Sheraton Hotel and Sirana Spa

The 11 storey Sheraton Athlone Hotel is the central iconic element of the eight acre mixed-use redevelopment in Athlone’s town centre and it plays a pivotal role in promoting and sustaining day and night activity throughout the week and year. Comprising a tower on a two-storey plinth, the hotel accommodates 170 bedrooms; two restaurants; a bar; a generous foyer; a function room; meeting/seminar rooms; a spa and leisure centre and ancillary service areas. The majority of standard hotel rooms are arranged around a raised internal courtyard / terrace that can also be used as an outdoor space for larger functions. Guests can cross this courtyard through a glazed link to the bedrooms in the tower on floors five to nine which offer breathtaking views across the flood planes of the River Shannon through a floor-to-ceiling glazed facade. The top two floors of the tower comprise four penthouse suites and a bridal suite with a mezzanine bedroom level and private roof terrace. The majority of the shared public spaces, including the hotel foyer, restaurant and function room, are located in the two-storey plinth. The basement of the building accommodates a spa and leisure centre comprising changing areas, treatment areas, a tepidarium and an extensive retail area offering pedicure and manicure services. A number of the treatment rooms are expressed as copper boxes and dramitically cantilevered into a double-height pool hall. Both the spa and leisure centre benefit from high class, durable materials such as granite, limestone, glass mosaic tiles and solid oak. Like the new shopping mall and apartment buildings, the hotel has a modern contemporary look. The tonal range of external finishes, from the sophisticated curtain walling to the tower, through to the use of sandstone, is warm, light, responsive and visually rich. By treating the skin of the accommodation blocks differently, and by introducing a curvilinear geometry to one ‘wing’ any potential negative impacts of mass are mitigated. The quality of the interiors and materials reflect and surpass the high standards of a new four-star development and create a relaxed athmosphere that embraces hotel guests and visitors with a sense of warmth and comfort. A restrained, well-balanced palette of colours carries the eye through all public spaces, yet subtle twists give each area their distinct character. Warm natural stone and dark mahogany and wenge are the prevalant materials.These link an array of different spaces, ranging from the introverted spirituality of the spa to the understated luxury and richness of the large ballroom. The spa and leisure centre comprising changing areas; eight private treatment rooms; a relaxation area and specialist treatment areas including a tepidarium, razual, steam room and sauna. The Spa also includes an extensive retail area offering both pedicure and manicure services. The brief was to provide luxurious leisure facilities as well as an iconic urban day spa, adding value to the needs of the urban renewal. The design approach was to create a series of sequential spaces that, on plan, were informed by pragmatic spatial planning but take visitors on a stimulating and sensual journey characterised by a sense of introverted spirituality. On arrival to the Spa you are greeted at reception; this curved stone reception desk links to a curved stone wall which leads you on your journey into the Spa. Prior to your treatment you enter the spiritual heart of the spa, here you can retreat in the cocooned seating areas separated by a tranquil water feature. A number of the treatment rooms are expressed as copper boxes that dramatically cantilever into the double height space of the pool hall. Externally these three boxes designate the area where three feature pools are located within the main swimming pool. Materials for both areas benefit from refined high class, durable materials such as natural granite, limestone, specialist polished plaster and natural timbers of oak and wengey. These link an array of different spaces, ranging from the introverted spirituality of the spa to the understated luxury and richness of the leisure area.



Client: Gallico Developments Ltd
Status: Completion April 2008

The Directors, Staff and Consultants of MÓLA Architecture worked on this project while in Murray Ó Laoire Architects