The Great Escape:
Exploring Coqui Coqui
Written by Chelsea Zalopany
Photographed by Hanna Tveite and Jonathan Hökklo
How is a memory, in its purest form, made, captured, and safeguarded deep within one's soul? To feel life; to live life; and to experience life—the taste of sea water against your skin; the dewy earth sinking beneath your feet as the sun rises; the restorative allure of a jasmine-filled breeze—one must embody an openness and willingness to connect and to create deep and meaningful attachments. Only then is one fully free to live; free to experience; free to explore both the physical and the spiritual realms of possibilities. The art of being present is the fundamental philosophy behind the magic that is Coqui Coqui.
Romantic vistas and rich native cultures are at the heart of the beloved perfumery and luxuriously rustic retreats. Since first opening the Tulum, Mexico fragrance house in 2003, husband-and-wife Coqui Coqui co-founders and forever wayfaring wanderers Francesca Bonato and Nicolas Malleville have gone on to open outposts across Mexico’s Yucatan, in Coba, Valladolid, Merida, and Izamal.
"We are in a moment where Coqui Coqui is ready to explore,” says the Italian-born resident-of-the-world, Francesca Bonato, who creatively conjures each destination’s unique personality and charm. “We’re still young and full of energy. We're adventurers, we’re explorers, we’re people who love exotic escapes, and we love to fall in love.” Like Bonato’s and Malleville’s love-at-first-sight storybook beginning, each newfound Coqui Coqui home is born from a sudden and all-encompassing infatuation.
It always begins with the landscape. And the land. One must become the land to truly understand Coqui Coqui. Tumaceous tabaquero leaves stretching as far as the eye can see; lush gardens blanketed in a mist of lime and mint Menli plants; the dry aroma of wet woodlands and freshly chopped roots; a palm tree’s fresh coconuts dotting warm white beaches; the coastline’s dazzling turquoise waters. “We understand the land. I believe that’s why people trust us and stay with us. They say that you feel at home when at Coqui Coqui, and I hope they do, because each Coqui Coqui residence has been home to our family.”
It’s about taking local elements, and, with the eye of a foreigner, coming up with something new.Nicolas Malleville
It was the flowers, herbs, and woods that ultimately led the two to grow their botanical gardens on the Polynesian islands. Next month, Coqui Coqui will leave its native Mexico and travel across the South Pacific to welcome guests to discover their newest enchanting outpost: Coqui Coqui Bora Bora. The French Polynesian manifestation will offer the same majestic qualities as Mexico–except there will be an even more welcoming tropical paradise due to their island affinities of
The rich simplicity that can be experienced and extracted from the five senses are the transportive powers behind each enigmatic ingredient and idea that novice perfumer Malleville dreams up and shares with the world. Take Coqui Coqui’s Maderas collection, the coconut oil-meets-sandalwood essential blend draws upon Valladolid, Mexico’s native Mayans and Franciscan monks. Or the Coco Coco collection’s “…simple, naïve, stripped back…” smells of raw coconut evoke the land, sea, and skies.
“When you have an explorer’s heart, an adventurer’s heart, you’re never done,” enthuses Bonato, who divulges that there are two additional hideaways in the works: one in the quiet Italian seaside village of Grimaldi, where Bonato spent many a childhood holiday, and the other, nestled in the Providence of Córdoba, is an homage to Malleville's homestead of Argentina. “It’s true that everything started in Mexico, and that our first little house was in Tulum, and then Coba just two years thereafter,” says Bonato. “Mexico is in our hearts. Mexico is still part of our life, and we adore it. Mexico, is everywhere and in everything we do.”
Because you never know. Life must be a beautiful surprise. There always is another beautiful terra firma to discover. There always is another beautiful adventure. And, there always is another experience to be had. As Bonato and Malleville always say, why not?