ReardonSmith completes Pik Palas

Pik Palas, a new hotel designed by ReardonSmith Architects for a major new year-round resort in the Greater Caucasus mountain range of Azerbaijan, opened.

Shahdag Mountain Resort is planned to become the region’s premier resort with skiing and other snow sports in the winter, as well as golf and various summertime pursuits during the rest of the year.

The design of the hotel is inspired by the mountain hotels of the Swiss Alps, as requested by the client. Local limestone and render clad the façade of the building’s reinforced concrete structural frame, which employs a raft foundation with a lightweight framework for parts of the pitched roof. The zinc-clad roof with its diamond-format tiles will develop a patina as it ages.    

Windows with bronze colored frames were added to the exterior. These are flanked on each side by traditionally styled shutters. Guestrooms, centrally placed on the facades, benefit from French doors onto balconies dressed with metal balustrades. 

Pik Palas Shahdag is one of two hotels designed by ReardonSmith for the resort’s main plaza which will also be bordered by a mix of chalets, ski facilities, retail boutiques, restaurants and bars. The hotel’s proximity to the other amenities helped to determine its structural layout and spatial flow. A gatehouse pavilion welcomes guests before they progress up the inclined driveway, passing the rooftops of the shops to one side and then sweeping round above the ballroom level to reach the porte cochère and main entrance.  An alternative entrance is also available at ground level, linking the hotel directly with the shopping boutiques.


A primary consideration was the connection with the resort’s principal ski routes to the south. Changing rooms and ski in/out facilities are therefore located in the south wing from where guests ski just a short way to the mountain lifts. The changing rooms could serve golfers during summer. The central area between the two flanks of the building is occupied by the 7,535-square-foot ballroom. Carved into the mountainside on the south, it is column-free and it opens out on the north elevation to an “external ballroom” terrace protected by the landscaped undulations of the valley on three sides and with a colonnade leading to the ballroom interior on the fourth.  

Pik Palas accommodates 168 guestrooms, including a Presidential Suite and a 11,087-square-foot penthouse apartment within the rooftop level of the central wing. There is a spa and health club, and indoor and outdoor pools, as well as the 6,135-square-foot golf and ski facilities.

Pik Palas was designed with a range of epicurean hotspots, including the fine dining of the Alpina Brasserie and Wine Bar, to the Asian restaurant Fujisan Restaurant and Bar.

Located in the Shahdag National Park and surrounded by mountains, the new resort will play an important role in the First European Games next year, which will be headquartered in Azerbaijan’s capital city of Baku. 

ReardonSmith is based in London. In 2013, the practice formed ReardonSmith Landscape, a dedicated landscape design team, to offer clients a fully integrated building and landscape design process. Current projects include: The Beaumont, London; InterContinental London Park Lane; Regent Porto Montenegro; The Lanesborough, London; Intourist and White City hotels in Baku, Azerbaijan; Four Seasons Astana, Kazakhstan; Bowness Hotel, Windermere, UK; Wentworth Golf Resort, Surrey, UK; and several projects for Cadogan Estates in London.

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