Placed in a regional getaway amongst breathtaking Canadian scenery and an impressive lineup of restaurants and wineries, the IRTH Landscape Hotel and Spa promises a healing stay. The property will sit on 79 acres of old forests, meadows and escarpments in Ontario’s Prince Edward County and is set to open in 2023.
“It’s not a tourist speed there; it’s much more agrarian and calmer,” says Matt Davis, founding partner of Toronto-based DesignAgency, which was hired to bring the concept to life. “One of the beauties of this site is that the more time you spend there, you fall a little more in love with the subtleties. It’s got lots of dramatic elements, but it’s not like it’s at the foot of the Rockies. It’s got its own kind of humble essence.”
Blending into the Landscape
Both DesignAgency and Toronto’s Kearns Mancini Architects and Sid Lee Architecture in Montreal, are collaborating on the sensitive development of this ecologically sound 24-room boutique hotel. Twelve cabins offering “rabbit’s eye-views” will be sunken into the earth, allowing guests to feel as if they are sleeping on the ground and gazing through the grass. By contrast, the 12 lodge rooms in the forest, arranged at staggered heights to elicit different perspectives, will have elevated beds.
Local materials like wood, shale and wool will be incorporated into the design from local craftspeople, adhering to IRTH’s sustainable ethos. Overall, IRTH will champion a spirit of giving back, points out Davis, to the property, community, guests’ wellbeing, and of course environment.
Land stewardship will also factor heavily into the IRTH experience. Foraging excursions and a farmer-in-residences highlight just a few of the additional activities planned. A hydro spa highlighting the ancient Japanese ritual of forest bathing, known as shinrin-yoku, will also play a central role.
“Looking inward,” he points out, is the core of IRTH, a philosophy that has only been magnified through the lens of COVID-19. Instead of abiding by a typical checklist, Davis and his team are “digging down to the guest impact and the purpose for being here.”
Another version of this article previously appeared in Hospitality Design.