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  • Jungles, lagoons and Ernest Hemingway provide vibrant inspiration for designers of Belize resort and spa

    Architect Roberto de Oliveira Castro and interior designer Samuel Amoia have collaborated on a beach resort in Belize, described as “unlike anything travelers have ever seen in the Caribbean”.

    Located in the hideaway beach town of Placencia, the Itz’ana Resort & Residences occupies 16 miles of a peninsula, with the Caribbean Sea on one side and a lagoon on the other.

    The new resort, named after the Mayan god of day and night, features 50 suites and 46 waterfront residences, with a watersports adventure centre, spa, full-service marina and fitness and wellness centre to open in 2018.

    Boutique hotel group Foundry Collective developed Itz’ana to promote “a new genre of hospitality called Mission-Driven Luxury”. In a statement, the company said its intention is to offer guests “authentic experiences that sustain the region’s indigenous culture and natural environment, paired with unique high-design elements and experiences from a collection of the best artists, designers and archaeologists”.

    Colin Hannan, the resort’s co-founder and MD, added: “We’re committed to going above and beyond what’s expected of a beachfront resort, and we believe that giving back to the local community and environment while also offering an enhanced luxury experience will make Itz’ana unlike any other hotel.”

    The architectural team were tasked with creating “a chic, tropical ambience”, and have taken inspiration from the colours and materials found in the nearby beaches, rivers, jungle, caves and barrier reef – the world’s second largest.

    Locally sourced wood has been used widely for the interiors, and the spaces are furnished with products created by local artisans and one-of-a-kind vintage pieces sourced from markets throughout Central America. These are complemented with murals hand-painted by artist George Venson and artworks produced by Guatemalan weavers and Indonesian craftsman. Mayan artefacts will be presented throughout in partnership with La Ruta Maya Foundation.

    To enhance its sustainability, the resort has an organic garden, designed by landscape architect Matthew Lewis, that serves the kitchen and spa; comprehensive wastewater management and rainwater collection systems; and LED-efficient lighting systems installed by lighting designer Eli Porres. Solar panels power 30 per cent of the property’s electrical needs.

    Leisure amenities include the Biblio Bar, inspired by Ernest Hemingway; a Rum Room serving the largest collection of rums in the country; a private cinema; a restaurant; and an infinity pool.

    The spa will feature five treatment rooms, a meditation room and saltwater pool. Spa services will showcase locally sourced rainforest botanicals and Maya-inspired treatments, and yoga will be offered on a rooftop deck overlooking the sea.

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