The Lodge at Gulf Shores State Park


Following the devastation left in the wake of 2004’s Hurricane Ivan, The Lodge at Gulf State Park was established. The loss of the property was catastrophic to the state park, economically, environmentally and socially. As they picked up the pieces, the State of Alabama and city of Gulf Shores decided to rebuild the hotel with a goal in mind of embodying the old lodge while keeping environmental sustainability at the forefront. That’s when Rabun Architects, design architect Lake Flato and interior design team Looney and Associates came to the rescue.

Alabama is a state of natural beauty, rich history and strong people — and rebuilding the hotel speaks to the state’s resilience, and its commitment to environmental protection. In fact, it is part of a larger project to provide access to nature, restore dunes, conserve natural habitats, and educate the public. This criteria created many unique opportunities for thoughtful design solutions outside the normal realm of a typical hospitality project.

Design inspiration was drawn from the natural surroundings of Alabama. Natural, honest, enduring materials were used throughout, including indoor/outdoor textiles, woven textures, reclaimed wood, and recycled content. The project's design also responds to its location inside a state park where the demands of a hospitality brand were balanced against the access needs of a state park.


“The most impactful part of the design is how it connects with and is inspired by its location,” says Jenna Higginbotham, an interior designer with Looney & Associates. “Every detail was thoughtfully considered to make sure that it met the overarching message of the Enhancement project as a whole as well as conveying a sense of truly belonging to and representing the State of Alabama and its people.”

Flooring played an important part not only in the design itself but in terms of functionality and sustainability too. “Being a beach destination – the design of the carpeting responded to the natural setting of the hotel, which is nestled within the dunes inside of a state park,” says Higginbotham. “We wanted the patterns to reflect the setting – with inspiration drawn from water and sand dunes as well as the activities nearby such as sailing, fishing, etc.”

The carpet meets strict requirements for sustainability in both product materials and installation materials and methods. The project is seeking LEED Gold and SITES Platinum status and has already received FORTIFIED Commercial Bronze certification.

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