Boutique Hotel luxury retreat – creating ‘sanctuary’

Boutique hotel luxury retreat - designed tp embrace the science of creating a sanctuary in its design.

Boutique hotel luxury retreat – designed to embrace the science of creating a sanctuary.



Boutique hotel luxury retreat – your room should be a sanctuary


Most guests love our relaxed, understated design heuristic.


Of course, it is not necessarily to everybody’s taste. Some expect more glitz, more opulence, more everythin’ as ‘evidence of luxury’.

But our design ‘atmosphere’ is based soundly on science – the science of relaxation.


We believe that, after the hustle and bustle of travel, guests want their room to be a low-key, relaxing sanctuary. Sally Augustin, an environmental psychologist agrees that “We’ve always had the need for some sort of retreat or sanctuary.”


Our room aesthetic is classic Georgian simplicity meets modern minimalist,  deliberately uncluttered to still the mind. We minimise accents that can engage and stimulate as research has shown this is conducive to creating a calm space.


And as luck would have it, this is currently ‘on trend’ for interior design.

(Plus, smooth uncluttered surfaces are also the most hygienic in a Coved world.)


The most frequent reaction that we get is a sigh, followed by:

“Oh this is lovely!”



The science behind the design.


Research suggests that our rooms should be cleared of environmental irritants. Even though the research is in its early stages, it is having a growing impact on architects, designers and professional organizers. Environmental psychologists believe the spaces we live in are as inextricably linked to our neurological well-being as sleep, diet and exercise.


Moderate visual complexity is not a new concept. Think about the homes of Frank Lloyd wright. Parred back with genius simplicity, his shapes, colours and textures feel loosely connected.


The science is not rocket science:

  • declutter. keep lines simple and limit eye catching hi lights that engage and stimulate
  • keep wall colour muted, choose patterns wisely, and limit to splashes of colour and texture
  • use sunlight and nature in your design planning


Sunlight plays an important part in creating internal atmosphere.

Carolyn Rickard-Brideau is an architect advisor on medical research which gauges the health benefits of living spaces. Carolyn always advises that “natural light helps regulate serotonin” and brings about a sense of contentment.

Dak Kopekhas written several books on the psychology of design. He observes that it is, however, important to be able to fully block the light to ensure good sleep. This is particularly so in hotels, where guests’ time clocks may be out of sync from travelling.

Our room shutters are perfect. Fully open, they flood the rooms with light. Closed they block the light and insulate the room.


Carolyn also note that “Humans have a mind-body connection to nature”, and recommends bringing nature indoors.

All rooms at The Woodbridge have lovely views of gardens and huge trees, with the added delight of river views. The therapeutic value of watching water is well documented.



The following article has some additional ideas.