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Ruth Arad Design

Kedma Hotel by Ruth Arad Design

Ruth Arad Design were the winners of the Hotel Under 200 Rooms – Global Award in The International Hotel and Property Awards 2021.

The Kedma Hotel was designed as a Nabataean khan at Sde Boker on the Spice Route, which was one of the most important trading routs in ancient times and along which spices, essential and luxury goods were transported between the East and Europe. To honour this history, the brief called for the design of a khan. As one approaches the seemingly unadorned inward-looking structure and steps through its hefty doors into the intimate courtyard with its abundant vegetation and swimming pool, the story becomes clear – this is a khan that brings to life the treasures of the past in a modern idiom.

Ruth Arad Design

The lobby, in which the outside and the inside worlds meet, sets the mood. Its main features include an 8-meter-high log branched ceiling with inset twinkling ‘stars’, from which glass light-reflecting balls are invisibly suspended and appear to float and perhaps most dominant of all, a rock-hewn reception desk which looks as if it has always been there. Together they present a cohesive design – this khan and its features are as timeless and as relevant as the desert itself.

The lounge can be seen as a huge space for welcoming tired travellers or as a Bedouin tent in which a desert meal is about to be served thanks to a combination of low and varied seating, with a bar as a centrepiece. Falling rope fronds give the illusion of a tent to create privacy without losing the sense that you are participating in a larger event. The varnished bar is made of an untrimmed slice of a great tree trunk and sits on a sandstone base; a black illuminated metal mashrabiya the length of an entire wall adds drama to the space.

Ruth Arad Design

The restaurant celebrates goods collected on the way. A two-way columbarium offers glimpses of the restaurant from the lobby. Dry spices are interwoven with sandbags for a central display under a desert-style canopy. Inset blackened metal cabinets on the west side offset it and allow for privacy while clearly defining the area between the canopy and the rest of the space.

The pool is the main oasis of the building and is surrounded by trees and greenery and built-in plaster seating areas. The recurring motif of low seating, almost at ground level, induces relaxation and a connection to the base elements of life – water, earth, root.

Ruth Arad Design

The spa is reminiscent of an ancient hammam – a kind of cave sculpted in stone much like the ancient mikveh (ritual bath) that was discovered when archeological excavations were carried out on the site. The spa’s heated pool is set under an arched barrel-like ceiling with inset lighting fixtures that twinkle like stars.

Ruth Arad Design

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