Whilst this trend has been emerging in office buildings over the past year or so, it’s now beginning to reshape the way people perceive the spaces they hang out in whilst on their holidays. We’re now providing places that are structurally beautiful, but also comfortable, functional and are, importantly, sustainable. With customer wellbeing at the forefront, more aesthetically and healthier environmentally sound hotels are emerging, where both the design and the materials used to build the properties address the physical and mental health of the people inside. This includes 'living' buildings, where plants and trees grows inside, as well as design that encourages human movement and mindfulness. Here are 4 we love working with:
The Life House, Wales
In mid Wales, near the small town of Llanbister, amidst a landscape of rolling hills, Living Architecture invited the architect John Pawson to create a timeless house of simplicity and beauty.
The design of the house, which sleeps six people, is based upon the concept of a retreat where serenity, contemplation and restoration are foremost; a place where a retreat will immerse the visitor in a zone of extreme calm, leaving them re-invigorated to resume their responsibilities in the world. The building where the retreat unfolds is both simple yet luxurious and has been deeply influenced by Japanese design and the architecture of the Benedictine monks.
The design draws on a variety of ingredients of calm:
- a contemplation chamber buried into the hillside where one is invited to lie down in a blank cavernous zone and purify and train the mind on true essentials.
- an outside contemplation zone enabling the user to repeat the exercise with the Welsh mountains as a backdrop.
- a generous living area, large bathrooms, bedrooms, cupboards and common areas allow for both complete privacy and - when it's desired - sociability and communion.
- a library bedroom, lined with some of the most therapeutic works of eastern and western literature.
- a music bedroom, with a suitably generous music system and a carefully curated selection of transcendent and calming music from all ages and genres.
- a bathing bedroom which provides a room-based bathing platform in which to lie and reassess existence with the help of views onto a Welsh valley.
- the house is placed at the nexus of a sequence of walks curated by the artist Hamish Fulton so that at certain points in the retreat, you can invigorate the body in order further to soothe the mind.
The house is constructed of Danish handmade bricks; black for the exterior and white for the interior, creating a peaceful and life calming space to spend time in. We create retreats for team (overnight) away-days incorporating mindfulness sessions, breath-work, walkshops and wilderness adventure, as well as design-themed breaks which can be used for prize promotions.
The Scarlet Hotel, Cornwall
Luxurious but laid-back, The Scarlet hotel has heart. It’s eco-friendly through and through and equally true to its roots, decorated with paintings by local artists. Lashings of glass maximise this Cornwall hotel’s cliff-top setting and sea-and-sand views, keeping the outdoors in, and every room comes with its own balcony or outdoor ‘pod’. Works really well for prize promotions which can include spa treatments, sumptuous dinners and a wood-fired hot-tub experience overlooking the stunning beach below.
La Romana Hotel & Spa, Spain
This beautiful hotel in rural Spain has been built entirely with local stone to blend in with its surroundings. The block, marble and scarlet, welcomes you inside and offers a sensorial experience of water and light. The hotel also offers Ayurveda as a lifestyle, rather than a holiday bolt on, giving visitors the opportunity to reconnect with their essence. The soft light from inside is only broken by the light entering cracks in the carved marble. Again, this works really well as a design or spa-themed prize break.
A husband-and-wife design team have transformed their own beachfront holiday home into a new resort; the first of a new brand of “ultimate wellbeing destinations.”
Soo K. Chan, the founder of SCDA Architects, and hospitality designer Ling Fu, have used holistic design and environmental practices to create Soori Bali in Indonesia.
The revamped resort will feature 48 private pool villas and residences, a cantilevered platform jutting over the Indian Ocean and a new Indonesian restaurant, moored in a traditional wooden Balinese house amid the resort’s rice fields.
The “compelling setting and overwhelming feng shui experience” of the location inspired the pair to open their private retreat to the public, and to open other Soori sites around the world.
The design of Soori Bali melds natural elements with both traditional and contemporary Balinese design features. A dormant volcano, Mount Batukaru, towers nearby, so light grey local Volcanic stone is used for the foundation for the resort’s buildings.
Polished teak and intricate terracotta tiles created by local artisans reference the architecture of local villages. Chan chose to blur the line between indoor and outdoor spaces, with open courtyards and pools creating naturally-lit, transitional areas between the two.
"What is unique about Soori Bali is that we own it, we designed it, we built it and now, we run it too,” said Soo Chan. “For Ling and I, Soori Bali is as much a state of mind as it is a world-class resort; it’s a peaceful, spiritual, healing and re-energising place.”
The resort’s facilities include an infinity pool, gymnasium, library, spa, helipad, and two gourmet restaurants using fresh produce from nearby farms and spices from the resort garden.
The Soori Spa has been designed in line with the resort’s vision of being “Bali’s premier wellbeing destination promoting a more harmonious and sustainable way of life.”
A team of onsite practitioners and visiting wellness experts will offer physical alignment and massage therapies, acupuncture, meditation, neurotherapy, and longevity procedures, while special retreats will be hosted throughout the year by visiting international wellness experts. High-quality organic products will be used in the treatments. This is an excellent holiday which can be used for prize promotions that really stand out on shelf.