A first-hand look at how the brand’s debut hotel in the Riviera Maya redefines the look and feel of all-inclusive luxury.
Luxury isn’t what it used to be. Just ask AvroKO. Early this spring, the New York design and concept firm—led by partners/principals William Harris, Greg Bradshaw, Kristina O’Neal and Adam Farmerie—took the wraps off its first-ever, all-inclusive project: UNICO 20°87° Hotel Riviera Maya. When it comes to wowing today’s high-end travelers, the 448-key property shows how careful curation is increasingly crucial to crafting a relevant visual narrative.
About a month after the hotel’s opening, Miami-based AIC Hotel Group (the sales/marketing arm of owner-operator RCD Hotels) invited BD and 15 other journalists to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula for the first press look at the UNICO Hotels’ debut property. As someone who spends a lot of time curating project and product photography based on what will pop on paper, I found the visit to be a refreshing reminder of how a tonal, minimalist palette can deliver maximal visual impact with the right materials.
The suite where I stayed at UNICO 20°87° Hotel Riviera Maya. All photos: Taken by Christina Green with an iPhone 7 Plus for Boutique Design
“We had worked on hotels that are close to the same scope, but are more vertically oriented and in urban environments,” said Bradshaw in a follow-up email Q+A. “However, this was our first project of this scale in a resort context.”
The designers’ goal was to strike a balance between refined and casual, setting the tone for a high-end beach hotel that would appeal to a sophisticated clientele who typically goes for a non-inclusive luxury offering. But achieving that interplay on a sprawling scale took more than artful eye; it required intensive, on-the-ground research.
“We visited a number of comparable resorts in the area that were not all inclusive, like Rosewood Mayakoba and NIZUC Resort & Spa,” recalled O’Neal. “We also knew that this would be an adults-only property, and that the restaurant concepts and the hotel’s architecture [by Mexican firm ARTIGAS Arquitectos] had already established. But beyond that, the client was really looking to us to provide the look and feel for the entirety of the project.”
The all-day dining venue, Restaurant 20.87, at UNICO 20°87° Hotel Riviera Maya.
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