It is said that you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so The Resort at Pelican Hill® made sure it didn’t need one. A graceful approach lined with Italian olive trees subtly prepares guests for the impact of what lies ahead. The grand entrance leaves no doubt that you have arrived.
The Resort’s motor court entrance is inspired by the Piazza del Campo in Siena, Italy, and complements the classical architecture of Andrea Palladio. At 38,000 square feet, the vast size and scale of the porte-cochère evokes the same sense of grandeur that was so prevalent in Italy’s public spaces.
“It’s an experience like no other,” says Bill Burton of Burton Landscape Architecture Studio, who designed the exteriors of the Resort. “A lot of that has to do with the scale of the space.”
“The impeccable attention to detail may escape immediate notice,” Burton says, “but each of these small features contributes to the overall impression.”
Plans for the entrance focused on scale and proportion, raw materials and intricate design elements. A Tuscan colonnade and pediment, for example, are faithful to Palladio’s classical style. The herringbone pattern of bricks echoes that of the Piazza del Campo. Hand-cast bronze dots embedded in the driveway not only direct traffic, but add historical authenticity.
To stay true to the 1:4 scale of the pavers in the piazza while also accommodating the weight of automobiles, Burton commissioned the fabrication of custom 4-by-16-inch pavers, textured and colored to look similar to the bricks in Siena and those used throughout the Resort.
Guests arriving by automobile are guided by a stone-clad planter axially aligned with the porte-cochère, while two massive ficus trees and clusters of cypress and olive trees replicate the landscape and feel of the Italian countryside. A third ficus “adds a layer of asymmetry and visual appeal to the overall composition and guest experience,” says Burton.
The adjacent parking structure all but disappears into its classical surroundings, with colonnades and louvers disguising a building that might otherwise have become an eyesore. So that the Resort’s neighbors on the hillside above don’t have to look down upon cars, Burton designed a parterre garden, “classically laid out and formal,” on the parking structure’s rooftop.
With all that The Resort at Pelican Hill has to offer, visitors may see the Resort entrance only twice during their stay: as they arrive and as they depart. It nevertheless leaves a lasting impression.