Jean-Michel Gathy, the legend behind some of the world’s most iconic luxury hotel and resort design celebrates more than 30 years of achievement in 2017 as Principal Designer at Denniston Architects.
For more than three decades, Jean-Michel Gathy has been the architect responsible for consistently pioneering and redefining the design of leading luxury hotels and resorts world-wide such as The Chedi Muscat, Aman Resorts, The Setai, One&Only, Park Hyatt and LVMH Hotels to name a few.
Denniston Architects believes that it is important to address all the components of architecture, interiors and landscape at once in a synergistic seamless flow when building a hotel. Working alongside many of the pioneers of luxury hotels, Jean-Michel Gathy has conceptualised and created some of the most internationally recognized ground breaking designs for the industry’s top hoteliers and owners.
Water Features Abound
Dramatic water features are evident in all of Jean-Michel’s designs and play to a strong visual narrative. “The best way to create scenery is by using water. It produces reflective surfaces, which have a space-doubling effect and create drama” shares Gathy. Examples of signature design which pay homage to water include the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore’s largest rooftop infinity pool overlooking the city’s skyline the world’s most extravagant Gold Energy Pool at the St. Regis Lhasa and The Setai Miami.
A Creative Approach to Spa Design
With the rise of well-being and healthy living, we never speak of a luxury hotel now without also speaking of its spa. At LVMH’s Cheval Blanc Randheli in the Maldives, Jean-Michel Gathy conceived an intimate “house”, the perfect holiday residence beside the sea. He incorporates matching elements with the island landscape, luxuriant vegetation and its views over the blue lagoon. Positioned in its own island, the journey begins upon sailing to the idyllic spa on board a traditional dhoni. Alongside treatments, guests can enjoy a traditional hammam bath or a yoga session in the dedicated pavilions as a prelude or interlude to their treatments.
Positioned on the shores of a pink-sand private beach, Aman Sveti Stefan in Montenegro is known to be one of the most beautiful resorts in the Adriatic. Constructed out of a 15th-century fortress, Jean-Michel Gathy drew inspiration from historical features and contemporary reinterpretations while preserving cultural and heritage elements. The property features a 1,600sqm spa offering treatments following a holistic personalised approach with natural Aman products and outdoor terraces for relaxation.
Restaurants & Bars, the new heartbeat of a hotel
Whether it is celebrating special occasions or relaxing and socialising, restaurants and bars are the most popular venues and gathering point in a hotel. Tapasake at One&Only Maldives is one of those restaurants that you will always remember. Suspended over water, Gathy has designed a gloriously stylish showcase of glass, stone and stainless steel, with its black terrazzo floor, oyster-grey mother of pearl tables with whalebone-effect legs – and captivating views of the ocean for every diner. Gathy comments “The feeling I’d like people to take away with them as they leave Reethi Rah is fulfilment in every sense: aesthetically, because they have just spent time in one of the world’s beautiful places, and spiritually, because they have had the most marvellous, refreshing, fun time.”
A forerunner of luxury tourism to Oman
The Chedi Muscat, an architectural and design masterpiece is a particularly significant and impactful creation of Jean-Michel Gathy as its launch in 2003 served to open the doors to luxury travel to Oman. With the concept of luxury evolving over time, Jean-Michel’s idea remains timeless. “If I have to qualify a good hotel, I would only use one word: comfort,” shares Gathy.
Denniston International is currently working on more than 40 projects globally, including those for One&Only in China and Montenegro, Jumeirah in Bali and Rio de Janeiro, Mandarin Oriental in Bali, Four Seasons Bangkok and, a hotly anticipated green project with Leonardo DiCaprio in Belize.