Hotels for competitive guests
On the face of it this slice of coastal heaven on the Great Barrier Reef seems a world away from a New York social nexus — but with offerings including tennis, squash, table tennis, archery, croquet, badminton, snooker, billiards, and several varieties of golf, it’s a place that could easily go five sets against The Match.
Though it’s not in The Match’s league when it comes to social integration, the Grand Hotel features some 58,000 square feet (metric conversion: “bloody enormous”) of indoor sports facilities — a must in Minnesota’s near-Siberian winters.
Any game you can play on a lawn is playable here, from croquet to cricket, and yoga and Tai Chi instruction are available to anyone desiring a little instruction in the slow arts. In Sri Lanka, no less than anywhere else, people are brought together by sports and games; it’s just that here, they happen at a slightly different pace.
Next up among the finalists in our Rethink Hotels contest is something a little more playful — not just in tone, but in concept as well. The Match is devoted to the idea that nothing brings people together quite like an opportunity to play together.
That’s why every floor in The Match centers around a space that’s used for one game or another, starting with the oversized chess pieces in the center of the lobby. Down here the focus is on social games and group activities, including board games and dance classes. Higher floors center on glassed-in spaces used for slightly more competitive endeavors, such as squash, table tennis and mini golf. And on the upper floors, games give way to so-called “sweating sports” — this is where you’ll find the gym and pool as well as indoor beach volleyball, badminton courts and even fencing pistes.
The Match’s social solution lies in the way it brings locals and guests together through multi-player sports and games. Forget the solitary treadmill — “the focus is on an activity you need a partner for that will allow you to meet up with someone, work out and have a drink together after training,” according to designer Katja Butzke. The point is to be “active in a casual way.” The hotel’s reception isn’t just responsible for assigning rooms — they’ll find you a yoga class or a fencing partner as well.
There’s no doubt a hotel that leans so heavily on cooperative/competitive activities is one that brings guests together. For judge Shuwa Tei, “the idea was straightforward and enjoyable. Just concerned if some guests do not want to match with others. How to operate is the next question.” What to do with guests for whom bending elbows at the bar is as active as it gets?
Congratulations to Katja Butzke, who took third place in the jury’s voting.
Community Prize: Open Plan, by Andre Pradiktha
Fourth Place: Convergence, by Caroline Fraser and Simon Diesendruck
Third Place: The Match, by Katja Butzke
Second Place: Carry On, New York, by Evan Thompson
First Place: Coming Soon
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