David T’Kint transforms the JW Marriott in Riyadh by taking inspiration from the region’s charming nature and opting for organic and soft lines that express Saudi Arabia’s ever-changing windblown deserts.

Riyadh Capital commissioned David T’Kint to rebrand the Burj Rafal hotel to become the first luxury JW Marriott on King Fahd Road in Saudi Arabia’s capital city, Riyadh. The multiyear conversion captures the region’s charming nature in the interior features with earthy tones accented in green to emphasise when the ‘Rain finally comes to the land’.

Riyad Capital commissioned David T’Kint to rebrand the Burj Rafal hotel as the first luxury JW Marriott on Riyadh’s King Fahd Road. The first phase of the multi-year conversion, which included extensive public areas, was completed in 2022. The JW Marriott brand pillar, ‘Be present in mind, nourished in body, and revitalised in spirit,’ was at the heart of the brief, allowing guests to preferentially experience nature in a tactile way through carefully curated sensory sophistication. The interior design of the JW Marriott captures the region’s charming nature; the lines are organic and soft, and they express Saudi Arabia’s ever-changing windblown deserts. The colours are earthy and permeated with green hues, reminiscent of nourished landscapes as ‘Rain finally comes to the land,’ an excerpt from an ancient inspirational poem. Guests are surrounded by a series of green elements that have been cleverly integrated into the various interior spaces as they travel through the hotel, immersing them in a world of peace, tranquillity, and harmony.

T’Kint completed the first phase in just over a year and a half, which was three times faster than expected. Upon entering the JW Marriott, guests are greeted by a beautiful triple-volume lobby with a glazed façade overlooking the elegantly landscaped outdoor water feature. The walls feature heritage-inspired patterns that complement the building’s modern façade. Backlit and highlighted by beautifully textured cladding, the seven-metre-wide reception desk is an imposing sculpture on marble flooring. A hand-blown glass Bomma pendant light installation depicting a clear desert night sparkles in the ceiling, illuminating the comfortable, organic-shaped seating below.

The interactive concierge library at the hotel encourages guests to learn about Saudi Arabia’s rich cultural heritage. The Capital Lounge provides guests with an exceptional luxury tea experience. Each piece of furniture has been hand-picked to add intrigue to the Rosso Levanto-clad counter feature. A tea cellar rounds out the one-of-a-kind experience. The tea sommelier creates craft beverages for guests and visitors to enjoy while embarking on a journey to discover a unique blend of teas from around the world. Casa Cacao is the brainchild of the three Roca brothers, who are famous for their three-star Michelin chocolatier El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. The tile-clad counter is inspired by their Spanish-style outlet, and the rich walnut wood wall serves as the perfect backdrop.

The Kitchen on 3 is an all-day dining establishment that pays homage to century-old culinary traditions. Lush greenery and splashes of colour, in keeping with the JW Marriott brand identity, create a nourishing vibe. The restaurant is the hotel’s beating heart, seamlessly fusing traditional gastronomic traditions with the energy of a modern world. In a modern market-inspired kitchen, this spice-filled dining experience serves authentic Middle Eastern dishes. The hotel’s partially renovated executive lounge offers exclusive benefits and privacy, as well as splashes of natural greens that contrast with otherwise serene neutral tones.

David T’Kint and his team of designers, Riham Farajy, Eilyn Xin, Majd Johar and Sara Alameen worked closely together as by nature, a refurbishment project is infinitely more complex than a new-build property. When parts of a building are demolished, it’s common to find unexpected challenges. FEBC sourced and procured all of the furniture, light fittings and accessories, whilst Bomma provided the decorative glass installation. The meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions, MICE spaces, and 349 guestrooms over 66 floors will follow in the next phase.