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How an ‘Ohana Spirit’ navigated WATG through 75 years of business

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How an ‘Ohana Spirit’ navigated WATG through 75 years of business

WATG’s roots were planted 75 years ago in Honolulu by our founders George “Pete” Wimberly and Howard Cook, who adopted the enduring cultural principles from Hawaii including ‘Ohana, meaning “family” or “extended kin”. Anthony Mallows, President and CEO of WATG, writes…

The spirit of the islands taught us to focus on community strength, self-reliance and sustainability, which we still prioritise each and every day.

Through 2020, we have been collectively reflecting on how our island identity, roots and corporate culture have led to our long-term business resilience. It is my pleasure to share these insights with my fellow business leaders.

Image caption: Nobu Los Cabos | Image credit: WATG

1) Build a culture of ‘Ohana.

Even if you aren’t Hawaiian, let the concept of ‘Ohana define your organization. Strong, bonded teams celebrate good times and fight their way through life’s obstacles. They know that they can’t row it alone and they are stronger together than they are as individuals. A culture of ‘Ohana is also key to employee retention and creating a healthy, positive relationship with work. Actively drawing from ‘Ohana helps bring our team together through shared values, purpose, and performance. That’s the type of supportive environment we must all foster to create a “best place to work” for employees. This year has certainly reinforced the need for team collaboration and we were fortunate to have built a strong foundation over the last 75 years which has helped us weather the challenge of 2020 together.

2) Let Aloha guide you.

An aloha spirit has given WATG strength for generations and has been a critical component of how we define ourselves: how we hire, how we build our client relationships, create design solutions, and pivot during the inevitable obstacles. Aloha focuses on connectivity, peace, compassion, and a mutual understanding of respect: living in harmony with the people and land around you. Some of this might sound counterintuitive in business but it shouldn’t be. Aloha has given our firm its purpose: We are here to propel and inspire each other through exceptional design that drives long-term value for our clients and extraordinary experiences for their guests and visitors.

Grand Hyatt Kauai from above by Nicholas Doyle

Image caption: Grand Hyatt Kauai from above by Nicholas Doyle

3) Work with what you have.

Look at any island community or nation. Islanders live life in the balance of the elements. They are highly cooperative in the measures they take and share an overall concern for their environment that is different than the typical urban dweller. Resilience and sustainability are more than pillars of our firm. They inform how we work each and every day. In a world where almost anything can be imported or bought online, it’s important that all businesses become a part of their own local communities: take a look around, get to know your local purveyors, craftspeople, artisans and other small businesses. When businesses support local talent and work with what they have, they can begin to ensure that the places and experiences they create balance the long-term social, economic, and environmental needs of a community that will leave them thriving for generations to come.

4) Always be prepared for a hurricane.

A colorful sunset and perfect temperatures can make you feel without a care in the world, but when you live in paradise you must always be prepared for a hurricane. 2020 has highlighted the need for storm preparation for all of us. Boom and bust cycles are inevitable and each generation will experience ups and downs. Downtimes bring the culture of your organisation to the surface. How do you handle failure? Do your people remain calm? Can your leadership team make tough decisions that hurt now, but better the company in the long-term? Is leadership effectively communicating the importance of tough decisions for the health of the company long-term? WATG has weathered 12 different economic recessions, starting with WWII. If this is your first world event, know that firms fit to survive can advance during tough times: finding new niches, partnering with new clients, pushing the boundaries of creative problem-solving and seeking out new talent. The key is active and quick decision making based on an evaluation of your talent, skill, and position in the market. Adversity begets innovation and entrepreneurial thinking. Empower and enable your teams to think and work differently. Every member of Ohana plays an equally critical role during a storm – give them the leeway to be creative. In times of crisis and collective sacrifice, people will deliver in extraordinary ways.

5) Let the tide take you to new places

Our founder Pete Wimberly coined the term “have pencil, will travel” and used to travel with a pencil, a lightbulb, and a screwdriver as they were regularly in far-flung, underdeveloped resort destinations. Staying overnight in guesthouses or beach huts, he used his pencil to sketch; his lightbulb to see, as most of these places had poor or no lighting; and the screwdriver to remove a bathroom door to convert into a sketch table. Wimberly himself developed a friendship with Juan Trippe, the founder of PanAm, which owned InterContinental Hotels & Resorts. During the post-war period, the two of them pioneered into the southern hemisphere – Juan creating new air passageways and Pete designing the hotels and resorts. Because of this adventurous spirit, WATG is largely credited with developing the South Pacific as a global tourism destination. Encourage exploration and nurture your employees’ hunger for adventure. Reward employees for their curiosity and encourage them to explore new places, and reel in a big fish to bring home to the family.

Image credit: WATG

6) Foster mutual respect

Our presence spans from Hawaii around the globe to London, the Middle East, Singapore and Shanghai, so whatever time zone we are in, we always make sure to carve out time to enjoy each other’s company, really getting to know one another on a personal level. It is estimated that we will spend one third of our lives at work – approximately 90,000 hours over an average lifetime.  Time spent listening to one another, appreciating each other’s stories and authentically understanding where someone ‘comes from’ are fundamental extensions of mutual respect. When we share these experiences, we share our values. We are enriched personally and creatively by our own culture in addition to the culture of others. This process helps evolve our multifaceted understanding of ‘Ohana. And like many diverse communities all over the world, allows us to appreciate the lessons and creativity of those that came before us 75 years ago.

Main image credit: WATG

Mitsis Hotels lifts the lid on redesign story behind Greek gem

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Mitsis Hotels lifts the lid on redesign story behind Greek gem

Architecture and design firm WATG completed the renovation and redesign of Mitsis Summer Palace on the Greek island of Kos… 

Uniquely positioned on an elevated site above a Blue Flag-awarded beach, the newly renovated Mitsis Summer Palace boasts 360-degree views across the Aegean Sea towards Nissiros Island and the Bay of Kardamena, and offers a stunning direct line of sight all the way to the coast of Turkey. Tasked with the evolutionary renovations was the multidisciplined design firm WATG.

Showcasing the full suite of of the firm’s services, the project – which included upgrades to thesite’s restaurant and pool amenities – incorporated strategy, planning, architecture, landscape architecture and Wimberly Interiors to achieve a fully integrated, considered space that celebrates the stunning surroundings while aligning perfectly with Mitsis Hotels’ commitment to creating one-of-a-kind travel experiences.

“The hillside situation of the hotel, with expansive views across the Aegean, was theinspiration for creating a space which seamlessly connects the guest with the horizon,” said Georgina Langridge of WATG’s London Landscape Architecture team who was awarded a Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30 earlier this year. “From a design perspective, it was all about connecting visitors with the surrounding sea and celebrating the Kos sunset. In contrast to other pools on the island, we made a bold move with the colour palette and opted for a dark tile – something that is quite unique to the property, which has bold features throughout including teal sun lounges and coralaccents in the restaurant.”

On working with Mitsis Hotels, WATG London Associate Vice President and Architect Nick Carrier commented: “WATG is thrilled to have an ongoing and exciting relationship with a company like Mitsis Hotels. We’re grateful to them for placing trust in us to make bolddecisions and contribute to their vision of creating unique, customer-centric spaces.”

Mitsis Summer Palace reopened in April 2019 following the highly successful renovation and reopening of Mitsis Norida Beach in April 2018, which featured five new pools, a pool bar, three restaurants and a beach bar – also a WATG multidisciplinary design project.

Main image credit: Mitsis Hotels

Hotel to open largest seafront pool in Crete

800 429 Hamish Kilburn

Elounda Peninsula all-suite hotel introduces the largest seafront pool on the Greek island of Crete…

Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel has introduced new seafront pools for 2019, which will include the largest on the island of Crete. The new main pool and accompanying children’s pool have been introduced to open in May 2019 by the Kokotos family at a cost of €700,000. Collaborating with London-based designers, WATG, the hotel has produced a new pool concept that will undoubtedly amaze.

Part of Elounda SA Hotels & Resorts, the Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel enjoys beautiful views across the iridescent Aegean Sea and Sitia mountains. Perched on the water’s edge, the hotel has been famous over the years for having the finest beach area on the island of Crete, flaunting crystal clear waters and smooth sandy shallows. Situating the pools right next to the beach, along with the hotel’s restaurants and bars, has created an ideal summer holiday combination of pool and beach relaxation.

The new main pool will be the largest seafront pool on the island of Crete, with 420 square metres of gentle curves winding through native trees. Features include a hydro-massage area, loungers in the shallows and wide steps for easy access. A new children’s pool of 80 square metres will be separated from the main pool and features the ideal layout of shallow and safe waters. Finished with a silky-smooth ‘pebbledeck’, both new pools can also be heated up to 27C, if needed.

From a sustainability perspective, the new pools have been purposefully designed around the trees in the area that could not be re-located, involving them in the design. As carob trees cannot be transplanted, the pools were constructed around the two carob trees by the seafront in an effort to preserve the existing nature.

Taking advantage of the kids’ pool’s new location, the design firm has created a variety of levels and niches to create more privacy for poolside day-beds and cabanas and to allow for unobstructed sea views from all corners. Rich vegetation, vibrant night-time lighting, contemporary shading solutions, as well as a much-improved flow around the pools and between the restaurants and bar, will ensure that the new beach scene will have something for everyone.

The hotel offers a selection of premium accommodation including suites, villas and residences to create the perfect getaway. Premium accommodation comes not only with a lounge area and terrace featuring a private waterfront pool, but also direct access to private jetties or the hotel’s private sandy beach, being the only hotel in Europe offering this.

Top five stories of the week: New sponsors, a fresh motto and social media success

Hamish Kilburn
Following the Independent Hotel Show, and with less than four weeks until the industry gather at The Brit List 2018Hamish Kilburn reviews the week’s headlines live from Africa…

As weeks go, this one has been rather sensational, unforgettable in fact. Following an insightful Independent Hotel Show, I have spent the majority of the last seven days checked in to one of Zimbabwe’s finest hotels, Matetsi Victoria Falls (review on Hotel Designs coming soon), to really understand the design journey – from the birth of a concept to completion – of creating a luxury hotel.

While being ‘in the bush’ – and understanding the challenges faced when creating luxury in 132,000 acres of safari reserve – I have been corresponding back home with the editorial team in order to report on this week’s top headlines. At the top of the news chain is unsurprisingly Hilton Hotels, as this week it unveiled a new ‘affordable lifestyle’ brand to the world. Meanwhile WATG, of whom its UK Managing Director, Martin Peace, is shortlisted for The Brit List 2018, announced its completion on yet another five-start hotel in Asia. Hotel Designs passed the four-weeks-to-go mark before the highly anticipated Brit List 2018 by announced yet another sponsor. And laying down some serious style, Recommended Supplier Kobe had a message to deliver to the industry: “Go bold or go home.” Here is our top five stories of the week.

1) Hilton announces innovative new hotel brand

Motto by Hilton

Hilton has unveiled the launch of Motto by Hilton, its newest affordable lifestyle brand that will empower guests by giving them the freedom to create their own experiences in the world’s most sought-after cities…

Motto by Hilton takes a fresh approach to modern travel culture. It is a micro-hotel with an urban vibe in prime global locations.

2) Hotel Designs reveals a new event sponsor for The Brit List 2018

As the industry prepares to celebrate the leading British influencers in hotels, interior design and architecture, Hotel Designs is proud to welcome the flooring experts Tarkett, which will sponsor the Inspiration in Design – Interior Designer of the Year award.

3) WATG unveils five-star Ayana Komodo Resort in Asia

Set across a 1.4-hectare site, the hotel is surrounded by a lagoon and its marine life, where guests can soak up the 180-degree views of the Flores Sea…

Design firm WATG has opened the doors to its brand-new contemporary hotel in Indonesia, The Ayana Komodo Resort, Waecicu Beach, marking the third Ayana property across Asia.

4) 7 ways to promote your hotel on social media 

The world of social media is constantly evolving, making it crutial for hotels to stay ahead in the market. Serena Dorf, a content writer from Los Angeles, shares her top tops to help hotels remain competitive in the digital sphere.

5) Kobe brings back the retro trend of colour blocking 

Hotel Designs  recommended supplier Kobe has gone crazy for bold accents. Influenced by the catwalk, colour blocking is making a comeback…

If you are interested in attending this year’s Brit List, there are still limited tickets available. Click here to secure your place


Lobby area

Top 5 stories of the week: New trends, emerging designers and a comic-book themed hotel

800 533 Hamish Kilburn

Hotel Designs’ editor Hamish Kilburn breaks down the week with the top five stories…

This week at Hotel Designs we have identified fabric and soft furnishing trends, recognised two emerging design stars and reported on how a design firm worked to create a design hotel in Antwerp’s most iconic building.

1) 5 soft furnishing and fabric trends of 2018


To kick-start our spotlight this month on fabrics and soft furnishings, here are some of the hottest trends we are seeing at the moment…

2) Two dynamic designers chosen to bring creative vision and ‘story of sustainability’ to life at Cadogan Hotel

Left: Mac Collin Right: Antonia Packham

Young designers Mac Collins and Antonia Packham were chosen from more than 3,000 designers to bring their creative vision to life at the Cadogan Hotel…

3) In conversation with Martin Pease, Managing Director WATG London

Hotel Designs’ editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with new Managing Director of WATG London Martin Pease to discuss what’s next for the integrated design firm’…

4) Tom Dixon launches AW18 accessories collection

Tom Dixon studio

Image credit: Tom Dixon

Taking inspiration from nature and natural objects, Tom Dixon has unveiled its AW18 accessories collection…

5) Converting Antwerp’s most iconic building into a design hotel

Exterior shot

Hotel Designs explores how Alex Kravetz Design used comic inspiration to create the interiors of Antwerp’s new design hotel on the block…

In conversation with Martin Pease, Managing Director WATG London

800 544 Hamish Kilburn

Hotel Designs’ editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with new Managing Director of WATG London Martin Pease to discuss what’s next for the integrated design firm’ …

As industry leaders go, Martin Pease is somewhat unconventional in many of his methods, which is possibly what attracted WATG to him in the first place. Just days into his new role as the Managing Director of WATG London, Pease looked comfortably in control as he welcomed me into the firm’s London hub in Fitzroy Square.

Pease joins WATG from Atkins North America where he was Head of Architecture and Building Engineering from 2014-2018. During that time, he grew the firm’s business by 40 per cent across six offices. Prior to that, he was Head of Architecture for Dubai-based Damac, the largest privately-owned property developer in the Middle East.

What does 25 years of experience look like?, I asked with interest as we kick-started the interview. “Under these rolled up shirt sleeves are a lot of bruises and scars,” said Pease as we sat down in one of the meeting rooms. “Clients are very demanding, and rightly so! When you’re spending a lot of money, you want to feel as if  you’ve got a trusted partner that gets what you’re about. In 25 years, I have been able to understand our clients’ businesses– maybe not as well as they do, but enough to grasp the touchpoints and the sensitivities in their market. 25 years of listening before talking and responding to clients in a way where that they know that you are putting them first has brought me to this moment.”

There’s something infectious about speaking to Pease. His hands-on leadership style is clear to see and also refreshing while his ability to always look ahead is inspirational. “I want to be involved in every aspect of the business because if you understand something then you can help and fine-tune what is a really strong business but can always be stronger,” he admitted. “The minute you think that you have achieved something and you’ve got it perfect, that’s the moment you should ask yourself ‘well what are we doing here? Is there something else we can do?’ because otherwise you stand still.”

Quick-fire round:

HK: Favourite colour:
MP:Somewhere between black and white.
HK: What’s your favourite hotel of all time:
MP:Chateau De Mercues
HK: Biggest bugbear in hotel design:
MP: Key cards that don’t work
HK: Favourite hobby:
MP: I paint and draw constantly
HK: Travel essential:
MP: My Ipod classic with all my audiobooks.
HK: Who inspires you daily:
MP: At the moment, Gareth Southgate.
HK: Favourite meal:
MP:A genuine Paella.
HK: Number one tool for success:
MP:You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Architects don’t listen enough.

Pease arrives to the firm weeks after the WATG’s Great Architectural Bake-Off, which he promises me was not planned as he admits he is not the best baker in the world. Following the firm bringing together the best architects in London for the competition, I wanted to know how Pease saw collaboration in our industry. “The strongest organisations have a very solid collaborative spirit,” he explained. “You need to learn from mistakes that you make, as well as the mistakes that other people have made. Plus, clients are exactly the same. You need to be collaborative and cooperative. I compare what we do similar to that of an arranged marriage. It’s not a casual relationship that you strike up for a few weeks. Our relationships last years, and beyond if you are lucky enough to get repeat work. We are a bit like swans in the sense that we want to ‘mate for life’.

Pease’s unique style is a perfect match for one of the leading architectural firms in the world. With more than 19 major openings planned this year, Pease joins the firm at an exciting time and I look forward to following his and the company’s journey with interest.


Imperial War Museum cake

Top 5 stories of the week: Cakes, ribbon cutting and hotel design launching at sea

800 532 Hamish Kilburn

Here are the top 5 stories of the week, as selected by Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs.

This week we collated all the ingredients for a great series of stories. We’ve had architectural cakes, new builds, significant anniversaries, drawing-board renderings of new hotels, showroom openings and even a sprinkling of an exclusive Q&A from the managing director of bathroom specialist Duravit.

It’s been a busy week, so here’s a breakdown of the major stories.

1) Winning design unveiled from WATG’s Great Architectural bake-off

The winning design, by Benoy - replicating The Barbican Centre

Image credit: WATG

Leading architects gathered last weekend for the final of WATG’s Great Architectural bake-off. Judges included Great British Bake-Off competitor; Jane Duncan OBE, the 75th RIBA president; Bethan Ryder, Digital Editor at Wallpaper*; Peter Murray.

2) Will hotel designs and Cruise ship design marry at sea? 

Under the Arch sculpture

Image credit: Zemer Peled

In an exclusive feature, editor of Hotel Designs Hamish Kilburn investigates why so many hotel designers are stretching their services to also include cruise ship design.

3) The luxury hotel experience: how to design an ultra-modern bathroom

Modern bathroom

Image credit: Unsplash

Regardless of their location, the world’s finest hotel bathrooms are designed to evoke a sensory experience. Tegan Denwood  investigates how hoteliers can simply create an ultra-modern bathroom that lives up to the growing consumer demands of guests checking in…

4) Soho House to open in Amsterdam this Summer

Rendering of Soho House Amsterdam

The 79-key Soho House Amsterdam will open in the city’s The Bungehuis building in July 2018…

5) Seven minutes with Managing Director of Duravit

Martin Carroll

As Duravit opens its new Clerkenwell showroom, the editor of Hotel Designs, Hamish Kilburn, went behind the scenes to ask the Managing Director of Duravit, Martin Carroll, ‘why here’, ‘why now’ and ‘what’s next’…

WATG unveils design of the first Bellagio to launch outside Vegas

720 515 Hamish Kilburn

Opening outside of Vegas for the first time, Bellagio Shanghai’s 162 guestrooms and 22 suites have been designed to maximise the panoramic views of the Pudong skyline and famous waterfront…

WATG and Wemberly Interiors has revealed the design of the new Bellagio Shanghai, which will be Bellagio’s first ever hotel outside of Vegas. Wimberly Interiors worked alongside the hotel brand to “raise the bar of ultra-luxury hotel design in shanghai” as documented in a press release from the design studio.

WATG and Wimberly Interiors have taken a sensitive yet dynamic approach to the design in order to balance both the cultural and architecture heritage of Shanghai. Clad in warm beige granite stone and accented with bronze metal and stone ornamental elements, the architecture is a reference to its location near the Bund district.

Plush guest bedroom

Image credit: WATG

“The architecture style is a fitting gesture to the new-classical buildings across Suzhou River but the Bellagio still remains a contemporary appeal due to its clean, crisp and subdued geometric lines of its Art Deco style,” explained Rogar Gaspar, associate vice president and senior project designer at WATG.

Image credit: WATG

At its southern side, the ten-storey hotel follows the direction of the adjacent Suzhou River in a rhythmic movement of stepped facades and vertical towners. The towers and grand porte cochere are punctuated by a procession of elegant Art Deco-inspired columns, while a signature tower highlights the front corner of the building.

“The design for the hotel is expressed through the lens of couture fashion, with reinterpreted silhouettes, textures and embellishments,” said Oz Ekviriya, associate vice president and creative director of Wimberly Interiors. “We are thrilled to be part of such a monumental project for Bellagio and Shangahi.”

Striking lobby

Image credit: WATG

The focal point of the hotel’s interiors is the lobby. An impressive grand staircase, handcrafted with Italian marble, is highlighted by a chandelier constructed from precious Czech crystals. The colour palate features a dramatic contrast of creams, blacks, accented with champagne-coloured detailed and bold emerald fabrics. The staircase leads to a four-storey atrium and muli-function events space, complete with modern technology.

Elsewhere in the hotel, an all-day brasserie and multi-level Chinese restaurant is complete with vintage steamer trunks and signature red chandeliers.

The Bellagio Shanghai opens in the same month as Zaha Hadid Architects completes the much-anticipated Morpheus in Macau.

Image credit: Bellagio Shanghai

The winning design, by Benoy - replicating The Barbican Centre

Winning design unveiled from WATG’s Great Architectural bake-off

800 532 Hamish Kilburn

The competition drew to a dramatic climax this weekend with 15 professional design houses – and three student teams – all competing to be this year’s WATG’s Great Architectural baker…

Swapping pens for rolling pins, and floor plans for baking ovens, 15 professional design houses – and three student teams – entered this year’s WATG’s Great Architectural Bake-off that took place this weekend. Combining two of life’s finest pleasures, cake and architecture, the competition came to a climax in London’s Guildhall Yard.

The leading design studios were required to let their imagination run wild to create their striking edible entries. Judging the structures were a world-class panel of industry experts including Tom Hetherington, Architect and Great British Bake-Off competitor; Jane Duncan OBE, 75th RIBA president; Bethan Ryder, Digital Editor at Wallpaper*; Peter Murray, Founder of the London Festival of Architecture; Carolyn Dwyer, Director of the Built Environment for the City of London Corporation and Tamsie Thomson, Director of the London Festival of Architecture.

Lady sitting on a deck chair

The panel witnessed recreations of landmarks including Wilkinson Eyre’s Gasholders London, Farrells’ MI6, a version of Gaudi’s Park Güell by Squire + Partners and Tower Bridge by Make Architects. Marks were awarded for realistic representation, a creative use of materials and – of course – great tasting cakes. Bonus points were awarded for any bakes that explored the London Festival of Architecture’s annual theme of Identity.

The team from Benoy were crowned grand winners after showcasing their edible version of the Barbican, made from a scrumptious mix of chocolate fudge, wafer, blueberry swirl, ginger and Nutella.

Imperial War Museum cake

Other entries included teams from SOM, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Squire + Partners and Wilkinson Eyre who battle it out to create the best gourmet version of iconic buildings and landmarks. Stand-out entries included a delicious edible edition of the London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid Architects, winning tastiest bake, and the Imperial War Museum by Stride Treglown which received an honourable mention for its ingenious use of wartime flavours.


For the very first time, three elite universities also gathered for the inaugural Student Bake-Off which welcomed aspiring architects and bakers alike to flex their culinary and creative skills. Central Saint Martins University whipped up an immaculate version of Succession House in Vienna while University of Greenwich baked Old Royal Navy College. But it was London Metropolitan University who narrowly edged it to be named champion with their semi-demolished version of the V&A’s Robin Hood Gardens, which expertly combined layers of phenomenal sponges of ginger, pistachio and classic Victoria.

Zaha Hadid's entry was a replication of The Aquatic's Centre

Ashley Fauguel, Organiser of WATG’s Great Architectural Bake-Off, commented: “We’ve had a wonderful day here in the City with the teams creating some truly stunning cakes. This is our fourth year hosting the Bake-Off in London, with some of the world’s best architectural practices returning to compete. Along with the student competition, the Bake-Off has brought together both London’s current and next generation of architects for a showcase of their undeniable skill and creativity.”

The event is hosted annually by leading integrated design firm WATG, which organises the competition globally. The London edition was part of the London Festival of Architecture; The City of London is one of the festival’s focus areas for 2018, with Guildhall Yard providing an appropriate picturesque venue for the Bake-Off.

Bedroom with wooden beams and soft interiors

Viceroy at Ombria Resort unveils first design phase

800 566 Hamish Kilburn

Ombria Resort has unveiled the design ethos behind its first phase with WATG’s Wimberly Interiors at the design helm…

With an initial investment of €100 million, Ombria Resort’s first development phase in the Algarve will welcome the arrival of a new five-star Viceroy hotel.

The overall design aesthetic has been developed in partnership with WATG who are responsible for the landscape architecture, WATG’s interior design firm Wimberly Interiors, and Portuguese architects Promontorio. ‘Carved by Nature’ vision draws inspiration from the features, forms, material and themes of the authentic Barrocal sub-region of the Algarve.

All designers and architects involved are operating with the same shared aim: to create a new sustainable luxury destination, promoting and supporting the heart of the Algarve area, enhancing the area’s culture and traditional heritage.

Imagined as an elegant Portuguese village with all the charm and character of a long-established settlement, the graceful and considered design of Viceroy at Ombria Resort hotel and Viceroy

Residences will reflect the surrounding architecture of the interior of the Algarve, while echoing the style of nearby traditional towns.

“We really wanted to bring in the warmth and texture of the surrounding environment. Our modern interpretation, embraces the local design and culture, maintaining the distinct Portuguese spirit,” said Liana Hawes-Young from Wimberly Interiors.

The hand plastered walls in the hotel evoke memories of traditional Portuguese design, whilst the colour scheme of blue and white patterns pay homage to the traditional tiles found throughout Portugal and are inspired by the local tiles sourced for the lobby seating and guest staircase. Locally sourced materials are used throughout, opting for reclaimed materials wherever possible. The exterior draws inspiration from traditional Portuguese craftsmanship with extensive use of rammed earth walls, manual fire-baked terracotta and lime plaster.

Large bathroom

Local Portuguese architects, Promonorio implemented the architecture that WATG  has designed. The firm draws up a holistic approach to architecture, creating places that are implicitly sustainable with a preference for locally sourced materials.

The hotel is excepted to open in 2020. It aims to set the bar as a new generation of low-density report development where sustainability, the environment and support of nature lie at the heart of the foundations.