The Coqui Coqui brand story is a rather romantic one, organically expanding from a simple humble little spa safari tent on a beach to a perfumery and now to four highly sought-after hotels and spa residencies, as well as a full range of boutique products. What ties Coqui Coqui together is the Yucatan Peninsula, a flat, limestone-rich stretch of southern Mexico, scattered with palm trees and white sand, hot sun and coconuts! Owned and run by husband and wife duo Nicolas Melville and Francesca Bonato, the Coqui Coqui brand has at its heart one particularly dreamy sense of place.
From the first time he visited the Yucatan, Melville was instantly captivated. With an interest in botanicals and a background in landscape architecture, the natural environment, traditional buildings and way of life appealed immediately – so much so that he relocated to the Yucatan to set up what would be the beginning of Coqui Coqui, a simple massage tent on Tulum beach. Not long after, Bonato happened upon the place while on holiday. Falling in love instantly; Coqui Coqui would then become a joint venture of love and creativity between Melville and Bonato. The tent that offered tea and massages became a house (built on the same beachfront land) with a spa and boutique, then the duo began renting the house because “friends and family started asking for rooms and a place to stay,” and – as if by accident – Coqui Coqui Tulum was born. Coqui Coqui Coba, Coqui Coqui Merida, and Coqui Coqui Valladoid (which houses the perfumery) followed, each located in their own special location across the region.
Captivated by the dreamy landscape, the local building techniques, the handcrafts and the general way of life, a philosophy that celebrates the Yucatan was only natural for the pair. “It’s really going back to our roots, a healthy and simple way of living,” says Melville. Coqui Coqui products are locally sourced ingredients, “We weren’t going to buy shampoo at the supermarket,” says Nicolas, “so we found a guy here that makes incredible shampoo by hand with the pulp from locally cultivated aloe vera plants.”
The hotels have an effortlessy beautiful appeal, a kind of bohemian romance that respects the local aesthetic – rich, earthy colours and gentle hues, fresh cotton fabrics, roughly polished floors, understated furniture and hand-made accessories. At Coqui Coqui Tulum, for example, the beach front structure is made from limestone, as if extending from the very earth that it sits upon.
In the same vein, the Coqui Coqui perfumes are made with native ingredients and artisanal production, blended at their flagship perfumery in Valladolid, and inspired by the truly local. From warm and woody scents, to alluring hints of spice, to notes of sweet coconut and citrus, fresh flowers or smoky tobacco, every perfume embodies the romance of the Yucatan. Each hotel has its signature scent; Coqui Coqui Tulum having ‘Coco Coco’, created from three different coconuts that grow on beaches nearby, and ‘Orange Blossom’, which has become “the signature smell of the hotel.”
It is a romantically simple sentiment to honour the landscape so poetically. As Melville sums up himself, “The Coqui Coqui brand showcases a lifestyle; a cocoon which represents the flora, the earth, the fruit, the woods and the landscape, the folklore and the traditions of the culture: At the soul of everything is the Yucatan.”
Credits: The Line