Prior to the end of this year, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, will open the doors to six new luxury hotels in its growing global portfolio. Spectacular properties in Chengdu and Tianjin will bring the luxury brand’s number of hotels in China to ten; the opulent Ritz-Carlton hotels in Almaty, Herzliya and Bangalore will mark the brand’s entry into Israel, Kazakhstan and India; and the barefoot luxury experience in Aruba will be another milestone in quality design execution.
For the last decade, The Ritz-Carlton design team has produced specifications for one individually designed and curated hotel after the next. Vienna, Muscat and Riyadh were all former palaces, tastefully converted and opened as opulent Ritz-Carlton hotels. The Ritz-Carlton properties in Philadelphia and Georgetown near Washington DC saw a new era of converted and preserved heritage spaces. The building in Philadelphia, the city’s first bank dating back to 1904 and in Georgetown, a red brick incinerator with a towering chimney stack was converted to a hotel of contemporary design. In Beijing Financial Street, modern, colorful and imaginative creations such as hanging calligraphy brushes adorn rooms with incredible diversity – yet retain relevance and celebrate the culture of this ancient Chinese city.
As The Ritz-Carlton embarks upon the development of an additional 30 hotels within the next three years, the design philosophy is defined as “consistently inconsistent.” “Each new project gives us an opportunity to create the best hotel within its environment that provides a true sense of place. Consideration is given to the market needs and how we can best create a hotel that will be a signature property within the group,” said the company’s Senior Vice President of Design and Project Management, Bill Barrie.
According to Barrie, while most new builds tend to be more contemporary with modern interpretations of elegance, two recent hotel openings are in total contrast. “The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal is classical in design. The hotel is situated adjacent to the statuesque Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, so the facade and interiors have been designed to respect and complement the area. Inspired by 15th to early 17th century Renaissance architecture and the urban planning of the city of Venice, the hotel is located at the waterfront and consists of ten stately buildings arranged in a crescent formation.”
Conversely, Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve is located on the cherished island of Puerto Rico. The resort is an intimate retreat offering a true sense of barefoot elegance, blending Laurance Rockefeller’s novel environmental design philosophies and modern yet minimal decor. Created as an open-air enclave, infused with references to the surrounding natural landscape and diverse culture, the power of the great outdoors weaves its magic on interior comfort.
Drawing on themes of local relevance, The Ritz-Carlton adopts design strategies to enhance the brand image in an increasingly global marketplace. The company philosophy is to design hotels that are casually elegant, with the occasional classical influence as appropriate. Where there are multiple hotels in one city, the preference is to provide diverse physical products and contrasting styles. “Our company design standards are the blueprint from which we establish engineering infrastructure, operational requirements, safety regulations and room sizes – however they do not drive the character of a hotel. We do not work to one design mold, but rather allow the process to be destination and customer focused as we grow into many new international locations.”