The Malta Independent 22 October 2020, Thursday

Comino hotel and villa area to be redeveloped

Kevin Schembri Orland Friday, 18 September 2020, 12:06 Last update: about 2 months ago

The Comino hotel and Villa area are going to be redeveloped, with the architects on the project stating that their aim is to achieve greater unity between the actual land and the buildings.

The Planning Application was submitted on 12 April, but it is not yet available for public viewing.

The project is planned by Hili Ventures.

“The new Comino Hotel and Villas will introduce a higher tier of hospitality than is currently on offer across the Maltese islands,” a spokesperson for the Hili Group said.

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The hotel will have a total of 70 rooms, which is slightly less than the current 95. It will feature a central foyer and restaurant, with an underlying basement for an electro-mechanical plant, a spa with swimming pools at ground floor level and terraces on the upper floors, all laid out on a building gross floor area of circa 6,488m2 and an external area of circa 8,064m2.

The design of the hotel will no longer be one elongated building, the lead architect of the Comino hotel project Antonio Belvedere, and Paul Pires da Fonte - Belvedere Architecture, said. Instead, the buildings will have space in between them, and integrate greenery and with the topography of the land.

The construction of the hotel will be through prefabrication. Timber will be used and local stone.

British firm ARUP was brought on board to help make the building as sustainable as possible. Andrew Sedgwick, spoke to the press about this process, and said that from the beginning they looked at the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The idea, he said, is to establish a net zero carbon operation. In addition, all sewage will be treated on site, so effluent will no longer head out to sea. It intends to be fossil fuel free. “The project also seeks to restore some of the terrain disturbed by earlier projects and bring back biodiversity within the project boundaries,” he said.

Describing water saving systems, Sedgwick said that efficient showerheads and taps will be installed. Water used will then be recycled through a greywater recycling system for flushing. Sanitary water will be fully recycled at the new waste treatment plant. There will be a zero net discharge, so no sanitary water will flow out to sea.

The energy consumption will also be reduced, he said thanks to the natural cross ventilation, thermal mass and installation of low consumption devices. “The objective is to drastically reduce the need to turn on cooling systems. A photovoltaic array will produce a large amount of power while the total need for hot water for sanitary uses will be satisfied by the solar thermal units installed on the roof.”

The design of the new villa area will take a different form. Instead of the large buildings present currently, smaller box shaped buildings will replace them, but will go slightly further out than the current footprint.

The new villas will consist of a cluster of 21 residences, on a building gross floor area of circa 5,211m2.

In terms of lighting, it was said that HV Hospitality (a subsidiary of Hili Ventures handling the project) is carefully looking at the external lighting design. The dark sky will be preserved thanks to a minimal external lighting strategy, it was said. “In the meantime, an ensemble of overhanging terraces/canopies will prevent interior light from spilling out and from polluting the night sky.”

Work on the whole project - demolition and construction - will commence after planning permission is obtained. From this point, the project will take approximately two years to complete, Hili Ventures said.

“The total investment in the Comino Hotel & Villas is projected to reach €110 million-€120 million.”

During the presentation, the lead architect had also made recommendations for other parts of Comino, including that the Church and old hospital be restored, and that a pontoon be built in Blue Lagoon where barges can link up to in the summer months which would host the vendors there, thus removing the issue of waste being left on the actual land.

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