In today’s social media age, buzz-worthy hotel designs matter.
In a world that increasingly ranks experiences by the quality of the photos we can post on social media, hoteliers are realizing more than ever that spectacular designs matter.
Memorable touches create memorable experiences. Today’s travelers want to be transported to another place when they check into a hotel, and architects and designers are rising to the occasion with one-of-a-kind hotel designs that give guests an experience that’s strikingly different from their everyday lives. Guests increasingly demand a sense of place when they travel, and the most popular hotels of the moment cleverly reflect the destination and the experiences guests may encounter during their stay.
A buzz-worthy hotel design is a key part of the overall guest experience. Read on for a look at amazing resorts from around the world that we know guests will find 100 percent Instagram-worthy.
Four Seasons Hotel, Istanbul at Sultanahmet
The design team had their work cut out for them when they attempted to transform a century-old prison into a luxurious Four Seasons hotel. But plush details like marble staircases, handwoven Ottoman tapestries, damask upholstery, and original Turkish art make guests feel like they have wandered into a palace instead of an old jail that once held artists, writers, and other dissidents.
Located in Istanbul’s oldest district, guests travel back in time when they arrive at this mustard-yellow Neoclassical landmark, complete with archways, balustrades and columns at every turn. As soon as they cross the gorgeous entryway with elaborately worked limestone detailing, guests encounter soaring ceilings and giant wood-frame windows that draw their attention to stunning views of the Sea of Marmara and the ancient Blue Mosque. Antique furnishings, ochre stonework, tiled tabletops, and floors inlaid with Turkish geometric designs are blended with western modernism to produce a combination of elegant comfort and clean lines that has become the calling card of Istanbul’s east-west influences.
Guest rooms surround a lushly landscaped courtyard garden that was once the prison’s exercise yard. Although the hotel retains the polished pedigree of the Four Seasons brand, designers carefully wove hints of its storied past into the design, including an inmate’s inscription on a marble pillar and watchtowers capped by minarets that now house the elevators. None of the spacious guest rooms are exactly alike, but they are tied together by headboards and bedposts that mimic the dome and minarets of the nearby Blue Mosque. The wood and wrought iron used throughout the Four Seasons are native to the area, and the distressed paint work was carefully added to the walls with a spatula, just like the artisans did in Ottoman palaces for centuries.
Atlantis, The Palm
With a stated goal of transforming every section of Atlantis, The Palm into a work of art, it’s no wonder that the design team created a resort that’s one of most Instagrammed hotels in the world. Set atop a manmade island in Dubai, guests are immediately dazzled by stunning views of the Arabian Sea and a resort that combines the whimsical wonder of Atlantis with distinctly Arabian architecture.
The exterior of the resort draws inspiration from its Middle Eastern location with soaring spires, Moorish archways, Arabian-inspired lamps, palm-shaped pillars, and hand-wrought iron columns of flowers, leaves, and buds. Interior designers invoked themes of crystal and light energy to add a sense of the unexpected wonder of the Lost City of Atlantis, sprinkling glittery semi-precious stones, shimmering hand-embroidered silk fabrics, custom crystal chandeliers, and intricate fossilized shells and fish stones amidst the classic Arabian architecture.
A dramatic glass sculpture designed by American artist Dale Chihuly anchors the lobby. Designed to invoke the essence of the ocean, the artist took two years to create 3,000 pieces of blown glass in vivid hues ranging from fiery oranges and reds to tranquil blues and greens that rise above a reflection pool. Spanish artist Albino Gonzalez completed the lobby with eight incredible murals that tell the story of Atlantis around a solar calendar. Other breathtaking works of art are scattered throughout the resort, including murals that stretch more than 2,000 square feet on the ceilings of the hotel’s towers. In keeping with Islamic tradition, no living figures appear in any of the works of art, which instead showcase classical motifs like seashells, geometric patterns, and jewelry.
But what cements Atlantis, The Palm’s place as a symbol of extravagant luxury are the twin underwater suites that the hotel boasts let guests sleep with the fishes and live to tell the tale. The ultra-luxe three-story suites, which were famously visited by Khloe Kardashian, feature floor-to-ceiling windows that give guests panoramic views of The Ambassador Lagoon, a 3-million-gallon aquarium filled with more than 65,000 marine animals. Bath amenities are laced with 24-karat gold, and designers made elegant use of oceanic themes to add to the illusion of being under the sea, with patterned rugs that recall seashells and ocean waves, marine ceiling murals, and chandeliers that invoke visions of coral and jellyfish.
Fontainebleau Miami Beach
Long-considered one of the most architecturally significant hotels in the world, the Fontainebleau Miami Beach continues to lure travelers to South Florida with its over-the-top blend of Golden Era glamour and modern luxury. Famed architect and interior designer Morris Lapidus created this iconic Miami Beach landmark to take center stage as the most opulent and magnificent hotel of its time. Its emblematic curved exterior defined 1950s Miami Beach at a time when architecture was boxy, and an interior punctuated by floating ceilings, striking crystal chandeliers, 27 paint colors, and plentiful sweeping curves invoked an ultra-modern atmosphere. Its most famous feature was the Staircase to Nowhere that let women dressed in couture and jewels take an elevator to the top to deposit their coats and glamorously descend the stairs to the lobby.
The Fontainebleau lost its luster in the 1970s during a downturn in the Miami Beach economy, but a $1 billion renovation in 2008 put it back on the map as a hallmark of Miami design. The new design nods to the different eras that defined the Fontainebleau’s glory days, with Art Deco details like a terrazzo floor re-interpreted for modern times with chunkier blends, and a reference to ‘80s style in the Bleau Bar that features an intense blue floor lit from below, a ceiling adorned with yellow arcs of light, and a lit column in the center of the bar that flashes from fuchsia to white. The marble bow-tie floor design that represented the bow ties Lapidus always wore was recreated after being covered for decades by green carpet, and the design team recalled the elegance of the original hotel with liberal use of gold and other luxury materials throughout, including grand Belgian gold chandeliers that shimmer with 1,800 crystals each in the lobby.
Meadows of Dan, Virginia
The vision for Primland came from Didier Primat, heir to the Schlumberger oil fortune and a dedicated conservationist. He created the 12,000-acre resort on a stunning plateau in the Blue Ridge Mountains to offer guests a world-class retreat for golf and outdoor activities in a decidedly eco-conscious manner. The façade of the grand cedar and stone lodge invokes visions of a Swiss chalet. The interior fails to disappoint guests seeking to relax amidst the beauty of nature with a rustic yet modern décor that relies on earth tones, abundant stone fireplaces, reclaimed wood walls and floors, liberal use of local slate tile, and contemporary furnishings. Soaring ceilings allow for oversized windows and disappearing glass walls that put the show-stopping view on display at almost any place guests turn.
Guests can also indulge their Swiss Family Robinson fantasies in three Treehouse cabins built around the sturdiest tree tops some 2,700 feet in the air. Made of aromatic red cedar, the focal point of the rustic cabins are large, wraparound decks that offer spectacular stargazing and sweeping views. The interior continues the cabin theme with wood walls, ceilings and floors, and simple furnishings situated around the windows that are designed to make guests feel completely enveloped in the natural setting.
But Primland’s green credentials are what set it apart from other luxury resorts: every addition it makes is carefully planned to protect and sustain the environment. A special binding system attaches the tree houses to the trees without a single nail. Almost all the rustic wood décor was salvaged from old tobacco-curing barns. Most of the beautiful walls, floors, ceilings, beams, columns and furniture were repurposed from a variety of old buildings. The roof is sheathed in shingles that look like natural slate but are actually made from shredded, recycled tires. In fact, most of the materials used to build the lodge were found within 200 miles of the property.
The hospitality industry knows the truth to the old saying: first impressions are the most lasting. More than ever, potential guests are choosing destinations based on alluring online photos or videos, and they can be quick to dismiss properties that don’t immediately look like they fit their vision of the perfect getaway. Amazing design can turn a night away from home into an experience that resonates. Hotel properties that respond with stand-out décor like the ones above are guaranteed to draw attention and social media shares.
More than custom furniture makers, we at Beachwood Custom are committed to great quality and design in the hospitality industry. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can enhance your design project, contact our team at Beachwood Custom.