The world's finest architects are focusing their creativity on designing spectacular hotels that are bold, innovative and sexy. Ellie Stathaki picks three you will not want to leave
THE GARDEN TERRACE, NAGASAKI, JAPAN: KENGO KUMA & ASSOCIATES
With its distinct irregular windows and timber-panelled facade, and offering chic accommodation in a minimalist Japanese style, the Garden Terrace Hotel was designed by Japan's celebrated architect Kengo Kuma.
Located on the slope of Mount Inasa, outside Nagasaki's port, the hotel is not the first project in the region for Kuma. Not too long ago, in 2005, the studio designed the city's art museum. The two buildings sit at opposite ends within the town's amphitheatric shape and, while they are undoubtedly two quite different constructions, their visual rapport was inevitable. "Facing each other, the two buildings' relationship was our first experience of the project," says Kuma.
The commission stipulated strict instructions. The complex had to be made of timber and include four volumes - a large box, two smaller ones and a linear space. While the shapes could be accommodated in the project's programme, resulting in the construction's striking lines, creating a building of such scale out of timber is no mean feat.
Kuma inventively came up with the solution of timber panels. Using cedar panels to create unique facade patterns, the building elegantly and clearly features wood as its highlight, both inside and out.
W KANAI RETREAT, RIVIERA MAYA, MEXICO: RICHARD MEIER & PARTNERS
Located on the gorgeous Yucatan coast, the W Kanai Retreat combines luxury, scenery and, of course, a "starchitect's" design, by the hand of Pritzker prize-winning architect Richard Meier.
Comprising four hotels and a beach club, the 180-room luxury facility may be large in size, yet it was designed on a carpet of mangroves, respectful to its sensitive natural flood-plain setting. Clean and simple linear forms create a confident contrast against the blue horizon and lush surrounding nature, but at the same time careful planning went into the design in order to create a seamless connection between the inside and the outside space.
"We tried above all to produce a sensitive project, as unobtrusive as possible to the nature around, but we also wanted to create an energetic and distinct typology, unlike any other resort in the area," says Guillermo Murcia, the project architect behind the W Kanai Retreat.
A T-shaped floor plan makes the most of the area's abundant natural lighting and views, while the guest rooms will offer unobstructed sea vistas, come scheduled completion in 2014. The retreat's more urban sibling, W Santa Fe in Mexico City, is also designed by Meier and is due to open in 2013.
TREEHOTEL, BODEN, SWEDEN: VARIOUS ARCHITECTS
The recently opened Treehotel may be modest in scale, but it surely stands out among its peers, owing its distinct identity to a series of unique room designs. Located in Sweden's northern municipality of Boden, the hotel is a true nature-lover's delight, with a contemporary design twist.
"We wanted to offer high-standard accommodation in a harmonious setting, where daily stress quickly fades away, and guests can enjoy the peace and purity of unspoiled nature," explain the hotel's owners Kent and Britta Lindvall.
First-phase tree-rooms were designed by four of the Sweden's leading architecture practices. Cyrén & Cyrén are the brains behind the Cabin Room, Sandell Sandberg worked on the Blue Cone, Inredningsgruppen's Bertil Harström designed The Bird's Nest and the UFO, while the dynamic Stockholm-based studio Tham & Videgård created the Mirrorcube, a volume which is cleverly camouflaged by tree foliage.
Perched at varying heights from four to six metres, the rooms share spectacular views and offer a relaxing experience within minimal, yet comfortable, interiors. Rooms are particularly eco-friendly, built using sustainable construction methods and energy solutions. With 19 more tree-rooms planned, the second phase is due for completion in 2012.
To view and download the full report click here
Follow Raconteur Media on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@raconteurmedia