Hotel F+B


Fish [signature seafood] at the W Retreat & Spa | Maldives


In 2005, Poole Associates was commissioned to design 5 F+B outlets at W Retreat & Spa, Maldives. < Visit the main pages

Part of this commission was to provide a full architectural package for Fish and Sip, the signature restaurant and bar for the Retreat. The photos on this page document this process, beginning with site selection below....


Piles are completed, after careful relocation of all coral that was to be covered by the eventual decks and jetty. It's apparent that the sunset views from the Lounge beds of the bar are going to be spectacular.

The roof and trident columns of the restaurant are completed. The rounded shape of the Cajan roof with gently arching cross braces subtly resemble the hull of a ship. The trident column format is designed to resemble a fishing spear.







The roof for the Bar is similar, but arranged with a more formal format of columns placed closer together for infill with monsoon blinds. The proportions of the roof structure are inspiring, with its' temple quality.







Below | An exterior view of the two structures and the concrete framed bustle that will house the kitchen and toilets, taken from the beach. The dining decks are being installed while the white plastic tarp protects the interior, where the exhaust hood will eventually emerge.

The structural system was determined by Poole Associates, and the design intent passed to the structural engineers in Male, via e:mail. The slenderness of the steel columns almost defies gravity. The massive form of the roof seems to hover over the deck.



Critical to the construction process, was to complete the base of the columns in a perfect triangle as they merge with the timber deck. The steel structural tubes are bolted to the concrete frame that is cast with the underwater piles. The space between the final deck height and the steel-to-concrete zone was carefully determined.

The result as the columns are clad with miter joint timber, is a perfect merge into the trident form. Poole Associates must give tremendous applause to the Maldivian construction team that took the project this far to PERFECT resolution of the design drawings.


Below | Bakau poles lashed to frames are used as a screen to protect the porte cocher - the service entry for food delivery. The screen also masks the service areas and the toilets from direct view from the beach. 

As this project was Poole Associates first tropical resort, we took extra care to establish an elegance with the simplest of natural building materials. This Bakau pole screen epitomizes this approach. The inherent natural shape of the poles, while inconsistent in warp and diameter, are applied in panels that transform this naturalness into a clearly controlled expression.

Below | the elegance of the screen wall floating in front of the curved jetty 'sings' with the setting. 

'God is in the details' said our mentor, Mies van der Rohe.

Additional Bakau poles are used as sun shading devices around the Bar pavilion. The main structures are now complete, and internal fitting-out works now commence. The low platform on the right, is a second lounge bed, that will eventually have sailcloth tarps installed overhead. The deck and jetty timbers are now losing the reddish tone of fresh sawn timber and are weathering to a soft natural silver.


Fused blue glass panels arrive from China to be installed as fascia cladding on the Bar, Kitchen counters and the service stations. The installation process takes many days, as total precision is again called into play. The glass sets into channels in the deck, held in place with bronze channels. A top plate of bronze completes the tremendously expensive installation. 



A scorching Maldivian afternoon, the two sailcloth tarps are installed. Surprisingly easy and without a hitch, the sails are tightened, the W staff are instructed on the finer points of maintaining perfectly coiled ropes secured to the mooring cleats. Later that night, the bar opens for drinks for the first time, as the Retreat is now hosting the first guests - photographer and journalists from GQ Berlin.

View the final images of

W Retreat & Spa | Maldives

named 'best resort 2007'


Travel & Leisure magazine

In keeping with the stature of being the signature restaurant on the island, in a spectacular setting, seemingly innocuous vantage points are unexpectedly romantic.

Here, the titanium cement rendered chimney punctures the hut roof where the upper and lower structural joists meet. The tilting Trident columns pointing upwards frame the scene. Our inspiration for a future tropical chapel perhaps?

the final product