Matachica Resort & Spa, Belize
The sandy, untouched shores of Ambergris Caye – the largest island in Belize – is unlikely to need more beautifying, but that hasn’t stopped the Matachica Resort & Spa from resting on its laurels. The already popular resort recently unveiled a brand new look, conceived and executed by designers Byron and Dexter Peart, the former co-founders and designers behind the utilitarian accessory label Want Les Essentiels.
In the Peart twins’ hands, the resort’s existing architecture and local beauty has been infused with functional design elements and gestures of practicality that consistently go back to one central philosophy: design with purpose. Every addition has been consciously chosen with care, and brings with it a worldly and contemporary sensibility while still remaining true to the nature of the place.
Like all good makeovers, Matachica’s revamp is comprised of several subtle touches. For one, its iconic beach huts - private, thatched roof casitas and villas that dot the island coastline in a range of colourful exteriors – have now been fitted with detachable hammock systems, offering another way for guests to enjoy oceanfront views from the of their front porch. Inside, the rooms now feature new mattresses by the sustainable label Coco-Mat, which rest alongside tropical murals custom-designed by the Montreal-based illustrator Cécile Gariépy. Bathrooms have also been fully renovated to include upgraded fixtures, eco-friendly amenities are supplied by the cult, all-natural British brand Haeckels while tiled wall coverings feature the design talents of Sebastian Herkner.
In a bid to redefine the Belizean beach experience, the Peart twins also cast their eye over the hotel’s share spaces to create more cohesion, balance and symmetry in the resort. This included making previously unused areas available for guests’ use and bringing more modular seating to living spaces to facilitate casual and convivial dining and conversation. The experience is perpetuated by their choice of material accents – hand woven baskets, ceramic pots and planters, ample cushions and a large lighting installation, all work to create an earthy, tactile setting for guests to relax in.
Probably best of all is the addition of Danny’s Tree Bar, a circular bar that’s been built around one of the resort’s statuesque trees. Seamlessly integrated into the surrounding landscape, thanks to the use of locally-sourced wood for the bar top, a bamboo base and paired with woven bar stools, sustainable design can’t get more hedonistic than this.
Words: Pei-Ru Keh
Photography: Celia Spenard-Ko and Adrien Williams
5 miles north of San PedroAmbergris Caye, Belize, Central America