PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF AXOLIGHT
The recent comprehensive renovation of the 460-room Temptation Cancun Resort on the Yucatán Peninsula isn’t shy about attracting its guests of choice. Its all-lively, all-the time hyper pace caters to an adult-only clientele. A colorful swirling ambiance permeates the all-inclusive hotel’s Caribbean setting, inside and out.
Operated by the Original Group – a Mexican company with more than 35 years of experience in the hotel sector, cruise industry, and vacation clubs – Temptation Cancun is the polar opposite on the activity scale from the mega theme parks that rely on big extravaganzas to entertain children with parents in tow.
Instead, Temptation Cancun Resort is part fantasy, part stage for real-life social interaction — and about as far away from the buttoned-down urban business scene as can be reached in this part of the world. Located at the tip of the peninsula bordering the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, the resort’s multi-million-dollar renovation is a collaboration between Mexican architect Marcos Constandse and renowned interior/product designer Karim Rashid. Their combined talents support today’s culture where seeing, being seen, and moving on to the next stage of a relationship is an art form.
“We’ve created a space where adults can be safe, be themselves, and just have fun,” says Rodrigo de la Peña, CEO of Original Resorts. “We’ve devoted ourselves to creating a completely unique experience that brings people back time and time again.
Cancun – with its annual tourist count climbing past the 500,000 mark – began to take on its present identity as a tropical holiday haven in 1970. At that time, it was home to a collection of modest private residences and guest houses occasionally frequented by jet setters who sought out remote locals to protect their privacy. Cancun was part of the Yucatán until 1974, at which point the region was incorporated into the new state of Quintana Roo. The redistricting provided Cancun the governmental organization structure it needed to accelerate its development of multi-story hotels and landscaped acres of garden-style getaways.
Opened nearly 10 years ago, the principals of Original Resorts felt it was time to freshen up and expand. The goal was to refine and elevate Temptation’s original concept by enhancing the guest experience with “the highest international hotel standards and a ground-breaking design complemented by a superior entertainment, gastronomic, and accommodation offering,” according to the company. The renovated Temptation resort redefines Cancun’s skyline with a seven-story building, newly designed rooms and suites, lively guest areas featuring bright colors, an exuberant swimming pool, state-of-the-art entertainment shows, eight specialized restaurants, and five bars.
In their renovation of Temptation, Constandse and Rashid give guests plenty of opportunities to meet and get to know one another in friendly and welcoming activity spaces. Subscribing to the belief that curved surfaces are more appealing than spaces defined by straight lines, Constandse and Rashid decided the renovated Temptation would boast a lot of flowing architecture. The designers studied the works of famous European Art Nouveau architects – such as Victor Horta, Antoni Gaudi, Hector Guimard, and Henry van de Velde – who employed sinuous shapes and surface patterns in their buildings, both
inside and out, that were suggestive of flora, fauna, and the human form.
Rashid set to work on developing a design theme that was both sophisticated and evocative. Born in Egypt and raised in Canada, he received a degree in Industrial Design from Carleton University in Ottawa. His design specialty turned toward applying a keen understanding of combining form with function for a multitude of products, spaces, and entire facilities. Rashid counts his manufactured output at several thousand products of all sizes, shapes, materials, and end uses for
consumer, business, healthcare, and hospitality venues. His signature style – as applied to interior designs for restaurants and hotels worldwide – is distinguishable by saturated brilliant colors, curved seating, and other furnishings wherever possible.
For the Temptation project, this meant adding oversized abstract patterns on the floors and ceilings. Rashid’s choices in architectural lighting fixtures are expressed by contemporary curved silhouettes that integrate and support his dynamic visual statements.
“To enhance the lighting, we specified a great many glossy white surfaces, wavy shapes, and colors not found in nature,” Rashid recounts, adding, “The goal that Marcos and I set for ourselves was to make Temptation a very, very bold impression on the Cancun strip.” In fact, its two wings are angled to face an inner open court for dramatic effect.
Rashid planned the lighting fixture program for continuity throughout the facility with two primary sources: Axolight and Slide Design. Axolight, headquartered near Venice, commissioned Rashid to create its Nafir fixture which has become part of the company’s line of LED products. Made of injection-molded ABS, it is fashioned as a slender tube ending in an expanded trumpet-like opening. Equally effective when suspended individually or in multiples, Nafir is installed in several of Temptation’s bars and restaurants.
In the living room of the master guest suites, Rashid placed a group of these fixtures above the curved sofa. Rashid characterizes the elliptical shape of the hinged Just fixture, from Milan-based Slide Design, as Minimalist in profile. It is made of polyurethane, with the inside surface textured, and adds a layer of light encircling the central column of Temptation’s Mexicano restaurant. In addition, a single line of the Just fixture is suspended in front of the windows. The resulting makeover positions Temptation as “The Playground for Grown-Ups,” offering a vibrant and passion-infused environment for the chic, confident, and free-spirited world traveler. Designed in Rashid’s signature “sensual Minimalist” style, the guest rooms have a terrace or balcony with views of the landscaped gardens or the Caribbean sea.
“The life-changing experience we have provided our guests for the past nine years, in a relaxing, fun and sensual atmosphere, has made us leaders of this segment in Cancun,” notes de La Peña. “This success, combined with our market expertise and our entrepreneurial and daring spirit, has led us to [this] next, exciting stage. By partnering with one of the world’s most creative designers whose vision embodies our concept so seamlessly, we are sure that the Temptation experience will be heightened to a level that will place us at the forefront of hotel industry worldwide.”
Since its completion, the renovation of Temptation Cancun Resort has garnered recognition from Construction & Engineering as the USA’s “Best Hospitality Project,” and the “Best Interior & Exterior Designer” award for Rashid, who founded Kurv Architecture in New York City in 2017 alongside architect Alex Hughes, AIA.