Endémico in Valle de Guadalupe is perfect romantic or reflective escape
I’m uncertain whether I’m staying at a hotel or glamping during my stay at ENDÉMICO in Baja Norte’s Valle de Guadalupe. Either way I’m on cloud 9 – or 15 actually as that’s the room (aka EcoLoft) I slept in last night.
The hotel just opened to the public this week. Last weekend, Saturday, June 30, 2012 they took the property through it’s paces with a large wedding. When we arrived the following Thursday we were the only couple enjoying the pool. We appreciated yesterday’s privacy as today the hotel will be fully booked across all 20 rooms.
While we were at the pool Jorge Garcia (the architect who designed Endémico) and Juan Yi (part of Encuentro Guadalupe who owns the property and future on site winery) were making last minute preparations for a full house the next day. This gave me an opportunity to praise them on the design of the property and ask them a few questions about how the space was conceptualized.
They told me the project started 5 years ago with long walks up and down the slopes of the 300 acre property to determine where the centerpiece – the pool – would be placed. The pool which is designed to blend in with the mountain is framed by magnificent boulders along the ridge above it. The infinity pool has a panoramic view of the valley and the mountains defining it. It appears to be a natural outgrowth of the Mountains crest and in some cases was built around the natural vegetation.
The rooms are also designed to live harmoniously with the ridge. Each room is referred to as an EcoLoft. The architect sought to design a structure that would have minimal impact to the land yet provide guests the luxuries they expect. Jorge helped me understand the EcoLofts by saying they are similar to the oysters found off Ensenada’s coast – the exterior is rugged and protects the interior (e.g., wind, heat, cold nights), yet the interior is delicate and fit for a princess with it’s smooth,pearlescant white internal shell protecting the precious pearl the guest.
The exterior materials are chosen so that they will further blend with the rocky, mountainous landscape as they weather over time. At the moment, the superior roof, jutting askew into the sky, is simply for protection, but it has been designed to accommodate solar panels.
Nearly all of the furniture is specifically designed for this site. This includes poolside chaise lounges, tables, interiors, and the personal, clay chimnea on the outdoor balcony of every room. the ceiling has built in speakers and you can plug your iPhone/tablet into the room to play music. As of of my stay these speakers were not wired for use.
The primary luxury Endémico offers is access to the landscape with no effort on the part of the guest. My friends Sarah and Niels are active in the Sierra Club and frequently go backpacking in the backcountry of the mountains around Los Angeles (read about Niels’ adventures). Endémico gave me a chance to see the beauty that draws them time and time again out of doors – only instead of hiking each day, I got to lounge by the pool.
We spent the day lounging by the pool, absorbing the Mexican sun, and occasionally taking a dip in the water. Endémico is in the process off building a restaurant, winery, and tasting room in the main building at the bottom of the mountain. For now food is available at a small kitchen by the pool. It’s simple fare – quesadilla win chiles and jamon y queso sandwiches, but its wonderful to be able to grab a light meal on the premises. The same poolside kitchen serves coffee, omelets and fruit in the morning.
We retired from the pool to our balcony at 7pm. We had the staff light a fire in our chimnea and drank wine we had purchased from Pijoan and Vena Cava. If you haven’t already been to the wineries do not fret. Your room comes with a wine fridge and four bottles of selected wines. Erin and I stayed on the balcony until 10 pm feeding our fire from a small (and replenishable) stock of wood.
Such a unique way to experience the mountains and wine country perched in the hill top like boulders! Endémico does a good job of giving the felling of remoteness. For Angelenos it starts off feeling off the beaten path because it is not only in Mexico but even off Ruta 1 all the way up in Valle de Guadalupe off Ruta 3. Further remoteness is conveyed by the fact you park your own car at at a “base camp” and take an SUV or Kawasawki cart up to your room. There are convenient trails to the pool and Erin and I walked to and fro at our whim. You can ring up a driver to whisk you over or back down when you want to visit the valley. Further seclusion is afforded by the layout of the rooms which strive for both indoor and outdoor privacy.
Endémico is still getting their operating model running. If you go soon expect you may help them workout some of the particulars of servicing guests in the unique environment.
Escape Los Angeles and head here soon! Now, I’ve found a compelling weekend get away.
• Turn the heater on before you climb into bed.
• If you face east, leave your blinds open so the rising sun wakes you to watch its ascent
• If you’re relaxing by the fire on your balcony a good place to leave the key is in the door lock so it’s always there when you need it and you won’t misplace it in the dark
• Bring a star map