Champalimaud Design creates idyllic interiors for Halekulani Okinawa

New York-based design studio, Champalimaud Design, reveals its interiors for luxury hotel Halekulani Okinawa

Surrounded by seas abundant with coral reefs and marine wildlife, Okinawa Island is a subtropical paradise – and is also the smallest and least populated of Japan’s main five islands. Rich in history and culture, Okinawa Island has always been a popular destination for visitors; and recently, it has also become home to Halekulani Okinawa, a luxury hotel launched in July 2019.

Located within the island’s Okinawa Kaigan Quasi-National Park, Halekulani Okinawa, draws inspiration for everything from interiors to cuisine from the history and culture of the island. Its name translates to ‘house befitting heaven’, which is an apt title: the hotel been designed to allow guests to discover the island from a place of comfort and seclusion. Behind the design of Halekulani Okinawa is renowned New York design studio, Champalimaud Design; the team had been previously responsible for the design of the hotel’s sister establishment, Halepuna Waikiki, in Hawaii.

For a number of the public spaces, Champalimaud Design have chosen to create an open-plan layout; this allows guests to fully immerse themselves in the hotel’s nature-rich surroundings and the beautiful, panoramic views of the coastline. The architecture is further complemented by a neutral, earthy colour palette and various tactile finishes that the team have employed throughout the hotel, which Champalimaud Design hopes will blur “the lines between interior and exterior space”.

There are two lobbies that lie within Halekulani Okinawa, both of which have been designed to bring the ocean indoors and accentuate the amazing panoramic views. Both open and expansive, the lobbies have been designed with slated ceilings, bespoke light fixtures, and a warm, natural palette. No matter where guests choose to check in – one lobby is within the ‘Beachfront’ wing of the hotel, and the other in the ‘Sunset’ wing – they will be met with a warm Halekulani welcome.

The hotel’s all-day dining venue, named ‘House Without a Key’, has been designed to pay tribute to its impressive surroundings; the space features an extending outdoor terrace, as well as elegant oak flooring, contemporary furnishings and a peaked, slatted ceiling that draw the eye upwards to the breath-taking central lighting fixture: an abstracted collection of bubbles. House Without a Key is also home to a stunning plaster feature wall, which has been decorated with organic imprints that will remind guests of the impressions shells leave in sand.

Another of the hotel’s dining venues, Kingdom – now also Okinawa Island’s premier steak restaurant – has been designed with a show kitchen to allow guests to see where their food is being made and prepared, enlivening the dining experience. Champalimaud has designed Kingdom’s interiors to be sleek and intimate, wrapping the space in light and medium oak woods. Meanwhile, at Bar Spectra the design team has chosen to highlight the views outside its windows; furnishings including the woven rattan chairs and amber leather banquets, for example, to perfectly mirror the colours of the setting sun.

Each of Halekulani Okinawa’s suites and guest rooms have been designed with Halekulani’s ‘seven shades of white’ philosophy in mind. Champalimaud Design have arranged each room to be elegant and peaceful, while also referencing the natural coastline outside; white oak flooring and bespoke large-scale rugs lie underfoot, while the dressers have been fitted with a grid pattern inspired by traditional Japanese shoji screens. As with the public spaces, the colour palette includes a mixture of warm whites and muted browns, while marble and wood is found throughout the finishes and furnishings. 

As well as a multitude of guest rooms and suites, Halekulani Okinawa also boasts five villas that have been designed to blend into the landscape of the Okinawa Kaigan Quasi-National Park. For these one and two-bedroom villas, Champalimaud Design has interwoven traditional Japanese design elements into their interior designs, continuing to use a neutral colour palette and natural materials. Each of the villas is topped with traditional Okinawan aka-gawara red roof tiles, and features its own private pool and hot spring bath.

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