Architectural Wonder by CTX – Azura’s third phase is a structural marvel with spectacular views

When the owners of the Azura site decided to turn the former Surf Side Beach Club into a luxury boutique hotel and residential development on the edge of a cliff overlooking the open ocean of the south shore in Warwick, they knew it wasn’t a job for the fainthearted. Enter Jacob Hocking of CTX Design Group.

Started in 2016, the project has been completed in phases and, says Hocking, “is certainly one of the largest projects we have been involved with.” The most recent component to be completed is Edgewater, which sits to the west of the first phase and, as the name suggests, is right on the edge of the cliff. The bonus of such a location is the panoramic south shore views. The tricky part, however, is the cliff. “We’re sitting right on top of a cliff face, so a lot of concern was whether or not these buildings were going to end up in the ocean at some point,” explains Hocking. “So, we did quite a lot of foreshore restoration down in the bottom to protect the cliffs.

Each bedroom has its own front door, which allows for single use occupancy in each unit.

“Also, these buildings are designed so that the first entire half can cantilever out, so if there was ever to be rock falls in the next few hundred years, these buildings can actually hang off the face before they end up in the water. There’s quite a lot of longevity built into the structures, just in case there was ever any issues with the foreshore.” In the hands of a creative mind, however, foreshore protection doesn’t have to mean just a lot of extra concrete. Why not turn it into a beach-level saltwater pool instead? “If you’re pouring a million dollars’ worth of concrete to protect the foreshore, we decided it should look like a swimming pool, so it’s taken that form,” laughs Hocking.

Part hotel, part residence, the apartments at Azura were built for flexibility. Units can be fully or partially rented out with ease at the owners discretion.

Since Azura is a hotel and a residence, a lot of flexibility was required in the way the various units were designed. There are eight apartments in Edgewater, which include one-, two- or three-bedroom options, arranged across a single storey. Each bedroom, however, must have its own front door, so the guests can choose to stay in just one room, a larger part of the condominium or occupy the whole apartment. Owners may also choose to live in their apartment for part or most of the year. “The model here is that you buy a unit and you’re required by your agreement to put one of those rooms in the hotel pool for a certain period of the year,” explains Hocking. “Some people have bought them just as investments and put their entire unit in the hotel pool. Some people come down and stay, and there are some full-time residents on the property as well.” CTX, therefore, had to juggle all these different needs when designing the internal layouts.

The main event for those living or staying in Edgewater is, of course, the view. To make the most out of that, Hocking has included as much glass panelling as possible in the designs. Even in the bathroom, floor-to-ceiling glass panels at the back of the room ensure you don’t miss out—unless privacy is more important, in which case there are blinds, too. All the suites have kitchens as well as dining areas and patios, and when you step out onto the patio of Edgewater you feel as if you’re right on top of the ocean.

Outdoor areas for entertaining and relaxing are also a priority for the hotel, and the completion of Edgewater and the Seascape building behind has added yet more rooftop space for appreciating the spectacular views. The Astroturf-covered roof of Edgewater is particularly popular for yoga and other exercise classes, but it is also big enough for parties and weddings for those who truly want to wow their guests. And in addition to the central hotel swimming pool and aforementioned saltwater pool, there is a new rooftop bathing pool area on the Seascape building complete with sauna and bathrooms. Up some stairs from the pool, there is a shaded area which will become a self-service bar once the hotel is fully up and running.

To maximise the views of the water, CTX included as much glass panelling as possible into their design.

Wherever possible, Hocking has used wooden features and greenery to soften up the buildings, help them to blend into their surroundings and brighten any dark areas. “Because Edgewater has been built into the hillside,” he explains, “we had these gardens down on the lower floor so that gets light into the backside of each unit as well.” Elsewhere, there are as many planters as well as native and endemic species as possible.

The rooftop includes a pool area complete with bathrooms and a sauna.

The fact that Azura has been a sell-out success demonstrates how much demand there is for such a concept and how successful the building design and construction has been. Azura, say our judges, “is a great model for Bermuda,” with one judge adding, “If you had never seen the old Surf Side cottage before, it was terrible!” The judges are also impressed by the way CTX not only “overcame the challenges” of such a treacherous site but also used it to their advantage in the way they maximised the views and created a saltwater swimming pool.

The units are furnished tastefully in soft fabrics and neutral colours.

The judges also reserve very high praise for the site’s contractors, Greymane: “I saw a guy painting 50-feet high,” points out one judge, adding how impressive it was that the area was still an active construction site but could be easily navigated.

The reason for the active construction site is that there is more to come. The Nautilus property is currently going up to the west of Edgewater, bringing with it more beach area, more pools, another restaurant, additional wellness services, and more rooftop entertaining and relaxing spaces. In addition to this, work to improve the completed phases of Azura continues, including a new restaurant at the eastern end of the property. All of this activity is expected to keep CTX, and Greymane, busy for some time to come.

Even the bathrooms have glass panelling for access to views. But built in blinds allow for privacy when needed.