The Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection

Pool, Spa

The Story

The goal in designing this resort pool area was to cater to the needs of all of the guests from young to old, small to large crowds, providing spaces that everyone can call their own and using the natural environment to its greatest potential.

As Senior Project Manager for the renovation of the Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa in 2002, I prepared multiple options to add 100 rooms, a 20,000 square foot spa facility, and a family-oriented pool amenity. A new building with a significant pool amenity and an added beach next to the pool was chosen by hotel management.

I was also able to shift the drive and parking closer to the lagoon and extend it back to the primary entrance for better circulation. This plan also allowed for the ability to connect all buildings with a covered walkway, so guests could get from any building to the convention center without getting wet.

Only a few trees had to be removed for the construction of the pool. The way the pools and other elements were arranged, I was able to save the most significant trees, one of which was used to build a playhouse and even a waterslide. This required root surveys to determine if it was feasible to accommodate the large concrete footings needed to support such a vertical feature. It worked out great and the view from the top of the slide across the Mobile Bay is amazing!

The focal feature is an artificial rock formation that separates the feature pool on one side and a spa nestled on the other side. The adult-only spa and pool have shallow shelves for sunning, spray jets for the relaxing sound of splashing water, and the visual interest of arching forms into the pool. And, numerous small and large water geysers were incorporated into the beach entry area of the pool for children with places for parents to sit close by.

Due to the naturalistic character of the site, I designed a curvilinear pool shape which also allowed the incorporation of smaller spaces that people could enjoy. There are areas with the sun, areas with shade, space for a large tent to be set up on the pool deck, and even a restaurant and restrooms.

Detailing of a pool is important in creating a memorable space. We used a flush coping detail for this pool where the water is the same elevation as the pool deck, creating an attractive effect. There are even starfish impressions in the concrete at the beach entry. The planting and lighting were like putting the icing on the cake, but they were critically important in creating the desired ambiance of a resort pool during the day as well as night.

Client: Retirement Services of AL (RSA), Montgomery, AL
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Company Affiliation: Wood+Partners Inc., Hilton Head Island, SC

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