Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya by Yabu Pushelberg: 2018 Best of Year Winner for Chain Hotel
After a period during which hotel designers took inspiration from residential interiors to make guests feel at home, Glenn Pushelberg and George Yabu decided to go in the opposite direction. Guest comfort, of course, remains paramount for these hospitality pros, who are partners in their namesake firm, Yabu Pushelberg, as well as in life and members of the Interior Design Hall of Fame. But for the interior of the 700,000-square-foot Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya, part of a new mixed-use complex by Gensler, they went all out with monumental scale.
“Hotels, like train stations, were often the first major buildings to go up in a place. Like city centers, they became grand spaces to dine and meet,” Pushelberg says. Here, the lobby’s textured limestone walls stretch to a ceiling nearly 30 feet high. A dramatic spiral staircase coils up a burnt-orange enclosure at one end. The reception desk, a hunk of carved onyx that weighs more than two tons, anchors the other. While the 284 guest rooms and suites—themselves the largest in the city, according to Four Seasons Hotels—look out over the urban landscape through floor-to-ceiling windows, some of the public spaces truly feel like worlds unto themselves, even as they draw on Middle Eastern motifs. Lanterns hanging over the lap pool echo those found locally, but “have been moved forward,” Yabu notes, referring to their 21st-centry LED light sources.