ‘A heady mix’, in the October 2012 issue of Perspective magazine!