Overwhelming Perceptions

Bruce T. Martin uses photographs as words to create a vivid story about the culture and history of Mayan caves and cenotes of the Yucatan and more.

Photography by Bruce T. Martin

“In 1975, my father gave me a Pentad Spotomatic 35 mm camera, that I still have today,” says Bruce T. Martin, an American Fine Arts photographer. Even early on Martin didn’t pursue other careers or jobs outside of photography. Initially, his interest in cameras and capturing moments sparked when he was studying abroad in Europe 1976 and he’s been studying the art form ever since. Now, Martin explains that he takes a literary approach to his photography. “Images combine like words do in a sentence to tell a story,” he says. “My motivation is to use photography to document our world, explore our perceptions and question our viewpoints. ”

 

Martin grew up in Chautauqua County in western New York where he studied at Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University. His connection to photography continued to grow even building a darkroom in his parent’s basement and later began apprenticing for Irving Penn in New York City. “That experience opened my thinking to a whole new world of possibilities,” says Martin. Although the young photographer already had an affinity to landscape photography, his job at the Chautauqua County Office of Planning and Development led to a deep appreciation for architectural structures. One responsibility of Martin’s new job was to “contact the owners of interesting and important architectural structures in the community to secure permission to photograph their homes and buildings.”

 

Gruata Milenio, Yucatán 2012

In terms of style, the photographer has “tried to combine the excellence of many photographers such as the technical mastery of Ansel Adams, the unique viewpoints of Andres Kertesz and the eloquence of Irving Penn, to name a few,” says Martin. However, from a technical point of view, Martin describes his approach as direct. “Positioning my camera in a place where I believe will reveal what I feel is most important to the image … then waiting for or creating the lighting that best reveals the detail and color to express the emotion and purpose of the image.”

As an artist, Martin is always working on a number of projects such as a larger portfolio of Boston cityscape and architecture. A series called “Fragment Landscape” is also in the works and involves overlapping images gathered in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. However, there has been one persisting project that Martin has been expanding on since 1987.

“I have been working on a project on the Maya of Central America, using historical documents, academic research, and current events in conjunction with my photography and recordings from the field,” according to Martin. The first phase of the project resulted in the book and exhibit, “Look Close See Far, A Cultural Portrait of Maya”, and has now progressed into the next component. “Seeking Sacred Landscapes, Maya Caves and Cenotes of the Yucatan”. Martin describes the project as, “beautiful, mysterious, and compelling.”

The series “Seeking Sacred Landscapes” is a combination of images of the Yucatan’s caves and cenotes with archeological, historical, and environmental essays by established authorities, according to the experienced photographer. Martin’s images compel you to look closer at the detail that has formed over the years within nature.

It’s hard to imagine what being in those types of caves would be like, but Martin describes it as a time full of anticipation. “Knowing that I will experience and learn something new each time fills my mind as I begin the descent into these underground chambers.” This experience has been building over the years. When the project first began Martin became interested in many of the Mayan’s core mythology concepts, which later led to his deeper understanding of the culture. “Harmony in life is a daily struggle. With the rapid development of recent years, many contrasting and violent viewpoints have been introduced, so that the Maya and their environment are being overwhelmed,” says Martin. “Surviving these disruptive influences and maintaining their cultural dignity is the challenge for an uncertain future that the Maya now face.”

The series “Seeking Sacred Landscapes” is a combination of images of the Yucatan’s caves and cenotes with archeological, historical, and environmental essays by established authorities, according to the experienced photographer. Martin’s images compel you to look closer at the detail that has formed over the years within nature.  

It’s hard to imagine what being in those types of caves would be like, but Martin describes it as a time full of anticipation. “Knowing that I will experience and learn something new each time fills my mind as I begin the descent into these underground chambers.” This experience has been building over the years. When the project first began Martin became interested in many of the Mayan’s core mythology concepts, which later led to his deeper understanding of the culture. “Harmony in life is a daily struggle. With the rapid development of recent years, many contrasting and violent viewpoints have been introduced, so that the Maya and their environment are being overwhelmed,” says Martin. “Surviving these disruptive influences and maintaining their cultural dignity is the challenge for an uncertain future that the Maya now face.”

Through images that help to shape and tell a story, Martin is hoping that the series “Seeking Sacred Landscapes” will attract some attention to these struggles. “With a greater awareness of their issues, a more productive dialogue on the Maya and their land can begin, which will promote cultural diversity, protect their environment and respect for their fading traditions.”

Each part of Martin’s experience pushes him further and enhances his ability as an artist. A journey from architectural to landscape photography has proved there is more than what originally meets the eye, which can be seen in the details of his photos. According to Martin, “Each of these naturally-occurring, organic caverns and cenotes are unique yet similar architectural spaces that overwhelm your perceptions and preconceived notions of the world we live in.”

Cenote Ik kil, Yucatán, 2016.

This editorial originally appeared in The High End Spring 2019.

Upon entering Puerta Cortés — a 500-plus-acre property in La Paz, Baja California, I was immediately intrigued by its essentially untouched landscape and its proximity to the marvelous Sea of Cortez.

Puerta Cortés, is surrounded by the world’s richest body of water — home to rare sea life such as whale sharks, dolphins, grey whales, humpbacks, orcas, sea lions and more. Nearly 40 percent of the world’s sea life is represented in the Sea of Cortez, making it a prime destination for snorkeling, scuba diving, and sea life exploration.

With seven marinas, Puerta Cortés demanded that I spent a day out on the water to discover Isla Espiritu Santo, swim with whale sharks, and explore sea lions habitats. I followed my day-long boating excursion with an ocean-view dinner as the sun set on the water.

Vista Mar

El Cortés Golf Club

Only two hours from Cabo San Lucas, La Paz offers an experience that heavily contrasts the bustle of a major city. Downtown La Paz offers an authentic Mexican city experience, while Puerta Cortés exudes an unparalleled feeling of privacy, serenity and comfort.

“I love the fact that even though you are in the city, you have this feeling that you are not really in a city,” says President of Ascendancy Antonio Davila, who admires the small town feel of La Paz.

El Cortés Golf Club, boasting sweeping views of the Sea of Cortez from 17 of its 18 holes, is accompanied by a cliffside Clubhouse with views unlike any other. The perfect destination for a Mexican-style breakfast, the Clubhouse evokes a peaceful atmosphere — complete with a calming morning breeze coming off the sea, views of the course’s lush greenery and the crystal blue Sea of Cortez, and an assortment of growing cacti to complete the mountainous desert landscape.

Las Colinas

After spending a morning at the golf course, I headed to Blue Cortés — the signature beach club at Puerta Cortés — to enjoy an afternoon soaking in the sun, relaxing in the infinity pool, and indulging in fine international cuisine while poolside. 

Located only two hours from Cabo San Lucas, La Paz offers an experience that heavily contrasts the bustle of a major city. Downtown La Paz offers an authentic Mexican city experience, while Puerta Cortés exudes an unparalleled feeling of privacy, serenity and comfort.

“I love the fact that even though you are in the city, you have this feeling that you are not really in a city,” says President of Ascendancy Antonio Davila, who admires the authentic, comfortable and small town feel of La Paz. 

When Davila visited the property with his wife six years ago, he immediately fell in love with the serene landscape of La Paz. 

“My wife and I were amazed by the fact that La Paz wasn’t better known, because we just found it to be the most beautiful place we’d ever seen,” he says. “I was mesmerized by its beauty, spectacular scenery and extraordinary amenities.”

Last year, Ascendancy — a Mexican-based family office and asset management firm — purchased the property and launched a $5 million renovation, which should be complete within the next 12 to 18 months. 

Currently the property offers two residential options — Las Colinas and Vista Mar, and Ascendancy is negotiating the construction of two, five-star hotels. The property will also soon sell cliffside, ocean-view lots. Other upgrades will include additional restaurants, an expanded on-site market, and a complete face lift for the beachfront.

“Puerta Cortés is an exclusive hideaway for those seeking unparalleled, coastal living and adventure in one of the most privileged locations in the world. I have met so many well-traveled visitors and residents who have seen and experienced some of the most incredible destinations in the world and have decided Puerta Cortés is where they want to be,” Davila says. 

The biggest draw of Puerta Cortes “to me is the gateway to the Sea of Cortez, its beautiful colors and wonderful sea life.” Davila says his favorite thing about living in La Paz is “being about to go out on the water with my family and experience all of the beautiful sea life. I love the quality of life that my family gets living here.”

Photos courtesy Puerta Cortés

This editorial appeared in the Unique Homes Ultimate ’19 Issue.

Consistently ranked among the world’s top places to visit, Mexico City is a global capital welcoming more than 12.5 million visitors each year with its renowned cuisine, vibrant culture, rich history, unique neighborhoods and modern-day travel offerings.

Over the years, the city has become a sprawling metropolis bursting with a vibrant personality blending old and new. Each of the distinct neighborhoods, or “colonias,” attracts tourists from all over the world to experience their unique culture.

The Roma neighborhood is home to Mexico City’s trendy creative class. Bursting with colors, the streets are filled with restaurants, galleries, bars, foodies, artists and eclectic bed and breakfasts. The neighborhood is the namesake and filming location for Alfonso Cuaron’s internationally acclaimed movie, “Roma,” which won three Academy Awards in 2019.

Located just a few blocks from the house where “Roma” was filmed, Ignacia Guest House is an ideal bed and breakfast for the visitor who wants to embrace the art and culture of the city. Blending history, Mexican artisan tradition and the city’s contemporary culture, Ignacia Guest House opened its doors in February 2017. The name is derived from the housekeeper who looked after this 1913 casona for over 70 years, Ignacia.

 

 

The bed and breakfast allows visitors to immerse themselves in the city’s culture. Each morning, the guest house’s chefs make a trip to the local market to purchase organic, local ingredients for the day. The design of the house itself also proves to blend a contemporary design and a reflection of the city’s timeless culture. With its chromatic color palette and unique interior furniture, the bed and breakfast creates a contemporary living space without losing the charm of the city’s culture.

The Ignacia Guest House is a quintessential example of a spot where visitors can expose themselves to the beauty of Mexico City and all it has to offer to tourists from around the world.

Photos courtesy of Jaime Navarro

Susurros del Corazón, the latest addition to the Auberge Resorts Collection portfolio, has broken ground as Punta de Mita’s newest luxury boutique resort, and has commenced sales for a limited number of the 30 beachfront residences.

Located on 33 lush, rolling acres overlooking the Bay of Banderas on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, the community will celebrate the boho-chic culture of Mexico’s quaint coastal surf towns while having an attractive contemporary design and providing the highest comforts and upscale services.

Translated as ‘whispers of the heart,’ Susurros del Corazón is perched on a bluff surrounded by tropical jungle and extends down to the pristine white sand beach below, offering Punta de Mita buyers a rare opportunity to own a beachfront residence with direct access to the water. Each of the 30 homes — ranging from three-bedroom Beach Casitas with 5,580 square feet of interior and exterior living space to a six-bedroom Presidential Villa with over 19,000 total interior and exterior square feet — will be perfectly poised at the water’s edge with floor-to-ceiling windows that maximize the epic views. Offering a clean, contemporary design, the residences will also give a nod to Mexican heritage through handcrafted finishes, artisanal wall coverings, and local artwork.

Open, airy living spaces will seamlessly extend from the indoors out, creating an environment that exists in perfect harmony with its natural, untouched surroundings. Featuring custom finishes and the finest fixtures, residences will have Wolf® and Sub-Zero® appliances, beautiful bathrooms with freestanding tubs and double shower heads, and expansive outdoor living spaces with bars, private pools and Jacuzzi® hot tubs.

“Punta de Mita is such a special place. We wanted to bring something totally unique to this area and the new Auberge Resort hotel suites and stunning oceanfront villas deliver on our vision,” says Mark Cooley a partner at SV Capital Partners, developers of the resort and residences. “It is very important for us to preserve the natural beauty of the land, and we are being conscious in the development to create a community that is in harmony with its surroundings. The entire ethos of this property is to combine a rustic simplicity that feels very authentic with the world-class amenities you’d expect from an Auberge resort.”

Upon opening in late 2020, Susurros del Corazón will comprise 59 hotel guest suites, four distinct culinary concepts, a 3,000-square-foot fitness center and yoga studio, kids’ club with daily activities and 4,600-square-feet of event space, including an outdoor patio and a spacious event lawn, offering an idyllic setting for picturesque gatherings. Tucked among lush gardens, an Auberge Spa will feature 11 treatment rooms and a variety of treatments inspired by the rich heritage and healing properties of the surrounding Riviera Nayarit region.

Dining at Susurros will further establish Auberge Resorts Collection’s reputation for award-winning culinary offerings. The resort’s signature restaurant will connect interior and exterior spaces and capitalize on the breathtaking ocean views, while guests enjoy locally-sourced meals utilizing traditional, seasonal ingredients and sip expertly crafted artisan cocktails. Outdoors, a casual open-air venue will invite guests and owners, day and night, to gather under large shade trees and a sun-punched trellis for a jungle-inspired dining experience.

The resort is centered around three scallop-shaped pools that will cascade down to the beach, where clear blue waters invite surfing, snorkeling and fishing against the backdrop of the volcanic Marietas Islands, a protected wildlife refuge. The resort’s private beach spans 1,850 linear feet of pristine sand, perfect for swimming and paddle boarding.

“Susurros del Corazón will be an entirely new experience in Punta de Mita; one that embraces a laid-back beach spirit and perfectly balances luxury and approachability,” says Craig Reid, chief executive officer of Auberge Resorts Collection. “We could not be happier to partner with SV Capital on another exceptional resort and residence project. The groundbreaking is an exciting milestone moment in the journey of bringing this vision to life.”

Photos courtesy of Susurros del Corazón.

Every year we select locations to highlight as Markets to Watch. This year change is underway and we take a look at some top performers, others that are beginning to transition, and a handful of under-the-radar locations that are emerging.

Austin, Texas

On track for another record with sales up more than 3 percent, Austin’s luxury patina shines ever brighter. In October, the medium home value in Barton Creek increased to $1.02 million, making it the city’s first million-dollar neighborhood. Austin’s charms include no income tax to win over newcomers, but music and tech might be tops.

Bozeman, Montana

Bozeman might seem like a sleeper on this list, but with ranches, the Yellowstone Club and Big Sky country it’s an under-the-radar hangout for demi-billionaires and billionaires.

Brooklyn, New York

No longer second best! Buyers are making Brooklyn a first choice. Median prices in the most expensive neighborhoods hit the $1 million mark. Israelis, Chinese and Western Europeans also gravitate here. It’s no surprise this New York City borough is No. 2 on Urban Land Institute’s Markets to Watch. 

©istockphoto.com/Auseklis

 

 

Chicago, Illinois

By August, the Chicago area recorded as many luxury sales as in all of 2016 or 2017. Sales of $1 million-and-up properties set a record in the third quarter with a 19-percent increase over 2017. According to RE/MAX, luxury is booming in the west loop area. Upscale suburbs trail the city. Lots of new condos and stunning new buildings open doors to more urban opportunities in a market that hangs in the balance.

Dallas, Texas

Few cities have charted a post-recession course as strong as Dallas and the city remains Urban Land Institute’s No. 1 location for overall real estate prospects in 2019. But the dramatic post-recession price increases are over, say economists. Moderating prices and adjusting inventories are positive indicators that that a move back to a normal market is underway.

© istockphoto.com/Kanonsky

Denver, Colorado

Real estate’s Rocky Mountain high isn’t over yet. Denver continues to rank in the top group on many lists. In the upscale bracket, a shift toward balance is underway with the inventory of $1 million-plus homes at about seven months. Year-over-year prices are up on average 9.29 percent. Boulder remains a sweet spot for luxury, ranking 10th among cities and towns with at least 10 neighborhoods considered million-dollar.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Projections call for appreciation as high as 10 percent this year. Nevada was the fastest growing state, with new platinum communities; forward-looking, innovative architecture; and spectacular views capturing the attention of buyers looking for lifestyle and tax relief.

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Coastal South Carolina and Georgia are ground zero for demographic shifts and the growing ability among the affluent to live wherever they want — a trend just taking off. New developments including Palmetto Bluff add to demand for the Hilton Head region.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Moving toward balance. A long-awaited uptick in homes on the market is one of several hints of a market shift. Median prices reached a record high this fall, and homes still sell quickly. Still the inventory of homes for sale is one of the lowest in the country. Upper tier and move-up brackets are less competitive.

Northern Virginia

D.C. continues to be in the top group on watch lists but Amazon’s recent announcement makes real estate in Northern Virginia much more interesting. What the prospect portends for current homeowners is uncertain, but sure to make this a market to watch in 2019.

Park City, Utah

No longer just a ski hangout, this Salt Lake neighbor is luxury’s newest player. The most desirable neighborhoods see a shortfall of inventory. Land prices increased by 25 percent with the highest number of sales occurring at Promontory. Opportunities abound: new projects at The Canyons, a large expansion of Deer Valley, a $4 billion renovation of the Salt Lake airport and a bid for the 2030 Olympics.

Wikimedia Commons / Don Lavange

Portland, Maine

Beaches and skiing, does it get any better than that? Hipsters meet old money here. Ranked among the top 20 for entrepreneurs, the city has a growing tech industry and one of the best foodie scenes in the Northeast. Look for more new construction. Prices will continue to ease upward as more people discover this hidden gem.

© istockphoto.com/DougLemke

Santa Barbara, California

Opportunities for buyers in many California locales continue to increase as markets shift. Median prices in Santa Barbara in November were down more than 25 percent, which is good news for buyers. The area remains a prized luxury refuge and lower prices open the door for newcomers to enjoy one of the most unique locations in the U.S.

Sarasota, Florida

The city’s iconic waterfront is being reimagined with a vision to increase cultural programming and urban amenities. Median prices have been increasing steadily, up 25 percent since 2014. New construction means more inventory with more on the horizon. Agents report steady and growing interest in individuals from high tax states.

© istockphoto.com/KarolinaBorowski

Seattle, Washington

Happier times are ahead for buyers in Seattle with active listings up by 41 percent. Even though inventories are still slim, it’s a good indication the frenzy is over. Closed sales in November were down 28 percent. Homes continue to appreciate but the increase has slowed to 5 percent. For buyers and sellers this is definitely a market to watch. The city still is in top groups in many rankings, but the frenzy is over.

Wikimedia Commons / Jeff Gunn

Toronto, Canada

Canadian Baby Boomers and Millennials came together and turned up the heat on the luxury condos in 2018; single-family home sales decreased by as much as 44 percent. While the foreign buyers tax has reduced sales to overseas buyers, it’s also opening new opportunities for locals. Local buyers will continue to drive demand for condos here.

Resort Markets

Luxury’s top performers in 2018. Not only are residences in demand, but new resorts are raising the bar for luxury and reinvigorating current markets. New developments in Turks and Caicos, including the ultra-indulgent Gansevoort Villas, turn up the heat on interest in the Caribbean. Easy reach from the U.S. and private enclaves generate new interest in the Bahamas. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico is seeing new resorts and other regions along the Sea of Cortez are seeing new development. Mandarina in Nyarit is the site of One & Only’s first collection of private homes. Owning a private island continues to be an ultimate purchase and the Bahamas is ground zero.

Thanks to:

Austin Board of Realtors

Michael Saunders, Founder and CEO Michael Saunders & Company

Anthony Hitt, President and CEO, Engel & Völkers Americas

Aleksandra Scepanovic, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Ideal Properties Group

National Association of Realtors

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, Kirkland, Washington

RE/MAX  Canada

Trulia

Zillow

This story originally appeared in the Winter 2019 issue of Unique Homes Magazine. 

Consistently ranked among the top places to visit, Mexico City is a world capital welcoming more than 12.5 million visitors each year who come for its renowned cuisine, vibrant culture, rich history, unique neighborhoods and modern-day travel offerings. For an insider’s view of Mexico City’s food scene, Rocio Vazquez Landeta, founder of Eat Like a Local Mexico City, helps navigate travelers through the city’s neighborhoods to hidden culinary gems through her expert food tours, three of which will newly debut in 2019.

Born and raised in Mexico City, Landeta is a world traveler and food researcher, as well the owner of one of the first food blogs in Mexico, sin Mantel. After studying Mexican cuisine and culture at the Mexican Gastronomy School, she founded the company to take travelers through the streets of the vibrant Mexico City to taste, explore and connect with Mexico City’s food scene, markets, restaurants and people. “Food is an amazing tool because it is one of the few things that you can experience with all your senses. Through the food, we help travelers connect with the people behind the food. Through the food we create stories and we explain our roots and history.”

Discovering all the great places that only locals know, Eat Like a Local Mexico City’s food journeys showcase cutting-edge restaurants along with secret food stalls and street food that offer the most authentic Mexican cuisine.

The Mexico City Foodie Immersion tour covers all aspects of Mexican food. The 4.5-hour experience begins at a small coffee shop where travelers learn about the coffee culture in the city. With coffee in hand, the tour explores street food delicacies including Mixiotes, basket tacos, and rotisserie chicken. The journey continues to the subway to explore a traditional market with an array of carnitas, corn, tostadas, fruit and chorizo. Travelers then visit La Merced, the second biggest market in the city for candy tasting, pineapple juice, fish tacos and a visit to a local woman’s house for a homemade meal. The tour comes to an end at a hip, modern lounge for authentic cocktails.

For the adventurous eaters, the Street Food at Night and Hidden Neighborhoods tour explores three hidden neighborhoods in Mexico City, San Rafael, Guerrero, Santa María la Ribera, and introduces foodies to eyeball and brains tacos. For the conservative eaters, enjoy al pastor or brisket tacos. Mole is the highlight of this tour and the group will eat traditional homemade black and yellow moles; taste mezcal, tejate, tepache, and other traditional Mexican drinks; and eat birria, chiles rellenos and churros. Finish the evening tour walking around the historic center and learn about Aztec legends while visiting the famous tile house.

However authentic the experiences are, Landeta’s passion for these tours extends further than the plate. “The food in Mexico City is of course is amazing, but our tours are more about getting to know the people behind the food,” she says, from hanging out with the locals, being hugged by the kids at the market and more. “Everybody says that they absolutely love the food, but what makes Eat Like a Local special is the people working with us — the guides, the vendors, the kids and the chefs.”

Eat Like a Local Mexico City is also the only Mexican-founded food tour agency that actively promotes economic growth and creates opportunities for families within the traditional markets. All of Eat Like a Local’s food tours support the local community. For example, the Mexico City Foodie Immersion tour supports the 80 IQ program, a program where 12 children at the La Merced Market learn English, receive monthly mentorship, participate in recreational activities and also, work as guides during the weekends. The Mexican Wine and Pulque Journey supports single mothers from La Merced Market through lending business advice and exposure, participation in pop-up events and mentorship. The Street Food at Night and Hidden Neighborhoods tour donates food and meals to homeless people as well.

In the end, everything comes back to the heart and home for Landeta. “Every dish has a soul, each cook creates dishes with his hands but also with his heart. Eat Like a Local creates a love affair with the food, but also with the people,” she says.

The Mexican Wine and Pulque Journey is hosted by Sara Garza, a sociologist who grew up in the Roma neighborhood. Guests explore Garza’s favorite spots including the traditional places she grew up eating at, as well as new, trendy hotspots. Starting at Eno, Enrique Olvera´s famous deli, taste green pozole, pastor tacos, Mexican-Argentinian tacos and more. Travelers will learn about Pulque, the pre-Hispanic drink made from the agave plant. End the afternoon at a winemaker´s shop where the group tastes four different Mexican wines paired with Mexican craft cheese. The tour unveils the hidden history behind the wineries and guests will learn about the Mexican wine world with an expert.

All photos courtesy Eat Like a Local Mexico City.

Driving along a pathway of cacti and palm trees, I was soon greeted by the scent of saltwater, the sound of waves crashing against the mountainous rocks, and the breathtaking views of the infinity pool overlooking Santa Maria Bay.

Perched atop a mountain, I looked across the vista — at guests relaxing by the 20,000-square-foot pool at Montage Los Cabos and residents enjoying the Mexican-style beach club at Maravilla Los Cabos, yet there was still much more to see.

Sited along the Golden Corridor between San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas in southern Baja, Mexico, Twin Dolphin is a 1,400-acre master-planned community being developed by Ohana Real Estate Investors. The expansive project includes Montage Los Cabos, a five-star resort hotel and residences, Maravilla Los Cabos, a private residential community, and a Fred Couples Signature Golf Course.

 

Upon entering Montage, I was immediately amazed by the azure waters of Santa Maria Bay. Whether it’s from the hotel or residences, each room overlooks the water — from the one-bedroom suite and beachfront presidential suite to each of the 52 residences.

 

“The location of Twin Dolphin is extremely special,” notes Neil Johnson, managing director of residential real estate for Ohana Real Estate Investors. “There is a natural topography of the land, which slopes up from sea-level making it optimal for development, because it allows everyone to have an ocean view.”

 

With two-bedroom prices starting at $2.7 million and three-bedrooms starting at $3.2 million, each residence at Montage comes fully furnished. Also featuring 122 guestrooms, Montage features luxury amenities such as a full-service Spa Montage, Montage’s signature Paintbox children’s program and access to one of the only swimmable beaches in Cabo.

 

For those looking for a more secluded experience, there is Maravilla…

 

The Maravilla exudes a sense of privacy perfect for the entire family. From coastal-style villas and townhomes to customizable homes and homesites, prices begin at $3 million. Reminiscent of the land’s natural beauty, both developments embrace contemporary design. “We wanted to showcase the true sense of Cabo and its natural desert surroundings. The minimal and contemporary aesthetic truly underscores the authenticity of the destination,” Johnson notes.

In addition to access to amenities at Montage Los Cabos, residents at Maravilla may exclusively enjoy the 60,000-square-foot clubhouse with two restaurants, three-level infinity pool with a water slide, full-service spa, outdoor amphitheater, community park, and much more.

Despite the incredible landscape, immaculately designed homes and luxurious amenities, the biggest appeal of Maravita has to be its sense of community. “Our goal was to create a private residential community that is exceedingly focused on families,” Johnson says. “It’s been incredible to create a destination where the parents don’t want to leave, but more importantly the kids don’t want to leave.”

 

Both developments also offer out-of-this-world, beachfront dining options with deliciously curated drink menus — for lunch, enjoy authentic fish tacos with a local artisanal beer, or treat yourself to freshly-caught lobster with a beach-inspired cocktail for dinner.

 

When I wasn’t gazing out at Santa Maria Bay during meals, relaxing by one of the many ocean-view pools or indulging in a wellness treatment at Spa Montage, there was no shortage of adventurous activities to explore — from discovering exotic marine animals and vegetation while snorkeling to touring the Baja Outback atop a camel’s back.

The Residences at Montage

This originally appeared in Unique Homes Fall 2018

 

Click here to view the digital edition.

The wildly popular social movement “farm-to-table” encourages sourcing food locally, so that consumers know exactly where their food came from. Knowing the origin of your food encourages the freshest dining, and that can be found in these three dining options. These farm-to-table experiences have taken sustainability to a luxury level.

 

OUTSTANDING IN THE FIELD

 

Originally staging a handful of events in 1999, luxury farm-to-table dinner service “Outstanding in the Field” today stages 100+ multi-course feasts every year, from coast to coast across North America to all around the world.

 

Founded in 1999 by artist and chef Jim Denevan, “Outstanding in the Field” originally was a radical idea to switch up the traditional convention of dinner. Rather than sourcing ingredients and bringing them to the restaurant, Denevan’s vision was to create a restaurant at the source, where guests would enjoy a communal meal and the farmer’s story could be told and celebrated. A single long table is set at an extraordinary site, and guests dine outdoors on the food grown at the source.

 

“Our mission is to get folks out to the places where the food comes from and honor the people whose good work brings nourishment to the table,” says chef and artist Jim Denevan. “Our roving restaurant without walls may be located wherever good food comes from. There are no boundaries.”

 

“Outstanding in the Field’s” culinary caravan has visited all 50 U.S states and 15 countries around the globe. The #TabletoFarm tour season runs May through November, with a smaller winter tour in January/February to warm-weather spots like Florida, Hawaii and Mexico.

STUDIO IN MONTAGE LAGUNA BEACH, CALIFORNIA

 

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Laguna Beach, Studio is Montage Laguna Beach’s five-star free-standing fine dining restaurant. Studio prides itself on serving innovative modern cuisine. While Studio is known for its tasting menus and incredible service, it is also a Wine Spectator Grand Award winner, with approximately 2,500 wine selections and 30,000 bottles in inventory.

 

Studio’s showstopper is the 1,000-square-foot raised bed garden, which provides many of the ingredients for the restaurant’s signature cuisine. The garden is currently growing cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, Swiss chard, Valencia oranges, artichokes and edible flowers, to name a few. The culinary team at Studio uses the garden’s bounty in everyday cooking, especially in the restaurant’s gourmet vegetarian tasting menu, and also for fresh cocktail garnishes throughout Montage. The garden can seat up to 50 guests.

 

FLORA’S FIELD KITCHEN, MEXICO

 

Flora Farms is a 25-acre organic working farm at the foot of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, and is home to Flora’s Field Kitchen, a field-to-table restaurant set amongst idyllic organic fields and gardens.

 

The original Flora Restaurant was in San Jose del Cabo, but after 5 years in town, the owner decided she would rather bring the restaurant to the farm instead of the other way around. Flora’s Field Kitchen prides itself on serving only what it has grown, even nixing beef from the menu, as it is not sustainable in the Baja region.

 

Flora’s has an onsite bakery firing up artisan breads, a butcher-shop, a brewery, and a wood-fired oven that serves up 15 types of Neapolitan-style pizza.. The restaurant also offers cooking classes several days a week.

 

Flora Farm is available for private gatherings and special occasions, with customizable event menus.

 

AGRICOLA FORE PORTA, ITALY

 

Only accessible on foot, this organic agriturismo, or farm resort, only uses seasonal, organic products, with the famous Amalfi lemons at the forefront of the fresh cuisine.

For Italians, the idea of combining agriculture with tourism is an old tradition, and this agriturismo started generations ago, when the farm was an old papermill. Agricola Fore Porta today offers a daily menu, which includes traditional courses prepared only with seasonal products picked freshly every morning, and Mediterranean cooking lessons, where participants will learn how to prepare local recipes.

 

 

An hour outside Puerto Vallarta’s International Airport along the western coastal state of Nayarit, Mexico, is the future site of Mandarina, a new, exclusive resort that will feature hotel suites, one of the world’s first collections of One&Only branded residences and other world-class amenities. Unique Homes was able to get a behind-the-scenes look at the site of this future resort.

Entering the site of Mandarina is like stepping directly into a tropical jungle, surrounded by the sounds of native creatures and the crashing waves along the Pacific coast. The road leading toward Mandarina is outlined by plots of farmland owned by local farmers from the region. Fields of fruits and vegetables dictate the way, the spikes of the rising pineapple plants standing tall like knights in verdant green armor. Even taller than the pineapples are the amazing mountains that serve as the natural border of the valley, as well as a nature sanctuary for hundreds of jaguars, a nationally protected animal of Mexico.

Up through the mountains, we walk through an almost prehistoric forest with deep-rooted trees that stretch high into the jungle canopy. This area, a soon-to-be Kid’s Club, will host educational programming for children and families to learn about nature, geography and history with the inclusion of tribal markings on stones throughout the mountains. Eventually we make our way to The Point, a high ridge on one of the main mountains and the future site of an adult-only destination on the resort with exquisite indoor-outdoor dining experiences. From here the entire landscape is laid out perfectly in front of us, from the Jetty that will extend in front of the One&Only Majahua Beach Club for residents to harbor and set off on sea-faring endeavors. On the one-mile stretch of beachfront between the One&Only and Rosewood resorts will be the Canalan Beach Club with a beachside swimming pool and casual dining.
“It is very rare to find a landscape with so many unique and diverse ecosystems,” says our host Ricardo Santa Cruz, RSC president and CEO. RSC Development was enlisted by RHL Properties to oversee the sales of the developments on Mandarina, including the collection of One&Only Private Homes and Rosewood Mandarina residences.
“Mandarina was shaped thousands of years ago by a long-dormant volcano, creating dramatic cliffs amongst a dense rainforest, long stretches of sandy, swimmable beaches, flatlands and a natural estuary all in one place.” Juan Bremer, deputy CEO of RHL Properties, notes that one of the resort’s most unique and exceptional offerings is the world-class Polo and Equestrian Club that will sit within the flatlands of the property. “Capturing the equestrian spirit that is deeply rooted in Mexican culture, Mandarina’s facility will be a place where riders of all ages will gather, learn, practice and compete,” says Bremer.

Top photo: Rendering of Majahua Beach Club; Bottom photo: Rendering of The Jetty.

Apart from certain sections of the site that are already under construction, a large part of the property is waiting to be developed, which according to Santa Cruz will be done in stages, coinciding with the sales of the 55 One&Only Private Homes. Santa Cruz has been working and negotiating with citizens and authorities within the region for more than 10 years to acquire the land for Mandarina, an endeavor that has formed a closer relationship between Mandarina and the local towns along the coast. These relationships are a deeper reflection of RHL and RSC’s focus on the land and keeping the resort and residences as authentic to the region as possible.

Authenticity was a main priority to Santa Cruz and the development team, so much so that the resort’s amenities consistently reference the land’s history and natural beauty. For example, the fertile plots of farmland lining the road to the property will offer locally grown produce for a farm-to-table experience at the restaurants at The Point and beach clubs.

“We have set out to create a destination that is at once, respectful of the past and mindful of the future,” Santa Cruz affirms. “Through careful, very low-density land planning, Mandarina will preserve the topography, native flora, wildlife and ecosystems that currently thrive here.”

Rendering of the lounge area of The Plateau.

The architect of Mandarina, Rick Joy of Rick Joy Architects, has had a hand in every meticulous detail throughout the design process to ensure this sense of authenticity, with climate responsibility and landscape sensitivity also in mind. “At Mandarina, the design stems from a detailed site analysis, investigating the geology, climate, views, availability of local materials and ‘the building culture of place.’ The result is architecture that is at one with the site and its heritage,” says Santa Cruz.

Renderings from the One&Only Mandarina villas.

In Mandarina, every terrain you set foot on and every view your eyes capture is different from the next, a variety that is not only unique but engaging. RHL and RSC understand the need for unique experiences and tailored luxury and aim to prove with One&Only Mandarina how to engage not only in luxury, but with the physical world around us.

Top left photo: Rendering of One&Only Mandarina villa ; Bottom left photo: Rendering of the Plateua ; Right photo: Rendering of The Point.

All images courtesy Hayes Davidson and Mandarina.

The new residential villas will feature an open concept with floor-to-ceiling windows and doors that open to ample private terraces.

Chileno Bay Resort & Residences, Los Cabos’ premier beachfront resort and residential villa community, will expand its real estate offerings with the fall 2018 unveiling of 28 new beach-front villas, 12 new hotel rooms and suites and a variety of social and culinary amenities for owners and guests.

Since opening in January 2017, Chileno Bay Resort & Residences has seen strong sales numbers and high occupancy at the award-winning Auberge property.

A sprawling 22-acres above one of Cabo’s coveted year-round swimmable beaches and part of the prestigious 1,200-acre resort community of Chileno Bay, the resort is comprised of a private beach club and a three-tiered infinite swimming pool with an oceanfront hot tub and fire pits.

The new residences will provide future buyers more options to stay at this luxurious resort with the introduction of two-bedroom villas, penthouses and additional four-bedroom villas.

“Our goal with the new villas is to offer the most exciting new ownership opportunity in the destination and bring a new level of luxury to Los Cabos,” says Mark Cooley, a partner of SV Capital Partners — developers of the resort.

With simple, direct forms, the villas are clean, light and airy. The new homes feature an open concept with floor-to-ceiling windows and doors that open to ample private terraces. Ground-floor villas all have private, in-ground pools and spas, while upper-level villas have Jacuzzis on the spacious, open-air balconies. All residential villas are equipped with indoor-outdoor gourmet kitchens with Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances, immaculate finishes and fixtures and distinct artisanal furnishings and artwork.

The developers are also introducing new community amenities that appeal to the whole family — specifically, more opportunities for young adults to meet peers and simply have fun. The result is the new Young Adult’s Club, a casual space for gathering with a recording studio, gaming center, onsite photography coordinator and mocktail bar. Other new enhancements around property will include a coffee shop and an additional dining venue. 

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