The breathtaking Cuixmala Resort in Mexico is a working organic farm and sustainable retreat for affluent visitors. Billionaire Sir James Goldsmith initially purchased this 25,000 acre land parcel in the late 1980s in order to establish the Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve and protect its resident endangered species from human encroachment. He soon commissioned Robert Couturier to design a a series of semi-ecological casitas and villas for his friends and family, which took two years to complete and employeed thousands of local workers.
Each of the buildings designed to match the colorful architecture common to Mexico were constructed from local materials. Techniques employed include earthen architecture combined with tiles, and even thatched gazebos. Built at elevation, the building’s are naturally lit and a breeze from the Pacific Ocean keeps them remarkably cool.
The resort, which employs 250 people and consists of La Loma guesthouse, most popular among star guests such as Tom Cruise and Madonna, smaller though no less grand casitas and villas, and an organic farm, is also the base for several environmental protection programs. These ensure the continued existence of numerous fauna and flora including 70 species of mammals, 68 reptiles, and 19 amphibians.
Although we balk a bit at the elitist nature of the Cuixmala resort, it does meet the three pillars of sustainability, which requires the reconciliation of environmental, social and economic demands. It’s just that very few people will get to experience it!