La Tropical is a contemporary lush retreat hidden behind one of the many colonial facades of historic Merida.
When you enter the space, you feel like you are in a cocoon.
What is the story behind Villa Capullo, what was your inspiration to create it?
We had friends living in Tulum and would go on vacation there twice a year. At the time, we were living in Africa, working in the oil and gas industry. But we wanted to change our life and do something more in line with our values. We have travelled a lot throughout our lives and opening a bed and breakfast was always part of our future plans.
In 2015, it felt like time to make the move. So we sold everything and moved to Tulum, just as it was starting to develop as a tourist destination. We bought a plot of land, began designing the house and started the build. But it wasn’t easy, as we had to settle into a new country and learn Spanish.
Initially, we were going to have individual rooms that could be rented out and we were going to live in a house onsite. But we quickly realised that that was going to be complicated in terms of managing family life.
So we decided that we would only rent it out as an entire property and we would move offsite. This involved building more rooms and making some transformations. It’s something that we are continually doing, adding new features — we like for the project to always be evolving.
How would you describe the atmosphere & the interior design of the villa?
While I am a designer by trade, the process of designing the interiors was a collaborative effort. I always draw the plans but Alex and I exchange ideas and the final result is something we achieve together.
We are French and most of our clients are from Europe or the United States, trying to escape the cold back home. So we wanted to offer a tropical experience, which is why all of the living rooms are open to the outdoors. For me, this is the highlight of staying in tropical countries.
The design is very minimalistic but it doesn’t feel cold — there is a lot of life and warmth. While the common spaces are designed for big groups and socialising, all of the bedrooms are quite independent and feel like staying in a boutique hotel.
Many of our guests have plans to do a lot of activities in Tulum, then when they arrive at the house, they don’t want to go anywhere! With the jungle, the pool and people cooking for you, it’s so relaxing just staying at the house.
To you personally, what is so special about the villa?
It’s our baby and it has amazing energy. When you enter the space, you feel like you are in a cocoon. The minimalist architecture is very relaxing and there are beautiful spaces to socialise in, as well as your own room to retire to. I think the fact that you’re taken care of by the staff and pampered is also special, as it allows you to just relax and enjoy your vacation.
When you step through the main door, you have a beautiful perspective looking through the garden towards the building, which is almost imperceptible with its white walls. There is a fireplace near the entrance and several day beds located between the jacuzzi and the pool.
Then you enter the dining space and kitchen, which is professionally equipped to accommodate our chef team. We have a large family table where guests can have their meals and interact with the chefs. On the other side of the pool is an outdoor living area where guests can have breakfast or enjoy a cocktail, with room to accommodate up to 20 people.
Upstairs is an open platform lounge that we use for massages and yoga classes during the day and there is a video projector and sofas here for movie nights.
Around a small patio are three buildings in a U-shape where the 8 spacious and independent bedrooms revolve around the magnificent tropical garden. Each has a private entrance and ensuite bathroom, with five rooms downstairs and three upstairs.
The master bedroom is upstairs and is slightly bigger, with a small living area and a patio with a hammock and a day bed. The downstairs rooms have private plunge pools. All of the rooms have big concrete doors (which we made ourselves) and their own garden.
The property offers large gathering spaces, 13,000 sq.ft. tropical gardens, several swimming pools, outdoor lounges and a bonfire.
OVERVIEW OF BEDROOMS
Bedroom 1 - King size bed, Air conditioning, Ensuite bathroom with shower, Hairdryer, Organic toiletries, Plunge pool, Private patio, Safety box, Wifi access
Bedroom 2 - King size bed, Air conditioning, Ensuite bathroom with shower, Hairdryer, Organic toiletries, Plunge pool, Private garden, Safety box, Wifi access
Bedroom 3 - King size bed, Air conditioning, Ensuite bathroom with shower, Hairdryer, Organic toiletries, Private terrace, Safety box, Wifi access
Bedroom 4 - King size bed, Air conditioning, Ensuite bathroom with shower, Hairdryer, Organic toiletries, Plunge pool, Private patio, Safety box, Wifi access
Bedroom 5 - King size bed, Air conditioning, Ensuite bathroom with shower, Hairdryer, Organic toiletries, Private terrace, Safety box, Wifi access
Bedroom 6 - King size bed, Air conditioning, Ensuite bathroom with shower, Hairdryer, Organic toiletries, Plunge pool, Private garden, Safety box, Wifi access
Bedroom 7 - King size bed, Air conditioning, Ensuite bathroom with shower, Hairdryer, Organic toiletries, Outdoor shower, Private patio, Safety box, Wifi access
Master Suite - King size bed and 2 single beds, Air conditioning, Ensuite bathroom with double shower, Hairdryer, Organic toiletries, Private patio, Safety box, Wifi access
Daily cleaning and garden/pool maintenance are included in the rates, as is a dedicated concierge. To take the stress out of travelling in a large group, we take care of our guests’ itineraries and manage everything from airport transfers to local drivers, restaurant reservations and activities.
Our concierge chats with guests prior to their visit to understand their needs, budget and interests, then plans an itinerary to suit. They are there to welcome guests when they arrive and they check in every day to ensure that everything is perfect during the stay.
We also offer many options to enhance your stay at the villa, private chef services at home, yoga classes and massages.
I would definitely recommend going to the cenotes. But I would avoid the most famous ones as they can get very crowded. There are two different types — deep holes and lagoons — and they offer very different experiences.
You should also go to Tulum Beach, which is absolutely beautiful, and see some of the area’s Mayan ruins. In the nature reserve, you can do a tour through the mangroves along the lazy rivers. The water is crystal clear and it’s such a beautiful experience.
I would also recommend dining at some of the amazing restaurants in Tulum and experiencing the nightlife.
We offer many options to enhance your stay. A day trip on a luxury catamaran, private yoga lessons and in-villa massages, and exclusive tours — we take care of creating your personalized itinerary.
We are right in the centre of Tulum, on a quiet lane in the neighbourhood of La Veleta. Some of Tulum’s best restaurants are within five minutes’ walk of the property and in 15 minutes’ drive, you can be at the beach. The cenotes are also around 15 minutes away.
There is something special in Tulum that I can’t really explain. It’s an energy that everyone who moves here feels. It’s full of contrasts — it’s both dynamic and slow. Time moves differently here. It’s also very cosmopolitan, with a huge expat community. You meet people from all over the world. It’s a place with a lot of trendsetters but it also attracts those living alternative lifestyles, such as artists, yogis, musicians and hippies. It feels like a small laboratory that is disconnected from the real world. Tulum is not typically Mexican — it’s a world apart.
From November to May is the best time to visit. I really like the lead up to Christmas as it’s not too busy and the weather is divine. From Christmas until the end of January is the party season and there is a lot going on, such as music festivals. But it’s also very, very busy and the prices jump considerably.
I also love February. March and April are a bit busier because of Easter and Spring Break and the weather is starting to get hot and tropical. From May to October, it’s still nice to visit but the weather is very humid and there can be some seaweed at the beach.
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