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Building a Dream Life

How a renowned architect transformed an idea into one of the world’s most stunning boutique hotels

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Photo Credit: Beth Doane
Photo Credit: Beth Doane

When Marc Lindskog first visited Mexico in 1986, he left with a premonition: that somehow, sometime, he was going to return there to live. After growing up on a small island off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, the architect began traveling, continuing to make pilgrimages to Mexico and harboring a desire to one day find a way to make a life in the country.

“In 1997, my mother was diagnosed with advanced COPD, and it was a wake up call to me to live my dream,” Lindskog says. “If I don’t live my dreams now, when is it going to happen?” He spent a year journeying to other parts of the world, including Bali, Thailand, and South America. “But my heart kept bringing me back to Mexico,” he says.

Photo Credit: Casa de Mita

He was drawn to its Pacific coast — after a childhood on the Atlantic, he wanted to avoid the destruction and uncertainty that hurricanes imposed — but found Punta de Mita by mistake.

“I hired a boat to explore the coastline from Sayulita back down towards Punta Mita, to see, from the water, the Four Seasons that was under construction,” he recounts. “The boat ran out of gas right in front of where Casa de Mita is now. I came back two weeks later, stepped foot on the property and knew it was the right place.”

In 1999, he bought the first lot that would grow to become Casa de Mita, unfolding over several years to emerge as one of Mexico’s most coveted, tranquil and breathtaking properties.

Photo Credit: Beth Doane

The eight rooms oversee the Pacific, featuring hand-painted Mexican Talavera tiles and pieces from various artisan regions across the country. The final room — the owner’s penthouse — was finished in 2004. “The hotel has been in a constant state of evolution since then, adapting or re-purposing space as I see how guests tend to utilize them or as I hear comments from guests,” Lindskog says.

Lindskog has prioritized unparalleled hospitality, infusing the experience of being at a luxury hotel with the intimacy of a private villa. But his care for his guests extends just as much to his staff and the local community. I spoke with him about his philosophies and how his determination to create something unique has guided him into developing a stunning, one-of-a-kind retreat.

Photo Credit: Beth Doane

Beth Doane: What was the hardest part about launching a hospitality brand?
Marc Lindskog: I had the idea so many years ago that I’ve lost track of what the hardest thing was. I can’t say that I really started out to launch a hospitality “brand” so to speak — I just wanted to share my interpretation of what hospitality is. My definition of a boutique hotel is that it has nothing to do with the size or the number of rooms, but it should be a unique property where the individual owner’s idea of what hospitality is shines through.

Doane: Casa de Mita is both boutique and luxury. What does luxury mean to you?
Lindskog: Luxury isn’t how much something costs or what you pay for something. It’s how you feel while you’re experiencing it.

Doane: Part of that luxury, boutique feel at Casa de Mita comes from an exceptional staff. How do you create an environment where employees feel like family?
Lindskog: We encourage job ownership and creativity. People who are passionate about what they do are much more satisfied and more productive. They also “connect” better with the guests, so being at Casa de Mita feels much more intimate and personal.

Doane: What’s the biggest life lesson you learned throughout owning Casa de Mita?
Lindskog: Listen to the guests and observe how they utilize the spaces that’ve been created. Don’t be afraid to adjust your own thought processes because of these observations.

Doane: Running a resort with such precision and attention to detail requires strong leadership skills. What advice do you have for those hoping to one day lead their own team?
Lindskog: I spend energy understanding the issues at hand and focus on how I can best be part of the solution versus adding to the issue. Many times, that means standing back and allowing the strengths of others to shine through.

Photo Credit: Beth Doane

Doane: I know that giving back and nurturing the local community is important to you. How does Casa de Mita accomplish this?
Lindskog: Casa de Mita supports the local hospital by providing patients and employees meals in exchange for credit towards pro-bono or highly subsidized care for residents within the community that wouldn’t be able to afford treatment otherwise.

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