Hotels were once merely a place to rest weary bodies and tired eyes, but as the years have passed, so have traditions. In a world where consumers are looking for the next ‘it’ thing, kitschy shanties and atavistic accommodations are becoming relics of the past—and it’s about time. Primo designers like Gianni Versace came into the world of hoteliers and flipped the script, turning the world of hospitality into part naptime, part showtime, but he wasn’t the only one. Look around the world and you will find a spate of impressive hotels and resorts designed and inspired by the likes of Versace, de la Renta, Bulgari, von Furstenberg and Tcherassi, and if one thing is clear, it’s that hoteliers aren’t in Kansas anymore.
It isn’t just fashion designers who are getting involved and strapping their name to these creations; architects and interior designers, too, are keen on expanding and diversifying their portfolios. One such example is with GHM’s group of luxury hotels which, located in Indonesia, Vietnam, Oman, and Switzerland, have manage to create ultra-chic, high-end, design-conscious pieces of culturally reflective art.
Reda Amalou, a multiple-award-winning architect, and the chief architect of The Nam Hai Hoi An, has said that it is his belief “that history and time are an especially fertile breeding ground for contemporary and future architecture.” And it shows in his work. The Nam Hai Hoi An, for example, is made up of villas which are built as a reinterpretation of the traditionally central Vietnamese garden house, which features a pitched roof and timber framing. While the layout has been rotated roughly 90 degrees from that of a traditional garden house in central Vietnam, the ideation and creation is something that stays true to the locale in which the hotel is located.
Oman, too, plays fiddle to its culturally rich and diversely vibrant background in its design, and features a system of falaj-inspired waterways that gurgle quietly through a low-lying blasted white Omani-influenced series of suites that sits quietly amongst the date palms and against the backdrop of the towering Al-Hajar mountain range. The idea here, much the same as in Vietnam, is to keep the hotel as culturally linked as possible, while still flaunting that which makes the GHM properties truly world class. Designed by the multiple award-winning Belgian-born architect and designer Jean-Michel Gathy, The Chedi Muscat is a product of a designer who approaches his design from this culturally sensitive viewpoint that makes the GHM properties so harmoniously balanced.