The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows was in need of a refresh. Prior to beginning work, the Philpotts design team surveyed the site. We discovered a hotel with “great bones,” but the furniture and finishes seemed dated. We went one step further and looked for design direction from the hotel location itself.
Here we found the Kalahuipua`a fishponds in the heart of the grounds. In these anchialine ponds are rare species of fish and coral found only in such bodies of water. Coral-hued plants grew the rocks, changing to an intense green as the water became deeper. The pools are home to numerous species of colorful fish. As “konohiki,” or stewards of the land, the Mauna Lani has an obligation to preserve these special ponds. It was right that we, as designers, take our design cue from this important landmark.
Hotel guests, upon check in, are ushered to koa wood desks illuminated by floor lamps with stems shaped like fishing poles and lampshades that resemble fishing hats – reiterating the hotel’s location on the water.
In the upper and lower lobbies, we took the outdated color scheme and brought it up a notch with vibrant corals, yellows, pinks and greens – giving the hotel new life and vigor while paying homage to the fishponds outside. The selection of furniture for this area required that we use strong, modern shapes to complement the brightly colored fabrics.
The walls were livened up with colorful artwork. New concrete planters in rich, earth tones and area rugs with traditional kapa patterns celebrate the Native Hawaiian culture and ocean environment.