Amazingly, none of Mexico’s ingenious Academy Award-winning directors won Oscar love Sunday (Alfonso Curarón, Alejandro González Iñárritu and Guillermo del Torro weren’t nominated this time).
But One&Only Mandarina, Mexico’s highly-anticipated luxury resort destination (another potential national treasure), did. Perched along a one-mile pristine beach in Riviera Nayarit (an hour north of Puerto Vallarta), Mandarina has gone Hollywood.
The exclusive residential resort community inked Academy Award-winning art director Brigitte Broch (the Hollywood directing trio’s accomplished Mexican colleague) to design a spectacular amenity straight out of make-believe movies—a 42,000-square-foot Kids’ Club fantasy jungle.
It’s a natural choice for an elevated property nestled amidst one of the last beachfront jungles in all of Mexico. One&Only Mandarina is touted as “the most significant new resort and residential community to grace the shores of Mexico in decades”—a protected natural world luring affluent international buyers and travelers. Real estate and resort facilities officially launch at this tropical, cliffside paradise in June 2020.
The 34-hectare landscape will be dotted with luxurious oceanfront hotels (104-room One&Only Mandarina, and Rosewood Mandarina) as well as exclusive branded residences and clifftop villas (One&Only Mandarina Private Homes, and Rosewood Residences).
Designed by architecture firm Studio Rick Joy, Mandarina Private Homes features 55 contemporary ocean view villas with tropical jungle surroundings—and a massive nearby lagoon. The private villas (four, five, six and eight bedrooms) range from 5,000 to 11,000 square feet.
Seamless outdoor areas (2,500 to 8,000 square feet) offer terraces, infinity pools and gardens overlooking the Pacific Ocean coastline. Prices start at $4.95 million.
But serenity and intoxicating Mandarina Experiences will keep guests and investors coming back year after year, including the Majahua Beach Club, canopy tree-covered spa treatments, world-class polo and equestrian club (with dressage, jumping arenas and stables), and Broch’s imaginative KidsOnly club.
“What most intrigued me about being part of Mandarina KidsOnly club’s vision was the world of fantasy that could be created in an ancient tropical forest, especially within the spectacular setting of grand trees and unspoiled nature, where the jungle meets the sea.”
Fantasy is Broch’s specialty. In Hollywood, she’s known for creating mesmerizing sets in major films such as Romeo + Juliet (1996), Amores Perros (2000) and Moulin Rouge (2001), for which she won an Art Direction Oscar. This time, her canvas isn’t the big screen, it’s a jungle landscape where joyful children will play in a natural habitat.
“The Mandarina surroundings already seem to be a fantasy land— jungle, bays, history and amazing birds,” says Broch. “The KidsOnly club is an extension of that. I hope the kids will plunge into the wild freedom [that] the exterior KidsOnly club offers. I channeled my own inner child. I wanted to create an experience for guests that I never had when I was young.”
At luxury resorts, most kids clubs are structured, indoor, air-conditioned spaces. At Mandarina, kids are immersed into nature, encouraged to imagine and play in the open-air—on jungle tree houses, hanging bridges, slides, climbing walls and nature trails. “The way the tree houses are connected allows for children to enter into a Robinson Crusoe and pirate life fantasy world,” says Broch.
Here, a jungle nature hut will teach children about local animals and insects. They’ll also explore ancient archaeological petroglyphs from the indigenous Cora civilization. More traditional fun can still be had in the outdoor amphitheater, cinema, nursery, game room and indoor activity spaces.
Typically, fantasy is born in the minds of adventurous children. Mandarina’s KidsOnly club is inspired by the child in all of us. This includes kids’ intuitive fascination with tree climbing.
Influenced by Riviera Nayarit’s forest and its ancient trees, KidsOnly is the brainchild of Ricardo Santa Cruz, RLH Properties’ chief of business development at Mandarina, whose eureka moment came during his son’s 4th grade field trip to Mandarina—rather than a boardroom of suits. His chief KidsOnly consultants were Broch and 9-year-old tree-exploring experts.
“Upon arriving, the kids ran for the giant trees as opposed to the beach and surf,” says Santa Cruz. “They let their imaginations run wild, playing hide-and-seek amongst the trees and exploring the unspoiled nature around them. We sought Brigitte Broch’s expertise to bring all the components to life in a magical way with masterfully thought out spaces aimed to capture the imagination of children.”
Adults needn’t worry. Mandarina offers adult playgrounds too—the polo and equestrian club (with dressage and jumping arenas, and stables), horseback rides, zip lining, The Outpost jungle excursions, hiking trails, kayaking the Flatlands Estuary, The Farm cooking classes, and infinity pools galore (one that seemingly juts out over the ocean).
A new tropical paradise is born—Mandarina. This jungleland looks like some Eden Jumanji characters might drop into (a film Oscar ignored). But Oscar and kids will soon hover over Mandarina like Tarzan, courtesy of Broch’s KidsOnly club design.
In Mexico, the only thing more anticipated than Mandarina are Curarón’s, Iñárritu’s and del Torro’s next films. Talk about good investments.
*Originally posted on Forbes