PHUKET: Situated in Mai Khao, the Renaissance Phuket Resort and Spa is surrounded on all sides by the pristine nature of northern Phuket, “the island’s hidden gem”, explains Goetz Bauer, who joined the resort as general manager in April 2013.
Designed by P49 Deesign Associates, considered to be one of Thailand’s foremost interior design practices, the hotel has been carefully integrated into its environment, leaving only a shadow of a footprint on its natural surroundings.
Created around the theme of “a journey to the sea”, the resort’s architecture and interior design – from the main lobby and spa to the guestrooms, restaurants and even the gardens – has taken on specific elements that integrate it seamlessly into its Mai Khao Beach location.
“Personally, I think being in this place provides us some tremendous opportunities with nature that you just wouldn’t find in, say, a downtown Sydney hotel,” says Mr Bauer. “I therefore think it’s important to use this strength and work with it to create a unique experience for our guests.”
Subtly interwoven into the details of the overall design are many aspects of local Thai culture, including some key furniture and art installations, custom designed by multi-award winning Thai designer Eggarat Wongcharit.
Providing guests with their first impressions of the hotel is the open space of the lobby, which looks down onto the resort’s gardens. Carefully chosen colors in the decor are reminiscent of the moods, shapes and tones of the sea and sands, as well as the brilliant sunsets that set the evening lobby aglow.
“Some guests say that our hotel is not what they would call a Thai design, but that’s only because it doesn’t look like the traditional Thai-style buildings one equates with Thai architecture,” says Mr Bauer.
“Thai architecture doesn’t have to look like something from 100 or 200 years ago. If you look carefully at the design of the Renaissance Phuket, there are many subtle elements which make it uniquely Thai. For example, the layout of the villas and their uniquely curved roofs, reflecting also the shell-shape of a sea turtle.”
The hotel’s gardens, says Mr Bauer, play an important role in drawing the natural elements of the resort together and making the beach location an integral part of the resort experience.
“The gardens are a transitional point between the hotel and the beach. White sand has been placed alongside pathways to the beach. The concept is what we call the ‘chic side of nature’,” he says.
“It’s not jungle, because we still tend to it, but it is trimmed to give it a natural look. From the lobby, with its reflection pools to the sea – everything is open with plenty of natural light.”
Even the hotel’s 180 guest rooms – while private – have a soothing, airy charm that is reflected in the minimalist decor, sea-themed colors and ornamentation. Quality duvets, pillows and superior cotton sheets ensure guests a night of peaceful slumber.
Walking out onto Mai Khao Beach itself, guest are immediately aware that they are experiencing something quite unique. Lined with willowy pines, the nearly 20-kilometer beach curves toward the horizon in both directions with not a soul in sight. All that can be heard is the wind in the trees and the crashing waves.
“Our philosophy is to give back to nature what it’s given to us. Being at peace with nature is after all what most of us seek,” Mr Bauer explains.
— Renford Davies