It isn’t often that a new resort unveils itself with contemporary brutalist architecture. Brutalism, with its focus on exposed building materials and harsh geometry, after all, was a branch of modernism that took root in the mid-twentieth century to be used in a utilitarian way, for government buildings and public housing. And prisons. Locations in The Handmaid’s Tale make use of the austere style—all those endlessly high walls, some of them with bloody bodies hanging off them.
Happily, the newish resort Paradero, set inland from the coast in Baja, California against the Sierra Laguna Mountains, doesn’t bring to mind such dystopian thoughts. The brainchild of Mexican hospitality impresarios Pablo Carmona and Josh Kremer manages to be at once luxurious and minimalist–no easy trick. The wing of suites features an exterior that undulates boldly and enigmatically, and even though the monochromatic concrete facade is unadorned and devoid of windows, its shapeliness is mesmerizing. Ruben Valdez and Yashar Yektajo of CDMX-based Yektajo Valdez Architects are responsible for the effect.
And this unique design makes for privacy: No one can walk past your accommodation and see what you’re doing; however, your sunny, outdoor space is ample and private. Some suites contain gardens with concrete soaking tubs overlooking organ pipe cacti; others offer rooftop spaces outfitted with hanging nets that allow you to stretch out and stargaze.
In moments like these, Paradero feels like a destination spa, a welcome oasis tucked into the arid Mexican moonscape. You enter Paradero through a mysterious indoor-outdoor portal, an imaginative liminal space that is bathed in a sound feature that tells you to leave the world behind. Other wellness industry markers soon appear: the property, surrounded by the La Mesa farm, blends into the starkly beautiful desert landscape; the resort contains no hardscape paths; the rooms have no TVs. The beds are notably comfortable, and bathrooms, reached across your private courtyard (at least on the ground floor units) are pleasing in their spareness. (Guadalajara-based B-Huber conceived the earthy interiors.)
The resort’s open-air living room, which contains the lobby, is filled with comfy, unstructured seating, big floor pillows and round sisal rugs, and this gathering place is protected by the sun by vast sail shades that bend from the rooftop overhangs to the floor. Between the strips of fabric, shards of perfect blue sky peek through, as if in a carefully thought-out visual composition. The grounds, dotted with tasteful foliage (60 endemic species) spread over 100,000 feet, seem destined for quiet reflection.
Silence among the crisscrossing trunks of the Mexican fan palms becomes an amenity. And when you finally encounter the thin blade of the green infinity pool—which evokes an Aman swimming pool—the feeling of uninterrupted serenity is complete.
Photos by Drew Limsky