Christou were engaged for the project following a 3 stage design competition. The project seeks a “back-to basics,” “understated” hotel to reflect the “barefoot” experience synonymous with holidays in Rottnest.The design responds and nestles into the site. Sure foot piles and simple timber light-weight construction allow the resort to suspend itself above ground and touch lightly over dune below. The massing delivers a central courtyard with lagoon-like pools protected from harsh northerly and south-west winds which ravage the clients neighbouring facility, the Rottnest Pub during key months of the year. The outcome, a hotel capable of operating throughout the seasons, including the low-visitation winter months.
Site levels are carefully crafted to simultaneously deliver privacy to the rooms and to connect the new food and beverage with the existing pub, existing back-of house facilities and the historic Governor’s residence.
The 80 hotel rooms are situated to take advantage of northern and southern light whilst also maximising ocean views to rooms, a difficult task on a site with just a 40 meters ocean frontage. East facing villas fronting Thomson’s bay are protected with deep overhangs from balcony and pergola structures above, creating sheltered private decks and courtyard space for guest. A simple pattern in the footprint of the hotel rooms wrapping the perimeter of the site is mimetic of existing bungalows on the island, jutting in and out to create interest, movement and privacy for both island guests and hotel guests.
The interior design response continues the ‘bare-foot’ narrative of the architecture. The room interiors are conceived as culmination of this island life experience. The treatment is both minimalistic yet warm, designed to reconnect guests with circadian rhythm and the elements. American Oak extends seamlessly from operable bathroom partitions to wardrobes, tea prep and bed head. The richness of the material was selected to capture and hold the glow of morning and evening light. Villa bathrooms are able to open to the ocean at guests’ leisure and appetite for the elements. Suite bathrooms are set back and a change in ceiling height contrasts with the open bedroom to create intimacy and respite.