Case Study:

Four Seasons Resort Sharm El SheikhTraditional Middle Eastern Hillside Towns Inspired Luxury Resort Design

Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

The Challenge

Design a five-star luxury resort in the vernacular of traditional hillside towns of the Mediterranean and Middle East, taking advantage of the steeply sloping site and its dramatic views of the Red Sea.

The Design Solution

Forms and details reminiscent of the hillside towns of Northern Africa inspired the design, which incorporates the use of powerful domes and Islamic style arches built of simple brick, plaster and wood, giving strength to the architectural forms. The hotel villas are integrated into the steep slopes of the Sinai Peninsula to evoke an ancient hillside village. Courtyards cooled by fountains and shaded by canopies of tall palms provide gateways to the guestrooms, all of which have alluring sea views. Each guestroom is designed as a suite with a separate bedroom, parlor space, full-sized terraces and an over-sized full bath. Designers planned each building’s orientation, location, size and openings to increase natural light and cross ventilation. Thick masonry walls radiate heat back to the outside in the evening when the air cools. Shading techniques, deep recesses and awnings shield windows, doors and outdoor patios from direct sunlight. Originally opened in 2002, designers completed a 90-key expansion with 21 villas, an entertainment village and conference center in 2012. HKS and Brayton Hughes Design Studios collaborated to work on the resort architecture and interiors for both the original and expansion projects.

The Design Impact

As one of the first luxury resorts built on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, the Four Seasons Sharm El Sheikh set the tone resorts that followed. Sharm El Sheikh is often called the “City of Peace” for the large number of international peace conferences hosted there.

Project Features

  • 185,000 square feet
  • 200 guestrooms
  • 21 villas
  • Guest suites with private plunge pools
  • Five restaurants
  • Entertainment village
  • Conference center
  • Luxury spa, pools and tennis courts
  • Sweeping Red Sea views