20. September 2019
The Palayana Hotel commissioned Architectkidd to build on an existing resort in Hua Hin, Thailand
The Design Brief: The Palayana hotel commissioned Architectkidd to build on an existing resort in Hua Hin, Thailand. The resort had existed for over ten years and the new owners wanted to upgrade the overall condition and guest experience as well as rebrand the hotel.
The Site: The beach front site is one of the most attractive aspect of the hotel. The overall area is 1.3 hectares with a 40-meter long private beach front. The original layout and location of the rooms and villas of the resort were retained. That was one of the hardest things to do, really, because with the development of land in Thailand in the past decade, it wasn’t easy to resist the urge to densify and grow and to add more rooms for a site like this.
What is the target audience that the hotel is aiming for? Hua Hin has one of the finest white sand beaches near Bangkok so it has always been popular with families. As the resort town develops with more activities and restaurants and a vibrant night market, it’s drawing more luxury visitors and younger crowds. So the aim was to achieve a new level of sophistication and refinement and to celebrate its locale with sensitive and understated design additions.
Which part is existing and which parts are new? The hotel was originally masterplanned and designed by Habita Architects and it was built and owned by the founders’ family themselves before being acquired by the new owners. So we approached this project with a great deal of respect. The hotel’s renovation went hand in hand with the rebranding for the new owners as the Palayana and our goal as designers were to heighten the existing qualities to become a five-star resort with a renewed sense of peace and relaxation. New functions were added such as the event spaces, restaurant, and public spaces and the guest rooms were refurbished.
What are some of the design features that makes an impact on visitors? When you arriving to the Palayana, you pass through the front building that forms the main hotel block and lobby area. The simple and honest entryway passes from the main hotel at the entrance and out towards the beach and villas. This new hotel and lobby entry design was one of the new additions that provide a starkly modern and contemporary connection to the hotel. The new curved motifs alluded to the waves and sea and were introduced to complement the existing spaces. We worked with local artists and fabricators to materialize throughout the resort such as the lobby and ceilings. It was about building on Palayana’s personality as a refined modern resort hotel with elegant lines.
What are the main architecture ideas in terms of spatial qualities? The spatial experience about entering the resort was very important to us. There are many spaces that visitors pass along the way from the entrance to the beach. The landscape and foliage hide surrounding buildings and views until one reaches the beach front where the restaurant and bar are placed along with the main swimming pool.
What are the key themes and materials/ colours of the Palayana? There’s a tendency to design with a ‘theme-based’ approach for hotels today, but we totally avoided that with this design. Instead we developed a more subtle and made use of natural and longer-lasting materials as much as possible, combined with a neutral color palette of muted, darker finishes. This resort is really about light and space through and through.
Can you elaborate on the design of the hotel rooms and the relationship to inside-outside? How many room types are there? There are 23 Deluxe Rooms (65 Sqm) situated in the main building with large balconies that overlooking the sea. There are also 1 to 2 bedroom suites (110 -150 sqm) and private villas which are 1 to 3 bedrooms and from 150 to 350 sqm. All the rooms are large with connections to the outside and we opened them up further and illuminated them with large windows and natural daylight reflecting on to terrazzo flooring and furnishings.
What are the design features that are characteristic of Architectkidd’s work in this project? In Thailand there is a chance to be hands-on with design and we love to do that in our work. We are interested in the local craft approaches, but not only from craft traditions such as weaving and wood working techniques. There is a strong material culture found in Thailand and a kind of make-it-from scratch way of thinking and doing things.
Images: Courtesy of Architectkidd