After being in the works for nine years, the Woods Bagot-designed Kempinski Hotel in Muscat. Kempinski Hotel Muscat, previously known as Kempinski The Wave Hotel, is located in the modern community of Al Mouj and stretches over six kilometres of a smashing coastline (82000 sq m. area). The Kempinski Hotel, Muscat, is a luxury beach resort in the capital of Oman designed by the Dubai office of Ar. Woods Bagot in Al Mouj, one of Omani’s new capital communities. This hotel is comprised of several contemporary forms to make a lasting impression on its luxury clientele—while also harkening back to traditional Omani village functions. Architectural clues to existing landmark buildings are combined with the European feeling of the Kempinski brand. Designed with a variety of local Omani influences, the modern urban resort was made open to the public on March 19, 2018.
Concept and Inspiration | Kempinski Hotel
The hotel is a contemporary reference to locally-inspired architecture, visible in its facade patterns, the positioning of its buildings, and integrated cues. The design brief ensured that the Kempinski hotel brand, with its European heritage and passion for luxury, was enumerated in their FF&E concept (Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment). FF&E concept design focuses on only the interior, removable features of the space. The idea of creating a familiar environment in Oman for the public is based on an interpretation of local villages in the area. The hotel, designed by Ar. Woods Bagot was inspired by Old Muscat destinations like the Muttrah Corniche in Oman. The concept is based on an interpretation of native villages in the area. The hotel is broken down into a series of smaller buildings, creating courtyards and a more personalized guest experience. The architecture is contemporary with local and regional references defined by space, form, light, material, and detail, taking its inspiration from Omani Villages. The concept for the guest room buildings is an abstraction of an Arabian village, inspired by Muttrah corniche. The ambience is of elegant modesty, reflecting the Omani’s humble and hospitable culture.
Design and Planning
The beach resort is designed as a matrix of nine buildings reminiscent of the architectural topography of Old Muscat. With traditional Omani culture and heritage forming the statement of the project, the hotel’s design language aims to produce the sense of creating a walkthrough of an old Omani village achieving this through the close setting of its buildings, subtle level changes across the development, and its various landscape zones. Down the entry road, a lobby flanked in glass and camouflaged with a flat plane roof is marked in a traditional Middle Eastern ornamental pattern used for screens. The pavilion is very simple on the outside, but once guests walk in, they find a series of columns splaying out into a circular form at the top to give a sense of a lily pond. Once guests travel through the entry pavilion, they are greeted by an outdoor courtyard with several man-made ponds and pools that appear to spill out onto the oceanfront. Enclosed by the white, geometric 395-room hotel, the public space is broken up by public gathering spaces, flat bridges, plants, and courtyards.
Environments are arranged in an accessible hierarchy, starting with the public, then semipublic, semiprivate, and private spaces, in that order. The development consists of spaces such as a lobby, ballroom, events centre, a residential building, kid’s club, health club, as well as food and beverage outlets. It has 310 rooms and suites, 77 beachfront apartments and villas, state-of-the-art meeting facilities, ten diverse restaurants and lounges, and a fully equipped fitness centre. Residence space inside the structure ranges from 32-40 sq.m. of studio apartments, 92-151 sq.m one bedroom apartments, 142-185 sq.m. two bedroom apartments, 218-252 sq.m. three bedroom apartments, 172-183 sq.m. two bedroom villa, and 361 sq.m. three bedroom duplex villa. The hotel’s leisure facilities feature a luxurious spa and a fully equipped health club to provide a soothing and healthy environment to its users. Allowing for the specific buildings to reflect their programs and identities while still partaking in a unified built form, the development is split into components, which are defined by a series of diversified plazas and courtyards.
Arrival begins from the driveway to an exclusive courtyard where guests are greeted by a view of the Grand Lobby. The flared columns of the lobby provide a sedate environment, with the design originating from the nature of white lilies in a pond and is inspired by the ceremonial palace, Al Alam Palace, of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos. Both the lobby and the ballroom are designed to link back to the resort’s context. The flared columns in the lobby are visually held away from the ceiling, making it appear as though it’s floating above as a separate element. The ballroom building, with its dynamic form, viewed on approaching the hotel from the lobby, establishes a strong first impression. It is located in a prominent location within the hotel development, featuring structures reminiscent of Arabic lanterns, which illuminate in the evening to further the presence of the hotel as a landmark around its immediate environment, the Al Mouj community in Oman.
The pillar-free ballroom is 1,100 sq m in area, can accommodate up to 700 guests and can be divided into three sections. The diamond-shaped building hosts 11 separate function rooms featuring natural daylight through the skylight and is conveniently equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment. The gentlemen’s spa is designed to be more like a private club, complete with treatment suites, barbers, and a relaxation lounge as proposed by the Ar. Woods Bagot. The health club comes complete with dedicated personal training and assessment room, a female-only gym, a fitness class studio, and a juice bar for guests.
Exterior and Interior
The architecture of the resort is contemporary with regional references. Water features, for example, are suggestive of agricultural irrigation channels, while interiors are characterized by narrow pathways that open up to light-filled chambers, much like a traditional souk. Inspired by surrounding landscapes, the project features a variety of geometric patterns, from the magnified triangular windows on the ballroom’s exterior to the wooden screens that filter direct sunlight for the resort’s bedrooms.
Image 16_Regional reference of Oman by showing water features in exterior suggested from agricultural irrigation channels_©https://www.woodsbagot.com/projects/hotel-kempinski/
Material and Techniques | Kempinski Hotel
Woods Bagot worked with natural stone for the resort, including different types of marble and sandstone, as well as timber, aluminum, glass, concrete, masonry, and glass fibre reinforced plastics. The lobby is a masterclass in the interplay between shadow and light, with its moulded GRP-paneled ceiling and illuminated columns. The 310 guestrooms favour tactile fabrics such as leather and linen, with higher room categories inviting in layers of metallic and mother of pearl accents. Many passive sustainable elements were incorporated into the project, which includes shading devices and the use of local materials available where possible, while sunlight and prevailing winds informed the orientation.