project: Sabroso Hotel
designers: Kyung-Eun Kim and Jamie Morin, Iowa Sate University
Sabroso, which in Spanish means “tasty” or “delicious,” typically wouldn’t be the first adjective used to describe a hotel design. However, Iowa State University design students Kyung-Eun Kim and Jamie Morin feel that the word is the perfect fit for their project. “The Spanish language reflects the Cuban heritage of the area, and the meaning and even the sound of the word reflect the romantic atmosphere we were trying to portray,” says Morin.
Kim and Morin conceptualized the 200-room Sabroso Hotel—complete with two lobbies (one for reception and one for social gatherings) and two pool decks—for an interdisciplinary studio assignment in which pairs of students had to design a hotel for a real site in Miami, which they actually visited. “We tried to understand the area and design a hotel that could unite well with surroundings, but also provide a unique experience that would differentiate our hotel from others,” Kim says.
The final project features a romantic and luxurious destination that caters to couples and is able to be “transformed” at night into a more Miami-style design using an interplay of color and light. “The social lobby has a huge column, with carved niches for liquors, designed to light up at night to make it look more lavish. All the pendant lighting hanging from the ceiling of the lobby will remind you of a starry night,” says Kim. Additionally, long lengths of sheer fabric draped from the ceiling add a soft, elegant touch during the day and offer a sexy, translucent glow when illuminated at night.
Rich and neutrally-colored, high-end materials lend a sophisticated feel to the indoor/outdoor spaces of the main hotel and reference the area’s warm climate, while vibrant colors and Cuban artwork in the restaurant play into the locale’s eclectic heritage.
If able to revisit the project site again, Kim would take the opportunity to increase their research to further enhance the hotel’s design and contribution to guests. “I think it is really important to take surveys and look at benchmarks of other successful hotels nearby,” she says, adding that in the future she “would try to do more crazy things for the guests to be surprised.”