Pocono Manor, Pennsylvania
Architect: Architectural Design Consultants Inc.
Owner: Kalahari Resorts, LLC
Contractor: Kraemer Brothers, LLC
Phase one of this African-themed hospitality resort includes 457 guest rooms, 120,000 square foot convention center, 110,000 square foot indoor water park, 30,000 square foot arcade/family entertainment center, three signature restaurants, luxury spa and retail, and totals just under 790,000 square feet.
The 150-acre site of rolling terrain and sits on a hard layer of stepped bedrock. Surface water sheds into a neighboring creek and on-site water retainage was necessary and embraced by the design.
The exterior façade embraces visitors with an African Safari Water Park Resort feel and a stepping facade. The elevated porte cochere with hut structure and branch support brackets overlooks a beautiful pond with rock outcroppings and cascading waterfalls. The hotel and convention centers are materialized into works of art through an array of colors and African-themed patterns and murals. Exterior lighting assists with the evening experience with the use of intense, high-efficiency LED lighting that casts light down the entire eight story high-rise.
The architect designed different themed guest experiences at each of seven restaurants, three retail shopping centers plus candy shop, coffee shop, full-service spa and swim up bars both indoors and outdoors. Design elements for wet environments and wet swimsuits throughout the resort include heavy-duty, leather-look vinyl at all guest seating, high impact wall coverings at all public areas and within guest units, scrubbable paints throughout, corner guards, specialty grouts, diagonal ceiling tiles in long corridors, log chair rails while maintaining a sense of Africa.
The functionality of the interior spaces was key as over 80% of guests never leave the resort during their stay. A village unto itself, the resort provides guests with a transforming vacation experience. When traversing the resort, wayfinding is critical. Icons such as a giant metal acacia tree, life-size elephant, and a bronze gorilla appear everywhere while genuine African art weaves authenticity into the fantasy.
Back-of-house operations are efficiently and effectively integrated through well-conceived design, attention to the smallest detail, thorough understanding of project needs and goals, and a desire to set a new standard for indoor waterpark resorts.
Photos: Paul S. Bartholomew Photography