Truly great design is a reflection of the place.
They are architectures that don't take away from its surrounding but complements the existing landscape. Sala Ayutthaya is a twenty-six-room boutique hotel situated in Ayutthaya, the old capital of Thailand. It is a city known for its brick-clad temple ruins and delicious river prawns, making it a popular tourist destination only an hour away from Bangkok. The hotel sits across one of the most picturesque sites of the city, overlooking the ancient Phutthai Sawan Temple built in 1353 AD by the first monarch of Ayutthaya.
Architect and Design House Onion took inspiration from the old age charm of the capital to create a space where guests can enjoy a luxurious stay without veering from the spirit of the city. Upon entry, guests are welcomed into an exterior courtyard with high paralleled brick walls of multi-curved geometries. Much like walking into the ruins while wandering the old capital, the narrow walls in the courtyard exude a mysterious allure drawing guests deeper into its corridor.
What is unique about this main corridor is the constantly changing shadows which flow with the rise and fall of the sun. The curved shadows from the two sides meet around 11 am in the morning each day, transforming the atmosphere significantly. This makes each passing of the corridor a unique experience.
Tiles are laid to emulate the ancient temples and shrines of the surrounding, exhibiting the local craftsmanship of brickworks. To create a contemporary vibe without taking away from the characteristic brickwork, designers at Onion juxtaposed the fiery brick walls with the simplicity and neatness of white walls. Minimal colors were used in the rest of the design to ensure the brick remains in the spotlight. Flowing outlines of the white walls elegantly frame the brick-clad gable house structure, resulting in a visually impactful composition that can be enjoyed poolside.
The central courtyard is a completely different world from the confined brick corridor. A bright, airy space allows guests to fully wind down and relax. Cool marble tiles add texture and sophistication while cooling hotel guests from the scorching heat common in the region. Spend an afternoon relaxing on the thoughtfully designed pool loungers and cozy nooks after dipping in the pool - just what you need after a day-long walking tour through the nearby ruins.
(Left) Terrace design in the pool allows ease of access.
(Right) Cozy wall nooks dispersed throughout the property provide shelter from the harsh sun.
Onion places much attention on the construction details and interior designs. Every guest room is unique from one another. Some faces the picturesque river and ruins, while others provide a intimate space with a private pool cordoned off by brick walls.
One can enjoy a nice meal under the warm breeze at Sala Ayutthaya's outdoor terrace restaurant. The restaurant provides a panoramic view of Chao Phraya River and Putthai Sawan Temple, letting guests soak up the beauty of the city while enjoying their meals. At this location, we see another facade of Sala - white walls of gable houses, step decks and terrace along the waterfront. The step decks are designed to be flooded, leading down to the flood-bed where it is at the same level as the riverbed. This design elevates the property, providing a solution to the annual flooding during the country's rainy season.
Onion never fails to surprise us with their innovative resort designs inspired by the surrounding setting, from Sala Samui Chaweng on the beautiful island of Koh Samui to this architectural masterpiece inspired by the ancient ruins of Thailand. We thank Onion for giving us the opportunity to get a glimpse of the inspiring design process behind each project, and we cannot wait to explore their future endeavours.
Amphoe Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Chang Wat Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 13000, Thailand