Bab Al Shams Reimagined

Bab Al Shams Reimagined

April 2023,

People escape to a resort to relax, rejuvenate, and have memorable experiences. A luxury resort has to go the extra mile to impress the guests with exceptional service and surroundings. Every element of resort design, from landscape to lighting impacts guests’ views and decisions to return in future. Well-designed lighting is one of the keys to creating an emotional connection with their guests.

We at Creation are proud to have been part of the team with renowned Lighting Designer Studio Lumen, Interior Designer LW Design along with the contractor Khansaheb to provide guests at Bab Al Shams resort with a GRMS that gives them full freedom to create and change the ambience of their room. Since the GRMS is integrated with BMS, it becomes easier for the resort staff to seamlessly control various parameters as needed.

Bab Al Shams Resort

Project Name: Bab Al Shams
Resort, Dubai Client: Nakheel + Kerzner
Interior Designer: LW Design
Lighting Designer: Studio Lumen
Contractor: Khansaheb

Bab Al Shams Desert Resort provides an immersive desert experience. Launched in 2004 and recently refurbished, Bab Al Shams is 45 minutes from the heart of Dubai and close to a range of attractions, including camel trekking, horse riding, desert safaris, hot air ballooning, falconry, cycling and Al Qudra artificial lakes for the authentic desert experience. Interior Designer LW Design has preserved the legacy of Bab Al Shams as the longest-running desert escape in the United Arab Emirates.

Bab Al Shams, Arabic for ‘Gateway to the Sun’ features 115 lavish rooms and suites housed in 16 two storied buildings. The guests can look forward to unique and vibrant experiences including theatrical dining, holistic wellness treatments and therapies, and nomadic desert adventures, combined with an exceptional hospitality experience.

Creation Gulf was tasked with the supply, testing, installation and commissioning of the Guest Room Management System that includes the Lighting Control system for the 105 Standard rooms and 10 Suites. 

“The overall design concept was to preserve the authentic heritage experience synonymous with Bab Al Sham, blended with contemporary Arabic elements. The resort is home to a number of interesting F&B experiences – including the vibrant Al Hadheerah – that provides a wide range of cuisine, organised activities to provide a glimpse into the local culture, equine activities, a modern spa and other modern amenities one would associate with a 5-star resort – all of these, sprinkled around an expansive landscaped oasis in the middle of the desert. The luxuriant yet laidback guestrooms with their own private terrace are the perfect haven for a laidback holiday” explains Mr Vinod Pillai, Design Director of Studio Lumen.

He further explains the design concept as “Curated lighting is integral to the experience to create a warm and relaxed ambience that provides the perfect desert getaway for the guests. Primarily, patterned decorative lighting in combination with lighting integrated into the interior or landscape details provides the primary layer of light. Downlights and other sources complement the same for accents wherever required. Lighting designers worked closely with the core design team of architects, interior designers and landscape architects to achieve the balance to accent the splendour and provide the right navigation through the meandering resort”.

The hotel’s lighting design was carefully crafted to enhance the guest experience. In the guestrooms, a comforting light balance was achieved to provide a relaxed ambience through the use of conditional programming, which modulated the light balance for different times of the day and after nightfall.

The lobby and lobby lounge featured an interesting blend of zones with different activities seamlessly flowing into each other. The lighting played a crucial role in creating a smooth transition between zones and helped to establish the identity of each space.

One of the highlights of the hotel is the Al Hadheerah open-air event restaurant that transcends from a serene dining experience to a spectacular night out. From the warm glows from the lantern that greets the guests, the night explodes into a razzmatazz of colours.

Lutron’s myRoom plus Guestroom Control Unit was chosen for Guest Room Management System (GRMS). It enables a single point of control for lighting, shades/draperies and temperature. Guests can use myRoom to easily create the perfect mood to suit the moment and adjust it throughout their stay while a vacant room can be automated for energy savings. Apart from automation at the room level using keypads and sensors, automation was enabled centrally along with integration with the Property Management System and Central Door Lock System. 

Some of the features of GRMS include the activation of different scenes of lighting in the guest room based on the time of day, the activation of multiple scenarios of lighting and HVAC in the guest room based on occupancy status received from the in-room presence sensors and the Door lock system as well as live monitoring and control of the functions in the Guest rooms from myRoom view software. 

The lighting control system includes control of different types of light fixtures including DALI, DMX, mains dimmable and On/Off. The system enables the setting of different scenes including dimming and colour changing which are activated from the keypads. Astronomical Timer controls the light in specific areas. Quantum view software enables live monitoring and control of the system.  Lighting Control Systems and GRMS are integrated with Building Management System.

The project was challenging due to the tight deadlines and also because it was a refurbishment project due to which solutions had to incorporate within the existing infrastructure. It was also a large project with different complexities in different areas. The coordination and support of Lutron, the lighting and interior designers and the contractor led to successful completion. 

Regarding the collaboration between Studio Lumen and Creation, Mr Vinod Pillai states, “The team at Studio Lumen has always collaborated well with the team at Creation Gulf. The synergy between the teams works well to ensure that the desired concept is brought to fruition.”

Lighting up resorts

The first step is determining the types of lights most suitable for a particular area depending on intended use, specific purpose and desired atmosphere. Lighting should also be functional, illuminating dark pathways and pool areas. In guest rooms, lighting should be fully customizable with dimming capabilities and a full range of colour temperatures. Finally, well-designed resort lighting should complement interior design features and highlight exterior architectural elements. It should effortlessly flow from one area to the next and subconsciously guide guests around the resort premises.
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