Jestico + Whiles has been appointed to design a new hotel resort for RSJ Private Equity on the beautiful island of Zanzibar, located in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Tanzania. The firm's proposal is both ecologically and socially responsive, offering high-quality accommodation that responds to the local context. Due to the limited infrastructure on the island and its need for self-sufficiency, Jestico + Whiles has created an ‘off-grid' resort.
The Uzuri Hotel Resort, anticipated to open in early 2016, will be a village resort including 60 individual cabanas and five larger villas, together with restaurants, bars, yoga, meditation spaces and massage cabanas.
The cabanas will make use of shade and sea breeze to help create a natural ventilation system within the hotel interiors. Rain water will be harvested and two wells will be built on site to pump salty water into a desalination plant, supplying clean, fresh water to the whole resort.
Jestico + Whiles’ design for the resort will make it the first hospitality scheme of its kind on Zanzibar. The cabanas will be set in small clusters just steps from the beach among a gently sloping landscape of sand, palm trees and timber walkways. A palm thatch roof extending out over a private garden will subtly shade the living and relaxation space, creating a retreat where guests can spend their days outdoors. This arrangement differs from standard hotel layouts and will be unique for the island.
The resort’s design responds to Zanzibar’s culture, climate and geography through the use of locally available materials, the organisation of spaces and strong references to the island’s heritage and craftsmanship. African design features such as Omani doors and balconies, traditional coconut thatch roofs, coral stone structures and typical local finishes will create a tranquil and elegant atmosphere throughout the resort.
Framed views of the beach and sea will be available from all parts of the site and the practice will design the lush landscaping to include a Spice Garden where indigenous and rare fragrant spices will be grown and used in the resort’s restaurants as well as to create an exclusive range of cosmetics.