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KWA Architects

Colombo, Sri Lanka

Reefs Edge Hotel, Uswekakeiyawa, Sri Lanka, Hospitality-Hotel

Project Status: Completed

The project ‘Reefs Edge’ is a sea side luxury beach hotel with 23 keys with a separate banquet facility in elegant minimalist design over 3 floors, which aims to boost the natural splendor of its surroundings and add a value to the existing built fabric. Simultaneously, it provides unique facilities and highly personalized services to the guests.

The ground floor is mainly a facility/ service level, which allocated for services, kitchen, stores, back office areas and other integrated facilities such as a gymnasium, business center and a spa. The main entrance lobby, which frame the views of the varying skyline, connects the two wings of the building intensely.

First Floor consists of both recreational and accommodation facilities including restaurant, bar, restaurant deck, pool deck and swimming pool as well as hotel rooms.

The second floor consists of 15 numbers of hotel rooms. All the hotel rooms were positioned on the beach side and the service corridor was positioned on the road side.

Concept and Approach:


The site is located in Uswetakeiyawa in the Western province of Sri Lanka. It is a rectangular site which faces the sea along the whole length. Along the beach side of the site there is a sand dune which protects the village which is on a lower level from the sea.

One of the main considerations of the  design  is to conserve and protect this sand bund  and to use it as a feature of the building.  The site came with an existing building which was originally built for a fish breeding facility.

The street reservation and coastal reservation were considered on, existing buildings front façade and rear façade.

Therefore the extension of the building was done along these two lines which created a long building with a single space depth and service corridor at one side.

The sand bund was not disturbed. The service levels were taken below sand bund level and all other facilities were positioned above it.  

Design Approach:

The client requested to convert the existing building and extend it to create a small luxury hotel aiming at transit tourist passengers and MICE tourism demand.

Initial Brief was to create 23 rooms including a suite, restaurant, bar, pool, spa, gym, staff and back of house facilities.

The site has a unique feature which is the natural sand bund along the whole length of the site. When positioning the facilities on the site following things were considered.

All services including kitchen, stores, staff, facilities, offices and facilities where the view is not that important, like spa and gym were positioned below the sand bund level.
Concept and approach                                
Pool, pool deck, restaurant, restaurant deck and all the hotel rooms were positioned above the sand bund level to get an unconstructive view of the sea.

New extensions of the building were done along the front and rear boundaries of the existing building to minimize the impact to site and to get maximum sea view to all spaces.

Architecture and use of space:

Exterior Roadside:

Due to site restrictions the building was designed as a thin long strip. It consisted of two parts. Existing building with existing roof and new building with flat roof. To break the monotony of the façade it vertical shafts were designed covered with WPC which were also used as service shafts.

To further enhance the appearance of the façade and soften the overall design canopies were added over the existing windows and plant troughs were added below windows.

The gap between building and the road was landscaped to create second layer of texture and colour. Finally low level boundary wall was designed as the third layer to separate building from roadside.

Exterior Seaside:

The overall idea of the seaside façade is to get the maximum sea view to all spaces of the building. Therefore wall spaces are kept to a minimum level and all other areas were covered with windows. Decks at different levels were added to extend the living spaces  with landscaping in between to further enhance the spatial quality. Glass rails were added to balconies to get an unobstructed sea view even when you lie down on the bed.                                

Interior Design:

Ground Floor Main Entrance Lobby:

Though the hotel is positioned very close to the sea, there is no direct  sea view from the entrance lobby. Therefore the lobby is designed to give a glimpse of what’s beyond.

The steps towards sand bound and the yard is given a pebble wash finish to match the color of sand of the beach. 
Also to give an open, inviting feeling and to give maximum possible light in to the interior both sides of the lobby are fixed with glass windows. Also ceiling is designed with a cove with concealed lighting to give a dramatic feeling where there is limited ceiling height to play with.

Restaurant and Bar:

Restaurant and Bar is positioned in the first floor level with direct sea view. A deck is built on top of sand bund extending towards sea from restaurant and bar. With sea being very close and limited shoreline it gives an illusion of being on a ship deck when in restaurant and bar. 

Typical Room layout:

Space Utilization:

Bedroom interior was designed to maximize the space; i.e. colors, textures, material selection, lighting level, furniture layouts , partitioning and etc. Without separating the bathroom area it was designed as an open concept.  The wardrobe also design to access from two sides. The clear glass handrail of the outside balcony visually link the bedroom to the far away horizon.   All the interior spaces visually connects with the sea without any obstruction.

Project Merits:

Sustainability, Energy conservation, Environmental, use of renewable energy, innovation

1. The hotel is designed with a single space depth with a corridor along the whole length of the building. Therefore, during daytime all public spaces can operate without artificial lighting. LED lighting is used in all areas of the building to reduce electricity consumption. Solar hot water is used in rooms and kitchen. Also all areas of the building are naturally ventilated, giving the option of minimizing the use of air conditionings. All rooms are fitted with ceiling fans to facilitate comfort without air-conditioning.
Air conditioning is available only in the rooms, restaurant and other essential areas.

2. The design incorporated the existing structure of the old building. By doing so, the materials, resources and construction phase energy use have been reduced by 30% in comparison to an ‘ all new’ construction of similar scale.

3. Use of reconstituted timber flooring which reuses wood–chips, which is otherwise a waste product.

Old brick, cement, metal work sourced locally and where possible from area closes to the site which minimized transport and logistical energy use.

4. When designing the landscape local indigenous plants were  given priority. Also plants which are local to the area reduce the water consumption of the development.

5. The design from the outset took the environmentally sensitive conceptual approach to protect the natural sand band running across the site parallel to the beach. The layout design where most public spaces are at first floor level avoiding the visual block created by the sand bund and there has been no disturbance or earth moving closer to the sand bund during construction.

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Photo credits: Eresh Weerasuriya

Photo credits: Eresh Weerasuriya


Photo credits: Eresh Weerasuriya

Photo credits: Eresh Weerasuriya


Photo credits: Eresh Weerasuriya

Photo credits: Eresh Weerasuriya

This picture relates to/has: Hotel, bedside-lamp


Photo credits: Eresh Weerasuriya

Photo credits: Eresh Weerasuriya


Photo credits: Eresh Weerasuriya

Photo credits: Eresh Weerasuriya

This picture relates to/has: Hotel, Ceiling Design, Furniture, Ceiling Light


Photo credits: Eresh Weerasuriya

Photo credits: Eresh Weerasuriya


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