As holidays have evolved into self-catered affairs and operators seek to increase occupancy rates, following the global recession, there has been an opposite rising demand among discerning travellers for truly authentic experiences. For many, time has become their most valuable commodity requiring fast, seamless and eco-friendly arrangements. They demand personalised service and inside information from their hosts about destinations to make their experience exclusive. Offers of unique leisure experiences become lost in the amount of information available online.
The right accommodation is now seen as a step on the journey to discovering distinct regional values. It continues to dominate booking concerns and can be divided into four groups – Luxury hotels, resorts, holiday ownership and privately owned villas – all offering exclusive retreats.
We have been fortunate to be at the forefront of this move and believe that architecture should lead the CURRENT THINKING for change away from the well oiled black boxes, or themed activity centres, by blending and structuring those human needs together with sensibility and control. The relaxation process for guests, community and visitors alike, not only for accommodation but spas and attractions as well, starts upon arrival and only finishes when the positive memory fades.
We also share the belief that all Leisure facilities should be a starting point or a stop, a logistic place for Community, Visitors and Guests to co-exist. The fascination of a LANDSCAPE can’t be summarised in a single component. Instead, it is a mixture of architectural, historical, culinary excellences that reflect its distinct contextual values. The travellers accommodation is a step on the journey to discover the region. A journey which may encompasses castles, cities, folklore, natural reserves and cultural cuisine.
All our projects present their own challenges as they often have to be planned around an incredibly rich environment (natural or heritage). Each give out unique clues to how a series of unique ‘discoveries’ can be connected thus providing an inherent WAYFINDING system. All new structures should (re) use local MATERIALS which sit effortlessly within context and combine with tactile surfaces and sensory zones to define visitor routes. Textures (vertical and horizontal) should combine with sensory change (planting the nature trails and wildlife habitats) to further enhance zonal functions
Social, economic as well as environmental SUSTAINABILITY play a key part in the consciousness of the traveller too. A resort must therefore be capable of running twelve months a year and be operated by a balance of wider Community need, short term Visitors and Guests all supporting each other and fuelled by clean renewable power.
One solution to this 21st century issue is to think smarter regarding areas with majestic or fragile ecosystems – protecting their intrinsic beauty by transforming them into tourism facilities beyond compare and to make their conservation permanent. Consider the added educational value of integrated biodiversity, early years development, employment opportunities……even drawing inspiration by developing new, exciting responses for housing that relate directly to contemporary lifestyle!