Saffire Resort named Hotel of the Year

Jul 13, 2011
  • Article by Online Editor
  • Photography by Peter Whyte

The Saffire Resort, a luxury hotel in rural Tasmania designed by local firm Circa Architecture, has been named the Hotel of the Year at the WAN Awards, organised by World Architecture News.

Situated on Tasmania’s east coast, the building left a “memorable impression” on visitors, without disrupting the natural beauty of the setting, said the judges. The resort, with a dramatic sculptural form inspired by the manta ray, overlooks Great Oyster Bay on Tasmania’s Freycinet Peninsula.

Saffire is the inaugural winner of the Hotel of the Year award, a new category added to the WAN awards for 2011. Entries were judged on factors including originality and innovation, form, sustainability, and the ways in which a building uses design and materials to enhance the user experience and integrate with its context.

The project was selected above other shortlisted projects including the Yas Hotel in Abu Dhabi by Asymptote Architecture, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Residences and J. W. Marriott at LA Live in the US by Gensler and the Grace Santorini Hotel in Greece by Divercity & Mplusm. Other shortlisted projects were the SUBhouses in Norway by Pir II AS, The Standard in New York by Ennead Architects and the Bayside Marina Hotel in Yokohoma, Japan by Yasutaka Yoshimura Architects.

Juror Jeremy Heyes, Senior Vice President of hospitality design consultants WATG, described the design as “effortless”, adding: “Proving once again that small is also mighty, Circa Architecture’s triumph is a shining example that many of the inspiring projects we receive are from some of the world’s more modest firms”.

The design of Saffire was conceived as the end point of a continuing journey, with a built form that emerges from the landscape. Once inside, visitors enter the large central volume, which offers panoramic views of the Hazards and Great Oyster Bay. Twenty private suites are arranged in front of the main volume, balancing the grandness of the main building with a more intimate scale in the rooms.

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