Channeling history in hotel design often entails balancing the preservation of historic elements with an elegant design that meets the standards of the hotel brand and the demands and expectations of guests. Yet the pendulum finally rests on the journey the guest will experience. Aiming to bring Anguilla’s first hotel property back to the forefront of exclusive, luxury destinations in the Caribbean, we approached the renovation of the iconic Malliouhana Hotel and Spa with a focus on showcasing the 360-degree views of the sea and strengthening the hotel’s connection to the site immediately upon arrival.
While the parallel tasks at hand were to capture, in a new hotel, the original glamour and sophistication of the Caribbean in the 1950s and 60s, while elevating the experience to meet the five-star standards befitting an Auberge Resort, we discovered we could achieve both by tapping into surroundings that gesture beyond limits – the dramatic cliff-side and sweeping views of the Caribbean.
To translate the warm, welcoming atmosphere and gracious hospitality of the historic hotel into the design, we brought the inviting blue water front and center. By terracing the contours of the cliff-side restaurant, we gave each diner a view of the sea. Architectural elements that separated guests from the water were removed, replaced with an enhanced arrival experience that creates a seamless journey from the entry straight through to the water view. While we made changes such as framing vistas, we preserved iconic design elements such as the white buildings to reinforce timeless luxury and echo the striking vastness manifested in white sands and stretch of ocean visible in all directions. In this way, we preserved the historic character of the hotel while maximizing the site itself and surrounding water as the greatest amenity – and the greatest source of luxury in a hotel experience.
Originally created for and published on Hotel Executive as ‘The Value of Retaining Historical Character in Hotel Design’.