Rosas & Xocolate | Authentic Luxury

SCOPE

We started with a man, a dream, a broken-down old building and a rich history. 

BRAND

Roses and chocolate represent the spirit of romance itself. We combined this concept with the rich history of the Yucatan to capture the spirit of this resort and spa.

POSITIONING

Since Rosas & Xocolate is a high-end resort and member of the Design Hotels Group, we knew we were speaking to a design-conscious audience. We also knew that Carroll (the owner) wanted the hotel to feel native to Merida, Mexico. Our design strategy was to combine refined typography and high design with folk art and patterns from Merida and the Mayan culture.

Strategy

  • Cultural Insight – Qualitative Research
  • Brand Positioning
  • Tagline
  • Corporate Narrative & Messaging
  • Digital Strategy
  • User Experience Mapping and Analysis

Design

  • Logos & Visual Systems
  • Brand-based Marketing Systems
  • Environmental Branding:
    – Hotel
    – Spa
    – Restaurant
    – Chocolate Store
  • Accessories and Amenities
  • Chocolates and Packaging
  • User Experience
  • Website Design
  • Way Finding Systems
  •  

Activation

  • Launch Planning
  • Digital & Website Maintenance
  • Signage
  • Store Design

The Rosas & Xocolate brand experience needed to appeal to trend-conscious travelers from Design Hotels, while maintaining a sense of the Mayan culture. The abstract mark is based on traditional Mayan patterns combined with floral motifs. The type is stylized yet clean and contemporary. By making the pattern out of dots, we gave a nod to Mexican folk art and provided the resort and spa with a sophisticated, truly ownable look and feel.

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To capture the feel of Mexican folk art in a contemporary manner, we laser die-cut the pattern into the cards. The combination of a die-cut with the rose and chocolate colors, creates a highly sophisticated presentation.

Simple yet lush, the Rosas & Xocolate site gives the user the feeling of rich layers of pampering. Photographs and patterns are revealed to help provide the users with a true sense of the spa experience.

Inside and out, day and night the brand flows and grows through every experience helping to make your stay at the resort unique and memorable.

Based on the parent brand, we developed a name and identity for the hotel restaurant, RoXo. We collaborated with the architects and the hotel team on everything from paint, materials, furniture, fabrics and tableware.

The pattern, which is used throughout the identity, is based on the locally crafted floor tiles that were rescued and restored from the original buildings. We created simple printable menu sheets and letterhead for the restaurant and bar.

By applying the shapes from our patterns to the actual chocolate we were able to create beautifully branded confections. This technique also has a functional purpose, as it allows us to identity the type of chocolate by the icon on it.

Within the hotel resides a chocolate café and store. Although we wanted the store identity to feel like it is a part of the Hotel, we wanted the products to appeal to an audience beyond the guests and the Mexican border. Key elements, such as pattern and color are consistent with the hotel and spa identity. The icons in the pattern and the execution of them, were decidedly cleaner and more contemporary. The type face gives the brand a playful, consumer quality. By placing the name on a chocolate colored strip, we created a band that we can apply to anything.

The identify for the spa plays off of the initials of the hotel name, RX which stands for medicine across western culture. Since the spa features chocolate treatments, we used the patterns from the chocolate store as the base for the mark. Clean and simple type help to capture the feeling of the state-of-the-art treatments inside.

When taken as a complete brand experience the Rosas & Xocolate system is like a series of fractals that continually grow. The depth of the system goes back to our extensive research on the culture and the wide variety of studies we conducted. This has created an endless treasure trove of inspiration and lead to a toolbox of ready to use solutions.

Challenge

Rosas & Xocolate, a member of Design Hotels in Merda, Mexico, was the vision of Carol Fischer, a Mexican American who went to high school in Brooklyn. He was shrewd and tough. If anyone ever reminded me of the World’s Most Interesting Man, it is him. This was his lifetime dream. The first step was to understand his personal vision, articulate it and turn it into a brand. The challenge was that we had little to work with:

  • old buildings that were at the end of demolition and at the very beginning of restoration
  • dirt floors
  • a 12’ X 18’ cinderblock building in the middle of a construction site that was decorated in the manner of a finished room
  • architectural renderings

On top of this, we needed to accelerate the visual identity process, as we had a fast-approaching deadline for branded materials due to Design Hotels for their catalogue and website.

Strategy

The first step we took was to go deep into the history of the Yucatan. We flew to Merida with David Katzenstein to document the local culture and hold a photo shoot in the “finished room” that was built for us. We documented all of the artifacts, the architectural details and, in particular, the patterns in locally made cement tiles that were being preserved for the new hotel. We collected local textiles and artifacts. We also did research on the cocoa bean and its importance in Mayan culture. 

We worked closely with the world-renowned Reyes Rios + Larrain Studio of Architecture, who helped us not only understand the design of the future hotel but schooled us on the materials and the traditional building techniques they were using. We collaborated on the color palette for the architecture of the buildings and used this as the basis of our branded color system.

Since Rosas & Xocolate is a high-end resort and member of the Design Hotels Group, we knew we were speaking to a design-conscious audience. We also knew that Carroll (the owner) wanted the hotel to feel native to Merida, Mexico. Our design strategy was to combine refined typography and high design with folk art and patterns from Merida and the Mayan culture. 

 Although it is a premium resort, the fact remains that it is an individually owned, Mexican start-up with limited funds. We needed to build a deep brand system that can be reproduced inexpensively with room for continuous expansion.

Outcome

From the moment you first see the buildings to the time you notice the chocolate on your pillow, it is an immersive and seamless brand experience. The brand was built to expand, so the breadth of the materials continue to grow as a unified system for the hotel, spa, chocolate store and beach resort.

 We met the deadline for Design Hotels, and we launched the website and hotel on time. The brand is now expanding into products.

“You guys were the only partners who came through on everything you said you would do. The brand strategy is integral to every decision we make.” Carol Fischer