The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes named a finalist in Boutique Design's Gold Key awards

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LEO A DALY’s lobby design for the newly renovated Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes is a finalist in Boutique Design’s 2018 Gold Key Award for Excellence in Hospitality Design. The project is recognized in the category of Best Lobby Luxury.

Nodding to the cosmopolitanism of The Ritz-Carlton guest, the new front entry, lobby, and lobby bar evoke the discerning taste and timeless feel of a luxurious European home. Sophisticated with an eye for detail, the design features an eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary details, a chic palette and luxuriant textures.

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The signature piece of the renovation is the new statement bar, which has been relocated to become the main centerpiece of the lobby. Illuminated, faceted marble mosaics clad the bar, while above, rhythmic metal louvers form a translucent, sparkling sculpture. Inspired by the sun-drenched feel of the French Riviera, grand openings have been punched into the exterior walls to create the light, airy feel of a villa sunroom. Hydraulic, awning-style windows allow natural light and breezes to permeate the lobby. Work with a hurricane-hardening specialist resulted in floor-to-ceiling glass openings able to withstand strong winds.

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The bar and lounge combine timeless architecture with contemporary finishes and details. Fluid, graceful lines are paired with a bold, confident color palette of graphite, cream, and marigold. High-contrast fabrics with bold stripes adorn elegant new seating arrangements. Rich travertine floors give the space a sense of opulence. Traditional elements such as the stone-clad walls, colonnades, and scalloped arches remain from the original design, while the multi-level floor was flattened to improve navigation, and the ornamental ceiling painted white to brighten the space.

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Upon entry, guests are welcomed by the architectural statement of the concierge and front desks. A contemporary lantern design forms the backdrop, complemented by a folded metal design on the face of the desks. Classic arched openings and stone-clad walls highlight the twinkling lit elements, and bring the lighting down to human scale. 

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Adjacent to the front desk, the Ritz Kids area invites children to explore while their family checks in. A playful mural reminiscent of the Everglades is the backdrop and focal element of the space. Rustic wood shelves suspended by natural rope display fun activities and toys for kids’ entertainment. 

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The signature lobby café, First Drop, was converted from back-of-house luggage storage into an open space serving coffee and light bites. Awning style windows at the entry echo the sunroom and open the café up to the lobby space. The lobby’s travertine floors flow into the space, transforming into a stone, hexagonal mosaic that gradates from cream, gray, to black. High contrast finishes paired with warm wood tones compliment the adjacent lobby lounge space.

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The pool bar, Bleu was redesigned to give it a Key West vibe. Bright colors evoke the casual elegance of a relaxed retreat. Ornamental screen work above the bar is reminiscent of the balconies of Key West homes. A vivid, palm tree graphic mural adds pattern and visual interest. The existing Ritz-Carlton Golf Club restaurant, Fairways, has been transformed into a modern tap room featuring copper accents, a wall mural depicting the brewing process, and a multitude of local beers on tap.

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 “A great lobby sets the tone for the guest experience. It’s that moment of transition that lifts the guest’s mood from the frenzy of travel to the delight of a beautifully designed space,” said Pat Miller, global practice leader at LEO A DALY.  “The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes lobby is incredible because it reinvents modern luxury while staying true to the Ritz-Carlton’s classic brand.”

Now in its 38th year, the Gold Key awards are the industry’s oldest and most prestigious distinction, honoring outstanding interior-design work in hospitality. Winners in 21 categories will be announced at the Gold Key Awards Gala, to be held Nov 14 at the Waldorf Astoria, New York.

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