Sky, sand & sea

SB Architects, an international architecture firm celebrated for creating spaces that capture the history, culture, and context of each location, has revealed the design for The St. Regis Longboat Key Resort and Residences, a new resort community nestled in the white sands of the Gulf of Mexico. Situated on a barrier island outside of Sarasota, FL, The St. Regis Longboat Key is scheduled to break ground this fall and will deliver luxury seaside living with the amenities and service of a world-class, five-star resort upon opening in spring 2024. Developed by Unicorp National Developments, the 166-room resort and 69 private luxury condominiums will be distinguished both for the property’s architectural expression and the level of luxury that the St. Regis brand will bring to the locale. SB Architects is working alongside Hirsch Bedner Associates Miami (HBA), Marc-Michaels Interior Design and Enea Landscape Design to bring the vision to life.

Courtesy of SB Architects
Courtesy of SB Architects

“It was only natural for us to draw design inspiration from the aquamarine waters and soft, white stretches of sand as well as the native flora and fauna surrounding the site,” said Pinar Harris, VP/principal, SB Architects. “We took our cues from the existing landscape for materials and underscored connections to this unique environment through contemporary buildings comprised mostly of glass, featuring clean lines and floor-to-ceiling windows. Natural light and stunning coastal views are maximized from every point of the project, from the lobby to the guestrooms, residences and ballroom.”

An immersive experience begins the moment guests and residents arrive, as they enter through a canopy of jacaranda trees. Inside, an entry corridor enhances the view to the ocean through an immersive, barrel-vaulted digital ceiling, where ambient lighting reflects the sky’s spectacular sunset colors daily. Projectors display graceful birds across the ceiling intermittently, capturing a sense of movement and bringing the outdoor environment inside.

Courtesy of HBA Miami
Courtesy of HBA Miami

“Our architectural design is also influenced by the local architectural history that is deeply rooted in Sarasota,” Harris noted. “Through modern, innovative design, we aimed to favor honest expression of structures and capture natural light within each space…In designing the resort interiors, HBA Miami created its own portals into nature.”

In addition to drawing inspiration from dance-like moments in nature, including the skillful flight of birds along the shore, the resort interiors by HBA honor Sarasota’s culture and history by gesturing toward the intersection of circus and dance. Sarasota is renowned for its performing arts—including The Sarasota Ballet—and for its circus heritage, owing to circus impresario John Ringling, who so loved Sarasota that he chose it for the winter quarters of Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey. Showcasing a clean and natural palette of colors, the contemporary interiors leverage these local insights in subtle touches, such as rope-like chandeliers suspended from the ceiling; an oval-shaped ballroom inspired by aerial rings; and in the St. Regis Bar, a center feature latticed like a circus cage rising into the ceiling.

Courtesy of HBA Miami
Courtesy of HBA Miami

In the guestroom corridor, carpet patterns are reminiscent of local ocean currents while flowy drapes drawn over artworks and dramatic lighting add an element of theatrical surprise. Resort guestrooms and luxury residences offer unobstructed views of the ocean, with glass railings creating seamless connections between the outdoor living spaces and natural surroundings. Guestrooms feature wood paneling in the living area and subtle touches of color. Careful layering of materials, such as ceiling paneling with wood grain on the underside of the exterior balconies, complements the natural palette in the interiors and adds a sense of warmth to the architectural expression.

Courtesy of HBA Miami
Courtesy of HBA Miami

“St. Regis brand is the embodiment of timeless tradition through celebrating its history and heritage in an innovative spirit,” Harris said. “To stay true to the brand, we wanted buildings to be contemporary, modern and innovative and to feel luxurious while delivering a sense of understated, approachable elegance. We also wanted to deliver a ‘wow’ effect throughout the resort and branded residences, designing and positioning spaces with a view corridor toward the beach and the gulf. The property will stand out because of its distinctive architectural expression and the level of luxury that St. Regis brand expresses for the island…Creating moments where residents feel they have arrived at their own personal seaside sanctuary was an important part of our design and quest to honor the St. Regis brand.”

Courtesy of SB Architects
Courtesy of SB Architects
Courtesy of SB Architects
Courtesy of SB Architects

The resort features a 20,000-sq.-ft. St. Regis Signature Spa, a salt-water lagoon with live fish and sea life and an open-air Sunset Bar overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, in addition to a meandering drift stream, heated infinity edge pool, beachside event lawns and business meeting facilities. The private condominiums—ranging from approximately 1,500 to nearly 6,000 sq. ft.—comprise three six-story buildings and offer residents access to the amenities at St. Regis Resort & Spa, in addition to their own dedicated private amenities, including a waterfront pool and spa with a privacy sundeck and Resident’s Clubhouse featuring a world-class Wellness Center with meditation and yoga studios. Each residence will feature expansive terraces—some with infinity edge plunge pools—and a secured private access elevator opening directly into the residence.

“The property offers many experiences from the coalition between the architectural, the interior design and the landscape architectural perspectives,” Harris said. “As the design team, we are looking forward to the feedback once the property opens its doors.”

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