Secrets from the Pros
By Regan Stephens
Three Bedroom Villa - King Bedroom

Learn how Ritz-Carlton designers create extraordinary spaces.

“How do you design a hotel that’s unlike any other in the world?” poses Theresa Fatino, global design partner for The Ritz-Carlton. The collection of hotels and resorts around the world is synonymous with luxury, offering guests lavish accommodations, thoughtful amenities and exceptional service. 

Enduring memories are not built on these elements alone, however. Each property’s considered design results in an environment that cannot be replicated anywhere else. “We believe luxury is in the details, and we love to surprise our guests with special touches that make lasting impressions,” says Fatino. The design’s impact can be experienced in properties spanning the globe, with Zen gardens in Japan, fleeting art installations in Puerto Rico, and the creation of other magical realms beyond.

Japanese Tree
Hotel exterior


A quiet haven thoughtfully integrated into a property’s indoor or outdoor space invites guests to a restorative oasis. At The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto, for example, Zen gardens and a three-story waterfall create a peaceful welcome.

The hotel also merges traditional Japanese and modern design seamlessly and is home to a collection of art revolving around the 11th-century novel “The Tale of Genji,” with over 400 works by mostly Kyoto-based artists.

Theresa Fatino, global design partner for The Ritz-Carlton

How do you design a hotel that’s unlike any other in the world?

Silver Palm
Beachside bar and restaurant


Looking to nature can also serve as inspiration in immersing a traveler into a destination. The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman rises from the seashore like a grand, fantastic sandcastle — and that’s by design.

Architects created an exterior of stacked towers painted the same shades as the resort’s white-sand beach. Inside, designers layered bold colors and textures that reflect the island’s geography and tropical landscape.

Front Desk Wall Decoration


Evoking a sense of harmony for The Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin meant more than just surveying the Chinese city’s surroundings — it meant gracefully blending Tianjin’s East and West influences.

The hotel’s Neoclassical façade is suggestive of a prominent historical landmark from the 19th-century, when classicism and eclecticism merged, fusing European and Chinese architectural aesthetics.

An energetic color palette was specially developed for the interiors, using yellow, cobalt blue and celadon — evocative of Chinese ceramics and jade treasures — with black and white to create definition and contrast.

Theresa Fatino, global design partner for The Ritz-Carlton

We believe luxury is in the details, and we love to surprise our guests with special touches that make lasting impressions.

One-Bedroom Pool Villa - Bedroom
Large, freestanding tub in a windowed alcove with giant verdant leaves in view

Traditional wall panels, Balinese art and lush tropical greenery combine to create an immersive environment at Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve.

Woman gazes at the river from her perch in a turquoise, lagoon-style pool overlooking the rainforest


Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, situated in the Ubud forest of Bali, Indonesia, draws on the area’s Hindu temples, ancient spiritual sites and verdant natural beauty to accomplish this.

Traditional Balinese décor with vivid painted wall panels and rich textiles adorns the rooms in villas that open to Balinese gardens, rice paddies and the Ayung River.

A building courtyard with a fire pit and lounge benches
A woman walks the circular pattern of a large stone path


Once the home of a monastery dating back to 1355, Penha Longa Resort near Lisbon, Portugal, embodies the same serene spirit. 

Part of the resort spa, the property’s Labyrinth is an authentic re-creation of France’s Notre Dame de Chartres Cathedral labyrinth where guests can walk the winding, peaceful path to focus and de-stress.