Discuss eye sweet. In our first-ever record of high resort design companies, we highlight the inside designs and architectural masterworks which might be making motels extra snug, sustainable, and breathtaking.
The resort trade is rising from a tough pandemic, so it’s a very good time to have fun a brighter future pushed by hospitality innovation. We scoured the globe to search out a number of the finest skills in resort structure and inside design. These 15 companies signify a various mixture of influences and philosophies. Some are up-and-comers, whereas others are legends. All of them know how one can use next-gen innovation to make vacationers happier, whether or not it’s at a restricted service property, a luxurious resort, or a tented resort.
Architects, planners, landscapers, and inside designers
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Jean-Michel Gathy, principal
Success for Jean-Michel Gathy has all the time been just a little bit about luck — and so much about pluck. Simply after graduating from school within the early ‘80s, his work caught the attention of Adrian Zecha, founding father of Aman Resorts. 4 a long time later, the clientele of Gathy’s agency Denniston is a Who’s Who of probably the most esteemed manufacturers in five-star hospitality, with 34 properties in 20 nations. Gathy, a local Belgian, has carried out most of his work in Asia, the place he accomplished the 4 Seasons Bangkok at Chao Phraya River in 2020. That property is among the truest representations of a imaginative and prescient that’s troublesome to attain, in Gathy’s view: the “city resort.” 4 massive courtyards and a riverwalk present friends with an oasis. “You utterly overlook you’re in the midst of Bangkok, one of many busiest, animated, full of life cities on the planet,” he mentioned.
Rob Blood, principal designer
Megan Kennedy, principal designer
There’s training, after which there’s intuition, in accordance with Elder & Ash principals Robert Blood and Megan Kennedy. Neither half of the duo has formal design coaching. However what the enterprise and life companions do have is a few years of expertise in working “nearly each function in a resort,” mentioned Kennedy. For Blood, that included a post-college stint operating a small inn; as we speak, he’s simply as snug operating enterprise operations as choosing and putting in wallpaper or hauling furnishings. Elder & Ash is the in-house design agency for Massachusetts-based boutique model Lark Resorts, the place a Scandinavian aesthetic is fused with millennial-friendly nostalgia. Company continuously use QR codes with design notes for every property to imbue their houses with related classic finds, whimsical prints, and pops of coloration. “As a result of we have now the chance to design areas that individuals stay in for less than a short while, we’re capable of push boundaries and spark folks’s imaginations,” she mentioned. “It’s actually thrilling to inform the story of a constructing/place by means of design.”
Resort and resort design, model technique, meals and beverage
Location: California, Texas, Singapore
Jennifer Johanson, president and CEO
Hospitality isn’t any international idea to Jennifer Johanson. The president and CEO of EDG Design minimize her enamel designing eating places, and her profession – and agency – have developed globally after engaged on 4 Seasons F&B tasks in Prague, Riyadh, Budapest, and Shanghai. These made EDG the favored option to deliver Appellation to life, a brand new “culinary-first” resort model from celebrated chef Charlie Palmer and former 4 Seasons government Christopher Hunsberger. The partnership displays her ethos and “experiential storytelling,” Johanson mentioned. An open kitchen and floor-to-ceiling home windows with panoramas of Sonoma wine nation in Healdsburg, California, present an immersion of the senses. Bringing the outside in is one in every of EDG’s hallmarks, whether or not it’s Luxurious Suites — “cabins” dappling the verdant panorama in Chiang Mai – or five-star glamping at Terramor Outside Resort in Maine. Good design is an clever “narrative,” mentioned Johanson. “A compelling script units the tone for the entire story. Design touches all people in a different way and is actually inspirational when a deeper story beckons us deeper into the expertise.”
Inside structure and inside design
Carl Almeida, associate
P49 Deesign principal Carl Almeida’s current new construct with Sofitel Adelaide wasn’t precisely an entire 180-degree spin from the tasks – like Chiang Mai’s 137 Pillars – requiring architectural historians and conservationists for which his agency is famend. Gildings throughout the fashionable luxurious resort pay homage to the Outdated World with whimsy. “Our imaginative and prescient was to deliver to life three quintessential Adelaide themes – metropolis of church buildings, arts and tradition, and wine – and to weave these narratives into the resort’s modern interiors, all of that are additionally a nod to the resort’s cultural hyperlink to town of Bordeaux in France,” mentioned Almeida. His upbringing in Adelaide made him a pure selection for Sofitel’s debut in South Australia, though most of Almeida’s – and P49’s — portfolio spans Thailand and the remainder of Asia.
Inside design, structure, panorama architects, artists
Location: Bangkok and Bali
Invoice Bensley, founder and principal
A love of the outside and nature comes simply to Invoice Bensley, who was raised on a farm and studied as a panorama architect. Nevertheless it wasn’t till he earned a grasp’s from Harvard’s Graduate College of Design that he backpacked throughout Europe, hitchhiked by means of Malaysia, and labored throughout Asia when a deep love of journey – and motels – took maintain. Landscapes are the true canvas for his design atelier. They’re the point of interest as a substitute of the backdrop in a portfolio rife with tented camps and gardens — match for the “Willy Wonka” of horticulture. His personal Shinta Mani Wild, a tented luxurious camp within the Cambodian rainforest, is only one of many examples the place Bensley constructions dapple a panorama in a approach that lets motels harmonize with nature. Sustainability is one in every of Bensley’s core priorities. It elements closely into one in every of his subsequent tasks: InterContinental Resort Kao Yai Resort in Thailand. There, friends can look forward to finding upcycled practice carriages reimagined as suites after the second part of the resort’s opening this yr.
Location: Mexico Metropolis, Mexico
Olga Hanono, principal and founder
As an inside designer who started constructing her portfolio with luxurious residential tasks, Olga Hanono has been capable of take inventive license and indulge purchasers with a panoply of patterns, colours, textures, and crowd pleasing lighting fixtures. However she’s cheered by a current transfer towards hoteliers creating with fewer keys, which lets manufacturers supply friends extra of a “house away from house” really feel. This intimacy marries kind and performance for a “bleisure” visitor, and Hanono retains “multi-purpose” high of thoughts in her work, reminiscent of in a pandemic undertaking known as The Subsequent Resort. “We sleep, play, eat and work in the identical area now, so we have now to vary every thing from know-how to lighting to have a pleasant expertise,” Hanono mentioned. “We don’t need our desks going through the wall and the laptop computer digicam to face the mattress. There are new wants and actions to embrace and incorporate as of late.”
Inside structure, inside design, advisory companies
Location: San Francisco and Johannesburg
Luca Franco, co-founder and CEO; Nadia Ghillino, head of inside structure and inside design
When Naviva resort opens adjoining to 4 Seasons Punta Mita in late 2022, it should bear some extraordinary variations with the primary property – notably, the truth that there are not any conventional “partitions.” As a substitute, the 15 luxurious tents blur the road between indoor and outside, creating a relentless immersion in nature. The idea will shock nobody aware of Luxurious Frontiers. The South African agency’s imprint spans a number of the most opulent tented camps across the globe. Nadia Ghillino, head of inside structure and design, mentioned the thread tying collectively every undertaking – “whether or not that’s showering below the cover of a tree at Nayara Tented Camp in Costa Rica or sleeping below a blanket of stars at Puku Ridge in Zambia” – is contextuality. “For a design to be good design, it must be well-grounded as a replacement. And place extends past location to incorporate attributes of tradition, operational targets, surroundings, vernacular influences, the tangible and intangible,” Ghillino mentioned. “If we are able to get that proper, the magic is there for the visitor.”
Inside structure, inside design, branding, ornamental arts
Location: Glasgow, UK
Kate Mooney, founder and design director
When Marriott wanted a crowd-pleasing aesthetic, it turned to Occa Design. It tasked the agency with balancing Northern European simplicity and vibrant accents from Southern Europe when the worldwide powerhouse launched its Fairfield by Marriott prototype tailor-made for Europe and the Center East. The Copenhagen launch of the brand new Fairfield completely balances the modern and the snug for enterprise and leisure vacationers due to the Occa crew’s use of pure supplies and the connection between the indoors and out with pure lighting. Founder Kate Mooney isn’t any stranger to the impression of texture and textiles due to having gotten her begin by working in her household’s enterprise — specializing in manufacturing comfortable furnishings for motels. In the present day, that early experience has been amplified with talent at curating furnishings and lighting design companies and inside structure for a lot of well-known manufacturers exterior the Marriott universe, together with Hampton by Hilton, Crowne Plaza, and Vacation Inn.
Complete Built-in Design (India)
A world inside design agency whose work consists of hospitality, reminiscent of enterprise motels, resorts, and serviced residences.
Location: Gurgaon, India-based studio with companions in Singapore and Malaysia (TID Worldwide P L)
Ritu Bhatia Kler, managing director
Ritu Bhatia Kler began the India workplace of this Singapore-founded firm in 1995. Since then, TID India has develop into a resort design specialist for renovations, conversions, new construct bespoke properties, and model prototyping, reminiscent of for Ibis in India. “Lighting performs an integral a part of design, and at TID, we contemplate it sacrosanct,” Bhatia mentioned. “Gentle can be utilized to create focal factors or be artwork itself.” The studio additionally researches the attributes of a surrounding location to verify the resort’s design gives a related sense of place. Consider rugs echoing patterns present in domestically famend fabric weaves. “Artwork and artifacts can set the temper and inform a narrative,” Bhatia mentioned. “We guarantee every design is distinctive with quite a lot of ornamental gadgets used reminiscent of maps and globes, sepia-toned photographs, and object-oriented decor.” TID India has a long-standing embrace of integrating design with performance, a apply first championed by one of many Singapore Companions, Gregory Pong. The agency additionally likes printing an inventive theme or graphics on mediums reminiscent of wallpaper, movie, or glass to assist underscore a property’s uniqueness.
Yoav Messer, founder
Connecting to a way of place is necessary for Yoav Messer. “For each undertaking that we tackle, it’s extremely necessary to us to include the cultural background of the place the place it’s positioned,” Messer mentioned. Take, for instance, the Ink Resort in Tel Aviv. It was constructed on a website after a library devoted to Yiddish literature was demolished. Messer ensured that the brand new constructing’s exterior resembled a stack of books, with their pages simulated on the constructing as blinds. Complicated tasks like that may require meticulous care. Creating The Norman Resort in Tel-Aviv took six years as a result of it concerned restoring two traditionally preserved buildings from 1925. The agency changed the superstructure and added a basement, preserved particulars reminiscent of murals and cornice banisters, and added trendy facilities. Whereas Messer’s agency doesn’t use the identical supplies for each undertaking, it does have a tendency to make use of pure supplies, reminiscent of stone, concrete, glass, and plaster. “My inspiration is pushed by my childhood surroundings and reminiscences,” Messer mentioned. “Israel, Tel Aviv, and desires about European faraway nations.”
Büro Ole Scheeren
Architects, planners, and inside designers
Location: Hong Kong, with workplaces in Beijing, Berlin, London, New York, and Bangkok
- Abaca Resort Mactan
- The Regent Sanya Bay and Resort Indigo Sanya Bay (2026)
- Kuala Lumpur’s mixed-use high-rise Angkasa Raya/Aurora Tower
- Rosewood Hangzhou (2025)
Büro Ole Scheeren, founder
You name Büro Ole Scheeren whenever you need your resort to be a landmark for many years. Ole Scheeren turned a star architect at a younger age, working with Rem Koolhaas at OMA. He led the design of the now-iconic CCTV Headquarters in Beijing and the Prada flagship retailer in Manhattan. In 2010, Ole Scheeren went out on his personal with a philosophy of making “areas of life.” One creation, The Abaca Resort within the Philippines, is “a succession of discoveries,” with cascading waterfalls and calm clearings within the rainforest, sheltered by tree canopies. The resorts’ suites are designed to create home-like enclosures and supply intimate ocean views. In the meantime, on the Chinese language seashore vacation spot Sanya, Ole Scheeren has created a design for a tropical resort that may stack two IHG motels on high of one another in curved, floating containers with rippled curtain partitions. The ecologically delicate design has cascading backyard terraces that create an built-in vertical jungle.
Tara Bernerd, founder
Tara Bernerd & Companions brings approachable luxurious with an industrial edge to a number of the poshest manufacturers in hospitality, reminiscent of Belmond, Conrad, Thompson, and Rosewood. The agency strives to create connections for friends by evoking a definite sense of place. The agency designed the interiors of 4 Seasons Fort Lauderdale in a approach that captures nostalgia for Florida’s yachting heritage. The resort palette consists of plenty of cream, white, and taupe, together with polished walnut and rattan textures. Bernerd & Companions additionally did a full inside structure and design for The Hari Hong Kong. Luxurious leathers, darkish woods, jewel tones, and low ambient lighting goal to reflect the opulence and vibrancy of the Hong Kong skyline at night time. The design is assertive slightly than quietly floral. Playfulness is one other of Bernerd’s traits. The studio has made some visitor room loos extra versatile by putting in sliding partitions.
A boutique design collaborative and inside design studio
Location: Dubai, UAE; Shanghai, China; Perth, Australia
Marcos Cain, founder and principal
Excessive-end motels in Gulf states usually have a generic luxurious look. However Dubai-headquartered Stickman Tribe broke with the pattern when it designed the Fairmont Fujairah within the UAE. The resort is an artwork gallery with decor infused with delicate Arabic parts. A swimming pool options an eye catching motif impressed by Persian carpets. An inside hall has a picket curtain manufactured from outsized prayer beads. A resort restaurant makes use of rope — tied within the method of native pearl divers — to create a screening impact. Cultural fusion alongside these traces comes simple for Stickman Tribe, whose crew comes from a dozen nations. For the agency, it was pure to design the fitness center partitions of Jen Beijing by Shangri-La with a mixture of inspirational graffiti and Bansky-style photo-realistic murals. It was all in step with Stickman Tribe’s mission to “pursue the weird, the completely different, and the unimaginable to craft worthwhile, experience-led hospitality design.”
Invoice Rooney, founder
Updating a traditional property poses a particular problem for a resort designer. Take the Cadillac Resort in Miami, which had been designed seven a long time in the past. How may you keep its Artwork Deco glory whereas bringing its options into the brand new century? Name Invoice Rooney Studio, that’s what you do. The agency creates areas which might be usually extremely stylized but welcoming. For the Cadillac’s $47 million renovation, the agency preserved the unique terrazzo flooring within the foyer however added white stone flooring in lots of corridors. Within the typical visitor room, it positioned Nineteen Forties photographs whereas leaving uncovered the white-washed beams within the ceilings. In the meantime, on the 4 Seasons One Dalton Road in Boston, the studio stored near traditional New England touches with using polished mahogany, soothing tones, fluting, Wilton-style carpet with windowpane patterning, grass fabric accents, retractable partitioning, mild grey stone surfaces, embroidery, and herringbone wall coverings.
Panorama structure and concrete design
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Yossapon Boonsom, director; Prapan Napawongdee, director; Namchai Saensupha, director
“Shma” means “the Earth,” and the Shma design agency focuses on panorama designs that improve environmental sustainability and rethink social areas. The agency, based in 2007, works for a lot of purchasers, together with motels. When The Normal lately opened its first property in Thailand, it tapped Shma’s panorama design for the undertaking. Shma’s primary method was to protect as much as 234 present bushes, partly by putting small buildings across the bushes and partly by transferring them to new areas the place they’re nursed to take root. The resort’s spa, as an example, has a backyard design with an present rain tree preserved within the heart of a public court docket and with wellness and “cannabliss” rooms spoking off the hub. “The undertaking additionally values so much on sharing appreciation for the design, life-style, meals, music, and artwork,” the agency mentioned. So Shma engineered the resort’s structure to create buffers that separate zones, creating a way of discovery as one goes from the primary entrance to the spa and down in direction of the seashore on the different finish. The panorama design goals to spark emotional connections amongst friends.
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