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Deutsche Hospitality launches MAXX by Steingenberger

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Deutsche Hospitality is presenting a new hotel brand. MAXX by Steigenberger will be joining Steigenberger Hotels and Resorts, Jaz in the City and IntercityHotel in its portfolio in future. The group launched its new Deutsche Hospitality umbrella brand just under 18 months ago with the intention of instigating further hotel brands. This latest addition represents a robust continuation of the course of growth the company has embarked upon and targets a part of the market that was previously vacant.

MAXX by Steigenberger will occupy the upscale segment and thus fill an existing space between the brands Steigenberger Hotels and Resorts (luxury and upper upscale), IntercityHotel (upper mid-scale) and Jaz in the City (lifestyle). Deutsche Hospitality’s CEO Thomas Willms explained that the group was taking this step in order to make better use of the available opportunities and to accelerate growth. “Up until now, we have been operating with three strong hotel brands. Their positioning has, however, imposed highly restrictive requirements regarding the respective destinations, locations and properties. For this reason, we have regularly had to reject projects that were not a good fit for this portfolio. MAXX by Steigenberger possesses more flexible hardware standards and this provides us with the leeway we need to pursue qualitative and quantitative growth”.

The name affix “by Steigenberger” spells out the quality commitment which Deutsche Hospitality associates with the new brand. Clear stipulations aligned with the standards of Steigenberger Hotels and Resorts are in place for aspects such as service, staff and F&B. At the same time, however, the brand is able to embrace different destinations, locations and room sizes and the architecture of individual hotels. “The respective hotels are permitted to have their own character,” continued Mr. Willms. “The important thing is for each property to be coherent in itself. This gives owners and franchise partners the chance to achieve affiliation with Deutsche Hospitality via a modest rebranding investment, thus allowing them to benefit from our established sales channels and know-how.”

The brand launch of MAXX by Steigenberger is in line with the group’s strategy of striving for expansion both within its German language domestic base and in the burgeoning international growth markets. The new brand will act as a crucial lever for the generation of even more dynamism in this process. Specific negotiations for the first MAXX by Steigenberger hotels are already underway, and initial locations are expected to be announced shortly.

Danish designer Cecilie Manz embraces Nordic elegance and subtle colour in Luv bathroom series for Duravit

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“When I was drawing up my design for Duravit, the image in my mind’s eye from the very start was a bowl filled with water on a simple table,” said the Danish designer Cecilie Manz. This image inspired Duravit’s Luv bathroom series, which affords brand new design opportunities for larger rooms or guest bathrooms.

Luv’s unusual design combines Nordic purism and timeless elegance. Gentle forms follow a sharp geometry. The selection of materials and colours is testament to Cecilie Manz’s refined sense for nuanced form. Her colour palate of matt lacquers and glazes in soft shades was developed exclusively for Duravit and emphasizes the fresh character of Luv.

Three sizes of oval above-counter basins made from DuraCeram® impress with their subtle lines, generous inner basins, and clean edges. On the variants with an incorporated tap hole platform, the tap fitting is mounted centrally at the rear, and on the small handrinse basins it is fitted on the left or right side. The optionally glazed exterior is available in satin matte White, Grey or Sand. This contrast with the glossy white glazed inner basin produces unique pieces with a special look and feel. Ceramic drain covers complete and overall harmonious look.

The washbasin stand consists of a console table on four gently curved, height-adjustable feet. Using this unique design language, Cecilie Manz skilfully realizes the original image of a table and water bowl. Three widths are available: 1788 mm for the double washbasin, 1388 mm for the single and 688 mm for the guest bathroom. Lacquered in satin matte and available in white, Nordic white, taupe, stone grey, light blue and night blue, the console tables contribute significantly to the feeling of space. Quartz console panels in three perfectly harmonized colour variants and a solid-wood version in American walnut can be combined as desired by the customer. Storage space is available in the form of handle-free pull-out compartments and drawers, conveniently fitted with tip-on technology and self-closing mechanisms.

The series is completed by new mirrors in three widths ranging from 500 to 1600 mm with an integrated dimming function and mirror heating. In addition to the standard mirror height of 800 mm, all models are also available in a height of 1200 mm. The glare-free LED lighting at the top edge of the mirror with activated ambient lighting guarantees optimum illumination of up to 700 lux.

Luv also offers no-nonsense bathtubs that are based on the shape of the wash bowls. Seamless, and made from DuraSolid A, they offer a pleasantly warm feel and high-quality matte look. They are available in free-standing, back-to-wall and corner (left or right) versions. As a special extra, the bathtub can be equipped with a discreetly integrated air whirl system (exclusive to the back-to-wall and corner version), or with an integrated sound system which can be operated using any Bluetooth-compatible device.

Duravit AG
Founded in 1817 in Hornberg in the Black Forest, Duravit AG is today a leading international manufacturer of designer bathrooms. The company operates in more than 130 countries worldwide and stands for innovations in the field of good design, the intelligent use of technology and top quality. In cooperation with high-profile international designers, such as Philippe Starck and EOOS, the company develops comfortable bathrooms that really enhance quality of life for users on a sustained basis. Duravit’s product portfolio comprises sanitary ceramics, bathroom furniture, baths and shower trays, wellness systems, shower-toilets, faucets and accessories.

HD Meet Up: Less than 2 weeks to go…

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We’re just two weeks from the Hotel Designs Spring Meet Up networking event, being held on 21st March at The London Edition, located in Fitzrovia on the edge of Soho between 6pm-9.30pm.

Nearby to Tottenham Court Road and Goodge Street, this boutique hotel blends thoughtful design and intuitive service featuring custom lighting by Patrick Woodroffe.

Already signed up for the next event are designers from 33 interiors, Alexander James Interiors, Associated Designers Ltd, Benoy, Blush International, David Collins Studio Ltd, Dawson Design Associates, EHG Home, Elegance interiors, GA Design, Gensler, Grimshaw, Inspired By Design, KCA International, M Studio, Nicholas Haslam, Nicky Dobree, Nina Campbell, Oro Bianco Interior Design, Osborn Interiors, Rethink Interiors, Russel Sage Studio, RWD, Scott Brownrigg, SMC Design, Stern Graham Director, Tara Bernerd & Partners, The Plant, Twenty2 Degrees, Two Company Interior Design Ltd, UpCircle, Vallgren & Co Design Studio, Yoo worldwide, and many more.

Enjoy drinks and canapés while you network with like-minded professionals from 6pm – 9.30pm in the basement space;

6.00 p.m. Event starts

7.00 p.m. ‘Raising the Bar’ welcome speech courtesy of Gilly Craft, owner of Koubou Interiors and President elect of the BIID

Following this, we welcome you to enjoy a selection of drinks and canapés as you mingle with industry leaders and experts.

If you are a supplier to the hospitality industry looking to meet top names from both industries, contact Jennie Lane on 01992 374098 or on – or click here to book your place.

The Hotel Designs spring Meet Up is completely free for hoteliers and designers; click here to confirm your attendance

Introducing the Riva Collection

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New Fabrics by Doshi Levien for Kettal Riva by Jasper Morrison.

The Riva collection of outdoor furniture is above all about achieving a certain atmosphere for the better enjoyment of outdoor space. The plank construction of seat and back follows a long and varied tradition of outdoor chairs made in similar ways, and which in this case provide a high level of comfort and good looks!

The Riva collection is a complete collection, dining armchairs, club armchair, dining tables, 2 seater sofa, 3 seater sofa, small tables and deckchair, made in teak.

Hyatt House Jersey City opens with designs by Stonehill Taylor

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The brand-new Hyatt House Jersey City creates an exciting destination with spectacular views of Manhattan in Exchange Place’s increasingly popular waterfront downtown area.

Stonehill Taylor completed Interior Design for the hotel, housed in a 10-story bank building from the 1920s with a 3-story modern glass addition on top by Atlanta-based PFVS. The interiors feature striking historic features of the old bank building layered with comfortable contemporary accommodations, bringing in richness in texture and a sense of history.

The ground floor, which includes the entrance and concierge desk, highlights the building’s impressive historic features, including original 12-foot-tall ornate bronze doors, a brass filigree decorative screen, Portoro marble walls, and travertine flooring.

Visitors then ascend directly to the upper floor Terrace Level, where they are met with 12-foot-high ceilings and views of the Hudson River and Manhattan skyline through the wrap-around floor to ceiling windows. The expansive Terrace Level contains the Lobby, Lounge & Dining areas, along with the Bar.

The Kenya Black marble reception desk sits in front of a custom-designed back-lit glass and wood screen, elegantly hiding the back offices. The sophisticated look in the reception and dining areas are complete with wood floors, mahogany millwork, accent silk upholstered walls, and brass lighting fixtures and case goods inspired by the bank building’s original metal ornamentation.

The furniture material palette includes leathers, patterned textiles, and a combination of jewel and natural colour tones with dark bronze accents.

Adjacent to the dining area is a spacious, elegant buffet with built-in cabinetry, an accent metal mosaic, and a Rimadesio glass sliding door system. Directly next to the Lobby is the Bar, which offers guests several lounging options with an array of seating groups. Live edge wood tables and sofas with integrated power and lamps enable the space to function for work, dining, and lounging.

A fireplace creates an additional area for conversation and warmth. The ceiling’s hexagonal pattern nods to the original building and adds to the bar’s visual interest. Two spaces off the main bar can be used for private events: a lounge space with views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and an enclosed terrace with operable glass walls and a direct view of Lower Manhattan.

Connected to the Terrace-level is a rooftop lounge, one of the first in Jersey City. This rooftop lounge is an expansive year-round outdoor space complete with a reflecting fire and water feature, two bars, and a retractable roof. A glass elevator provides direct street access to the lounge for local neighbours and guests.

The lounge boasts amazing views and exudes the feeling of an urban oasis through extensive planting, natural teak furniture, and concrete-like finishes. Plants hang from beams creating an industrial garden in the middle of bustling Jersey City. Guest rooms feature a custom artwork program selected specifically for the property.

The most typical room layout is a residential-style studio with an adjoining kitchen and living room. Among the furnishings in the studios are sofa beds, a 360-degree swivel TV cabinetry unit, and bathrooms separated by glass barn doors. Alternative guestrooms include double beds in addition to sofa beds – a perfect option for travelling families.

How to manage your hotel’s online reputation

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Journalist and specialist Chris Richardson has compiled a list of 10 ways you can effectively tackle the digital world and maintain your hotel’s reputation online.

As more and more people get used to booking their future accommodation online, hotels must pay even more attention to their online reputation. The ratings, the comments, and the feedback that your hotel receives are going to heavily influence your future bookings’ performance.

For your hotel’s reputation to continue glowing so that your profits can remain stable and consistent, you must find some effective reputation management techniques, and here’s 10 ways you can confidently maintain your digital reputation.

Ensure that you provide the best possible experience
First things first. If you ever expect your hotel’s reputation to shine in the online environment, your hotel must offer a satisfying experience. Obvious right? How do you do that?

First off, ensure that your ad postings are always genuine. People shouldn’t expect Wi-Fi if there’s no Wi-Fi. Keep your rooms clean, have kind and helpful employees, and don’t give your clients reasons to complain.

Listen to the direct and the indirect feedback you get
There are two types of feedback and each one is useful in its own way. The direct feedback comes from the reviews and testimonials your hotel receives on the web. Analyze them closely and figure out the good points and the bad points given by your customers.

The second type of feedback is the indirect one. This is harder to find because you’ll never get it unless you put yourself and your customers in special circumstances. For example, a small talk on the terrace with an average customer will tell you what he loves and hates about the experience that your hotel brings.

Consistently monitor your hotel’s mentions
Use Google Alerts to receive instant updates whenever your hotel’s name is mentioned online. By consistently monitoring your brand’s mentions, your reputation is always “safe”. Even if you get negative reviews, you’ll be present and ready to acknowledge your mistakes. If that’s not the case, you’ll be ready to tell the truth.

Keep your employees updated
Let all your employees understand how important your hotel’s reputation is and how much influence they have when it comes to improving it. If your employees are aligned with your goal, they will do their best to improve the image of your hotel. To motivate them, promise benefits or rewards for whoever becomes more friendly, responsible, or productive.

Always reply to negative testimonials and reviews
Negative reviews are definitely something you don’t want to see. When your hotel’s reputation is attacked by negative testimonials, you must be ready to deal with it. Find the mention by leveraging Google Alerts, understand why such a negative review has been posted, and try your best to throw the best answer.

“If your employees are the cause of the problem, simply admit your mistake and promise that it’ll never happen again. Stay humble and modest and people will forgive you! However, if you don’t even bother answering negative reviews, your reputation will suffer a lot.” – Jane Grunges, Marketing Specialist at Essay Geeks.

Occasionally answer the positive reviews
You really don’t have to obsessively reply to all your positive reviews and testimonials. Keep it moderate. Reply to the comments and reviews that receive a lot of traffic, so you can lead some curious individuals to your professional website.

Don’t act too sales-oriented
Whenever you manage your hotel’s reputation through replies and answers, don’t sound “salesy”. That means you shouldn’t use “marketing” language that aims to convince other people to try your rooms. That’ll hurt your reputation instead of boosting it. Be friendly, professional, and concise.

Always be fair
Your hotel’s long-term success is significantly influenced by your overall “fairness”. So for example, if you know that one of your customers has been mistreated, you should never leave it like that. You need to be a true professional and be fair whenever you’re required too.

Did your customers miss the Wi-Fi benefits because the Internet was down for two days? Offer compensation. Did the customers wake up with bugs in their bed? Offer 10 times the price of their stay and beg them not to report you. That was exaggerated, but I think I made my point. Be fair!

Manage all your public listings
Don’t forget about your public listings. If you’re promoting your business on different platforms, you need to ensure that you keep those listings updated. You don’t want to cause misunderstandings or false hopes.

Have a great social media profile
Social media marketing is surely something you shouldn’t neglect, especially in the hospitality business. Develop a professional social media presence by building professional profiles on more distribution channels. For example, you should have a Facebook page, a LinkedIn page, a Twitter page, or an Instagram page that effectively showcases your hotel’s rooms, the external environment, the employees, and so on.

Managing your hotel’s reputation is often a complex task. There are many pretentious individuals who truly don’t care about anything but themselves. Therefore, it really has no point arguing or fighting with the “problematic” clients.

Be humble and keep your calm in every situation. Improve your customer’s experience and your ratings will also grow. Good luck!

LIVE FROM HOTELYMPIA: How classic dishes are giving chefs the inside track

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With beef overtaking chicken as the number one protein eaten out-of-home, Essential Cuisine has launched a brand-new range of classic accompaniments, helping chefs save valuable time and giving sites an irresistible upsell opportunity worth over £55 per jar.

The new flavours, Wild Mushroom and Peppercorn, have been created by the British company’s development chefs, using the finest quality ingredients, and are the first new products to emerge from the company’s state-of-the-art Innovation Kitchen opened last year. Both are supplied in a concentrated liquid format that means kitchens can simply mix with water and fresh double cream before serving.

With operators looking to recoup margin from profitable starters and side dishes, Essential Cuisine’s new sauces can add £55 per jar to the bottom line. One 800g jar plus 600ml of fresh double cream results in a superior yield of five litres of product. With outlets charging an average sell out price of £2 per accompaniment, 50 x 100ml servings can result in over £55 profit.   For those that prefer the personal touch, the range has been created to play into the hands of skilled chefs and carry additional ingredients.

However they are served, kitchens can reap the rewards of profitable customer favourites – recent research has revealed Peppercorn (44%), Wild Mushroom (18%) as the top two sauces for steak.

“Offering incremental sauces and sides as accompaniments to protein, gives operators a big up-sell opportunity, helping to offset margin squeezes elsewhere on menus,” said Nigel Crane, Managing Director, Essential Cuisine. “Our new Sauce Collection presents chefs and kitchens with the perfect opportunity to drive increased menu margin, safeguard quality and consistency, save time, offer up classic flavours we know consumers love, and still get down to the business of creativity.

“We couldn’t be prouder that this range is the first to emerge from our Innovation Kitchen –watch this space for more additions to the collection soon. Able to be stored ambient for 12 months, even once opened, Essential Cuisine’s new Sauce Collection is also gluten-free.

The most romantic destinations for a royal honeymoon in 2018

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As Prince Harry and Megan Markle prepare to tie the knot this spring, Mason Rose has compiled a list of the world’s most romantic spots for a royal honeymoon this year.

Whether your dream is to live like north African nobility at the Royal Mansour in Marrakech – owned by King Mohammed VI of Morocco – or cosy up in your own cabin in the Swiss Alps, Mason Rose’s selection of options offers something for every couple to enjoy.

Indulge in honeymoon bliss in Venice

Where: JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa, Isola delle Rose, Venice, Italy

Why go: Settled on its own private island, JW Venice offers a full package of romantic treats for newlyweds. The Honeymoon Bliss package includes a champagne and chocolate-covered-strawberries welcome on arrival and a 50-minute massage for two in the privacy of a GOCO Spa Venice Spa Suite, as well as a free upgrade upon availability and late check-out.

Rate: The Honeymoon Bliss package is available from 599EUR per night (approx. £530).

Booking: Visit or call +39 041 852 1300 and quote the promotional code ‘HON’

A princess-perfect honeymoon in Marrakech

Where: Royal Mansour, Marrakech

Why go: The exquisite Royal Mansour – one of the world’s most discreet hotels and owned by King Mohammed VI of Morocco –  is designed to regal standards, fit for any princess. The ‘rooms’ are set in 53 individual Riads with exquisite craftsmanship throughout and the hotel is just a stone’s throw from the medina and a short distance from the recently opened Yves Saint Laurent Museum (October 2017). It has an exceptional spa which – among its myriad relaxing treatments – offers one of the best hammam experiences in the world.

Rate: The ‘Romance’ package starts from 3,300EUR (approx. £2,903) and is based on two people sharing a Riad. Valid until 27 December 2018.

Booking: royalmansour.comTremezzo for two

Where: Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Lake Como, Italy

Why go: A three-night stay in the palatial, historic Grand Hotel Tremezzo – lauded as that ‘happy, sunny place’ by Greta Garbo in 1932 film Grand Hotel – is the picture-perfect location for a honeymoon to rival any movie star. The special offer promises luxury accommodation with lake views and a special champagne and strawberries welcome. Wake up to breakfast served every day in your room, or at the gourmet La Terrazza buffet, and enjoy a romantic three-course à la carte dinner for two at La Terrazza, masterminded by the late, award-winning chef Gualtiero Marchesi.

Rate: The ‘Tremezzo for two’ offer is available from 900EUR (approx. £798) per night, based on two people sharing a Lake View Prestige Room, and stays can be extended at a favourable rate.

Booking: Please contact and quote ROMANTIC15 or call +39 0344 42491

Desert island romance at the new JOALI Maldives

Where: JOALI Maldives, Muravandhoo Island, Raas Atoll, Maldives

Why go: Opening in the last quarter of 2018, the new JOALI Maldives is a sophisticated and artistic luxury retreat. Celebrating the joy of life, JOALI is a honeymoon hideaway that represents the ultimate romantic desert island dream; with a focus on sustainability, creativity and individual flair, it couldn’t be further from the feeling of a chain resort.

Booking: For bookings and further information please visit

Rustic romance in your own Alpine cabin

Where: Gstaad Palace, Berner Oberland, Switzerland

Why go: Rustic, cosy and incomparably peaceful, Gstaad Palace’s Shepherd’s or ‘Walig’ Hut – built in 1783 and changed little since – can be hired for an exclusive overnight stay, warmed by candlelight and log burning stoves and complete with a mouth-watering three-course dinner complimented by Swiss wine. With the building sitting proudly at 1,700m above tPatrickhe Gsteig region, couples can enjoy an inimitably romantic evening gazing over Gstaad and the Saanenland.  Pair with a luxurious stay at the fairy tale Gstaad Palace itself.

Rate: The Alpine Night at Walig Hut is available from 1,600CHF (approx. £1,220. Summer season only). The Time For Romance package is on offer on select dates subject to availability, from 1,973CHF (approx. £1,505)

Booking: Contact or call +41 33 748 50 00

Free ski pass for two across Colorado

Where: The Little Nell, Aspen, Colorado

Why go: Ski stylishly into married life together by exploring the stunning scenery over Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass with two free daily ski passes for every night at this luxurious mountain haven (based on a minimum three-night stay).

Rates: The Ski Free package is available from 585USD (approx. £421) per night, based on a three-night stay in a Town Side Guest Room

Booking: Visit and quote promotional code NSKIF

Sleeperz Hotel Cardiff transformed into living brain for TV

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To mark the release of a new mental health BBC TV documentary, Sleeperz Hotel Cardiff has been transformed into a billboard image depicting a live human brain.

Charlotte Church: Inside my Brain, which aired this weekend, followed the Welsh singer as she explored depression, mental illness and research into new cures for these conditions.

The show features the exterior of Sleeperz Cardiff, which producers used as a projector screen for the world-first brain scan.

“Sleeperz Cardiff was thrilled to be asked to take part in Charlotte Church: Inside my Brain,” said Laura Peeroo, general manager at Sleeperz Hotel Cardiff.

“We are located in one of the busiest footfall areas in Cardiff, on route to the rail station, and the living brain image really turned heads and got people talking; which is exactly what this important programme hopes to achieve.”

The image of the scan came courtesy of Dr Chantal Tax from Cardiff University’s Brain Research Imaging Centre and was beamed onto the wall of Sleeperz Hotel in November last year.

Javeed Anwar, head of sales and marketing for Sleeperz Hotels, added: “It’s normal to receive unusual requests in the hospitality industry, but, in over three decades working in hotels this is easily the most unusual collaboration I’ve been involved with.

“Sleeperz Hotels loved it and our guests were both intrigued and understanding about the bright lights, cameras and sight of Charlotte Church enjoying a cup of tea in our lounge bar.”


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Roca places a huge importance on innovation, design and style and its new Modo collection is the epitome of all three. Modo’s unique quality is that it can be moulded and sculptured into bespoke and individual pieces ready to suit all interior décors. It has been created using Roca’s new and exclusive material SURFEX® – a breakthrough in manufacturing technique and an unprecedented evolution in bathroom design.

SURFEX® is a malleable solid surface material formulated from a combination of minerals and resins, allowing for the creation of shapes that were unthinkable until now. The Modo range offers a complete bathroom suite from basins to freestanding baths, which can be completely bespoke. The SURFEX solution is poured into the production mould, which allows for complex design pieces with no joints and seams. The flexibility of this material allows for complete free reign in creating different shapes and sizes.

Alan Dodds, Managing Director of Roca UK comments, “The level of thought and creativity that has gone into developing the Modo collection is tremendous. Using the innovative SURFEX formulation, defined angles and shapes can be formed that other materials simply couldn’t create. From the design to the finishing touches, the material is really what makes this range stand out.”


Geometric design lines
The SURFEX material creates curves, straight lines and angles with precision. With Round, Soft and Square basin bowl shapes available as standard, customers can choose basin shapes and sizes, tap positions, and additional options such as towel holders and basin countertop skirts. To ensure the design lines are kept clean, the basin overflow is hidden and built-in to Modo basins.

A sustainable solution
The sustainability is at the heart of the Modo collection as it consists of organic and 100% recyclable materials. Any product that is made of SURFEX material can be reprocessed in the future as well as being easily repairable. SURFEX’s special composition makes it possible to preserve the temperature for longer, saving water and energy, as well as using low chemical emissions in the creation process. The material is certified as complying with international standards that guarantee its suitability for interior use, even in the most sensitive areas used by children.

Long-wearing furniture
Modo was designed to be a collection that lasts. It’s high resistance to chemical agents and UV light makes for a long-wearing surface, perfect for a family or communal bathroom. The solid surface offers a pure white finish, with a delicate, soft, matt texture that makes the surface pleasant to touch. Due to its mineral nature and polishing process, SURFEX is also extremely anti-slip, making it safe to use in even humid areas of the bathroom space.

Total hygiene
Because of its robust and smooth nature, every surface is easy to clean. Being virtually fireproof and resistant to extreme environments, any stain can be easily removed from a SURFEX surface, returning it to its original appearance.

For more information visit

How to bring nature-inspired designs into your hotel

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Duncan Neil, creative director at Earthed by William Clark, shares his expert opinion on how to utilise nature-inspired design to create best results in the hospitality industry.

Creating a welcoming and memorable experience in the hospitality industry is vital and the natural world holds a wonder of unique colours, patterns and materials that can inject life into interior spaces.

Hallways and entrances

A spacious entrance with lots of natural light grabs the guest’s attention as soon as they set foot into the venue. The space should have clean lines and a neutral colour palette to create a fresh feeling no matter what time of day or season. The use of large green plants can also help achieve this. Adding greenery in any form to hotel hallways will maintain an air of freshness around the premises and bring a sense of rejuvenation.


It’s important to create a comfortable restaurant area to promote a relaxed dining experience. Red, yellow and green palettes are the most common colours found within food and naturally complement our eating experience. Eating is a basic primal function, so using earthy natural materials, such as natural woods, cottons and linen, can synchronise experience and our primal needs.

In this busy environment pattern can be used to add character and depth, potentially through furniture, upholstery or soft furnishings. Patterns inspired by nature are ideal for hotels as they create calming environments when soft flowing patterns are used, but can also be perfect to add bursts of excitement and vibrancy when sharp bold designs are used. Our collections utilise a mix of elements found within the natural world, from the soft flow of water to the sharp lines of minerals found in the earth’s surface.


The guest room is arguably the most important area to get right as this will have an effect on how well a guest rests. A spacious room incorporating neutral tones really helps to create a relaxed and calm atmosphere. However stronger colour schemes are more atmospheric and can make a real statement.

The best colour palettes to experiment with in bedrooms are greens and blues. Greens have clear links with nature, one of the most peaceful influences to bring into the bedroom. While blue tones are traditionally linked to harmony and calm, which will help guests to have a restful sleep. Our debut collection, The Upperlands incorporates these colours and tones, with fabrics that have an earthy, calming effect. Incorporating quality fabrics also enable depth and texture to be added to a room, either by print or structured textiles.

Additionally, it has been proven that headboards aid a better night’s sleep, therefore should always be present – they are also an ideal opportunity to add personality and colour.

There is no rule book when utilising our natural world in interiors, so it’s important to be playful and have some fun experimenting to see what works for your hotel and your guests.

Marriott launches experimental hotel in Stratford

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Moxy Hotels, Marriott International’s experiential hotel brand, continues to make its mark on the hospitality scene as it introduces its third property in the UK and second in the British capital.

Following the successful launch of Moxy London Excel, Moxy London Stratford brings the brand’s characteristic vibrant, playful design and approachable service to the fashionable East London scene, offering the style and spirit of a boutique hotel without breaking the bank.

The 294-bedroom is ideally located in booming Stratford, which has benefited from over a decade of regeneration to become one of the city’s best shopping and sporting destinations, having played host to the 2012 London Olympics and being home to one of the largest shopping centres in Europe.  Excellent transport links also provide easy access to London City Airport, St Pancras International, Excel London, and the edgy social scene of nearby Shoreditch, making it a perfect choice for business and leisure travellers alike.

“Our Fun Hunter guests continue to seek inspiration from their travel,” said John Licence, VP Premium and Select brands at Marriott International Europe. “The new Moxy London Stratford will offer guests a cocktail at check-in, spontaneous games in the lively communal spaces, and an energetic crew to bring out the most fun from this vibrant corner of London and give them something to rave about when they return home.”

Moxy’s fun, inclusive and youthful spirit is reflected in the combination of bold design and affordable style where communal engagement is at the centre of the experience. The interiors fuse refined and raw materials, organic and linear lines, and shared spaces. The Moxy experience kicks-off with a bright, airy and buzzing lobby. The contemporary lobby’s modern furniture invites guests to relax, pick up a book from the Moxy library, connect and catch up with friends or retreat to the gym to re-energise by punching the pink Moxy punching bag. Guests of Moxy London Stratford are encouraged to take a selfie in the photo-booth-inspired hotel elevators, complete with props.

Living Room #ATTHEMOXY
Moxy London Stratford’s Living Room is the centre of activity, giving guests fun ways to work and play hard. Sealed concrete floors, walls lined with intriguing art and fun references to local culture including artistic nods to the area’s 2012 Olympics legacy are complemented by ambient lighting and comfortable accents of colour. The Living Room also features abundant power and USB outlets, and furiously fast and free Wi-Fi for ultimate connectivity. A high-energy yet cosy space for gatherings, special events or cocktails, the lounge plays host to eclectic upbeat music.

The hotel’s 294 contemporary bedrooms, ranging from Standard to Family size, are outfitted with sound-reducing walls, 42″ LCD flat screen televisions, complimentary Wi-Fi, abundant USB ports, comfortable bedding and deep-seated armchairs in calming, neutral fabrics. Every bedroom makes a statement with a fun floor-to-ceiling art piece. The design is functional, flexible and uncluttered with simple, thoughtful touches including glass shelving and an open storage concept featuring a peg wall for ultimate flexibility when unpacking, in lieu of a traditional closet. Stylish bathrooms feature complimentary Muk toiletries, bright pink hair dryers, power showers and large mirrors alongside a spacious vanity area.

24/7 Dining #ATTHEMOXY
Moxy’s 24/7 B&F (Beverage & Food), smart and fun self-service concept gives guests access to what they want, whenever they want it. The Moxy dining area offers lots of options for food and drink including fresh juices and a coffee bar. Guests can enjoy fresh Panini sandwiches and a range of healthy alternatives from salad to antipasti. An evening Crockpot entrée will be served along with a variety of cocktails, craft beers and specialty wines. The bar is full-service and the hub of activity in the lobby – it also doubles as the hotel’s physical check-in, where guests are greeted with a complimentary ‘Got Moxy’ cocktail upon arrival.

Marriott Rewards #ATTHEMOXY
Moxy guests who are members of the award-winning Marriott Rewards loyalty programme will get exclusive access to even more digital features through the Marriott Mobile app when they book direct, including mobile check-in and check-out, keyless entry and Mobile Requests to make their travel experience seamless. Marriott Rewards members will also earn points for their stay at Moxy Hotels and can redeem for hotel stays across the Marriott Rewards portfolio of brands.

Special opening rates at the new Moxy London Stratford begin at £68.

Following the recent openings both Moxy Stratford and Moxy London Excel, the UK is expected to see a further seven Moxy hotels launch by the end of 2018 alone, covering  all four corners of the country with properties in vibrant destinations such as Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Southampton set to offer bold and experiential stays for fun-hunting travellers.

I-­AM London launches future of hospitality trend report

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Award winning design agency I­‐AM London has launched its second report on its interactive online portal exploring the future of hospitality.

It looks at the key trends that are changing the hotel landscape and the emerging signals that are prompting developments in experience design.

From novel service offerings to immersive worlds, ultra-­‐convenience to reconfigurable buildings, we looked into what things make people feel hosted – and what hotels will look like in the near future.

We started our research by asking people what they really think about the hotel experience. We asked over 500 Millennials across Germany, France and UK everything from pricing to entertainment, Instagram to reservations, and health to pet care. Our insights delved into what people love and hate about the hotel experience, but most importantly – how they want to feel hosted in the future.

The report looked into the top trends of 2017, from flexi-solutions to active stays that offer fitness opportunities for visitors.

You can read the full report on their website for more information.

Première Neige promote the digital detox retreat this new year

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To kick off 2018, why not indulge in a much deserved digital detox in luxury with Première Neige. With a wide range of activities and luxurious accommodation at Chalet Merlo, The Peak or La Marquise, Première Neige offers the perfect excuse to ditch technology and sharpen the senses on the slopes in Sainte Foy and surrounding resorts this 2018.

Première Neige offers a selection of curated experiences guaranteed to help guests to switch-off their devices and ensure that their trip is unforgettable. From husky riding, to soaring through the valley with their paragliding activities, to diving into the icy depths and exploring the surreal atmosphere of the underwater world with their ice diving experience, Première Neige promises to assist in the digital detox process.

Be at one with nature and find a sense of clarity whilst soaring through the skies with Première Neige’s helicopter rides or paragliding experiences. Embrace the sense of freedom whilst floating through the crisp mountain air and glancing down at the beautiful snow-capped mountains below.

Première Neige’s new digital detox concierge service helps guests wean themselves off phones, tablets and laptops with curated digital free skiing itineraries, helping guests ignite a connection with the Alps’ natural environment. Rolling hills, snow covered trees and frozen lakes provide the perfect backdrop in which to switch off from the modern world and restore a little more of the all-important work/life balance. With Première Neige’s fully accompanied ski tours throughout the Tarentaise valley, guests can experience the thrills of the slopes over a period of three or six full days.

Spa & Meditation
Première Neige offers a unique chance to practice yoga and meditation against a backdrop of adrenalin pumping ski activities. Relax in the hot tub to soothe the muscles and mind after a long day of the slopes and help deepen the digital detox practice. Taking place in the stillness of the mountains outdoors or in the warmth of the chalet, gaze out towards magical panoramic mountain views a world away from normal life. Guests can heighten this sense of relaxation with an afternoon massage in the comfort of their own villa. Première Neige’s Beanie & Boots Spa treatment consists of a deeply relaxing and restorative massage for the head, focusing on the eyes, neck and shoulders designed to melt away any stress and tension in these areas.

Detox in true style at Première Neige’s luxury catered Chalet Merlo, nestled directly above the village of Le Miroir and offering panoramic vistas of the Tarentaise valley. Containing little luxuries such as Elemis Spa bathroom products, saunas, steam rooms, a roaring log fire and more, this is alpine luxury at its finest.

For those wishing to fully heighten the digital detoxification process, guests can surrender their devices and request the removal of in-chalet TVs and enjoy some precious uninterrupted time. In addition, books, journals and board games are provided in the chalet to encourage pause and reflection.

With 6 en-suite bedrooms available, Chalet Merlo sleeps up to 12 people and includes a fully-equipped gym spread over two floors, a private massage suite, a hot tub and sauna facilities. The chalet also comes with a dedicated team consisting of a professional chef, host and a chauffeur to ensure a seamless visit. Due to its impeccable location, Chalet Merlo is the perfect accommodation for multi-resort skiing. With the chauffeur included, guests have a wide array of ski resort options with Sainte Foy, Tignes, Val D’Isere, Les Arcs and La Rosiere in close proximity. For those looking for a more adrenaline-fueled experience, Chalet Merlo can also arrange heli-skiing excursions.

How to clean light fixtures and shades

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For many interior designers, keeping expensive lights and shades clean can prove to be a tricky process.

To help combat this, Delightfull has complied a list of tips on how to keep your light fixtures clean and tidy.


Before you start to clean, unplug the light from its power source. Unscrew any articulations and take off any light bulbs.

Iron, aluminium and copper:

The best way to clean lamps that are made of iron, aluminium or copper is by using a clean soft cloth and wipe the lamp clean. Lamps with a solid metal base can also be polished using lemon oil. The best tip is to be careful when wiping the lamp, always using gentle motions.


Brass bases are lacquered to prevent tarnishing, which means that using a brass cleaner isn’t usually necessary. To maintain the finish, you can use a clean and soft cloth to wipe your lamp down. This will ensure you will have a shiny and clean lamp at all times.

Lacquered colours:

In order to clean all the colourful parts of your lamp, you should make sure to use a clean and soft white cloth. If you prefer, you can dampen your cloth with a little soapy water, which will help to keep the dust away for longer. You should thoroughly rinse the cloth in clean water and then re-do the whole process to ensure optimum cleaning.


For marble lamps, you can again use a clean cloth to wipe away any dust or dirt. You can also opt for a little soapy water for a more intense clean.

For more details check out Delightfull’s blog here.

Andre Fu - Andaz Singapore

Q&A: Andaz Singapore designer Andre Fu

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Andre Fu gives a glimpse into the design process for the Andaz Singapore…

Q. What would you point out specifically as some of your personal design highlights of the hotel?
A. My favourite aspect of the hotel is perhaps in our vision to create a Singapore-style alleyway experience. The intricate play of intimate proportions within the alleys evoke a sense of discovery and each shophouse is given its own personality and character. I personally believe this is an experience that is unique to Andaz Singapore.

In terms of particular spaces, I am very fond of Sunroom – conceived as modernist expression of the Peranakan house, it is an airy timber-lined lounge decked with lush hanging ferns. I am also drawn to the whimsical nature of 665 for its intimacy and the way it evokes the spirit of a bespoke tailors shop. The use of tropical plants within the hotel experience and how the way the curation of plants expresses a strong feeling of outdoor throughout is also a favourite aspect for me.

Andaz SingaporeQ. How would you say, in terms of design, Andaz Singapore is a combination of what Andaz and Singapore are both known for?
A. Andaz hotels draw direct inspiration from a location’s history, culture and architecture, and by distilling the best of its locale, allow guests to truly engage with a destination and experience it authentically, rather than merely visit.The expression of culture goes beyond the superficial adaptation of local elements or decorative motifs, but to engage in an experience that captures the spirit of the city.

Andaz Singapore
Q. How has it been working with such an iconic building by Ole Scheeren? What are the most challenging bits and how did you and your team work around those challenges?

A. The distinct architecture of the DUO building has posed many challenges to the designs of the project, in particular the relationship between the imposing internal structures against the curved façade of the building. Working with the unconventional shape of the building and the constraints of a thin footprint surrounding the building’s core have prompted us to bring down the scale of the experience, enhance the notion of intimacy and making each shop-house or venue unique in its design language. The resulting effect is a hotel that fully expresses the sense of journey, a journey that is accented with colours, textures, and expressive artworks. I believe the vision to bring the scale and create more personable spaces is a good example of hospitality going forward.

Q. What was your main design inspiration for Andaz Singapore?
A. I drew inspiration from the hotel’s dynamic location and the neighbourhood’s eclectic passageways and shop-house experiences. Our goal has been to re-interpret these qualities to create a Singapore-style alleyway experience. The intention is not to replicate the experience, but finding a means to capture the spirit of it with an emphasis on modernity. The intricate play of intimate proportions within the alleys evoke a sense of discovery and each shop-house is given its own personality and character. I personally believe this is an experience that is unique to Singapore.

Andaz SingaporeIn keeping with the alley concept, the experience of the guestroom embraces the neighborhood spirit. Conceived as a contemporary bungalow, I’ve introduced whimsical moments throughout the room – from the entrance doorbell that is housed in a bespoke post-box, the slender shop-house doors in bold mango yellow to the floor-to-ceiling ivory paneling. The room experience is also punctuated with ethnic touches in aubergine to celebrate the unique palette of the shophouse experience.

Q. What does luxury mean to you?
A. Luxury to me, is having a moment of stillness and not have so much on my mind. It’s a nice feeling having time to be really focused on a particular subject with the absence of distraction.

Guest Blog: How VR could transform guest expectations

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Dean Minett, Director at Minett Consulting shares his views on how virtual reality could be changing the expectations of guests…

Try before you buy is an old concept, and it’s been applied to any number of things commercially. Cars, homes, electronics and vitamins — just about every corner of the retail industry has offered no-risk money back arrangements with consumers. People want to know what they’re getting into before they invest. It’s also a powerful statement of confidence on the seller’s (or manufacturer’s) part. It says: You’re going to be happy you own this. You’re not going to want your money back.

Until now, industries that are based in experiences rather than commodities were beyond the pale of “try before you buy” (unless you include Rekall in Total Recall). How are people going to try a surfing vacation before you go? How are you going to try a first class cabin on a train? Multi-media content (images and video) has brought us closer, but there’s still nothing like being there, like actually standing in the space and seeing its dimensions first hand.

Virtual reality has been around awhile, but early iterations made it something of a joke. The graphics were terrible, and the headsets were gigantic.

Now that 360-cameras have become sophisticated and widely available (think about those latest holiday snaps your friends are posting to Facebook), VR technology can vividly put you in real places. You can stand on the veranda of that vacation villa you’re thinking about renting. You can cruise down the streets of a faraway city at night in a Ferrari. You don’t control the accelerator, but it’s easy to let yourself be immersed in the details. Why? Because it’s real detail. It’s actual imagery. Most people who have tried the newer headsets — such as the Samsung unit that makes use of a Galaxy phone — are shocked by how detailed and immersive the experience actually is. Big electronics firms are running, not walking, into the VR space.

Travel is one of the industries most obviously touched by the development of this technology. Effectively, VR means that “try before you buy” is indeed available in our industry — at least to an unprecedented degree. If you’re not sure about which type of room to book at a given hotel, you can be dropped into a 360 degree image or led on a VR walking tour. You don’t have to rely on two-dimensional web site imagery, which rarely gives you an accurate spatial perception and definitely doesn’t provide as much detail.

Travel giant Thomas Cook is among the early adopters. In 2015 they worked with Visualise, a British VR production firm, to produce a series of immersive travel experiences for viewing at Thomas Cook locations around the world. The campaign featured professional filming in diverse locations, including Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Singapore and New York City. A separate campaign for Thomas Cook Airlines gives the public an immersive experience on Thomas Cook flights to different locations, along with contests and promotional opportunities hidden within the VR content.

There’s little doubt that virtual reality and travel are going to mix even more in 2017 and beyond, which means there are tremendous opportunities — along with fresh new pitfalls. As VR headsets and 360 degree content become more and more common, the big hotels are going to produce more content to pull people in. You’ll be able to put on your headset and be immersed in that upper-floor suite, for example. And the next logical step will be seamless booking functionality.

The problem of expectations
What does all of this mean for hotels? Among other things, it means that when a guest shows up, the difference between real and virtual worlds had better not be stark. While VR promotional content has tremendous potential, it sets the bar higher for hotels. Through this kind of promotion, it becomes even more important to deliver on promises, both in terms of amenities and service. Otherwise, people will feel distinctly misled and the online reputations of such hotels will suffer.(As discussed in a previous post, incongruous photographs have the same impact.)

Some hoteliers will choose to steer clear of VR content for these very reasons. It’s also true that VR content is still relatively expensive to produce, and the pictures themselves will grow old like any video or jpeg image. New content will have to be created.

But what if it becomes cheaper to create and distribute VR content? What if “try before you buy” becomes the rule, not the exception, in the hospitality industry? Using such content to promote your hotel could feasibly become as widespread, or indeed as necessary, as using an OTA.

In the end, VR will be productive tool for hoteliers who use it to set up the right expectations. And they’ll strive to meet or exceed those expectations through strong fundamentals, attention to detail, positive interactions between guests and staff. But we need to ensure we are not too focused on the virtual experience because when you come right down to it, real hospitality experiences will always be what counts.


Graduating first from William Angliss Institute in 1982, Dean took on his first General Management role at the age of 22. Since then, he has worked in, managed or consulted to hotels, motels, resorts, restaurants and casinos across Australia and Asia. He is director at Minett Consulting.

trivago - best UK hotels

trivago Awards 2018: This year’s top-rated hotels in the UK

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trivago has reviewed the data and tallied the scores, and it’s time to reveal the hotels that travellers consider to be the very best — the winners of the trivago Awards 2018.

The trivago Awards give hoteliers the chance to receive recognition for their hard work and dedication to providing exemplary guest experiences, and to highlight and publicise this achievement to a world of travellers. In discussing the Awards, Johannes Thomas, Managing Director at trivago NV, said: “As an independent source of hotel information with data on over 175 million guest reviews, we are well-positioned to identify the top-rated hotels that excel at delivering exceptional guest experiences. The trivago Awards give us the chance to recognise and honour the hard-working hoteliers behind these exemplary hotels, and we are thrilled to do so again this year.”

All winning hotels receive exclusive award-indicators (certificates to put on display, widgets for their websites and social media pages, and more) that can increase their visibility and guest appeal online and offline. And the single top hotel in each category also gets to take home a coveted trivago Awards trophy along with a winner’s badge for their hotel profile.

trivago applauds all the winning hotels for offering top-notch, top-rated guest experiences. So, without further ado, let’s find out who the national winners in the United Kingdom are…

The top-rated hotels with the best value for money
This year, the best value for money in the UK can be found at St Michael’s Guest House in Scarborough.

Whatever the season or occasion, family-run Victorian guest house aims to make everyone’s stay enjoyable and relaxing by giving a traditional service. Owners Dee and Glyn had this to say about providing award-winning value: “As trivago is one of the best known and respected international websites that travellers turn to when planning a stay away from home it is a huge honour that we should be associated with them and even more amazing to win an award. We don’t feel that we do anything special here at St Michael’s just be ourselves. We offer clean and comfortable accommodation and a good locally sourced breakfast at reasonable prices. Our main aim is for our guests to feel relaxed in a happy atmosphere; as if they are visiting friends.”

Here are the top-10 recipients of the trivago Awards 2018 in the category of Best Value for Money in the UK:

The top-rated 3-star hotels
This year, the number one 3-star hotel in the UK is Cedar Manor in Windermere.

trivago - best UK hotelsSet in mature gardens with the beautiful cedar tree that the hotel takes its name from, Cedar Manor is renowned for its friendliness with a relaxed and informal feel.

On receiving the award-winning hotel, owners Caroline and Jonathan Kaye said: “We’re just a small hotel – ten rooms including a detached suite – but we’ve proved that small is beautiful. We’re lucky to be in the most beautiful part of the country and we’ve created a haven of tranquil luxury to match our landscape. We know that the trivago Awards recognise those hoteliers who deliver an exceptional experience to their guests, and that’s what we strive to achieve. Each year we invest in our hotel and in our staff to keep on getting better and better, talking to our guests, listening to our guests, paying attention to the tiny details.”

Here are the top-10 recipients of the trivago Awards 2018 in the category of Best 3-Star Hotels in the UK:

The top-rated 4-star hotels
This year, the number one 4-star hotel in the UK is The Clontarf Hotel in Llandudno.

trivago - best UK hotelsLocated on the peaceful West Shore at the foot of the Great Orme, the family-run hotel offers unique styled rooms with lovely views of the sea.

On receiving the award, owners Mark and Joni Stubbs said: “We are delighted to have been selected by trivago to have been the number one 4-star hotel in the UK. We take a relaxed and informal approach to hotel management and want all guests to feel comfortable but with all the modern comforts of today’s hotel environment. We look forward to welcoming many more trivago guests in the future.”

Here are the top-10 recipients of the trivago Awards 2018 in the category of Best 4-Star Hotels in the UK:

trivago - best UK hotelsThe top-rated 5-star hotels
Just like last year, the number one 5-star hotel in the UK is Hotel 41 in London.

trivago - best UK hotelsBoasting one of London’s prime locations, attentive staff and striking rooms, 41 offers an unforgettable hotel experience.

Digital Marketing Manager, Edward Boulton, acknowledged the team for providing an exceptional service to their guests: “At Hotel 41, ‘No request too large, no detail too small’ is our ethos, and our warm, thoughtful and personalised service is something we pride ourselves on. Our team go above and beyond to provide five-star service to each and every guest, ensuring that a stay at Hotel 41 is remembered for more than just the luxurious décor. We’re incredibly honoured to receive this trivago Award which recognises our commitment to our guests’ experience.”

Here are the top-10 recipients of the trivago Awards 2018 in the category of Best 5-Star Hotels in the UK:

trivago - best UK hotelsThe top-rated alternative accommodation
This year, the number one best alternative accommodation in the UK is The Arthington Guest House in Blackpool.

trivago - best UK hotelsKnown for their outstanding service, rich complimentary breakfast, and proximity to the promenade and attractions.

Owners Steve and Elaine pride themselves on providing the highest standards of comfort. They said: “We are over the moon that for the third year running we have been nominated for the trivago Awards. We have been running The Arthington in Blackpool since 2006 and its success has been down to hard work and not resting on our laurels. Trying to cater for the modern guest, whilst realising our limitations is our honest approach to the way we do our business. A big thank you to all the guests both old and new who have posted reviews about us, we would not be a success without them.”

Here are the top-10 recipients of the trivago Awards 2018 in the category of Best Alternative Accommodation in the UK:

trivago - best UK hotelsThe top-rated chain hotels
The hotel chains with the best collective ratings across the UK this year are The Montcalm Hotels, Principal Hotel Company and Corus Hotels. The number one hotel within The Montcalm Hotels in the UK is The Montcalm London Marble Arch.

Sitting grandly at the top of Park Lane, The Montcalm London Marble Arch promises the luxury lifestyle and individually tailored guest experience. Upon winning the award, Managing Director, Ramesh Arora had this to say: “At the Montcalm we consider hospitality an art form, and we’re always pioneering new ways to enjoy it. It’s how we not only keep standards consistently high but also keep the guest experience constantly fresh and rewarding. We’re thrilled to receive this award from trivago for the Montcalm London Marble Arch because it recognises the dedication of all our staff in perfecting their art.”

This year, the top-rated hotel of the Principal Hotel Company in the UK is The Principal York.
Tracy Harrison, General manager said: “It is a huge honour to be recognised by trivago – one of the world’s most trusted travel comparison websites – following the £20m refurbishment and revival of York’s historic grande-dame railway hotel.

trivago - best UK hotelsWhat’s more, to receive an accolade that has been based solely on ratings and reviews from trivago’s global network of savvy travellers, would only provide our team with a feeling of extra achievement. In order to deliver a unique guest experience, we combine unique local heritage with a modern take on traditional British hotel service that is intuitive to guest needs. Our people are key to our rebirth and so we introduced a new dedicated guest relations team who are empowered to surprise and delight each of our guests in some way during their stay, exceeding the expectations of our star-rating.“

Finally, the number one hotel within Corus Hotels in the UK is Laura Ashley The Manor in Elstree.
Situated in landscaped gardens within 10 acres of natural woodland and views overlooking the Hertfordshire countryside, Laura Ashley The Manor Hotel is known for charming Tudor style exterior and stylish contemporary interior décor.

trivago - best UK hotels

How does trivago determine the winning hotels?
Just as we aggregate hotel prices from across the web, we also aggregate guest reviews and ratings for a wide variety of amenities and services for all hotels that display prices on trivago. The reviews are then assigned an overall score by amenity or service category using an internally developed algorithm. The overall score is displayed on trivago, making it easy for travellers to compare amenities and services offered as they search for their ideal hotel. For the trivago Awards 2018, the hotel with the highest score in each awarded category is deemed the category winner. To ensure accuracy, a minimum of 20 reviews were required for award eligibility.

Lenka Trckova
Lenka is a member of trivago’s Industry Management team for English-speaking markets. She grew up in a family of entrepreneurs and studied marketing communication and business management in the Czech Republic. She joined trivago to pursue her passion for the hospitality industry and is focused on supporting hoteliers to reach their online potential through marketing and technology. READ THE ORIGINAL BLOG POST FROM TRIVAGO’S HOTEL MANAGER BLOG HERE

Perfect hotel brochure

Guest Blog: 5 key steps for a perfect hotel brochure

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Although it may seem like the hotel industry is always a booming one, there is still plenty of marketing that needs to be made, simply because the industry is so competitive.

There are always people looking to travel and stay abroad but only a limited number of places to do so! With this in mind, it’s so important that you create perfect hotel brochures for your potential customers to reference, luring them into everything your hotel has to offer and securing that all-important sale.

To help you get started, here are five steps from Gloria Kopp at Australia Help you need to take to ensure perfection and the highest quality…

Format Properly
When it comes to putting all your photos and content together, you can’t just stick it in any old place. You need to make sure everything is nicely laid out and flows properly. You can use tools like Easy Word Count to make sure that your content fits nicely in your brochure and doesn’t exceed your publisher’s word limit and tools like Adobe Spark to create your brochure on your own!

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You need to make sure everything is nicely laid out and flows properly…

Create a Captivating Headline
The headline of your brochure is the first impression you’re going to make with your customers, so you want to write something that grabs their attention and doesn’t let them go. Imagine your brochure is sitting on a rack with dozens of other brochures. What can you write about your hotel that will make you brochure leap out in front of all the rest? When it comes to writing a headline, be sure to use proper grammar. Otherwise, people will instantly dismiss your hotel due to lack of professionalism. You can check this aspect using tools like State of Writing. Alternatively, if you’re stuck for an idea, use copywriting services like Ukwritings to create your headlines for you.

Utilise the Best Photos
Nothing sells a hotel better than the photos that are in the brochure. You can use as many visual words as you want but nothing will sell or create an emotional image in your potential customer’s heads than an actual high-quality image. Whether you’re advertising your actual hotel, the location, the city you’re based in or even activities your hotel provides, use images to really catch your customer’s attention. If you’re stuck and not sure where to look for images, try searching on Pixabay, or use the free templates and images found on Canva.

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Nothing will sell or create an emotional image in your potential customer’s heads than an actual high-quality image…

Writing Your Content
Of course, the most important part of your sales technique once your customer has actually picked up your brochure is by leading them in further with your written content. This means you need to create an email in your readers head about what their experience is going to be like. For example; “During your stay at **hotel name**, we pride ourselves on doing everything we can to ensure that your stay will create memories that will last a lifetime. Start your day with sweeping views of the beautiful, crystal-clear oceans that roll in a cool sea breeze as you make your way to the intercontinental breakfast. Then, the day is yours to do as you please, but you’ll have complete peace of mind knowing your room is clean and ready for the perfect night’s sleep, ready to start all over again the next day.”

This is a very condensed summary of a hotel, but as you can see, it creates an image in your readers head that will make them want to stay at your hotel, which is, of course, the end goal. If you’re struggling with ideas, you can use content tools like Essay Roo or Academadvisor to help.

perfect hotel brochure

The most important part of your sales technique once your customer has actually picked up your brochure is by leading them in further with written content…

Ensure Accuracy
If someone is reading through your brochure and it’s full of spelling mistakes, typos and incorrectly formatted sentences, this unprofessional image that you’re giving to your potential customers is going to push them away. To them, if you can’t even spot a spelling mistake in your work, how are you supposed to give them an unforgettable holiday of a lifetime? This means you’re going to need to proofread your brochure as the final thing that you do. If you doubt your proofreading skills, you can always use proofreading tools like Cite It In and Boomessays, so you don’t have to risk poor quality content.

As you can see, there are a number of things you can do to make sure that your brochure stands out from the crowd and has the impact you want it to have. Just make sure you follow this guide and leave no room for error!

Gloria KoppGloria Kopp is an advertising manager and a content marketer at Australian Help. She is a regular contributor at Engadget and Paper Fellows blogs. Besides, Gloria is an author of Studydemic educational blog where she shares her writing and career advice with students.

Homestays v. Hotels

Guest Blog: The Future of Hospitality – Homestays v. Hotels

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Nakul Sharma is the CEO and founder of Hostmaker, London’s biggest Airbnb management company – and here he describes why he believes homestays and staying in a hotel are different sides of the same coin…

Over the last few years, homestays have become increasingly popular, with the explosion of companies such as Airbnb making these options a more convenient and cheaper way of staying in the world’s major cities. But does this explosion in popularity of homestays challenge the traditional hoteling industry or rather does it create a situation where the two can help each other?

Having worked in both the traditional hospitality industry and the property sharing sector, I can safely tell you that these two seemingly competing industries are actually more compatible then first glance might suggest. They are two sides of the hospitality coin, catering for different people with different and often complimenting strengths and weaknesses.

The main difference between the two is cost and the space available to enjoy a longer stay. Homestays generally tend to be lower in price than traditional hotels. As a result, they encourage travellers who would have maybe stayed for two-three nights in a hotel to stay longer and experience more of a destination. They are also preferred by a large group of people, or travellers looking for a room for month. Hotels are mainly tailored to the needs of an individual business traveller and aim to be efficient. Couples or groups travelling for leisure have very different needs. Rather than stealing clientele away from hotels, they are filling the gap in the market.

These two forms of hospitality also tackle the complications that come with very short or very long trips. Homestays provide much more flexibility, giving guests the option to stay for 3, 30 or 300 days, depending on their circumstances. Hotels are great for families or individuals looking to stay in one place for a few nights, but it can quickly become cumbersome when you want to move about or stay for an extended period.

By staying with a local through a homestay, travellers get a difference experience of the city. Before you would have had to explore a city with little or no knowledge, armed only with a guide book and relying on the hotel concierge. However, staying with a local offers guests a different perspective on a city and its culture. This is not something that everyone would like to experience as many people are happy to explore the city alone and enjoy the main attractions. Again, those that would have originally stayed in hotels are unlikely to migrate to homestays due to the fact that they are more interested in the comparative comfort of a hotel.

Many often say that they choose hotels for the luxury service and the knowledge that they can come and go without worrying about waking up their hosts or collecting their keys at a certain time. However, it is possible to replicate this service within the homestay market. Management companies, such as Hostmaker, have been able to bridge this gap in the market and provide a Hilton level experience to a regular homestay, offering a 5-star experience for guests and alleviating the pressure from the host.

Homestays often also offer unique properties. Treehouses, caravans and cabins are just a few of the types of accommodation you may find yourself in. For some people, the chance of a unique stay in an unusual location is an adventure, but others may be filled with a sense of dread. When you stay in a hotel, there is a standard that many people expect and more often than not, they receive. With a homestay, however, especially one in a quirky location, it can be very hard to determine. Those with a more adventurous streak may opt to go for a homestay but many people would still feel more comfortable with a traditional hotel.

So, when we discuss the future of hospitality, homestays are certainly part of it and a quickly growing part of it, but the demand for hotels is unlikely to be affected by the growth of this sharing economy industry. Both hotels and homestays occupy similar areas in the hospitality industry but by no means are their target market the same. Homestays do not have the capacity to steal the business of hotels and hotels cannot offer the individual experiences that homestays can. Rather than conflict, the two dovetail to offer customers different experiences to cater to individuals tastes.

TOPHOTELS Guest Blog: Sustainability and hotel design

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TOPHOTELPROJECTS talks about hotel sustainability and how it’s shaping the design and construction of hotels around the world…

Sustainability has long been a buzzword within the design community, and hoteliers in particular have been latching onto the idea of the past number of years.

Not only is it a response to an increased awareness of climate change and the impact we as humans, especially those working in one aspect of the construction industry, have on the planet, but it is also a response to client demand, with more and more guests desiring sustainable tourism as a requirement in their holidays. An annual competition run by hotel consultancy firm the John Hardy Group called Radical Innovation Award takes submissions for innovative hotel designs that reimagine the hospitality experience, and this year’s entries and winners point to a significant upswing in sustainable hospitality that could well be the future of the industry.

The award has singled out a number of visionary projects as finalists, but many of the entries proposed radical ideas that threw out the rulebook of hospitality design. A common theme was that of sustainability, both in an environmentally friendly sense, but also in a cultural sense, where local culture and art is celebrated and promoted. This also points to recent trends in hospitality where local experiences are being sought by guests wishing to engage more with the place and people they are visiting.

Green or garden hotels were a big feature of a number of entries. Canadian firm Arno Matis Architecture proposed a project entitled the ‘Vertical Micro-Climate Hotel’, whose concept is to make the outdoor areas of hotels located in the harsh climates of North America habitable all year round.

One of the features of this hotel was the use of heliostat technology, a mirroring system which reflects sun back into certain parts of the building as required so as to make them habitable even in colder weather conditions.

EoA’s submission involved suspending hotel facilities from a treetop by using a system of cables to hold rooms in tent-form above a trampoline-like platform, giving the hotel a very small footprint above the forest floor and re-orientating the guest’s field of vision to that from the tree canopy. A Dutch architecture student submitted a project that he had built in his mother’s back garden which connects guests to nature while allowing them to sleep in a sustainably built and naturally ventilated structure.

The culturally sustainable aspect came in the form of the currently-operational Play Design Hotel in Taiwan, which champions local artists and designers by installing their creations into hotel rooms and encouraging guest to interact with them.

The idea came about after the developer noticed a lot of his artist friends were having to go abroad to showcase their designs, and he thought that it would be better to not only exhibit the work locally in hotels so that international guests could see them, but also to cultivate an environment of design engagement within the hotels themselves.

“I want people to experience the culture of this country. played a lot with the idea of using the hotel as a portal for people who want to learn about Taiwanese design, a space that is furnished with all of these local designers’ work. So, their work is not only shown but so it’s experienced. Design isn’t something you only put in a museum or gallery. It should be used. It’s for your everyday use,” says hotelier Ting-Han Chen.

More information on hotel sustainability can be found on TOPHOTELPROJECTS, the specialised service provider in the exchange of cutting-edge information of hotel construction in the international hospitality industry.

How to design a boutique hotel

Guest Blog: ‘How to design a boutique hotel’

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Lillian Connors is Senior Digital Marketing Strategist at Bizzmark – a hub for business journalists and bloggers – and here she shares her thoughts on how to design the perfect boutique hotel…

The two main features of boutique hotels are luxury and individuality. These are achieved through style, practicality and attention to detail. The style needs to tell the story of the hotel or its owner, and make it one of a kind. Everyone designing a boutique hotel should take the following six advices into account.

Checking in
The moment the guests step inside, they need to feel welcome. A pleasant lobby houses a well-designed and well-lit reception desk – it is the heart of the hotel, where both the first and the last impressions are created. If the space allows for it, always incorporate a seating area within the reception lobby. It will become the favourite meeting place for your guests and their friends.

To the guestrooms
The lift lobby is another important area to consider, as guest often spend a lot of time there and therefore have an opportunity to inspect the details and décor closer at hand. As the lift lobby is often the busiest area of the hotel, make sure that it is spacious, and that you provide adequate signage. This is also where stunning floor, lighting and wall design can be most effectively used to impress everyone passing through. As this is the showcase area, try to incorporate a special piece of artwork, a unique wall finish or even a piece of vintage furniture from the owner’s personal collection.

Forest Side Hotel - guestroom
Smart corridor design

Well-designed corridors are the marriage between style and utility. The access points to mechanical and electrical services should be cleverly incorporated into the design, perhaps hidden behind a large piece of artwork or the wall finish. The floor has to be durable to withstand the constant luggage and housekeeping trolleys being pushed up and down. Muffle the traffic sounds by a fabric backed wall covering or a quality carpet which can also help break up the long corridor feeling. As for the corridor lighting, it needs to be sufficient to take guests to their door, but also low enough to infuse a comfortable ambience.

Full hosting experience

In a boutique hotel, guest bedrooms are far more than just places to rest. Rather, they are ultra-personalized multifunctional spaces, where guests can work, dine, relax and sleep. However, no matter how well-designed the room is, if a guest has a sleepless night, there is little chance that they will return. A sturdy and comfortable bed paired with good blackout curtains, soundproofing and a temperature control is the formula for sound sleep. As far as the bathroom is concerned, your guests will expect nothing less than a mini-spa experience within their room. If the location allows, include a feature like an oasis plunge swimming pool, an external shower, or a bath with a splendid view.

Dining and catering
One of the traits of boutique hotels that sets them apart from chain or branded hotels is their size. Luxury and large scale rarely go hand in hand, so designers are often challenged to make the dining areas as efficient as possible. By smart utilization of furniture, fixture and equipment, an all-day dining area can be transformed into a breakfast room or a breakout room during a corporate event. If possible, try to incorporate an open buffet counter with a large storage below. This way you can accommodate all kinds of multi-use gatherings.

Forest Side Hotel - Restaurant

Checking out
You will make your guests happiest if you send them on their way without too much hassle. The checkout needs to be efficient and time saving. On the other hand, this is the last visual memory of the hotel for your guests. You should provide a good luggage storage area in case the guests want to explore the surroundings before they depart.

Whether it’s a quiet sanctuary within a densely populated polis or a secluded place on a remote beach, it is the attention to detail, the quality of workmanship as well as the unmatched service and accommodation that separate a boutique hotel form run-of-the-mill brand names. Use these tips and make your hotel be one of the design-led properties

Lillian believes that the question of business goes far beyond the maximization of profit through different money-grabbing ploys. Instead, she likes to think that ethical principles should be at the core of every commercial venture, paving the way for much more balanced distribution of wealth on a global scale. As a seasoned business consultant, she tends to advise her clients to always focus on sustainability, rather than on some questionable get-rich-fast schemes. 

Five luxury brands to watch

Guest Blog: TOPHOTELS – Five luxury brands to watch

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As summer ends, TOPHOTELS takes a look back over the year so far and round up our pick of the top five luxury hotel brands of 2017, selecting the ones that have impressed us the most with their services and properties.

Recently acquired by Accor Hotels, who have seen their profits rise 0.9% since the 2016 acquisition, the name Fairmont is synonymous with luxurious accommodation in some of the world’s most desirable destinations. With over 70 properties worldwide, Fairmont combines impressive architecture and opulent interiors with unique experiences that can only be found in locations as diverse as Hawaii or Shanghai. Fairmont can claim the operation of some of the world’s most iconic hotels, including the Savoy in London and the Plaza in New York, bastions of luxury in the hospitality industry since luxury got a name.

Favoured by celebrities worldwide, the Mandarin Oriental brings a different level of class to the luxury hotel. With hotels located in some of the most idyllic destinations on the planet, Mandarin Oriental channels the beguiling nature of the east to exotic shores from the Indian Ocean to New England. Renowned for having some of the best spa and wellness facilities the hospitality industry has to offer, each stay in a Mandarin Oriental hotel is more memorable than the last.

Mandarin Oriental

The fashionable W Hotels collection appeals to the well-connected traveler who wishes to be seen among the movers and shakers in whichever city of in-demand destination he or she decides to rest their head. Known for their convergence of hospitality, music, food and fashion, these trendsetting hotels are high on the hot list, as well as being some of the most luxurious accommodations in the business. W Hotels are also riding high on the technology wave, so their hotels and spaces are super social media friendly.

Aman Hotels and Resorts is the king of the exotic getaway, perfect for that special occasion such as a honeymoon or anniversary. Located in areas of pristine natural beauty that each hotel aims to amplify by the architecture and amenities of the hotel itself, Aman’s hotels give each guest serenity and privacy, and a sense that they are having a once in a lifetime experience in one of the most beautiful places in the world. You don’t get much more luxury than that.

Aman Hotels and ResortsSIX SENSES
Six Senses Hotels, Resorts and Spas are the ultimate fusion of luxury hotel, natural setting and unforgettable experience. Encapsulating everything that a luxurious hotel stay should embody, Six Senses really does offer each guest the opportunity to discover an additional sense they didn’t know they had, by awakening in them sensations they have never felt before. Indulge in the prestigious spa facilities and dine in world class restaurants in some of the most incredible locations known to man.

Six Senses

Read the original article in full at TOPHOTELSNEWS

Guest Blog: ‘Hotels are missing vital marketing messages’

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A guest blog from Professor Stuart Barnes on the importance of marketing for hoteliers…

Hotels are losing customers because they aren’t using the most effective marketing messages for their ratings, reveals new research from King’s Business School. The researchers have created a model that exposes the truth about hotel performance using text from online customer reviews on websites such as TripAdvisor.

Professor Stuart BarnesUsing a big data set of more than a quarter of a million online reviews for more than 25,000 hotels in 16 countries, a total of 19 controllable factors were found to be vital for hotels to manage in their interactions with visitors. These included checking in and out, communication, homeliness, room experience and accommodating pets.

The research further identified the most important dimensions according to the star rating of hotels, with homeliness and events management being important for five-star hotels, while room experience and communication were basic requirements at one-star level.

“However, not all factors are considered by hotels and hotel comparison websites, like homeliness and natural beauty which the research revealed to be important for top-rated hotels and older consumers,” says Professor Stuart Barnes, “and so key marketing messages are being missed that would target the ideal customers. Hotels need to position themselves carefully.”

Clear differences were also found according to demographic segments. For example, men are more sensitive to price than women, while female hotel customers place greater significance on the standard of the bathroom.

The results, recently published in the journal Tourism Management, have clear implications for how hotels effectively market their offerings to different customers.

The application of advanced, mathematical machine learning techniques has provided an important development in marketing as Barnes, in collaboration with Hohai University, used them to develop a new model, which was compared with traditional numerical ratings. The approach provides a potential solution for many businesses seeking to understand the voice of their customers.

Stuart is Professor of Marketing at King’s College London

Denise Ellis

In Conversation: Denise Ellis discusses ever-changing hotel design

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Head of interior design and conservation at Nottingham-based Franklin Ellis Architects, Denise Ellis, who has worked with the firm for over 24 years, is a heavyweight in the hotel interior design industry.

Having worked with international brands though to independents including Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Best Western, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites, Denise discusses the ever-changing sector and the changes that influence hotel interior design.

“The hotel sector has changed hugely since I began working for Franklin Ellis Architects. Whilst the firm and I have work on projects across a range of sectors, hotels are 90% of what I do and are my passion. Guests reactions to the interior of a hotel is driven by emotion and having worked on over 25 hotel projects, I have a clear vision of the type of emotions and responses I want to gain from people as they step over the threshold of a hotel for the first time.

“Each project is very different and the hotel industry is an extremely competitive and ever-changing market which means the owners are having to up their game and constantly renew their offering. Over the last 10 years, hotel design has changed considerably and this is down to the wider trends that affect our day to day lives; like how we communicate, how we spend our free time, technology and fashion. For example, you won’t find many (good) hotels that don’t have plenty of power points, phone charge ports and fast Wi-Fi in communal areas.

“Unlike 10 years ago, most hotels, large or small, now strive to offer an intimate setting for its guests. Hotels are looking to create an experience that the customers will enjoy but also remember, so they return. Previously hotels were more of a necessity and while they did of course create spaces guests wanted to be, hotels were more focussed on formality and minimalism.

“Today, most hotels try to create a home-from-home with a level of informality and relaxation to cater to a range of customers and their demands. Brands now have a wider food and drink offer to suit more informed palettes, state of the art gyms and spas are much more common place, more communal areas and break-out spaces have been created for people to work as well as quiet spaces for those who want to read or work in a more private setting.

“Hotels are investing much more than they used to in the restaurants and bars, doing all they can to attract not just guests to eat and drink in the hotel but to also non-guests.

“People expect more from their hotel visits now too, discerning customers like to have something to aspire to for their own homes such as high-end soft furnishing, quirky decoration and cool lighting for example. Hotel interior design must take on the many demands of today’s customers and create spaces that are not only functional but awe-inspiring and memorable.

“My inspiration comes from all around me. I believe the element that makes a hotel unique and interesting is its location and sense of place. I try to make sure that the interior design in some way reflects the community around to create an instant connection. Hotels, including large multi-nationals, are adding elements to the interiors that are relevant to that local are; be it paintings of local landmarks or items that are made locally, hotels want to integrate into its surrounding area and be a part of the local community.


Guest Blog: Lotss – ‘Prioritising technology for your hotel staff’

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Prachi Chhabria - 'Prioritising technology for your hotel staff'Prachi Chhabria, co-founder of Lotss, shares her views on the best way to integrate technology into your processes to keep your hotel staff connected…

In the last few years, there has been a steady uptick in integrating the use of technology within the hospitality industry. Hotels are now heavily investing in guest-facing technologies such as booking engines, mobile apps, digital concierge services, keyless entry systems, beacons, automated check in and check out processes amongst many other, especially for their guests. In a recent New York Times article, Scott Dobroski, of corporate communications for Glassdoor, says that ‘All companies are becoming technology companies to some degree, and this is especially true in the hospitality industry’.

This phenomenon is definite progress for the hospitality industry, and it is time to shift the focus on adapting mobile technologies for your employees too. Stefan Tweraser of Snapshot writes about how employees are using multi faceted systems that can affect productivity and even shrink job satisfaction. These systems are so complex that guests are left waiting while employees navigate the user interface for information – information that should be mobile, on their fingertips and readily available at any given point of the day. Mobile technologies that allow for internal connectivity, communication, access to all information can be extremely valuable for operations and in-house staff.

Guest Blog: Lotss - 'Prioritising technology for your hotel staff'
A mobile platform can provide more benefits due to its flexible nature. For instance, staff members have instant access to the company intranet allowing them to provide enhanced service to guests. Gaining that access to daily news and real time updates increases their ability to work efficiently and with complete information. On the other hand, management can use employee behaviour data to optimise their operational processes. The key is to find technology that will save your employee’s time in doing routine tasks with all the required information to perform their job, available for their use at any time along with giving managers access to gather and analyse staff data. It will fit your operational purpose with simplicity in function and adaptability and most importantly, help improve your strategic goals and bottom-line.

By finding platforms that are multifaceted and provide different features to tie your operational processes together, it could provide valuable data into how staff carries out their work, and how it affects factors such as employee retention, satisfaction and productivity. These metrics have a direct impact on guests as well as the bottom line.

Features such as communication could include sending out daily updates regarding VIP guests or check in’s or having a portable database with documents on security, personnel HR, training, employee marketing and departmental reports. These enable staff to remain informed at all times, stay updated with recent knowledge and skills allowing them to do their tasks optimally and provide impeccable guest service. Just by using such a feature, guest satisfaction and retention can increase; along with productivity, again, positively affecting the bottom-line.

Added features such as surveys and feedback provide management with the opportunity to engage with their teams and have open dialogue frequently. Managers can respond faster to employee feedback, take action, and create a sense of community. As a result, employee retention boosts, satisfaction surges and the costs of hiring are reduced!

Bonus functions such as chatting, conducting assessments, filling checklists and inventory lists allow for optimising operational processes, reduced paper trails and collecting analytical in-house process data that can help management strategise better.

Guest Blog: Lotss - 'Prioritising technology for your hotel staff'To simplify this, it is advisable to contain the adoption of technology within one department initially. This can help gauge responsiveness from both employees and management. From there on, the technology can then be adopted by others (property wide or company wide). Management, too, can better adapt the use of this app and observe staff responses. Once the platforms are in use, and then integrating them into existing systems to heighten usage and optimise processes amplifies seamless operations.

When fully functional, management can create reports to recognise their team skills and compare and correlate usage within the app to metrics such as employee satisfaction and retention, guest satisfaction and retention, printing costs, training costs and productivity levels, all of which will be demonstrated financially as well.

By working with developers to customise technology to best suit your property, it allows you to exploit every function for maximum efficiency. With all the technology available at our disposal, do not invest in technology without purpose; rather invest in technology that serves your staff to serve your guests better eventually.

Mitre Linen

Guest Blog: Mitre – Six ways to accessorise hotel rooms

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Every establishment is unique and it is often the little touches that can make all the difference to a guest’s experience. The increasing credibility of travel review sites has made the hospitality market even more competitive, so it is important to stand out for all the right reasons.

Here Chris Tame, Mitre Linen’s National Sales Manager, provides us with his six expert tips how to accessorise your rooms in order to create a warm welcome, a wonderful stay and a lasting impression.

1) Soft furnishings: Beautiful soft furnishings can transform a room and instantly make a guest feel welcome. Whether you want to ignite a certain sense of style or reinforce your brand identity, refreshing your curtains, cushions and bed runners will help create that all-important great first impression.

2) Include a blanket or throw: A deliciously soft cashmere or woollen throw or blanket can add a touch of glamour to a room as well as making guests feel at home. Guests love snuggling into a little comfort and will appreciate this little gesture.

3) Pillow menu: The right pillow can make all the difference to a good night’s sleep and, in a competitive market place, personalisation is the key to standing out. Why not offer your guests a pillow menu to allow them to pick their ideal pillow? This is a unique and personal gesture and will help provide your guests with a fantastic night’s sleep, tailored to their requirements.

4) Offer practical bedroom accessories: Complement each bedroom with practical amenities that will provide your guests with all the essentials to make their stay as easy and comfortable as possible. From quality hair dryers to irons and ironing boards, sometimes these little extras can be a necessity.

5) Offer guests a bathrobe and slippers: Allow your guests to feel completely pampered and indulged by leaving a sumptuous bathrobe hanging up in the room. Nothing says luxury like a velour bathrobe and a pair of matching slippers. For that extra-personal touch, embroider your bathrobes with your brand name to help reinforce your identity throughout their stay.

6) Include complimentary toiletries: Guests love a quality selection of quality complimentary shampoos, conditioners, shower gels and body creams in their bathrooms. Adding them to a room shows attention to detail and will add a touch of luxury to that special hotel experience.

01685 353 4456

MK Electric's new Dimensions range has been launched

Guest Blog: MK Electric – new dimensions for hospitality design

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MK Electric share the benefits of their new range of design-led wiring accessories called Dimensions, perfect for hoteliers looking for modernity with design flexibility…

A growing number of hotels are shedding traditional designs in favour of something a little more modern, as rapidly changing interior trends require agile products which can evolve along with the building as a whole.

A key part of this is design flexibility, and ranges which can offer scalability and ease of replacement are becoming increasingly popular amongst hoteliers. These not only allow regular refreshes to a space without a significant financial or time investment, but allow common design throughout a building with scalable options from back of house office areas to suite rooms.

In order to meet this demand, MK Electric has launched a new range of screwless wiring devices, Dimensions, a design-led solution which is easily upgradeable and available in eight different finishes for a contemporary finish to any room.

Designed as a two-piece product solution, Dimensions is available as two individual parts, a functional module and clip-on frontplate, which can be ordered separately. This two-part installation offers a high level of adaptability, allowing frontplates to be changed as the design inside the building evolves over time.

And, as end users are expecting more from their hotels, the range incorporates products such as integrated USB socket outlets for easy smart device charging, LED dimmers, keycard switches and ‘do not disturb’ switches, all with a unified look.

Emma Segelov, head of marketing at MK Electric, said: “We understand that in today’s design-led environment, hoteliers need wiring devices which not only blend with their current décor but can be quickly and easily changed to match a revamp.

“The new MK Electric Dimensions range offers a design which not only has the scalability to fit into every area of a hotel, but which can also be interchanged and upgraded with ease to match any future changes in colour scheme, without blowing the budget or time-intensive work.”

Dimensions provides peace of mind for contractor, customer and end user, and comes complete with a 20-year guarantee (exclusions apply).

+44 (0)1268 563 404

London hotels

STR Case Study: Impact of terrorism on UK hotel performance

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A number of people have asked themselves how the recent tragedies in the UK might have affected the market’s hotels. While there is still not a long enough range of data to draw any definitive conclusions, STR thought it important to take this opportunity to look into it in some detail.

According to STR figures, the UK hotel market has experienced a strong start to 2017, with year-over-year RevPAR growth of 6.5% as of April year-to-date data. As evidenced by March data from VisitBritain, the country has seen an influx of arrivals, thanks in large part to the devaluation of the pound following the Brexit vote last June.

Terror Attacks Chart = terrorism impact on UK hotel industryNow, questions have emerged around the sustainability of this performance, following the recent terrorist attacks in the country. Earlier reports have suggested an impact on visitor numbers to attractions in the UK. It is reasonable to expect a negative impact on hotel performance given the unthinkable tragedies the country has experienced over the past several months. The UK maintained performance growth without much disruption following the March Westminster and May Manchester attacks, but it is still too early to fully gauge the effects of the 3 June attack at London Bridge or the 18 June attack at Finsbury Park, though some insights are available for the former.

ManchesterAn initial analysis from the Manchester attack shows that the city’s hotels experienced a minor year-over-year dip in occupancy (-1.9%) the day after the attack, before returning to growth the following day, 25 May (+2.7% to 79.8%). Following that date, performance has fluctuated due to other factors, including the hosting of the U20 Rugby Championship.

Terror Attacks Chart = terrorism impact on UK hotel industryDaily figures suggest that the London Bridge attack may be impacting the UK capital’s performance more significantly than previous attacks this year have. Preliminary data shows that performance started to decline on Wednesday 7 June, with both occupancy and ADR declining in a year-over-year comparison. The sharpest declines were seen on Thursday 8 June, with an 11% drop in occupancy and a 4% drop in ADR. However, these decreases may be in part a reflection of the comparison with the time of the EULAR medical congress last year.

In closing, STR again stresses that it is essential to analyse a longer time period and more complete data set before drawing definitive conclusions. Specifically in London, hotels have shown resilience during difficult times in the past.

Original source

STR provides clients from multiple market sectors with premium, global data benchmarking, analytics and marketplace insights. Founded in 1985, STR maintains a presence in 16 countries with a corporate North American headquarters 

Larry Mogelonsky - Renovation tips

Guest Blog: Larry Mogelonsky – Dirty Dozen Of Hotel Renovation

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Larry Mogelonsky, Principal at Hotel Mogel Consulting and Chairman at LMA Communications shares his thoughts on a general guideline of twelve tips for a smooth renovation…

With the kids gone, it was time to follow the footsteps of many other boomers and downsize to a condominium. What started as a mere paint job, however, morphed into a $150-per-square-foot renovation of the entire apartment comprising appliances, lighting, flooring, soft goods, mirrors, kitchen and plumbing fixtures. What we ended up having on our hands was a genuine case of ‘scope creep’ – something not uncommon in any property refurbishment.

Hotel renovations are a necessary dread of our industry in order to keep apace with the constantly giving décor trends, star rating requirements and technological advancements. They are also stressful and frustrating. Having gone through dozens of this large-scale projects over the past four decades, I was able to navigate the treacherous waters of my own apartment’s scope creep by following a general guideline of these twelve tips.

1. Define your objectives. Be as specific as possible, and make sure that these are written and approved by your ownership group. My mistake this time around was that my vision was very different than that of my spouse which resulted in serious cost overruns and time delays.

2. Timetables are split in thirds. Whatever you are proposing, figure one third of your time will be spent planning, another third in the actual work and the final third in quality control. Do not underestimate any one of these segments.

3. Budgets never last for more than the time they were created. There are more ways for costs to overrun than you can count. I thought our planning was generous but we ended up about 25% over budget, and that includes several areas of great cost savings. It’s natural to use a renovation to augment deep cleaning, upholstery renewal, upgraded security systems, LED conversions and any other new technologies. It all adds up!

Larry Mogelonsky - Renovation tips

4. What’s behind the walls? Our condo is only 15 years old, so there were no crazy surprises like what you would find in a century building. Nevertheless, we discovered significant shortfalls in wiring, plumbing and HVAC that all needed to be corrected before we could begin. Of course, these resulted in more cost increases and time delays, but the lesson here is to thoroughly inspect the state of affairs ‘under the hood’ before finalizing the scope and budget.

5. Hire a great general contractor. Simply put, you have a hotel to run, not a construction site. Don’t even think of doing both simultaneously. You need someone who will manage the project on your behalf. The GC became my single point of contact for the project, helping streamline communication and saving me time. He collected all my notes and disseminated them to the multitude of tradesmen onsite. He also fed back issues and prevented potential solutions.

6. Let everyone know your deadline. In a residential move, this is straightforward; the closing date of your home’s sale dictates the project’s drop-dead completion date. While this gave us six months of overlap, the GC understood the final month was set aside for moving. With no secrets, the work was accomplished in the set timeframe. As a senior manager, you put decide what the maximum tolerable length of agony is that your property can endure before irreparable damage is done to its occupancy and reputation.

7. You cannot walk away. In order to keep everything on track, I visited the jobsite at least twice a week, in addition to a weekly GC meeting. Apart from the obvious status reports, there were always new items and unexpected issues. The devil is in the details, and you won’t discover those details unless you are periodically on the ground with the troops. To note one example, we did not specify the location of the thermostat. Without any direction, the HVAC folks placed it in what they thought was the optimal position, which did not take into consideration the high headboard which would have covered it. Good thing I was there to catch this before it was too late.

Larry Mogelonsky - Renovation tips
8. Document all change orders. We kept a running tally sheet of over-change that we requested. While this did not lead to any real cost savings, at least we understood the detailed reasons for the overages. This approach will come in very handy when ownership needs to understand your budget predicament or to reconcile excesses.

9. Create a positive work environment. I’m fussy about coffee. So too is my Italian, Portuguese, Lebanese and Turkish workforce. I knew that if I did not provide great coffee, one junior team member would be tasked on a continual Starbucks run. A hundred-dollar Nespresso machine plus lots of capsules turned out to be a wise investment. (As additional learning, the decaf capsules were never touched.)

10. What ifs are expensive. Want to move a door, reposition a switch or add a dimmer? Most GCs will never say no. Just about anything can be built or modified; it is merely a matter of time and materials. So, be careful as to what you ask for, as your whimsical idea may be converted into reality but at a price too hefty to properly bear.

11. Take lots of before photos. Try to image the best angles and where you stood so that you can replicate them exactly with the new look. The before-and-after comparisons may help you explain your cost overruns to your owners.

12. Say thank you to your team. I didn’t hire painters, carpenters, electricians, plumbers or HVAC specialists. I hired craftsmen who take great pride in their work. It’s probably a small job to them, but clearly very important to me. Such professionals will feel similar pride in their work done to refurbish your hotel. No matter what the project is or the size of your property, it costs nothing to say thank you in person or by email, and it will always be appreciated.

(Article by Larry Mogelonsky, originally published in eHotelier on Wednesday, March 22, 2017)

After completing his MBA, Larry began his marketing career with Procter & Gamble, moving to a top-10 ad agency and serving as the managing director to the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts account. Founding LMA in 1991, he has increased its hospitality presence with a global roster of hotel and tourism clients, winning 88 Adrian Awards and TravelClick’s Worldwide e-Marketer of the Year

Vienna top business destination in Europe alongside London

London, Vienna top destinations for business in Europe

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Business trips are a possible indicator of economic growth. If the volume of business travel increases or falls in certain regions, it is possible to draw conclusions about the economy there…

London and Vienna are the most popular business destinations in Europe. Outside Europe, European business travelers travel most frequently to New York and Shanghai.

BC Travel analysed data connected to business travel and published the results in the latest issue of “Cities & Trends Report”. The report is based on flight booking data from eight major business travel markets in Europe: Belgium, Germany, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Compared to 2015, there were only minor changes in the ranking of the most popular business destinations in Europe. Top performers in terms of cities are London, Vienna and Amsterdam.

London hotelsThanks to an increase of 7.1% in air travel to Barcelona, the city climbed from 9th to 6th place. Madrid is the second Spanish city in the ranking with an increase – 14.9%. It is the number one jumper and has moved to 8th place. The increase in flights to the two Spanish cities is linked to the recovery of the Spanish economy, which grew by 3.2% in 2016.

In terms of countries, the UK is on top, with Germany and Spain in second and third, respectively. Intercontinental trips from Europe are on the rise. New York and Shanghai remain the first and second in terms of intercontinental business destinations for European business travelers. In 2016, Dubai has overtaken Beijing and Singapore with an increase of 7.5% compared to the previous year.

One of the reason for this is the fact that Dubai is preparing for the World Expo 2020. Many affordable hotels are opening, making it a less expensive place to hold meetings and events.

Country-wise, the United States remain on top of business travel preferences. Developing countries China and India come second and third, respectively. Most business trips take place after the summer holidays in September (9.5%). Due to the holidays, December is the least frequented month (5.6%).

Originally from Tourism Review, read here… 


Guest Blog: Youri Sawerschel – is Zoku the next Citizen M?

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Solicited for his creative thinking skills, Youri Sawerschel has been involved with projects focused on creating, launching and managing brands in Europe, China and the Middle-East. He has worked with brands as diverse as Kempinski Hotels, UBS, EPFL and Mondelez. He discusses below what we can expect from the brand Zoku…

The success of Citizen M, Mama Shelter or Ace Hotel has been watched by the entire industry. As hoteliers around the world are raising their game, we ask ourselves – who will set the new benchmark? We picked the hotel brands that, we believe, have the potential to become the next hits. Discover Zoku.

Located in the Eastern Canal District of Amsterdam, Zoku is a new brand that blurs the lines between hotel, apartment and office. We spoke to Zoku co-founders Hans Meyer and Marc Jongerius to understand their vision. To stand out in the dynamic Amsterdam market, the two co-founders knew they needed a good story.

“Hotels don’t sell a bed anymore but an emotion,” says Hans Meyer. That’s why the brand launched in 2016 with the mission to “connect people and ideas.” To make this position clear from its opening, Zoku partnered with Startup Fest Europe to host the conference attendees and to organise learning and networking events.

The hotel’s name meaning “family, tribe or clan” in Japanese, Zoku places great emphasis on the common spaces. Everything within the hotel is designed to foster social interactions – From a giant kitchen to communal working spaces and a rooftop garden. The room design is inspired by a functional Asian micro-apartment.

It combines a living and a working area in just 25m2 – perfect for long-stay customers. To open 50 new properties in the next 10 years, Zoku relies on a copy-paste approach.

Yet, “finding the right balance between standardisation and personalisation is a key concern,” explain Meyer and Jongerius. They are now working on a prototype for the next generation of Zoku rooms. “Beta is our most important value,” says Meyer.

Indeed, that sounds more like a tech startup than a hotel company.

Originally published on Youri Sawerschel is a Branding Expert and Founder of Creative Supply, a strategic branding agency based in Zurich.

July Focus: Mitre’s Chris Tame – ‘How to accessorise hotel rooms’

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Every establishment is unique and it is often the little touches that can make all the difference to a guest’s experience.

The increasing credibility of travel review sites has made the hospitality market even more competitive, so it is important to stand out for all the right reasons.

Here Chris Tame, Mitre Linen’s National Sales Manager, provides us with his six expert tips how to accessorise your rooms in order to create a warm welcome, a wonderful stay and a lasting impression…

1) Soft furnishings: Beautiful soft furnishings can transform a room and instantly make a guest feel welcome. Whether you want to ignite a certain sense of style or reinforce your brand identity, refreshing your curtains, cushions and bed runners will help create that all-important great first impression.

2) Include a blanket or throw: A deliciously soft cashmere or woollen throw or blanket can add a touch of glamour to a room as well as making guests feel at home. Guests love snuggling into a little comfort and will appreciate this little gesture.

3) Pillow menu: The right pillow can make all the difference to a good night’s sleep and, in a competitive market place, personalisation is the key to standing out. Why not offer your guests a pillow menu to allow them to pick their ideal pillow? This is a unique and personal gesture and will help provide your guests with a fantastic night’s sleep, tailored to their requirements.

4) Offer practical bedroom accessories: Complement each bedroom with practical amenities that will provide your guests with all the essentials to make their stay as easy and comfortable as possible. From quality hair dryers to irons and ironing boards, sometimes these little extras can be a necessity.

5) Offer guests a bathrobe and slippers: Allow your guests to feel completely pampered and indulged by leaving a sumptuous bathrobe hanging up in the room. Nothing says luxury like a velour bathrobe and a pair of matching slippers. For that extra-personal touch, embroider your bathrobes with your brand name to help reinforce your identity throughout their stay.

6) Include complimentary toiletries: Guests love a quality selection of quality complimentary shampoos, conditioners, shower gels and body creams in their bathrooms. Adding them to a room shows attention to detail and will add a touch of luxury to that special hotel experience.

For more helpful tips and advice, call our friendly team on 01685 353 4456 or go to

Patrick Landman, CEO and Founder of Xotels

Guest Blog: Xotels’ Patrick Landman – Starting your own hotel

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For many people starting their own hotel or bed and breakfast is like a dream. Most are drawn by the charm of hospitality and see it as a chance to start fresh. However opening a hotel, just like any new business, is more difficult than it might seem at first sight.

Especially if you have never worked in the hotel industry you will be faced with many unexpected situations and complications you might not have imagined. The international hotel business is highly competitive and achieving good financial results is not as easy as it seems.

In my experience in dealing with entrepreneurs and investors I have found that there is no shortage of creative ideas for innovative boutique hotel concepts. The challenge however lies more in the strategic and organizational areas of the business.

Where to get started if you want to open your own independent hotel? What kind of hotel should it be? How does location influence my business? How to attract guests? How to control operational costs and run a profitable business? These are all important questions that should be dealt with prior to getting into the business.

It will be extremely important you prepare yourself well, do a lot of research and develop a detailed business plan to ensure success. Unfortunately I still see too many startup hotels fail due to little planning. In my previous articles I already pointed out some common mistakes made in the pre-opening phase of hotels.

In the series of articles, I will be covering various important aspects and steps of how to open your own hotel. Topics I will be covering include:
Innovative Hotel Concepts
Hotel Business Plan
Hotel Market Research
Hotel Feasibility Study

I hope these tips will help fellow entrepreneurs start successful new hotel businesses!

Patrick Landman is the CEO & Founder at Xotels

Leeu Collection adds Florence property to European portfolio

Guest Blog – TOPHOTELS: ‘Italy, a sure thing for hotel developers’

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Italy has an ever-appealing charm – the food, the passion, the beautiful coastline and incredibly historic cities, the architecture and of course, the landscapes. For centuries, Italy has attracted holidaymakers, and continues to do so today, making it almost a sure thing for hotel developers.

One of the more recent hotel projects to open was the La Bagnaia Golf & Spa Resort Siena, a luxury 5-star development branded under Curio by Hilton and situated close to the picturesque town of Siena, known for its medieval brick architecture. The 101-key hotel, resort and golf course allows visitors to take advantage of the serene setting while playing golf or indulging in the swimming pool set within the idyllic grounds of the hotel. The resort is also equipped to handle large events and conferences.

The ultra-modern La Lama in Rome is currently under construction and set to open in the second quarter of 2018. Nicknamed “The Cloud” because of a nebulous structure in the interior of the hotel, the 409-key luxury new build complex will house a 5-star hotel as well as an 1,800 seater auditorium for conferences and events. The complex will be built with sustainability in mind and incorporate modern technologies in its construction and design.

IHG is in the process of building their first hotel in Venice, the InterContinental Venice – Palazzo Nani. Under construction at the moment, the new 51 room luxury hotel will be house in a converted 16th century palace, which will be refurbished to the highest standard, keeping the palace’s stunning ceiling frescoes and hand-carved wooden beams. Set to open at the beginning of next year, the hotel will also have wellness facilities and corporate spaces.

More information on hotel construction in Italy can be found on TOPHOTELPROJECTS.

Guest Blog: Rob Sykes on the future of hotel design

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As the global hospitality marketplace evolves and travelers’ preferences shift, what are the future trends that hotel designers need to anticipate? And how can we be visionary in our approach to each and every assignment? Rob Skyes, senior associate WATG shares his thoughts…

Our industry constantly yearns for innovation, with each hotel brand and independent operator seeking ways in which they can differentiate themselves to gain their own unique space in a very crowded marketplace. However, ‘out of the box’ thinking must always be balanced with economic pragmatism. Ultimately, hotels, as a real estate asset class, are challenging. Any investment risk must be justified by the requisite financial rewards.

Hospitality industry experts first started talking about brand proliferation in the mid-1990s. Over the years, we have seen a torrent on independent innovators and brand extensions from the major operators. Indeed, today, the big six hotel companies hold an incredible 90 brands between them. With such saturation in the marketplace, our clients are asking us one key question: How can we differentiate to get ahead?

Future of hotel designTrends of the last five years include themes such as the rise of ‘localised’ design, trendy independent ‘lifestyle’ hotels and animated public areas. But what concepts are currently on our drawing boards at integrated hospitality design firm, WATG, that will be entering the market in the next few years?

Hospitality trends and influences: A healthy obsession Across the generations we have become preoccupied with our personal wellbeing – boomers strive to hold back the ravages of time, millennials aim to optimise their personal fitness. Our lives are jam-packed with wearables, apps, healthy-eating blogs, fitness mash-ups and endless pop-ups to lure us into the belief that if we become disciples we can live forever.

Rob SykesYet, the hotel sector, with a few notable exceptions, lags behind such innovations. Hotel fitness facilities remain largely traditional in nature. This has to change. That said, we do have some interesting brand combos and extensions happening. Equinox, the high end fitness operator is moving boldly into the hotel arena with its first property opening in New York in 2018. Likewise, 1 Hotel Miami Beach has teamed up with Soul Cycle to offer popular spin classes’ at the hotel.

But as consumers demand more bespoke fitness and wellness routines and a more experiential approach to the tedium of exercise, hotels and resorts will need to become more experimental and absorb some of the entrepreneurial ideas spinning around the fitness and beauty market.

We do not see a future of robot services and virtual reality experiences. Technology is expensive and quickly becomes dated. First-class hospitality will always require the ‘human touch’. Particularly true of resorts, consumers will increasingly seek to reconnect with nature, spend quality time with loved ones and return to ‘the simple life’. These principles are driving our designs of late; a return to analogue rather than digital. That said, there will of course be ways to utilize technology to enhance the guest experience. But we see these as subtle touches, rather than drastic interventions.

Future of hotel designWe experience ever-growing pressure, from both developers and consumers, for environmentally responsible and ‘resilient’ hotels and resorts. Many land owners we work with have a genuine commitment to stewardship, and we see this as integral to the enduring success of a project. Therefore, we must stay ahead of the curve regarding new construction techniques, the create reuse or ‘up-cycling’ of materials, and landscape design innovations that will help us deliver low-impact, yet beautiful hotels. In essence, we see our role as a master-craftsman of destinations, rather than ‘just another design firm’.

The trend away from the cookie-cutter hotel experience will gather pace. Developers will progressively ask us to define niche hospitality concepts. These will be bespoke to the demands of very specific and evolving target markets. Design concepts will focus increasingly on generational consumer and technology trends and the nuances in habits of specific geographic source markets. Unique, tailored hotel concepts tend to gain industrywide attention and despite their targeted strategy, often end up as part of the mainstream.

Rob Sykes is a Senior Associate on the global strategy team with WATG.  This article consolidates the thinking of WATG’s design teams in London and Singapore, covering architecture, interior design and landscape. WATG designers Tony Menezes, Kevin Scholl, Nicole Hammond, John Paul Pederson, John Goldwyn, Edouard Gillon, Christine McGinnis, and Tom Williams took part in the two cross-functional working groups, along with Rob Sykes.

About WATG
WATG is a leading integrated design firm, ranked second in the world among hotel architectural firms. WATG’s interior design firm, Wimberly Interiors, was ranked 10th by Interior Design Magazine in their 2016 Hospitality Giants survey.

Ana Garcia Maldonado

Q&A: Interview with Taylor Wimpey Spain’s Ana Garcia Maldonado

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It’s not a property’s location or indeed what it looks like from the outside, interior design is just as vital when choosing a perfect holiday home abroad to relax in style.

Ana Garcia Maldonado is leading Spanish developer Taylor Wimpey España’s highly experienced head of interior design who has worked independently with developers for almost 15 years.

Forget dated wicker furniture and terracotta colour palettes, the design of Taylor Wimpey España’s abodes are very much on trend and well thought out. Ana frequently attends all furniture and decoration fairs to maintain a creative flow of ideas and to keep up to date with Spanish design. Working alongside Taylor Wimpey España’s head architect, Pablo Live Sanchez and also her husband, Ana shares her trade secrets and what is it about interior design that she enjoys so much…

Q. What is your vision for the interior design of Taylor Wimpey España homes?
In all Taylor Wimpey España homes the first premise is quality, comfort, and an aesthetic mix of modernity and elegance that pleases a wide range of buyers. Our goal through decorating is to offer not a house, but a home.

Ana Garcia Maldonado - Taylor Wimpey SpainQ. What influences you in your design choices?
I try to follow and respect the line drawn by the Architecture Studio, which since the landmark Avalon development on the Costa del Sol, has been modern lines without leaving aside comfort and warmth of a home. When choosing colours and furniture, we usually take into account factors such as the name, location and even logo of the development, as each of them have their own identity.

Q. What are the key materials / pieces of furniture / brands / colour palettes that you are using for Taylor Wimpey España interiors at the moment?
We always look for functional furniture with light lines that does not detract from the spacious feel of each property. We like wood or matte finishes, natural tones and textures such as linen and cotton. For the walls we prefer a large canvases or mirrors, wallpapers with personality but still discreet, and playing around with the same colour tones in a single environment. We use an endless number of national and international brands in furniture, fabrics, papers, carpets, lighting, and choose brand depending on the budget we are allocated.

Q. What should owners avoid interiors wise when furnishing their holiday homes?
From experience I know that many clients give much more importance to furnishing the terrace than to the rest of the house, without taking into account the inclement weather. So my only advice is to equip the house with the same degree of comfort on the inside as the outside.

Q. Finally, how do you find working so closely with your husband on the architectural side?
It is a true privilege. We help and complement each other whilst enjoying our work. Can you ask for more?!

Visit for more information.

Treetop Hotels - Keemala – Phuket, Thailand

Guest Blog: Why treetop hotels are growing in popularity…

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Travellers can now live the luxury treetop dream with a little help from the Loved by guests awards and the millions of genuine guest reviews they’re based on, ten amazing hotels have been crowned winners in the brand new Best for Treehouse category, and they’ll be climbing straight to the top of your wish list.

Today’s travellers are aiming high and dreaming of a vacation in the sky, as the travel experts at saw almost a 30% increase in demand for treehouse hotels last year. With treetop luxury (33%) proving more popular than sleeping in a spaceship (28%), checking into a hotel made of gold (24%) or bedding down in an ice hotel (23%), reveals the best-of-the-best Loved by Guests award winners…

Arkansas Adventure
Eureka Springs Treehouses—Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Review Rating: 4.8 out of 5 on Hotels.comIf you’re looking for a secluded romantic getaway, this is the place to be. This resort is a hidden gem with quirky features and fun at every turn. The treehouses are held on cedar logs, surrounded by beautiful greenery and destination themed, so guests can stay in Venice, New York, Santa Fe and Paris. If treetop life isn’t for you then fear not, as Eureka Springs also offers stays in fairytale castles, with hidden passages and Jacuzzi towers, and guests can even check in to enchanting hobbit caves that are like magical cocoons. Rate Available upon request.

Beachside Bungalows Among the Trees

Azulik – Adults Eco-Resort & Maya Spa – Tulum, Mexico
Bring out your inner child and swing above the turquoise sea of Tulum, all from the privacy of your own villa at this luxurious beach hideaway. Azulik is a celeb spotting hotspot, but its biggest draw is the stunning villas. These wooden-crafted abodes feature spectacular water views, outdoor mosaic bathtubs and a deck with a swing and hanging Balinese bed. Guests can enjoy fine dining and entertainment with a 12 course tasting menu at the Kin Toh restaurant that’s built 12 meters above the Mayan jungle, all while watching artistic performances.

Treetop hotelsFloat Among the Clouds
Keemala – Phuket, Thailand (main picture)
Fancy taking a dip on the edge of a cliff in your own 30-meter infinity pool? You can do just that at these gorgeous Bird’s Nest treehouses on stilts, located just 40 minutes from Phuket. Keemala is an enchanting evergreen wonderland, and these unique villas feature giant monsoon showers and freestanding bathtubs that have amazing views over the rainforest. Beach luxury, spa treatments, sunset cocktails and champagne picnics are also all on the menu at Keemala.

Style in the Sky
Tree Hotel – Harads, Sweden
The Tree Hotel has upped the style stakes with its quirky, custom designed eco-treehouses. Imagine sleeping amongst the tall pine trees in a Mirror Cube, a Bird’s Nest or a UFO! Treehouses come complete with their own private giant hammock, so you can stargaze and seek out the Northern Lights. Guests can relax in the tree sauna, enjoy some authentic homemade Swedish food or zip line over Swedish Lapland and the Lule River for some exclusive and spectacular views.

Treetop hotels

Breath-Taking African views
Tsala Treetop Lodge – Plettenberg Bay, South Africa
High in the treetops, this hotel hideaway is set in the wilds of South Africa, in the heart of the Garden Route. With breath-taking views and a mystical charm, the treetop suites are pure luxury. They come complete with their own private spa bathrooms, fireplaces and even infinity pools. The hotel also offers a unique dining experience from a special dining deck suspended above the forest floor, where you can enjoy a sumptuous breakfast or a lazy lunch.

Treetop hotelsTreetop Tranquillity
Silky Oaks Lodge – Mossman, Australia
Imagine a rejuvenating spa experience in one of the world’s most ancient rainforests. Located along the Mossman River, Daintree Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef – there are rainforest walks, crystal waterholes and a billabong beach, all at your disposal at this hotel. The luxury treehouses have large verandas and hammocks, perfect for unwinding in the heart of the rainforest canopy. Guests can also enjoy dinner in their open-sided treehouse restaurant.

Treetop hotels

Guest Blog: Art Hide – Dress up hotel interiors with luxurious carpets and rugs

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Caroline Modig of Art Hide shares her thoughts on the role flooring and carpets play in the first impressions of guests…


The main aim of all hospitality establishments is to form lasting impressions and ensure a trail of happy guests, since there’s no possibility of success without satisfied customers. Making guests happy, as we all know, is a difficult task indeed.

When they stay at a hotel, people expect everything to be perfect – inside and out. They will notice even the smallest detail, and most of them tend to be extremely picky. Interior design plays a huge role in the impression they take away, so you need to get everything just right. Start with what they notice first, which is the flooring and carpets.

Art Hide - Carpets and flooringThe Importance of Flooring and Carpeting in Hotels
Not only does the right flooring and carpeting attract people’s attention, it can also help make them feel more at ease. Beautiful floors and comfortable carpeting can improve guest satisfaction, which in turn affects your class and star ratings, review scores and reputation. This ties in to room rates and ROI, impacting your profitability.

While there’s a wide range of flooring options available, some of the most popular options for hotels include:
• Hardwood
• Granite
• Marble
• Carpet
• Vinyl
• Laminate
• Ceramic and Porcelain Tile
• Decorative Concrete

Many of these materials are often accentuated with area rugs, which can be used to separate and define a space by adding visual and textural contrast. Patterned rugs are often used in high-traffic areas, while cowhide rugs can add warmth and sophistication to lounges, guests’ rooms and lobbies.

What to Consider while Picking Materials
Here are some factors to consider while choosing flooring and carpets for hotels:
• Aesthetics – Just like the other four walls in any area, the floor or “fifth wall” needs to please the eye as well. Floors should look luxurious, and complement the rest of the décor and design elements within each space.

• Comfort – People want to be pampered in a hotel, with the most restful beds and cozy furnishings. Soft hide rugs or plush carpets can help them feel even more comfortable, and add a touch of warmth to any space.

• Safety – Floors and carpets should not be slippery if they are exposed to water, dust, etc. Make sure to take the viscosity and slipperiness of each material into account, especially in bathrooms and near exterior spaces.

• Acoustics – Carpeting plays a key role in reducing noise within an interior space, and can help to soften sounds within a room as well as from adjoining rooms. This creates a more peaceful and relaxed atmosphere for guests.

Art Hide Carpets and Flooring

• Durability – Hotel floors see a lot of traffic, and they need to be created with durable materials that will last. Remember, it’s not just foot traffic from guests and staff you need to think about, but also trolley wheels and other heavy items.

• Maintenance – Spills, stains and dirt are bound to send guests packing, so easy-to-clean flooring and carpeting is best. Certain designs also hide stains, while materials such as animal hide or leather are very easy to clean.

• Branding – Flooring and carpeting can also emphasize the concept and brand of your establishment. For instance, animal hides and rugs paired with wooden or marble flooring add a distinctive touch to luxury hotel interiors.

• Cost – The flooring you choose should fit your design and installation budget, but trying to cut costs with cheaper options could do more harm than good. If you want your flooring and carpeting to last, invest in quality materials.

Choose materials that add value to your interiors, boosting both visual appeal and comfort. Carpeting and rugs are a great way to enhance rooms and leisure areas, but they’re equally perfect for cheering up hallways, receptions, foyers and entrances. For a sense of luxury, try cowhide rugs or other natural materials.

Your hotel needs to look beautiful, luxurious and inviting right from the moment a guest steps in, so give the floors some attention too!

Caroline Modig works at Art Hide and oversees their marketing and promotional efforts. Her passion for interior design and the knowledge she gained over the years allows her to find time from her busy schedule to write informative blogs about interior trends, popular styling tips and everything related. When she isn’t working or writing, you can find her relaxing to some contemporary jazz while solving puzzles.

Style Library - Trends in design 2017

Guest Blog: Style Library – Trends in design 2017

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To mark another successful London Fashion Week and the beginning of the interiors events season, Style Library Contract share four things they see having the greatest influence in global hospitality trends in design in 2017…

More than ever before, hotel operators aim to create memorable destinations. Wanting good off-the-shelf designs and more. Interiors need to captivate, inspire and perform. Whether it’s a recolour of an existing design or developing something completely new, with Style Library Contract clients have the creative freedom to curate products that are uniquely theirs, created by the worlds most loved interior brands.

“Just like our clients, we’re obsessed with great design, attention to detail and quality. So, we work together to celebrate our passion and create beautiful commercial spaces”, says Style Library Contracts Sales Director, Carolyn Mitchell.


Boutique Chic
Harlequin Momentum is an eclectic mix of design styles, which have been inspired both by architecture and by abstract interpretations of natural forms. It combines elements of matt and shine, texture and tone. The weaves and wallcoverings represent a diverse mix of qualities and techniques: conceptual; geometric; painterly; multi-directional, light-reflecting embroideries; even appliquéd laser-cut circles.

They work together effortlessly to create a cohesive and achingly chic whole. Successfully capturing the essence of the most sophisticated international boutique hotels, Momentum translates this allure into a tangible, accessible collection of products for everyday living.

Style Library - Trends in design 2017
Claire Vallis, Design Director, expands: “This launch really encapsulates the cosmopolitan spirit of sleek, boutique hotels and glamorous townhouses, whilst still retaining its approachability. Targeted at both the domestic and the contract markets, the fabrics and wallcoverings exude an architectural, structural feel, but in an accessible, understandable way.”

The compelling colour palette enhances the designs, mixing organic shades and fashion hues: oyster and pearl; slate and chalk; mineral and zest; jet and crystal; pearl and paprika; rose gold and flint; sepia and teal; peacock; rose quartz; antique rose, blush, dove, moonlight, porcelain; jute; domino and emerald.

Natural Spirit
Scion is the essence of the ‘good life’ vibe – forests, fresh air, fjords, food, freedom and fun – are all encapsulated in the latest collection, Noukku. Named after a species of Finnish wildflower, Noukku is totally in tune with the life-affirming ‘Hygge’ trend: it’s a versatile, spontaneous collection that invigorates your senses and encourages you to step away from your busy lifestyle. Scion Designer Hannah Bowen explains how Noukku evolved, “Noukku is brought to life through an invigorating colour palette and use of textured effects inspired by natural elements. I wanted to create versatile and spontaneous designs which invigorate your senses and encourage you to step away from your busy lifestyle, an ideal backdrop to escaping away to a contemporary hotel.”

Style Library - Trends in design 2017Artistry
Zoffany’s beautifully curated compendium of show-stopping prints, weaves and embroideries crafted through a mixture of yarns and techniques, for the creation of inspirationally luxurious and unique interiors. The new Boleyn collection captures the faded elegance of time worn fabrics and wallpapers, each with their own captivating story to tell. It is the skilful reinterpretation of these heirlooms and the dramatic harnessing of nature in abstracted form that elevates the collection to poised perfection.

Style Library - Trends in design 2017

The rich moody greens of ‘Moss’ and ‘Khaki’ are punctuated with shots of ‘Greenstone’. ‘Faded Amethyst’, ‘Hollyhocks’ and ‘Sunstone’ add warmth. Soft mineral colours are offset against the jewel tone highlights of ‘Amber’, ‘Tigers Eye’, ‘Cinnabar’ and ‘Koi’ adding jewel tone highlights. Peter Gomez, Zoffany Head of Design explains: “Our aim is to create unique interiors with artistry, sophistication and integrity. We love to utilise our extensive archive for inspiration, each yarn, each brush stroke, each process is meticulously considered during the design process”.

Bathrooms - Bathroom Trends for 2017

Guest Blog: Bathroom trends for 2017

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In association with…

Luxury Commericial Bath - Bathroom Trends 2017

Bathrooms have come a long way from just plain, white spaces used merely for wash-and-go. Its design, layout and overall look have changed and improved dramatically over the years.

They are not just merely bathrooms; they became a space for comfort, where we satisfy our senses and spend more time in stylish comfort. As 2016 came to a close, many home and hotel owners saw 2017 as the year to refresh or redesign their bathrooms. With new trends emerging every year, what colours, design or materials can we expect to trend in 2017?

Whether you want a stylish and easy-to-maintain space or hotel chic for a glamorous space or a whole new look, 2017 will be a year of brilliant bathroom trends you shouldn’t miss. Click here for the original infographic…

Luxury Commercial Bath - Bathroom Trends 2017


GROHE - future-proofing bathrooms

Guest Blog: GROHE provides five solutions for future-proofing the bathroom

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Many people planning a bathroom today want to take their future needs and requirements into account without compromising on contemporary, stylish design.

Driven by demographic change, demand for “multi-generational bathrooms” continues to increase. According to a government report “Future of an Ageing Population”, the UK population is ageing and nearly one in seven people is projected to be aged over 75 by 2040*. GROHE experts have long acknowledged these trends and have developed five attractive solutions to meet the growing need. These can be found in the brand’s newly released SMART COMFORT – Plan for Tomorrow Today brochure.

“Our ‘SMART COMFORT’ concept embraces a number of different approaches to helping older and physically impaired people live independently in their own homes for as long as possible”, says Andrea Bußmann, Regional Vice President Europe at Grohe AG. “An important contribution to this objective is delivered by specifically designed and engineered products combining elevated levels of comfort, ergonomics, user safety and longevity. A sensible room layout and a forward-looking choice of decor are equally instrumental in maximising the user-friendliness of what remains the most private room of any home.”

GROHE - future-proofing bathrooms

One solution for all members of the household: the SMART COMFORT Plus Bathroom
The SMART COMFORT Plus Bathroom was devised by GROHE experts specifically for households where there is only a single member with restricted mobility. Additional areas and fittings are provided to cater for these special needs. These include a wheelchair accessible basin as well as grab bars in the toilet area. Users with unrestricted mobility are provided with dual wash basins and a bathtub, complemented by taps from the GROHE Allure F-digital series offering elegant design and intuitive operation from any area within the bathroom. For added user safety, a GROHE Allure thermostat keeps the shower water temperature constant at the chosen level, reliably protecting against scalding. A GROHE Sensia® IGS shower toilet maximises comfort for all users thanks to its gentle cleansing action, using nothing but water and warm air.

GROHE - future-proofing bathrooms

Accommodating evolving needs: The SMART COMFORT Design Bathroom
The SMART COMFORT Design Bathroom demonstrates how a remodelling project can be easily and discreetly designed to meet future needs. The room layout should avoid narrow access ways, provide sufficient turning space for wheelchairs and walkers, while placing basins and WCs in easily accessible spots. In this concept, the low-profile basin is mounted on a wheelchair accessible timber panel and complemented by a stylish Essence tap, with an easy to use lever incorporating GROHE SilkMove® technology. The GROHE Rainshower® SmartControl takes the idea of comfortable showering to the next level, with three combined push-and-turn knobs giving users intuitive control of water flow, water temperature and spray pattern. The GROHE Sensia® Arena shower toilet is again used here, with its natural, water-only cleansing function and its wide array of customisable functions. The toilet uses advanced technologies to minimise maintenance and cleaning, offering a perfect combination of thorough body care, ultimate hygiene and personalised comfort.

GROHE - future-proofing bathrooms

Comfort without barriers: The SMART COMFORT Budget Bathroom
The SMART COMFORT Budget concept has been designed to demonstrate how a future proof and easy access bathroom can be created even where space is at a premium and/or budgets are limited. The layout places elements such as the wash basin in positions where they are easily accessible and can be used by all members of the household. A single-lever mixer with tall spout from the Eurostyle range leaves maximum space above the basin for hand washing, while its ergonomically shaped lever ensures easier operation for people with impaired motor skills. Style-matched accessories from the GROHE Essentials collection give the bathroom a coordinated and sleek look, and a seat near the shower area provides users with a space to relax. The toilet bowl is mounted at a comfortable height of 45 centimetres using the Rapid SL installation system, and is suitable for the possibility of retrofitting grab rails.

GROHE - future-proofing bathrooms

Enhanced quality of life for later years: The SMART COMFORT Care Bathroom
The SMART COMFORT Care Bathroom is designed to meet the specific needs of residents in retirement homes. Apart from safety and ergonomics for bathroom users, crucial factors in this segment include economic factors such as the cost of construction and equipment, as well as ongoing operational costs. In addition, it is important to take into account all statutory norms and standards, as well as insights from practical experience, at the early planning stages.

GROHE offers a wide variety of special water fittings for the healthcare and care sector. One example is the Grohtherm 2000 Special shower thermostat featuring easy to read dials and self-explanatory symbols. The basin tap chosen for this example is the tall-spout “L” version of the Eurostyle C single-lever mixer, however an alternative would be the Euroeco Special tap with its ergonomically shaped handle to ensure easy operation. Offering a variety of different spout heights and lengths, GROHE enables planners to specify the perfect tap for any basin, resulting in minimised splashing and preventing the spread of bacteria from the drain. For the toilet, a Tectron Skate unit combining infrared and push-button actuation provides flushing options for users of all abilities.

GROHE - future-proofing bathrooms

Unrestricted mobility away from home: The SMART COMFORT Hotel Bathroom
The SMART COMFORT Hotel Bathroom concept explores what a barrier-free or low- barrier bathroom for hotel guests can look like. Apart from creating a welcoming ambiance, it is important to specify water fittings which can be operated intuitively. This example shows an open en-suite bathroom with complementing decor to the overall style of the room. The bathroom is accessible from several sides and also for guests with impairments. The modern decor is complemented by a Eurostyle tap with tall spout and ergonomic lever. The shower is fitted with a Grohtherm 1000 thermostat which balances fluctuations in water temperature and pressure. The subtly illuminated Nova Cosmopolitan Light flush plate provides a gentle night light so there is no need to turn on harsh overhead lighting. The plate also offers a choice between two different flushing volumes, helping to promote water efficiency.

The “SMART COMFORT – Plan for Tomorrow Today” brochure can be downloaded here. . .

Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Guest Blog: New hotels join Small Luxury Hotels Of The World™

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Following our recent 2017 travel trend predictions, we’re bringing you the latest on our newest hotels to look out for in 2017…

The Caribbean takes centre stage

The Manoah Boutique Hotel: Shoal Bay, Anguilla – Opened December 2016
Every aspect of the brand new Manoah Boutique Hotel has been designed to celebrate its stunning location on the shores of Shoal Bay. Opened in December 2016, the 25 bedrooms and suites are decorated in cool neutral shades and each room has a private glass-fronted veranda overlooking the beach. The resort boasts an Olympic-sized swimming pool surrounded by lush tropical gardens plus two tropical beach bars. Guests can opt to spend their days at the tranquil Manoah Spa, or relax on the powdery white sands of Shoal Bay taking in the view. Water sports such as paddle boarding, kayaking or scuba diving can also be arranged. Inspired by a delicious mix of global cuisines, chefs at the Ocean Beach Club Restaurant have created a unique menu using fresh seasonal produce, best enjoyed accompanied by the sound and sights of the sea.

SLH Insider Tip: With local stables nearby, spend an evening on horse-back with a sunset beach ride on Cove Bay.


The Reef by CuisinArt: Anguilla – Opened November 2016
Desirably situated on Merrywing Bay on the tranquil island of Anguilla, The Reef by CuisinArt debuted in November 2016, revealing a beachfront contemporary oasis featuring 80 suites, directly on the Caribbean Sea. The hotel offers an array of accommodation, some with sea views and others that are right on the white sand beach with dramatic outdoor Jacuzzis. Fresh locally sourced ingredients from the on-property hydroponic farm and fresh seafood fill the menu at the nautical inspired fine dining restaurant, The Yacht Club, and the casual cool beach front bar and restaurant, Breezes. The architecture and design of the hotel is fresh and modern, with touches of colour and the sea brought inside and ocean views from almost every window.

SLH Insider Tip: Head to the other end of the island and take a boat out to tiny coral island, Scilly Cay, for live music, delicious lobster and for what many hail as the best rum punch on the island.

Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Le Barthélemy Hotel and Spa: St Barthélemy – Opened November 2016
This exclusive oceanfront resort is SLH’s first property in St Barth’s. The hotel opened its doors in November 2016, welcoming guests to its 46 rooms and suites with interiors by celebrated designer Sybille de Margerie and cuisine by Michelin-starred French chef, Guy Martin. The elegant boutique hotel perfectly captures the laid-back luxury of St Barth’s, with light airy interiors and genuine island hospitality. The bright and airy rooms and suites are decorated to reflect the white sands and turquoise blue of the ocean and each one opens out onto a private terrace with ocean or garden views and private swimming pool. Aux Amis, the resort’s restaurant serves a light menu during the day and in the evening the space opens onto a beachfront terrace where guests can enjoy French and international cuisine overlooking the bay. The hotel’s spa has partnered with luxury French skin care brand La Mer and offers a wide array of treatments in its open-air atrium.

SLH Insider Tip: On the south-east tip of the island sits Anse de Columbiere – this undeveloped bay is only accessible by foot or by boat and is a peaceful haven for those seeking somewhere secluded to swim and sunbathe.

Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Paradise Beach: St Kitts and Nevis
Exclusivity, intimacy and personal service are key at this beachfront resort on the utopian island of St Kitts and Nevis. Boasting an idyllic location – nestled into a glorious white-sand beach and overlooking St Kitts and Mount Nevis – Paradise Beach Nevis has the distinction of being the only villa resort on the Caribbean island of Nevis. The resort is child friendly and the villas for up to eight people make it a great option for a family getaway. Each of the seven villas is its own personal palace with a marble or limestone bath, king beds, a sound system which allows guest to stream their own music, fitness studio, dining rooms for private meals, a private pool, a sea view and kitted out with Hermés bath products. The hand woven, palm roofs were designed to mirror the Nevis Peak, which, combined with lush gardens and an amazing beach, provide a paradise of luxury and tranquillity.

SLH Insider Tip: Probably one of the more well-known attractions but still well worth the hype is the Sugar train –the last scenic railway in the West Indies. The double decker carriages have open sided top decks for guests to enjoy the breeze along with their rum punch and the sounds of the trains own choir.


Point Grace Resort and Spa: Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos
An all-suite hideaway surrounded by perfect sandy beaches as far as the eye can see, Point Grace Resort and Spa overlooks the stunning Grace Bay and is SLH’s first hotel in Turks and Caicos. The tropical resort is turn-of the-century style with a contemporary twist and consists of 25 suites all spanning over 1,000 square feet, two restaurants and the Thalasso Spa, where treatments are inspired by the ocean. Grace’s Cottage, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant is an architectural gem featuring picturesque outdoor seating where old world elegance meets modern gourmet cuisine. Guests can also enjoy lunch and breakfast at Hutchings, which is nestled in a tropical garden and serves casual food with a Caribbean influence. A unique collection of African tribal crafts and artwork can be found dotted around the hotel, most of which are locally sourced from the island and lend an insight into the culture and travel experience of the turn of the century West Indian traveller.

SLH Insider Tip: If you’re a wildlife lover visit the Leeward settlement, an uninhabited islet known as ‘Iguana Island’ – a sanctuary for the endangered Turks & Caicos Rock Iguana.

Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Unique Island Escapes

Kokomo Island: Kadavu Islands , Fiji – Opening March 2017
Combining luxury, sustainability and unspoilt beauty, Kokomo Island is Fiji’s newest and most exclusive private island resort, situated on the edge of the celestial Kadavu Island group. Kokomo Island opens in March 2017 and is the first SLH hotel in Fiji. The boutique property is encircled by the untouched Great Astrolabe Reef so ideal for diving enthusiasts (the hotel has its own Dive Centre for guests). The 21 villas, owner’s beachfront residence and five hilltop residences are designed for privacy and comfort, featuring sustainable design and traditional Fijian touches, all alive with character. Guests can enjoy fresh, sustainably-sourced produce at the resort’s three restaurants, as well as a number of dining experiences including a chef BBQ and private island picnic. The Kokomo Island spa blends world-class Sodashi products with rejuvenating indigenous Fijian beauty rituals to create signature treatments. The hotel is a personal passion project for Australian billionaire property developer, Lang Walker, who, together with his family, has brought his vision for an island paradise like no other to life.

SLH Insider Tip: Visit the nearby manta ray cleaning station, where manta rays come to get freshened up by wrasse fish, and take the opportunity to swim with the rays.

Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Naxian Collection Luxury Villas and Suites: Naxos, Greece
Situated on the lesser known Greek island of Naxos, Naxian Collection is a chic hill-top retreat with ten sugar cube white villas and suites providing a serene sanctuary. The cave-like rooms are decked out with minimalist interiors, cream walls, bamboo screens and giant bathtubs. Each room offers stunning views over landscaped gardens, lagoons and nearby Naxos town, which is just two miles away. Pretty Agios Prokopios beach is just a ten minute walk from the property and there are plenty of walking or horse-riding trails to keep outdoorsy guests busy. The hotel’s kitchen boasts plenty of local organic ingredients and traditional Naxian recipes from the property’s own organic field, free-range chicken coop, nearby olive groves and the family vineyards. It also has its own wine cellar which is home to a formidable selection of local wine.

SLH Insider Tip: Try and time your stay with a classical music concert or violin recital at the Venetian Museum of Naxos in the Kastro which offers live entertainment year round.

Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Sikelia: Pantelleria, Italy
Known as the ‘Black pearl of the Mediterranean’, Pantelleria is a perfect escape for adventurous travellers willing to voyage a little further to be rewarded by natural volcanic hot springs, a rugged coastline, spectacular caves surrounded by the bluest of seas and warm volcanic waters to swim in. The enigmatic owner, Giulia Pazienz, ensures all the service is personal, friendly and sincere. Built out of an ancient dammuso, designed by the island’s most famous resident architect – Gabriella Guintoli, the wild beauty of the island is reflected in the hotel itself. Ancient pottery, glazed painted tiles and predominantly dark shades throughout lend an air of drama to the property. The 20 rooms are unique yet share a stylish design with meticulous attention to the finer details, with Frette linens and Hermés products in every bathroom. At the hotel’s restaurant, Themá, the chef combines fresh fish and shellfish with vegetables grown in Sikelia’s own garden, serving bold flavours from Arabia, Africa and Southern Italy. This is all served with intense, aromatic wine from the owner’s estate, made from the Zibibbo grape, indigenous of the island.

SLH Insider Tip: For a more informal dining experience, guests can head to the owner’s Coste Ghirlanda Wine Laboratory which is flooded with candles and offers a rustic cosy vibe where guests eat under the stars on communal kitchen tables.

Small Luxury Hotels of the World

TowerEight - Hotel Construction facts

Guest Blog – TowerEight: 13 things about hotel construction

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Thousands of new hotel rooms have to be built every year to cater for demand in the UK. More than 7,000 will be built in London in one year alone.

According to PWC, the hotel occupancy rate in the UK’s capital is as much as 84%. With nearly 150,000 hotel rooms in London that is a lot of bookings, and the average room rate is £145. With the hotel market continuing to grow, specialist teams are put in place by developers to ensure that rooms are up to the standards that guests demand in modern, world-class facilities.

The following list from TowerEight highlights the specialist considerations that developers need to think about when building a new hotel, and how both art and science are involved in creating the perfect hotel room…

1. What To Do With Corridors
Corridors are a tricky issue in hotel developments given that they are non-revenue generating, yet still need to feature on almost all levels. A sign of a good hotel architect is the minimal use of corridors wherever possible, without compromising the design, to maximise revenue-generating space. Alternatively, corridors can be used to generate revenue, whether by showcasing artwork that can be purchased by guests or as an advertising space for food and beverage offers.

2. If Everyone Has a Bath at the Same Time…
Most boilers in hotels are oversized and only run at 60% efficiency. Even ‘green’ hotels are only able to handle 75% of the peak demand. So, with average occupancy at 84%, hotels have to hope that guests don’t all choose to have a bath at the same time. Though, with the most popular times for ablution being pre-breakfast, and pre-dinner, it must be close sometimes.

TowerEight - Hotel Construction facts

3. Wear and Tear
Hotel furnishing and fittings are gauged by “rub rate” i.e. the amount of wear they can take. Hotel designers choose a fabric for curtains and carpets by its ability to be hard-wearing. In a top London hotel, cashmere may be used for the curtains, cushions and throws, with a typical rub rate in the low thousands. In cost-conscious hotels, a wool mix carpet would be expected to be trodden on more than 2,000 times!

4. Cost Per Key
Working with hotel developers, you will frequently hear the term ‘cost per key’ as opposed to cost per sqm/sq. ft. as used in commercial/residential sectors.

TowerEight - Hotel Construction facts
5. The Environment

Increasingly, environmentally conscious hotels are utilising ‘greywater’. This is recycled (and filtered onsite) water taken from showers and reused to flush toilets. In these hotels, you have a one in two chance of having come across the same water during a long stay! However, this solution is obviously much better for the environment.

6. How Often to Paint
Hotels are typically refurbished every three to four years, dependent on the level of maintenance they receive and the planned level of fatigue for the room décor at the time of construction. Refurbished does not mean redesigned, a refurb might mean a lick of paint and a deep clean. On average, a budget hotel room may receive more than 20 tins of paint in a 10-year period, compared to more than 40 tins in one of London’s luxury hotels.

TowerEight - Hotel Construction facts

7. Clever Design Tricks
Many guests assume a little undercut to their bathroom door means it is poor fitting, but it’s actually a regular design facet of many hotels, there to help air circulation and extract moisture from the bathroom.

8. Keeping Up With Trends
Tea and coffee making facilities (TCMF) are a bit of a throwback and there is a developing trend of incorporating social hubs into hotel lobbies, receptions and surrounding pop-ups instead. We predict that TCMF will continue to reduce, or evolve into something more personalised.

9. Practical Colour Schemes
It is rare to find a hotel room with solid colours – patterns, flecks and multiple colours are nearly always used to hide wear and tear or stains!

10. Fresh Air
Fresh air to a room either comes through the window, if it can be opened, or is ducted in through the system – typically installed in the lobby. Hotels of more than three stories will rarely ever have windows that can open fully because of the threat of legal action around any unfortunate guest that tries to climb out.

TowerEight - Hotel Construction facts

11. Solving Problems
Hotels are traditionally graded by the views (i.e. sea view) so internal hotel rooms are generally perceived as a lower class and let at lower rates. The aim is to achieve 100% occupancy at maximum rate. To get around this, designers make clever use of light-boxes and light rails in corridors to imitate light, allowing hoteliers to successfully let internal rooms with no natural light. The irony of the situation is that most people check in post 5:30pm when it’s already dark outside.

12. Height Challenges
Hotel signage at high level is often installed by abseilers. A team of between two to three guys can erect a 10-metre hotel sign, more than 10 stories high, in just 48 hours.

13. Tradition
Most hotels don’t have room or floor no.13…superstition still rules!

Viero - blue colour scheme for 2017

Viero Guest Blog: Feeling blue – 2017 colour schemes

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As we give the warmest of welcomes to 2017 in the Viero UK office, it’s a fitting time to take a look at what’s likely to be trending during the upcoming year.

A new year often means new trends and, in the world of interior design, colour plays a huge part in how we tackle our projects.

While we always tell our clients that natural intuition is the most powerful tool when choosing your colour scheme, that doesn’t mean we can’t give you a little helping hand when it comes to this very personal selection process.

This year, we believe it’s time to take a bolder and more confident approach to tackling the dreaded colour palette dilemma.

We know that grey will continue to be as popular as ever. We completed more grey-shaded projects than any other last year and it’s hardly a surprise when you consider that its almost unrivalled versatility makes it a natural choice for any contemporary design brief.

But we’re asking our creative clients whether it might be time look at deeper, warmer greys or even use lighter greys as a great backdrop to introduce other bolder colours into their projects. And that’s exactly why we’re ‘feeling blue’ at the start of 2017. So much so, we believe deep ocean blue shades could well be the emerging colour of choice in the year ahead.

Our interior design partners can’t speak highly enough of the qualities these deep blue tones bring to the surfaces of both residential and commercial spaces. It brings great strength, coolness and warmth in equal measure and creates a peaceful environment due to its natural links.

Blue works well across large spaces which benefit from high ceilings and long corridors as well as bold feature walls. So watch this space as blue gets set to take centre stage as 2017 moves along.
0870 609 2827

Plaster finish - Viero

Guest Blog – Viero: Why use plaster?

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Ever-changing trends are part and parcel of the interior design world.

The UK ‘s wall surfaces are renowned for being decorated with wallpaper, paint and tiles, but we believe a huge change is happening right now as the industry shifts towards using traditional Italian plasters to creatively transform both interior and exterior surfaces.

It’s by no means time to say goodbye to wallpaper. After all, it’s a classic way to update any room with a print, and will always have a place in the market. However, in today’s day and age, architects and interior designers are forever on the lookout for something new and bespoke for their clients.

Why plaster finishes?
Italian lime plasters have been used since the Roman times and are one of the most durable building materials on the market.

Their use as a decorative plaster is becoming more and more popular due to its versatility and its ability to achieve a multitude of effects and textures. It has the ability to sit calmly in the background, or where necessary, take centre stage and dominate a room. It is completely timeless, allowing your furniture and accessories to adapt and change over time.

Each plaster finish is applied by the hand of a highly skilled craftsmen, allowing you to choose the amount of texture, shine, colour and overall finish to meet your exact requirements. As we assure our clients, no two Viero walls are ever the same, which guarantees that individuality that we all crave.

The benefits of using luxury polished plasters along with the more textured plaster wall finishes stretches way beyond aesthetics. We’ve all been left frustrated with marked and damaged wallpaper, forcing recurring costs and timely refurbishments.

Plasters offer an unrivalled durability along with easy maintenance – and lime plasters are even fire and water resistant. These days, lime plaster is often being used to replace tiles in bathrooms, kitchens and swimming pool areas, creating seamless wall finishes that don’t attract the unsightly mould associated with grout lines.

With a broad range of clients including Rolls Royce, The Armani Hotel and Conran & Partners we’re clearly not alone in our views.

If you’re considering using a specialist surface finish on your next project, contact the Viero team on 0870 609 2827 to discuss your vision.

Duravit - Concrete in the bathroom

Duravit Guest Blog: Pure Design – concrete in the bathroom

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Time for new interpretations: concrete is a natural product that is currently experiencing a renaissance and achieving cult status in both architecture and interior design.

It is now difficult to imagine the design of interior areas and even furniture without the material: concrete cupboards, worktops, consoles and accessories can be used in a variety of ways and is an alternative to traditional materials, such as wood.

Bare concrete walls have become the expression of a new style that concentrates on the essentials – both inside and outside. Particularly the bathroom, concrete is especially effective when combined with white ceramic and Duravit design.

Duravit - concrete in the bathroom

The perfect design platform
Concrete is a purely natural product – as is ceramic. Cement made of limestone and clay is mixed with sand or grit and water. Other materials, such as steel, are also added. The properties of the material – heavy or light, fine or rough – can be controlled by adjusting the mixing ratio.

A fine grained concrete wall appears warm with the elegance of sandstone. In this quality, the material is understated – it does not take centre stage and offers the perfect platform for modern bathroom design.

A fitting platform for the ME by Starck series by Duravit: the collection offers pure aesthetics and individual design possibilities. A slender rim that is also found on the washbasin, toilets and urinals serves as a visual design signature. Thanks to its delicate edge, the new, 1300 mm wide double washbasin appears almost rimless and lightweight.

Duravit - concrete in the bathroom

The combination with fine-grained concrete highlights the clear lines and forms of the series.

Fibre-glass elements that allow daylight to shine through are inserted into modern translucent concrete, making the room seem lighter and softer. This light material creates a sense of space in small bathrooms with the ME by Starck handrinse basin.


Aged with structure
The coarser the ingredients, the rougher the concrete product. Smaller air inlets also give concrete walls an expressive structure that, when combined with other stone-like materials, such as the Stonetto shower tray by Duravit, create a time worn feeling in the bathroom. The model created by design trio EOOS has a matt finish resembling natural stone.

This is possible thanks to the use of the mineral material DuraSolid Q. Stonetto comes in the typical colours of stone: white, sand and anthracite. Tiny speckles in the finish enhance the natural appearance.

Duravit - concrete in the bathroom
Concrete displays its industrial charm in bathroom interiors with lots of glass and steel. In this clear, architectural surrounding, the Paiova Monolith by Duravit and EOOS brings out the main features. In this version, the typical trapezoid form of the Paiova bath is made from a rectangular monoblock. This makes the acrylic bath an impressive eyecatcher in the bathroom. The bath itself offers plenty of room for two people to bathe side by side and so to relax together in style: with concrete in the bathroom. //

Guest Blog - Cathy Mocke

Guest Blog: Cathy Mocke – ‘Stop catering for Joe Average’

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Many current hotels and serviced apartments cater for Joe Average. It’s all about focusing on the key touch points and doing them well, says Cathy Mocke, Design Director at Select Property Group…

When you’re travelling for work and staying in a hotel or serviced apartment, what are things that most help you to feel settled and relaxed?

For me, it’s important that wherever you stay feels comfortable and relaxed, but still has an element of ‘specialness’ to it. I guess ‘home-from-home’ is the obvious tagline that you’d use. It’s also imperative that everything works really well, from both an operational and design perspective. Easy arrival, easy check-in, comfortable bed, good shower, good lighting. If you’re travelling for business you’re not in your room for very long, so everything needs to be easy, intuitive and comfortable.

In my experience, too many current hotel and serviced apartment options cater for ‘Joe Average’. Brands can tend to be too prescriptive at the expense of the end user experience. Many brand standards dictate “we need to have this, this and this”, but in actuality the customer doesn’t need all of these things. Often, because these places have so much ‘brand standard’ stuff in the rooms and in the building as a whole, they don’t have any one thing that’s done well. Instead they have a lot of things done in an average sort of way.

Cathy Mocke - Guest Blog
So when it comes to designing a new product for the business traveller, as we have been doing at Select Property Group with CitySuites, it’s about focusing on key touch points and doing them really well.

Calming rooms and light spaces
With CitySuites, what we’re trying to do is offer something that gives you that extra level of luxury, but still retains the comforts of home, something that very few established brands can claim to offer.

When designing the rooms, we really thought about how the customer will actually use that space and what they need. From the kitchen, to the shower, to the lounge space, what do you need to put into it that makes it usable, whether you’re staying for a week or a month? It’s about creating bright, light spaces. That goes to the choice of materials and maximising light, space and outlook. The studios are also very generously proportioned so that you don’t feel like you’re sleeping in your living room. There’s plenty of space to move around. The bathrooms are very well appointed and generously designed.

The first impression upon entry into the apartment is extremely important. You don’t want to walk through corridors and lobbies. You want to walk into the main space, and straight into somewhere that immediately permeates an element of quality and space and home.

Cathy Mocke - Guest Blog

Design led by the location
With every CitySuites building, the interior design and selection of the furniture and finishes will be informed by the location of the building itself.

In addition to the living experience, creating that sense of place is important and adds another dimension to the design and avoids a formulaic approach to the interiors. That’s what CitySuites is all about – connecting to each city, highlighting its idiosyncrasies and character specific to the setting and location of each building.

So for the brand’s first development in Manchester, located on the site of an old railway station, we brought relevant materials like wrought steel into the design of the furniture. The furniture has all been bespoke designed for that particular project, so that it fits comfortably into the spaces that we have but also has a strong reference to the location’s industrial past, but with a refined edge.

Then we brought in some luxury elements like marble and glass to create that luxurious eclectic feel. The artwork has also been specifically designed to reflect the location and its proximity to the river.

The end result is that you can walk into any CitySuites and, while there’s the consistency in terms of the service and quality that you’d expect from every accommodation brand, you will see a level of design that connects you to the location you happen to be in at that moment.

Cathy Mocke - Guest Blog

Doing the simple things well raises the benchmark of quality
If everything has a simple ease to it, from the service to the features you need the most, it naturally creates a positive memory that will make you want to stay again. By focusing on the touch points that really matter and making them really good, it makes your stay really easy and comfortable.

But that positive experience should start from the moment you walk through the main doors. CitySuites Manchester, for example, is quite a striking building, and we want that ‘wow’ impression to be carried on when you enter the building itself.

So with the design of the reception space, we do this with the dark timber, copper and natural materials and some unexpected features that greet you immediately. This experience might be a little more theatrical than within the apartments because you’re trying to create an impression, but it’s still understated and elegant. Again it’s about people feeling special about the building and thinking “someone has taken care in the design of this space.”

Of course, you can design it all to the nth degree, but if you haven’t got the operational team to give that amazing user experience, it’s all for nothing. Design and operation needs to work together. But if you can marry these together effortlessly, you’ll have a product that sets itself apart from anything else a business traveller has available to them.

For more information visit

Sabre Technology Report 2017

Guest Blog: Sabre’s Technology Report – trends for 2017

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Technology innovation is changing faster than ever with emerging capabilities like robotics, artificial intelligence and augmented reality on the brink of permeating nearly every aspect of daily life, and travel technology leader Sabre has identified the top trends for the coming year in its 2017 Emerging Technology in Travel Report.

From humanoid robots checking-in guests at hotels to virtual immersive vacations to AI-powered chatbot assistants with unique personality traits, the Sabre Labs Emerging Technology Report explores how new technologies are evolving to shape travel and other industries in the years to come. The travel sector is often an early adopter of new tech, and Sabre has fostered innovation for industry and consumers alike. The Report evaluates the three major technology trends likely to have the greatest impact on the travel industry for 2017 as well as the key technologies anchoring each trend. Identified trends include:

1. Conversational Interfaces – Voice, messaging and the shift to new forms of communication
2. Digital Realities – How virtual and augmented realities are changing the travel landscape
3. Connected Intelligence – The role of bots, robots and location beacons in travel

“Sabre is constantly exploring new technologies to determine how they can best be applied to the travel industry to improve the travel experience,” said Mark McSpadden, director – Sabre Labs. “We continue to discover new ways these technologies can fit into our portfolio and drive innovation for our customers and their travelers.”

The Emerging Technology Report distills Sabre’s ongoing research and exploration to help travel businesses make strategic decisions for 2017 and beyond, and offers more than 40 specific takeaways for agencies, airlines, hoteliers, and travelers.

Sabre Labs is the travel and technology innovation lab of Sabre Corp. and explores the evolving technologies that will impact travel over the next decade. Through research, prototypes and communication, Sabre Labs converts futuristic technology into marketplace innovation for its businesses and customers.

Find the report here…

Style Matters - Gotham Hotel

Guest Blog: Style Matters predicts 2017 trends

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As 2017 dawns, Claire Fox, director at Style Matters predicts the trends set to take over the world of interior design for the year ahead.

Over the next few months, we’re anticipating the popularity of 60s and 70s-inspired furniture to rise significantly. We have already started to see a handful of our clients explore a new take on this traditional look, by featuring retro-inspired furniture in otherwise contemporary spaces. The two trends perfectly complement each other to provide a unique and modern finish with a vintage twist.

One way to achieve this look is by styling marble accessories with focal pieces of slate grey wooden furniture. Alternatively, if it’s for a more relaxed area such as a hotel lounge, large cushioned sofas in soft pastel shades, accompanied by abstract pieces of art look great together. This new take on an old classic, will be on trend for years to come and here at Style Matters, we have lots of retro-inspired furniture to ensure you’re showcasing this trend in all its glory. Our Farmhouse collection in particular, features a range of classic yet quirky dining chairs. Each piece has been constructed in a solid beech wooden frame, and has been inspired by those found in a traditional British kitchen/dining room during the swinging sixties.

Available in variety of colours, from classic brown to bright blue, the chairs have the potential to transform a bland and boring space into a fashionable haven that’s the talk of the town.

Neutral tones
Neutral tones are taking over the world of fashion right now, and we’re expecting this trend to become a firm favourite amongst interior designers in 2017.
Inspired by the great outdoors, palettes reflective of organic materials such as wood, clay, marble and copper are set to be popular, especially when it comes to key pieces of furniture throughout the hospitality sector.

Tweed, leather, and velvet sofas and chairs will be prominent in earthy tones. While reclaimed wooden tables will remain key for rustic restaurants and country pubs.

Style Matters - The Farmer's Club

Metallic tones, particularly brass, are extremely prominent in the world of interiors right now. Metallic pieces are traditionally evocative of the Victorian era through to the 1920s, however since the recent rise of mill conversions into bars, hotels, and restaurants, we’ve seen a surge in clients looking to incorporate this trend into their venues.

Contemporary establishments such as the recently-launched MNKY HSE, in Mayfair, and Olive Tree, focussed on this key trend with accessories, lighting and detailing within the furniture. It’s very easy to go overboard when it comes to metallic, so we tend to incorporate the look in to the finer, more subtle touches such as chair/table legs, studs, stitching, and fixtures.

Traditional rustic furniture has long been a favourite amongst our clients, and we’re expecting this to continue for the foreseeable future. Taking inspiration from nature and the countryside, rustic finishes look particularly at home in traditional pubs, as well as cosy boutique hotels. With deep browns, reds, and burnt oranges all being prominent, the trend is perfect for those looking to create a warm, welcoming and comfortable atmosphere within their interiors.

Rustic pieces have always been incredibly popular, but in recent months we’ve seen a significant rise in clients opting for this look. Our work on The Farmers Club, in London, and Chester-based, Olive Tree was focussed primarily on this theme, to provide a stylish and pleasant environment for guests visiting the venues.


Monochrome is a classic finish, that will never go out of fashion. Whether it be for a modern hotel or a traditional bar, monochrome is extremely versatile and one we anticipate will always be popular within the hospitality sector.

The juxtaposition of white on black, provides the perfect contrast, and results in a smart yet show-stopping finish. Designers have been opting for monochrome flooring tiles for years, but in recent months we have seen a rise in our clients asking for their black and white furniture to take centre stage when it comes to their projects. While monochrome isn’t exactly new, it’s a trend that we’ll definitely be seeing more of throughout next year.

Vintage florals
Vintage florals have been a favourite amongst pub designers and specifiers for some time, but we’re increasingly seeing this trend grow within the hotel sector too. Traditionally, designers would implement florals through their wallpaper and flooring, however we’ve started to see a shift away from this, with furniture providing the perfect platform to showcase this stunning look.

Floral furniture is a great way to make a statement in just about any environment, and as such we’re expecting its popularity to continue to grow well in to 2017.

Splashes of colour
To develop your monochrome space, add splashes of colour for an eccentric finish which will be sure to create some drama. Whether it be small pops of colour with accessories or statement pieces of bright furniture on a black and white base, this cool and charismatic look is ideal for just about environment.

The recent work we did with Hotel Gotham, in Manchester, really showcased this trend in all its glory. Almost everything from the beds, walls, and floors, were black, white and grey, with the odd splashes of colour being implemented through bespoke pieces of furniture such as chairs and accessories. The overall finish of the project was fantastic, so it’s easy to see why it generated a lot of interest amongst the industry.

For further information about Style Matters, please visit or contact the team on 01565 740342

Wandsworth at Ham Yard Hotel

Guest Blog: Wandsworth Case Study – Ham Yard Hotel

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As Giorgio Armani so eloquently put it, “The difference between style and fashion is quality”. The Wandsworth Group couldn’t agree more. That’s why their range of superlatively designed, hand crafted electrical accessories, including luxury light switches and electrical sockets, are used by world-class interior designers and architects in prestigious building projects from Hong Kong to New York – even in the private residence of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge at Kensington Palace.

Their reputation for providing stylishly designed, beautifully realised lighting and electrical wares means that Wandsworth products and expertise are sought out by a host of discerning design professionals – particularly in projects where the importance of elegance is on a par with peerless quality. This is evidenced by their involvement in a number of prominent hotel developments across the world but most recently with the newest addition to the famous Firmdale Hotel’s stable: The Ham Yard Hotel in central London.

Wandsworth at Ham Yard Hotel
Situated in the bustling centre of the capital’s famous Soho district the Ham Yard Hotel is owned by Tim and Kit Kemp, both internationally recognised interior designers famous for outstanding excellence in modern British design – Tim having previously won the coveted Andrew Martin International Interior Designer of the Year award in 2008. Together they have made Firmdale’s 9 hotels and 7 bars & restaurants, located in both London and New York, beacons of service excellence and unique design. Kit in particular has been personally responsible for carrying out the complete interior design of all of the properties – no less so than when the Ham Yard Hotel building project was begun in 2012.

Wandsworth at Ham Yard Hotel

From the very beginning Wandsworth Group were actively involved in the establishment of this £60 million luxurious boutique hotel development. Consisting of 91 individually themed deluxe bedrooms and sumptuous suites, as well as airy bar and contemporary restaurant areas, the Ham Yard Hotel project included a lavish drawing room and library. In addition, this expansive new development featured a spa and gym, numerous private dining and meeting rooms, as well as an original 1950s era bowling alley and rooftop garden, complete with sweeping vistas of the Soho skyline and the city beyond.

Wandsworth at Ham Yard Hotel
Luxury hotel light switches and electrical sockets coordinate with modern British interiors
As a new build project with such a relentless focus on individual style, modern design and matchless quality Wandsworth Group worked closely with the client’s project manager, the contractors and the architect to understand the requirements for all the electrical accessories needed from the outset. With over a century of expertise in providing high quality, luxury light and socket fittings, Wandsworth worked in close concert with all of the interior design parties to offer ideas and suggestions on the best solutions to complement the individual modern British style so prevalent throughout the hotel.

The Wandsworth Group’s diligent project team assisted the clients and the contractor’s site manager in producing a complete, full size mock up of the rooms required – enabling a much more holistic overview of the impact of all the interior design proposals. Following on from this Firmdale Hotels felt assured that the Wandsworth Group’s Classic Collection of electrical accessories was the perfect fit for the high levels of design quality, reliability and elegance inherent in the personalised room designs of Kit Kemp.

Wandsworth at Ham Yard Hotel
The Classic Collection was chosen due to its ergonomically attractive flush finish featuring a unique flat plate profile to compliment the contemporary modern British design. Whilst those selected for the Ham Yard Hotel were supplied in ultra-clean, Super Mirrored Stainless Steel, as a market leader who is able to boast of offering the largest variety of colours on the market, the Classic Collection is available in a dizzying array of finishes, including:
– Polished Brass
– Antique Bronze
– Bright Nickel
– Satin Nickel
– Antique Brass
– Light Bronze
– Matt Black
– Satin Silver
– Satin Stainless Steel
– White
– Yellow Etched Prime

Needless to say, all of Wandsworth’s bespoke multi-service, AV plates and screw fixing plate attachments are individually manufactured from the highest grade solid brass, premium stainless steel or aluminium, as required. Wandsworth are shamelessly uncompromising when it comes to ensuring that the quality of product meets the high standards of style demanded by national and international customers.

Wandsworth at Ham Yard Hotel
Bespoke electrical sockets and data outlets installed throughout the Ham Yard Hotel
As you would expect for the Ham Yard hotel the Wandsworth Group project managers were only too happy to provide standard and bespoke accessories (both Multi-service and AV plates) specifically tailored to Firmdale’s requirements. In the case of the Ham Yard boutique hotel project these included a data outlet and American style two pin socket as well as a standard 13 amp plug, which were installed throughout the building.

Wandsworth’s involvement was not simply limited to lighting and electrical sockets for this particular project. At the client’s invitation, Wandsworth were all also delighted to provide individually designed and constructed disabled toilet alarm systems (again, in the same style as the Classic Collection Super Mirrored Stainless Steel).

Wandsworth at Ham Yard Hotel
Ensuring excellence in electrical accessories from concept to delivery
Right through the overall project lifecycle of just over two and a half years the Wandsworth Group’s staff kept in constant contact with all parties, from the clients own representatives to the M & E consultants, Mecserve, and the electrical contractors, LJJ of Stockton. By maintaining continual communication and making numerous site visits Wandsworth were able to react quickly and decisively to any changes in the original specifications, design alterations and other unexpected project developments. Wandsworth offer this kind of end to end service as standard, meaning their clients receive a consistently high level of customer service, as well as seeing deadlines met. This was particularly appreciated by LJJ, who were responsible for the installation of the high end, luxury electrical accessories supplied. As demonstrated throughout the Ham Yard project, the Wandsworth Group is consistently chosen to work with and deliver to large scale projects across the globe. Taking pride in their reputation as the ‘go-to’ firm for clients looking for high spec, hand finished products – something which is demonstrated by the fact that Wandsworth’s electrical accessories are used extensively in the construction, repair and renovation of countless landmark buildings across the world.

Wandsworth at Ham Yard Hotel
Hand-crafted hotel light switches and electrical sockets exceed the highest quality demands
The premium electrical accessories which are handcrafted and tested beyond the highest industry standards by a British workforce are valued by top class interior designers and architects – all of whom recognise their brand as a market leading innovator and supplier of peerless quality.

The Ham Yard Hotel project was completed on 1st June 2014 and the hotel is already a popular place to stay for many visitors to the capital who have been entranced by its chic urban village feel and Kit Kemp’s stunning modern British interior styling. Located in the heart of the cosmopolitan Soho district the Ham Yard Hotel is also proving to be a big hit with savvy Londoners looking for a convenient place to rendezvous, relax, enjoy a drink or indulge in a fabulous dining experience, all within easy walking distance of the city of Westminster.

For the people who make up the Wandsworth Group – from the skilled designers and craftsmen to the individual project managers – it is a source of great pride that Firmdale Hotels, leading interior stylists and renowned architects around the world continue to choose them for electrical accessories that live up to their high standards of class, elegance, reliability and quality. If Giorgio Armani had been an interior designer it’s nice to think he would approve.
Ritchie House
Albert Drive

GU21 5JY
01483 713400

Hypnos Balmoral - fire risks

Hypnos Guest Blog: Are your properties a fire risk?

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As a guest accommodation provider in the hospitality industry, an important part of your responsibility is to consider the risk of fire to your property and its contents. This involves thorough investigation into the furniture and fabric used within the guest’s bedroom, paying particular attention to the bed.

It’s vital that all furnishings meet the correct UK fire retardant standards and no corners are cut. In the event a fire breaks out in your property, a fire door will act to contain the spread to that room, but your fire retardant furnishings could be the key to slowing down the speed of ignition and helping to protect your guests from serious harm.

John Woolley, managing director at Hypnos Contract Beds, discusses the importance of fire retardancy and why furniture and beds specifically, should be at the forefront of a formal risk assessment for all providers of hospitality accommodation.

What is fire retardancy?
A fire retardant is a substance that reduces the flammability of materials and delays their combustion. It’s paramount that products, such as furniture, have certain levels of protection against fire to ensure people’s safety and protect them, whether that’s in a domestic or a commercial setting. If somebody falls asleep smoking a cigarette in bed for example, having a fire retardant bed will help to slow the rate at which the fire and smoke spreads, keeping damage to a minimum and most importantly saving lives.


Why is it needed?
The possibility of a fire breaking out in a guest’s bedroom is something that every hospitality manager must prepare for and take steps to mitigate the risk. As any good hotelier or guest accommodation provider will appreciate, the consequences for having furniture that doesn’t meet the required UK fire regulatory standards are huge and something that should strictly be adhered to, to ensure the safety of your guests.

How do the requirements for domestic and commercial furniture differ and are all products fire retardant?
In the UK, the fire safety requirements for domestic upholstered furniture are well established, having been in place since 1989. However fire retardant regulations for beds used in a commercial environment are more stringent. Domestic and contract furniture must both pass the BS EN 5971 and BS EN 5972 standards. Furniture for the contract market must also pass the BS 6807 test, which is more commonly referred to as the Source 5 (Crib 5) test and proves medium resistance to ignition. All beds that meet this will clearly display the fire retardancy source 5 (Crib 5) label.

Buying or maintaining a bed that isn’t compliant with commercial fire retardant standards is not only an offence which can lead to prosecution in the event of a fire, but it also puts customers’ lives at risk. And although it’s a supplier’s duty to ensure that furniture is fit for purpose, ultimately the responsibility to ensure all furniture falls in line with industry fire regulations and meets the requirements carried out by a formal fire safety risk assessment, lies with the hospitality accommodation provider.

It is also important to note that, as a hospitality accommodation provider, purchasing beds and mattresses from domestic furniture retailers, or from abroad where fire retardancy standards can differ to those in the UK, can cause repercussions if they are proven to be non-compliant.

Hypnos Balmoral - fire risks

What are the requirements for furniture in the hospitality sector?
Firstly, commercial establishments are required to use beds, mattresses and sofa beds designed specifically for the contract market, meeting the BS 7177 and BS 7176 source 5 (Crib 5) fire retardancy standards as outlined above.

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire) (Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO), users of commercial premises are legally required to carry out a fire risk assessment on the building and its contents. The results of this set the required fire safety levels for the products to be purchased and used, which must be adhered to. The BS 7176 and BS 7177 standards for fire safety of upholstered furniture is used to assist in the specification of fire safety levels for mattresses, mattress pads, divans and bed-bases located in different end-use environments. Typically, hotels and other commercial accommodation are listed as medium hazard, however some hotels and establishments fall under a high hazard category and so the products specified here must contain higher retardant properties. Products should be accompanied by a statement such as ‘this item complies with the ignition resistance requirements of BS 7177 Medium Hazard’.

What are the consequences for not meeting standards?
While the economic allure of a cheap bed may seem like a good idea to some, failure to conform to UK fire standards and legislation could place commercial operators at high risk of prosecution and cost them much more in the long run.

Is all commercial furniture included in the standards?
The RRFSO, mentioned previously, covers the general fire safety of a building and includes all sectors and all furniture. Under this, the requirements for seating, mattresses, beds and curtains are more specific for each and, depending on what hazard level the building falls under – low, medium, high or very high hazard – products must be specified accordingly.

For more information on fire safety, fire retardancy or to discuss our hospitality products and services, please contact your local Area Sales Manager or visit
T: +44 (0) 1332 497111 | E:

Guest Blog: ‘Building a great hotel from inside out’

900 375 Guest Blog West, COO of Newport Hospitality shares his views on creating a ‘great’ hotel…

Fortune has shined brightly on my career in hospitality as I’ve had the pleasure of working for several excellent management companies as well as some truly great owners. Direct mentorship from these industry leaders has each in their own way made me a better hotelier and a better person overall. My current benefactor, Newport Hospitality Group, enjoys the strong leadership of our company president, Mike Pleninger, who recognized a critical trait of successful hotels over 25 years ago.

The one common characteristic of ‘great’ hotels is that guests reward them by spending significantly more than average and returning frequently. Distinctive from other ‘good’ hotels in the comp set, these ‘great’ hotels become guests’ hotel of choice, often regardless of price, condition and brand.

Years ago, a bunch of us at Newport Hospitality Group wanted to specifically document the attributes of a purportedly great hotel. Over several months, a few seasoned general managers and senior leadership team members worked closely to develop a strategic list of those attributes. Next, we wanted to make sure the list was quantifiable with metrics that could be brought to life tactically with every team member at every hotel.

The following is a list of these key and wholly distilled attributes which happen to be internal actions you can start at any time. Keep in mind that too much of one and too little or none of another may result in short-term success, but will not stand the test of time. It is all in managing the balance of the following four attributes that are the heart of great hotels.

Associate engagement
When I think of associate engagement, words like ‘passion’ and ‘commitment’ come to mind. On an individual level, engagement is the illusive force that motivates you, as a hotelier, to be more productive and to provide higher levels of service to our guests and value for our company.

But what does engagement actually look like for a manager reviewing the performance of his or her staff? In my experience, it presents itself in associates with a genuine zeal and eagerness to assist guests while showing loyalty and dedication to the hotel and its brand. Curiosity is also a bona fide marker of a team member who is ready for mentorship and heightened responsibilities. With this in mind, engaged associates are a fantastic core benefit, and they will surely make the competition sit up and take notice.

Guest loyalty
Engaged associates ultimately make for loyal guests. Happy, motivated associates look forward to coming to work, and not just doing their job but going above and beyond. They realise that a satisfied guest is simply a guest looking for the next best place, whereas a loyal guest is our goal and the reason for our success. We cannot have one without the other.

These engaged associates will naturally build rapport, form relationships and cater to the specific needs of every guest – the personal touch – so that the onsite experience transforms into something remarkable. If we look at our guest scores, whether it is in TripAdvisor, Medallia or SALT, and they are above the brand, we can be assured that we have an engaged and happy workforce in place. In this sense, a hotel’s guest scores are a direct reflection of the staff serving them.

Community involvement and social responsibility
A reputation for honesty, transparency and fair play is critical to building long-term value for our associates and owners. We must recognize that consistently outstanding performance in the communities in which we operate is based not only on our financial results but also on our conduct beyond the bottom line. Developing and protecting your reputation as an engaged and responsible corporate partner is a priority that will distinguish your company as one that is genuinely committed to enhancing the communities in which we conduct business.

As a need arises in your community, your desire is thus to be the first business someone looks for assistance. It is a well-known fact that organizations that encourage community involvement distinguish themselves from their competitors and reap the benefits. From happier associates to guest loyalty and additional sales opportunities, the benefits are many. All associates, especially among the millennials who will soon dominate the labor force and who want to make the world a better place, will want to work in a place that inspires them.

Financial performance
While hospitality is essentially a ‘people business’, it is still a business. We are here to provide growth and financial security for our associates, provide excellent service and facilities to our guests, and give back to our communities. Above all, we must provide strong financial results for our owners who have deployed their own capital and entrusted the management team with their business.

This attribute of a great hotel cannot exist in a vacuum, though. Without the previous three characteristics, a positive financial performance and the makings of a great hotel are not possible. The leadership at Newport Hospitality Group, myself included, is responsible to each location and every employee to grow these four principals within all hotels that we operate. Every decision we make begins with considering all four and finding the right balance to help every property be successful.

Wayne West III is the Chief Operating Officer of Newport Hospitality Group,  guiding the company’s portfolio to ensure each hotel performs at its full potential. Over his 35 years in the industry, Wayne has operated, supervised and owned assets in IHG, Marriott and Hilton systems as well as non-branded properties. He has been a part of the Owners Council with Marriott and served as a Committee Member with IHG on their Food and Beverage Committee, Operations Committee and Standards Committee. Wayne attended East Carolina University and has been named a certified hotel administrator by the American Hotel & lodging Association.

JW Marriott Monterrey

Guest Blog – MMGY MD Kerry Cannon: End of branded hotels?

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While the newest generation of travelers – the oft written about ‘millennials’ – may not yet have the discretionary spending muscle of Gen Xers and Boomers, they are having a decidedly pronounced impact on the evolution of the branded hotel space. Unique experiences, lifestyle, design, and authenticity rule the day now. Does that sound the death knell of the branded hotel?

Vaunted brand names like Marriott, Starwood, Hilton, and Hyatt have given way to Andaz, Aloft, Curio, Canopy, and Moxy. Despite sounding oxymoronic, the terms “consistent,” “dependable,” and “predictable” (read: cookie-cutter) at one time were unique selling propositions. Now those descriptors have become toxic. Driven by the evolving demands of a younger, hipper, better educated and tech savvy consumer, terms like chic, unique, customised, curated, and personalized are what differentiate the hospitality product these days. Across the full spectrum of the hospitality sector – design, brand marketing, packaging, and promotion – if you want to get the attention of today’s traveler, you have to answer their question: “What have you got for ME?”

Hospitality companies are being challenged to offer unique, experiential, local, and authentic while maintaining the efficiencies their shareholders expect. The enforced uniformity of the major hotel companies was part of a larger business strategy that worked well for previous generations of travelers. Consumers liked uniformity and reliability, and so did the hotel companies’ bottom lines. Predictable amenities, features, furnishings, and layouts were appealing to both the guest and the hotel company CFO. Now, however, there is real pressure to carve out a distinct and authentic brand promise, while maintaining the efficiencies and economies of scale. And is that not an inherent conflict…the ‘commoditisation’ of unique?

As the shape of the bell curve changes, with the lifestyle/boutique properties moving from the fringe to the mainstream, are they in danger of becoming the mass-market hotel of the future? And will the Millennialsbegin to eschew the very movement they were responsible for driving in the first place? Ask brands like American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Gap that are reeling from the Millennials’ desire to express themselves as their own brand, rather than serve as ambassadors for someone else’s.

Whether the traveler wants to stay independent, seek the remarkably uncommon, or enjoy an unforgettable stay, hotels now more than ever need to figure out how to realistically serve this very demanding segment. Can smaller lifestyle brands keep up with the standards and scalability of the large brands? We’re at an inflection point where established norms of hospitality marketing and operations are on a collision course with Millennials’ preferences, behaviors, and attitudes.

Kerry brings proven leadership, client relationship management, and business development skills to MMGY’s Orlando office. He is an experienced marketer, entrepreneur, and innovator with deep travel industry connections and over 20 years of success connecting buyers and sellers in the travel arena. MMGY Global, the leading integrated travel and hospitality marketing firm in the USA.

Guest Blog: ‘Suppliers must act as experts within their sectors’

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I never cease to be amazed by the vast breadth of knowledge interior designers need in order to cope with all the different strands that need bringing together to create a successful interior design scheme.

They need to realise a harmonised interior which is above all a desirable destination, uses a refined colour palette, incorporates good proportions, is high on attention to detail and quality, has great style and is entirely practical in terms of the use for which the space is intended. The aim is always to give guests a great experience and ensure they look forward to returning.

But that is just the basics. Beyond that the interior designer has to have all the technical knowledge that goes in to the choice process when selecting individual components which go in to the room. Does the upholstery fabric meet relevant flammability regulations? Will the curtains fade through UV exposure? Will the wallpaper pattern repeat match the wall space available? Is the durability of the carpet suitable for contract use? Is all the electrical equipment suitably certified?

Chelsom - Esprit Cove Lounge

These and many other pieces of expert knowledge need to be at the designer’s fingertips to ensure they design a successful project.

That is where added value can come from the product supply chain who should undoubtedly be experts from within their own fields. At Chelsom, there was a time when our mantra of ‘give the client what they want’ meant exactly that, even if we felt the product designed and selected might not give the long term function or desired effect that was expected. Today we are proud that designers appreciate our expert knowledge and do ask us for advice with lighting issues.

Sometimes saying no is a real positive rather than a negative response because we are anticipating lighting problems which may not be immediately apparent.


For example, an aesthetic design may show a small diameter base on a table lamp to which we will say no as our software confirms it will not pass safety regulations for stability. We will advise that we cannot fit the requested dimmer switch because it is not compatible with the hotel’s existing dimming system. Sorry but we don’t recommend the touch switch you have requested because hotel guests will constantly be phoning the concierge to ask how to switch the lights on.

No you cannot have a one-piece ceiling plate on that chandelier because it needs access panels for maintenance and ventilation for the electronics inside. Rather than the crystals hanging on chains in your lobby visual, we would use delicate fixed rods to prevent the glass work swinging when open doors create a gust of wind.

Of course it is essential that if a manufacturer says something isn’t feasible, they have to propose an acceptable alternative based on their own expert knowledge. The interior designer therefore should always consider that he or she is consistently supported by a massive team of experts who can be trusted to give advice and opinions on the suitability of standard product or custom designs from within their own particular specialised area. Those manufacturers may not understand the whole story but they can certainly give added value in their own field.

For further information or to request a catalogue please contact 01253 831400 or email

Guest Blog: Looking after your designers…

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Former hotel designer Patrick Goff shares his thoughts on the relationship between commissioners of design and their designers…

Recently I had dinner with a designer becoming exhausted with the stress of running a large (and very successful) practice. Disillusioned with client relations they were coming to terms with the designer as the elite of the servant classes, rather than being a member of ‘der management’. It is not the first time I have talked with colleagues (sometimes once competitors) with these reactions of feeling devalued by the avaricious money people who often claim credit for designers work. It seems to be the nature of society that those who are the creative drivers are rarely those who get the recognition – until they are dead of course…

The stress of building a design practice, then protecting and nurturing it at often great personal cost through recession to rebuild it again takes its toll. The creativity that the designers are known for is compressed and is then, like a lemon, squeezed by clients until the juice runs dry.


Some back off running practices and retreat to being sole practitioners, choosing to work less so that they feel they have a personal relationship with the creative problem solving. Others sell their businesses and go sailing, play golf or grow flowers. Most do this mentally bruised and stressed by client expectations and client demands that they deal only with the principals, disallowing delegation . They want ‘the engine driver, not the oily rag’. This persistent demand for personal service can kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

The roll call of designers retreating from the high profile leadership of the profession is great, maybe because of a basic humility, maybe because of a fragile sense of self, maybe because they despair seeing others claiming credit for their creative ability. Often press releases name the architect when it is the work of the interior designer that has created the spaces being written about. So great designers are left as the walking wounded of the creative industries.

Over the last three years I have experienced a number of health problems culminating in being treated over the last year for cancer. I am pleased that I have been told it is ‘cured’ but I still have to be tested every 3 months against recurrence. It is a brutal shock to hear the word ‘cancer’ in diagnosis, and does bring about a reappraisal of purpose. Life can be cut short abruptly and 50% is now reckoned the proportion of us who will suffer cancer. I have been lucky that mine has responded to treatment, maybe yours will too?

The resurrection of an old project is typical of what is processing within me at the moment. Over 20 years in design has it seems created a huge reservoir of images and ideas that are determined to be realised through painting, drawing and, right now, photography. I feel like a stick on a flood, being pushed and tossed around at the mercy of these ideas, trying to go with the flow.


For many designers their sense of being wounded by the processes they go through, of having their creative muse squeezed dry, could be helped by a sabbatical return to their creative roots. Our society and the clients are great at demanding projects be completed faster – a new hotel now may be built in less than 12 months compared to the nearly 4 years of the first new build I did in 1983.

But the time for design needs to be protected if designers aren’t to feel like that squeezed lemon left after the pancake party. Creative thinkers need space for their unconscious to work as well as the conscious realisation of the ideas. Pressure for speedy results can produce banal realisations.

Without physical and emotional well-being it is difficult to realise ideas properly. I know I am storing pressure for future creative outpourings as I follow instructions to sit still and give healing a chance. It is impossible now to learn patience, I just have to drive on to realise as many of the ideas as I can over the coming years.

Meanwhile the current months of being walking wounded present different challenges for me. I now have time to think and space to create free of pressure. I pray for the years I need to tackle the ideas and hope the answers are visually strong, interesting and involving for others.

I hope that those design leaders who I see as walking wounded will not wait until their health breaks too, before taking the time out for themselves.

Words and photos: Patrick Goff

Solar power for hotels

Guest Blog: Future of solar power for hotels…

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Phil Foster, Managing Director of Love Energy Savings has shared his thoughts on the future of solar power and what this may mean for smaller hotels.

Whilst less than 2% of the world’s electricity is currently generated through solar photovoltaic technology, a recent report estimated that this figure could increase to as much as 13% by the year 2030.

What about solar panels for independent hotels?
Solar panels aren’t just for homeowners; a growing number of companies are now starting to cater to businesses of all shapes and sizes who are looking to become a little greener. Switching to solar power can help to lower your bills and your carbon footprint.

In the past we have explored how businesses can invest in being green, and it’s never too late to start thinking about reducing your carbon footprint! Investing in solar panels for your business is the perfect place to start. Here are a few reasons why you should get on board…

Solar power for hotels

Cut your business expenses
The first and biggest advantage of installing solar panels is that your business expenses will be cut. Although you will have to pay for the initial investment, panels can pay for themselves in just a few years. Thanks to government initiatives such as the feed-in tariffs schemes, you can even start to earn money back from the electricity you generate, without having to pay for power from the National Grid. To learn more about the current feed-in tariff rates, and how to apply, Ofgem is your go-to source.

Phil Gilbert, Head of Business Solutions at E.ON, told us: “Energy costs can have a significant impact on a business’ bottom line, and generating your own power can put control firmly into your own hands. Cutting down waste, using smart technology to manage buildings and possibly generating your own power are all options to consider.

“Investing in energy efficiency or in new generation technologies such as solar make sound investments, often paying back in only a few years. Across Europe we are seeing customers actually profiting from improving their energy efficiency. As well as the bottom line impact, investing in new energy solutions can also unlock new growth and improve productivity and overall competitiveness.”

Boost your reputation and earn the public’s trust
With climate change and the environment grabbing the headlines so often, people are naturally becoming more green-focused and are more conscious about the companies they choose to work with. Adding solar panels to your business can show people that you are committed to helping the environment, and is certainly something that is worth shouting about!

Annabelle Bean from Romag, says that the benefits of solar energy to SMEs can really go far beyond saving money: “Nothing will position your company as an environmentally-conscious brand more than investing in renewable energy for your business. Not only will you be able to have the peace of mind that you are using green energy, but the fact that you are doing so provides a great PR opportunity.

Hurawalhi Maldives - an example of sustainability in hospitality in action

Hurawalhi Maldives – an example of sustainability in hospitality in action

“Being a sustainable business counts for a lot in the current marketplace, where the spotlight is well and truly on companies who do not prove their environmental credentials. When your customers see that you are setting yourself apart from the crowd and investing in a cleaner future, you will soon build up increased brand loyalty and trust.”

Improve your carbon footprint
By cutting your dependence on electricity generated from burning gas, coal and oil, and instead turning to renewable forms of energy, you will be helping to drastically reduce your business’ carbon footprint. Phil Foster commented: “There are so many small things that businesses can do to cut their carbon footprint, but solar panels are a huge step forward towards our goal of slashing emissions. Here at Love Energy Savings, we want to see the technology developing further and becoming more readily available both to domestic and business customers.

“Even if the installation of solar panels is a little outside the budget of some SMEs, we always advocate using greener sources of energy. We work with a number of different independent suppliers, some of whom source a proportion of their energy supply from renewables, to give you a wider choice when switching your energy supplier.”

There is no doubt about it; clean energy is the future. More and more countries are stepping forward to announce their commitment to being greener, most recently, the US, Canada and Mexico who together pledged that 50% of their power would come from clean energy by the year 2025. That’s a huge promise, and solar power is going to play an enormous part in hitting such ambitious targets.


Guest Blog: James Fisher – sustainability in practice in existing buildings

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Investors and owners of large commercial property portfolios throughout Europe are constantly on the hunt for a distinctive edge that will set them aside from the competition. The never-ending battle for an increase in rental yield, lower management costs, fully leased properties and happy tenants is something that we are all too familiar with.

James FisherCouple that with some of the wider global challenges on-going presently and you can see that how it would be easy for a property fund or asset manager to lose a little sleep at night. Luckily for them, there are some new techniques and tactics being adopted by the most forward thinking property companies that are helping them maintain their commercial advantage.

Citycon Oyj, based in Helsinki, has recently launched a project to introduce BREEAM In-Use (BIU) certification to 75% of its properties by 2017. As the leading owner, developer and manager of urban grocery-anchored shopping centres in the Nordic and Baltic regions, Citycon clearly see BREEAM In-Use certification as a cost-effective way to manage their EUR 5 billion portfolio.

According to Nils Styf, Citycon’s Chief Investment Officer, BREEAM In-Use certificates provide Citycon with a comprehensive overview of the environmental performance of their portfolio and a useful platform to identify improvements.

As a result of their recent environmental focus, Citycon have reduced their reliance on purchased heating energy by an impressive 30% in 2015 for one Centre by using renewable energy. Of course, this also positively benefits their carbon footprint too. Definitely a cost and carbon win-win and of course, these benefits can be realised in many more of their properties over time.

Interestingly it is not only private commercial organisations that are seeing the opportunity presented by using BREEAM certification. The methodology has also been widely adopted recently by the City of Stockholm. Stockholms stad, the public sector administration that is responsible for managing the majestic Swedish capital, is fully adopting BREEAM In-Use as part of its asset management strategy.

As part of their commitment, Stockholm is also taking part in a new pilot project aimed at creating a more cost-effective volume assessment route for BREEAM IN-Use across its portfolio. Focusing on a parcel of 50 public buildings, the objective is to establish a cost-effective methodology for certifying and maintaining certification of asset portfolios against BREEAM In-Use International 2015.

The pilot project will look at the type of evidence common to a large asset portfolio and how it can be supplied, collected and verified in order to minimise the need for additional site visits. Working to pre-defined criteria, it will focus on ascertaining the type of evidence that applies to buildings with similar characteristics or properties – asset clusters – and on establishing whether an assessor can review this evidence and accept it as applicable to all.

The project is a partnership between BRE Global (BREEAM), the Real Estate Administration of Stockholms Stad, engineering consulting firm PQR Consult AB and BREEAM In-Use assessor Piacon AB. Taking place over a one year period, the process will inform future years of the BREEAM In-Use recertification cycle.

Vertical Forest

To date, the City has 100 of its buildings assessed or in progress under BREEAM In-Use in total. It’s also worth noting that these assets represent a broad spectrum of architectural styles, building ages, uses and building services designs. In fact, even the historic (and world famous) City Hall building where the Nobel prize-giving ceremony takes place each year has also been assessed. If the method can help to improve the sustainability of such a prestigious landmark building, then it can definitely work for across more modern assets too.

The fact that both commercial and public sector property owners are now choosing BREEAM to set them apart, only adds weight to the case for sustainability to be considered as a matter of course in everyday business. This is borne out by the findings from the recent CBRE EMEA Investor Intentions Survey 2016 explored in more detail in an article authored by Rebecca Pearce, Senior Director, EMEA Head of Sustainability for CBRE published recently by the Better Buildings Partnership.

The evidence is loud and clear, the market now understands the compelling reasons to buy asset certification. In the CBRE survey just 11% of respondents now view sustainability as an insignificant factor during due diligence. Even more compelling is that 39% of the institutional investors surveyed cite sustainable asset selection as ‘critical’ or ‘one of the most important criteria’ when selecting properties to acquire.

In a complicated commercial property market, at least the road ahead for asset managers is becoming clear with solutions like BREEAM providing a tangible route to create sustainable property management. After all, if Citycon and the City of Stockholm can see the benefit, there must be something in it right? London, Paris, New York – we’re ready if you are.

Dubai hotel projects

Guest Blog: on Dubai’s most anticipated hotel projects

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The reputation of oil as a sure-shot revenue generating product is currently on the wane as global economies try to shake off the impact of global recession of 2008. But the United Arab Emirates, which initially built its fortunes on oil, has known better.

The nation understood the value as well as limitations of natural resources and took on the challenge of diversifying its sources of revenue. It has been on a roller coaster ride for the last two decades, putting strong emphasis on developing its real estate, financial services, logistics and especially its hospitality sectors, the result being that UAE has become one of the fastest growing and resilient economies in the world.

It is the definitive tourism capital of the region and constant innovation in the sector means it could be the global tourism hub in the coming years. The abundant entertainment options that cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi have on offer attract millions of visitors each year, casting a positive shadow on their hospitality and real estate sectors.

Dubai mega-tower

The growing economy and developments in the all sectors mean Dubai and Abu Dhabi are never short on influx of expats, leading to a strong rental market in both cities. According to UAE realty portal, apartment rents in Dubai rose by a marginal 0.5% in February, following a 3% hike in January 2016.

As resilient as the country’s realty sector may be, the sector at the core of investors’ attention is none other than the hospitality sector. With theme parks lined up one after the other and Expo 2020 promising great turnout, the need for hotels is rising. Fortunately, the real estate developers in Dubai are not blind to the fact and have doubled their efforts in developing world-class hotels and recreational spots to act as a hinge for the emirate’s tourism sector. The hotel projects that the emirate is currently developing can most likely anchor Dubai’s hospitality and tourism industry to put it on the path of becoming the emirate’s number one revenue generating sector. In 2016, Dubai is ready to inaugurate some of the most luxurious hotels, which are also some of the most eagerly awaited.

Viceroy Palm Jumeirah
The Viceroy Palm Jumeirah, as the name indicates, is located in the emirate’s man-made palm shaped island, famously known as Palm Jumeirah. Slated to be opened in September 2016, the luxurious hotel offers 477 deluxe rooms and suites, coupled with 40 hotel apartments. In addition, it would also have 222 signature Viceroy Residences for those wanting to immerse themselves in the luxuries of high-end living.
Viceroy Palm Jumeirah
Time Royal Hotel
Time Royal Hotel provides the perfect setting for visitors who are interested in spending quality time in a brand new hotel in Dubai. Being developed in Dubai Healthcare City and awaiting inauguration in December 2016, the hotel will feature 277 rooms, three restaurants, a self-indulgent spa, an outdoor Jacuzzi and an indoor kids club. Moreover, the hotel is expected to become a medical tourism destination by offering 22 specially equipped suites to fulfil the needs of travelers belonging to the field of medicine. It goes without saying that hotels in Dubai are world-renowned for offering exceptional hospitality services to visitors and these two hotel projects don’t seem like ones to backtrack on their promise of providing opulent lifestyle choices to guests.

Time Royal Hotel Dubai
Apart from these two main developments, other hotel projects are currently undergoing construction work. Nakheel Properties recently struck a deal with Thailand’s renowned Minor Hotel Group to manage its new hotel at the Ibn Battuta Mall. The mall, which is undergoing expansion will see the opening of Avani Hotels and Resorts-branded 373-room property along with a 372-room Premier Inn hotel. Though, the former is expected to open in 2018, the latter is expected to open this year.

Nakheel Properties has also signed a deal with a Spanish hospitality company RIU Hotels to also open another hotel in Dubai, while announcing plans to launch 10 new hotels across the emirate to make the most of a growing tourist base that can ensure a healthy revenue stream for the emirate.

With new buildings springing up around Dubai on a frequent basis, it seems that the tourism and hospitality sector will carry the emirate’s real estate sector forward and usher in a lucrative era for Dubai’s realty sector that can very well prove to be pennies from heaven…

With thanks to

Newmor reveal trends from Clerkenwell Design Week 2016

Guest Blog: Newmor reflects on Clerkenwell Design Week trends

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Clerkenwell Design Week is the UK’s leading design festival, and with the highest saturation of creative businesses and architects in the world, Clerkenwell was buzzing this year.

The biggest names in the design world exhibit alongside emerging designers and artisans in various historical buildings in the area. Newmor‘s design team spent the week exploring the show, and talking to the designers. Here’s what they found…

Inspired by Nature
Whether highly finished or rough and weathered, natural materials and organic colours are still big news. Take a look at Baker Street Boys’ versatile range of furniture – each piece is completely unique and uses solid oak and untreated steel. Kia Utzon-Frank, currently a student at the Royal College of Art, disguised cakes as geometric marble structures. And Amtico’s stand beautifully detailed the process behind their ethereal new design.

Newmor trends at Clerkenwell Design Week

With pastel pink and blue forecast as the Pantone Colour of the Year 2016, we were expecting to see our fair share of pastel hues, and we weren’t disappointed! However, the shades we saw were towards the more vivid, saturated end of the pastel palette. Think macaron, rather than ice cream shades. We loved Elli Popp’s mystical new ParallelWorld wallpaper design and enjoyed Camira Fabric’s presentation of their new trend book.

Newmor trends at Clerkenwell Design Week

Gold and brass
Don’t get us wrong, copper is definitely still big news, but this year at Clerkenwell gold definitely dominated. Everything from 24 carat polished shades, to antiqued brass. Petit Friture hit the nail on the head with their range of quirky gold lighting exhibited at Design Fields. And it would be hard to talk about a metallic trend without a mention of Tom Dixon – this time with the new Etch Mini range.

Newmor trends at Clerkenwell Design Week

Tropical prints are high fashion at the moment, and for the commercial market the tropical look is moving away from printed jungle scenes and towards tropical colour palettes… every tone of green from deep teals and forest hues to bright chartreuse, alongside splashes of scarlet and acid yellow. Abstracta’s customisable sound absorbing Airleaf panels were a highlight for us.

Newmor trends at Clerkenwell Design Week

Pink and Teal
Sometimes together, and sometimes independently, pink and teal were everywhere you looked this year. From upholstered furniture, to tiles, paint and an abundance of teal velvet. Another Brand exhibited their new Orlo mirrored surfaces at Design Fields, and Giles Miller Studio’s ‘billboard’ installations were dotted around Clerkenwell.

Newmor trends at Clerkenwell Design Week

Honourable mention…
A colour that hasn’t been on the horizon for a while… mustard showed up a lot this year, and looked super fresh.

Newmor trends at Clerkenwell Design Week

Watch this space for show round ups, trend reports and be the first to see our new designs. Please contact us for any further information or samples of any of our wallcoverings.

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GROHE's guest blog - round-up Milan Design Week

Guest Blog: GROHE review Milan Design Week

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GROHE shares its thoughts on the Milan Salone Del Mobile extravaganza and some of the trends we can expect to see shaping interior design in the year ahead…

The biggest event of the design year, Milan’s Salone Del Mobile festival saw the city once again taken over by the interiors industry. The streets were packed with the biggest names in furniture and architecture, exhibiting alongside up-and-coming names that are new on the scene.

Our own in-house design team were out scouring the studios and showrooms for the hottest trends on show, dissecting the wealth of ideas to select six key trends that we are confident will be driving the look of our interiors over the next 18 months and beyond. These diverse trends will be filtering through many aspects of interior design, with the overall drive being towards a warmer, tactile and soothing look and feel for our homes.

Soft, subtle colours – ones that are easy on the eye and the psyche – were in evidence everywhere, suggesting a desire for soothing interior elements as an escape from stressful lives. The core colour was a skin-tone pink (as seen above), evoking the sense of touch and inviting an emotional connection. We saw this combined with organic, unbleached wood and tactile brass and copper.

Once considered a rather retro, ostentatious material, marble continues its comeback as the luxury accent of choice. This year we saw marble used on everything from chairs to bookcases, with warmer, mottled versions more popular than harsh white. Marble was combined with slick materials like plastic as well as organic, sensual wood and metal, again with warm colour tones to the fore.

Once seen as cold, hard and industrial, metal finishes in warm tones continued to provide an air of luxury and light to many pieces shown this year. Copper, brass and bronze featured in numerous designs across all design disciplines, but the rose gold was the finish of choice, adding glamour when combined with materials like exotic wood, leather and velvet. Star of the show was Knoll’s iconic Platner arm chair, created in 18 karat gold and blue velvet to celebrate its 50th anniversary.


Technology and tradition collided to present new ways of working with wood. Modern production and processing techniques have created an explosion in fluid, sensual forms for wood furniture, where curved lines and surfaces both highlight the natural grain of the wood and also invite the user to make physical contact with this enduring material – enhanced by the combining of wood with other tactile materials like leather and moulded plastic.

Premier Inn Germany - Jeremy Scarlett Blog

Guest Blog – JSJ Design’s Jeremy Scarlett: Germany’s first Premier Inn

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Following the news Germany’s first Premier Inn officially opened its doors to the public last month, interior designer and Partner at JSJ Design Jeremy Scarlett gives us the inside track on the project…

The project originally came about after I was approached by Patrick Dempsey; at the time he was MD of Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants (WHR) and the company had just acquired a property in Germany.

Premier Inn Germany - Jeremy Scarlett JSJ Design

It was a big step forward in expanding Premier Inn throughout Europe and represented a brand new market. Premier Inn always had a view to bring a local designer on board; having a source of local knowledge and supplier contacts was a no-brainer. The challenge was striking the balance between what was right for the local market while communicating the existing brand.

Premier Inn Germany - Jeremy Scarlett JSJ Design

At this point I was asked to come on board as a consultant, tasked with overseeing the German designers. I’ve worked on several Premier Inn projects over the years and have a pretty in-depth understanding of the brand. The thought was if JSJ Design were involved alongside the local designers, Premier Inn would get the best of both worlds.

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That’s how it started and soon evolved into collaboration with the German designers JOI Design. We worked together to form a concept that was right for Frankfurt and the wider German market, while also representing the best elements of Premier Inn.

Premier Inn Germany - Jeremy Scarlett JSJ Design

We also developed some elements of the brand that didn’t really exist before; in the UK Premier Inn isn’t concerned about appearing British as it’s on home turf, but in Germany it became the point of difference. For us as the designers, it was a question of how to bring across the ‘Britishness’ of the brand without being too obvious or cheesy.

Premier Inn Germany - Jeremy Scarlett JSJ Design

The overall look and feel has been loosely described as a ‘contemporary British library’ theme, which came from an exploration of what it means to be British. Literature plays a big part in our history, from Shakespeare to Lewis Carroll, and we played with the illustratable and quotable elements of several classic texts in the design. We also incorporated traditional furniture styles such as the Chesterfield sofas, alongside accessories such as colourful porcelain versions of the iconic British Bulldog.

Premier Inn Germany - Jeremy Scarlett JSJ Design

The reaction so far has been really good. I’ve heard some comments from German members of the Premier Inn team who say while the British elements are very subtle they are also very distinct. While its not overwhelming, people realize it’s a British hotel and the fact that is understated is what makes it work.

HiB - staying ahead of the curve in 2016

Guest Blog – HiB: Stay ahead of the ‘curve’ in 2016

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Moving on from last year’s trend for angular, minimalist bathrooms, HiB has predicted that the next 12 months will see a distinguishable shift towards soft, organic curves.

Steve Kaye, marketing director at HiB said: “Bathrooms are continuing to move away from a conventional angular feel, with consumers abandoning flat doors and sharp square corners in favour of natural curves.”

“With the right design and planning, curves can create a feeling of space by softening the edges of the bathroom. Plus, by mixing and matching the rounded corners of their bathroom furniture, consumers can create a look that is truly unique.”

Most recently HiB introduced a variation on its best-selling flagship Globe mirror – the Orb. Simple yet striking in design, the Orb mirror features a contemporary, curved form and elegant backlit glow, adding a soft yet dramatic impact making the bathroom beautiful.

HiB's best-selling flagship Globe mirror – the Orb

HiB’s best-selling flagship Globe mirror – the Orb

Steve adds: “As with all HiB mirrors, the Orb range is fitted with a heated pad to keep it steam free and crystal clear at all times. Also, each mirror includes the latest in LED technology resulting in not only a brilliant illumination but optimal energy saving and is sensor activated – for ultimate ease of use.”

The Orb mirror is available in two sizes (H70 x W50cm) and (H80 x W60cm) and can be hung landscape or portrait.

For further information please visit

Pergo Environment

Guest Blog – Pergo: ‘Meeting demands of the environmentally conscious…’

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Eco-consciousness and sustainability is having more and more of an impact on how hotels are designed and built – not to mention how they are decorated inside. Guests are becoming savvy and expect hotel groups to offer a product that meets their standards of environmental responsibility; much the same way as they do with their food products or their cars.

Guest bloggers and Hotel Designs Directory members Pergo talk below about how their products are being used by ecologically-minded hoteliers and designers…

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RELATED: Technology, sustainability demands impacting hotel design
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Environmental issues press more and more heavily on us all as the realisation of the fragility of our planet begins to dawn on us. Who can honestly say these days that they don’t look at the provenance and number of artificial additives in their products or the overall ecological promises of a brand?

Hotel guests are equally insistent. What are the corporate and socially responsibility ambitions of the hotel operator? The travel managers of large corporates do not allow bookings at hotels that do not meet their own minimum standards for recycling and waste management, re-use, local sourcing, the environmental-suitability of cleaning products and similar criteria.

Pergo Environment

These factors are used to judge whether or not your hotel makes it on the preferred supplier list of companies who need thousands of room nights every year. At a more personal level, checks on the availability of hypoallergenic pillows and whether or not the hotel has got carpets or wood floors are becoming more commonplace from health-conscious guests.

And surely the most environmentally-sound products are those that last forever. Stone is a good example. Take a marble bath surround that never has to be replaced then. Putting aside the environmental costs of procurement and installation, it is truly sustainable.

Similarly Pergo’s commitment to quality means that they can offer lifetime warranties on most of their products. Not only does this express supreme confidence it also shows a commitment to a sustainable future. Another commitment by Pergo is to only use wood sourced from sustainable forests having either the FSC or PEFC certification. Every tree used is replaced and therefore CO2 emissions are naturally stored in the wood flooring. How neat is that!?

For more information on Pergo’s sustainability commitment and their products, visit
T: +447584459226

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Little Roman Blind Shop - interiors trends 2016

Guest Blog – Little Roman Blind Shop: Hotel interiors trends 2016

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Deciding on the interior of your hotel rooms can be a tricky decision. You need something on trend, but something that also has lasting power for cost efficiency.

Finding trends that work through the seasons and reflect your brand identity doesn’t have to take months of forecasting. As part of this week’s guest blog, the Little Roman Blind Shop has released their trend guide for 2016, which features a selection of gorgeous trends for you to work with and a preview of which can be viewed below…

Marble majesty
When you think of marble, it’s hard not to imagine a grandiose five star hotel reception area. Traditionally, marble flooring and furnishings have been a symbol of luxury. However in small doses, marble can be used in more modern interiors to combine minimalist looks with a slight twist of opulence. Light and airy, marble adds a well needed touch of texture to chic monochrome rooms. A great way to break up the interior in your hotel, marble pattern instantly catches the eye. It’s not just the natural material that can liven up your interior, try finding bedding, blinds and furnishings that simply use the same colours or are printed with the distinct marble effect pattern.

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Living terrarium
Forget the outdoor/indoor trend. Instead of taking inspiration from the exotic tropics, take a small snap shot of the outdoors with tiny terrariums. To use this trend you’ll have to swerve the typical floral patterns that perk up throughout the summer season. Use green elements and blend a variety of shades to add depth and focus on the structure of plants, rather than their blooms.

Little Roman Blind Shop - interiors trends 2016

Go for a combination of ditsy patterns and large scale motifs, just like the changing scales you’d see in an actual terrarium. A little landscape of prickly cactus and succulents, your rooms can take inspiration from the small world captured in a terrarium. For an extra nod to the trend, experiment with clashing textures that reflect the little life you find in your terrarium. With silky soft sheets, try chunky knitted cushions or embellished throw cushions that spark textural conflict.

Copper calling
In comparison to the first trend, copper may not seem as majestic. However, copper has become the go-to metallic for trend-setters this season. Understated and less opulent than its gold and silver siblings, copper offers a more downplayed sense of glamour. It doesn’t shout, it shimmers and dances in the light to offer a warm hue to your hotel bedrooms.

Little Roman Blind Shop - interiors trends 2016

These three trends are perfect for all year round wonder. They liven up hotel interior and bring it into the new season, with a few traditional touches thrown in for good measure! Use these trends sparingly to add a subtle twist to your current interior, or go all out for a new look that guests are sure to love.

Pergo Quiet Floors

Guest Blog – Pergo: ‘Sweet dreams are made of underlay flooring…’

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A good night’s sleep is, without doubt, one of the key selling points and minimum requirements of a hotel. Attention is rightly paid to a whole host of factors to ensure it’s delivered – the bed, the mattress, the pillows, the corridor acoustics. But what about flooring? Limiting noise from above and below a room is just as important to ensuring guests’ ‘beauty sleep’, something Hotel Directory members Pergo know all about and discuss below…

A ‘home-from-home’ might be what you think you want from a hotel experience but the reality is not necessarily the case.

Cosy and comfortable, yes. But if you live in a period home, do you really want its creaks and squeaks repeated on the road? The expansion and contraction of heating pipes, the creaking floorboards and stair treads that almost become endearing little storytellers of your home.

Prime amongst the components of a good night’s sleep is quiet. The life of the traveller is filled with clutter. Especially for those enduring a new or unfamiliar city. There maybe issues of language, food, directions, time zones, internet access, etc. The fewer distractions when trying to recharge and recuperate the better.

Pergo Quiet Floors

Therefore, sound-proofing guestrooms is a no-brainer. Fail to pay attention to this and watch those TripAdvisor ratings crash, noisily, to the floor. All noise is a nuisance. For the sleeper, silence is golden. Problematically this peace can be “attacked’ from all sides. From this side or that.

Rooms need to be sound-proofed from one to the other, from the corridor and externally. There are specific technical ratings for wall and door components plus the room’s glazing that help towards minimising these sources of disruption. From above or below. Whilst the in-room acoustics are largely taken care of by the many absorbing materials such as curtains, blinds, artwork, loose furnishings, rugs and bed linens, the noise transmission between rooms is a major issue.

Hard flooring surfaces may look great, wear well and be extremely hygienic but the writing is on the wall or floor, or even ceiling above you. They can be noisy. The clatter, clump and click of your neighbour’s shoes. The screech and scratch of furniture being moved around. All disturbing your sleep.

Pergo Quiet Floors

For a reduction in noise transmission from both corridors and adjacent rooms Pergo’s underlays have proven qualities. Extensive trials and testing using scenarios with and without underlay in specifically constructed laboratory conditions show performance gains in the reduction of the spread of noise.

Take, for example, vinyl. Pergo’s underlay sees the index for the absorption of impact sounds rise from 4dB to 18dB. A significant improvement in the amount of sound absorbed by the underlay. Sleep tight!

For more information on Pergo’s sound-absorbing underlay and other products in their range, visit