Aswar Hotel – Modern-Moroccan Hotel Design
Location: Khobar, Saudi Arabia
Scope of services: Interior Design and Exterior Design and Landscape Design
Date: January 2019
Client: Hospitality Development Director of Aswar Hotels Group
One of three major cities in the Eastern Province of the Saudi Arabian Peninsula, Al-Khobar city is a picturesque port with a large expatriate population. Popular for a variety of recreational and leisure facilities, this coastal city is a fast-developing industrial port with a mix of modern Arabic and western architecture. Popular with expatriates and visitors, owing to its strategic location, Al-Khobar city is the ideal choice for hotels and accommodations to cater to the large number of visitors it receives every year.
A leading brand, with an impressive offering of boutique hotels and suites across the peninsula, the Aswar Hotel group chose Al-Khobar city for its newest offering of villa hotels – an extension of the existing Aswar Hotel located within the city. Committed to providing its guests with the highest level of service in the hospitality industry, the Aswar Hotel group provide the ultimate in luxury living and service with a wide choice of boutique hotel accommodations.
Not to be confused with business hotels, villa hotels are a more exclusive living option, offering every available comfort and luxury in a home-like environment. More intimate than business hotels, these private, luxury residences offer all the amenities of a hotel without making patrons feel like guests; a home away from home.
The Aswar hotel villas in Al-Khobar city are designed with the highest quality materials and finishes. A grouping of 10 villas set in an urban oasis, this modern Moroccan hotel design gives patrons a unique experience in a serene, resort-like setting. Equipped with restaurants, fully-furnished and serviced villas and recreational amenities such as pools and gyms, the villa hotels are completely self-sufficient, enabling guests to enjoy peace and quiet within its lush surrounds.
The tastefully designed lobby sets the tone for the rest of the hotel. Modern in its interpretation of traditional Moroccan design, contemporary materials define traditional Islamic-influenced geometry. Earthy colors and muted shades create a soothing vibe. Expensive materials, such as marble, evoke a sense of glamour and grandeur.
Instantly reminiscent of Moroccan architecture, the horseshoe arch in the main reception gives a glimpse of the plush waiting area on the one side, and the minimalist stairs leading to the upper floors on the other. Framed by dark, intricately patterned wood, the architectural lines of the arch are crisp and clean. Comfortable, low sofas provide a relaxing seating option in the intimate waiting area, which is lit with soft, low lighting.
Elegant and stylish, the ground-floor restaurant carries through the interplay between modern and traditional that characterizes this modern Moroccan hotel design. Pointed arches used to display pottery and earthenware, co-exist with highly stylized mashrabiya-style screens. Designed as a modern interpretation of the traditional mashrabiya, these screens are used as a decorative wall feature, transforming plain walls into works of art. Using a strict rectangular, geometric pattern, the dark screens complement the grey walls and deep red upholstery that adds a punch of color to the décor. The level of detail is evident in the use of patterned light fixtures, which pick up on the geometry of the screens. Natural light from the internal courtyard brightens up the interior space.
The villa hotels offer two types of villas, distinct in their design flavors. The villas are warm and welcoming, splendid in their attention to décor and detail, and designed to feel like home. The first type of villa is designed with an informal living area that opens up to an intimate dining space. Floor cushions that are characteristic of Moroccan design, are replaced with plush, low-lying sofas accessorized with bolsters and cushions. Warm carpets cover parts of the dark wooden flooring, adding warmth to the space. Beige colored stone travertine is used as cladding for an accent wall that supports a modern, floating staircase with a glass railing.
Soft, diffused lighting bathes the room in a warm glow that adds a homely touch to the living space.
The dining room exhibits chic, minimalist design at its best. A simple, black granite countertop contrasts with the marble backsplash and pure white cabinets to provide a clean, modern kitchen space. A sleek, dining table with chairs upholstered in deep red, mirrors the color scheme used in the living room area. Lighting is provided by a series of gold finish, cylindrical fixtures suspended from a recessed ceiling.
Adjacent to the living area, the indoor pool oozes tranquility in an indulgently relaxed atmosphere. Using the Moroccan style as a springboard for contemporary décor, this serene space is bathed in natural light that filters through an intricately designed mashrabiya. Cool shades of grey and white invoke a sense of calm and well-being.
The bedrooms on the upper floor draw from Moroccan inspiration in their use of pointed arches and tiled patterns. A wooden arch frames the bed in the master bedroom, which lies under a vaulted ceiling clad with mosaic tiles. Recessed spotlights supplement diffused lighting to provide warm, soft lighting. A quaint tiled pattern adorns the doors to the closet, reflective of traditional Moorish design. The layout of the room itself is clean and modern, also reflected in the design of the bathroom, which is minimalist and functional.
Traditional furniture artistically integrated into a modern layout creates harmony and balance in the bedroom designs in the second style of villa in this modern Moroccan hotel design. Low, comfortable seating illuminated by traditionally inspired lighting fixtures have a distinctly Arabic vibe. A modern, mashrabiya-style partition divides the sleeping area from a small study corner; this pattern is repeated behind the master bed, forming a recessed frame. Circular geometric patterns dominate this room, emphasizing the attention to detail. Used as a wall pattern, the concentric circular patterns can be found on the cushions and as part of the design for the study desk.
Moving down to the basement, the Arabic influence is more evident in the use of traditional materials and finishes. The basement lounge is furnished with comfortable, low seating in shades of taupe, with gold accents. The wall finish is more distressed, giving the space a traditional feel. Suspended, gold-tinged lighting fixtures with tassels, supplement light from the recessed ceiling. A thin decorative tiled border along the perimeter of the room hints at the Moroccan influence. Once again, the careful attention to detail is evident in the subtle repetition of patterns; the tiled border is repeated on the hexagonal side table tucked into the corner.
The women’s gym, located in the basement, is bright and spacious, with its own reception area. The predominant color choice is beige and brown, with a recurring wall mural that features a forest setting. The lime green color used in the tiled wall mural is refreshing and energizing, providing a pleasing pop of color. Wooden slats, used as wall treatment, mirror the light wood flooring and compliment the lightly textured wall and column finish, which mirrors that of the entrance lobby. The gym is equipped with the latest treadmills, stair climbers and elliptical machines amongst a host of other equipment. Recessed strip lighting in the ceiling provides bright light, supplemented by flush, ceiling mounted spotlights.
Designed to stand out from the surrounding high-rise buildings, the façade of this modern-Moroccan hotel design is a harmonious blend of traditional and modern. Drawing inspiration from Moroccan architecture, the pointed arch is prominently featured in the elevation. Used to highlight the entrance to the resort-style boutique hotel premises, the pointed arch is used in repeated patterns on all four elevations, sometimes as a frame for the elegantly designed mashrabiyas and sometimes as a relief pattern on the sand-colored stucco walls. While the façade design is strictly modern, comprising a series of three-dimensional cubic volumes, the pointed arches, and the mashrabiya screens are a testament to traditional Moorish design.
The landscape of this luxurious modern-Moroccan hotel design is exotic and charming. At the ground level, each villa has its own private terrace, where guests can enjoy a light meal or refreshments. Protected from the harsh sun by a series of overlapping sun shades, the flow between interior and exterior is seamless as the materials used inside are continued through to the exterior. Warm travertine stone walls and dark wooden floors and furniture give these mini-terraces a distinctly Mediterranean flavor. The planting is kept to a minimum, with shades and textures of green providing relief against the beige-brown hardscape materials.
The interior courtyard resembles a ‘riad’, which is a term used for an interior courtyard or garden of a traditional Moroccan home. Originally influenced by the Islamic concept of privacy for women, riads were designed as private oases where women could enjoy the elements of the outdoors in a secluded, protected setting. Characterized by decorative tile work, arched openings and mashrabiya-style intricate panels, the Moroccan influence is artfully integrated into the courtyard design to create a stylish, elegant oasis. Planting is kept to a minimum and the only other contrasting color comes from the delightful aquamarine tiles used for the pool.
The roof terrace of the hotel is much more modern in its style and vibe. Nestled amongst taller rooflines, the flat terrace is characterized by hardscape accessorized with carefully articulated planting. Stone travertine flooring is framed with a dark wood border. Dark wooden benches, shaded by slatted pergolas provide respite from the heat and a place to sit. The terrace offers guests yet another secret spot where they can enjoy some peace and quiet right in the heart of the city.
Modern yet traditional, private yet accessible, this modern-Moroccan hotel design demonstrates a harmonious blend of old and new. Seamlessly blurring the distinction between contemporary and traditional, this private oasis in the heart of the city offers guests the opportunity to enjoy resort-style luxuries in warm, welcoming and homely surrounds.