Vision of the architect
Delfins Beach Resort is located on a 200 m stretch of coastline in the south-western part of beautiful Bonaire.
The vast plot where the resort was built used to be the domain of one single villa from the 1960s. The coastal strip features some ruggedly shaped volcanic “fingers” protruding into the sea, and a so-called blow hole from which impressive jets of sea water spray are ejected at regular intervals. Remnants of a prominent coral stone dike that was in place until just a few years ago are still visible on the beach. The same type of dike could once be found elsewhere along the island’s west coast as well. It’s no coincidence that the former settlement of Kralendijk was initially baptized “Koraaldijk” by the original inhabitants of the island.
The Delfins accommodation facilities were designed as eight mainly small-scale apartment pavilions with a contemporary Caribbean signature. They were given a free layout within the plan area, with an equivalent visual quality throughout – the buildings do not have typical fronts and backs. The structures are further characterized by slightly inclined cap shapes, and facades incorporating covered porches and wall openings in the form of shutters. To ensure privacy and fully benefit from the cooling trade winds, the apartments’ covered porches are consistently located in outward facing corners. In many places the sharp silhouettes of salt mountains and the nearby violet tinged salt saliňas are in view directly from the first-floor level. It is worth mentioning that the resort is on the route that workers once traveled weekly. After a hike of up to 7 hours from Rincon, where their families lived, they worked as slaves in the salt extraction industry.
A tasteful ensemble
The heart of the compound features a front office and park lobby designed in lava and white facade. Situated directly on the palm beach is an over 350m2 large meandering magna / mineral pool, with an “island” with lounge seats that can be accessed via stepping stones. Another prominent item in the pool is a pool bar with a palm leaf canopy. The restaurant with outdoor kitchen and direct ocean front terrace, along with the scuba shop, are housed in the renovated and expanded former villa. This charming building has retained its original identity, in architecture as well as colors and materials. Within the original spatial context, using matching friendly color tones and beautiful tropical botanical elements, a tasteful ensemble of buildings and facilities was created that perfectly portrays the intended atmosphere.
Sustainable and efficient
Building on Bonaire, where raw materials are never readily available and conditions are dictated by a tropical sea climate, requires a specific approach. Sustainable use of materials, environment-oriented applications, and efficient construction methods and logistics resulted in the creation of Delfins Beach Resort. To me, being given charge of the integral design was a unique challenge and a special privilege at the same time.