The existing building was an office block with a very deep and inefficient floor plate. But despite its complicated levels and floorplate configuration its position is a prime location, as it sits on the embankment at the entrance to the V&A Waterfront with panoramic views over Table Mountain and the harbour. It also sits within the very special and historic Portswood Precinct – its neighbours being other hotels as well as the client’s office headquarters. Our client’s brief to us was to convert the building into a 35 room luxury boutique hotel.
In order to get more light and drama into the space we demolish the middle part of the roof as well as the 2 floor slabs below to create a light filled atrium topped off with a glass skylight. All the rooms were then able to surround this atrium and be accessed off the circular corridor. The result was a triple volume grand atrium.
The atrium is the reception area and is therefore the first impressions to guests. To make this space special finishes were chosen to create a feeling of opulence such as volokas marble; thick pile carpets and dark timber floors and cladding. The features in the atrium that also added to the drama was a glass lift shaft placed next to a solid white spiral stair. The stair floats within the space and is intended to read against the square grid of the atrium structure.
The other element which helped to achieve the plush quality was that of the acoustics. The balustrades which surround the atrium walkways were made up of layers of sound absorbing materials. This ensured that any echoing in the atrium did not reach the bedrooms. Acoustic windows were also specified for the facade to ensure that the guests do not get disturbed by outside traffic.
We worked hand in hand with the Interior Designer, Francois du Plessis, to ensure that the furniture; colours; paintings, lighting, carpets, curtains and planting were seamlessly incorporated with the architecture.