Many luxury condominiums are built around flashy extras: a manicured 18-hole golf course, a non-public beach club, and even an upscale Michelin-starred restaurant. In the coastal jungles of western Mexico, one other offer of hyper-luxury properties appears, this time based on a cutting-edge addition: a pony named Karen.
Karen and 48 of her equine friends form the centerpiece of Mandarina, a multi-billion dollar residential complex now carved right into a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit. Its Mexican developer is betting that the palatial stables designed by celebrities inbuilt its heart – where the abilities of two polo pros and their pack of athletic beasts can be found to all residents – will help this luxury outpost rising from the jungle of the It-people map.
“In the ultra-luxury market, it might be their fifth, sixth, seventh, tenth home – and it is the accents that make the difference,” said Borja Escalada, CEO of banking development company RLH Properties. about Karen’s ponytail and her friends as an added touch. “It creates something. You can walk on the ocean, and even attempt to surf the waves, and suddenly you are back on the polo facilities and also you’re in a special place.
The 636-acre resort features a coastline that is still relatively uninhibited in comparison with its neighbor, Puerto Vallarta. Construction began in 2018. Phase one was a hyper-luxury hotel run by One&Only, a world hotel company with retreats from Rwanda to Malaysia, and is now complete: 105 standalone bungalows, improbably hewn and chopped amongst breadnuts and bromeliads. Each has a butler and costs between $1,300 and $31,000 per night for a collection. (According to management, tennis star Maria Sharapova recently hosted a party in the highest suite, and her bill was a compliment to the hotel.)
Raw to the purpose of a convent, the cabins are the model for Phase Two, One&Only Mandarina Private Homes, which recently fell apart. The residences, offered for $5.3 million and up – rather a lot – may even be operated by a hotel franchise, whose butlers will likely be available to clear wayward scorpions and other less exotic jobs as needed. So far, 23 of the 55 available homes have been sold, some on plots that appear like mere drops within the ocean. These villas will likely be built on stilts, a fancy process designed to disturb the forest as little as possible; their glass fronts and infinity pools look into the cover, not above it.
They are the work of architect Rick Joy, whose goal was to create the identical seamless reference to nature as one other hotel project, the famous resort of Amangiri, which seems to vanish into the rocks of Canyon Point, Utah. Semi-arboreal casitas are surrounded by twining constrictor figs, a variety of parasitic vine that wraps across the tree; the resulting structure is stunning – whilst it consumes the host.
In a way, these figs reflect a development approach that has overtaken the natural resource in a particularly aesthetic way. Coati, raccoon-like creatures of just about unbearable sharpness, roam the property freely like stray dogs, defending themselves from being evicted from their habitat. The Sierra Madre Mountains tower over this site, which nearly touches the house of the endangered northern jaguars. Phase three is the Rosewood Hotel and self-branded residences, which can go on sale later this yr. Mr Escalada, the chief executive, said future phases include buying more land and expanding.
Residential home buyers can pick from extras comparable to a media room or Peloton gym, and from several ascetic décor packages where even coffee table books are pre-selected. “Everything right down to the last tequila shot,” said Catherine Martin, director of real estate. Purchased properties might be placed within the hotel’s “pool” of obtainable space and generate rental income when not used for private use.
Moving through vines and between tree trunks, Mrs. Martin then headed towards a surprising oceanfront lot that she recently sold for $17.5 million. The future eight-bedroom castle is owned by David Malm, an investor from Dover, Massachusetts, known for what a headline within the Wall Street Journal described as a “nearly $100 million shopping spree” for real estate in Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
Mr Malm said he didn’t buy the property because he was excited by playing polo. The horses appealed as a “catch” for the longer term buyer when he enjoys his holiday home for the primary time.
“It’s an amenity that folks aspire to, a way of life,” Malm said. “Even for those who don’t drive, they wish to be a part of this club.”
He added, “It’s not like I’m going to take riding lessons, but who knows.”
The company explains that it is not attempting to lure polo players into their homes, although there are stalls for rent for those who’re taking your horses on holiday or to live in. There are other amenities too, comparable to a taco omakase by Enrique Olver, a chef whose Mexico City restaurant frequently ranks amongst one of the best on this planet, a butterfly and praying mantis sanctuary with a resident biologist, and a lush tropical spa with scrubbing mud tank.
All that is saturated with exaggerated subservience, which is the hallmark of the One&Only brand. The staff presses a hand to the guts every time a resident or visitor passes by and steps out of the approach to at all times give approach to them. If a sun hat falls off during dinner, someone can sprint while carrying a whole hat rack.
On weekends, the stables, also designed by Mr. Joy, host exhibition polo matches exclusively for residents and visitors. They can watch each round, called chukker, while sipping Mandarina Syrah by the pitch at an Argentinian restaurant called Chukker. There is a library of rental boots and riding helmets and skilled players to present lessons. A breeding program can be being developed: this system’s first foal, named Mandarino, has just turned two years old.
On a recent clear day, against the backdrop of the Sierra Madres, a gray horse named Triton led an aspiring polo player and longtime rider (this reporter) around a field the scale of six football fields. Instruction on methods to hold a hammer or hit a ball from the side of a galloping horse was minimal.
“I’m pretty sure I would like to be a Mandarin’s horse” Gustavo Mejia, manager of the Mandarin Polo and Riding Club. “They have it higher than anyone I do know.”
But in the mean time, polo horses aren’t making a living, in keeping with the corporate. The guests didn’t are available in large numbers to play polo. Some polo ponies have been called to more modest work as beach horses, which is a pointy learning curve for typically tight-knit horses. The horses bravely played their latest roles, Mr. Mejia he said — especially given their barn-to-resort route Canalan Beach Club passes over a lagoon stuffed with Morelet’s crocodiles.
“Polo, we didn’t expect it to come back back on day one – and we do not,” said Kappner Clark, RLH’s marketing director. “But at this level of the market, which is ultra-luxury, persons are in search of unique experiences. And the polo suits that vision.”
That’s to not say $2.6 million stables in the course of the jungle are crap: For residential lots with no ocean view, the view of the manicured polo court and clubhouse, with its nice vineyard-like geometry, is a bonus for RLH. Nor is it unprecedented: about 4 hours south is the Costa Careyes Polo Club, opened in 1990 on a strip of untamed, trackless jungle. Now it’s the location of the International Polo Federation’s polo track, amidst a tangle of latest luxury properties.
Polo in Mexico experienced its heyday within the Nineteen Eighties when several Mexican players rose to international prominence, but the extent of playing and breeding of one of the best ponies has since fallen behind places synonymous with the game, comparable to Argentina. In recent years, its governing body, the Federación Mexicana de Polo, has made efforts to extend participation.
And just just a few miles away, near the village of San Pancho, stuffed with hippies and spring breaks, La Patrona Polo and the Equestrian Club are also attempting to use the polo as a highlight for a future housing development – just without the “ultra” prefix to their version of luxury.
Maggie Marinaccio, a 44-year-old New York antiques dealer, and her husband Jason Reilly, a 45-year-old New York City Fire Department Lieutenant, understand the fate of polo. They found the game on a lark last yr while visiting a close-by family holiday home. Now the couple have seven polo ponies together and spend six months in Mexico. The monthly bill for boarding at La Patrona for his or her flock will not be low-cost. But it’s shocking how much they’d be willing to pay to maintain and train only one horse at an equally high-end stable near Mrs. Marinaccio’s antique shop in Hudson, New York, they said.
“I’d never wish to live somewhere on a golf course,” said Lieutenant Reilly, sipping a pint of the club’s Galope beer, poured from the machine keg. “But I wish I used to be here.”
As the polo ponies drove through La Patrona’s architectural stables around it, Horacio Garcia, CEO of Tierra Tropical, the globally backed company behind Patrona’s construction, said the bottom had not been broken for any of the planned luxury homes that may be built. eventually surround the polo club and there was no timetable yet.
Polo comes first, he said. The rest would follow them.