With younger generations spending more and more time on technology-related experiences it is not surprising that many parents are using vacations as an opportunity to power off devices and explore more experiential and educational alternatives. Hotels that accommodate this desire with specialty amenities centered around youth entertainment make a big impact with parents.
One such property that designed an inspiring space for the entire family to enjoy a range of activities is the Nut House and Nature Center at Oil Nut Bay on Virgin Gorda. With all focus being imagination and kid-friendly adventure, the experience of nature and respect for the land and sea, architects OBMI, took to designing an engaging and exciting space for young minds to be set free. The structure is meant to be a mirror to the surrounding natural environment and incorporate creative uses of natural structures, supports and designs.
Design inspiration for the structure began with sketches of hobbit houses where mystical creatures and beings live. In reality, visitors approaching the Nut House and Nature Center will first notice the awe-inspiring and fantasy like exterior which complements the BVI’s unique ecosystem. The dramatic roofline weaves into the hillside landscape while optimally covering the dome shaped house. The supporting pillars, real Florida cypress trees, were hand selected from the Florida Everglades for their shape, size, and height to support the roof and add a rich natural context to the building. The miniature, circular, kids-only door, and celestial-inspired windows are designed to imitate the entry to a hobbit house where young explorers could uncover the secrets tucked away inside.
Inside, a bright and dreamy space awaits rich environmental programming for children, young adults, and their parents. The space is dedicated to educational programming of the environment, nature, and uniqueness of the BVI. Offering educational encounters, learnings about the island’s unique flora and fauna—including the migratory patterns of the humpback whale and the delicate life of the coral reefs—the island’s unique history, and the culture of the BVI, the treehouse encourages submersion into the surrounding environment.
When one thinks hotel design, they don’t typically think about children’s amenities, but when catering to multigenerational travel, it is a must. The good news is when hotels that can spark excitement with their youngest guests win big with their parents. Whether renovating an existing property or still in the master planning stage, hoteliers and developers should take note of this trend and plan for creatively designed spaces that provide a convenient, fun, and unique experience that the whole family can enjoy.