Sometimes it takes ‘fresh eyes’ on a challenge to create something very special, particularly when it comes to interior design. For management at the popular Rodney Bay hotel, upgrading Coco Palm’s central lobby was the challenge, so they teamed up with the fresh eyes of the professionals at Inside Out and the results are nothing less than dramatic.
In any busy hotel, the lobby is the hub of intense activity with guests simultaneously arriving, departing, waiting to be collected and booking excursions. As the welcoming face of Coco Palm and the hub of its customer service excellence, the area was in need of a new look and more efficient flow, as well as an updated air-conditioning system, but the intense colour, warmth and cosiness of the original Creole theme was beloved by staff and guests alike. Agreeing on a new theme described by Managing Director Mark Ferguson as “contemporary Caribbean”, interior designers Loraine Moffat and Kathy Devaux were briefed and set about the task of producing a concept “to make the space more on-trend with an updated, elegant but comfortable tropical feel”. It was important to have the overall space feel airy and light.
The result can only be described as an amazing transformation, judging by the reactions of guests and staff walking through the glass doors in early December when the project was (apart from a few artistic details) completed. Using the lobby’s dramatic black and white chequerboard flooring as their inspiration, the duo from Inside Out took Coco Palm’s request for modern Caribbean, fused it with an old Hollywood sense of glamour and sharp, monochromatic colour scheme highlighted with gorgeous green tones. According to Mark Ferguson, many people – including himself – had never noticed the striking tilescape below their feet, and assumed it was part of the makeover. Now it brings gasps of approval as one of the central elements of the interior design concept.
Another conversation-starter in the new, chic Coco Palm lobby hangs behind the reservations desk in the form of a specially-commissioned, wall-sized painting by local art teacher and one of Saint Lucia’s hottest up-and-coming artists, Naja Simeon who, according to Inside Out, was “the perfect choice for the large mural. He is stylish and talented and this was a great opportunity for us to collaborate.”
The huge canvas portrays a modern-abstract, tropical jungle with elements of breadfruit leaves, palm fronds and balisiers in vibrant greens with touches of gold. It was completed in stages every evening over the course of two weeks at Island Mix in Rodney Bay, where Simeon is part of a collective of local artists and artisans, then mounted in place and given some final touches by the artist.
With cost-saving in mind, the Inside Out team kept the intricately-carved, teak furniture that was a signature of Coco Palm’s previous Creole theme, and updated it with upholstery in luxurious velvet and graphic-print throw pillows, accented with sleek metal and glass coffee tables. White walls, natural stone reception and tour desks, and new lighting complete the overall effect, and the new air-conditioning system is working like a dream which is the best gift General Manager Jean St Rose could have asked for this Christmas.
For the Board of Coco Resorts, the big reveal was welcomed with much enthusiasm as it heralds the start of a programme to update and redesign the interiors throughout the resort in 2018. The hotel is operating a full programme of festive events at Ti Bananne this Christmas and New Year so the staff and management are looking forward to welcoming guests from home and abroad to admire the new-look lobby and experience the Caribbean hospitality for which award-winning Coco Palm is renowned in the region.