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That’s a Hilton?! New Thailand Outpost Marks the Chain’s Growing Ambitions [Slideshow]

Hilton hotels aren’t exactly known for good taste, unless your idea of taste falls somewhere between a Pottery Barn showroom and the Liberace Museum. Which makes the interior shown here, by Bangkok-based Department of Architecture, that much more spectacular: It transforms a Hilton bar and lobby into something even snooty design types wouldn’t mind drinking their Hendrick’s martinis in.

The space is perched on the 17th floor of a tower overlooking the beach in Pattaya, Thailand, and it’s designed to lightly — very lightly — reference the sea. The marquee feature here is a curving mass of diaphanous fabric fins that hang from the ceiling and flutter under blasts of air conditioning, echoing the waves below.

Elsewhere, you see flashes of the ceiling’s organic form: in the amoeba-like couches and the rounded, mirrored tables and a white oak bar shaped vaguely like a boat. Amorphous lights pepper an outdoor lounge (complete with a reflection pool) that affords ravishing views of the sea. All told, it’s the rare hotel that manages to pay homage to the beach without resorting to fishing nets and conch shells.

[Images courtesy of Department of Architecture; hat tip to Dezeen]SL