Hyatt Place Rameshwaram is a new generation of hotels that offers casual hospitality in a smartly designed, high-tech and modern environment. However, designing and building an upscale select-service brand hotel like the Hyatt Place – differentiated by its modern product design, smart features, relaxed service model and fresh aesthetic – in a city like Rameshwaram presented its own challenges. Nestled on a beautiful island on the lower side of India and separated from Sri Lanka by the small Pamban channel, Rameshwaram is considered one of the holiest places in India. This religious city has a unique historical backdrop, as this is where Lord Rama from the Hindu mythology created a bridge across the sea to Sri Lanka. Renowned for its pilgrimage centres and great religious value, it attracts visitors from all over India and abroad. Having witnessed many dynasties, its medieval Dravidian architecture is a visual treat for artists and designers. The tranquil beauty of its temple architecture apparently provides great peace of mind. It is also famous for its various local markets.

  The client JKR Enterprise intended to achieve a rate premium based on its superior product and service offering in addition to Hyatt’s strong brand recognition. Hundreds of hours of research with the architects, designers and consultants helped create an exciting hotel design with a competitive cost-per-key rate in the upscale select-service category. It features over 100 guestrooms, a teen club, function rooms, ballrooms, a business centre, day spa, extensive restaurants and a resort-style pool retreat. This resort experience includes direct interaction with the Rameshwaram climate due to its open-air food and beverage outlets and public areas. The lighting brief given to Lighting Research & Design was to be very mindful of operational expenses apart from capital expenses. Considering all the constraints, going the 100% LED way seemed like the best option.

  The exterior and façade lighting treatment highlighting the unique architectural and design features of the property create a dramatic tonal contrast between the natural materials and the incredible Rameshwaram night sky. However, care has been taken to integrate these lighting treatments into the architectural features so as to reduce light pollution as well as the light sources’ visual presence. 36W LED Linear grazers highlight the vertical façade elements formed by the recesses between the guestrooms windows and roof overhangs while preventing light trespass and light spill. Similarly, 2x18W LED up-downlights highlight the vertical elements between the upper ground floor lounge windows with the roof overhangs preventing sky glow. Even the landscape lighting treatment uses full cut-off angle bollards and post-top luminaires for pollution-free soft illumination. A 3000K warm colour temperature is maintained in all the guest access areas, while service areas are illuminated with a mixture of 4000K and 6500K cooler temperatures.

  At every given opportunity the lighting is married to the architecture and interiors with numerous custom designed luminaires and incredible attention to detail, revealing textures, highlighting forms and reinforcing a sense of luxury and sophistication. LED strips provide an eclipse-glow to the stone facings on the entry ramp stonewall, guiding guests into the billowing reception canopy. The canopy’s graceful gabled form is gently illuminated with beam-integrated coves, offering a warm and inviting welcome experience. 14W/m LED strips tucked into the beams provide an ambient glow while custom-designed Fish-shaped pendants reminiscent of the local Rameshwaram culture contributes a textured luminous sparkle.

  The entire interior is entrenched in culture and history in the form of paintings and photographs of Dravidian art and architecture. Guests are greeted with a giant photograph of the Ramanathaswamy temple highlighted with 10W LED adjustable spotlights upon entering the double-height airlock and security check area. Similar 10W spotlights integrated in the pelmet uplight the adjacent textured wall thereby framing the photograph. A similar toned corner photograph of the Rameshwaram beach backlit with LED strips greets the guests in the reception lobby area. A sense of similarity is maintained with miniature 5W LED downlights integrated within rectangular cut-outs in the dark-wood ceiling providing general illumination in the air-lock, reception lobby and lounge areas.

  The lounge areas consist of casual seating with custom decorative floor lamps. The concept of artwork photograph is taken to the ceiling in the Internet kiosk section of the lounge area. The LED strips within ceiling coves provide the dual purpose of highlighting the photograph as well as provide soft diffuse illumination sans veiling reflections for guests working on computer. Similar LED strips are integrated with the cabinets highlighting the artefacts placed within these cabinets. The reception counter itself is the centre-point of attention with LED strips integrated within the counter to graze the tiled surface as well as backlighting the fritted glass partitions above the counter.

  The restaurant within the property caters for cosy as well as intimate dining. The lighting system follows traditional approaches such as selective use of downlighting, decorative pendants over the food displays and specific use of artwork light. The miniature 5W downlights create the impression of having dinner under a starry-night sky. Pre-set controlled light settings subtly shift the guest experience, seamlessly transitioning spaces from day to night. The upper-ground floor recreation deck adjacent to the restaurant is an elevated oasis comprising swimming and reflection pools, private gardens and quiet spaces. While the lighting of various water-features, selected structures, planting and built elements present ‘each-as-a-part-of-the-whole’, the hierarchy of light planning ensured that the pools were the more dominant elements at night.

  The innovative design and guest experience of Hyatt Place Rameshwaram sets a new benchmark for the select-service industry. It welcomed its first guests on March 2017, bringing bespoke luxury to the historic city of Rameshwaram. With extremely strict budget and energy constraints, the entire project was completed for a budget less than 0.5 US$/ft2 with an energy consumption of less than 0.5W/ft2 for all luminaires and controls.


Photographs
Gowtham Raj & Amardeep M. Dugar

Project team
Client – JKR Enterprise
Architecture – Centre for Design Excellence
Interior design – ASC Interiors
Landscape Architecture – ONE Landscape Design + Design Accord
Lighting design – Lighting Research & Design
Luminaire supply – Gojis Lifestyle + Unilites India
Fish pendants – Soto Decor

Products applied
Bollards – K-LITE Disc 16W, Vera 16W
Controls – LEGRAND Universal dimmer + PHILIPS DYNALITE Multi-master
Decorative pendants & wall brackets – Custom
Downlights – ABBY Bling 5W + Snow 8W
Spotlights – ABBY Xyla 10W
Inground uplights – K-LITE ID 1W
Linear grazers – LEDS-C4 Convert 36W
Post-top luminaires – K-LITE Dixon 50W
Spike projectors – K-LITE Trioscape 7W
Underwater luminaires – ASTRAL Lumiplus S-Lim 24W + LEDS-C4 Aqua 18W
Up-downlights – ABBY Wallop 2x5W + K-LITE Wall-cylin 2x18W

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