Georg Ots SPA Hotel


KOKO Architects

International invited competition

2002, 1st prize


Tori 2, Kuressaare, Saaremaa, Estonia




Completed in 2004


Norbert OÜ


Kaido haagen


Hospitality, Interior Architecture


Healthcare, Hotel, Spa

At the beginning of the 2000s many Soviet era Estonian sanatoriums were rebranded as spas, although the changes the establishments went through were mostly in name only at first. Tarmo Sumberg, a visionary in the hotel industry, decided it was time to provide spa services also to healthy clients looking to relax after an exhausting week at work.

The hotel was named after the famous Estonian singer Georg Ots, whose name evokes nostalgia in Estonians but also in visitors from Finland and Russia, where he was known both as an opera singer and an cinema actor, which allowed him to perform in front of large audiences in some of the most notable Soviet opera theatres. The hotel is focused on couples and families, large group bookings are not welcome as it would spoil the atmosphere. This has been an uncompromised hotel policy for many years, which has in turn resulted in many clients returning for new stays. 

Georg Ots Spa Hotel was opened on the same day as Estonia joined the EU, 1 May 2004. GOSPA residencies have been built on the neighbouring plots: spacious summer flats with large terraces, sea views, vast private areas and access to services provided by the hotel.

The form of the Georg Ots Spa Hotel, the first wellness spa establishment in Estonia, has been designed from the inside out and the focus is on how the visitor feels inside the building. This is expressed in the two wings of the hotel that both provide magnificent views, one overlooking the Mediaeval castle, the other Kuressaare bay. The spa is located in a separate wing of the building to keep the noise and humidity of the pool from disturbing the guests; at the same time both the indoor and outdoor swimming pools are viewable from the hotel rooms. On the ground floor the spa is divided into the water park and the sauna area, the second floor is designated as a quiet wellness zone. The two wings of the building are connected by a reception area with a cosy fireplace and sitting area. The service logistics of the hotel are concealed, so that the guests can spend their visit in a calming and carefree atmosphere.

The exterior architecture of the building is shaped by the views from the rooms and the functionality of the wings – the external finish has been designed to require as little maintenance as possible. The materials include pigmented concrete and Corten steel, which are maintenance free and compatible with the cold windy maritime climate of Estonia.

The idea behind the interior design was to share Estonian sensibilities, especially those characteristic to Saaremaa. These are expressed in the materials, colour schemes and details of the hotel rooms and other spaces. The ethnographic elements and maritime motifs are stylised, which adds a more sophisticated touch to the design.

The carpets in the hallways and rooms are inspired by the striped patterns of the Saaremaa national dress; the headboards for the beds have been constructed using traditional basket weaving techniques. The walls are decorated with personal photographs sent in by local people, providing intimate contact with the life of the community.