Conversation with Sylvie Sabatier of Hacienda Los Olivos
Todos Santos is one of Mexico's designated Pueblos Mágicos, towns singled out for their exceptional cultural and historical heritage—and it's easy to understand why. Located 50 miles north of bustling Cabo, it's an oasis of calm, frequented by surfers and artists, who flock there for its cobblestoned, gallery-lined streets, long stretches of uncrowded beaches, and dazzling light.
It's there you'll find Hacienda los Olivos, a home designed and built by former fashion stylist and now interior designer Sylvie Sabatier, who took inspiration from her travels in Morocco, Bali and Mexico to create a space that's full of light, warmth and playful sophistication. We sat down with her to find out more about the home she created—and what makes Todos Santos so magical.
Can you tell us why you chose Todos Santos for your home?
I used to go to many other places in Mexico, and I kept hearing about Todos Santos in conversation. So I went to check it out with my husband for a few days. There’s a really special energy to this place. Maybe because of its geographical location—it’s right on the Tropic of Cancer—there’s a certain energy. And we responded to it and decided to buy some land at the end of the four days. So it was an impulse.
That was in 2006. In the beginning I was wondering, what am I doing here? It’s such a dusty little village, and everything closes at 8PM. But it’s changed a lot. In a good way. Because the people that go there, the tourists, are very eco-conscious. So they are really in tune with nature. So, you don’t go to Todos Santos to party all night and get drunk, like you would if you go to Cancun. Todos Santos is much more reflective. People are into yoga and meditation. They're health-conscious and nature lovers. There’s a big surfing community. It’s an artist community, lots of painters, musicians, a lot of writers.
What were your design goals with Hacienda Los Olivos?
When I started making some drawings, I realized one of my main attractions was the light. I wanted to be able to have sunlight all day long. So basically, the only way to achieve that was to have every room be a whole house by itself, with windows all around. The living room and kitchen have windows all around so, from morning to night, you have the sun coming through. And then you have four bedrooms, and they’re all separate casitas—little buildings—with the same windows all around. So you have the sun in every room all the time.
"I made a beach house that really blends in with nature. Everything is very organic, natural, mixtures of concrete and natural wood. Very down to earth."
How did Todos Santos affect your design?
I had to adapt to the natural terrain. In Todos Santos, all of downtown is brick buildings. In the beginning I wanted to do a white house like you would find in Ibiza. But then I realized, no, I should take what they are doing here. So I made a beach house that really blends in with nature. Everything is very organic, natural, mixtures of concrete and natural wood. Very down to earth.
The bedroom floors are very distinctive. How did you choose them?
I’ve always liked checkerboard floors. We have a lot of those in black and white in Paris, and they have them in all of the old haciendas in Mexico. They are locally made, and they had all those great colors. So I said, okay, I’m going to put one color in every room.
Why did you decide to incorporate Moroccan and Balinese aesthetics into the interiors?
I’ve always been in love with Morocco. It's all about fabric and colors and texture. So it’s easy to just put a Moroccan fabric or a Moroccan carpet or a Moroccan throw on a bed. I’ve been to Bali two times and same story: I love their fabric, I love their bamboo furniture. So when I went to Bali, I brought back chairs or something for the house.
Do you have a favorite part of the house?
The living room. It’s a big room, and it has really high ceilings because it’s palapa style, and yet it feels very cozy because of the huge sunken couch. At night, you have a fire going, and you have a cocoon!
What do you hope guests take away from their stay?
A lot of times guests write me an email a day after they’ve checked in, and they say, “Oh, it’s better in real life than it is in the pictures.” Which for me is a big compliment. It has a sense of intimacy. It’s a big house, everybody can be independent because all the bedrooms are separate, and yet you have the common living room where everybody meets for meals and throughout the day. So you’re together, but separate. You’re not on top of each other, which is kind of nice.
Book a stay at Sylvie Sabatier's Hacienda los Olivos here.