Project Name: Lapita Dubai Parks and Resorts, Autograph Collection
Location: Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai Parks and Resorts – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Date Completed: January 2017
Interior Designer: DiLeonardo International
Architect: RTKL Associates Inc.
Hotel Group: Marriott International

An authentic Pacific Islander and Polynesian theme hotel & resort in Lapita Dubai Parks. DiLeonardo was charged to design a unique hotel to add to the Autograph by Marriott portfolio with an authentic Pacific Islander and Polynesian theme including light-hearted touches and expressions throughout. This direction was to be carried out from the public spaces to the guestrooms and suites. The designers sought inspirations from this vibrant culture and wove it throughout in design detailed carvings and FF&A selections.

Depth and authenticity of the design was critical and showed tremendous creativity and innovation as DiLeonardo worked with the operator and manufacturers in creating a fantasy, yet real-like experience. Every detail had to be justified as authentic Pacific Islander. DiLeonardo was charged with creating a very defined and themed hospitality environment that responded to the planned guest profile whilst being tasteful, light-hearted, and modern. The designers embarked on a deep research mission into Polynesian Pacific Island history and culture. DiLeonardo took cues from their research and applied it to the design, whilst working closely and responding to the architectural shell and site landscaping which also carried the theme. Inspired by materials, patterns, colours and cultural references such as wood carving and stick maps, that facilitated and made ocean navigation possible, DiLeonardo developed the design to reflect and highlight these elements throughout – being careful to avoid pastiche and bringing the imaged sense of place (pacific islands) to the fore, creating an escape for the guest, adventure, exploration, fantasy.

The owners and operator’s vision was to create a destination in Dubai like no other; by providing a family experience with attractions, rides, entertainment, relaxation and luxury accommodations. Ultimately attracting travellers from around the world and becoming a popular destination for any family adventure. The design contributes to the commercial viability as it takes guests to a fantasy world, curated through an authentic Polynesian Pacific Islander theme that is modern and luxurious. From the interior architecture through the materials, designer’s style choices were carefully selected with the operators and guests in mind.

The guest experience is intuitive and it is up to designers to make it authentic. The space planning came from something real! DiLeonardo were inspired by the rich culture and wanted guests to feel the same way – no matter where you look, you feel part of the cultural tapestry. The designers created large volumes and open spaces to evoke the long houses of the pacific islanders. Everything from floor to ceiling throughout the guestrooms and public spaces such as the basalts, symbolic carvings, patterns, fabrics, shells broken in to the terrazzo floors, and woven rugs were chosen elements of the Polynesian culture. In the bar and dining spaces, lanterns that look like birds of paradise, tables inspired by the tattoos of the tribes, and canoes hanging from the ceiling give a perception of being in another place. The design is intense and truly amazing.

Providing a design that guests can escape and believe they are in another place is what makes a designer’s job meaningful and wonderful! Drawing inspiration from the exotic Polynesian tropical landscapes, featuring Polynesian flowers, lagoon-style pools, and different room options is dedicated to the spirit of the Polynesian islands. As well as the use of textures, fabrics, lighting, and authentic details all contribute to the splendour and serenity the guests will experience.

The design works so well because the intent was to cultivate a Polynesian resort themed architecture and landscaping dedicated to the spirit of the Polynesian islands. This vernacular melds Polynesia with the heart of a theme park experience. The Public Area interior embraces the Polynesian resort experience in its use of materials, textures, details, and lighting. Fresh finishes, subtle lighting, open planning, and modern furnishings support the architectural theme. Moments of discovery will reveal references to the Polynesian storylines throughout the Public Areas– from abstracted Polynesian carved Totem to whimsical lighting features. Subtle pops of colours are seen through fabric selections, as a flower would appear in the Jungle. Moments of Surprise and Delight is a truly memorable experience for all that come to stay.