Sheraton Khao Lak
Owner | Operator : Chin Inter Development Co., Ltd
Location : Phuket, Thailand
Date : 2017
Concept :
Nature does nothing uselessly. 
-Aristotle (384-322 BCE)
NARRATIVE: Our concept begins with nature  - as a resort, this is self-evident- and a fundamental truth. 
The site’s natural beauty are its greatest attributes and assets – and have so inspired our creative process, our narrative, our planning, architecture and interior architecture. 
FOREST: The Pine Trees create the architecture.
LAKES: The Tranquil waters creates space and inner reflection.
SEA: The Horizon + Current create time and movement.
The Forest trees, the tranquil Lakes and the seasonally raging SEA inspire our design:
From the planning orientation of the building masses capturing the lake, 
forest and sea.
From the lake and forest lakes that journey, ebb and flow from the lake 
and the sea and back.
From the wide bay room design offering expansive views over the resort
to the lake, the forest and the sea
From the villas, inspired by the structure of a tree root or like Bayan tree 
roots spreading out over the forest floor.
SEAMLESS JOURNEY: A sequence of forest and water spaces traverse the site from arrival, to sleep, to eat, to play…  Unlike most beach front resorts that focus on only the sea, we have also captured and emphasized the lake and forest within the planning and the architectural design.  Nature and architecture, landscape and interiors are seamless. By the structure of mass and space and by materials.
Our journey begins with the forest and lake. The untouched natural setting and features transform effortless and seamlessly to a rationalized formal landscape at the arrival. Upon arrival, guests are greeted by an overview of a tranquil lake and forest rather than the sea. The master plan narrative unfolds effortlessly and seamlessly as guests traverse from the rationalized formal landscape gardens and groves of trees at the through a sequence of tranquil forest glades, waterfall and lake spaces with Japanese garden inspired islands to a final destination of untouched and natural beach and sea.  All senses are elevated by the smell of the pines, the rush of the water falls, the touch of textured materials both smooth and natural, the methodically scripted scenic views  
MATERIAL: The project architectural materials are site inspired, environmentally sustainable, durable and cost driven. We have proposed a mixture of stone for building bases combined with hand troweled stone wash for the upper floors. 
A architectural screen motif is proposed for the front arrival building façade, the banquet building and the smaller pavilion structures (Spa, Restaurant, Beach Club). Comprised of stacked and layered  “fallen / found wood branches” and pine needles sourced both on site and locally. These are fabricated offsite or on site and mounted in marine painted steel frames. This architectural screen provides a visual and material architectural material “thread”  throughout the project. It unifies the buildings and the architectural exterior statement. The interior design of the rooms and public areas utilize the “screen motif” for dividing screen partitions, carpets and other pattern creating a seamless experience between the architecture and interior design.
Window glazing is proposed as double insulated glass panels of clear and light grey Glass. A Low-E coating on west facing glass is recommended. Curtain wall and window frames are proposed as narrow profile powder coast finish aluminum. Wood is utilized sparingly and where appropriate such as balcony handrails and doors. Sustainable SS cable stay vine grown “green facades” are proposed for the back facades of the larger hotel guest blocks.
The resort has been planned for a resort experience and equally for operational efficiency. From arrival after a long commute to Khao Lak, through check-in , to their room to eating and play, the effort is efficiently and seamlessly planned.  
ARRIVAL: Guests arrive though a auto court then proceeding up a gentile incline up to the lobby drop off. The auto court also serves the banqueting and personal vehicle parking. Personal vehicles, guest and service buggies, vans and large coaches may drop off directly at the lobby court. The lobby court and the inclined approach can also be utilized for VIP parking or event parking. The event court adjacent to the lobby serves both banquet arrival and special event arrival. Buggy transport to the hotel rooms and villas 
LOBBY / RECEPTION: Guests arrive and check in the main building within an outdoor, double height forest of column trees, water features and islands. Their first view of the resort is not of the sea but of a forested glade of trees and cascading waterfalls. Proceeding down from the outdoor lobby through a cascading water fall mixed with trees and lounge areas to a central island. Guests can walk to the main buggy drop off, or to the spa or continue down a path through lakes, lagoons, water features and swimming pools to the beach while flanked each side by the hotel blocks and villas. 
The lobby Market Café, retail space, Business Center and Front office spaces are on the lobby level flanking the main lobby. Below the lobby level at ground level are the late check out area, kids club and gym. Front office spaces utilize ground floor space and are adjacent to the main back of house area.
HOTEL BLOCK BUILDINGS / UNITS: The hotel units are placed in single loaded block buildings of different heights and length. The lobby block building hovers above the lobby while two large 5-6 story blocks flank the south side and 3 story blocks flank the north side. All hotel bocks have pool access villas on the ground floor. All hotel blocks are connected by covered walk-ways from the lobby. All blocks are served by passenger and service lifts. To raise the resort up within the hotel blocks, the 6 story blocks are stepped back at the fourth floor creating to create a long tree planted grove. It is a forest above the forest.
The typical hotel block units have been planned as two basic types. A wide bay type with the bedroom and bath having glass frontage and views to the resort and sea. In the lobby hotel block, room bays are the traditional narrow type with the bath area at the corridor. The room interior design is minimal in appearance with the screen wall of pine needles the unifying design thread and overall narrative; yet four star appointed in comfort. The open bath creates a larger room appearance and offers more views to the resort and sea.
VILLA DESIGN: The villas are designed as single level private suites. Single suites, one bedroom and two bedroom villas are offered. Several villas overhang the lake water feature. All have private plunge pools and private gardens. The villa massing is compatible with the resort architecture yet is unique and contemporary. Inspired by a tree root structure emerging from the ground, they appear more as art installation than architecture. Silent massive sculpted masses with sloped roofs in alternating formations.
FOOD/BEVERAGE: As a large resort, the Food and Beverage venues are efficiently distributed within the site. The Signature Restaurant (All day dining) and Specialty restaurant along with the main kitchen preparation are optimally located close the beach to capture the beach and existing naturally forested beach front area. The Food and Beverage support and Banquet kitchen are located with the back of house area adjacent to the lobby hotel block building. The Market Café is located adjacent to and within the main reception lobby and serves as the lobby bar and food support for the pools areas closest to the lobby. A seasonal Beach Bar has been provided.
MEETING and BANQUET: The large banquet hall appears as a separate structure upon arrival has a separate entrance from the main lobby. Having a separate banquet arrival allows a large event to occur preventing congestion and does not detract from the guest arrival experience. The Meetings and Banqueting are connected to the lobby and am outdoor covered walkway and through the adjacent event court. 
SPA / GYM: The courtyard spa is a separate building adjacent to the hotel block building and is easily accessible for both outside guests and hotel guests. It is connected to the gym/fitness located below the lobby and efficiently shares changing, showers, seam and sauna rooms.
FOH / BOH SPACE: The entire back of house spaces, including loading, F+B back of house spaces, in-house laundry, housekeeping, human resources and employees services are located below the automobile drop off at the ground level. It is centrally and efficiently placed between the hotel lobby block and the banqueting building.