Champalimaud Design: Revamping The Ritz Carlton on the Cayman Islands


champalimaud design ritz Carlton

An award-winning design studio Champalimaud Design has led the redesign of the recently renovated The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. The New York based interior design studio is committed to creating transformative spaces and unparalleled products, in the residential, hospitality and wellness spheres. Responsible for revamping the public spaces, guestrooms and suites of the resort, the studio has honoured the island’s rich history and natural beauty in their design renovations.

The studio wanted to create a strong sense of place and reflect the natural beauty of the island. Careful consideration was given to the lobby and reception area to ensure this was achieved as soon as guests entered the resort. Natural materials and colours are used throughout, from lush greens, beach inspired whites and beiges to deep blues evocative of Cayman’s night sky and the turquoise of the Caribbean Sea.

The silver thatch palm, which is the national tree and endemic to the Cayman Islands, has been interwoven throughout the resort. This is a Caymanian symbol, due to its economic and social significance, the plant was used to make rope, a vital export that supported the economy and the weaving of the plant brought people together – today the palm serves as a representation of the ingenuity of the people.

This symbol influenced the choice of the pendant lights in the lobby lounge and the biophilic carpets in the lobby, corridors and stairwells. “The corridors are whimsical, with layers of local flora travelling through the halls, leading visitors through the public spaces and beyond.” Courtney Brannan, Principal at Champalimaud Design. The palm also inspired the rich green colour palette used in the Silver Palm Bar, a cigar and cocktail bar that celebrates Caribbean elegance, which features soaring arched windows that provide unbeatable views of waterways and fairways with lush tropical blooms.

Cigars and rum, exports for which the island is widely known for, are showcased in the custom-built hardwood cabinets by local designer Martlet Design. The studio’s designs are harmonious with the island’s environment, culture, and its people. Champalimaud Design created an immersive experience for guests by ensuring the public spaces were “rich with art by local art and artisans, as well as custom furnishings from surrounding talent on the island. The entire hotel is adorned in large-scale, impactful pieces that help transform the spaces entirely. Selected specifically for each location in which they reside, the interiors are harmoniously reflected within each.” Courtney Brannan.

Champalimaud Design drew upon the island’s history of basket weaving and rope making throughout the space; a collection of baskets form the chandelier in the Silver Palm Bar, a suite boasts a four poster bed featuring a woven texture at the headboard and rope detailing is repeatedly incorporated in the lighting throughout.

In addition to the public spaces and guest accommodations, the resort’s meeting spaces which are known to host Grand Cayman’s grandest galas and corporate groups from around the globe were refreshed. These palatial spaces were reimagined in luminous neutrals from cream to champagne with rich, warm accents on the soaring ceilings and rope detailing in the wall coverings. The pre-function area evokes a classic thatch pattern while the ballroom deconstructs those designs into a beautiful field of woven elements. Light fixtures transpose undersea life to the ceiling, with sculptural coral colonies of organic forms with each dome a unique shape, just like in nature.


Based in New York City, Champalimaud Design is an award-winning, multidisciplinary design firm with a commitment to creating unparalleled spaces with their clients and collaborators. Run by three partners, including the company’s founder, Alexandra Champalimaud, the studio celebrates design excellence and the traditions of craftsmanship–a pairing that has allowed them to explore and redefine designing for impact. For the last quarter century, Champalimaud Design has been recognized internationally for its visionary design concepts and keen ability to infuse spaces with modernity while maintaining integrity, character, and a sense of place.



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