The Fairmont Ajman is designed to evoke tranquillity and serenity while maintaining the destination’s opulent Arabian heritage and rich culture. Hamish Kilburn speaks with Jacinda Raniola and Hilda Impey, from Godwin Austen Johnson, who led the design of the hotel…
Fairmont, Kempinski, Marriott International, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, HMH Hotel Group, Ramada, Oberoi, Lux Resorts & Hotels Group and the local Ajman group R Hotels are all contributing to Ajman’s tourist landscape amidst a significant growth in visitors to the region.
Standing on a 200-metre stretch of golden sands, the hotel boasts 14 floors including 252 guestrooms, two-storey penthouses that offer panoramic-unspoilt views of the Arabian Golf as well as a selection of world-class bars and restaurants.
At the time of designing the property, there were a limited number of modern five-star hotels in the area. Jacinda Raniola and Hilda Impey from Godwin Austen Johnson who led the design on the Fairmont Ajman explian, “The design brief was a modern contemporary elegant hotel with a nod to traditional Arabic culture. It was an opportunity for us to set a new standard for five-star design in the emirate (Ajman).”
Throughout the hotel, dark-wood panelling set against a neutral palette lends itself to the calming ambience and contemporary feel, it also offers an elegant canvas upon which Godwin Austen introduced bold accent colours (azure, ruby, amber) derived from local influences, namely the fishing, jewellery, and maritime trade.
Upon entering the hotel, guests are greeted by a double-height reception area and a thirteen level atrium space flooded with natural light. A feature ‘folded’ timber and bronze backdrop behind the uniquely shaped concierge and reception desks acts as a curtain concealing the administration areas.
The reception lobby and golden staircase are both impressive in size and create a sense of grandeur, which is shared by the expansive lobby lounge, whose double height space is adorned with an intricately detailed glass beaded figurative ceiling installation supplied by Lasvit, which hangs as a tribute to the local fishing industry. This installation is enhanced by a bespoke carpet that, together with the furnishings, merge into the various blue shades of the Arabian setting.
Food and drink facilities
The restaurant offers a clever arrangement where where private and intimate spaces are incorporated to cater for the needs of its guests without isolating them from the surrounding dynamic environment.
The hotel offers eight food and beverage venues. The buffet counters and islands are made from neutral beige reconstituted stone material and are complemented by a splash of bright red octagonal glazed mosaics. Materials are warm and rustic but detailed with a contemporary flare. Local and Middle Eastern influences are brought together with brass lanterns, upholstery, embroidery, and hand crafts.
A private dining area has been designed as an intimate dining space for family and friends utilising a decorative bronze-chain coupled with the back drop of the glazed red mosaics and custom made round pendants with an Arabic perforated pattern. The chain curtain is used around the space to provide privacy without feeling separated from the vibrant atmosphere of the all-day dining area.
An oversized condiment table with multi-coloured arabesque motif porcelain tiles are used for the countertop, which adds vibrancy to the area.
The signature Turkish restaurant features almost theatrical design. It creates a unique environment drawing on the rich styling of the Palace and the Byzantine period with a contemporary flair by exaggerated columns, hand painted tiles, layers of exuberance created by tassels, voluptuous curtains and varying patterns and textures within a control blue and jade green colour palette.
The concept behind the guestrooms was to bring the colour scheme of natural elements and abstract beauty from; Arabic jewellery, precious stones and intricate metal fretwork inspired from Arabic heritage. Raniola and Impey explain, “The existing architecture was influenced by traditional Arabic design with its arches and mashribiya patterning. The client’s brief was that the interior should be more contemporary and modern, but we felt it was still important to pay tribute to the history and rich culture of the region. We did this by a contemporary abstraction of geometries found in Arabic patterns, evident in floor finishes and mashribiya screens. The accent colours, artwork and accessories are also inspired by the local heritage and warm Arabian hospitality.”
The guest rooms are divided into four colour schemes; Azurite and silver, rubies and antique copper, amber and light copper, and amethyst and gold. You will notice that the colour scheme of the corridors is matched to that of the guestrooms.
The hotel features a selection of extravagant suites that have been designed to ensure that guest’s personal style, preferences and needs are seamlessly accommodated for.
Perched at the top of the property, the suites’ floor-to-ceiling windows provide unrivalled and panoramic views of the spectacular coast. The two-storey penthouse suite is the largest guestroom on offer at the Fairmont Ajman, measuring over 500 square metres. The master bedroom harbours a spacious-spa marble bathroom with duel unit-rain shower experience and an oversized soak bathtub, as well as a range of bespoke bath amenities.
Hoteliers have recognised the potential of Ajman as it fast becomes a popular destination for international tourists. Great importance has been placed by the Ajman Tourism Development Department on supporting the development of the area. With the arrival of the Fairmont Ajman and other luxury hotels following in its track, a new tourist destination is now on the map.