W Retreat Kanai
Richard Meier & Partners

April 25, 2011 /

Riviera Maya, Mexico

kanai_1.jpgImage courtesy

The architectural material palette complements the dramatic interplay of stark architectural forms, light and shadow.

The W Retreat Kanai is the centerpiece of the Kanai Resort, comprised of lush mangroves and pristine beaches, on Mexico's magnificent Yucatan coast line. A natural preservation order limits the development of the 183 hectare site to 3.8 hectares of buildable land and landscaping.

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Elevated above the flood plane, the hotel floats on a carpet of mangroves. The dramatic forms of the architecture are incised into the site against the infinite horizon of sea, sky, and landscape, juxtaposed by a playful merging of levels and floating planes that seamlessly connect indoor and outdoor spaces. Building and landscape flow into one another, as meandering gardens and courtyards, sinuous pools and waterworks intersect with terraces and foot paths. Guest amenities are dispersed throughout the site as destinations within a framework of platonic geometries. This playful network of interconnected pathways and outdoor areas links the main building to the seashore.

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The strong T-shape geometry of the main hotel building surrounds the main pool, maximizing daylight with its south-west orientation and engaging the spectacular views. The arrival is from the north-west, leading to a porte-cochere, flanked by the sculptural conference center. The north facade contains vertical circulation and service areas. This facade is divided into three distinct planes penetrated by viewing platforms overlooking the mangrove landscape. A perforated screen wall at the entrance is landscaped as a green wall and punctured by a vestibule to mark the main hotel entrance.

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North Elevation

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West Elevation

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South Elevation

The public spaces are located in the center of the main building. Set back superimposed stories provide generous terrace spaces for the individual guest rooms with unobstructed views toward the sea. The guest rooms have been developed as continuous living areas, with the interior space continuing to an exterior deck, enclosed by retractable privacy screens and sun shading louvers.

Image courtesy MeyerDavis Studio
The architectural material palette, responsive to the southern climate, includes stucco walls, natural stone, pre-cast concrete, concrete paving and wood that complement the dramatic interplay of stark architectural forms, light and shadow.
The 180-room hotel has unparalleled accommodations, state of the art leisure, spa and fitness facilities, two restaurants and three bars. The Resort includes four hotels and a Beach Club, that services the entire resort, as well as future residential housing units along two surrounding golf courses.

Model photo courtesy Richard Meier & Partners
Drawing courtesy Richard Meier & Partners
Inside - Out, Garden & Building seamlessly merge

Drawing courtesy Richard Meier & Partners
Site Plan

Drawing courtesy Richard Meier & Partners
Ground Floor Plan

Drawing courtesy Richard Meier & Partners

Richard Meier is also designing the W Santa Fe in Mexico City for the same client. The W Santa Fe is part of Liberty Plaza, a mixed-use building complex comprised of three 15-story towers on the periphery of Mexico City. It is a unique urban setting, overlooking a natural reserve with views of the Mexico City valley and surrounding mountains and volcanoes.

Image courtesy Richard Meier & Partners

Facts about W Retreat Kanai

Site area:

183 hectare
Building area: Approx. 37,000 Square Meters

ALHEL and GIM Desarrollos of Mexico


Richard Meier & Partners

Local architect:

Migdal Arquitectos

Last updated: December 19, 2013

See also

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