Hotels and Resorts with Elements of Biophilic Design



If you’re a fan of plant-filled rooms with natural light, climbing gardens or honeycomb-shaped wall tiles covered in moss, then you might be a lover of biophilic design. Discover more about this concept and the hotels and resorts using it in their design process.


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Biophilia is the innate human desire to connect with nature and other life forms. The term comes from the Greek words for “life” and “love’’- literally meaning “love of life.’’ As such, humans have a deeply ingrained love of nature and a psychological need to be in contact with the natural world. 

This idea is also the basis of biophilic design, which incorporates natural materials, patterns and elements in a space to resemble a natural environment. Think spaces that utilize natural light, indoor planting and water features. Not to mention that biophilia is more than just a design concept. Researchers have found that biophilic design supports cognitive function, physical health and psychological wellbeing such as improved productivity, lower levels of stress, enhanced learning and improved rates of recovery from illness.



There are three applications in which biophilic design can be used to connect nature and the urban environment: the direct presence of nature, the indirect presence of nature, and the nature of space. 

The direct presence of nature involves the use of natural elements such as sunlight, plants, water, etc. The indirect presence of nature refers to natural materials, patterns, colors, etc. in the design or facade of a building. The nature of space invokes characteristics of the natural environment such as expansive views or places of sensory refuge.

Good biophilic design should draw from perspectives that consider the health conditions, socio-cultural norms and expectations, and past and present experiences of not only the people but also the environment of the space. In turn, this creates a place that is inspirational, restorative and healthy while also respecting the ecosystem surrounding it. 

Here are some hotels and resorts that are doing just that with biophilic design.




“There is rarely a solution that is universal. Rather, the ‘correct’ solution, in our view, is one that is locally appropriate and responsive to the situation at hand.’’ -Rachel Kaplan, Stephen Kaplan & Robert L. Ryan, 1998 With People In Mind.





Blending into untouched red-rock country on the vast and majestic Colorado Plateau, Amangiri offers a mindful escape to a desert landscape of canyons, mesas, ridges and gorges. This desert oasis reflects the luminous qualities of the surrounding Utah desert as its accommodation features include white stone floors and concrete walls with clean lines. As the gateway to thousands of square miles of untouched scenery, guests are encouraged to discover the region their way as long-standing relationships with the local community allow Amangiri to arrange personal and fulfilling experiences for each individual.



Located on the Guanacaste peninsula in Costa Rica, Kasiiya is an award-winning sustainable hotel surrounded by one of the most ecologically diverse habitats in the world. As the central philosophy of the hotel, guests are immersed in the natural environment around them, giving them the opportunity to connect with the local way of life. Through this immersion in nature, individuals are encouraged to discover what works for them. With seven luxury tented suites positioned on the beach and two on the cliffside with sunset views, Kasiiya blends escape and privacy with sustainability and respect for the natural environment.    


Lefay Resort & Spa - Lake Garda

Lefay Resort & Spa Lago di Garda is located in Gargnano, an Italian town on the western shore of the crystal clear Lake Garda. Surrounded by gentle hills and natural terraces rich in woods and olive groves, the resort overlooks a spectacular view of the lake. Inspired by the local landscape and traditional buildings characterized by original stone and wood pillars, the design of the resort fits into the morphology of the natural environment. This minimal visual impact highlights the perfect integration of the resort into the land while maintaining its innovative and contemporary design.



Kisawa means unbreakable and properly describes the resort’s commitment to build an unbreakable bond between people and place, life and land. Situated on Benguerra Island off the coast of Mozambique, Kisawa is a combination of forest, beach and sand dunes with a mission to harmoniously bring wilderness and wellness together. And design has led the way in Kisawa’s story. By pairing innovation and tradition with the use of patented 3D printing technology and skilled artisanry, this East African sanctuary is not only protecting the environment but also ensuring a light ecological footprint on the landscape as well.


Capella Lodge

Situated in the South Pacific Ocean, Capella Lodge rests on Lord Howe Island, an intoxicating blend of pristine beaches, rich pastures, lush rainforests, and volcanic peaks rising from the reef. Capella Lodge’s raw teak and linen aesthetic meld modern design into the natural surroundings and draw attention to the mountains and sea surrounding the resort. Only 400 visitors are allowed on the Australian island at any one time and each guest is challenged to develop a personal connection to the culture and history of Lord Howe Island as they enjoy its natural heritage. 



Alila Villas Uluwatu

Set on a clifftop plateau along the southern coastline of Bali, Alila Villas Uluwatu is surrounded by breathtaking coastal vistas and unending sky and ocean views. The resort is near the Uluwatu Temple, which is perched atop a steep cliff and provides guests an enriching slice of Balinese culture. Blending in with the natural environment, the design of the interiors completely integrates with the resort’s architecture and provides a seamless transition from inside to outside. With the intention to minimize its environmental impact, Alila Villas Uluwatu embraces sustainability in all of its activities including the use of lava rocks to absorb the Bali heat and keep air-conditioning energy consumption to a minimum and the substitution of plastic-based amenities with biodegradable and compostable options.


+  Words:

Tyler Lea-Thompson
Luxiders Magazine