This resort had grown into a large complex since its creation in 1985, with each area being done at a different time, with different aesthetics, and with very few improvements having happened since each component opened. The objective was a total renovation of every component of the resort and winery, including 252 guestrooms, 30 Suites and four food and beverage outlets.
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Chateau Elan: Atrium, Restaurant & Lounge
Hospitality Interior (Built)
Scott Sickeler: Architect of Record – Liz Neiswander Principal In charge
Foreman Rogers: Project Designer/Manager – Nicole Fickett – Johnathan Massie
Braselton, GA USA
The primary challenge of the project was how to take a series of very disparate components, built at different times, in different vocabularies and at different quality levels, and elevate them to be consistent from both an operational and a design standpoint. Additionally, although the property was known for its winery, there was not a bar in the lobby or atrium where guests could enjoy it.
The existing atrium was used for both the restaurant dining and events, especially weddings. A solution that would allow this two uses but still result in a restaurant that felt permanent was important.
Our ultimate goal was to breathe new life into a regional amenity that had lost its luster, give it a new personality, draw inspiration from the winery and landscape and hopefully gain a new clientele that was not reached before.
The concept started at the hotel front door with major programming and planning improvements. The original lobby was only used for check in and as a circulation space. The new concept was to transform the lobby into a space guests use. The atrium too was a space guest would not use to gather informally. It needed multiple interventions to allow it to function with the conflicting demands of a restaurant and bar space, an extension of the lobby and as a location to hold major events.
The overall design was also influenced by two principals, southern hospitality and a sense of place. The design drew on the resort’s unique setting in a winery in the rolling foot hills of the Appalachians. It also drew from the region, which is known as horse country locally.
The design needed to be welcoming and intuitive, luxurious but contemporary, and above all else an escape. We wanted guest to have an experience they could not have at home through the spaces we created a design that was exciting to explore.
The transformed lobby has become one of the most attractive hotel gathering spaces. Opposite the new front desk is a vibrant coffee and wine bar. The connection between the lobby and atrium was opened up so guest see glimpses of the 200 foot hanging glass sculpture, designed to mimic grape vines, as they step into the lobby.
The hotel restaurant is the main anchor of the atrium, with a 45-foot wood sculpture by a local artist, rising above the newly introduced hotel bar. The sculpture is an abstract interpretation of the area: the rolling foothills of the Appalachians. Banquettes, that appear to be built in, are actually movable to allow the space to be used for large events.