Nestled within the breathtaking foothills of the Himalayan Mountains at the hill station town of Mussoorie, the JW Marriott reinforces the centuries old tradition of hospitality in a naturally luxurious environment.

PIA was invited to design India’s very first JW Marriott resort hotel in the inspirational town of Mussoorie. Mussoorie has for centuries been a favourite holiday retreat, with a rich history dating back to the time of British colonisation. Many British government officials stationed in India, as well as prominent local officials would send their wives and children to reside in Mussoorie during the hot summer months. Even to this day, thousands of visitors accent to Mussoorie to sightsee, hike or visit many of the colonial style buildings, temples, and as well as schools which can be found in the locality. Because of the temperate climate, alfresco dining became an inherent tradition in a country renowned for its unforgiving temperature. Indeed dating back to colonial times many houses featured impressive gardens for entertaining as well as producing locally grown produce. The remnants of the same can still be seen to this day.

With an awe-inspiring backdrop and a significant nod to its colonial past, the design of the JW Marriott Mussoorie can be described as timeless modernity. A post and beam structure with infilled glass panels is rendered in neutral tones to allow it to disappear into the environment. Of course, this provides the opportunity for the predominantly glass façade to open up the views for the enjoyment of those within, framing a natural canvas and allowing it to take centre stage.

Although a well-appointed property the hotel itself is modest in size. Given the altitude as well as the challenging terrain not to mention an unforgiving rainy season, development in the area is a significant challenge. Given these constraints, the JW Marriott Mussoorie is a rare modern day addition to what remains largely an undisturbed area of natural beauty.

The name Walnut Grove Resort and Spa is derived historically from the many walnut plantations which were prevalent in the area over the centuries. What remains today are two existing walnut trees which can be seen on arrival. However this inspiration goes beyond name only and walnut has become a flavour which has evolved into the menus of the four Restaurant outlets, the JW Café All Day Dining, the Wisteria Deck Italian Restaurant, the Asian Teppan and the Trout House Bar and Grill serving a fusion of Indian and European cuisine.

The arrival court is wrapped in an elegantly ribbed bronze aluminium cladding to add glittering texture and contemporary refinement. A highlight on arrival is the enchanting bronze sculpture of the lady on a bench depicting an endearing tale of bygone days and eternal memory.

The arrival Lobby pays tribute to Mussoorie’s significant past. The Lobby space is draped in sandstone marble with raised ceiling coves anchoring the seating spaces for guests as they transition from arrival through to the Lobby and into the Reception. The ceiling coves evolve vertically from clean-lined contemporary detailing to a more traditional coffer ceiling complete with Indian motifs offering a familiar sense of place. Furniture is colonial in styling reminiscent of British furniture of the time with colourful additions by way of area rugs and soft furnishings. These inviting pops of colour were inspired from the nearby town of Bhatoli, commonly referred to as Corn Village. Here century-old wooden houses vibrantly painted in orange-red and turquoise colours are commonplace. Residents hang corn outside their houses to dry out so it can then be crushed to make cornflower.

The Cedar Spa by L’Occitane was conceptualised as a walk in the garden with full height glass providing engaging connectivity between the Spa passage and the external courtyard beyond. The natural appeal is enhanced by the added visual perspective that the Courtyard provides.  A linear arrangement of cedar trees and water bodies encapsulate the garden within which follows through into the interior finishes. Ceilings are clad in cedar wood and slope from outside in allowing natural light to flood into the corridor as well as into the spaces beyond. At the end of the corridor, a feature wall of the resinised mother of pearl tiles adds colour and dramatic textural presence. In total there are five treatment rooms which offer cedar inspired therapeutic and Ayurvedic treatments. The rooms follow the soothing tones of the Guestrooms and are emphasised through the simplicity of symmetry. A freestanding pedestal sink is located on axis offering the beauty of function, set within a niche wrapped in mother of pearl completing the look of tranquillity and natural calm.

Project: JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove Resort & Spa India
Location: India
Design Studio: PIA Interior