Alila Cha am / Duangrit Bunnag Architects


Architects: Duangrit Bunnag Architect Limited – DBALP
Location: Cha Am, Petchaburi,
Principal in Charge: Duangrit Bunnag
Collaborator Architects: Saranya Srisakulchairak / Architect Group Head, Kahitha Boonyatasaneekul / Architect, Rawin Sangsittayakorn / Architect, Prinpond Boonkham / Interior, Thiti Tritrakarn / Landscape Archiect
Contractor: Square Tech Co.,Ltd.
Structural Engineer: EMS Consultant Co.,Ltd.
Client: KS Resort and Spa Co.,Ltd.
Site area: 30,000 sqm
Building area: 18,000 sqm
Project year: 2008 sqm
Photographs: DBALP & KS Resort and Spa

17 alila2_1914 alila29 Pool Villa

The hotel concept is essentially about nature. Not about cultural locality, but purely about its natural context. The project’s vocabulary requires architectural sublimity so the purity of nature can be fully appreciated.

The project is laid out in a linear approach. The sequences of space poetry begins with a geometrical landscaped courtyard, a large white marble piazza, which brings you to grand marble steps that lead to a large open-air lobby with a latticed-wood structure spanning 18 metres; it finishes at a seemingly never-ending stretch of the reflective pool that meets the horizon. A beach-front restaurant marks the end.

master plan vegetation
master plan

The function of the project is simple and straightforward: a restaurant with a beach front experience, a spa for ultimate relaxation, a room with a view and a house with a pool. A key highlight at Alila Cha-Am is the Red Bar. Thus, from now on, you may have to consider red as a function.

The design of the project is quite a distance from the word ‘contemporary’ or ‘style’, if not further than the word ‘resort’ itself. The notion of the design is about a place, its emotional and spatial connotations.


Pool 2

How does the décor pay homage to the Thai culture? The notion of Thai culture can lead to a diverse and contradictory conversation. What is the actual definition of ‘Thai culture’? Is it something you see or something you taste and feel? This project can perhaps embody Thai culture through the analogy of Thai food: it is not about how it looks, but more about how it feels.

We designed most of the furniture ourselves because the strong personality of our architecture suits few furniture collections. All the material used for furniture and finishing are inspired by nature; thus, we have , wood, glass, concrete and red. Red can also be considered as a material too.

Cite: "Alila Cha am / Duangrit Bunnag Architects" 23 Oct 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 15 Sep 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Every image reminds me of some other architect… but in a good way. At least I know where I’m staying next time I go to Thailand now. :P

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      I totally agree with you Inawe but to their credit not everyone is capable of copying and obtaining such a warm inviting architecture

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    In the first picture it looks like the Salk Institute.
    I really like the outside, the difference between materials, lights,… I expected to see something like this also in the interior, where (exepth the bath) looks like ‘another hotel’..’

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    this project is so beautiful, and some other projects from that office.

    I saw this one long ago but their flickr profile (no website still?) didn’t have any drawings.

    Thanks for posting it.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Kahn’s Salk Institute + Zumthor’s Thermal Baths = KS Resort and Spa…

    Whether or not they used those projects as precedents they have managed to bring some of the beauty and excellence that flows through them into this resort. Good job. Would love to stay there!

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      Unfortunately I have not had particular emotions by discovering this hospitality construction: it seems very generous by drawing parallel between this construction with L.I. Kahn’s universally admired Salk Institute or P. Zumthor’s thermal bath where you admire silence & light.
      This reminds me not to compare those commercial constructions of R. Legoretta’s with mystical works of Luis Barragan.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    It’s an amazing design, but the write up smells of b s….

    Very strong design, emotive, contemporary and clean.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    really clean design on many levels and nice simple materials. i wish they had put as much thought into their mechanical systems resolution. the grill in the bathroom is weak and the return/supply in the pool room is crying out for a recessed slot at the wall/ceiling intersection.

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I really like this project, it looks well done.

    What I don’t agree with is that it is really “Thai”. In vernacular Thai buildings, as in most in SE Asia, space is defined more between shaded vs exposed rather than inside vs outside. That, and the ground floor is raised on a plinth. This project really has neither.

    I’m not arguing this project should be more “Thai” in its architecture, I just don’t think the architect should be apologetic about it being not Thai. Anyone who’s been to Thailand knows it’s the people, not the buildings, that define the country.

  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I stayed there for two nights, I really like it and voted it for the hippest, coolest hotel in Thailand. But the thing is whenever you stay in the cool place like this you will get bored easily. I can’t even stay in that room more than 2 nights. The room didn’t make me feel like staying in the beach hotel, there’s no view in there and the design made me feel like waking up somewhere in New York. I’ve been in many boutique hotels in Thailand, There’s another one I recomend “Sixsense Yao Noi”. These two places are totally diff, Alila is like the most gorgeous girl you are gonna like, but the sixsense yao noi is a girl you gonna love forever!!!

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