Surrounded by jungle, Azul Nomeolvides is an eco-conscious and off-grid property featuring six naturally-designed cabanas overlooking Mexico’s Lake Bacalar.
What is the story behind Galopina Casa Silvestre, what was your inspiration to create it?
I am from Mexico but was working in Paris with my partner Guillaume. We had two children and were turning 40 and looking to do something else with our lives. I love design and dreamed of having something like this, either in France or Mexico.
My sister-in-law and I went to Portugal for a holiday and stayed in a very nice hotel that inspired me — I knew then that I wanted to do this with my life. A year later, we came back to Mexico and started from scratch.
I am from the Pacific coast of Mexico but we decided to create this project in Yucatan because the type of tourists that visit the area suited the concept we had. Yucatan is en vogue — it has culture, nature, good food and is a very secure place.
We had to have a lot of patience, as we didn’t know anything about hotels. It’s been an adventure but it’s now doing very well.
Galopine is our last name and I said to Guillaume that if we had a third child, it would be a girl called Galopina. Instead, we had a “baby house”, our third child, and it is female because women are the ones who take care of people.
How would you describe the atmosphere and interior design of Galopina Casa Silvestre?
When we arrived, we interviewed many Mexican architects and decided to work with the local firm Taco, which is young and well-known. They love what they do, know the local workers and understand the land here, which can be difficult to construct on as there is very little soil.
We wanted to retain elements of traditional Yucatecan architecture, such as having no closed windows to ensure good ventilation. But we also wanted a more modern design, so guests felt as though they were in a Mexican house without it being kitsch. Almost all of the materials we used came from Yucatan and the workers were all local — this was important to us.
I love design and did all of the interiors. Almost all of the furniture came from flea markets or was purchased second-hand. Some pieces were in very bad condition but we had them refurbished.
Many guests say that Galopina Casa Silvestre is the best place they stayed during their trip. For me, this is unbelievable because I think we keep things very simple. We treat people like family and want them to feel as though they are at home. It’s comfortable and surrounded by nature. It’s not a place to rush around from one place to the next. It’s a place to stop.
I’m proud to say that Galopina Casa Silvestre is not a hotel — it’s a casa soul. People are happy here and I really enjoy it.
To you personally, what is so special about Galopina Casa Silvestre?
Normally in Mexico, if you come as a tourist, you will never see the owner of a hotel. At Galopina Casa Silvestre, Guillaume and I were not only very involved in the design of the property but we are also heavily involved in its day-to-day operations. For example, people will sometimes see me cooking or Guillaume will be serving the dinners or making some cocktails.
Galopina Casa Silvestre is not just a business for us but a life project. We don’t have a Plan B. We invested everything here and had to make it work! We really love what we do and people feel that. The feedback we get from guests is that they felt special while staying with us. That’s the difference.