Blog 13: Marvellously Architected Hotels
What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear or read the word architecture? Do you start thinking about the types of architecture like gothic, neoclassical, modern, futuristic, contemporary or do you imagine a building? I'll tell you what I imagine. I always think of a beautifully carved, palatial white marble building with enormous gardens around it and fountain right in front of it. Of course, you think that I'm describing the Taj Mahal, one of the finest examples of ancient architecture in the world, and you're right!
So, coming to the point, in my previous blog on marvellously engineered hotels (I hope you've read that one) I promised to write about marvellously architected hotels in this blog. Here you go. Below is a list of mindfully picked fabulously designed and architected hotels from around the world.
1- The Royal Mansour, Marrakech is a beautiful architectural example of world class luxury that authentically represents Moroccan design and culture and has been welcoming dignitaries and celebs since its inception. Envisioned as a living representation of the country’s traditions and craftsmanship, OBMI designed this seven-star hotel to exceed the demands of the world’s most discerning travelers in true Moroccan style. Underneath the opulence of the hotel’s best-in-class architecture and interior detailing the design features an intricate series of underground tunnels to each of the property’s 53 riads, accessed only by staff and thus guaranteeing the utmost privacy and discretion. The plush gardens and the Moorish-Andalusian-style oasis, replete with olive trees, date palms, and flowering jasmine only adds to the essence of the hotel.
Just a fun fact: Almost 1,200 expert artisans contributed to the property’s construction, and the ratio of staff to guests is 7:1.
The riads displaying Moroccan and Islamic architecture
2- Designed by Ross & Macdonald and Sproatt & Rolph, The Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto was the tallest building in the entire British Empire at the time of completion in 1929. There is a unique blend of Gothic architecture and modern skyscraper-ism in the building and quickly became known as a city within a city soon after its opening. It has 28 floors, over 1000 guestrooms, 12000 book library, 12 bed hospital, its own bank and about 35 telephone operators. The upper front of the hotel has a copper roof and ornate Chateau-esque style architectural detailing. There are Corinthian posters in the arches of each window. The hotel has warmly welcomed various esteemed personalities from around the globe.
A city within a city
3- Welcome to the only hotel created by Frank Gehry where each of the unique 61 guestrooms and suites promises to enchant with exceptional designer touches and enviable views of the countryside, medieval town of Elciego or the striking architecture. I am talking about Hotel Marques de Riscal, a perfect combination of visionary architecture and vintage experiences. According to Gehry, the building’s exterior reflects the colours of wine – with huge titanium panels tinted in pink to represent the burgundy hues of rioja, the silver is meant to be the foil that covers the cork, while the gold represents the zig-zagging mesh that covers all Marques de Riscal bottles. Inside, a glass elevator takes guests down to the cellar that holds more than 3000 bottles. If you're a wine enthusiast, this hotel should definitely be on your list! After all, Elciego is known as the City of Wine.
The building's famous exterior
4- Without getting distracted by the 3000 wine bottles above, let's move onto the Belmond Villa San Michele, Florence whose facade is attributed to the legendary Michelangelo. Everybody knows Michelangelo as a painter and writer, but few people know that he was an architect as well. At the Belmond Villa, modern luxury meets Renaissance splendour in all its form. Staying at this 15th-century villa that once served as Napoleon's headquarters is like being part of history. The main building features cloisters, wide arches, vaulted ceilings, a long loggia and terracotta floors. The guest rooms are awash with antique wardrobes, chairs and finely-crafted chests.
Belmond Villa San Michele
5- Zaha Hadid Architects' latest offering is the Morpheus, the flagship hotel for the City of Dreams resort in Macau. It has been touted as the world's first free-form high-rise exoskeleton. ZHA’s project director Viviana Muscettola explains, "Morpheus combines its optimal arrangement with structural integrity and sculptural form. The design is intriguing as it makes no reference to traditional architectural typologies." The structure of the 40-story building consists of two internal vertical cores that connect at the top, bottom and mid levels. From the outside, the building abstractly resembles a figure 8, an auspicious number in Chinese numerology. The hotel houses 770 rooms which include a variety of standard guest rooms, suites and sky villas. The resort also includes a casino, two theatres, a shopping district, 20 restaurants other hotel amenities. The reception and the art gallery at the hotel are of particular mention.
The building's exterior showcasing an '8'
6- Suspended high above the N’wanetsi River, the dramatic cliffside setting of Singita Lebombo Lodge’s 13 contemporary glass-walled suites ensures inimitable views of the world-renowned Kruger National Park. The lodge’s cutting-edge design is cleverly integrated into its wilderness setting. The light-filled structures, floating between river and sky, were inspired by the many eagles’ nests built into the cliff face of the river bank. Each villa is a translucent glass tent with a roof a canopy of branches that allows dappled sunlight and rays of the moon to shine through. The interior of each room is designed to enable simple and ergonomic interaction with the large, open living space which can also be easily transformable zones for lying down, bathing, sitting, sleeping and sunning.
The glass suite
7- Concrete and metal, finished with gold-colored accents. LED neon lighting, video-walls and art pieces. Contemporary art and acknowledged architecture. nhow Hotel Rotterdam gains strength from contrasts and combines that with the latest technology. There are 278 luxury rooms with creativity in every corner. The only hotel ever designed by OMA/Rem Koolhaas is located in the biggest building of The Netherlands, De Rotterdam, on the Wilhelminakade, and is just as progressive and innovative as the city itself. So what are you waiting for to surround yourself with the best in urban art, architecture, design, fashion, photography and food from the city of Rotterdam.
nhow Hotel Rotterdam
Now tell me, has this blog made you appreciate the finer details in hotels, like the architecture, design, layout and structure as well as the hospitality it comes with? I'm certain that when you book your next stay at a hotel, you'll be sure to notice their architecture. Hats off to the incredible architects who make it possible for us to spend a few nights at exquisite buildings like these!
Alright then. That's all from me for now. Until later,