Baku's new JW Marriott Absheron designed by ReardonSmith opened early in 2012. The hotel overlooks the monumental Freedom Square, as well as the waterfront boulevard edging the Caspian Sea, and in a city where new architectural schemes point to a futuristic transformation, the hotel makes a significant contribution as an iconic contemporary building.
Part of a mixed–use development that includes 16 floors of private residences, serviced apartments, retail and offices, the 20–storey hotel includes 243 keys, a 1,200 sq metre ballroom, restaurants and bars and Marriott's new guestroom concept.
A planning requirement was that the elevation facing Freedom Square should have an imposing symmetry. This was addressed by segregating the residences and serviced apartments in two balanced oval wings that frame the central hotel component.
At 24 metres below sea level, excavation was restricted to a single parking level necessitating the integration of plant and back–of–house into the ground floor, disguised by a stepped 20–metre high landscaped podium rising from the park at the edge of the square. This concept had the benefit of moving restaurant and bar areas to the first floor, providing uninterrupted views over new gardens and the square. The brand requirement for a multi–use Great Room was met by bringing together the ground floor reception areas with the first floor level bars and restaurants in one flowing multi–level section.