From the masterminds behind the award-winning spirit brand Mezcal El Silencio, comes a groundbreaking, eco-minded retreat set at the brand’s distillery, deep in the valleys of Oaxaca, Mexico. Located approximately 45 miles southeast of the City of Oaxaca, the 9 ½ -acre enclave weaves the magic of the region with the production of the native, singular agave spirit across a sustainable mezcal distillery and six luxury guest suites. Casa Silencio offers a uniquely immersive guest experience steeped in ancient mythology and mysticism behind the creation and consumption of mezcal.
Sustainable Design Informed by The Spirit of Oaxaca
Nestled in the Valley of Xaaga, nicknamed The Valley of Silence, Casa Silencio is the brainchild of El Silencio co-founders, Vicente Cisneros and Fausto Zapata. With a clear vision to translate the brand’s “made-by-hand” ethos into a boutique hotel, Cisneros and Zapata collaborated closely with Alejandro D’Acosta, a Mexican architect famed for his innovative approach to sustainable construction using raw and reclaimed materials.
Rather than referencing a current architecture trend or predisposed aesthetic, D’Acosta and the founders drew inspiration directly from Oaxaca, extensive travels through Mexico’s wine country and the distilleries of Scotland to deliver an experiential, luxury hotel deeply connected to local history. The result is an awe-inspiring homage to the mystical landscape in which the property emerges, complete with striking spaces, elevated features and curiosities tucked into unexpected corners.
Following a principle of “closed door” architecture, Casa Silencio was constructed with a mix of ancient and modern techniques using mostly locally sourced materials. The walls are made of rammed earth (known as “tapial” in Spanish) with local soil; the ceilings are crafted from recycled wood; and all energy is powered by solar panels. A completely self-sustaining property, Casa Silencio embraces a ‘no-waste’ policy, meaning there is no garbage left on-site and every single material is repurposed in a functional form. Rainwater harvesting and water reuse systems are implemented to feed the mezcal production plant, hotel and restaurant.
As if veiled by mystery, the magnificence of Casa Silencio is evident from the moment the property comes into view as guests descend from the main road into the valley. Upon arrival, a series of “welcoming plazas” that feature massive, one-ton stone monolith sculptures, give way to expansive views of the mountainous surroundings and the extensive, yet understated landscape. The exterior grounds host a variety of communal gathering spaces including a plunge pool and bonfire pits, as well as mezcal production areas.
To infuse Casa Silencio’s interiors with the richly artisanal spirit of the region, Cisneros and Zapata joined forces with renowned designer Martina D’Acosta. Driven by Cisneros’ passion to support emerging local talent, the high-end furnishings, artwork, objects, and other decorative elements found throughout the property’s public spaces and guest rooms are almost all directly and exclusively created by local artisans and craftspeople from in and around Xaaga. Examples include rugs designed and produced in Teotitlán del Valle; curtains pedal-loomed by the Hernandez Quero family in Mitla; stone pieces carved in San Salvador El Seco; and abstract wooden pieces made in Huayapam. A library tucked away into one of the many explorable corners of Casa Silencio houses books authored solely by Mexican writers and artists, all hand-selected by Cisneros and D’Acosta. Natural materials such as steel, wood and stone complemented by a muted, moody color scheme honor the ‘defiant spirit’ of Oaxaca and bring the outdoors in.
All six, breathtakingly appointed guest suites are geometrically constructed over two stories and appointed with furniture, bespoke art, textiles, and decor that offer subtle nods to the mezcal production process. Accents include burnt wood furnishings, distressed leather, artisanal candles, hand-woven wool rugs, velvet upholstery, and copper lamps. Rooms vary in size and layout, with some spanning two floors and featuring inviting, living room spaces with fireplaces. Echoing the minimalist aesthetic, spa-like bathrooms feature walk-in showers and monolith stone sinks. Inspiring a sense of discovery at every turn, one suite includes a mesmerizing bathroom wrapped in a mosaic wall made entirely of recycled El Silencio bottles, forming an image of an Alebrije – the brand logo.
At the heart of Casa Silencio lives a one-of-a-kind, sustainable distillery or “Palenque” that looks out to the surrounding mountains and agave-studded valley. The working distillery is both the symbolic and operational backbone of the hotel.
El Silencio’s groundbreaking production process sees the piñas of the agave plant roasted in ovens above ground for four to six days, a practice optimized to ease the physical burden on workers. Rather than being pulled by a donkey or mule, Casa Silencio’s one-of-a-kind, 1,000-pound tahona rotates using a motorized system that leverages solar energy, offering a more hygienic and humane solution to traditional methods. The distillery’s open-air, circular roof welcomes in natural sunlight to fuel this process. The agave pulp is then placed into barrel-like “vats” for the open-air fermentation process, transforming the sugars into alcohol. Fibers and liquid are then double distilled to produce the beautifully handmade, artisanal Mezcal El Silencio.
Providing a truly hands-on experience, guests are encouraged to participate in the production by chopping and tossing piñas of agave into the ovens alongside generational mezcaleros. The distillery leads into the property’s impressive, indoor-outdoor communal dining space from which guests can view the production process, and where private mezcal tastings are paired with bites commissioned to Rodolfo Castellanos, the first winner of Top Chef Mexico and owner of one of Oaxaca’s finest restaurants, Origen. Inspired by indigenous Oaxacan cuisine, bites include Cacao Ganache with Cacao Nibs; Orange Gummy with Worm Chile; Pumpkin Seed Paste with Recado Negro, all deconstructed by the brand’s vision to create an unparalleled tasting experience. In addition to El Silencio’s signature Espadin and Ensamble offerings, guests can indulge in rare, specialty mezcals only available at Casa Silencio.
An Ancestral-Inspired Dining Experience
Offering a vibrantly authentic Oaxacan culinary experience, as well as sweeping views of the surrounding mountains and valley, dining at Casa Silencio is a sensorial marvel. Led by Executive Chef Daniel Robles Sumano, who’s work in restaurants in Paris, Belgium and Barcelona make him one of the most versatile chefs in Oaxaca, the cuisine at Casa Silencio is matched only by where it is served. The indoor-outdoor dining area is anchored by a 53-foot-long communal table made of a single 17-ton slab of hand-cut basalt. The table, which seats up to 45, extends from the center of the dining room to the exterior patio and is shaded by an abstract wooden awning inspired by alebrijes. Multi-course meals illuminated by candlelight and an infinite canopy of desert stars create a natural backdrop evocative of the ancestral spirit of the region.
Experiencing the Magic In & Around Casa Silencio
From music to fashion, art to theater, food to cinema, speaking engagements to cocktail making, Casa Silencio will boast an extensive calendar of events which will bring together hotel guests as well as visitors and residents of Oaxaca.
Guests are encouraged to explore the culturally vibrant surrounding areas of Xaaga and greater Oaxaca through guided tours that can be coordinated directly through the hotel. Exclusive day trips, distillery tours and tastings are also available to those not staying on site, making Casa Silencio a mystical haven to travelers seeking to immerse themselves into the captivating world of mezcal.
Enabling guests to bring home a piece of Oaxacan magic, Casa Silencio’s Gift Shop curates an ever-changing assortment of jewelry, fashion/home accessories, sculptures, vases, candles, and fragrances by local Oaxacan artisans, many of whom have created commissioned works for the property, along with specialty bottles of Mezcal El Silencio and branded accessories.
An Intentional Emphasis on Community
The Oaxacan community has been profoundly and inherently ingrained in the El Silencio story. In Xaaga, agriculture is an economic staple, and the agave plant has served as a tangible expression of the symbiotic relationship between the land and its people for thousands of years. As locals became aware of this project, many opted to plant agaves in anticipation of the brand’s need for the prodigal plant. El Silencio considers their neighbors long-term partners in the vitality of Casa Silencio and provides opportunities to support sustained economic growth by creating local jobs, allowing those in the community to work for a fair wage and remain close to their families.
TO BOOK: Rates at Casa Silencio are based on double occupancy and start at $1,000 a night for a private suite including breakfast, lunch, and dinner, an official El Silencio Mezcal tasting, a tour of the palenque, perpetual pours of all Silencio spirits and cocktails and access to all amenities on the property grounds.