A Stunning Transformation: The Redesign of AX ODYCY Hotel – A New Hotel Design in Qawra, Malta

The AX ODYCY Hotel, a new 4-star world-class destination, has emerged from the former site of the Seashells Resort at Suncrest in Qawra, Malta.

This project represents a significant leap in hospitality design, blending luxury with the unique topography and heritage of its location.

The Vision and Request

Project Scope:

The renovation aimed to reimagine the lobby and relocate the Back of House facilities, previously situated on a mezzanine level above the reception desks, now transformed into a chic coffee shop, Espresso.

Central to the design was the seamless connection between the upper and lower lobbies, enhancing freedom of space and volume. This transit space needed to accommodate guest arrivals and checkouts efficiently while maintaining a distinctive local flavour through innovative design elements.

Design Highlights:

Parametric Wall: The lobby features a stunning parametric wall that mirrors Qawra’s contours, representing the land’s topology from the inner bay to Qawra Point.

Art Installation: An inspiring art installation nods to the constellations, honouring the seafarers who navigated by the stars.

The client envisioned each space as its own destination with a unique identity, yet harmoniously integrated within the open plan. Achieving this seamless flow while maintaining budget constraints required meticulous planning and partnership with trusted collaborators.

The Turnout

Design Experience:

Guests are now greeted by an ergonomic flow of varied textures, chromatic hues, and multi-layered spatial ambiance, bridging the physical and phenomenological. This design not only meets functional needs but also triggers emotional resonance, creating a memorable experience.

Key Elements:

Natural Integration: Original columns were incorporated into the new design, creating intimate spaces within the expansive lobby, and reinforcing a connection to the surrounding landscape. Different areas use distinct furniture colour schemes to either emphasize or contrast their specific settings: The Library/Side Street features dark colours to balance the natural light, while the further in you go and within the Pre-Function area the same language is carried out using lighter hues due to less natural light. In contrast within the restaurants, Deck at ground level showcases a bright, subtle palette, whereas as you descend to basement level, Keel has a moody, cellar-like atmosphere with dark tones.

Custom-Designed Furniture: Varied textures and custom-designed furniture reflect the Mediterranean’s sensory richness, from warm timber to elegant stone.

Additionally, we incorporated bespoke printed fabric for the chairs within Espresso, featuring artwork by Richard Xuereb, the owner’s son, whose pieces are displayed throughout the hotel. We also showcased a 2.3m tall Medusa sculpture commissioned by local artist Kane Cali.

Indoor-Outdoor Blurring: The design blurs the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces, inviting guests on a sensory journey that transcends traditional hospitality. This approach provides diverse culinary experiences and atmospheres, fostering an ever-changing understanding of the hotel.

Outcome and Recognition

The redesigned AX ODYCY Hotel now offers a destination that evokes a strong sense of place and belonging, inspiring guests with a blend of comfort and discovery furniture. The transformation includes key public areas such as the Entrance Lobby, Reception, Library, Side Street, Pre-Function, Espresso, Deck Restaurant, Keel Restaurant, Medusa, Minoa, Roof Deck, Pool Deck and Cheeky Waters.

This remarkable project won the Interior Architecture Award for Hospitality and Tourism Projects at the MASP Awards in 2023 celebrating its innovative approach to modern hospitality while honouring the site’s legacy.

Congratulations to Sara Brincat, Draw Studio for being part of this award-winning project.

MASP Jury Citation

This project is a lesson in the articulated use of interiors aimed at an authentic guest experience. The hotel renovation aimed to reinstate its landmark identity while adapting to modern hospitality needs, carried out through a well-thought-out transformation of complex large-scale spaces, which still managed to retain a constant flow and distinctiveness at the same time catering for different experiences under one roof.

Project Details

AX ODYCY Hotel, Qawra, Malta by Box Concept Studio in collaboration with Simon Abela & Sara Brincat

Photography by Brian Grech

As Malta embraces higher standards in hotel design, exemplified by AX ODYCY Hotel, guests can expect hospitality that blends modern lifestyle with the island’s heritage. This enhances the appeal and comfort of Maltese hotels, boosting Malta as a premier travel destination.

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