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Swimming Pool of the Week: Sunken Plunge Pools Amid Ancient Mayan Ruins

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Swimming Pool of the Week: Sunken Plunge Pools Amid Ancient Mayan Ruins

February 23, 2018

While a dreary late February rain hits the windows of my Manhattan apartment, I’m vicariously visiting the Coqui Coqui Coba Residence & Spa on the Yucatán peninsula, in the Mayan village of Coba.

We also admire the luxe interiors (see Mexican Luxury: Coqui Coqui on the Yucatán Peninsula on Remodelista), but of particular interest to me is the aerie out-of-doors, where sunken plunge pools and winding stone stairways feel as though they’re at one with the Mayan ruins. I imagine that the fragrance of lime and mint—which grow wild on the property, and which inspired the Coqui Coqui perfumery’s Coba scent—wafts over the pools and down the walled pathways. Armchair travelers, join us for a look.

Photography by Eduardo Cerruti and Stephanie Draime of Cerruti Draime.

One of two green plunge pools is sheltered by limestone walls and archways, adding privacy—and the distinct feeling that it has been there since Mayan times.
Above: One of two green plunge pools is sheltered by limestone walls and archways, adding privacy—and the distinct feeling that it has been there since Mayan times.
Stone coping surrounds a plunge pool, and a backdrop of palms acts as a screen.
Above: Stone coping surrounds a plunge pool, and a backdrop of palms acts as a screen.
A limestone stairway leads through the walled grounds.
Above: A limestone stairway leads through the walled grounds.

As the story goes, hundreds of years ago Franciscan monks made perfumes from the tropical flowers and botanicals of the Yucatán peninsula, which were then sold—and prized—throughout the Spanish Empire.

Argentina native Nicolas Malleville—who, together with Francesca Bonato, is the landscape architect, model, perfumer, and hotelier behind Coqui Coqui’s boutique resorts—was inspired by the scents of the Yucatán catalogued at Le Jardins de Bagatelle in Paris, the Hanbury Botanical Gardens in Italy, and Kew Gardens in the UK.

Coqui Coqui Perfumeria’s scents, bottled with history in mind, feature lime and mint.

Narrow stairs descend into the water.
Above: Narrow stairs descend into the water.
The &#8
Above: The “wild and mysterious” tropical  gardens are built into the ancient Mayan city, which surrounds placid green lagoons. Here, a small thatched-roof cottage with a set of stone stairs; a native Mexican “shaving brush tree” grows alongside.
Fringed hammocks hang inside and out. They&#8
Above: Fringed hammocks hang inside and out. They’re traditional on the Yucatán peninsula, woven from the Sansevieria plant by “a few remaining artisans who still know and value the technique of making threads from its leaves.”
Woven baskets are a local craft of the Yucatán. Visitors take note: Coqui Coqui Coba is full of winding stairs, grottos, and hidden niches; it may take some winding to get to your destination.
Above: Woven baskets are a local craft of the Yucatán. Visitors take note: Coqui Coqui Coba is full of winding stairs, grottos, and hidden niches; it may take some winding to get to your destination.
The hoteliers also planted orchards on the grounds, and serve fresh fruit and juices to guests. Here, fresh-grown local passion fruit—plus house-made jams and honeys, herbal infusions, and juices—are on the menu at  breakfast.
Above: The hoteliers also planted orchards on the grounds, and serve fresh fruit and juices to guests. Here, fresh-grown local passion fruit—plus house-made jams and honeys, herbal infusions, and juices—are on the menu at  breakfast.
Coqui Coqui Coba Residence & Spa can also be booked via Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
Above: Coqui Coqui Coba Residence & Spa can also be booked via Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Time for a tropical escape? More in Mexico:

Finally, get more ideas on how to integrate a swimming pool into your landscape or exterior home project with our Hardscaping 101: Swimming Pools guide.

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