Design: OBMI & HotelCo
The St. Regis Bermuda, a $120 million investment project in St. George’s is designed as a gentle arch spanning the beautiful beach at Achilles Bay, sitting between Fort St. Catherine and Fort Albert. The project will include the renovation of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course and will complement St. George’s UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. Developed by Hotelco, the experienced international real estate and hotel development group, the new five-star hotel will feature 122 beachfront and golf course facing rooms and 90 condominiums. Inspired in the Bermudian vernacular, the buildings are richly articulated and woven into the gently sloping site. The hotel will become a unique opportunity for experiencing Bermudian elegant living, while providing a robust economic anchor for the local economy. Designed by OBMI, we talked to the architects and owners about what drew them to Bermuda and their excitement about building the island’s newest hotel. Was trying to capture the essence of Bermuda the driving force behind the finished design? Absolutely! Staying loyal to the character and culture of the places where we design lies at the core of who we are as a master planning, architecture, and design firm. Particularly true in Bermuda, where OBMI has such a long and rich history designing culturally appropriate architectural designs. For the St. Regis we sought to ensure the property reflected Bermuda’s unique architectural style, while adding contemporary elements that would further deepen the luxury experience and add value to the overall guest experience. This will be evident in the signature Bermudian white roofs and shutters painted with seafoam green that pay homage to Bermudian style. The property, with its curving, multi-leveled rooflines will proudly boast colors spotted all around the island. We also designed in a manner that was sensitive and responsive to the guest experience within its cultural context. Specifically, the property was designed to frame and enhance the spectacular views of Achilles Bay, the beautiful ocean, and St. Catherine’s Fort. The Fort’s presence is itself reinforced in the design through the use of punctuated geometric lines repeated throughout the pool and beach areas, with a softened yet curvy symmetry of green spaces flowing from the golf course. What elements of the island did you want to incorporate? From an architectural standpoint, the building, its geometry, its function, its traditional styling punctuated with modern accents is meant to honor Bermuda, through a harmonious blend of history and modern luxury. Materials, interiors, and finishing touches are intended to complement the site’s natural luster and history. Partially buried stone paths mimic that of the region’s history while creating an organic base for the landscape, adding to the depth of the guest experience. Guest rooms are luxuriously appointed with the verdant colors of the natural environment and style inherent to Bermudian culture. What were some of the challenging aspects of the property? OBM International was founded in Bermuda more than 80 years ago and we have a long history of design in the country. Hotelco offered us the opportunity to work on the project because they know we are committed to designing with care, concern, and great respect. Although our headquarters are now in Miami, we have an office of experts here that have firsthand knowledge and understanding of the historical importance of the area. That, coupled with our deep roots in luxury hospitality, made it an ideal project for OBM International. What drew you to the project in the first place? When the first site visit was conducted, it was obvious that with the right concept, the site could be home to a fantastic property. Not readily knowing all the previous concepts that had been designed for the site, OBMI took on the project with fresh eyes capable of seeing all that it had to offer without being hindered from what others thought. By freeing ourselves from the site’s previous attempts, this allowed us to design a concept that came from the soul of the site and its environment. While walking the site, Doug Kulig immediately started sketching his initial concepts which translated into the preliminary master plan. How the property would develop, the components, the views, the arrival experience, these were all considered during this first site visit and laid the foundation for what it is now, the approved concept having been implemented. It’s a testament to the experience of Doug and the OBMI team that the concept hasn’t fundamentally changed much since those early sketches. The owners, Hotelco, also answered some questions. This is what they had to say about the development. What drew you to the site? The natural beauty of the site is unsurpassed, paired with the rich history of St. George’s and we knew the site was perfect. The fact that it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site further enhances it and makes it incredibly unique, full of history with stunning monuments. The view of Fort St. Catherine is splendid and will connect visitors to Bermuda in a way that immerses them into the history and culture. Now that the property has been sited and designed, we know that it’s the perfect location to provide visitors opportunities for creating memorable experiences. What excited you about the development? The site, as magnificent as it is, was not enough. We knew it needed a classic brand partner to reinforce the luxury the environment already provided. We looked for a brand that would attract multinational luxury travelers who would appreciate the beauty and history of the site and relate to the Bermuda brand. St. Regis, renowned for its luxurious traditions, a culture of innovation, and impeccable service, was the perfect match. Pairing with St. Regis has been an honor and exciting while knowing it’s the perfect combination for this site. What do you ultimately want to achieve with the property? We want to honor the St. Regis brand, the site, and Bermuda itself with this property. Being this far into development, we think the program, which includes a 122-key hotel and casino, seven buildings of branded residences with 14 apartments each, restoration of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course, and a space nestled inside Fort Albert, will be a great addition to the area and the island. With the project’s momentum shifting to construction, we are looking forward to the completion of the 2-phase build-out, the first one will be ready in 2020.