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CATSKILL MOUNTAINS

Winnisook Lodge

Big Indian Resort and Spa

The Big Indian Resort and Spa is located within the Catskill Park in upstate New York on a nearly 2,000-acre private golfing community on the slopes of Belleayre Mountain. This 150-room luxury hotel will be the centerpiece to a resort comprised of an 18-hole golf course, club membership units and golf clubhouse. 
The site for the hotel is a wooded ridge stretching from the summit of Belleayre Mountain just below the 18th hole. It has exposure to the north, east and south sides of the ridge offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. 
In order to obtain approval with the many state and local governments as well as the many environmental groups opposed to developing the area, Emilio Ambasz was asked to design a 393,600 square foot building that is virtually hidden within the natural landscape while taking advantage of each possible vista to make it a premier hotel destination. 
To achieve this, Emilio Ambasz has designed the project into two buildings. The main building is for the hotel with the restaurants, banquet facility and support facilities, and a second building houses the spa and fitness center and the golf clubhouse. The main building is organized on five levels, each conforming to the natural terrain to effectively integrate the mass into the landscape with minimal excavation while approximating the original profile of the ridge. Each floor conforms to the natural contour of the ridge and steps back at each level creating roof terraces. The entire building is then blanketed with native plants essentially making it invisible. The spa and golf clubhouse are situated in a one-story structure reached from the lowest floor of the hotel. 
Ambasz has placed the lobby at the highest floor where guests enter into a circular motor court to reach the reception and restaurants. Arriving guests are offered breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains as they check-in or while dining in two restaurants or sipping drinks in the lounge. Patios on the roof terrace offer guests the best views.
The lobby continues down one level to a pre-function lounge near the banquet functions. Here, a ballroom for 200 people and three - 350 square foot conference rooms are located. From these spaces doors open to the outside expanding the events onto the roof terrace. 
At the core of the hotel is a five-story sky lit atrium filled with plants and waterfalls. The lower floors are reached by descending through the atrium in glass elevators. The atrium expands towards the bottom into a large space where guests may fully experience this interior landscape year-round.
At each of the four guest floors, elevators open onto generous sitting areas facing the golf club and spa at the base of the hotel. These intimate spaces provide guests a chance to orient their selves within the hotel and to walk outside onto the roof terraces. From each sitting area, wide corridors connect the guestrooms that wrap around the atrium. 
To optimize views the guestrooms have lofty ceilings so that guests have unobstructed views of the mountains from their beds. Each room also has a private terrace facing the view.
At the base of the hotel lays the health spa and golf club in a structure that is reachable both from within the hotel by a covered walkway and by a separate public entrance from a driveway. These functions are housed under a sloped, landscaped roof that is circular in plan.