The art of travel: design hotel Casa Malca

The picturesque white beaches of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula might be the last place one would expect to find an extraordinary modern art collection worthy of a museum, but renowned NYC art dealer Lio Malca’s art-centric boutique hotel suggests otherwise.

Casa Malca, located just outside the ancient Mayan city of Tulum, is decked out with original works from Malca’s private collection of contemporary art pieces – featuring artists such as George Condo, Vik Muniz, Wayne White, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Marco Brambilla. From the KAWS Companion figure in the lobby to Rafael Gomezbarros’s giant fibreglass ants ascending the walls, a vast range of sculptures, paintings and photography fills the 26 guestrooms and nine suites.

Stretched across more than 180 metres of private coastline, the resort could be considered an artwork in itself; blending elements of whitewashed, natural warmth with rustic Mayan influences and graphic bursts of colour. The striking tapestries and edgy décor, such as the Keith Haring wallpaper in the bar area, are delicately balanced by the luxurious interiors, large floor-to-ceiling windows and views of either the surrounding ocean or gardens.

Guests can spend the day exploring the nearby Mayan temple ruins and the historic Tulum coastline, before returning to unwind in the oasis of the resort. Activities for the more adventurous include kite-surfing, exploring the jungle reserve in an all-terrain vehicle, and scuba-diving or snorkelling the ancient limestone cenotes (natural underground reservoirs).

If you’d prefer to relax and appreciate the artwork, unwind by the private beach or next to one of the three swimming pools; indulge in a massage or private yoga class, before watching the sunset from the rooftop.

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