Chapi Chapo Design unveils latest design masterpiece, St Regis Kanai Resort

The St. Regis Kanai Resort, Riviera Maya is a mystical paradise honouring ancient Maya civilisation with a design by award-winning interior design firm Chapi Chapo Design, which takes its inspiration from the neighbouring nature reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site along Mexico’s glistening Yucatán Peninsula…

guestroom with wooden headboard divider detail and view to terrace with hammock at St Regis Kanai Resort by Chapi Chapo

The inspired design of the luxury resort breathes life and magic into the Kanai region with its avant-garde architecture, inviting interiors and enchanted storytelling. Lead by Chapi Chapo Design’s Co-Founder and Partner, Tatiana Sheveleva, the design awakens the wonders of the region, from the luxuriant biodiversity of its natural parks and the mysticism of its cenotes, to the vivid blues of its ocean and the cultural richness of its archaeological sites.

“Chapi Chapo Design is honoured to continue working closely with Marriott International and the St. Regis brand by telling the story of the Mayan peoples and not only protect the land but preserve the rituals and traditions they once practiced through our design,” said Sheveleva, Chapi Chapo Design, Co-Founder and Partner. “The resort awakens a journey to enlightenment through ancient Mayan storytelling and offers an inspiring welcome to one of the world’s most dramatic secluded settings – a sanctuary where time does not exist.”

outdoor dining venue with wooden frame over water and stepping stones

Image credit: The St. Regis Kanai Resort

The St Regis Kanai Resort shelters 124 lavishly appointed guestrooms including 19 suites with a 200 square metre Presidential Suite, each offering mesmerising ocean views and a private terrace or plunge pool. The spacious guestrooms feature design elements and rich materials evoking the surrounding elements from the mangrove trees and nearby cenotes to the stars above. Storytelling, folklore and superstitions are strongly embedded in Mexican culture and brought to life throughout the resort’s design. The Maya excelled at agriculture, pottery, hieroglyph writing, calendar-making and mathematics and left behind an astonishing amount of impressive architecture and symbolic artwork.

Common threads woven within the resort’s design offer respect to the Maya peoples, renowned for their remarkably accurate system of timekeeping based largely on astronomical measurements that let them time agricultural events and religious observances. Considered one of the most accurate in the world, the Mayan calendar was intimately interwoven with their religion and cosmology, lending it an aura of mystical insight that resonates throughout the resort’s guest experience.

Chapi Chapo Design is responsible for all interior spaces including 124 guestrooms and suites, eight incredible culinary venues, The St. Regis Spa with eight treatment suites and a standalone salon, Children’s Club and indoor and outdoor event space spread across six distinguished meeting venues. The resort architecture by Mexican firm Edmonds International, is a design masterpiece, which features an exceptional circular exterior design inspired by the constellation Pleiades, resulting in unrivalled ocean views from nearly every vantage point. Designed with a minimal construction footprint aimed at protecting the natural reserve, The St. Regis Kanai Resort, Riviera Maya is suspended above a mangrove forest with the different elements of the hotel connected by elevated walkways. Enchanted by the spiritual power of nature, the Maya believed the sky was the entry to heaven.

wooden furniture in front of curved facade and panoramic windows in the lobby in The St. Regis Kanai Resort

Image credit: The St. Regis Kanai Resort

The resort’s unique landscape pays tribute to Maya astronomer-priests who looked to the heavens for guidance, building ceremonial temples and pyramids which precisely aligned with the movements of celestial bodies in order to protect the gods and help them guide the Sun and Moon across the sky through the night. Floor-to-ceiling panoramic views of the mangroves give way to lush gardens and an expansive outdoor lawn with direct access to two miles of undisturbed white sand beach.

bathroom in The St. Regis Kanai Resort with wood, marble and mirrored surfaces

Image credit: The St. Regis Kanai Resort

The Maya were deeply religious, and worshiped various gods related to nature, including the gods of the sun, the moon, rain and corn. At the top of Maya society were the kings, or ‘kuhul ajaw’ (holy lords), who claimed to be related to gods and followed a hereditary succession. They were thought to serve as mediators between the gods and people on earth and performed the elaborate religious ceremonies and rituals so important to the Maya culture.

Throughout the guestroom, design elements draw inspiration from ceremonial garments made by the Maya women and are found on bedside ceramic light pendants and intricate walnut wood-carved headboards with bronze-finished mirrors. The details of the wood also resemble the Maya’s diamond textile patterns which is a key design element for all St. Regis hotels as diamonds were adored by Mrs. Caroline Astor – the matriarch of the St. Regis brand. Like the Astors, who created some of our most beloved signature rituals worldwide, the Maya society also enjoyed practicing rituals and ceremonies to honour the gods. The resort’s restaurant and bar seating and open layouts are meant to bring the outdoors in and be a welcome place for people to come together like the Mayans as well.

white leather and wood chair detail with mayan inspired circular motif by Chapi chapo design

Image credit: The St. Regis Kanai Resort

The circular shapes and hanging mirrors and amenity shelves within the guestroom take inspiration from nearby cenotes – a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater which is naturally filtered. The regional term is specifically associated with the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, where cenotes were commonly used for water supplies by the ancient Maya and occasionally for sacrificial offerings. Rich materials imitating the ecosystem where the resort lays include serene marbles with hues of blue, grey and green that mimic the surrounding elements, travertine to resemble local limestone, while walnut wood brings rich warmth and grounding to each area of the resort where design imitates life. The layout of the resort and materials used invite nature in for the guest to metaphysically experience Riviera Maya, sparking curiosity and a desire to uncover Mexico’s rich history and discover the natural wonders of the land and its people.

bar running along wall with traditional diamond motif pattern on the wall and view along window to outdoors at The St. Regis Kanai Resort

Image credit: The St. Regis Kanai Resort

The resort invites guests and local luminaries to embark on unique gastronomic journeys with eight incredible culinary venues designed by Chapi Chapo Design. At The St. Regis Bar, the mural’s soothing abstract mosaic pays tribute to Maya astronomer-priests who looked to the heavens for guidance. They built ceremonial temples and pyramids which precisely aligned with the movements of celestial bodies to protect the gods and help them guide the sun and moon across the sky through the night which is depicted in the intricately handcrafted mural. The Maya believed that the heavenly bodies needed human help, which was provided through sacred rituals. To the Maya, offering this help was simply the price to be paid for the continued survival of the universe. The abstract motif cultivates a tranquil atmosphere by combining both the warm and cool colours of Kanai’s enchanting sunrise and sunset. Soothing cloud formations create a unified theme while incorporating complimentary tones which reflect the serene and mystical energy of Kanai – a place where resort guests experience heaven on earth.

Main image credit: The St Regis Kanai Resort