Rarely have we seen such a global spread of entries as this year’s Hotel of the Year longlist. More seldom still have the judges been so stumped by such a strong selection. Indeed, after much deliberation, pouring over magnificent images and impassioned reasoning, the panel were forced into declaring joint-winners for this year’s award.
First, Raas Hotel in Jodhpur, India by The Lotus Praxis Initiative bowled over every member of the panel with its painstakingly hand-crafted, elegantly historic décor, rich and unique interiors, and fiercely maintained green principles. ‘This is not only luxury’, rhapsodised Arup’s Gregoir Chikaher, ‘it doesn’t lose touch with the past’.
It was this combination of old and new - the ‘fantastic location’ and pushing forward of beautifully ‘romantic’, ‘quirky’ practices hand in hand with sustainability - that left our panel in universal admiration. In Dr. Lin Hao’s words, Raas ‘is a highly sophisticated and beautifully crafted cluster of architecture with a deep interpretation of the craft of sustainability in cultural, social and environmental aspects’.
Second, the jury could not bear to deny WOHA’s PARKROYAL on Pickering in Singapore the highest possible accolade. PARKROYAL, with its lush gardens that seem to spill like a waterfall of greenery into the surrounding metropolis, was applauded all round. Furthermore, its smooth curves offer a ‘sensuous’ alternative to the monotonous blocky structures that surround it.
PARKROYAL presents a garden of ‘warmth and vitality’ floating through Singapore’s canyon of concrete. The hotel’s green credentials were seen as so groundbreaking, Hilton’s Larry Traxler described the project as ‘a new typology in sustainable hotel design’. In the eyes of Dr. Hao, this is ‘no doubt a masterpiece’.
Though operating on different scales, Raas Hotel and PARKROYAL on Pickering are brought together by their richness of imagination and successful integration of architecture and landscape. Where Raas exhibits a consciousness rooted in cultural heritage and responsible building practices, PARKROYAL blurs the line between city and garden with a distinctive holistic approach.
This was an extremely difficult choice, and our judging panel was split exactly down the middle. For this reason we would like to offer both The Lotus Praxis Initiative and WOHA our heartiest congratulations for both winning our Hotel of the Year Award.
WAN AWARDS Team
This article was edited on 25 June to include the location of each winning scheme.