REVIEW: AZORIS ROYAL GARDEN, AZORES, PORTUGAL
Following a major reconfiguring, the Azoris Royal Garden unveiled its chic new-look guest rooms at the end of last year.
Located on São Miguel, the largest island of the Azores, The Azoris Royal Garden is a serene and welcoming property in the heart of Ponta Delgada. Echoing the destination’s connection with nature and the outdoor world, the redesign of the 193 guest rooms has been carried out in a subtle manner with its focus on natural beauty with an Asian twist.
At the heart of the hotel, the gorgeous Zen Garden is much source of inspiration in the overall design of the hotel. References to the natural world can be seen throughout the hotel, from the lobby to the restaurant. The KOI Restaurant, named after the carp found in the beautiful lagoons of São Miguel as well as in the Azoris Royal Garden’s own Zen Garden – which the restaurant looks out onto. Worshiped by several oriental cultures, and symbolised by its characteristics of endurance, courage and longevity, the carp is much admired for its beauty but also its ability to adapt to different environments. Believing carp brought good luck, the Japanese were able to breed an ornamental carp of various colours, the koi carp, to inhabit the lakes and ponds in their gardens. The name and decoration of the KOI Restaurant is in line with the Japanese inspiration of the Zen Garden, which frames and delights guests, sustained by the symbolism of the KOI carp, which represents essential values for the Azoris brand, such as adaptability, beauty and perseverance.
In the restaurant, there’s a feel of being in the water itself, with rippled veining running through the flooring and walls to seated height and a silvery-hued scaley artwork installation taking pride of place, with water botanicals draped elegantly overhead. It beautifully mimics the feel of being underwater whilst offering diners a beautiful view of the gardens from the full-width floor-to-ceiling windows. In contrast, the Royal Bar, adjacent to the KOI Restaurant is an altogether laid-back affair to lounge in and enjoy a cocktail or two at whilst listening to a little ivory tinkling on the grand piano.
The guest rooms and suites underwent a major refurbishment recently, which was completed at the end of last year by Box Arquitectos – a design studio based in Lisbon with a strong connection to Ponta Delgada. The project brief centred around one main principle: maintaining the strong connection between the building and the Zen Garden in a way that complements the existing flow while remodelling the rooms to allow for more space and proportion.
On that principle, and by interpreting the unique environment created by the hotel’s garden, using natural materials for this project made sense. Stone, steel and wood have been used liberally to recreate the guest rooms in a unifying context, taking account of the building’s past, present and the idea of future development. Several typologies were explored, capable of differentiating similar spaces from one another, in an interesting use of variants, adding personality and diversity in the finished product.
As a result, the rooms are airy and spacious, with a delicate colour palette that uses warm pinks and soft ivories to add comfort, while golds and charcoals add a statement and a touch of glamour to the furnishings and detailing. Marbled wall coverings are used in the suites with contemporary square framed units make a spectacle of the huge king-sized beds. Lighting is simple in form but effective in adding a femininity against more structured pieces, and paired with curvy walnut and black marble furniture, creates an almost art deco style – just with a 21st century vibe.
En-suites are a spectacle in themselves. Big open spaces allow for a luxurious bathing experience with generous free-standing tubs and an ambient mix of white and soft teal sanitaryware and basins with that glamorous gold creeping in again on the brassware and dramatic charcoal and white marble on the walls.
A mix of sensuality and comfort has been achieved in the guest room remodelling at the Azoris Royal Garden. Simple styling with statement features keep the look contemporary and uncluttered while still offering plenty of personality and character. There is an instant connection to the rest of the hotel and the beautiful Zen Garden without the theme feeling too overwhelming or obvious. Nothing in these rooms suggest compromise, the minimalist styling is purposeful and relaxing, offering guests the same serenity as their immediate outdoor surroundings do.
DESIGN: Box Arquitectos
SUPPLIERS: Bathroom fittings and fixtures: Italbox, Bruma Ceramics: GSI Cerâmica Microcement, waterproofing and adhesives: MAPEI Epoxy Floors: Sika Lighting: Flos, Umage, Astrolight Furniture: District Eight, Scab Design, Menuspace, Arper, Vondom Furniture Hardware: Buster & Punch Coatings: Vescom Laminated coatings: Polyrey
Photography: Ivo Tavares Studio, www.ivotavares.net