HBA designs Waldorf Astoria Cancun with jewel-like moments

HBA San Francisco conceived a story of place for the interiors of Waldorf Astoria Cancun, with inspiration from the white sand beaches of the Mexican Caribbean, the formation of natural pearls and the artistic and cultural significance of shells…

shell-like colours and textures in the entrance and peacock alley by HBA in the Waldorf Astoria Cancun

The design of the 173-key Waldorf Astoria Cancun incorporates memorable moments and bespoke detailing that embody the spirit of the locale and its surrounding elements. The arrival experience begins along the winding road through the sprawling mangrove jungle. Once at the private porte-cochère, hand-carved Tzalam entry doors are a portal to a modern sanctuary with a relaxed sense of luxury, seclusion and intrigue.

organic rounded furniture in front of wooden screened window in Waldorf Astoria Cancun

Image credit: Noah Webb

Inside the lobby lounge, guests’ eyes are immediately led outward to the cascading view beyond, framed by marching stone portals that emphasise the formality of the architecture and underscore the dramatic volume heights, crowned by twinkling chandeliers. Soft, moody lighting accentuates the material palette, where raw and polished stones combine with natural woods, warm metallic and pearlescent notes and carpet patterns that emulate the movement of water. At the centre is the signature Waldorf Astoria clock, designed with lightweight transparency to maintain a visual connection to the sea and adorned with jewelry-like rings and pearl-accented pendulums.

hotel lobby in shades of cream and gold with sparkling feature lights and columns drawing you in

Image credit: Noah Webb

A hallmark of the Waldorf Astoria brand, Peacock Alley is an intimate respite from the grandeur of the main lobby. Furnishings are plush and soft with an emphasis on texture. Sparkling palissandro stone at the bar combines with translucent shelving and warm metal accents to establish a jewel-like presence. Directly opposite Peacock Alley is the Waldorf Astoria Lounge. Deep, saturated hues envelop the space while artwork, accessories and literature tell a story of a fictional character – an explorer, botanist and Yucatan enthusiast – whose studies and interests focus on the surrounding mangroves.

Chaya restaurant evokes the warm, welcoming vibe of an elegant residential kitchen. An architectural screening element at the entry recalls local flora and commands attention. At the front, dining tables intermingle with individual buffet stations while banquettes oriented toward the view line the rear. While the entrance itself reaches out and opens itself to the corridor, the host is stationed inside the space at a generous offering table, inviting guest inside with an informal yet elegant welcome. The interior vibe continues outside on the terrace, where guests can enjoy their meal while basking in the view.

entrance to the restaurant chaya at Waldorf Astoria Cancun with statement metal screen

Image credit: Noah Webb

An indoor-outdoor connection defines the design of Waldorf Astoria Spa. Beyond the double glass doors, guests traverse a lush corridor, fully open to the landscape on one side. Each treatment room is complete with its own private water closet, vanity, shower and changing area. Couples’ treatment rooms boast the addition of a luxurious private two-person tub.

slatted wooden screens and plants line the passage to the spa at waldorf astoria cancun

Image credit: Noah Webb

The journey of discovery continues into the private sanctuaries of the guest rooms. Taking cue from the dramatic shadows cast by the abundant local flora, HBA San Francisco designers created an experience rich with layered materiality and playful interactions between light and objects in a fresh neutral palette. Luxury is expressed in the details with warm metal tones, sculptural forms, glowing light features and artful screening elements.

Image credit: Noah Webb

Upon entering the room, guests are immediately greeted by a sophisticated metal art screen. Framed in wood and elegantly suspended between floor and ceiling, the screen playfully and subtly filters the natural light while also providing an element of privacy to the sleeping area beyond. A rounded sofa recalls the welcoming curves introduced in the lobby, while an area rug provides an undeniable plushness underfoot and recalls the varied hues found in the waters directly below.

The bathroom experience spans the room’s entire length of the room and is defined by a dramatic wet vanity against a bold, blue ombre mosaic wall. Artwork explores the delicate detailing of coral. The shower experience is one to remember, surrounded by large, book-matched marble slabs and world-class views through the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Main image credit: Noah Webb