Bardo Hotel in Tulum, Mexico beacons to you like an enchanted jungle oasis. This ultimate wellness retreat is as much a feast for the eye as for the senses – combining the rawness of brushed concrete and stark minimalist architecture with traditional local craft, exotic greenery, and deluxe swanky furniture. Interior decorator is the Norwegian model and stylist Storm Storm, well known internationally for his work with magazines like ELLE and VOGUE. The space he has created can best be described as a luxury boho chillout-zone where travellers who seek something more than the ordinairy 5-star hotel experience can take an intimate, restorative inner journey as well as a vacation.
“The style? I would say it’s typically Tulum – an unconventional, laid-back beauty” he says as we “meet” via Zoom. Currently he resides in Quebec, but his flat in Oslo have featured in several magazine spreads, and anyone familiar with this tall, tattooed Scandinavian’s flair and flamboyance will instantly nod with recognition visiting Bardo.
“I tend to divide the world in two: those who love and those who hate concrete” he jokes.
“And I am definitely in the first category”.
“I would go so far as to say Bardo has got a spiritual vibe – that it is a place where you can take time and indulge in peace and quiet and the beautiful sounds and scents of nature.”
For a busy stylist time has become a commodity he treasures above most other things.
“Time has become a luxury but here you can be mindful of your senses and just be. This is what I hope guests will enjoy when visiting Bardo.”
Storm’s been travelling to Tulum several times and to say he has fallen in love with the place is an understatement. He and his friend, stylist and makeup artist Kristin Sollid have joked that they should just leave everything behind, elope and live life like hippies on Tulum’s powder-white glorious beaches.
“I went to Tulum in 2019 to learn Spanish, and that’s when I met this guy who wanted to build a luxury resort in the jungle. He offered me the decorating job and I said yes, not knowing exactly what I signed up for. But – that is how I am. Once I feel enthusiastic about something I cannot help diving in, head first” says Storm.
The deadline was crushing: 90 days to finish the job. Madness – even for a guy who is used to the crazy world of high fashion.
“I custom designed most of the décor, which was then made by local artisans and craftsmen. That is no quick way of doing things. So, it was a rough ride. The task of flying in the furniture was alone a complicated operation, let alone giving direction. I had attended a two-week course in Spanish, that was all I had. But people were helpful and understanding, even if it sometimes was a mess watching ten people trying to put up one lamp at the same time” he laughs.
The result is striking: the stark brutal concrete against wild nature of the mayan jungle – you could be forgiven for thinking you had stumbled across Lara Croft’s secret hideaway: the bungalows all have private pools, outdoor showers, and private terraces where you can laze around listening to the sounds from the wilderness that surrounds you. Huge green plants and rich drapes shades you from the blazing sun. And when you want to mingle with other guests the restaurant and lounges is just a few barefoot steps away. It is simply magical.
“I wanted to create a space where you can come to heal your body and soul – where you can wake up to the sounds of nature, shower under the open sky and let every fiber in your body feel you are alive” says Storm.
For now, we must dream. Next year perhaps – we will be allowed to travel again. To Tulum.
All photos: Nico Iliev