British architect Pringle Brandon Botschi's Austrian spa hotel encourages indulgence in its sun-drenched terraces, elegant, light-filled rooms and generous bathing areas. Pass the loofah …
A new 4-star-plus spa hotel in the countryside of eastern Austria shows how simplicity and luxury can be combined in modern architecture.

The £26m hotel at Loipersdorf near Graz was designed by British architect Pringle Brandon Botschi, now practising separately as Pringle Brandon and Botschi Vargas Architects.

The 300 bedrooms are strung out along a sinuous four-storey strip building that hugs the hillside. All the bedrooms face south-west over their individual sun terraces to the rolling landscape of Styria. At one end of the strip, the hotel adjoins Loipersdorf's existing spa complex of indoor and outdoor thermal spa pools, saunas and steam baths.

The hotel abounds in elegant, light-filled spaces. Clean-cut modern detailing and a limited palette of mainly natural materials, such as limestone, larch, brushed stainless steel and glass, all contribute to the effect.

Being a spa hotel, water and clarity are key themes throughout. Guests enter through a curved, double-height entrance hall, from where a stream of clear water flows seamlessly beneath the glazed facade back to outside world. A timber bridge leads guests across the pool into the main reception space, which is flanked by two pairs of glass lifts.

A fish-speciality restaurant with a large aquarium occupies a mezzanine overlooking the entrance hall. A larger dining room located on the second floor extends out to an expansive sun terrace that doubles as the wide entrance canopy.

Penthouse suites have generous open-plan sleeping and bathing areas. Nothing more substantial than a translucent glass bedhead separates the double bed from a large circular double-sized bath. Beyond this, a curved vanity unit in limestone contains the washbasin, with a circular mirror suspended above it.

Loipersdorf is the first hotel to have been developed by the giant electrics corporation Siemens, and is leased to Inter-Continental Hotels and Resorts.