The Four Seasons Hotel is a five star resort on Al Maryah Island, a man-made enclave between Al Reem Island, Abu Dhabi Island and Mina Zayed. Its central position enables the island to become a key link between Abu Dhabi city and the new conurbations currently being developed to the North and East. Sheikh Khalifa Bridge further enhances the Island’s connectivity to Saadiyat Island and other Emirates beyond. The Four Seasons is adjacent to Sowwah Square, the new home of the Abu Dhabi stock exchange and business district.
The formal massing of the buildings is shaped by three distinct vehicular drop-off points for hotel, residential, and banqueting or conference guests. The shape of the hotel podium is designed to separate these entrances, filtering visitors into the correct parts of the building, without interrupting the other programmatic uses. A network of carefully scaled landscaped areas at the base of the building create a natural garden setting for each entrance. Below podium level, two floors of retail setback create a double-height external shaded colonnade fronting a waterside walk, which extends along the western edge of the island providing an engaging aspect for the hotel and commercial buildings to the south. Above the podium, a 34 storey tower is defined by two adjacent wings which are skewed around a central core.
Four Seasons Hotel and Residences
The façade of the tower has a clear volumetric articulation; a combination of vertical terracotta, and horizontal louvres which protect the south elevation from the extreme heat. The juxtaposition of the slim articulated tower, and the low angular podium creates a dynamic interplay of vertical and horizontal elements, which are prevalent as you approach the entrances to the building. Both elements share a palette of finely-scaled terracotta rods: in the tower, these are arranged vertically, in the podium they run horizontally. The screen of terracotta filters the light to the interior softening the contrast between the harsh bright sun outside and the shaded interior spaces. The tonality of the terracotta – with a subtle range of buff, pink and sand tones – creates a soft and engaging exterior that complements the cooler tones of the interior spaces.
The building’s external form is shaped by its internal planning; the two wings of the tower are arranged to optimise external views and a flexible arrangement of rooms and apartment types. The podium is similarly shaped by its interior, which has been designed as a memorable sequence of generous well-proportioned and interconnected public spaces. Each has its own character, with distinct spatial and material qualities. Since it’s opening two years ago, The Four Seasons Hotel has become renowned for the service of afternoon tea. Abu Dhabi residents meet their friends for tittle tattle, business travellers talk work, and tourists are spoilt with a fantastic array of cakes and pastries piled onto tiered trays and placed on stools next to your table in the lobby lounge. The success of a hotel is more than its architecture, and we are pleased to discover that the Four Seasons is developing a cultural position in the life of the city.