TOP 10 hotels and resorts of 2014




throughout 2014, a number of hotels and resorts have been established across the globe, occupying a variety of rural landscapes in unusual locations. the resorts form places of escape, often in remote or picturesque settings, offering a break from an ever more hectic world. although similar in function, the ten selected schemes are incredibly diverse in form, with intimate and expansive volumes utilized to great effect alongside a range of different materials and production techniques, providing guests with a tranquil and calming temporary residence. continuing our annual review of the year’s BIG stories, we take a look at the hotels and resorts that caught our eye in 2014.






yalikavak palmarina by emre arolat architects

TOP 10 hotels and resorts of 2014 designboom
image © cemal emden




earlier this year, at a lagoon on turkey’s southwestern coast, emre arolat architects extended the region’s existing marina complex with a series of additional facilities. the development, entitled ‘yalikavak palmarina’ has been completed in stages, providing both visitors and the local population with a range of services. the ‘island’ part of the plan, which is the first phase, houses a selection of retail outlets and restaurants, in addition to amenities for yachts docking in the harbor.






aqua dome thermal resort in the mountains of austria

TOP 10 hotels and resorts of 2014 designboom
image © aqua dome




a resort set amid the impressive austrian landscape has been redeveloped using angular and tapered forms to reflect its mountainous setting. the ‘aqua dome’, which accommodates 350,000 visitors each year, has been designed to be a distinctive landmark for the region, while simultaneously providing guests with a familiar alpine atmosphere.






la plage d’hôtel du pacifique by kristin green architecture

TOP 10 hotels and resorts of 2014 designboom
image © peter bennetts




designed by australian architect kristin green, this hotel contains 18 villas, a restaurant, a swimming pool and a spa facility. located on the coast, the scheme uses only exposed concrete, wood, and tile to compose classical elements with re-envisioned details. the arched openings that are carved out from a series of intersecting walls and planes make for abstracted colonnades and thresholds that freely ventilate the interiors and allow for a fluid circulation.






naka phuket resort by duangrit bunnag

TOP 10 hotels and resorts of 2014 designboom
image © wison tungthunya




in 2014, the NAKA phuket hotel and resort in thailand has opened its doors to guests as an exclusive getaway only accessible via an isolated mountain road. designed by thai architect duangrit bunnag of DBALP, the complex comprises tens of matchbox form villas featuring floor-to-ceiling glazed walls that protrude directly from the sloping terrain. the 94 private units are accompanied by a private beach, rooftop spa, fine-dining restaurant and an olympic-sized infinity pool.






aro hā wellness retreat by tennent + brown architects

TOP 10 hotels and resorts of 2014 designboom
image © aro hā wellness retreat




located on new zealand’s south island, ‘aro hā‘ is a purpose built, self-sufficient retreat offering its guests access to yoga, hiking, strength training, meditation, therapeutic massage and detoxifying vegetarian cuisine. designed by local practice tennent + brown architects, the timber dwelling provides accommodation for only 32 guests at any one time, encouraging group interaction. providing views across the 21 acre site, an open terrace is oriented to face lake wakatipu.






richard branson opens mahali mzuri safari camp in kenya

TOP 10 hotels and resorts of 2014 designboom
image © mahali mzuri / virgin limited edition




part of sir richard branson’s portfolio of distinctive retreats, ‘mahali mzuri‘ is a luxury safari camp located 240 kilometers west of nairobi in kenya’s motorogi conservancy. situated within the maasai mara ecosystem, the development has been configured to minimize environmental impact with lightweight structures that promote low density tourism. established in collaboration with the neighboring community, the sustainable approach sees the promotion and hiring of local workers and the use of regionally sourced materials.






flamingo dailai resort by vo trong nghia architects

TOP 10 hotels and resorts of 2014 designboom
image © hiroyuki oki




flamingo dailai resort, a residential retreat located one hour away from hanoi in vietnam, was planned for city dwellers to enjoy their weekends in a more natural environment. the complex, located in the middle of forests between dailai lake and the surrounding mountains, consists of two contrasting buildings both designed by vo trong nghia architects – ‘dailai conference hall‘ and ‘bamboo wing‘.






ecork hotel by josé carlos cruz

TOP 10 hotels and resorts of 2014 designboom
image © FG+SG / fernando guerra and sergio guerra




one hour outside of lisbon, in the portuguese region of évora, architect josé carlos cruz has completed a spa and resort complex clad with a natural brown cork. the project, named the ‘ecork hotel‘, boasts 56 private residences, fine dining facilities, and a spa and gym complex. the program is organized around a central courtyard that connects various public spaces with hotel services. an outdoor pool and its adjacent bar are positioned at roof level, ensuring a reduction is the projects overall footprint.






whitepod eco luxury hotel in switzerland

TOP 10 hotels and resorts of 2014 designboom
image © whitepod eco luxury hotel




at the heart of the swiss alps, an unconventional accommodation experience awaits. the ‘whitepod eco-luxury hotel‘ situated in les giettes, houses its guests within 15 geodesic dome-shaped tents (10 standard, 5 family) which serve as rooms that are immersed into the natural landscape of the mountains. each pod is anchored to a wooden platform offering a furnished terrace in which to enjoy the views beyond.






alila jabal akhdar resort in oman

TOP 10 hotels and resorts of 2014 designboom
image © alila hotels and resort




perched 2,000 metres above sea level, in the central section of the al hajar mountains ‘alila jabal akhdar‘ overlooks a dramatic gorge, surrounded by spectacular views of the expansive omani landscape. the LEED certified resort’s 78 suites are either located within the main hotel building or arranged in individual clusters. the villas are generously organized around the cliff-top, maximizing privacy and providing uninterrupted views over the mountains and down into the adjacent gorges.