Posts Tagged ‘Tropical Vacations’
February 27th 2013 – Before the Casa De Flora Hotel & Resort opened its doors last year, KNSTRCT reported on the new resort. Now, a year and change into the opening we’re going back to see if the modernist meets tropical aesthetic is working out. A telling sign of success is the hotel was just voted one of the best new hotels by Conde Nast Traveller’s Hot List 2012 and won the Travelers’ Choice 2013 Award – not a bad welcoming into the hospitality world.
A Creative edit that captures the Casa De La Flora by Design Hotels
Normally when you think of tropical hotels, palm leaf ceilings, shabby-chic wood huts, or bamboo constructed walls come to mind, but the Cassa De La Flora is Khoa Lak’s first modernist hideaway. VaSlab Architecture took a risk when they started going down a different path and designed cutting edge architecture and it mixed with stunning tropical landscaping.
The risk turned out to be rewarding as the resort is being praised for putting Khoa Lak on the map as the new high profile, yet humble destination hotel in this beautiful town of the southern Thailand. The resort sits directly on the palm-fringed beach of Khao Lak, giving its guests stunning views of the Andaman Islands and a clean sandy beach to sink their toes into.
The owner of the new age hotel is Thai businessmen Sompong Dowpiset, who presented some challenges to that architects in the initial design phases. Dowpiset asked Vasu Virajsilp, principal architect at VaSlab, to create a unique resort that includes a series of pool villas with maximum ocean views possible. Facilities as reception lounge, swimming pool, pool bar, beachfront restaurant, spa, fitness, and library are the must-have programs in this hotel. The owner challenged Virajsilp to create a bold look of architecture that still yields to warmness and nature after its implied name, “flora”.
VaSLab’s metaphorical design manifested from the act of “arising flora”, where each concrete versus wood villa reflects as a flora form, emerges from the ground, and blooms to reach the daylight. Deviated walls and tilted roofs are characterized throughout the series of 36 cubic-form villas, where these tapered elements do not only recall the act of arising flora but they widen the rooms’ perspective frames when looking outward to the sea.
In addition to the unique suites, a reception lounge, swimming pool, pool bar, beachfront restaurant, spa, fitness, and library are all located on the property. On a side note, eco-friendly credentials come in the form of an ozone (low-chemical) purification system for the swimming pools and waste-water and rain water recycling, which was smartly integrated onto the angling architecture.
The continuity of the architectural lines can be seen also in interior space and with interior elements such as built-in beds, coffee tables, and built-in cabinets. Custom-made furniture designed by Anon Pairot Design Studio carries this thematic design as some of them represent organic form of a flora.
The landscaping and hardscaping work came from the talented designers at T.R.O.P., who extended the lines of architecture into a set of charming path ways, pavement blocks, green walls, as they act like its architecture’s root, stem, and branches.
It’s a tricky thing, trying to achieve a modernist look in paradise. Very rarely, will the harsh lines and minimalistic aesthetic of modern architecture mesh well with the traveler who is seeking an authentic tropical experience.
With that said, VaSlab managed to successfully achieve this rare juxtaposition by respecting the surrounding nature and allowing the architecture and vegetation to happily interact with one another.
Photography Courtesy of Casa De La Flora
December 3rd, 2012 – Hidden in an ancient valley on the western edge of Phuket, The Naka is Duangrit Bunnag’s most daring hotel to date. Not only because the Bangkok-based architect, Duangrit Bunnag, set out to redefine the idea of an indulgent island escape, but also because he single-mindedly followed a dream: one that would allow the hotel’s guests to float among the trees. The result is a discreet, tropical hideout, with 94 glass-built villas cantilevering out from the mountainside to give endless panoramas of the sparkling Andaman Sea.
With an outdoor pool attached to each of the secluded living spaces, guests have all the privacy they need to find their natural equilibrium. At the rooftop spa, which overlooks the forest and the ocean, cicadas provide the spellbinding soundtrack to soothing body scrubs and massages. Guests can also unwind in the hotel’s Olympic-sized infinity pool, or feel the powder-fine sand between their toes on the wave-lapped private beach. Fresh market produce is served at the hotel’s three restaurants, including The Nava, which sits along a natural watercourse that Bunnag integrated into his final design. Here, as with the rest of the hotel, there’s a sense of being cocooned in a secret valley. Design Hotels, the company who represents the Naka, walks us through the new property which will open it’s doors this spring.
Designing The Naka should have been easy. The 1,740-acre plot provided plenty of space, and the valley location – complete with a private beach on Phuket’s west coast – was already postcard pretty.
But Duangrit Bunnag, one of the best-known minimalist designers in Thailand, is a man who likes to challenge himself.
Instead of opting for traditional Thai bungalows or a blocky concrete high-rise, he created a forest of stone- and glass-built villas. Soaring away from the mountainside, these spacious and simplistic pods give guests 180-degree views of the sand-edged shoreline.
“I wanted to create something different, and nobody has ever dreamt of that in Thailand,” Bunnag said. “Actually nobody has done that in the whole world: a six-meter cantilever of the whole room.”
Rather than uprooting the valley’s trees to make way for his ambitious villas, Bunnag decided to use them as a guide. If his plans overlapped with a mature tree, he would either change the dimensions of the building, or move it to another part of the plot entirely.
The result is that the villas appear scattered across the valley, with well-established trees – many of them more than 50 years old – sprouting up from the gaps in between. In order to support the local population of cicadas and butterflies, indigenous plant species were also added during construction.
At the center of The Naka are four wooden pavilions. The pagoda-like lobby is built around a series of upright columns, making the most of natural ventilation, while the onsite wedding chapel, accented by glinting black marble, welcomes couples through its semi-transparent façade.
Both the sweet-smelling spa and The Meka (a rooftop café 40 meters above sea level) offer views as far as Patong. This notion of being close to town yet sheltered from its day-to-day bustle is key to Bunnag’s concept.
He wants guests to know that they are cocooned in a secret valley, with total privacy guaranteed until they choose to go out in search of excitement.
(Photography: Design Hotels)