Building a new luxury hotel in the Seychelles can have its challenges, says Mathew Datit, managing director of Marine Ace, a man and company delivering these kinds of daring ventures.
The total project includes three three-story apartments, a resort ground and club area, retail centres, a ballroom and a marina.
The hotel is part of the world’s tallest residential hotel, Luxury Towers.
The project was put on hold by Marine Ace when the Seychelles’ Port Authority made it clear that it would not issue the construction permit unless concrete plans, including certain architectural designs, were approved.
Seychelles is a small Indian Ocean archipelago of 115 islands, one of which, Mahe, is already home to two high-end hotels, one of which is Waldorf Astoria.
“If we gave in to those port authorities and had not created a fundamental document with our own architects, saying that the project must comply with our strategic principles – that is to live in harmony with the environment – what we would have done is built a giant warehouse out there,” says Datit.
The dense forested region in which Luxury Towers are being built does not let up after it rains and comes into its height. Some sections of the forest are still covered with thick foliage, making the buildings “quite prone to turbulence and stress” when the builders are less careful.
But Datit and his team dug deep to embrace the reality of the forest and by using all the forest’s natural energy to cool the apartments. He explains that mineral springs buried inside the forest are an effective heat source, and lodge guests are shielded from the real sun with a “circular canopy” of trees and, in some cases, even trees on the roof.
“Just driving in, the peaks of the landscape, it really makes you feel that you are in a world of different things,” says Dithida Ladki of Trekker Suites.
Marine Ace and Detour Design from Mauritius went through about a thousand samples to come up with the wood products used in the interior, which range from local but sustainable lumber to exotic species imported from Pakistan. Detour Design said it made a little over 500 prototypes, much of which was discarded, from local hardwoods.
Perhaps the most interesting element of the design is the unusual carpet which is the result of pioneering research by marine biologists.