We admit, we never understood the appeal of resorts that tower like fortresses over places of exquisite natural beauty, whether Hawaii or Cancun, and seem to exist solely to replicate the creature comforts of life in, say, Overland Park, Kansas, only with palm trees and free Mai Tais. They’re a middle finger to the environment -- plus, they're boring as hell.
But if we had to stay in a resort, we’d be tempted to hop on over to southern Jordan, where one of the prettiest, most inconspicuous (if questionably eco-friendly) vacation retreats we’ve ever seen is slated to rise.
The Wadi Rum Resort will cut into the mountainside when it opens in 2014, its lodgings and spas inserted almost invisibly into the natural faults and fissures of the land. Wadi Rum is a desolate stretch of Jordanian wilderness famous for its ancient rock formations (David Lean shot Lawrence of Arabia there), and the design, by Florida-based Oppenheim architecture + design, is conceived of to merge "silently with its wondrous setting." Moreover, the architects say it'll have "nominal impact" on the surroundings.
So aside from the rock rooms, where guests can pretend like they're sleeping in the Bat Cave (but with a better view), the resort's got a Bedouin-style tent village and assorted pools and hammams littered around the site, like oases sprung loose from the desert. But we have to wonder if the environmental impact here is as nominal as the architects suggest. Certainly, the Wadi Rum Resort is no Jumeirah Beach Hotel. But to judge by the renderings above, construction workers will have to slash up the rock something awful to make room for all those cavernous rooms. That'd be like carving a huge hole in the Grand Canyon -- not worth it just to feel like Batman for a day.
COMMENTARY: The Wadi Rum Resort is absolutely beautiful and would be perfect for married couples and newly weds seeking seclusion. Sort of reminds you of that place in Acapulco with the individual suites with their own pool. Construction is going to be a challenge. The Jordanian Desert can get to be 115 degrees in the summer. I wished they showed pics of the individual designs for the rooms. Get out the dune buggies and belly dancers. You know this place is gonig to be ultra-expensive.
I had a look at Oppeheim architecture and design's site and those guys and galls are really talented designers. Their projects are not only unique, but very beautiful. Chad Oppenheim, the man behind Oppenheim architecture and design.
Courtesy of an article dated April 28, 2011 appearing in Fast Company Design