What makes a resort special? Food, service and location are three key commonly stated factors, but the design of any resort plays an important role in tying the resort to its location through its style and the materials used. The design can also epitomise the soul of the particular resort or an overarching value to the brand or chain under which it operates.
Below are three of the best designed resorts in the world.
Canyon Point, at the border of Arizona and Utah, sits in the midst of a rugged national park that shares landscape features with the picturesque Grand Canyon. This bare terrain contains a natural beauty and daunting raw power that makes it difficult for a resort’s design to shine.
Enter Aman! To create this award-winning masterpiece required three architects – Marwan Al-Sayed, Wendell Burnette and Rick Joy – coming together to create something greater than the sum of their parts.
The final design features a minimalist monolithic style that utilises a sandstone façade that blends in beautifully with its surrounding earthen palette and makes nature the star of the show, best encapsulated by the resort’s central swimming pool that incorporates an ancient protruding rock into its design. The suites offer open-air terraces and courtyards, with some suites offering sky terraces, to take in the breathtaking splendor of the environment around, and perhaps even enjoy a night under the stars.
Private tropical islands offer the chance to engage in luxury but indulge in nature, and nowhere is that more true than at &Beyond’s Mnemba Island. The extremely exclusive &Beyond Mnemba Island is a lodge featuring 10 frond-thatched bandas (African cottages) built in perhaps one of the best exponents of rustic charm, and a testament to the phrase “less is more”.
In recreating the tropical beach experience, each hut at this laid-back lodge features open sides (no windows, no doors, no keys, no worries), heavy use of wood and stone in interior materials, and ample outdoor lounging space (including shaded areas). Although the resort looks as if it were designed by the fictional Robinson Crusoe, the designers behind keeping it simpleic
This barefoot experience never seeks to compete with the grandeur of Mother Nature, but merely compliments what is already there.
Jean-Michel Gathy of Denniston Architects is one of the world’s most respected and celebrated hotel architects and designers, and the Cheval Blanc Randheli by LVMH in the Maldives is perhaps his crowning achievement. A resort known for attracting superstars and royalty needed a special design. The 45 ‘maisons’, inspired by private residences, at Cheval Blanc Randheli feature a sleek, minimalist, modern design that still allow the natural elements of the tropics to play with large open communal spaces.
Even the use of natural elements and features otherwise more common with rustic tropical, such as light wood and thatched roofs, at Cheval Blanc Randheli retain a polished sense of style that marries smooth elegance with understated opulence (if such a thing exists), best exhibited by the lofty cathedral-style ceilings that are revealed when light floods through the seven-metre-high doors.