Within a jungle forest on the shoreline of the Andaman Sea, Rosewood Phuket captures the essence of the island’s spirit, culture and environment, with a design inspired by the concept of a luxurious beach residence.
Renowned Melbourne-based design firm BAR Studio seamlessly blended contemporary aesthetics with the tropical surrounds to celebrate a connection between landscape, light and views. Rosewood Phuket is village-like in its layout – a series of pavilions and paths linking hilltop to beach, whose design acknowledges its international context, yet is profoundly influenced by its geographical and cultural location: raw and refined, sophisticated yet relaxed.
“Landscape is really the star of Rosewood Phuket and the resort design was focused on facilitating the guest’s immersion into it,” says Andrew Turner, managing director of Rosewood Phuket. “The fundamental experience is that of being at one with this incredible environment of tropical jungle, hilltop views and stunning coastline.”
A balance of architectural elements, sophisticated interiors, diverse landscapes, captivating details, and a dramatic revealing of interior and exterior spaces gives Rosewood Phuket its distinctive personality. The resort continuously unfolds and engages guests with a myriad of hidden surprises, details and intimate moments. Framing is a fundamental design component here, showcasing elements that are uniquely of the place — whether that is a view, an artifact, a piece of art or a landscape.
From approach by discreet cobblestone driveway, through monumental entry gates marking arrival, to a welcome pavilion that opens up to spectacular views of the Andaman Sea, there is an immediate unfurling of Rosewood’s A Sense of Place® philosophy. BAR Studio collaborated with Bangkok landscape architects PLA to curate a journey spanning multiple eco-systems, from untamed nature to gardens and ocean shore, with meandering walkways through tropical foliage connecting all facets of the resort hamlet.
Local teak, both sustainably sourced and recycled, is used extensively in structural elements, walls, floors and ornamentation, so a uniquely Thai material is woven through the fabric of the resort, enhanced by warm sandstone wall and floor finishes. All 71 pool pavilions and villas are designed to evoke the personality of a residential beach home – the Thai equivalent of a Hamptons summer retreat. Each features a private entry experience – be it bridge or gate and courtyard – that creates a connection between internal and external environments. Through plentiful floor-to-ceiling windows, each interior space blends seamlessly with the tropical surrounds, including outlooks onto private swimming pool, gardens, courtyard and ocean.
Rather than adopting obvious Thai decorative elements in the rooms, motifs, materials and art tell a story that is at once local and subtly international. The artwork and accessories are reminiscent of an international traveler’s collection, with a uniquely Thai attitude, that has been accumulated over time with a distinctive eye and sophisticated mingling of influences.
Mai poolside bar and The Shack rustic seafood eatery both feature recycled and raw materials, mixed with accents of color and detail that create a laid-back daytime atmosphere. Mai, a stand-alone pavilion, is screened by curtains of wood beads, while timber pallets with pulleys and exposed counter-weights form screen walls in The Shack. By day these two venues operate as separate, intimate environments. By night they transform and merge with the pool terrace to create one vibrant, expansive venue with sophisticated edginess.
Ta Khai, the stand-alone Thai seafood restaurant, feels as if it has existed within a rustic fisherman’s village for generations – an impression accentuated by the layout’s deference to the sacred ficus and Banyan trees situated along the shoreline. However, in contrast to the cultural mix of Red Sauce, and the day-night transformative nature of Mai and The Shack, Ta Khai is layered. At its core are rustic open pavilions formed from carved timber posts and recycled corrugated iron. These raw structures appear to then have been updated with red fabric-sail roofs, insertions of steel and glass, and contemporary furniture and lighting. The effect is that of a series of spaces that have naturally evolved over time.
At Asaya, the inaugural integrated wellness concept from Rosewood Hotels & Resorts®, the natural environment is the dominant element. Like the resort itself, with its series of pavilions Asaya is like a village blending into the landscape. Each Asaya component has its own sense of connection to the natural world with layers of privacy depending on the function of the space: the relaxation areas are screened outdoor enclosures, the walled Wellness Atelier overlooks charming herb gardens and treatment rooms are completely internalized with their own private courtyards.
Preservation of the landscape and a focus on sustainability have been critical environmental and aesthetic considerations for the design team throughout the conception and construction of Rosewood Phuket. Passive environmental controls include large roof overhangs, green garden rooftops, shading and reflective colors, as well as the use of recycled and reclaimed materials in many parts of the resort. Photovoltaic cells hidden on rooftops create the largest solar panel system of any Phuket hotel.
The multimedia art collection at Rosewood Phuket reflects the diverse cultural influences on the island and weaves quintessential Siam sensibilities into the design. Sculpturally, the majestic elephant at the hotel entrance, a water buffalo constructed from car parts in Ta Khai’s kitchen garden, the over-sized elephant bells strategically dotted around the resort, an enormous stainless steel compass inlaid into the beach lawn, and a fluid, bronze carp installation fittingly positioned by the swimming pool, become key sculptural moments in the guest journey, creating an accumulative experience of the island through artistic statements.
“Guests will be impressed by the grandeur and scale of the resort but also feel a very personal connection to it through the sense of romance, sense of place and sense of the unexpected that intermingle in the design,” says Stewart Robertson, director of BAR Studio. “Rosewood Phuket redefines all the expected elements of a luxury resort to create something that feels absolutely right in this unique setting.”