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Design Destination | NICO Sayulita by HYBRID and Palma

  • Nestled in the jungle-lined coast of Sayulita, Mexico, NICO is a boutique, Brutalist-style hotel crafted by Seattle-based design firm HYBRID and Mexico-City-based architecture firm Palma

    Comprising five guest suites, NICO is designed to accommodate large group bookings or multiple individual bookings, with its structure – a multi-level, grid-like building consisting of private and communal spaces – offering flexibility in how it is inhabited. “NICO combines the autonomy of a vacation home with the arrangements and common spaces of a boutique hotel,” HYBRID design principle Robert Humble says. “This allows an extended family or group of friends to rent the entire complex with each guest or couple having their own private suite while providing generous common spaces for group gatherings.” 

    The suites are conceived as tranquil retreats that embrace a connection to the outdoors through floor-to-ceiling windows and open-air spaces. A neutral, Brutalist-inspired palette of concrete, steel and wood reinforces this sense of refuge. The interplay of these harsh materials against the gentle backdrop of the surrounding trees creates a beautiful tension between the built and the natural. HYBRID and Palma have also specified custom furniture made by local artisans, attributing a distinctive Mexican feel to the spaces.

    The Brutalist concrete building contrasts with the surrounding greenery. HYBRID and Palma have painted the steel-framed windows green to create a sense of harmony.

    The lower level suite, called the ‘Jungle suite’, is encircled by native trees and features a concrete built-in bathtub.

    For the communal spaces, HYBRID and Palma took a different approach to the palette, incorporating more colour to “excite the senses and create a memorable experience,” Robert says. The main social area on the first level consists of a lap pool with a terrace and outdoor kitchen-dining area, while the second social area on the rooftop level consists of a plunge pool with spectacular ocean views. Robert compares this part of the building, where concrete beams frame the landscape like a painting, to tropical modernist buildings.

    Taking an innovative approach to hotel design while adhering to Mexico’s signature indoor-outdoor design language, HYBRID and Palma have created an immersive and flexible hospitality experience – the first of its kind in the sequestered coastal town.

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