A temple of relaxation

In Puerto Escondido, Mexico, architect Ludwig Godefroy has designed Casa TO, a hotel that is a reinterpretation of a temple. The focus: the combination of simplicity and elegance.

Puerto Escondido in the Mexican state of Oaxaca is a center of attraction for sun and sea lovers from all over the world. In particular, the beaches around La Punta Zicatela are a paradise for surfers; the year-round summer temperatures due to the geographical location on the southern Pacific coast of Mexico ensure a constant influx of tourists. The need for new hotels near the beach is therefore not surprising.

Immersing in the silence

In the summer of 2022, the new boutique hotel Casa TO, designed by Ludwig Godefroy, opened its doors there. The name of the hotel (“Casa”) also explains the intention of the project: TO stands for “Templo Oaxaqueño,” or Oaxacan temple. The hotel is modeled on one of these temples. The intention is to offer guests a “radical sensory experience” as soon as they enter, and it should feel like “sinking into the silence” of a temple, as the hotel operators say.

Due to the high temperatures in the region, it was essential to pay attention to natural cooling. The entire building therefore has large recesses in the walls, both inside and out, through which the wind can blow. In addition, a central pool provides cooling.

Casa TO: Functional aesthetics

Ludwig Godefroy’s design is entirely based on the motto “simplicity and conceptual elegance”; it combines tradition and avant-garde as well as aesthetics and functionality, embedded in the natural environment. “This also defines the interior design,” say the hotel managers.

Hand-made wooden furniture (which guests can also purchase), colorful (wall) carpets and numerous plants are juxtaposed with walls, beds, benches and washbasins made of exposed concrete.

Home, Suite Home

Nine suites are available to guests on 600 square meters: six on the first floor, three on the second floor. These are each equipped with a terrace as well as an outdoor bathroom. The suites on the lower floor, on the other hand, each have their own garden.

The central swimming pool is directly accessible from all suites. Open concrete walls create more privacy in the pool area. Here, the same should apply as in the guest rooms: “Enclosed by the sky, the weight of the walls and the vegetation, an oasis is created inside,” according to the hotel.


The steps surrounding the pool will not only serve as an exit for the residents of the upper suites. They are also intended to allow guests on the first floor to “climb up” and thus enjoy a view beyond the hotel walls into the surrounding jungle.
In addition, the steps can also be used as a lounging area by sun worshippers.

Incidentally, the fact that the pool area is reminiscent of the inside of a cistern is no coincidence. Ludwig Godefroy was inspired by both the Yerebatan Sarayi (Cisterna Basilica) in Istanbul and the Hornsey Wood Reservoir in London’s Finsbury Park.

Text: Michi Reichelt
Bilder: Jaime Navarros