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Weekly briefing: an exclusive hotel review in Dubai & full steam ahead for Marriott

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: an exclusive hotel review in Dubai & full steam ahead for Marriott

Kick your shoes off and get comfortable. Welcome to your weekly briefing with me editor Hamish Kilburn. This week’s round-up features an exclusive design review of Zaha Hadid’s ‘legacy project’ in Dubai, exclusive details behind the launch of a new lifestyle hotel brand and Marriott’s 2021 ambitious expansion plans for the Asia Pacific region…

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It’s not been the smoothest of starts to the year, with many of us still working from home, balancing work around disruptive lifestyles.

Meanwhile, the editorial team at Hotel Designs have been busy preparing for our next Hotel Designs LIVE and we are weeks away from launching our brand new podcast for the design and architecture community.

But enough about us… when it comes to keeping up to date with the latest headings that are shaping the future of our industry, we’ve got you covered with our weekly briefing! Here’s our round-up of the hottest the stories of the week.

Exclusive design review: ME Dubai, Zaha Hadid’s ‘legacy project’

An exterior shot of the Opus

Image caption: Set in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa district, the Opus is a mixed-use mirrored glass building, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, that shelters ME Hotel’s latest property. | Image credit: ME Dubai

Known as Hadid’s ‘legacy project’, ME Dubai is the only hotel in the world to have both its interiors and exteriors designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) – and its futuristic architecture, characterised by curves, sharp angles and bold materials epitomises the studio’s unique design style. We sent renowned furniture designer Rock Galpin to the vibrant metropolis to exclusively review the new Dubai hotel.

Keep your eyes peeled, as we are going live with our ‘In Conversation With’ Christos Passas, the architect behind this project, next week. 

Read more. 

Marriott International to open almost 100 hotels in Asia Pacific this year

Luxury pool at Domes Zeen, a Luxury Collection Resort, Chania

Image credit: Marriott International

Last year, despite the pandemic putting a halt on travel demand, Marriott International opened 75 new hotels in Asia Pacific, representing more than one opening per week across the region. This year, the hotel group is expected to continue this growth in the region. In a recent press statement, Marriott announced announced its ambitious plans to open nearly 100 new properties in the area in 2021.

Read more.

EXCLUSIVE: Wink Hotels has arrived in Vietnam with a fresh eye for design

Wink Hotels has arrived in Vietnam, here you can see quirky interiors in a render of the hotel's lobby

Wink Hotels has arrived in Vietnam, entering the hospitality arena by opening its debut hotel this March. Hotel Designs exclusively catches up with AW2, the Parisian based architecture firm, that designed the brand’s design scheme.

Read more.

Sandals remembers Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart (1941 – 2021)

Image credit: Sandals

It is with regret that we report on the passing of Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, Company Chairman and Founder of Sandals and Beaches Resort. The master marketer made Sandals a household name and brought opportunity to the Caribbean.

Read more.

Cutting through the noise // 7 innovative hotel hygiene solutions

Image credit: Unsplash

To kickstart Hotel Designs’ mission to put ‘Safe Design’ under the editorial spotlight – and following a lot of confusion when it comes to which hotel hygiene solutions are most appropriate for the hospitality industry – here are a handful of innovations that will help hospitality back on its feet.

Read more.

One month to go: Hotel Designs LIVE

Main image for Hotel Designs LIVE

Hotel Designs LIVE returns on February 23 to keep the industry connected and to serve our readers with relevant and engaging conversations that are unlike any other. With just over a month before the virtual event, here’s why you should attend.

Read more. | Participate.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

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Main image credit: ME Dubai

Wink Hotels has arrived in Vietnam, here you can see quirky interiors in a render of the hotel's lobby

Wink Hotels has arrived in Vietnam with a fresh eye for design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Wink Hotels has arrived in Vietnam with a fresh eye for design

Wink Hotels has arrived in Vietnam, entering the hospitality arena by opening its debut hotel this March. Hotel Designs exclusively catches up with AW2, the Parisian based architecture firm, that designed the brand’s design scheme…

Wink Hotels has arrived in Vietnam, here you can see quirky interiors in a render of the hotel's lobby

Wink is a new hotel brand and new concept, aimed at a young Vietnamese audience, defined as the Indochine 2.0 generation – a new generation of Vietnamese who are driving the booming economy.

The brand launches with the arrival of a 237-key medium-rise urban hotel, Wink Hotel Saigon Centre. The property is part of the new Wink brand, the vision of Indochina Kajima and operations company Indochina Vanguard, which is rolling out a series of hotels across the country. Located in District 1’s Dakao Ward, a hip and upcoming neighbourhood, the twelve-floor, 10,500 m2 hotel has been designed as an extension of Vietnamese street life, bringing local flavour from the outside in. 

Architecture Workshop (AW2) designed every element of this affordable lifestyle hotel, from the architectural concept through to interior design and furniture, as well as collaborating with the company to create the brand identity across its hotels.

The brand focuses on creating a balance between design forwardness, financial return and construction feasibility while being a fashionable urban destination. AW²’s previous work in Vietnam (FV International Hospital, Four Seasons The Nam Hai and Six Senses Con Dao) with Indochina Capital, who created the development team, placed them in a strong position to respond to the client’s brief requirements.

For the Wink brand, AW2 created a specific locally-inspired colour palette deployed throughout the hotel, from the bespoke sunshades on the façade down to the cushion fabrics. The bold and vibrant exterior design attracts attention from the outside, acting as a beacon for the wider neighbourhood. 

The Wink Hotel incorporates blended spaces where accommodation, work and leisure co-exist. The interior design is centred around creating a fun and dynamic environment, using furniture styles based on the street food culture such as food carts for the self-service food and beverage facilities and bicycles repurposed as table legs for the breakfast bars.

Collaborative spaces are made to encourage visitors and the public to use the public areas at their leisure. The shared spaces are composed into different flexible zones consisting of an entrance ‘Wink Space’ lobby, a lounge with integrated library and games area and food & beverage facilities. The food & beverage facilities cater to all needs including the Wink Bar, ‘grab and go’ self-service, breakfast bar and dining areas.

For the hotel guests, the bedrooms have been efficiently designed to be compact, with bespoke furniture that maximises space usage and with a strong brand identity throughout. With three different colour spectrum schemes (each made up of three key Wink-branded colours), the external sunshades act as an extension to the hotel interiors and reflect the colour themes found in each hotel bedroom.

“The Wink Hotel Saigon Centre is designed for a fast-growing, fast-changing society that remains connected to local traditions while simultaneously embracing contemporary trends,” added Reda Amalou & Stéphanie Ledoux, Partners, AW².

AW² have more than twenty years of experience within the hospitality industry, with projects in 40 different countries, working with leading hotel and resort operators. They have drawn upon their extensive knowledge to create a new brand that speaks to the next generation of global travellers. 

The well-timed arrival of Wink Hotels will no doubt meet (perhaps exceed) new demands from modern travellers, to offer a hospitality setting that can effortlessly allow travellers to see destinations through fresh eyes.

Main image credit: AW2

Sandals remembers Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart (1941 – 2021)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sandals remembers Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart (1941 – 2021)

It is with regret that we report on the passing of Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, Company Chairman and Founder of Sandals and Beaches Resort. The master marketer made Sandals a household name and brought opportunity to the Caribbean…

Legendary Jamaican entrepreneur Gordon “Butch” Stewart, one of the hospitality industry’s most vibrant personalities and founder of Sandals Resorts International, the world’s leading all-inclusive resort company, has died at the age of 79.  An unstoppable force, who delighted in defying the odds by exceeding expectations, Stewart single-handedly built the world’s most awarded vacation brand from one resort in Jamaica to over two dozen distinct resorts and villas throughout the Caribbean.

A son of Jamaica, Butch Stewart was born in Kingston on July 6, 1941 and grew up along the island country’s North Coast, a tropical paradise that now boasts several of his Luxury Included® Sandals and Beaches Resorts and where his love of the sea, dominoes and free enterprise were sown.  Certain from the start that he wanted to run his own company, at the tender age of 12, Stewart first stepped into the hospitality industry selling fresh-caught fish to local hotels.  His success got him ‘hooked’ and his enthusiasm for entrepreneurship never waned.

After completing his secondary education abroad, Stewart returned home to Jamaica where he demonstrated his innate talent as master salesman at the renowned Dutch-owned Curaçao Trading Company, quickly rising to the position of sales manager but itching to start his own company.  In 1968, Stewart took his chance. With no collateral but recognising the comfort that would make air conditioning an essential service, Stewart convinced American manufacturer Fedders Corporation to allow him to represent their brand in Jamaica.  With that, Stewart’s foundational business – Appliance Traders Limited (ATL), was born and he was on his way.

At ATL, Stewart developed a simple business philosophy he articulated many times: “Find out what people want, give it to them and in doing so – exceed their expectations.”  This would become the standard for every Stewart enterprise and practiced by every employee of the many companies Stewart would go on to found, including and perhaps most importantly, Sandals Resorts International.

Stewart Founds Sandals Resorts

In 1981, with a gift for recognising opportunity, Stewart found one in Bay Roc: a rundown hotel on a magnificent beach in Montego Bay, Jamaica.  Seven months and $4 million in renovations later, Sandals Montego Bay would open as the flagship of what is today the most popular award-winning, all-inclusive resort chain in the world.

Sandals Montego Bay_Swim Up Suites

Image credit: Sandals

While Stewart never laid claim to inventing the all-inclusive concept, he is recognised worldwide for his tireless effort to elevate the experience, delivering to his guests an unsurpassed level of luxury, and to share his certainty that a Caribbean company could successfully compete with any organisation in the world.  He accomplished both.

“I had heard of the concept, yet at the time, the services and rooms were very basic. Contrary to that, I envisioned we could bring forward a luxury resort to offer customers so much more. So, we perfected it. Only the most comfortable king size four poster beds, fine manicured gardens, cozy hammocks and the kind of warm, refined service the Caribbean has become known for. Just as important was to be located on the absolute best beach, because that’s what everyone dreams of.”

Where other so-called “all-inclusives” offered meals and rooms at a set rate, Sandals Resorts’ prices covered gourmet dining options, premium brand drinks, gratuities, airport transfers, taxes and all land and watersport activities.  The competitors’ meals were buffet-style, so Stewart created on-property specialty restaurants with high culinary standards and white-glove service.  Sandals Resorts also was the first Caribbean hotel company to offer whirlpools and satellite television service, the first with swim-up pool bars and the first to guarantee that every room is fitted with a king-size bed and a hair dryer.  More recent innovations have included a signature spa concept – Red Lane® Spa, signature luxury suites designed for privacy and ultimate pampering, complimentary WiFi, and signature partnerships with iconic organisations such as Microsoft Xbox® Play Lounge, Sesame Workshop, PADI, Mondavi® Wines, Greg Norman Signature Golf courses and the London-based Guild of Professional English Butlers. And in 2017, Stewart introduced the Caribbean’s first over-the-water accommodations, which were quickly expanded to include Over-the-Water bars and Over-the-Water wedding chapels.

By steadfastly adhering to the “we can do it better” principle of pleasing his guests, Stewart fostered a company free to imagine and free to consistently raise the bar.  This ethos earned him the title of “King of All-Inclusives,” changing the face of the all-inclusive format and establishing Sandals Resorts as the most successful brand in the category – boasting year-round occupancy levels of more than 85 percent, an unequaled returning guest factor of 40 percent and demand that has led to unprecedented expansion including the creation of additional concepts such as Beaches Resorts, now the industry standard for excellence in family beach vacations.

Butch Stewart loved Sandals.  At the time of his passing, he was hard at work on plans for the recently announced expansions to the Dutch island of Curaçao and St. Vincent.

Stewart As Statesman

Stewart’s leadership helped resurrect Jamaica’s travel industry and earned him the respect of his peers and the admiration of his countrymen.  He was elected President of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica in 1989 and was inducted into its “Hall of Fame” in 1995. He served as a Director of the Jamaica Tourist Board for a decade and as President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association in the mid-80s, ably balancing government and private sector priorities, reconciling the concerns of large and small Jamaican hotels, and raising public understanding of the tourism industry. In 1994, Stewart led a group of investors to take leadership of Air Jamaica, the Caribbean’s largest regionally based carrier.  It was a daunting task – planes were dirty, service was indifferent and on-time schedules were rarely met, causing market share to plummet along with revenues.

When Stewart stepped in, he insisted on a passenger-friendly approach: on-time service, reduced waiting lines, increased training for all personnel, and signature free champagne on flights to accompany an emphasis on better food.  He also opened new routes in the Caribbean, brought on new Airbus jets and established a Montego Bay hub for flights coming from and returning to the United States. Just as with ATL and Sandals Resorts, Stewart’s formula proved successful and in late 2004, Stewart gave the airline back to the government with an increase in revenue of over US$250 million.

It was not the first time Stewart would come to the aid of his country.  In 1992, he galvanised the admiration of Jamaicans  with the “Butch Stewart Initiative,” pumping US$1 million a week into the official foreign exchange market at below prevailing rates to help halt the slide of the Jamaican dollar.  Dr Henry Lowe, at the time president and CEO of Blue Cross, wrote to Stewart saying: “I write to offer sincere congratulations to you for the tremendous initiative which has done so much, not only for the strengthening of our currency, but more so, for the new feeling of hope and positive outlook which is now being experienced by all of us as Jamaicans.”

Less well-known may be the extent of Stewart’s considerable philanthropy, where for more than 40 years he has helped improve and shape the lives of Caribbean people.  His work, formalised with the creation in 2009 of The Sandals Foundation, offers support ranging from the building of schools and paying of teachers to bringing healthcare to the doorsteps of those who cannot afford it. This in addition to his tireless support of a wide range of environmental initiatives. Beyond the work of the Foundation, Stewart has given millions to charitable causes such as celebrating the bravery of veterans and first responders and helping those in the wake of devastating hurricanes.

In 2012, Stewart founded the Sandals Corporate University, aimed at providing professional development for employees through reputable education and training programs. With access to more than 230 courses and external partnerships with 13 top-ranking local and international universities, every staff member can apply, broaden their knowledge, and advance their career.

Stewart’s successes in business and in life have earned him more than 50 well-deserved local, regional, and international accolades and awards including Jamaica’s highest national distinctions: The Order of Jamaica (O.J.), and Commander of the Order of Distinction (C.D.).  In 2017, Stewart was honoured with the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Caribbean Hotel & Resort Investment Summit (CHRIS), hosted by the Burba Hotel Network, marking his significant contribution to the hospitality industry.  “The success of Sandals has helped to power the growth of the tourism industry and economies not only in Jamaica but throughout the Caribbean,” said BHN president Jim Burba.  “The word ‘icon’ certainly applies to Butch Stewart.”

It delighted Stewart whenever he was dining anywhere in the world and an excited staff member would share with him, “Thank you.  I got my start at Sandals.”

Butch Stewart, The Man

With his easy pace, infectious warmth and trademark striped shirt, Stewart exuded an approachability that belied the complexity of his character.  While he was an acute businessperson, who at the time of his death was responsible for a Jamaican-based empire that includes two dozen diverse companies collectively representing Jamaica’s largest private sector group, the country’s biggest foreign exchange earner and its largest non-government employer, he was an extremely private man whose deepest devotion was to his family.

His greatest test came in 1989 when his beloved 24-year-old son Jonathan was killed in a car accident in Miami. Stewart recalled the incident in a 2008 interview, “For two months after he died, I was absolutely useless, and after that I was sort of running on remote control. Things were a blur. It’s every parent’s nightmare.  After a year or so, I started to see things in vivid detail. You have to get busy, be close with your family. It did a lot in terms of me getting closer. There’s a lot more satisfaction.”

Stewart was able to return to his relentless pace, and the consensus among those who knew him best is that he did it by leading by example. “If you are going to lead, you have to participate,” Stewart was fond of saying.  He believed that if everyone in the organisation recognised that the man in charge was working as hard as they were, they’d have an infinite amount of respect and motivation. “It’s about instilling a spirit of teamwork, defining a purpose and then rolling up your sleeves to get the job done better than anybody else,” Stewart said.

The company Butch Stewart built remains wholly owned by the Stewart family, who, in honor of Mr. Stewart’s long-term succession plans, has named Adam Stewart Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, extending his formidable leadership of the brands he has shepherded since he was appointed CEO in 2007.

Speaking on behalf of his family, Adam Stewart said, “our father was a singular personality; an unstoppable force who delighted in defying the odds by exceeding expectations and whose passion for his family was matched only by the people and possibility of the Caribbean, for whom he was a fierce champion.  Nothing, except maybe a great fishing day, could come before family to my dad.  And while the world understood him to be a phenomenal businessman – which he was, his first and most important devotion was always to us.  We will miss him terribly forever.”

Gordon “Butch” Stewart is survived by his wife, Cheryl, children Brian, Bobby, Adam, Jaime, Sabrina, Gordon, and Kelly; grandchildren Aston, Sloane, Camden, Penelope-Sky, Isla, Finley, Max, Ben, Zak, Sophie, Annie and Emma; and great grandchildren Jackson, Riley, Emmy and Willow.

A private funeral service will be held. Those wishing to share memories, condolences or personal stories may do so at AllThatsGood@sandals.com, and a tribute video can be found on the Sandals website

Main image credit: Sandals

Luxury pool at Domes Zeen, a Luxury Collection Resort, Chania

Marriott International to open almost 100 hotels in Asia Pacific this year

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott International to open almost 100 hotels in Asia Pacific this year

Following Marriott International announcing its 800th hotel opening in Asia Pacific, the group is expected to open almost 100 more properties in the region this year alone…

Luxury pool at Domes Zeen, a Luxury Collection Resort, Chania

Last year, despite the pandemic putting a halt on travel demand, Marriott International opened 75 new hotels in Asia Pacific, representing more than one opening per week across the region. This year, the hotel group is expected to continue this growth in the region. In a recent press statement, Marriott announced announced its ambitious plans to open nearly 100 new properties in the area in 2021.

“I am proud of the way we have continued to grow and have moved quickly to adapt to the challenges that arose from the pandemic. With the launch of new global industry hygiene standards in April 2020, innovative offerings such as work anywhere packages and hyper-localised marketing and sales strategies, our nimble and forward-thinking approach will continue to lead us through the recovery,” said Craig S. Smith, Group President, International, Marriott International. “We are grateful for the continued resilience and positivity demonstrated by our associates and for the confidence our guests, owners and franchisees continue to have in us. We remain well-positioned to meet the travel demands of our guests across Asia Pacific and the rest of the world.”

Greater China has led the global recovery to date, and the company expects to soon celebrate its 400th hotel in Greater China and its 50th hotel in Shanghai with the opening of JW Marriott Shanghai Fengxian in spring 2021. With this hotel opening, Shanghai has the distinction of reaching this important milestone for the company in Asia Pacific.

“Mainland China is on track to become the world’s largest personal luxury market by 2025.”

According to a joint report by consultancy Bain & Co. and Alibaba’s Tmall Luxury unit, Mainland China is on track to become the world’s largest personal luxury market by 2025 even seeing year-over-year domestic growth in 2020 despite the pandemic. To leverage this trend, Marriott International continues to strengthen its luxury portfolio with expected openings in 2021 such as W Changsha, W Xiamen, St. Regis Qingdao and The Ritz-Carlton Reserve Jiuzhaigou. With the anticipated opening of the Ritz-Carlton Reserve, China will be the first country in Asia Pacific to house all of Marriott International’s luxury hallmarks.

Pool at Ritz-Carlton Reserve, China

Image credit: Marriott International/Ritz-Carlton Reserve, China

Marriott’s leisure bookings in China have been particularly strong, up over 25 per cent year over year in the third quarter in Mainland China, demonstrating the resiliency of demand once consumers are comfortable that the virus is under control and restrictions can safely be lifted. The company is introducing more travel experiences across its brand portfolio, including at popular leisure destinations such as Mianyang in the Sichuan province with the expected opening of Sheraton Mianyang, as well in the culturally-rich destination of Nanjing with the anticipated opening of The Westin Nanjing Resort & Spa.

Beyond Greater China, Marriott International continues to strengthen its footprint, with several expected brand debuts across Asia Pacific in 2021. In Japan, W Hotels is expected to debut with the opening of W Osaka, while The Luxury Collection is also slated to debut in Australia with the opening of The Tasman in Hobart. The iconic Ritz-Carlton brand is expected to celebrate its debut in the leading resort destination of Maldives in early summer, bringing legendary service to the picture-perfect archipelago.

A render of the first Luxury Collection hotel in Australia

Image credit: Marriott International/The Luxury Collection

Further expanding Marriott’s presence in breathtaking resort destinations, the JW Marriott brand is slated to bring its warm luxury experience to Jeju Island in South Korea with the planned opening of JW Marriott Jeju in late 2021. The company’s signature wellness brand, Westin, is also highly anticipated to debut in one of India’s top beach destinations, Goa, this summer.

Since you’re here, why not read ‘The Hot List’, referencing the most significant hotels openings expected in Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4 of this year?

To support domestic travel in Japan, the company plans to open six additional Fairfield by Marriott hotels throughout 2021 along ‘Michi-no-Eki’ roadside stations aimed at revitalising the country’s local sightseeing spots. Japan expects to have more than 30 Fairfield by Marriott hotels by the end of 2023. Touted as one of the best cities in the world for art, culture, music and food, Australia’s Melbourne is expected to see the opening of the country’s second W Hotel with W Melbourne in spring and the opening of Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands in early 2021.

Pool area at Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands overlooking city

Image credit: Marriott International/Melboure Marriott Hotel Docklands

“The strength of our pipeline is testament to the long-term growth prospects in Asia Pacific,” said Paul Foskey, Chief Development Officer, Asia Pacific, Marriott International. “Despite a challenging environment in 2020, we are pleased with the signings we have achieved across the region during the year. We have full gratitude to our owners and franchisees for their belief in the resiliency of travel and the strength of Marriott’s portfolio of brands.”

Main image credit: Marriott International/Domes Zeen, a Luxury Collection Resort, Chania

UrCove Hotels brand arrives in China

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
UrCove Hotels brand arrives in China

The five new openings reinforce Hyatt’s commitment to ‘reach China’s underserved upper-midscale segment’ and ‘strategically grow the Hyatt brand in China’…

Hyatt has announced that UrCove, the new hospitality brand developed under a joint venture between Hyatt and BTG Homeinns Hotel Group affiliates, has opened its first five properties.

These new additions to Hyatt’s portfolio in these popular destination cities in China aim to better serve the highly mobile travellers in the upper-mid segment, which will contribute to Hyatt’s commitment to further expand its brand footprint and achieve meaningful growth in the region. Further, these properties increase the World of Hyatt loyalty program’s presence in China, providing World of Hyatt members more unique stay options to choose from and more opportunities to earn and redeem points on hotel stays along with exclusive in-hotel benefits.

A modern guestroom

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

“China remains a priority market for Hyatt’s growth, and we are committed to unlocking the huge potential of the country’s emerging middle class and growing domestic travel trends,” said Stephen Ho, president of growth and operations, Asia Pacific, Hyatt. “UrCove hotels cater to the underserved premium upper-midscale segment and with five UrCove hotels open in the major gateway cities of Shanghai, Chengdu and Nanjing, the brand is more accessible for this large, attractive and growing customer base. This also marks a tremendous business opportunity for Hyatt and BTG Homeinns Hotel Group, as we continue enriching guests’ and World of Hyatt members’ experiences with more unique stay options, now including the UrCove brand.”

Each hotel features an all-day dining restaurant, a 24-hour gym, a self-service laundry room and meeting rooms. New smart service facilities support self-service check-in and checkout and all hotels feature the signature “UrCove Space,” which offers guests a multi-functional space for business and social gatherings.

“All UrCove hotels are equipped with advanced technology, thoughtful & social communal spaces to provide guests with a seamless, comfortable and refined living environment,” said Elton Sun, chief executive officer and managing director of the joint venture. “With more hotels expected to open doors in gateway cities in China in the coming years, we aim to cater to more frequent business travellers, providing them with a reliable shelter and cozy sanctuary.”

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

7 innovative hotel hygiene solutions

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
7 innovative hotel hygiene solutions

To kickstart Hotel Designs’ mission to put ‘Safe Design’ under the editorial spotlight – and following a lot of confusion when it comes to which hotel hygiene solutions are most appropriate for the hospitality industry – here are a handful of innovations that will help hospitality back on its feet. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Despite modern hotels generally being clean and safe spaces, there is no doubt that hygiene will become of the many new demands from modern travellers in a post-pandemic world. In a recent panel discussion, hoteliers from around the world gathered to discuss how to reassure the post-corona consumer. One of the major conclusions was that the hospitality industry has become more interested in learning about new hotel hygiene solutions; methods and innovations when it comes to cleaning surfaces and killing bad bacteria that is airborne.

Covid-19 was the cruel catalyst that forced all industries to confront hygiene. With the pandemic forcing much of hospitality’s doors shut once more – and at the very least keeping guests at a distance – it was only ever going to be a matter of time before new products to emerge, all of which launched with claims of being  ‘unlike any other’ on the market.

To cut through the noise, here are seven effective hygiene products and services on the market that have caught our editorial attention in recent months.

Room To Breathe – for peace of mind

Man using hygiene friendly way to steam clean curtains

Image credit: Room To Breathe

What’s unique about Room To Breathe, aside from the technology, is the brand’s narrative. Before Covid-19 was even a headline, the team at Room To Breathe were planning on launching a service that would ‘transform indoor environments into hypoallergenic spaces’. The seven step process, which includes purging, deep cleaning, fogging, UV technology, protext, sanifying and testing, works to continuously maintain clean air and surfaces removing up to 99.999 per cent of coronoviruses including influenzas, bacteria, allergens, mould, germs & VOC’s.

KEUCO sanitisers – for the design-savvy

One of major concerns hotels will have when introducing new hygiene protocols – especially when this shift in attitude confronts guests’ behaviour – will be finding solutions that do not interfere with the design of the space. KEUCO’s sleek sanitiser dispensers are suitable for an extensive variety of areas, locations and situations: homes, hotels, supermarkets, shopping malls, offices and airports. These new dispensers meet the highest hygiene requirements, whilst combining functionality with a distinguished design.

Infra-red touchless taps – for the tech-savvy

GROHE Bau Cosmo infra-red hygiene tap – close up lifestyle shot

Image credit: GROHE

With hygiene being a ‘top priority’ for the brand, so much so that it is launching its first CPD module on the topic this February, The GROHE Bau Cosmo E, a strong robust design made using composite polymer, uses motion sensors to detect movement, which then activates the water flow. A mixing valve on the side of the spout can be used to adjust the temperature if required and a temperature limiter can also be installed if desired. Once the user removes their hands from the basin, the sensors will detect this and stop the water flow.

Blueair Blue Pure 411 – for the boutique guestroom

Compact, energy-efficient and decorated with awards, the Blueair Blue Pure 411 is an ideal air purifier for guestrooms and office spaces. The Simple ‘plug in and go’ product breathes clean air indoors. The Blue Pure 411, which was recently specified in all rooms at Page8 Hotel in London, uses Blueair’s proprietary HEPASlient™ technology to remove at least 99.97 per cent of airborne particles as small as 0.1 microns in size such as viruses, pollen, dust, pet dander, mould spores, smoke, and allergens.

Rimless DirectFlush WC – for seamless cleaning

The rimless DirectFlush toilet with the innovative CeramicPlus and AntiBac surface is a hygiene solution that has been launched by Villeroy & Boch. The brand’s new generation of rimless WCs offers particularly quick and thorough cleaning. A precise, splash-free water flow ensures the entire interior of the bowl is rinsed thoroughly to ensure cleanliness. The easy-to-clean DirectFlush WCs is ideal for both private households and commercial projects.

UNILIN Evola Collection – for robust surfaces

A grey stone like surface that is hygienic

Image credit: UNILIN

The need for a hygiene friendly finishes doesn’t mean that interior projects have to compromise on design, at least not when it comes to laminated boards and HPL materials from UNILIN panels. These surfaces can be cleaned several times a day by 70 per cent alcohol solutions without fear of damage, helping in the ongoing maintenance and daily hygiene of commercial environments.

With the UNILIN Evola Collection, specifiers can bring the feel and look of natural materials, brushed metals and terrazzo, explore the crisp ‘clean’ colours of pure white and bright fresh green, or embrace the soft-touch effect of Super Matt Black; creating surfaces that are at once beautiful and hygienic. What’s more, with more than 190 options, there’s really no limit to creativity.

Robot service… too soon? 

An image of a robot looking up

Image credit: Alex Knight/Unsplash

Ever since I have written about hotel design, I have had to confront rumours that robots will replace front-of-house hospitality. Despite the human touch being is irreplaceable when it comes to service, we cannot deny that Covid-19 has created new challenges for designers and hoteliers when creating public areas. In a recent debate, it was suggested that, to feed an on-demand society’s expectations, the hotel lobby will become more theatrical in the post-pandemic world, as practical elements like ‘check in’ will take place online prior to stepping inside the building. Therefore, there is a strong argument that the role of front-of-house staff will also change following this demand and, suddenly, the idea of robot butlers suddenly doesn’t sound so radical.

As I write this, we have a journalist on the ground in Las Vegas to explore all the latest tech trends emerging in hospitality at the annual CES. We cannot yet conclusively answer as to whether or not we predict robots having a new role in a post-pandemic world, but we can certainly suggest that, considering all of the solutions above have developed from research and development, technology will very much be front and centre of all hygiene solutions in 2021 and beyond.

If you have a hygiene products that you would like to put on the radar of our editorial team, please email press releases and images directly to our editor. The HD Edit on ‘Safe Design’ will go live on February 20. Between on and then, you can re-watch our latest HD Live session on Reassuring the Post Corona Consumer.

Main image credit: Jean Philippe/Unsplash

A render of an organic guestroom inside the Hilton hotel in Crete

Crete to welcome island’s first ever Hilton hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Crete to welcome island’s first ever Hilton hotel

This summer, Crete is set to welcome Royal Senses Resort Crete, Curio Collection by Hilton, one of the island’s few internationally branded properties…

Crete is about to welcome its first Hilton hotel. The 179-key Royal Senses Resort Crete, Curio Collection will boast some of the best views on the island – Hilton is describing its style as ‘timelessness of Cretan hospitality in a contemporary way’.

A render of an organic guestroom inside the Hilton hotel in Crete

“Crete is one of Greece’s most popular islands, thanks to its warm climate, rich history and picturesque villages,” said Patrick Fitzgibbon, Senior Vice President, Development for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Hilton. “Royal Senses Resort Crete will make a stunning addition to our rapidly growing Curio Collection of unique hotels, which includes upcoming properties in destinations including Lisbon, London and Reykjavik.”

The island’s unique landscape and rich cultural heritage make it ideal for curious travellers and anyone wanting to experience everything Greece has to offer by visiting one, very diverse, destination. The hotel will be located in the picturesque Rethymno region on the northern part of the island, which has the best weather and attractions that Crete has to offer, including the Melidoni Cave and Knossos Palace.

Eleni Troulis, President of Troulis Royal Collection added: “We are delighted that the Royal Senses Resort Crete, Curio Collection by Hilton will be the first in Greece to join this stunning selection of handpicked properties. Having successfully operated its sister property, the Royal Blue Resort, since 2009, we are now excited to be expanding our portfolio and partnering with Hilton. It’s the perfect collaboration for us, as it combines the resort’s contemporary appreciation of Crete’s multifaceted culture and our family’s hospitality values with Hilton’s strong international customer appeal.”

Since you’re here, why not read our feature that explores ‘Crete’s most stylish hotel’?

The Royal Senses Resort Crete, Curio Collection by Hilton will be a contemporary new build that connects seamlessly with the island’s rugged natural beauty. The hotel will feature state of the art facilities including a spa, indoor and outdoor pool, water park, tennis courts as well as a private beach and marina.

A render of private pool terrace overlooking sea

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

Last year Hilton announced that it had more than 100 hotels in the pipeline. Curio Collection by Hilton currently has more than 90 hotels and resorts worldwide, that have been handpicked for their distinct character and personality. Each hotel is a true reflection of its surroundings, meaning that every hotel is different, with a different story to tell. The Royal Senses Resort Crete will join the portfolio of unique Curio Collection by Hilton properties, including The Trafalgar St James London, Aleph Rome Hotel, The Britannique Naples and Grand Hotel des Sablettes Plage.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

01_Casa Studio_Passivhouse_© Daniele Domenicali

Efficient design epitomised inside The Casa/Studio Passive House

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Efficient design epitomised inside The Casa/Studio Passive House

The award-winning design inside Casa/Studio Passive House is the brainchild of Margherita Potente and Stefano Piraccini. The project is regarded as the first of its kind anywhere in the world. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

01_Casa Studio_Passivhouse_© Daniele Domenicali

The Casa/Studio Passive House has taken residential design and technology into a new era – and an international jury has agreed to award the design studio behind this masterpiece, Piraccini + Potente Sustainable Architecture, with a The Plan Award 2020 in the category “Home Efficiency & Technology”.

06_Casa Studio_Passivhouse_© Daniele Domenicali

Image credit: Daniele Domenicali

“Passive House” is the name given to buildings that significantly reduce ventilation-induced heat losses and do not require a conventional heating system. Energy-efficient buildings of this type are certified by the Passivhaus Institute Darmstadt – an internationally renowned institute for the research and development of building concepts, building components and planning tools. Certification is awarded when specific requirements regarding architecture, technology and ecology are satisfied.

The project demonstrates that the energy performance of a Passive House can be achieved not only in new, insulated buildings, but also in conversions and renovation projects. Using the Passive House guidelines, buildings in need of renovation are upgraded and made more energy-efficient and earthquake-proof.

The building features a mix of building elements – wood (laminated and XLAM), steel, reinforced concrete masonry, and armed concrete. Attention was paid to the natural properties of each material to ensure optimum interaction between them. This enabled the building’s construction costs to be kept at a market-compatible level without neglecting qualitative aspects.

Most of the heating needs are drawn from passive sources such as solar radiation and the heat given off by people and technical devices. The Casa/Studio Passive House is not connected to the gas network and simply has a mechanically controlled ventilation system, which enables clean and filtered air fed in from outside to be enriched with heat from the extracted used air. By foregoing any combustible energy sources, the building does not contribute any emissions to the atmosphere.

This extraordinary building includes, amongst other things, the Duravit lines ME by Starck, Starck 1, L- Cube, Happy D.2, Luv, and Sensowash® Slim. A highlight is the DuraSquare washbasin with metal console in Black Matt, which stands out with its clear, pared-down design. For Stefano Piraccini it is not just an architects’ studio, but also his home. The architect had the washbasin installed on the bedroom terrace so he can enjoy the view of the Savio river during his morning routine.

Duravit is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Daniele Domenicali

An aerial view of Fari Islands in Maldives

Weekly briefing: insane hotel concepts, sustainability answers & Ace arrivals

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: insane hotel concepts, sustainability answers & Ace arrivals

Good afternoon and welcome to this Friday’s briefing, with me, editor Hamish Kilburn. In this round-up we take a look at the hottest hotel design stories that have been published over the last five days…

An aerial view of Fari Islands in Maldives

It hasn’t been the easiest of starts to the year – today the UK hospitality industry remains closed and new travel sanctions have been enforced to prevent the spread of a new Covid-19 variant – but we are determined as ever to keep the mood lifted as we pick out the headlines that are influencing positive change throughout the international hotel design scene.

Here are the top stories of this week:

The Hot List – hottest hotel openings arriving in 2021 (Q3 & Q4)

An arial view of the cutting edge swimming pools

Image credit: CAYO Exclusive Resort and Spa

Dubbed ‘The Hot List’ by our readers, we start every year as mean to go on; with a positive mindset to get ahead of the curve to reveal what we believe will be the hottest hotel openings of 2021. Following on from part one, which was published last week, here are our Q3 & Q4 VIP arrivals.

Read more.

Virtual roundtable: ‘sustainable does not mean natural’ in surface design

With ‘greenwashing’ still an all-too-common term in the global ‘sustainable’ hotel design and hospitality arena, we gather a cluster of designers and architects to attend a virtual roundtable, sponsored by Architextural, to discuss sustainability solutions in surface design.

Read more.

Hotel concept: designing a sustainable floating resort

Render of floating hotel in Dubai

Image credit: AMA Design

With the aim to design a hotel resort that offers guests an unparalleled at-one-with-nature experience, AMA Design has developed a hospitality concept called GAIA, a floating eco hotel that pushes boundaries to re-connect people with nature.

Read more.

Looking ahead: inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Exterior of hotel

Image credit: Ace Hotels

Located on the cusp of Downtown Brooklyn and Boerum Hill, Ace Hotel Brooklyn will be the brand’s second property in New York City. The design of the 287-key hotel – one of the largest in the Ace portfolio – has been inspired by the “geographical and cultural history of Brooklyn” and is intended to harmonise with the borough’s ideals.

Read more.

Miniview: Hotel Carmichael, Autograph Collection strikes a chord

Image caption: The elegant lobby balances grandeur design and decadent decoration sensitively. | Image credit: Coury Hospitality

Timeless, neoclassical interiors and intricate details, designed by HBA, salute America’s rich musical legacy inside the recently completed Hotel Carmichael, Autograph Collection.

Read more.

Rosewood Hotels to arrive in Rome in 2023

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, a global leader in luxury travel and lifestyle experiences, has been appointed by real estate firm Antirion SGR to manage Rosewood Rome, which will open in 2023 in the heart of the capital city.

Read more.

To keep up to date with all the news at Hotel Designs, sign up to receive our weekly newsletter and bi-monthly HD Edit.

Main image credit: Ritz Carlton Maldives Fari Islands

Virtual roundtable: ‘sustainable does not mean natural’ in surface design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: ‘sustainable does not mean natural’ in surface design

With ‘greenwashing’ still an all-too-common term in the global ‘sustainable’ hotel design and hospitality arena, we gather a cluster of designers and architects to attend a virtual roundtable, sponsored by Architextural, to discuss sustainability solutions in surface design. Editor Hamish Kilburn leads the discussion… 

With rapid population growth, urbanisation and the ability to purchase goods at our fingertips, we in the western world have become overall a wasteful on-demand society that on the whole is unfortunately not sustainable in our thinking.

More specifically in hospitality, while initiatives such as putting a curb on single-use plastics have been celebrated, ‘greenwashing’ has become a commonly used term in order to expose those whose veneer of a sustainable establishment is actually doing more harm than good. In order to grasp sustainability’s role in the future of hotel design, and to put forward viable alternatives, we must look beyond the semi-sustainable methods of yesterday and instead research consciously with aim to find new methods that are not just kinder to the environment, but will also enhance local relationships and improve aesthetic qualities.

As ever, it falls upon the design community to put forward innovative methods that make sense for the future projects that will emerge on the international hotel design scene. In this exclusive virtual roundtable, sponsored by Architextural, we handpicked designers and architects in order to question sustainability in surface design, and learned that ‘sustainable does not always mean natural’.

On the panel:

Before we delve into materials and far-fetched, eco-driven initiatives in surface design, in order to establish misconceptions, we should look at architectural wrapping has become increasingly popular in recent years. On the surface of the debate, using PVC is contentious and, despite it being the world’s third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer, it is not particularly sustainable. However, used in the right way, surface manufacturer Architextural believes the process of wrapping can significantly help designers and their clients achieve a sustainable outcome when it comes to upcycling goods.

Hamish Kilburn: Lindsay, you’re the marketing manager for Architextural. Can you tell us a bit more about the brand’s sustainability credentials?

Lindsay Appleton: Architextural, is a new brand, part of William Smith Group, which was established back in 1832.  The concept of wrapping existing surfaces, instead of sending them to landfill, is contributing to a more sustainable future. In 2021, we have more than 1,000 patterns on the shelf, so as well as offering an environmentally friendly process, we also have a lot of variety in our ranges to suit most design applications in so many sectors – our products are incredibly versatile.

HK: Jack, you work for 3M, which manufactures Architextural’s product. Can you tell us more about this process?

Although the product is PVC it’s optimised to withstand wear and tear, UV, impact and it’s exceptionally conformable. Therefore, it can prolong the lifespan of products and eradicate the need for excess waste. 3M Architectural Finishes range is designed to meet aesthetic demand, while delivering functional benefits which can improve the sustainability of projects.

HK: What makes this process sustainable?

LA: The concept of wrapping using a PVC product, makes it a durable refurbishment solution. Rather than ripping out existing fixtures and fittings to be sent to landfill, upcycling what’s already there qualifies for all the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credits around reusing existing furniture and reusing existing materials. The process is therefore much more sustainable, and there is less disruptive over having a traditional refurbishment. By upcycling what was already there, it is a sustainable way to reduce cost.

image of sustainable wooden headboard in bedroom

Image credit: Architextural

“Anything that allows you to reinvent without throwing out has got to be a good thing.” – Harriet Forde, Founder, Hariet Forde Design

HK: What is driving the rise in upcycling surfaces – is this ‘trend’ purely linked to sustainability?

Harriet Forde: I think we are trying to address the natural desire of humans to evolve and change. We are always looking forward to the next thing that is happening. We are a visual animal and looking forward to see what is trending. However, we cannot expect revolutionise all the time. We have to be able to manage that in a way that is sustainable. Anything that allows you to reinvent without throwing out has got to be a good thing.

Una Barac: When I started in the industry some two decades ago, Wenge was a popular veneer. We, as designers, allowing for it to become so popular came very close to exterminating that entire species of a tree. This is why we will now use blackened oak as an alternative– so we will find sustainably sourced oak and we will treat to achieve that dark effect without having to travel the world to find exotic species of wood, cutting it down and flying it half way across the globe.

So, for me, there are sustainable ways to being true and authentic – and we are learning more all the time. We should be designing with location in mind.

HK: Before the pandemic, I believe clients were really starting to understand the value of sustainably sourced goods beyond them just being eco-friendly. How this attitude changed since the pandemic with hygiene creeping up on the agenda?

Ben Webb: It’s definitely come up in conversations, but it isn’t the driving factor behind us putting these spaces together. Clients, and in fact people in general, are so much more aware now than they were five years ago when it was just used to sound good. The awareness now – and the fact that it is written in a lot of these briefs from day one – is very important. You need to talk about it from the beginning of a project rather than at the end.

“The greenest, most sustainable products are the ones that already exist.” – Ben Webb, Co-Founder, 3 Stories.

It doesn’t have to be some crazy new material, but it could just be the fact that you reuse the furniture. The greenest, most sustainable products are the ones that already exist. Let’s not forget that there are a lot of products and materials that already exist. In the past, we have had that shift with warehouse-like interiors, but actually the larger discussion point is the products that have been produced and we could actually reuse them. Wrapping these products, for certain brands, is extremely important.

Hygiene is coming up in conversation but our lead times are around two years – sometime longer. Therefore, there is a bigger picture and we always have to look ahead.

HF: As a designer, you should set the parameter right at the beginning of the project with how much your intention is to be sustainable, because it ultimately impacts the budget, and clients often see you reusing as a way to save money.

Geoff Hull: A lot of reused materials such as plastics can achieve ergonomic and geometric forms in a slender and elegant way. Polymer products can also carry other non-porous and hygiene friendly surfaces particularly relevant in our current Covid conscious World.

Henry Reeve: One of the ways we try to be sustainable is to ensure that our designs stand the test of time, so that we are not ripping stuff out after a couple of year, because then by definition you are not creating waste.

“In the QO Hotel Amsterdam, for example, all the carpets are made from recycled fishing nets.” – Henry Reeve, Head of Interior Design, IHG (Kimpton/Hotel Indigo).

We have introduced some interesting initiatives in some of our hotels. In the QO Hotel Amsterdam, for example, all the carpets are made from recycled fishing nets. Plastic is obviously a very durable material so this works perfectly. Also, in our Voco hotels, all the duvets are made from recycled bottles – and we have received really positive feedback from our guests regarding how comfortable they are.

One of the initiatives with furniture, is when they come to end of life with the hotel, but still in good conditions, we have donated our FF&E to housing projects and youth facilities.

When it comes to wrapping, we did implement this with the case goods inside some of the meeting rooms in InterContinental Park Lane. This was a time-saving a cost-effective process that really worked.

HK: And Henry, how do you sensitively communicate these initiatives this to guests?

HR: You have to be careful when shouting about renewables. There’s information there should the guests want to read more.

“We have to, if we are creating new products, ensure they don’t end up in landfill 10, 20 even 100 years down the line.” – Jeremy Grove, founder, Sibley Grove.

Jeremy Grove: The way in which we try to work is that we see the problem being more of a design problem and not a material one. We need to understand what happens afterwards. Wrapping and giving a product a new lease of life. A product is only desirable when we are using it and once we throw it away it is then no desirable at all. So, we have to, if we are creating new products, ensure they don’t end up in landfill 10, 20 even 100 years down the line.

The Fox & Goose is a good example, because it was designed to be dissembled, using materials that could be taken back to source and regenerated into a better quality.

For us, it’s about doing what’s sustainable and what makes good business sense. It’s really important for us to work with clients who don’t always share our ethos so that we can teach them as the project develops. Working with owners, operators and developers, if we can help to change their mindset on sustainable even by just a little bit then we are contributing to our industry as a whole thinking more consciously.

Image caption: The sustainable Fox & Goose, designed by Sibley Grove, was created to be dissembled | Image credit: Fox & Goose

Image caption: The Fox & Goose, designed by Sibley Grove, was created to be dissembled | Image credit: Fox & Goose

“We found a company that will pick up all the materials that we’re stripping on the site.” – Maria Gutierrez, Project Architect at Holland Harvey Architects.

Maria Gutierrez: I find that we also develop as designers when we are able to work on two projects under the same brand. We are currently working on designing the second Inhabit in London and we have taken so many learnings from the first, which was a fully sustainable hotel sheltered inside a Grade II listed building. We found a company that will pick up all the materials that we’re stripping on the site. All the marbles, all the tiles. When you recycle, and upcycle, them they become beautiful statements of sustainability. We are upcycling all these materials and repurposing them to be the worktops in the new hotel. Learning from the first hotel, we are able to go even further with the next project.

And then we get to the process of Value Engineering (VE), in which sustainable initiatives always suffer.

Image caption: Inhabit London is grade II listed, designed by Holland Harvey Architects, is a fully sustainable hotel that confronts the ideology that heritage buildings cannot shelter sustainable spaces. | Image credit: Inhabit Hotels

Image caption: Inhabit London is grade II listed, designed by Holland Harvey Architects, is a fully sustainable hotel that confronts the ideology that heritage buildings cannot shelter sustainable spaces. | Image credit: Inhabit Hotels

BW: A lot of VE comes down to longevity. It may be a sharp cost now, but if something stands the test of time then its value increases.

 “I have recently seen recycled terrazzo with chunks of plastic in.” – Henry Reeve, Head of Interior Design, IHG (Kimpton/Hotel Indigo).

HK: What has caused the rise in demand for exposed concrete surfaces?

GH: We have had a few projects including Ace Hotel and Village Hotels where concrete was seen as an honest and robust material. Techniques with formwork and ingredients has enabled a menu of different textures, finishes and colours for new build projects (where re used concrete can be crushed and used as aggregate) or existing retained superstructure can also add character and historic reference to any project.

HK: How can using upcycled materials in surfaces add new layers to a design of a hotel?

HR: There’s definitely interesting materials that have caught our eye, especially around recycled plastic. Technology has moved on leaps and bounds and I have recently seen recycled terrazzo with chunks of plastic in. Chunks of marble and/or wood in a terrazzo material looks stunning and create a very luxurious feel. I am expecting to see more of that in the future.

“Even the largest brands can be very excited by ideas around upcycling and recycling.” – Una Barac, Founder and Executive Director of Atellior

UB: Everyone seems to have a broader awareness. Even the largest brands can be very excited by ideas around upcycling and recycling. Here are a few examples. Park Plaza purchased an existing property which had almost 400 chairs that were made from cherry wood and upholstered with paisley patterns. We literally stripped them down with a local workshop that sanded the wood, painted each chair and then reupholstered them with a modern fabric.

Another example is a Hilton property in Bournemouth. The owner had procured antique furniture. In the spa, we decided to use one of these items – a desk – and we upcycled it which we then encased in glass because there were concerns with splinters. This piece of furniture became a beautiful focal point within the hotel.

BW: We have found that materials can have a dual purpose, when they have a very practical use but also very aesthetically pleasing.

“Just because it is natural does not mean it is sustainable” – Jeremy Grove, founder, Sibley Grove.

HK: During R&D, what far-fetched materials have your teams discovered in new surfaces?

JG: For me, a lot of what we focus on is not really the far-fetched stuff at all! Our work we did with Selfridges is a great example, which allowed us to look at a material that is upcycled fishing nets and ropes.

However, just because it is natural does not mean it is sustainable. Take oak, for example. It takes between 75 – 150 years to mature. If we were using this in a shop fit-out intended to be used for just six months then it really isn’t sustainable at all. When designing, we as an industry sometimes neglect that a lot ecosystems rely on these natural materials. We have lost vast amounts of our oak and its solutions around these problems that I am interested in.

GH: Nothing ‘far-fetched’ comes to mind but quite often we get to use many recycled materials either through manufacturing and specification choices or through the use of existing on site materials. We have many listed building examples where we have dismantled (rather than demolish) parts of a building for re-use in its altered form (stone , timber flooring , mosaics , cornicework etc).

HF: Sometimes the product that does not have the best sustainably credentials, like PVC for example, can in fact be the most sustainable if it is long-lasting and by not changing it you are actually being more sustainable.

BW: We all have a collective responsibility and awareness when we are designing a new hotel because we are making a massive impact. As designers, we have to meet the brief and make these spaces look stunning, but we there is no harm to think a little deeper to try and design in a clever way to try and source the best, most sustainable products and materials.

MG: The world and customer is starting to become more interested in sustainability and is able to make informed decisions around travel, design and fashion. This widespread knowledge is making it easier for designers to discuss this with clients. It’s also a great opportunity for hotels to tell their narrative in a unique way.

UB: It’s about designers taking developers on a journey to set the brief and parameters and educating the client as you move forward.

HK: How has this movement change the way in which design and architecture is taught?

JG: In terms of how it’s taught academically, it has always been part of academia. The largest challenge is how we translate that into the commercial world and there is a disconnect between them. It takes real resolve to challenge some of these conventions. Design has to lead that journey.

GH: I believe the use of conventional and traditional materials and methods have developed and altered considerably over the last 25 years and there is a greater choice of materials which address form ,and  function as well as embrace recycling/upcycling credentials.

HF: At the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID), we run an annual student challenge. When I was on the judging panel two years ago, the students were very focused on sustainability. In a student scenario, it is very idealislised and in the line of work there are a lot trip hazards along the way. CPD, though, is a really positive way to continually educate yourself in what is a continually evolving industry anyway.

Architextural is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Contrasting green and light brown tiles

Colour & pattern trends for 2021 and beyond

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Colour & pattern trends for 2021 and beyond

In order to establish some positivity in what is otherwise a rather bleak hospitality landscape at the moment, we’re leaning on Parkside to lift the lid – and the mood – on colour and pattern trends that are shaping interiors over the next two years…

Contrasting green and light brown tiles

“There’s got to be more to colour in 2021 than PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating,” we hear you say. There’s nothing wrong with these two contrasting hues, but thanks to our relationship with tile specification brand Parkside, we can go beyond the surface to discover some rather exciting trends that are emerging.

With the Covid-19 pandemic causing the biggest disruption to modern life in many generations, our response looks to shield us from the economic uncertainty, social isolation and endangered health. A desire for interiors that can accommodate agility as well as provide retreat to make us feel calm and safe, will shape the colours, surfaces and patterns we see.

Encouraging a positive emotional response that helps to relieve feelings of anxiety and uncertainty, colour is playing a more influential role, with palettes that offer depth and richness. From saturated, digital tones to rich and authentic natural colours such as moss and deep forest green, colours are bolder and help users connect to the space in meaningful ways.

These colours can be grouped into clear themes that bring cohesion to a colour, texture and surface palette. Parkside has identified two key themes for 2021/2022 in Nature’s Purity and Retro Pop.

Nature’s Purity explores the positivity of nature’s influence on our interiors. As we seek a deeper connection to the natural world, it looks towards colours, surfaces and patterns that respond to this. Warmer, earthy ones are paired with natural materials that evoke a sense of purity and perfection. Lending itself well to creating an immersive hospitality experience through new neutrals and natural textures such as marble and wood, Nature’s Purity fosters a link to the outdoor world that helps to instil calmness and serenity in any commercial interior.

Selection of Parkside tiles

Image credit: Parkside

Retro Pop sees a return to nostalgia, with the bold, geometric patterns of the 70s resurging, this time with a sunnier palette rooted in citrus yellow. Sweet pastels add energy and help to build playful spaces that encourage wellness, collaboration, connection and socialisation. Bringing fun and joy to workplaces and retail, Retro Pop sees ceramics, satin finishes and terrazzo clash for fun combinations that retain a feeling of positiveness.

Through more than 1,500 tile designs, Parkside can provide designers with wall and floor tiles to bring these trends to commercial projects. Whether the faithful colours of the Matrix collection or marble, wood and textile effects; Parkside supports its solutions with a range of services including waterjet cutting, colour matching and bespoke digital print.

Parkside is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Parkside

Rosewood Hotels to arrive in Rome in 2023

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Rosewood Hotels to arrive in Rome in 2023

Rosewood Hotels has announced that it will open a 157-key luxury hotel in Rome in 2023, which will become the brand’s 11th property in Europe. Here’s what we know… 

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, a global leader in luxury travel and lifestyle experiences, has been appointed by real estate firm Antirion SGR to manage Rosewood Rome, which will open in 2023 in the heart of the capital city.

The latest news follows previous announcements referencing the brand’s expansion in Europe, including properties in Amsterdam, Sardinia and Madrid.

Located in the former headquarters of Italy’s Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL) overlooking the iconic Via Venet, the new hotel will Extend an entire block and will encompass three historic buildings, each of which were originally built in the early 1900s.  The crown jewel of the project will be the reimagination of the former BNL headquarters, the main unit of the development that was initially designed by renowned Italian architect and urban planner Marcello Piacentini.

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

“The design will take influence from the hotel’s location overlooking Via Veneto.”

The property’s transformation will be managed by Colliers International, led by global architecture and engineering firm, Jacobs, and Australian interior design firm, BAR Studio, to build upon Piacentini’s legacy and pay homage to the property’s roots as an exemplar of modernist Italian architecture. The design will take influence from the hotel’s location overlooking Via Veneto, one of Rome’s most elegant streets and a symbol of the celebrated Federico Fellini film, La Dolce Vita, with elegant interiors that blend timeless style with contemporary comforts. In keeping with Rosewood’s guiding A Sense of Place philosophy, Rome’s relaxed ambiance and devotion to dolce far niente, or the art of “doing nothing”, will influence the hotel’s design concept, which will mix traditional architectural elements with modern décor and detailing to create a sophisticated environment for the ultimate life of leisure.

“Over the last several years, we have been searching for the right opportunities to evolve our European footprint and bring the Rosewood brand to new corners of the continent,” said Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group. “As one of Italy’s most vibrant cities with an undoubtedly rich legacy and charming character, Rome has long been at the top of the list of priority destinations in which to set the Rosewood flag, and we’re thrilled to be working with our partners at Antirion SGR on this project that will surely set a new standard for luxury lifestyle experiences in Rome.”

Upon completion, Rosewood Rome will offer 157 accommodations, including 44 suites. Home to three dining outlets, including a contemporary Italian bistro, a lobby bar and café and a rooftop bar with a terrace with sweeping views of the city, the hotel will serve as a luxurious escape for locals and visitors alike. Additional amenities include a subterrain experience within the bank’s original vault featuring a modern Roman Bathhouse and Sense, A Rosewood Spa, located on the rooftop which will feature four dedicated treatment rooms and a wellness terrace with a reflecting pool and dynamic fitness centre. Dedicated event spaces will encompass three meeting rooms and a grand ballroom.

“We are honored to embark on this exciting project with Rosewood Hotels & Resorts,” said Ofer Arbib, CEO of Antirion SGR. “We could not think of more suited partner to create a new world-renowned destination that celebrates the heritage and rich offerings of Rome while simultaneously extending a sophisticated interpretation of ultra-luxury hospitality.”

Rosewood Rome will be the brand’s fourth Italian property, joining Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco in Tuscany and the upcoming Rosewood Porto Cervo and Rosewood Venice, set to open in 2022 and 2023, respectively. Rosewood’s existing European properties also include Rosewood London and Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel in Paris.

Main image credit: Unsplash/Caleb Miller

Image of guestroom inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Looking ahead: inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Looking ahead: inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Ace Hotel’s latest property will arrive in Downtown Brooklyn this Spring, designed from the ground up by renowned design firm Roman and Williams

Located on the cusp of Downtown Brooklyn and Boerum Hill, Ace Hotel Brooklyn will be the brand’s second property in New York City. The design of the 287-key hotel – one of the largest in the Ace portfolio – has been inspired by the “geographical and cultural history of Brooklyn” and is intended to harmonise with the borough’s ideals.

Image of guestroom inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

“We’ve been building toward Ace Brooklyn for years; the entire city has reimagined itself several times over since we started,” said Brad Wilson, President, Ace Hotel Group. “That’s exactly the spirit we’ve worked to mirror in every corner of our new home — the inexhaustible ingenuity that stands as the borough’s only constant. We’re lucky enough to have landed at the junction of so many rich and inspiring neighbourhoods, and hope to provide a new and inviting sense of place for our guests and neighbours to call home.” 

Image caption: An early sketch of Ace Hotel Brooklyn, designed by Roman and Williams.

Image caption: An early sketch of Ace Hotel Brooklyn, designed by Roman and Williams.

Open, spacious and welcoming, the hotel’s design, led by Roman and Williams, gives more than a nod to Brooklyn’s complex fabric of communal and creative spaces, with an animated public lobby and indoor-outdoor portals that ease into the city’s edges. The guestrooms pair floor-to-ceiling windows with original artwork by local fibre and textile artists — with some higher floors offering a 360º panorama of Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island and the Statue of Liberty.

Ace Hotel Brooklyn is the third design collaboration between Atelier Ace and Roman and Williams, following Ace Hotel New York and Ace Hotel New Orleans. Ace’s second-only ground-up build, the hotel’s facade and interiors are inspired by the sprawling egalitarian promise of the borough — from the industrial grit of its shipyards to the neo-expressionist complexity of Basquiat. Roman and Williams looked to traditions of studios and workspaces, embracing the purity of handcrafted expressions in every area — from massive timbers in the lobby, to the custom tile murals in the lavatories, the poured in place concrete structure of the building, plus a collection of furnishings created uniquely for this project.

“For our third collaboration with Ace Hotel, Roman and Williams created both the building and the interiors for Ace Brooklyn,” added Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, Roman and Williams. We chose to embrace a governing principle of purity and artistic spirit in our architecture and the spaces within. We employed a philosophy of primitive modernism holistically across the project. This highly artistic approach drove us to use construction methods and materials with honesty. This is evident in everything you touch and see. This undecorated and tactile spirit expresses a radical transparency in its approach to the design of Ace Brooklyn.”

With current locations in Seattle, Portland, New York, Palm Springs, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Chicago and Kyoto, Ace is expanding its portfolio. As well as another arrival in New York City, the brand as has plans to open properties in Toronto and Sydney this year.

Main image credit: Ace Hotels

A modern and contemporary design in suite of hotel

Dominvs Group secures £68.5m for two flagship UK hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Dominvs Group secures £68.5m for two flagship UK hotels

Dominvs Group has secured almost £70 million of fresh-bank funding from Coutts and Clydesdale Bank Plc for two new flagship hotels in London and Oxford…

A modern and contemporary design in suite of hotel

Dominvs Group, a London real estate development and investment group, has successfully secured £68.5 million of fresh funding, facilitated by Coutts and Clydesdale Bank Plc in two separate facilities; with £48 million from Coutts allowing for the development of a new Hampton by Hilton hotel in London’s Aldgate, and a £20.5 million investment loan from Clydesdale Bank Plc for the Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Oxford.  

The group highlights that the successful raising of funding for both projects reflects the firm’s good banking relationships and confidence in the group’s development and operational capabilities, alongside rising optimism in the UK hotel industry after the start of COVID-19 vaccination programme in the UK.

The hotel at 12-20 Osborn Street in Aldgate, formerly the Arbor City Hotel, was purchased by Dominvs Group in October 2018 and planning was granted for a new larger hotel scheme on the site during Q4 2018. The new £48 million of funding from Coutts covers the refinance of the original acquisition loan for the site and allows for the development of the new 118,000 sqft 278-key Hampton by Hilton London City hotel, with practical build completion scheduled for June 2023.

The new five storey Hampton by Hilton London City hotel will comprise the refurbishment of the existing hotel plus a new-build extension, with the construction undertaken by leading contractor McAleer and Rushe. Alongside 278 guestrooms and suites, the new hotel will provide meeting, dining and events space including a cinema room and large function room. The hotel is located in the heart of East London by Brick Lane, an area undergoing significant investment from Tower Hamlets Council, and just five minutes from the City of London. 

Located in the historic centre of Oxford, close to the world famous Oxford University buildings and libraries, the Courtyard by Marriott Oxford City Centre hotel is situated at 15 Paradise Street overlooking the Castle Mill Stream canal on both sides. The hotel was completed in July 2019, with an 11-room extension opened in January 2020.  

Yello and blue furniture inside public areas of hotel

Image credit: Dominvs Group Hotels

Despite the pandemic, the 151-key hotel achieved more than 50 per cent occupancy rates during the summer of 2020. The new investment of £20.5 million from Clydesdale Bank Plc refinances an incumbent loan that funded the development of the building and ensured that construction was on schedule.  

“It is excellent to see confidence in the hotel industry returning.” – Preeptal Ahluwalia, Director at Dominvs Group.

The site at Paradise Street was purchased by Dominvs Group in October 2014 and was formerly the HQ of Cooper Callas, a kitchen and bathroom distributor. Dominvs Group obtained planning for a 140-key hotel in 2017 with the construction undertaken by McAleer and Rushe. 

The six-storey hotel has a red-brick and glass façade with rooms and suites overlooking the canal and the ruins of Oxford Castle’s St George’s Tower. Alongside the Kitchen and Bar Restaurant and lounge areas the hotel has a spectacular rooftop cocktail bar and rooftop garden/terrace offering panoramic 360 degree views over Oxford’s stunning spires, domes and landmarks.  

By May 2021 the UK Government forecast that a third of the UK’s 66 million population will have been vaccinated against COVID-19. By summer 2021 around 50% of the population should be immunised, and international flights and tourism should start to recover. The vaccination of the entire UK population is estimated to take up to 12 months, with ‘normality’ returning by November 2021. 

Preeptal Ahluwalia, Director at Dominvs Group, says: “Dominvs Group is delighted to have successfully secured £68.5 million of fresh bank funding which allows for the development of our new Hampton by Hilton branded hotel in London’s Aldgate and has refinanced our Courtyard by Marriott branded hotel in Oxford. The successful funding reflects our good banking relationships and confidence in the group’s development and operational capabilities, alongside rising optimism in the UK hotel industry following the start of the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the UK. It is excellent to see confidence in the hotel industry returning and these two hotels are well-placed to benefit from the gradual return of both domestic and overseas visitors to London and Oxford, two of the UK’s most popular tourist and business trip hotspots and destinations of increasing hotel need.”

Main image credit: Dominvs Group

Main image for Hotel Designs LIVE

5 reasons to attend Hotel Designs LIVE in February

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 reasons to attend Hotel Designs LIVE in February

Hotel Designs LIVE returns on February 23 to keep the industry connected and to serve our readers with relevant and engaging conversations that are unlike any other. With just over a month before the virtual event, editor Hamish Kilburn is here to explain to you why you should attend…

Main image for Hotel Designs LIVE

Back by popular demand, Hotel Designs LIVE launched in the chaotic realms of the Covid-19 outbreak last year. The one-day virtual conference is designed to keep the industry connected and the conversation flowing during and beyond the disruptive time we are currently in.

Following two successful events, the concept will return on February 23, 2021 with the aim to define the point on international hotel design’s most relevant topics with the help of leading figures from the world of design, architecture and hospitality as well as identifying the latest product innovations on the market.

So, here are five reasons why you do not want to miss out on attending our first Hotel Designs LIVE of the season:

1) It’s free to attend! 

If you qualify as a designer, architect, hotelier or developer, then attending Hotel Designs LIVE is completely free of charge. The reason for this is that we, on the editorial desk, believe it is simply our duty to provide our readers with engaging and relevant content that will help steer us all in the right direction for the post-pandemic world.

Click here to participate in Hotel Designs LIVE (booking form takes less than 2 minutes to complete).

2) The speaker line-up is insane!

We have gone above and beyond to secure yet another stellar line-up of speakers who can appropriately define the point on the topics we have chosen to put under this event’s spotlight. Speakers for Hotel Designs LIVE include:

3) Conversations unlike any other

With our aim to be as relevant as possible and to serve up new ideas that will influence meaningful change in hotel design and hospitality worldwide, we have decided centre the conversations around sustainability, sound in design, wellness and what the future of the industry looks like. Our speakers (see above) will identify and discuss the challenges that are attached to each topic and offer purposeful solutions that will help enhance the arena in which we all operate in.

4) A dynamic look at this season’s product launches

In addition to four seminar sessions – and to ensure Hotel Designs continues to bridge the gap between hospitality suppliers and buyers – the virtual conference will include structured ‘PRODUCT WATCH’ pitches around each session (Technology, Sustainability, Public Areas, Wellness & Wellbeing), allowing the audience the hear and see the latest products that have been launched. 

5) We’re supporting the industry while live events are on hold

There is nothing quite like a live event – we miss them too! But while we are unable to meet in person, Hotel Designs LIVE is a dynamic way to be part of conversations and debates that are happening now and which will, ultimately, shape the future. Each session will allow the audience to ask questions and engage in our ‘chat’ to ensure that we are not missing anything during our debates and conversations.

If you are a designer, architect, hotelier  or developer and would like to secure your complimentary seats in the audience, click here.

If you are a supplier to the hotel design industry and would like to promote your latest product or services to the Hotel Designs LIVE audience, please contact Katy Phillips via email or call +44 (0)1992 374050.

A render of a floating hotel in the sea

Hotel concept: designing a sustainable floating resort

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel concept: designing a sustainable floating resort

With the aim to design a hotel resort that offers guests an unparalleled at-one-with-nature experience, AMA Design has developed a hospitality concept called GAIA, a floating eco hotel that pushes boundaries to re-connect people with nature. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

A render of a floating hotel in the sea

Focusing on the positive possibilities of the future, boutique design studio AMA has proposed a new concept for hospitality experiences in the region. Floating on top the water with a lightweight prefabricated structure, the concept of GAIA takes sustainable architecture and design to new depths by using active and passive means to limited the hotel’s energy needs.

Render of floating hotel in Dubai

Image credit: AMA Design

The concept has been designed to fit into its context. Respecting its natural environment in a light and positive way whilst considering sustainable design and circular economy principles, the hotel fits into an emerging contemporary ‘Eco-Gothic’ style.

“We wanted to create a new type of hospitality experience, testing the potential of emerging construction technologies to make a sustainable and innovative building,” explained Andy Shaw, Managing Partner of AMA. “Our proposal aims to allow people to re-connect with nature whilst making a building with the minimal impact on nature itself. “Most resorts struggle to give true peace and connection to nature due to their location and scale. We designed ‘GAIA’ to be as natural and isolated as possible, whilst giving a calming, immersive experience for guests between the waters, sky and wildlife amongst them.”

Built from pre-fabricated lightweight composites from boat technology, finishes will be all natural such as bamboo and timber so that visitors are immersed in a natural environment framed with the sky and sea.

At the base of the building, in the water, the emerging technology of 3D printed coral will be used and act as a support structure for marine life to feed and flourish underneath. This would encourage diving and snorkelling off the building and encourage an interaction with nature whilst supporting biodiversity.

Sustainability features include:

  • The prefabricated modular design and construction system reduces wasted material and energy.
  • Marine grade durable lightweight materials used extends the lifespan.
  • Carbon is sunk in timber and bamboo materials uses above water, and In the 3D printed coral material (Calcium Carbonate).
  • Renewable clean energy is generated on site through solar panels on skin and water movement underneath.
  • Passive design measures in the shape and orientation of the pods allows for airflow cooling.
  • Marine life is stimulated on 3d printed coral underneath.
Render of the floating hotel at sunset

Image credit: AMA Design

The timely hotel concept, which was developed for the ‘Shape of Things to Come’ exhibition at Dubai Design Week, has helped to shape future possibilities in international hotel design. Shaw explains: “It was developed as a concept for the exhibition, but all the technology needed to build it is available now and in use. They just need to be scaled up and made more accessible. We are hoping an ambitious developer takes it forward, or an established resort adds it to an existing offering as extra rooms and features.”

Main image credit: AMA Design

Hottest hotel openings arriving in 2021 (Q3 & Q4)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hottest hotel openings arriving in 2021 (Q3 & Q4)

Dubbed ‘The Hot List’ by our readers, we start every year as mean to go on; with a positive mindset to get ahead of the curve to reveal what we believe will be the hottest hotel openings of 2021. Following on from part one, which was published last week, here are our Q3 & Q4 VIP arrivals. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

The hospitality industry continues to be tested to its limits as the UK, a major design and travel hotspot, has once again been plunged into a national lockdown. Despite the cause for concern among already established hotel businesses, the hotel construction industry continues to develop what will be the future hotels. To keep spirits high as the demand for travel will return in 2021, it is time to pick up from where we left off in the first article of this series that referenced the VIP hotel openings of Q1 and Q2. Going beneath the surface to unveil some true gems, here’s your guided tour of the hotels that will open in Q3 and Q4 that we expect will cause the most disruption on the international hotel design scene this year.

Rosewood São Paulo – opening Q3, 2021

Image of the exterior of Rosewood Sao Paulo hotel

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels

2020 was a pivotal year for the Rosewood Hotels brand, with announcements of new properties in the Caribbean, Sardinia, Spain and Amsterdam. 2021 will see little change of momentum as the brand prepares to open what is arguably it’s most interesting architectural project to date.

Mirroring the energy and heritage of Brazil, Rosewood São Paulo is said to be an “urban oasis” situated in Cidade Matarazzo, a complex of elegantly preserved buildings from the early 20th century. The 180-key luxury hotel – with rooms designed by none other than Philippe Starck – will anchor this stylish, mixed-use cultural destination, occupying one of the area’s few remaining historical landmarks and a striking new vertical garden tower designed by Jean Nouvel.

Reykjavik EDITION – opening Q3, 2021

Rendering of the EDITION hotel in Iceland

Image credit: EDITION Hotels

Narrowly missing its previously scheduled arrival date in 2020, the EDITION brand – which is the brainchild of designer Ian Schrager – is preparing to touch down in Reykjavik this summer! The hotel, which will become the brand’s fourth property in Europe is expected to shelter Schrager’s signature home-from-home luxury style with a curated taste of the locale, reflecting the best of the area’s cultural and social miliieu.

Cayo Exclusive Resort & Spa – opening Q3, 2021

With sustainability on the radar despite the pandemic’s best efforts, Cayo Exclusive Resort & Spa, which softly opened in 2020, will open fully this year as a modern, ecologically sensitive, luxurious resort born out of passionate love in the art of traveling. Cayo’s vibe and feel are the results of thoughtful consideration of the spiritual, cultural, and natural environment.

The accommodation’s striking architectural design uses Greece’s ample sunlight to heighten the beauty of the surrounding hills and the famous islet of Spinalonga, a candidate for the UNESCO List of World Heritage Site.

Known locally as ‘Crete’s most stylish hotel’, its eco-friendly design and bioclimatic architecture highlight the local climate’s beneficial features. The ground slope was put in use to achieve optimal air and light exposure to the resort’s indoors and outdoors areas.

Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Island – opening Q3, 2021

Arial view of Ritz Carlton hotel in Maldives

Image credit: Ritz-Carlton

Set within an integrated development that cleverly bridges together three islands, Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands takes a minimalist approach to luxury. Modern design highlights sea views and pristine beaches; simple ingredients are transformed by skilled chefs and mixologists; healing is guided by directional energy and nature is explored with respect and wonder.

Bvlgari Hotel Paris – opening Q3, 2021

Render of Bvlgari Hotel Paris

Image credit: Bvlgari Hotels

The seventh property to join the collection, Bvlgari Hotel Paris will offer 76 rooms, most of them suites, while the hotel will feature a full range of luxury facilities, including a spa with 25m pool, a Bvlgari restaurant and a bar looking out onto a charming courtyard garden. The new luxury hotel, which is positioned on Avenue George V (between the Champs Elysees and the Avenue Montaigne), is a collaboration between the Italian architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel, and the renowned Parisian architects Valode & Pistre. The design of the building has been conceived as a transition to modernity – in keeping with Parisian style with traditional limestone and honouring the building’s 19th century history, while also creating a contemporary look with a renewed façade. 

The Paris property is the next hotel opening for the brand with Rome, Miami, Moscow and Tokyo also on the horizon in the coming years.

Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo – opening Q4, 2021

A render of the eco architecturally structured hotel overlooking the ocean

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Following last year’s development demand in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, further south is a hidden gem that is about to become the stage for the arrival of Four Seasons’ next luxury property. The hidden eco reserve on Mexico’s Costa Alegre – the pristine coastline between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo – is where dense jungle rainforest meets the Pacific Ocean. Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo will feature modern, organic architecture that defines three distinct enclaves: a protected beachfront for families, a panoramic clifftop for adults, and a private hideaway immersed in greenery.

Nobu Hotel Marrakech – opening Q4, 2021

Image of Marrakech mosque

Image credit: Nobu Hotel Marrakech

Becoming the brand’s debut property in Africa, Nobu Hotel Marrakech will be situated in the Hivernage district, steps from the historic heart of the city, souks and vibrant Djemaa el-Fna. The 71-key hotel will house contemporary guestrooms and suites, a selection of dynamic dining venues and rooftop spaces, a 2,000 sq. ft luxurious spa and fitness centre, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and meeting and event space.

LXR Hotels & Resorts, Roku Kyoto – opening Q4, 2021

Render of LXR Hotels & Resorts, Roku Kyoto hotel in Tokyo

Image credit: LXR Hotels & Resorts

With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics rescheduled for this year and Kyoto sitting just two hours by bullet train from the capital, the cultural heart of Japan is gearing up to welcome international visitors. Situated in an area home to some of the region’s most idyllic Japanese gardens, historic architecture and authentic tea houses, Roku Kyoto will be the first property in Asia under Hilton’s luxury LXR brand. Opening in the second half of 2021, the resort is expected to offer “a luxurious and refreshing stay” with fine dining restaurants and spa treatments paired with natural hot springs.

Langham Gold Coast – Opening Q4, 2021

Sheltered inside the central and tallest of the three landmark towers of the Jewel development, which first and largest development with direct beach access to be built in the coastal city within the last 30 years, The Langham, Gold Coast will become the brand’s third luxury address in Australia.

The grand structure and shimmering exterior of the Jewel are reminiscent of three colossal quartz crystals, visible for miles from the Nerang River to the Gold Coast hinterland. The crystalline forms of the towers are inspired by the gemstone shards discovered in the region which dates back thousands of years.

“Combining the cosmopolitan vibrancy and relaxed lifestyle for which the Gold Coast is renowned will certainly position The Langham as the quintessential luxury urban resort,” explained Stefan Leser, Chief Executive Officer of Langham Hospitality Group. “We are very much looking forward to complementing our legendary service standards with the warmth of this beautiful city to make our all guests’ experiences celebratory and memorable.”

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Weekly briefing: international hotel arrivals – we have ‘lift-off’!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: international hotel arrivals – we have ‘lift-off’!

Editor Hamish Kilburn here to deliver your first weekly briefing of the year, featuring all the hottest hotel stories of the week. This round-up includes a look at this year’s VIP international arrivals, a rather ‘dandy’ hotel review and even a pre-flight check into what a hotel in space will look like…

If, by any chance, you needed reassuring about the state of the international hotel scene, then all you have to do is take a glance at the below; stories that we have published this week in order to inject some positivity into the industry we love the serve. From London’s latest hotel opening in Mayfair to Q1 and Q2’s hottest arrivals, we have started 2021 by looking into the future to capture how the international hotel design arena is preparing to welcome back modern travellers.

With even more juicy stories and exclusive features waiting in the wings (to be published next week), here are your top stories from the last few days…

The Hot list: most anticipated hotel for 2021 (Q1 & Q2)

Render of infinity pool in Maldives

Image credit: LXR

Concussed from 2020, we are kicking off the year with positivity; shining its editorial spotlight on the hotel openings that will take hospitality worldwide to new heights. In our first of two series we take a look at Q1 & Q2’s VIP arrivals.

Read more.

Sneak peek: inside SLS Cancun, a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel

Lounge inside SLS Hotels

Image credit: SLS Hotels

Having designed a myriad of hotels around the world, Piero Lissoni brought his iconic design magic to Cancun to bring to life sbe’s vision of a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel. SLS Cancun, which opens in early February, is a perfectly timed arrival as the SLS brand is one at the centre of the Ennismore and Accor merge to become the largest and fastest growing global player.

Read more.

Checking in to The Mayfair Townhouse, London’s ‘dandiest’ hotel

Mayfair Townhouse hotel peacock entrance

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Following what must have been the most dramatic build-up to any opening in 2020, The Mayfair Townhouse, which is made up of 15 Georgian townhouses (seven of which are Grade II listed buildings), has officially arrived in London.

Read more. 

Project watch: the ‘shimmering’ Dorsett Gold Coast takes shape

Render of sophisticated guestroom inside hotel

Credit: Destination Gold Coast Consortium

Currently on the boards, but preparing to take the Gold Coast to new heights of luxury, the golden-glazed windows of what will be Dorsett Gold Coast at The Star Gold Coast are being installed. And as construction of the building that will shelter the 313-key hotel has reached the 24th storey out of a total of 53 storeys, the new development is beginning to make a statement.

Read more.

“Ground control to Major Tom” – plans for a hotel in space on track for a 2024 launch

Collage of Axiom space station - hotel in space

250 miles above the earth in the wilderness of space, with cabins designed by the world-renowned Philippe Starck – think ‘nest-like comfort’ – the Axiom space station is the brainchild of former NASA chiefs.

Read more.

IHG to launch a landmark duel-branded hotel in Nottingham

Render of Hotel Indigo Nottingham

Hotel Indigo Nottingham/IHG

IHG has signed terms with development group Conygar to bring two of its world-renowned brands, Hotel Indigo and Staybridge Suites, to Nottingham. With both architecture and design led by Jestico + Whiles, we’re being told to expect something stunning as the building that will shelter the two brands becomes the city’s first of its size in nearly two decades.

Read more.

Main image credit: W Hotels/Marriott International

Presidential Suite at Marriott Malta

Inside Marriott’s new presidential suite in Malta

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside Marriott’s new presidential suite in Malta

The suite in Malta ‘epitomises splendour and elegance’, writes Molly Cleland as she hears from  RPW Design to understand how the design firm created Malta’s latest statement presidential suite…

RPW Design has just unveiled the new Presidential Suite of Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa, which, following an investment of more than €30M, epitomises the splendour and elegance of the recently renovated five-star St Julian’s property.

Presidential Suite at Marriott Malta

Not only has RPW Design created a harmonious atmosphere but functionality was also at the forefront of the design process to form a space that is adaptable to modern travellers’ transition from daytime business meetings to leisurely evenings.

Situated on the 12th floor of the hotel, guests can enjoy unique panoramic views of Balluta Bay, which are visible from the entire 170 sqm suite. These vistas can be enjoyed on the expansive terrace, balconies and windows which run the whole length of the spacious room.

As well as this statement suite’s interiors, RPW Design were responsible for refurbishing the rest of the hotel. Design notes draw inspiration from the Mediterranean island and immediate surroundings. Encompassing the warmth of the Maltese stone and the shades of the sea, the soothing sound of which instils a sense of calm in its guests. With ample space for dining and a comfortable lounge area, the closed terrace works as an extension of the interior, allowing the outdoors to be enjoyed year-round, being shaded in the warmer months and an intimate sofa setting in winter.

Close up of bed - Marriott Malta

Image credit: Marriott International

Built on clean, contemporary lines to meet the demand of modern bleisure travellers, the suite reflects the brand’s signature design aesthetic. There is a strong feeling of authenticity throughout the hotel which is echoed in the suite by traditional Maltese crafts and heritage.

Paying attention to detail, the hallmark of the rest of the renovation project can be seen in the leather touches on handles, plush seating, statement light fittings and skilful bespoke joinery. The first-class feel of Malta Marriott’s Presidential Suite is also experienced through the use of warm timber, cane and raffia for a contemporary twist on the island’s heritage.

The airy entrance hall, immediately sets the lavish tone that characterises the rest of the suite, with its marble mosaic floor and discreet closets. This leads onto an open living area, flanked by dining and office space. This adaptable layout creates a seamless transition between quiet concentration and social entertainment feeling connected and cut off at the same time, it accommodates both business and leisure needs.

Complete with a well-stocked bar and a decorative 65-inch mirror TV, the dining area benefits from the functionality of a concealed, connecting kitchenette and pantry that can be accessed through a secondary entrance to ensure guests are not disturbed when being served.

Marble bathroom inside the presidential suite of the Marriott Malta

Image credit: Marriott International

High-end comforts and amenities, synonymous with the five-star hotel, include a pop-up and swivel TV for both the sitting and the office areas, a Bose sound system, intelligent lighting, electronic curtains and a generous dressing room. The walk-in wardrobe leads onto a deluxe en-suite bathroom, with its book-matched marble finish, multi-jet rain shower, high-tech Japanese washlet toilet and double vanity, promising the pinnacle of pampering and relaxation. Guests can also opt to treat themselves to a separate, spa-style, stress-relieving whirlpool bath, hovering over the bay and leading off from the elegant and inviting master bedroom.

Bedroom inside presidential suite of the Marriott Malta hotel

Image credit: Marriott International

Moving through to the bedroom which, its own views, every element of the rooms design – from the lush bedding to the soft furnishings, smart upholstery, rich textures and restful colours – spells out indulgence and the height of luxury.

Expressing his pride in the new Presidential Suite, the peak of refinement, Malta Marriott General Manager Alexander Incorvaja said it has been “thoughtfully designed around business and leisure travellers alike, as is the rest of the hotel, re-positioning itself as one of the leading five-star hotels on the Islands”.

Main image credit: Marriott International

Gold structure of Main image credit: Destination Gold Coast Consortium

Project watch: the ‘shimmering’ Dorsett Gold Coast takes shape

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Project watch: the ‘shimmering’ Dorsett Gold Coast takes shape

As the project surpasses its two-year mark, construction on Dorsett Gold Coast at The Star Gold Coast, a 313-key hotel, is on the home straight for a 2022 opening. Editor Hamish Kilburn takes a look at what we can expect…

Gold structure of Main image credit: Destination Gold Coast Consortium

Currently on the boards, but preparing to take the Gold Coast to new heights of luxury, the golden-glazed windows of what will be Dorsett Gold Coast at The Star Gold Coast are being installed. And as construction of the building that will shelter the 313-key hotel has reached the 24th storey out of a total of 53 storeys, the new development is beginning to make a statement.

Developed by Destination Gold Coast Consortium (a joint venture between The Star Entertainment Group, Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and Far East Consortium), and designed by award-winning design firm HBA, the hotel is expected to add a sprinkle of drama onto the city’s skyline.

Inspired by the coastline views of Broadbeach Island – the lush vegetation of the hinterland and the calming ocean waves – the designers at HBA sought to achieve harmony between the hotel’s interiors and its surrounding environment through a fresh, sophisticated, and relaxing overall design aesthetic.

render of guestroom showing botanical carpets and luxury tones

Image credit: Destination Gold Coast Consortium

Expect soft nods to botanicals to be incorporated through custom carpet designs while subtle references to lapping ocean waves and abstracted underwater scenes will be woven into the design narrative of the lobby, guestroom artwork, and custom wallcoverings to establish a true sense of place. 

With wellness taking centre stage in modern traveller demands, the bathrooms will feature simple design – think marble surfaces with accents of gold.

Image credit: Destination Gold Coast Consortium

A custom chandelier installation composed of kinetic lighting and reflective materials will serve as a focal point in the main lobby, enhancing the concept of soothing tranquility and light dancing on the ocean’s surface. Guestrooms will be well-appointed with fully custom-designed furnishings and decorative lighting elements to provide guests with a one-of-a-kind, memorable stay. 

Dorsett Gold Coast is part of a wider, $2 billion+ approved masterplan for Broadbeach Island, which will feature four additional towers and associated resort facilities. The Star Gold Coast will continue to transform into a world-class integrated resort that brings a new level of sophistication, service and style to the Gold Coast.  

Main image credit: Destination Gold Coast Consortium

A render of a stylish bar

Hyatt Regency makes debut in Cambodia’s captital

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Regency makes debut in Cambodia’s captital

Sheltering 247 rooms, the opening marks the largest hotel by an international brand in the city and Hyatt’s debut in the Cambodian capital…

Hyatt Regency Phnom Penh, the first Hyatt hotel in the Cambodian capital and the second Hyatt hotel operating in Cambodia, has opened.

A render of a stylish bar

The 247-key property is the largest hotel from a global brand in the city and is located in the heart of the cultural and business district of Doun Penh.

Conceived by award-winning Singapore-based SCDA Architects and leading Thailand-based PIA Interior, the hotel’s stylish interiors reflect Cambodia’s unique history, seamlessly blending Khmer architectural accents with French colonial influences alongside specially commissioned artworks by contemporary Cambodian artist, FONKi.

As guests pull into the hotel’s driveway, they are greeted with a welcoming centerpiece, a beautiful French heritage building flanked by frangipani trees. Originally built as a Colonial villa in the early 20th century, the carefully restored lemon-coloured Colonial House with wooden shutters, arched doorways and terracotta-tiled roof now serves as the hotel’s entrance, providing guests with a nostalgic arrival experience.

Behind the Colonial House stands the newly-constructed, 14-storey main building, featuring 247 guestrooms, including 43 residential-style suites, all with hardwood floors and marble bathrooms. Starting at 30.5 square metres, the guestrooms offer modern comforts, including complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, 65” TVs, a walk-in rain shower, Staycast systems, and Hyatt Mobile Entry technology for keyless entry.

A render of a modern guestroom in the Hyatt Hotel

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Distinct Khmer touches are found throughout the rooms, including an intricately carved headboard depicting Bayon Temple, one of the most celebrated temples at Angkor. The 1,087-square-foot (101-square-meter) Royal Suite features two ensuite bedrooms, a walk-in closet, separate living and dining areas and floor-to-ceiling views of the city.

Guests staying on the 10th floor can access the Regency Club Lounge where they can enjoy dedicated check-in and check-out services, daily breakfast, evening hors d’oeuvres, and complimentary drinks alongside panoramic city views with indoor or outdoor seating.\

The hotel is home to four dining venues, including Market Café Restaurant & Lounge, an all-day dining venue inside a light-filled atrium serving breakfast, afternoon tea and à-la-carte options, Metropole Underground, an early 20th century metro-themed bar offering live music and local beers and an old-world speakeasy-style bar tucked away in the Colonial House called The Attic, which specialises in handcrafted cocktails and grand cru wines. Spanning the rooftop, FiveFive Rooftop Restaurant & Bar is set to become the city’s social hotspot where guests will be treated to locally sourced meats and sustainable seafood, an array of signature cocktails.

In addition, a wide range of recreational facilities are located on the third floor, including the 22-metre outdoor infinity pool surrounded by lush greenery, a poolside bar, a Himalayan salt room and a steam room. The 24-hour gym is equipped with a cardio zone, strength zone, and free weights. Personal trainers are on hand to offer one-on-one sessions for guests.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Headshot of Daniel Fryer and image of a lobby

Is it really ‘in with the new’ for the hospitality industry?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Is it really ‘in with the new’ for the hospitality industry?

“Out with the old and in with the new,” but what do you do in hospitality, when what’s about to come looks exactly the same as what’s just gone? Luckily, we have hear from psychotherapist, expert speaker and author Daniel Fryer to help hospitality through…

Headshot of Daniel Fryer and image of a lobby

It’s that time of year where we all wish one another ‘Happy New Year’ and we keep on wishing it until we can safely say we’ve wished it to everyone we wanted and needed to wish it to. This usually ends around late February, or early March at the latest.

This year, however, many people are expressing their new year greetings tinged with concern and trepidation as the pandemic tosses up the cards! Some people even wince when they say it. And with good reason. Covid-19 has not gone away. In fact it’s mutated. In many places it’s spiralling out of control again. Vaccines are here but are being rolled out too slowly. Local restrictions are being updated weekly and, in some cases, even daily. Advice changes regularly. England has just gone into another full lockdown. All this uncertainty is hard to swallow and makes life difficult to deal with. That goes double for the hospitality industry and 2021, just like it its predecessor, is keeping both individuals, businesses and brands on the back foot.

This is not nice and it’s not good for anyone’s bottom line. It can even adversely affect your mental health. But only if you let it. Life is how it is; and things are how they are.

You can blow those things out of proportion and make them worse than they are or keep a sense of perspective and see them exactly as they are. You can take 2021 on the chin, or you can crumble and fall apart in the face of it.

After all, we’ve had worse years, right? I mean, historically speaking. And we survived those.

As with most things in life, history teaches us a lot. Ancient wisdom tells us a lot about how to live today. Mindfulness and mindfulness-based therapies, for instance, turned to Buddhism for content. Whilst cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT) turned to Stoic philosophy.

REBT says that it’s not the events in life that disturb you, but what you tell yourselves about those events that disturbs you and it based that nugget of wisdom on the teachings of a specific Greek Stoic philosopher called Epictetus.

Stoic philosophy was born out of a challenging period in history, where pillaging and plundering were rife. It was perfectly normal to go to sleep easy, only to wake with your house on fire, and your family sold into slavery.

And so the Stoics asked a very important question: “What can we tell ourselves that will keep us reasonably sane as we deal with these daily challenges?”

As a famous saying goes, “pain is inevitable, but suffering is not.” Trying to function normally during a pandemic is a pain. Wearing a facemask is a pain. Lockdowns are a pain. Trying to keep your business afloat is a massive pain. But it does not mean you have to suffer these pains. It does not mean you have to fall victim to what Shakespeare called the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

The Stoics believed that all human beings suffered because they were always trying to control the uncontrollable. And yet, very little in our lives is under our control. Realising this is a good thing. No, really, it is.

What if you just gave up your notions of control? I don’t mean completely. I don’t mean everything. That would be chaos! But, we can contain some of our concerns and let others go completely. We could create two circles within our minds (or on paper), one within the other. We can call the outer circle a circle of concern. And, in it we can place all the things that worry us, but that we have no influence over whatsoever. And then we can resolve to worry about them no more. This will free up some very valuable mind space. Space for us to focus on the inner circle, which we can call the circle of influence. In this we can place all the things that worry us, but which we can exert an influence over. Things we can control to some degree or other. And then we can resolve to focus our attentions there.

I didn’t make these circles up by the way. This exercise is a valuable psychotherapy and coaching tool. It features in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R Covey.

Just think of it. Everything inside those circles is important to you but, you free up some very valuable mental real estate but focusing only on those things you have control over. All of your reasonable worries, all your plans, and all your resolutions can be targeted solely on the circle of influence, rather than the wider, unwieldy and unmanageable circle of concern.

How helpful would that be?

This brings to mind (or to my mind at least) The Serenity Prayer, which was written by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in 1932. It typically goes like this: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Wise words indeed

The prayer spread rapidly and was even adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other 12-step programmes. You can use words and concepts such as life, the universe, or the inner self if there are no gods that you worship.

It’s a great mantra for modern living; it echoes what those Stoics were on about all those years ago and, more importantly, as we move further into 2021, it’s an excellent maxim not only for peace of mind but also for strategic planning.

And so, for this new year, on a personal and professional level, instead of wishing you every health and happiness, I wish to mitigate your suffering. I wish you the serenity to accept those life conditions that you cannot currently or ever change, I wish you the strength and courage to focus your energies on only those things you can change and, above all else, I wish you the wisdom to know the difference.

Main image credit: Unsplash/Katarzyna Urbanek/Daniel Fryer

Sneak peek: inside SLS Cancun, a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sneak peek: inside SLS Cancun, a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel

The new beachfront sanctuary in Cancun, which officially opens on February 1, features 45 suites, ocean views and world class design led by famed architect and designer Piero Lissoni. Hotel Designs takes a look inside…

Having designed a myriad of hotels around the world, Piero Lissoni brought his iconic design magic to Cancun to bring to life sbe’s vision of a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel. SLS Cancun, which opens in early February, is a perfectly timed arrival as the SLS brand is one at the centre of the Ennismore and Accor merge to become the largest and fastest growing global player.

Complete with bright contemporary spaces intertwined with Italian décor, reminiscent of his hometown in Italy, the hotel shelters just 45 striking suites. From oceanside floor-to-ceiling windows with unobstructed views of the ocean and tones of deep ocean blue and vibrant turquoise to an open-floor concept lobby featuring soft, white-washed wood and light stones, Lissoni’s latest property evokes a feeling of calmness as the space connects the interior and exterior as one. 

“This hotel is like a cocktail,” Lissoni explains. “We’ve incorporated a few different ingredients: the local culture together with that of America and Europe. And we’ve bound the style of the latter to that of Mexico. So the light and the presence of art works, antiques and local craftsmanship dialogue with those of other worlds. And I think we’ve come up with a cocktail that’s particularly interesting.”

SLS Cancun guestroom render in Cancun hotel

Image credit: SLS Hotels

Guestrooms and suites are described by the hotel brand as “sparkling and shining” that promise to “take your breath away”. Each area is modern with sleek lines to compliment azure waters of the ocean that are effortlessly framed.

Meanwhile, the public areas feature a contemporary lobby bar, and to further stretch the theme of barefoot luxury, the hotel experience focus is steered towards a luxurious poolside scene, sandy beach and  the state-of-the-art fitness centre and spa.

Complimenting the overall design of the hotel, LEYNIA is an Argentinian grill, led by chef Jose Icardi, which is inspired by flavours from Japan, melding the rustic allure of open flame cooking.

The opening of SLS Cancun becomes the brand’s fifth property in North America, as the brand enters into an exciting era that will no-doubt promise thoughtful growth to further enhance the “new kind of luxury” that the brand has created.

Main image credit: SLS Hotels

A clean and luxury hotel room in Cairo

St. Regis arrives in Cairo, Egypt

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
St. Regis arrives in Cairo, Egypt

An epitome of modern Egyptian glamour, and heralded as a new beacon of luxury on the Nile, the new St Regis hotel brings exquisite design and signature service to the bustling metropolis and tourist hotspot…

A clean and luxury hotel room in Cairo

With Marriott International expected to meet its 2020 aims this year to to open 30 new luxury hotels in 2021, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts has announced the highly-anticipated opening of The St. Regis Cairo. Rising tall on the banks of the River Nile, The St. Regis Cairo is an illustrious icon weaving a powerful story of luxury in the region. Located at the North end of the Corniche, in the heart of Egypt’s bustling metropolis, the 39-story hotel offers easy access to the magnificent monuments of a city steeped in history.

“Egypt has historically been one of our key markets and strategically significant to our growth in the region,” said Satya Anand, President for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “Cairo is a storied destination that has long mesmerised the global traveller with its incredible energy offering a vibrant mix of history, culture, tradition and glamour. The St. Regis Cairo is an exciting addition to our fast-growing brand portfolio and is set to elevate Cairo’s luxury hospitality landscape with its remarkable design, uncompromising service, and exceptional culinary venues.”

Eng. Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah, CEO of Qatari Diar commented: “We are delighted to strengthen our global portfolio of hospitality developments with the opening The St. Regis Cairo. This luxury landmark will introduce higher standards of hospitality to this beautiful destination with its unparalleled levels of luxury and exceptional service – both of which the iconic St. Regis brand is renowned for.”

With its striking architecture, created by renowned architect Michael Graves, The St. Regis Cairo firmly establishes itself as a pivotal landmark in the city and beyond, carefully balancing opulence with refinement and elegance to evoke a profound sense of grandeur. Uncompromising in its decadence, the hotel is an exquisite reflection of a passionate vision that conscientiously draws on the city’s influential and storied past while confidently introducing its vibrant future.

Graceful geometric lines flow throughout the interiors, creating a repeated structural motif that quietly references the heritage of the region. Dark wood and rich textures combine with intricate embroidery, bejewelled paneling, bronze and wood carvings embellished with flashes of shimmering gold, mother of pearl inlays and imposing crystal chandeliers creating a dramatic Egyptian aesthetic with modern execution. A striking mural entitled “The Pink Sun” graces The St. Regis Bar. Staunchly modern in its execution, the mural references ancient Egypt and the birth of a modern civilisation.

The hotel’s approach to design pays particular homage to the hundreds of craftspeople who dedicated their time and handiwork to perfecting each and every detail offering a distinctly modern vision that immerses guests in moments that are simply awe-inspiring.

Main image credit: Marriott International/St Regis

A thermal room in a cave-like environment

Industry inside: bespoke thermal cabin design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry inside: bespoke thermal cabin design

When designing a hotel spa, the benefits of a thermal suite go beyond providing guests with a great pre- and post-treatment relaxation, explains Beverley Bayes, director, Sparcstudio

As well as providing a relaxation touchpoint in the guest experience, a thermal suite also provides great health benefits for the spa user (particularly for the lungs in the case of a salt steam room).

A thermal room in a cave-like environment

Hotels around the world are renowned for their thermal suites. Gone are the days when they are positioned at the end of a corridor, in a subterranean enclosed space, hidden behind a door.

In the past few years, the team at Sparcstudio have quietly revolutionised thermal cabin design in the UK by offering a bespoke, tailored and individual approach for each project, resulting in some stunning designs.

A part of the studio’s design of The Spa at South Lodge, the organic panoramic sauna cabin is a much photographed little ‘jewel in the crown’ of the spa. The walls and ceiling were crafted from timber with a wave like design, to evoke the rolling hills of the South Downs. The floor to ceiling glass provides views out onto those downs and the surrounding spa garden and Sussex countryside .

The team took this one step further, designing two large panoramic saunas looking across the Hertfordshire countryside at the Spa at Cottonmill at Sopwell House.

Spa at Cottonmill at Sopwell House

Image credit: Spa at Cottonmill at Sopwell House

These offer panoramic views to the rest of the spa and landscape beyond. The intention is to connect the guest with nature and create a true sense of place, for example, the team developed a sauna on stilts high above the forest at Aqua Sana Spa, Sherwood Forest.

Beverley Bayes, Director, Sparcstudio says: “When designing a thermal suite, we think it’s vital to create bespoke cabin designs that are unique to the spa, we also place deliberate focus on bringing the outside in with slot windows, or large heatproof floor to ceiling glass walls providing views onto gardens or onto the pool, creating a unique sense of space.”

More recently Sparcstudio developed the Forest Cavern Steam Room at Aqua Sana Spa Longleat Forest, replicating a cave hidden deep within a forest, (the region around the site is known for its caves). Neil Fairplay, Director, Sparcstudio says: “From the outset, we imagined a double-height cave environment where part of the ceiling had collapsed, allowing natural light, trailing foliage and rain water to flood in, it’s hard not to be wowed by this experience”

From the initial client brief, Sparcstudio is mindful of the importance of the thermal suite and the team works to maximise the area designated for the spa, with clever use of space planning. The team develops the concept and design (including lighting, bespoke materials, ceiling profile and special features). They work closely with suppliers such as Halo, Dale Sauna and Rigo to create the perfect thermal area for the client. This non-standard approach pushes the boundaries in terms of materials used and final result.

Sparcstudio is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here.

Main image caption: Forest Cavern Steam Room at Aqua Sana Spa Longleat Forest

Render of Hotel Indigo Nottingham

IHG to launch a landmark duel-branded hotel in Nottingham

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IHG to launch a landmark duel-branded hotel in Nottingham

Hotel operator IHG has signed terms with development group Conygar to bring two of its world-renowned brands, Hotel Indigo and Staybridge Suites, to Nottingham…

In December of 2020, a planning application for phase 1B proposing a 17-storey landmark hotel in Nottingham was submitted.

Render of Hotel Indigo Nottingham

It is now confirmed that the multi-million-pound scheme will include a new hotel, which will be managed by IHG and developed local development group Conygar, in order to create new home for both the Hotel Indigo and Staybridge Suites brands.

The duel-branded hotel, with architecture and interior design led by Jestico + Whiles, will comprise 223 guestrooms and suites – 155 located within Hotel Indigo and a further 68 aimed at multi-night business and leisure travellers in the Staybridge Suites, which will include a range of amenities such as a full kitchen and dedicated shared outdoor space exclusively for Staybridge Suites guests.

They form part of the latest stage of the development, which will include a further 247 residential rental apartments and an extensive food and beverage area featuring a stunning bar and busy 100-metre long forum for people to meet. There will also be 3,000 sqm of flexible serviced office space, with some 400 desks.

Image caption: An example lounge area from a Staybridge Suites in Dundee | Image credit: IHG

The hotel is the city’s first of its size in nearly two decades, forming part of a landmark tall building.

Karan Khanna, Managing Director, UK & Ireland at IHG said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Conygar to bring the leading global brands of Hotel Indigo and Staybridge Suites to Nottingham as an important part of the regeneration of the Island Quarter. These new properties will add to IHG’s presence in the city, sitting alongside our existing Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotels. As we begin 2021 these new hotel signings show the confidence that owners and investors have in IHG and our potential for continued growth for when travel can finally resume.”

The brand has said that guests will experience the “same quality of design” as in IHG’s recently opened Hotel Indigo in Bath and dual-branded Hotel Indigo and Staybridge Suites in Dundee, as well as the mixed-use elements of its recent IHG dual-branded Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn Express in Warsaw, Poland.

Inspired by ‘the neighbourhood story’ of the city, Hotel Indigo will take design cues from the local area and its bar and restaurant will offer locally sourced ingredients to customers. Meanwhile, the Staybridge Suites will feature a 24-hour fitness room, storage lockers for guests wishing to store items between stays and a communal ‘outdoor living room’ complete with firepit, grilling areas and covered seating. All the suites allow people to enjoy a flexible space to relax, play and work.

“The Island Quarter is one of the most significant city centre regeneration schemes in the UK at the moment, and it was vital that the hotel brand which we brought to the development was reflective of that,” said Richard Watson of Conygar. “We are absolutely delighted to have agreed terms with the team at IHG to bring its Hotel Indigo and Staybridge Suites brands to Nottingham.

“This is a very important step for us as we move this development forwards and securing a hugely successful global operator in IHG shows real confidence in the flagship element of the scheme as a whole. These two brands are world-renowned as upscale and quality hotels, which really play a part in the communities in which they are based.

“The hotel forms a key element of this latest phase, which is truly cohesive, creating a range and fluidity of uses that will spread across the whole site. The Island Quarter is a development that Nottingham can be proud of and bringing brands of this calibre to the city plays an important part in that.”

Main image credit: IHG

Render of Infinity Pool at Mango House in The Seychelles

Hottest hotel openings anticipated for 2021 (Q1 & Q2)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hottest hotel openings anticipated for 2021 (Q1 & Q2)

Concussed from 2020, Hotel Designs is kicking off the year with positivity; shining its editorial spotlight on the hotel openings that will take hospitality worldwide to new heights. In our first of two series we take a look at Q1 & Q2’s VIP arrivals. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Render of Infinity Pool at Mango House in The Seychelles

Despite the pandemic, which temporarily brought hospitality to its knees last year, hotel construction remained strong following the prediction that the demand to travel will return in 2021. So, with that sprinkle of positivity, it’s time for us to address which hotels our editorial team believe will cause the most disruption on the international hotel design scene this year.

Moxy Austin – opening January, 2021

A clean modern guestroom

Image credit: Moxy Hotels

Following an announcement that referenced Moxy’s arrival in the Middle East, the Marriott International’s contemporary brand is slated to open a 158-key hotel in Austin, Texas, which has been designed by HKS.

The hotel is situated on the western edge of the University of Texas campus. Sited prominently on an abandoned corner lot along Guadalupe Street, referred to as “The Drag” by locals, the project is an important part of the area’s revitalisation. The massing takes its cues from the external arrival sequence – both vehicular and pedestrian – and echoes the efficient internal programming. Materials are selected based on the local Hill Country vernacular with a base of masonry and reclaimed wood at the ground floor dress the public zones, while metal panels of weathering steel wrap the guest room levels above. The masonry and wood provide a tactile experience down low, resist the abrasion and abuse expected with heavy traffic, and are representative of the community use at the ground level. The metal panels above provide a natural, ever-evolving quality. The weathering steel changes over time, symbolic of the travellers who come and go at the hotel, evolving in how they experience the building from the start of stay until the end.

Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Curio Collection by Hilton  – opening January 2021

A render of a hotel room inside the Virgin Hotels property with views of The Strip of Las Vegas

Image credit: Virgin Hotels

With casinos slowly reopening in the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas is about to become the home of Virgin Hotels’ latest hotel under the Hilton by Curio Collection brand. Sheltering a staggering 1,500 rooms with no less than 12 dining venues and a 60,000 square-foot casino, the hotel is is preparing to arrive in style to ‘sin city’.

There are whispers that the Virgin Hotels, which currently operates four hotels in the USA with a further 10 properties in the pipeline, is gearing up to enter new destinations with a purpose to expand with an international portfolio – watch this space!

Nobu Residences Toronto – opening January, 2021

Conceived by award-winning architect Stephen Teeple, Nobu Residences Toronto will embody the Nobu spirit in both design and attitude.

Designated as a heritage site, the base of Nobu Residences Toronto will retain the classic brick façade of the original Pilkington Glass Factory and Art Deco elements from the early 1900s. Rising above it will be two striking towers: distinctive, modern, unforgettable. Both towers will be home to exclusive residences anchored by Toronto’s flagship Nobu Restaurant, with a signature Nobu Hotel at the top of the West Tower.

NoMad London – opening February, 2021

Located metres from Covent Garden, NoMad London will take residence inside the historic, grade II-listed building famously known as The Bow Street Magistrates’ Court and Police Station. Designed by New York-based interior design studio Roman and Williams, the transformation of the storied 19th century building draws inspiration from its history and location in Covent Garden, as well as exploring the artistic and cultural connection between London and New York.

AC Hotel Maui Wailea (Hawaii) – opening February, 2021

AC Hotel in Maui render of pool bar

Image credit: AC Hotels/Marriott International

Perfectly placed and featuring two white sand beaches, AC by Marriott Maui Wailea offers scenic views of South Maui. 110-key hotel will shelter a ‘stylish comfort’ and will be complete with an infinity pool and a restaurant serving European cuisine, among other amenities.

W Nashville – opening in February, 2021

In true W style, ready to cause disruption to conventional hotel design and hospitality, W Nashville is set to take the stage in the heart of The Gulch. “Striking the music city chord,” the hotel is expected to open with curated local tunes, garden-to-glass cocktails and welcoming communal spaces. “Expect the unexpected” is how the brand is teasing this special 346-key arrival, with a high-energy urban experience paired with our Whatever / Whenever® approach to hospitality and Southern comfort you can expect in downtown Nashville.

Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley – opening in March, 2021

Located in the charming community of Calistoga, the next addition to the diverse Four Seasons California Collection will include wine country’s first Four Seasons resort with an on-site winery and vineyard, in partnership with Thomas Rivers Brown. Featuring 85 luxurious accommodations designed by Erin Martin, two outdoor pools, and a distinctive wellness-focused spa concept, Spa Talisa, the property will also introduce the highly anticipated TRUSS Restaurant and Bar led by Michelin starred Chef Erik Anderson.

NoCo London – opening Q1, 2021

The wait is over! Three years since plans were unveiled for the new budget lifestyle hotel arriving in London, NoCo London is about to makes it debut. NoCo hotels, established by Enismore, is described as “a collection created with clued up travellers and inquisitive locals in mind.” Promised to be “never overpriced, never underwhelming,” NoCo arrives in the capital to prove that budget doesn’t have to be boring. We can’t wait to check in!

Mango House, Seychelles, LXR Hotels and Resorts – opening in Q1, 2021

Render of infinity pool in LXR hotel in the Seychelles

Image credit: LXR

As travellers seek solitude in remote places away from the crowds, Indian Ocean destinations will remain firmly at the top of travel bucket-lists. Originally built as a family dwelling, Mango House Seychelles features 41 immaculately designed guest rooms in a remote and private location. Set to open early 2021, the exclusive resort will give guests breath-taking views of the Indian Ocean and is the perfect spot to explore Mahé’s white sandy beaches and kaleidoscope of flora and fauna. With sustainable travel now topping the agenda for large numbers of guests, the Seychelles offers a year-round holiday sanctuary for the world’s most discerning travellers.

NoCo hotels is a collection created with clued up travellers and inquisitive locals in mind. Never overpriced, never underwhelming, NoCo sets out to prove that budget doesn’t have to be boring.

Since you’re here, why not read more about how astronauts and designers are working to create a hotel in space?

Six Senses Ibiza – opening Q2, 2021

The Six Senses hotel Pool in Ibiza

Image credit: Six Senses

With the aim to “dance to the beat of a new mantra,” Six Senses Ibiza will shelter a transformative wellness experience designed to nourish the body, mind and soul. The tranquil northern tip of Ibiza on crystalline Cala Xarraca Bay, with unobstructed westerly sunset views, is the inspiring setting for the new hotel, which will feature. The 134 guest accommodations include townhouses, pool suites and beach cave units set on a 25-acre (10-hectare).

St. Regis Bermuda Resort & Residences – opening Q2, 2021

Establishing image of the St Regis hotel in Bermuda

Image credit: St. Regis

An exquisite Atlantic debut, the St. Regis brand is about the arrive in Bermuda. Once completed, St Regis Bermuda Resort, with has been developed by Hotelco and designed by OBMI Design, is said to become the most exclusive and luxurious development on the island.

Main image credit: LXR

Collage of Axiom space station

Plans for a hotel in space on track for a 2024 launch

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Plans for a hotel in space on track for a 2024 launch

250 miles above the earth in the wilderness of space, with cabins designed by the world-renowned Philippe Starck, the Axiom space station is the brainchild of former NASA chiefs. Editor Hamish Kilburn investigates as the plans get underway…

Collage of Axiom space station

There has been a lot of talk in recent years of taking hospitality to new heights, but as close we as we have got to a ‘space hotel’ so far has been the Space Suite inside the Kameha Grand Zürich, the ‘Lunar Loo’ designed by Duravit and Orion Span’s planned orbiting hotel, which was slated to welcome guests from as early as 2022 – we have no update on its progress.

However, in a recent article in The Times, the race to launch hospitality outside earth’s atmosphere has taken a bold leap forward with plans, led by former NASA chiefs and astronauts, now underway to build the first commercial space station. Free from the shackles of gravity, extensive research and manufacturing has to led to this moment; Axiom being one step closer to launching.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Axiom, which literally means “a statement or proposition which is regarded as being established”, is a company co-founded by the former programme chief of International Space Station (ISS) “Axiom was founded with the vision of a thriving home in space that benefits every human ever where,” Mike Suffredini, chief executive of Axiom Space and who previously led NASA’s second largest engineering contract, said. “We often hear that this is a very bold statement. it is.”

“Philippe Starck will have the honour of designing the cabins inside – think “nest-like comfort” – that will frame panoramic views of our home planet below.”

Costing a reported $2 million, which is a drop in the ocean when considering the cost of building a new-build hotel in today’s climate, the Axiom station is intended to become the first ever free-flying, globally available private space station, which is planning to launch in 2024. Although its manufacturing requires space engineers, the interiors have been handed over to French industrial architect and hotel design legend Philippe Starck who will have the honour of designing the cabins inside – think “nest-like comfort” – that will frame panoramic views of our home planet below.

The company promises to “help open a new chapter in human history” with this launch. On its website, it says: “20 years after astronauts first began to live and work aboard the ISS, Axiom offers the ability to traverse the sublime reach of space and fulfil personal goals of philosophical, philanthropic, scientific or commercial nature.”

Although we are somewhat sceptical when reading about a hotel in space, it is encouraging to see that Axiom has a fine pedigree who are ultimately making this dream a reality. As well as Suffredini, the team includes four retired astronauts, including Charlie Bolden, the former head of NASA.

To infinity, and beyond!

Main image credit: Axiom

Hamish Kilburn

Editor Checks In: don’t make me round-up 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor Checks In: don’t make me round-up 2020

“For someone who always tries to see the positive in everything, this year has been a challenging and turbulent journey that has been full twists, turns and dead ends,” editor Hamish Kilburn writes when trying to round-up 2020…

Hamish Kilburn

It’s 21:00 GMT on a stormy evening in December. The eyes of the world are fixed on my home county following a new super strain of Covid-19 that was found, mutated they say, in Kent. There’s literally nothing to do apart from curl up on the sofa with a glass of red wine to write this, which is my last article of 2020 (hurrah!).

Just when this year couldn’t really get much worse, my phone lights up beside me and my stomach immediately drops. The sender is a freelance journalist who is supposed to be in Dubai taking full advantage of this ‘air corridor’ we had been granted. For any editor right now, it’s a pretty big deal commissioning an international trip, as travelling anywhere at the moment feels like undertaking a covert operation (even when you’re not the one actually boarding the plane).

“If the last 12 months have taught us anything on the editorial desk at Hotel Designs, it’s perspective and being grateful for what we have.” – Hamish Kilburn, editor, Hotel Designs.

The text message read: “Hi Hamish, I’m really sorry but I’m stuck in Zanzibar, now self-isolating for 10 days having tested positive for Covid-19, and will not make it to Dubai to review the hotel.” And this, my friends, is the new world we are living in. What a way to end to 2020? Not only am I now living in a place that is being branded by the media as ‘the new Wuhan’, but I also feel part responsible for a journalist and friend being struck down by ‘the virus’, with no option but to lock himself down in a hotel, over Christmas, that wasn’t budgeted for – talk about disruption! But if the last 12 months have taught us anything on the editorial desk at Hotel Designs, it’s perspective and being grateful for what we have. Fortunately, our writer and his wife who he is travelling with are showing no symptoms and are recovering safely and comfortably in the confides of their hotel room.

This situation is a stark reminder of how shaken our market is, even now, more than 10 months after coronavirus first emerged in the headlines. While other industries wake up from a forced hibernation, unfortunately hotels around the world are still taking a battering, and the majority are still performing with less than 50 per cent occupancy due to the pandemic. Major cities that were once dominating tourist hotspots have found themselves in unfamiliar territories; vacant and on the surface without purpose – and there was me in January thinking this was all just a sensational story that will blow over…

The hotels within these metropolis’ that were designed to cater for substantial demand are currently uninhabited. And yet, the magic and power of hospitality has kept the industry’s spirits alive.

During the peak of lockdown – and even after we entered the dreaded tiered system here in the UK – wonderful and innovative initiatives emerged from hotels up and down the country. With the unanimous aim to support key workers during turbulent times, hoteliers utilised the situation and started to focus their attention locally, and as a result produced new and improved sustainable ways to operate.

Meanwhile, designers and architects were able to exhale from travelling and attending back-to-back client meetings and pitches. Instead, although being away from their creative studios was less than ideal, they were able to focus on drawing up new purposeful spaces suitable for a post-pandemic world.

It is therefore more important now than ever before to recognise and celebrate the individuals in Britain who are leading the way in international hotel design and hospitality, as we did last month when we went live with The Brit List Awards 2020.

Just when Covid-19 slapped us across the face with a wet fish – I was on the floor howling with laughter when a designer used this line earlier this year in a panel discussion – we opened the applications and nominations process for the awards. And with each completed application form that landed in my inbox, the team and I were reminded why Britain is – and will always be – regarded as a leading hotel design and hospitality hub.

There’s a lot of anticipation building around what 2021 will bring. If Pantone’s Colour of the Year is anything to go by, we’re in for a mixed 12 months that will require yet more forward-thinking to harmonise our industry. From our side, we will continue to keep the conversation flowing and the industry connected with our Hotel Designs LIVE series and the anticipated arrival of our podcast. We will also continue publishing strong editorial features (look out for that Dubai hotel review), and we will maintain our position as the leading international hotel design website by listening to the designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers who are all helping to shape our industry.

I would like to sign off 2020 by sticking two fingers up to the past and instead welcoming in new perspectives that we will amplify on the pages of Hotel Designs. I wish you all a safe and refreshing festive period and our team looks forward to reconnecting in the New Year – at least it can’t be as bad as the one we have just endured!

Editor, Hotel Designs

Main image credit: DJP Portraiture

The Brit List Hoteliers of 2020

Meet The Brit List Hoteliers of 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Meet The Brit List Hoteliers of 2020

Each year, Hotel Designs unveils The Brit List, a publication that lists the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers who are operating in Britain. Following the official unveiling of The List at this year’s virtual award ceremony, please meet The Brit List Hoteliers of 2020…

The Brit List Hoteliers of 2020

For more than four years now, The Brit List Awards has given a platform to the designers, architects and hoteliers who are proving to be trendsetters on the international hotel design scene. Earlier this year, Hotel Designs’ 2020 search began and turned into what was the most meaningful campaign in the publication’s history.

This year’s panel of judges– and of course our sponsors and partners – went above and beyond to support The Brit List Awards as the difficult yet responsible decision was made to organise the judging process and deliver the awards ceremony in virtual formats.

During the in-depth judging process, we all discovered a new meaning of hospitality as we read how designers, architects and hoteliers are continuing to push conventional boundaries. But no more so was this more evident than in the applications in the hotelier category.

Following on from unveiling this year’s designers and architects please meet (in alphabetical order) The Brit List Hoteliers of 2020…

Ayo Akinsete, Area Managing Director – Treehouse Hotel London

Located on Langham Place, steps from the BBC headquarters, Treehouse Hotel London was founded on the ideas that inspire a child to build a treehouse. Adventure, independence, cozy spaces and repurposing crafty things are what make a place warm and special. That’s why every Treehouse Hotel – owned by SH Hotels & Resorts – celebrates found objects, nostalgic tunes, handmade details and locally sourced treats.

Ayo Akinsete, the Area Managing Director, joined the team in 2019 following his hospitality experience in Los Angles and New York.

Barry Sternlicht, Founder and CEO of SH Hotels & Resorts said: “The concept for Treehouse Hotel has been living in my soul for many years. A special place that feels more “home” than “hotel”…cozy, welcoming, warm, and somehow familiar…an oasis after a long day that at once refreshes, inspires, and delights.”

Carl Davies-Phillips, General Manager – Hotel Indigo Stratford upon Avon

Carl Davies-Phillips has been a great asset to Hotel Indigo Stratford upon Avon, and has worked extremely hard through the first year of trading since opening in April 2019 – especially with all the struggles the hospitality industry has faced this year.

Davies-Phillips is very caring of the team, and always ensures that staff morale is high. He has helped so many people develop their careers with his skills and knowledge in the hospitality industry and working for IHG.

In the heart of this Shakespearean market town is the home of the boutique hotel, surrounded by the wealth of culture this idyllic town has to offer.

Steeped in history and home to William Shakespeare, Hotel Indigo shares the neighbourhood with his 16th-century birthplace, as well as one of the most famous theatres in the world; Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Chris King, Co-Founder – Birch

Birch is an intervention from the judgements, expectations, and constraints of daily life; an escape for the explorers and a catalyst for the curious.

Founded by Chris King and Chris Penn, Birch creates spaces where you can rest, explore, connect, work, taste, move, or dance as you wish – all in one place.

For the Birch hotel project, a 140-key hotel that is set within 55 acres of nature just outside of London, architecture and design firm Red Deer deconstructed the meaning of a hotel and pieced it back together to ensure that no element was intrinsic without careful consideration. The obvious need for a bed and bathroom are present, however, more attention was given to the contemporary ‘luxuries’ such as a TV, telephone and smart lighting systems to ascertain their place in a luxury hotel for an increasingly younger generation of guests.

The hotel encourages guests to disconnect from the rigours of mainstream daily life, and reconnect to the things that matter most: more walking, talking, touching and tasting.

Conor O’Leary, Joint Managing Director – Gleneagles

Since being crowned Hotelier of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2018, Conor O’Leary has continued to perfect the luxury address that is often referred to as ‘the glorious playground’. Gleneagles remains one of Scotland’s – if not Great Britain’s – most adventurous luxury hotels.

Set beneath the Ochil Hills, in the heart of Perthshire, it has been the must-go destination for travellers for nearly a century. Beginning its life in the glamorous age of travel when guests arrived in great style at Gleneagles’ very own train station, the 850-acre estate epitomises the natural beauty for which Scotland is famed.

Now under new ownership with Ennismore, Gleneagles has enlisted the skills and expertise of some of the UK’s most acclaimed designers including David Collins Studio, Timorous Beasties, Macaulay Sinclair, Goddard Littlefair and Ennismore’s own in-house design studio – with the aim to create designs and spaces that celebrate the rich, glamorous heritage and beautiful architecture for which the hotel is famed.

Elli Jafari, General Manager – The Standard London

Housed in the former Camden Town Hall Annex in London’s thriving King’s Cross neighbourhood, the 1974 Brutalist building has been meticulously restored and sets the perfect stage for The Standard’s first hotel outside America.

The Standard London shelters 266 guestrooms in 42 unique styles ranging from Cosy Core rooms to terraced suites with outdoor bathtubs overlooking St Pancras station. The lobby lounge, with a carefully curated library pays homage to the building’s original use, with a sound studio hosting weekly live music and talks.

Founded in the late 90s, The Standard’s irreverent and playful sensibility, combined with a careful consideration of design, detail and service, have formed its DNA as a pioneer of hospitality, travel, dining, nightlife, and beyond.

Gary Neville, Co-Founder – Stock Exchange Hotel

 The Stock Exchange Hotel, co-owned by Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, opened in November 2019 as a new luxury address in Manchester.

The former Manchester United footballers were among the first hoteliers to go above and beyond in the Covid-19 crisis, closing the two properties within their portfolio and offering them, free of charge, to NHS workers. The hotel also vowed to not make any staff redundant or place them on unpaid leave for the duration of its closure.

“We have taken this decision as we believe in being proactive and decisive,” said Neville, who added that the hotels would reopen once the pandemic has passed. “We feel that we have a responsibility to protect our team members and as shareholders we have put together the resources to put us in the best position to do this.

“Our company’s success is all down to our team and we feel it is critical that we look after everyone in these challenging times.

Grant Campbell, General Manager – Nobu Hotel London Portman Square

Earlier this year, Grant Campbell was appointed General Manager at Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, which was due to open in July. Campbell moves in as the 249-key hotel’s pre-opening General Manager, Matthew Beard, becomes the hotel’s Managing Director.

Campbell joined Nobu Hotel London Portman Square from Sanderson London, where he led the strategic development of the hotel for more than six years.

In his new role, Campbell oversees the opening of the L+R-owned hotel, which will feature a Nobu restaurant, bar, ballroom for up to 600 guests, gym, wellness facilities and meeting spaces.

George Westwell, CEO – Cheval Collection

Cheval Collection, the luxury hospitality company with serviced apartment residences across London, announced in February 2020 that The Cheval Gloucester Park, Kensington had reopened following two years of full-scale, multi-million pound refurbishments.

The luxury all-apartment residence, has become the collection’s iconic west London property. Cheval Gloucester Park features a combination of one, two and three bedroom apartments, as well as three spectacular five-bedroom penthouses on the upper floors, aptly named Gloucester, Cromwell and Kensington.

The building was stripped back to brick by architecture firm 3D Reid and Cheval’s design team has collaborated with London based design studio 1508 on the complete interior re-design of Cheval Gloucester Park, with a focus on 1920s London. The property shelters modernised design and upgraded features, including a beautifully renovated ground floor reception, a new 12-seater ‘cinema room’ for film screenings and private bookings as well as an enlarged fitness centre.

Guillaume Marly, Managing Director – Hotel Café Royal

Guillaume Marly became the Managing Director of Hotel Café Royal in 2017 following on from stints as hotel manager at The Ritz, The Connaught and senior positions at Claridges.

Consistently referred to as “London’s grand hotel”, the property is part of The Set: a cluster of luxury hotels in the UK and Europe. The sophisticated hotel straddles the elegance of Mayfair and the raw energy of Soho.

Having worked in some of London’s most admired and notable hotels, including Chiltern Firehouse and The Dorchester, Marly brought with him the level of expertise and experience necessary to take on a property of Hotel Café Royal’s size and reputation.

Howard Hastings, Managing Director – Hastings Hotels Group

Established by Sir William Hastings in the late 1960s, Hastings Hotels is a family-owned company and the largest independent hotel group in Northern Ireland.

Howard Hastings, now Managing Director, joined in 1989 as Operations Director. For the past 25 years, he has been Managing Director of Northern Ireland’s foremost hotel group, representing as they do, 1,100 bedrooms in seven hotels and continuing the clear set of values for which Hastings Hotels has become synonymous. These values encompass not only a strong work ethic, but a focus on heavy yearly investment with the local community, staff and suppliers at the heart of the business.

Hastings has been particularly passionate about not only Hastings Hotels but the promotion of tourism in Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland, as well as representing the sector in the wider business such as the Institute of Directors.

Jannes Soerensen, General Manager – The Beaumont

Jannes Soerensen, the General Manager at The Beaumont, is a familiar figure on the luxury hotel scene in Europe. In under two decades, he has worked in some of the finest hotels including Hotel George V Paris, Hotel Arts Barcelona, The Connaught and Le Bristol Paris.

In 2014 – the same year as the hotel opened – Soerensen stepped into the role as General Manager to lead The Beaumont into a new hospitality era.

Six years later, London’s hotel scene has been drastically impacted from the Covid-19 crisis, and Soerensen is currently using this period as an opportunity. Taking advantage of this unpredictable environment, he is coordinating long-planned work on an extension to the hotel. The renovation will include a soft refurbishment of the Cub Room, the Bar, the Colony and the Spa.

Javier Beneyto, General Manager – COMO Metropolitan London

Javier Beneyto has been General Manager of COMO Metropolitan London since 2018, taking over from the previous General Manager who managed the property for almost two decades.

Beneyto, born in Madrid, joined COMO Hotels and Resorts in 2012 and has managed a selection of the brand’s international portfolio before taking on his role at COMO Metropolitan London. Beneyto was instrumental in the redevelopment of the hotel’s residences in 2019, which are adjacent to the hotel. These 10 luxury residences were designed by architects and interior designers, Forme UK. During this process, Beneyto worked with numerous UK suppliers, builders and contractors – and being relatively new to the London hotel scene and only a year in the job, this was an enormous project to undertake which came with many challenges along the way.

The result is a chic and contemporary cluster of residences in the heart of Mayfair. Beneyto kept his cool throughout the process to bring his European flair to the project and the hotel team who adore him.

John Scanlon, General Manager – 45 Park Lane

Since his arrival at 45 Park Lane as General Manager in 2015, John Scanlon has been committed to ensuring that guests have the best possible stay experience, and has a proven track record of maintaining an enjoyable environment for employees.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Scanlon’s leadership saw a number of initiatives quickly come into fruition. Several colleagues became involved in the Golden Friends scheme via Hospitality Action, making regular check-in calls to hospitality retirees in 12-week isolation. Employees have also pledged their support to the NHS and assisted in the donation and distribution of food and necessary supplies to those impacted by Covid-19.

45 Park Lane, along with sister hotels The Dorchester and Coworth Park, also donated £25,000 to Hospitality Action, to help support hospitality workers who are in need and to help feed their families.

Justin Salisbury, Co-Founder – Artist Residence

When Justin Salisbury dropped out of university to help out with the family B&B on Brighton seafront, he unexpectedly caught the hospitality bug, and set out to improve the business with very little budget.

Inspired by the Brighton art scene, he sent out an ad for artists to decorate rooms. Hundreds of artists soon descended on the place revamping the walls, floors and ceilings with unique murals…and so, Artist Residence was born.

Joined by then girlfriend (now wife) Charlie, the pair set about making the concept and hotel a successful business. Three years later, the duo set their sights on their next project, a manor house in the seaside town of Penzance in West Cornwall.

The heartwarming business story is mid-chapter, now with five hotel properties (all of which are sheltered inside interesting buildings that have played significant roles within their location).

The formidable duo are advocates for upcycling, and the team are regularly invited to discuss his authentic design and hospitality approach at major hospitality events.

Marco Novella, Managing Director – The Lanesborough

With its enviable location at the heart of London in prestigious Knightsbridge, and framing panoramic views of Hyde Park, The Lanesborough, managed by Oetker Collection, has long been considered one of the world’s most luxurious hotels. The hotel’s legacy lies with it having been built on the former home of Viscount Lanesborough and remains one of London’s most revered Regency landmarks. The elegant surroundings, exquisite cuisine, unsurpassed attention to detail and world-renowned service are second to none. The Lanesborough captures the sense of a grand residence and offers 93 guest rooms, including 43 suites, and a personal butler service for all guests across all room categories.

Marco Novella joined as Managing Director in 2018. His first position as Hotel Manager at the St. Regis Grand in Rome in 1999 led him to become the General Manager of another Starwood Hotels & Resorts property, The Gritti Palace in Venice. In 2010, Marco became Managing Director of Villa San Michele in Florence, part of Belmond. Prior to joining The Lanesborough, his most recent position was as Managing Director of Brown’s Hotel London in 2016.

Marie-Paule Nowlis, General Manager – Sofitel London St James

Marie-Paule Nowlis, who brings with her 30 years’ experience with the Sofitel brand, and a career shaped by international roles, joined Sofitel London St James as General Manager in April 2019.

Nowlis led an extensive multi-million pound transformation in 2019, which extended throughout the hotel’s 183 guestrooms and suites, restaurant and bar. The property is a flagship hotel for the Sofitel brand and a cornerstone of London’s luxury hotel scene, with the transformation and refurbishment overseen by Pierre-Yves Rochon ensuring it remains one of the most sought-after destinations in the city.

Prior to joining the team at Sofitel London St James, Nowlis was most recently Hotel Manager and Acting General Manager of Sofitel New York, responsible for operational and strategic execution of the 400-room flagship property. She held the position as of February 2016, during which time she was also Acting General Manager for 20 months.

Michael Bonsor, Managing Director – Rosewood London

Michael Bonsor is not only at the helm of one of London’s most successful luxury hospitality establishments, The Rosewood London, but he in his own right is an authentic influencer on the global luxury hospitality scene.

During the Covid-19 crisis, he led the hotel to launch a competition, giving NHS workers a chance of winning a dream wedding. This initiative formed part of Rosewood Raise, a relief initiative launched by Rosewood Hotel Group developed in support of the group’s staff who have been impacted by Covid-19, as well as the communities in which the group operates. The relief initiative included donating hotel rooms, meal preparation and supplies for essential workers.

Other initiatives the hotel was involved with included the Hospitality4Heroes Social Challenge, where Bonsor and his team helped to raise more than £10,000 to support the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Appeal, while head chef of Holborn Dining Room Calum Franklin and his team have been cooking hearty pies and meals for NHS staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital, a charity that the hotel has supported for many years.

Michael Struck, Founder & CEO – Ruby Hotels

Although not UK-based, Ruby Hotels has taken the UK market by storm, following the successful launch of its first London hotel, Ruby Lucy, and the announcement of two further London hotel openings in Clerkenwell and Notting Hill.

Set in London’s vibrant Southbank, Ruby Lucy, which enjoys a fun carnival theme running throughout the hotel, offers guests the ideal opportunity to explore the area’s entertainment and theatre scene.

Unique to Ruby Hotels is Struck’s innovative ‘lean luxury’ philosophy which focuses on providing guests with the essential – a top location, high-quality fittings, and outstanding design – rather than the superfluous, ensuring that travellers are offered a luxurious and unique hotel experience, all at an affordable price point. The model includes a self-check-in system which makes use of tablets to reduce check-in time to under one minute. Additionally, guests have easy access to all of their needs in total privacy, with Ruby Hotels’ galley kitchens and vending machines. The open plan bars, movie lounges, private yoga rooms and spacious rooftop spaces replace traditional spa and gym facilities.

As a result, Struck’s fresh and modern take on urban hospitality is challenging the conventional hotel model.

Olivia Byrne, Director – Eccleston Square Hotel

To optimise the wellbeing of hotel guests, Eccleston Square Hotel, winner of the Best in Tech Award at The Brit List Awards 2019, now offers complementary Levoit Air Purifiers; these quiet, portable, in-bedroom air filters protect against a wide variety of contaminants such as air pollution, allergens and bacteria including airborne viruses. Designed in California the True HEPA filter is 100 per cent ozone free, offers a whisper-quiet setting and delivers fresh air that’s clean, natural and healthy to breathe. This is in addition to the hotel’s 65-point anti-bacterial surface and point of contact sanitising programme.

All bedrooms in the hotel already benefit from HVAC Air Conditioning with air taken from an outside source, it is filtered and cleaned and then directly distributed to each room. Air is simultaneously removed by a centralised mechanical extraction and expelled above the roof. Guests can also be encouraged by the fact that each hotel room benefits from anti infiltration flaps under the door when closed and mattresses are sealed in an Allerguard (TM) anti allergen sack.

Being a small, independent boutique property, Eccleston Square Hotel can adapt swiftly to the fluctuating needs and demands of travellers.

Olivia Richli, General Manager – Heckfield Place

Winner of The Eco Award at The Brit List Awards 2019, Heckfield Place is a Georgian family home, lovingly restored from its classic origins and rewoven into a luxury hotel, which stands in 400 acres of secluded Hampshire landscape.

During a review by Hotel Designs, it was described as a ‘home from home’, somewhere you can simply fall into bed and enjoy a peaceful retreat.

Olivia Richli, the hotel’s General Manager, is a breath of fresh air, who along with owner Gelard Chan who plucked Richli from semi-retirement in Sri Lanka, has brought the property into a new era. The hotel’s opening made a lot of noise in the press, receiving a wave of positive reviews and features, highlighting and commending its DNA of sustainable design and conscious hospitality.

Most recently, the hotel has completed its certification as a Bio-Dynamic Farm, which is a a major milestone for the estate, and the completion of a four-year purposeful process.

Ray Goertz, General Manager – The Prince Akatoki London

As General Manager, Ray Goertz was asked to sketch out his ideas of how he would transform a quintessentially British boutique hotel in Marylebone into a luxury Japanese inspired hotel. This ambitious concept was to take into consideration how the flow of the hotel design would complement overall guest experience and optimise the daily operation.

Collaboratively, Goertz created 19 unique selling points that cannot be found in any other luxury hotel in London, varying from service elements to amenities and other unique features.

Every element from the colour palette and furniture, to the materiality and lighting has been chosen to emanate luxury, and feel in accordance with nature.

Goertz’s role as General Manager on this project afforded him the opportunity to take part in the design of the hotel that would operationally make sense and stand out as something new in the London luxury hospitality arena.

Robert Richardson, General Manager – The Cave Hotel & Golf Resort

After reaching success as General Manager at The Grand in Folkestone – where he led the hotel to win a plethora of national awards – Robert Richardson is now General Manager of The Cave Hotel & Golf Resort in Canterbury.

Regarded as a young trailblazer, Richardson’s fresh approach on hospitality and leadership makes him the ideal person to lead the new tech-savvy, custom-built luxury hotel. The 40-key boutique property takes its inspiration from the best modern luxury hotels operating across the world.

Richardson’s plans include repositioning the property for the luxury staycation market whilst developing its reputation for the overseas market, post-Covid.

In addition, Richardson is an elected Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality, and a regular speaker at industry events and author of several well-regarded industry articles.

Robin Hutson, Chairman & Chief Executive – Lime Wood Group & Home Grown Hotels (THE PIG)

Starting in 2009 with the opening of Lime Wood, Robin Hutson set about creating something a little bit different. The aim was to make their guests feel at home wherever they are – from the peaceful New Forest, to the breathtaking mountain scenery of Courchevel Moriond and the stunning beaches of Studland Bay in Dorset.

Home Grown Hotels is possibly the most talked-about group of hotels to emerge in recent years. THE PIG is really a restaurant with rooms and the kitchen gardens are at the heart of everything the group does.

The concept of THE PIG was created in 2011 and has since been recognised with many accolades and industry awards. The group now consists of seven hotels with the latest additions joining THE PIG, THE PIG-in the wall, THE PIG-near Bath, THE PIG-on the beach, THE PIG-at Combe, THE PIG-at Bridge Place and THE PIG-at Harlyn Bay, with a new addition coming in 2021.

Robin Sheppard, President – Bespoke Hotels

 Robin Sheppard, winner of Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry at The Brit List Awards 2018, co-founded Bespoke Hotels in 2000 and has since grown the business into the UK’s largest independent hotel group. The company now has more than 200 properties spanning the length and breadth of the country and overseas. This has provided him with a platform from which to work tirelessly in the promotion of accessibility within tourism and hospitality, culminating most recently in the launch of the Bespoke Access Awards in April 2016 alongside RIBA and the Design Council. In 2019, the Bespoke Access Awards and the Blue Badge Style Awards merged to form Blue Badge Access Awards (BBAA), with the support of charity Leonard Cheshire.

Earlier this year, Sheppard made his vision of cutting-edge accessible hotel design a reality with the launch of Hotel Brooklyn. Opened in February 2020, Hotel Brooklyn is a trailblazer in championing accessible, sexy and modern design for all. Of the hotel’s 189 rooms and suites, 18 are adapted for guests with a need for accessibility: a huge leap beyond the industry norm – providing outstanding accessibility in rooms that are almost unrecognisably different from standard rooms.

Sheppard’s championing of quality design in accessible hospitality and tourism has inspired an entire industry to think bigger and stretch further, revolutionising the way we think about accessibility and radically altering the experience of disabled people in the UK tourism and hospitality industry.

Thomas Kochs, Managing Director – Corinthia London

Winner of Hotelier of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2019, Thomas Kochs is a familiar name and face on the London and international luxury hospitality scene. Kochs joined the brand in 2017 and has been flying its flag sensitively ever since.

The hotel, which remains Corinthia Hotels’ flagship property, shelters 283 rooms, an award-winning ESPA spa and a public area that works hard to adapt to modern consumer demands.

Kochs is rightfully considered one of the best in his field. With an acute eye for detail, and a calm, collected yet dynamic approach to leadership, the hotelier has seen – perhaps it’s more accurate to say led – the evolutions of many hospitality trends driven by consumer behaviour and demands. “Design has evolved,” Kochs told Hotel Designs in an exclusive interview. “10 – 15 years ago, hotels had more opportunities to impress through design. However, a good design formula alone is no longer enough in today’s market. There are some design-driven brands where the customer only checks in because of the design and aesthetic, but we don’t consider ourselves one of them.”

The Brit List 2020 is Hotel Designs’ nationwide search to find the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers operating in Britain. This year’s campaign came to a close on November 13, when the virtual award ceremony unveiled The List as well as the individual winners

To attend The Brit List Winners’ Party, which takes place on April 29, 2021 at Minotti London, please click hereApplications and nominations for The Brit List Awards 2020 will open Summer 2021.

Cork wallcoverings and blue sofas inside a lodge like hotel room

At one with nature: the new Spa Lodges inside Gilpin Hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
At one with nature: the new Spa Lodges inside Gilpin Hotel

Lake District interior design firm Nielsen House has completed work on a series of luxury Spa Suites, commissioned by the five-star Gilpin Hotel & Lake House in Windermere. Let’s take a look inside…

Cork wallcoverings and blue sofas inside a lodge like hotel room

Interior design firm Nielsen House, which previously designed Gilpin Hotel & Lake House’s pan-Asian restaurant ‘Gilpin Spice’ and five private Spa Lodges, has unveiled the design of the hotel’s five new Spa Suites, which are said to shelter ‘the ultimate spa retreat for two’.

Image of lodge in the lake district

Image credit: Gilpin Hotel & Lake House

“Our brief was to extend the beauty and serenity of the lakes to all who visit,” said Sarah Jane Nielsen, founder of Nielsen House. “The experience had to be completely Gilpin, completely Lakeland, but with our Scandinavian style. We pride ourselves on sustainable design and the interplay between indoors and outdoors. Biophilic design plays a leading role, creating a healthier and more natural environment with all the warmth and comfort of home.”

Each suite, which aptly captures the unique sense of place of the hotel by bringing the outdoors in within the interior design scheme, features 100 square metres of private built-in facilities.

Image of half of the bed and plants

Image credit: Gilpin Hotel & Lake House

Nature has been carefully injected into all touch points of the hotel, including the bathroom, which features a circular internal bath with double vanity area, double rainmaker shower, steam room, sauna, massage chair and treatment room.

Taking wellness to new heights in The Lakes, the suites also features a large private sundeck, hydrotherapy stone-built hot tub, water feature, plunge pool and a living wall.

The five new suites are a well-timed addition to the hotel, while the hospitality industry adapts to meet new health and hygiene demands in public spaces – a movement that is expected to evolve with creativity in 2021.

Main image credit: Gilpin Hotel & Lake House 

The Brit List Architects of 2020

Meet The Brit List Architects of 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Meet The Brit List Architects of 2020

Each year, Hotel Designs unveils The Brit List, a publication that lists the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers who are operating in Britain. Following the official unveiling of The List at this year’s virtual award ceremony, please meet The Brit List Architects of 2020…

The Brit List Architects of 2020

For more than four years now, The Brit List Awards has shone the spotlight on the designers, architects and hoteliers who are proving to be trendsetters on the international hotel design scene. Earlier this year, Hotel Designs’ 2020 search began..

This year’s panel of judges– and of course our sponsors and partners – went above and beyond to support The Brit List Awards as the difficult yet responsible decision was made to organise the judging process and deliver the awards ceremony in virtual formats.

During the in-depth judging process, we all discovered a new meaning of hospitality as we read how designers, architects and hoteliers are continuing to push conventional boundaries.

Following on from unveiling this year’s designers who made The List, , please meet (in alphabetical order) The Brit List Architects of 2020…

Alex Holloway, Creative Director – Holloway Li

In tandem with his founding partner Na Li, Alex Holloway operates at the forefront of a new wave of designers and architects, blurring the boundaries between historicism, decoration and digital process.

With an eye for detail, Holloway looks to create intricate, engaged and impactful interiors that invoke fresh and contemporary forms of experience ­– his designs frequently center around a key moment that holds a filmic quality, working to unlock the space.

Placing sustainability at the core, this September Holloway revealed the design for apart-hotel brand Locke’s latest opening – an urban, eco oasis in the heart of Bermondsey in South East London. Looking to highlight how a circular material economy can generate an incredibly unique aesthetic and a new kind of living experience, the 143-key hotel design has been brought to life with repurposed construction materials. For example, concrete test cubes destined for landfill find new purpose, serving as plinths for six-metre-long terrazzo tables in the ground floor workspaces.

Ben Adams, Founding Director ­– Ben Adams Architects

Ben Adams, a regular name featured in The Brit List, used his more than 20 years’ experience of working on large-scale and complex urban projects to design the building that shelters Nobu Hotel Shoreditch. The first Nobu hotel in Europe, the property occupies in a tight urban plot. The building follows the street line and accents its strong linear form with horizontal steel and concrete fins at each floor level.

A playful, informal grid of board-marked concrete panels and generous full-height glazing expresses the range of activities contained within the hotel, dematerialising at its sloping southern end to give sculptural presence to a lush sunken pocket park.

Catarina Pina-Bartrum, Project Director ­– Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands Architects

Catarina Pina-Bartrum has been part of the team developing a mixed-use development on Hanover Square; a retail-led project on Oxford Street in central London.

As well as working on an indoor sports facility for the University of Birmingham, she was part of the design team responsible for Hoxton Southwark, a mixed-use hotel and office development, which has quickly become a new destination hotel in London.

Prior to joining Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands in 2014, Pina-Bartrum worked with Daniel Gusmão in Rio de Janeiro on the design and development of the broadcasting centre for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Christopher Webb, Vice President (Architecture & Design) EMEA ­– Hilton Hotels

Making his debut on The Brit List, Christopher Webb leads Hilton’s architecture and design team across multiple offices, overseeing and guiding design projects across Hilton’s Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

Webb has been designing and shaping international luxury, lifestyle, and full-service hotels for a wide range of owners, developers, hospitality companies, celebrities and brands for more than 20 years. Directing the design of all Hilton branded hotels in the region, he led the design of the first Waldorf Astoria, as well as most recently the ‘category defining’ Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre – Hilton’s first lifestyle hotel.

Webb is currently working on defining the design for the landmark Waldorf Astoria at Admiralty Arch in London.

Christos Passas, Project Director – Zaha Hadid Architects

Christos Passas was the Project Director for Zaha Hadid Architect’s latest hotel project in Dubai. Spanning 84,300 sqm, the Opus in Dubai was designed as two separate towers that coalesce into a singular whole – taking the form of a cube. The unique cube shape has been ‘eroded’ in its centre, creating a free-form void that is an important volume of the design in its own right. The two halves of the building on either side of the void are linked by a four-storey atrium at ground level and are also connected by an asymmetric 38-metre-wide, three-storey bridge, which is 71 metres above the ground.

The structure’s double-glazed insulating façades incorporate a UV coating and a mirrored frit pattern to reduce solar gain. Applied around the entire building, this dotted frit patterning emphasises the clarity of the building’s orthogonal form, while at the same time, dissolving its volume through the continuous play of light varying between ever-changing reflections and transparency.

Simply put, the mesmerising building is an epic example of modern, iconic and timeless architecture.

Ciaran O’Brien, Founding Director – Red Deer

Graduating from the University of Edinburgh with First-Class Honours degree before completing his Masters, Ciarán O’Brien’s research in architecture has focused predominantly on how industry, craftsmanship and the handmade mediums can inform, stimulate and invigorate the design process in an ever-evolving digital age.

With a mix of interior designers and architects, O’Brian’s ‘herd’ as the firm refers itself as was responsible for the interior design scheme that is now sheltered inside Birch, a new sustainable hotel that has recently opened on the outskirts of London. Reusing and repairing the existing site’s materials, the team stripped back clutter and unnecessary furniture to create more thoughtful spaces.

Dan Hinch, Associate Vice President and Senior Planner – WATG

 Capturing a 75-year legacy has driven Dan Hinch to inspire a better world through the power of holistic design. As the Associate Vice President and Senior Planner at the global multidisciplinary design firm WATG, Hinch is not only a design lover, but also a leader on how it is packaged and experienced through the end user.

Based in London, Hinch leads a team of master planners and landscape architects. He challenges his team to drive good design across all disciplines rather than breaking each practice out as its own entity. “People are evolving, and the way we travel has changed and will continue to change,” says Hinch. “We need to be flexible enough and approach design from a holistic point of view that incorporates architecture, interiors and landscape as one entity.”

Hinch’s recent projects include the Aqua Residences at the Regent Hotel in Porto Montenegro, a world-class marina destination; the Porto Elounda Resort in Crete, Greece; Al Bustan Palace Ritz-Carlton in Oman and Ferney Resort, Mauritius.

David O’Shea, Founder & Director – ODOS Architects

The Mayson is an exciting restoration project and a redevelopment of No.81 and No.82 North Wall Quay. Designed by ODOS Architects, which has studios in Dublin, London and New York, both buildings were in a dilapidated condition and had not been used in over two decades. The concept, with architecture led by David O’Shea, was to redevelop these strikingly unique buildings by drawing on their existing, inherent characters.

The ambition for No.81 was to retain a public house on the ground floor, resulting in minimal intervention to the existing structure and restoring the original features. No.82 is one of the few remaining warehouse structures on the north quays and presented a rare opportunity to establish this forgotten building as a new Dublin landmark.

The 4,180 sqm of the Mayson is home to 94 guestrooms and suites, bars, restaurants, event space and outdoor courtyard.

Geoff Hull, Director – EPR Architects

Last year’s Highly Commended candidate in the Architect of the Year category at The Brit List Awards 2019, Geoff Hull is a director with more than 30 years’ experience. He specialises in hotels and hospitality, including new builds, conversions, refurbishments, restorations and heritage schemes in listed buildings for budget, boutique and luxury brands.

Previously, Hull was responsible for the multi-award-winning Rosewood London, as voted for by the readers of Ultratravel as “The Best New Hotel in the World” at The Telegraph ULTRAS Awards in 2014.

Hull continues to oversee a number of high-profile hotel projects of varying scale and complexity, and his latest project exemplified this.

Located in the Trafalgar Square Conservation Area, the now Great Scotland Yard Hotel has breathed new life into a neglected Edwardian building. The sensitive conversion and extension maintained the principle elements of the original building, replaced the 1980s addition and added new attic storeys over the whole building with basements below.

As a result of EPR Architect’s sensitive approach, the design retained and complemented the style of the original building and, using traditional materials, sits comfortably in its surroundings.

Gordon Ferrier, Head of Hotels – 3DReid

As Head of Hotels at 3DReid, Gordon Ferrier brings more than 30 years’ hospitality design experience on a wide range of hotel projects, covering both new build and refurbishments and conversions.

Ferrier has worked with a number of prominent hotel brands including Goodwood, Gleneagles, Cameron House, Dakota, Malmaison, Principal and De Vere and has worked internationally on projects across Europe, UAE, the US and Africa.

Currently, 3DReid is working on Goodwood Hotel, Gleneagles Club in Edinburgh, Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Malmaison in Edinburgh and Cameron House Hotel at Loch Lomond. 

Graham Barr, Associate – jmarchitects

Set behind a striking façade of Scottish stone at the point where Edinburgh’s historic Old Town meets the New Town, Market Street Hotel, designed by jmarchitects, emerges as a cultural gateway to both the city’s storied past and its pulse-quickening present.

The visual concept of the 98-key hotel pays homage to the capital’s character and historic narrative, while simultaneously exploring Scottish cosmopolitanism. Cracked, earthen walls are juxtaposed against the clean, minimalist lines of contemporary furnishings, and unexpected bursts of traditional tartans and heritage fabrics provide an experiential element to the hotel’s aesthetic.

A modern take on Baronial materiality and composition also provides the inspiration behind Market Street’s 98 guestrooms and suites. Organic, natural materials such as oak and locally sourced stone provide a tactile canvas for modern design classics from the likes of Fritz Hansen and Saint Luc, alongside custom-made furniture and handcrafted local pieces.

James Dilley, Director – Jestico + Whiles

James Dilley has amassed more than 20 years’ experience in this sector working under appointment as either architect or interior designer.

He is currently leading the architecture and design scheme of a retail-led development that will transform retailing and leisure within the Scottish capital and is due to complete in 2020. The soon-to-be W Edinburgh has been designed as a bundle of ‘coiled ribbons’, creating a free-flowing and bold building which will complement the development’s elegantly understated masterplan.

Imagined in conjunction with Allan Murray Architects, the 12-storey hotel will feature a striking exterior façade, evoking the festival spirit of Edinburgh and creating an outstanding landmark building at the heart of the city.

Jonny Sin, Associate Director – ReardonSmith Architects

Since joining the firm in 2011, Jonny Sin has led ReardonSmith Architects’ hospitality team into modern times. He was a key member of the award-winning team who transformed a Grade II listed art-deco style building into the luxury boutique hotel that we know of as The Beaumont Hotel.

Other projects include a 173-key hotel in Battersea, London; Adere Manor, Co. Limerick and he is working on a conversion of three buildings in London’s Soho into a 69-key urban lifestyle hotel.

Most recently, Sin led an in-house team to create a concept guestroom for a hotel group, which was revealed at Sleep & Eat 2020. The firm collaborated with students from Glion Institute of Higher Education and Hotelschool The Hague led by the directors of hotel creative consultancy, HoCoSo, and the project was branded by Delight Lifestyle Brand Agency.

Luke Fox, Head of Studio – Foster + Partners

Luke Fox leads a team of designers in London, Hong Kong and Beijing on a wide range of international projects at the firm. One of the most significant projects he is working on at the moment is Jabal Omar development, a new luxury hotel and serviced apartments complex in the heart of Makkah.

Inspired by traditional Arab architecture, its design reinterprets the traditional dense building clusters, creating a new contemporary vernacular that respects its sacred location. Following the mountainous terrain, its cascading vertical elements form a new topography. The new mixed-use development will create a gateway along the route to the Grand Mosque for pilgrims from the world over.

Most recently, earlier this year, Foster + Partners were announced as part of the design team responsible for bringing the Six Senses brand to London.

 Mark Bruce, Main Board Director – EPR Architects

Mark Bruce is a Main Board Director and heads the hotels and hospitality team with extensive experience across the hotels and hospitality sector, and particular expertise with listed buildings, refurbishments and resort hotels.

Following the completion of the much-talked-about Great Scotland Yard Hotel, Bruce is now, in collaboration with Foster + Partners and AvroKO, working with Six Senses to sensitively inject the luxury brand’s distinctive personality and philosophy into its debut hotel in London.

Mark Kelly, Partner – PLP Architecture

PLP Architecture is an architecture firm behind some of the world’s smartest and most sustainable buildings, which will soon include Pan Pacific London.

Opening Spring 2021 – and already being described as an ‘architectural marvel’ – the project’s vision is to balance a design that is sensitive to the Asian heritage of the brand whilst creating an ultra-modern, timeless hotel and complex that challenges conventional architecture.

Mark Kelly, Partner at the studio, went on the record recently, telling Hotel Designs how the pandemic will impact the industry. “Architecture is an inherently flexible process – always evolving while constantly questioning and reinventing itself,” he said. “As such, it is well placed to respond to the current and seemingly ever-changing Covid crisis and, for that matter, other current and future global concerns such as the climate emergency.

Since you’re here, why not read The Brit List Awards 2020 winners’ story?

Mark Wood, Partner – Dexter Moren Associates

With more than two decades of professional experience and in-house knowledge, Dexter Moren Associates’ partner and architect Mark Wood possesses a broad and varied scope of expertise, particularly in hotel, office, mixed-use, residential and sport and leisure projects.

Fortunate to have had a career doing what he loves, Wood combines his devotion to architecture and urban design with a passion for travel; holding a firm belief that through travel one can gain a perception for what makes a place special, and translate that knowledge into designing buildings that are not only unique but also intrinsic to their location.

Examples of this careful consideration of a schemes wider importance include New Marlborough Yard in the London Borough of Southwark; a radical reinvention of the Premier Inn brand that features a soft landscaped public courtyard and new pedestrian route through the site, while decorative brickwork detailing draws inspiration from the ornate Victorian warehouses and pubs to be found among the surrounding streets.

Some of Wood’s other recent projects include the Guardsman in London, the Royal Hotel in Norwich and the Hilton Hotel, Ealing.

Matthew Salter, Associate Director – HGP Architects

Matthew Salter is the Associate Director at HGP Architects, and led the architectural project to design Southampton Harbour Hotel & Spa. The yacht-inspired 85-key luxury hotel adjacent to Admirals Quay has become a sought-after destination for city-dwellers and visitors to Southampton.

The form of the building takes reference from its nautical setting, providing terraces around each level of the building. The concrete frame hotel is built off of the existing pier to the marina and provides conference facilities, a spa complex featuring a swimming pool and gymnasium as well as a restaurant and rooftop bar showcasing spectacular views of the harbour.

Metehan Apak, Senior Interior Architect – Dawson Design Associates

As a highly motivated and hard-working interior architect with almost 10 years’ professional experience, Metehan Apak has extensive experience working as part of a team, as an independent professional, as a manager and as a managing partner. Possessing specific interest and expertise in hospitality and leisure projects, he has worked on a variety of high-end and international hotel, spa and wellness centre, office, health centre and private residence projects with budgets ranging from £50K to £200M.

Based in Twickenham, the Dawson Design Associates London Studio works fluidly as an extension of its Seattle headquarters and design team in the US. The firm’s London team is a constantly growing group of international designers and architects and serves as the driving force behind emulating the US branch’s long-term record for success, while building DDA’s presence internationally and in the local London market.

Na Li, Managing Director – Holloway Li

 Born in Nanjing/China, Na Li graduated from University College London (Bartlett School of Architecture), becoming a qualified architect with the Architects Registration Board and chartered member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Li is now responsible for all business development and international projects at Interior Architect studio Holloway Li, having honed her varied and specialist experience prior with developer-led Architects Teatum & Teatum, Wilkinson Eyre, and later Michaelis Boyd where she worked across the Groucho member’s club, and Soho Farm House in Oxfordshire.

She was the first Chinese graduate awarded with Dean’s list of Distinction Award and her architectural illustrations were exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art’s prestigious Summer Exhibition.

Placing sustainability at the core of her concepts, this September Li in tandem with Alex Holloway revealed the design for apart-hotel brand Locke’s latest opening – an urban, eco oasis in the heart of Bermondsey, South East London.

Nathalie Rozencwajg, Founder – NAME Architecture

Nathalie Rozencwajg is the founder of NAME Architecture, and an internationally-acclaimed award-winning architect.

Rozencwajg began her career working for a number of internationally renowned practices on projects in London, Beijing, Athens and Mecca. She went on to co-found RARE architecture, where she was a Director for 12 years, responsible for a portfolio of award-winning projects. Her clients have included Club Med, Accor and Unlisted Collection, British Airways, Land Securities and the Berkeley Group. She has gained a reputation for her collaborative approach and for creating iconic projects which breathe new life into historic buildings and in conservation areas.

Rozencwajg is a regular contributor to architecture and design journals, speaking and lecturing to a wide range of international audiences. This is Rozencwajg’s second appearance in The Brit List. In addition, she was shortlisted for Architect Journal’s Emerging Woman Architect of the Year and identified by The Guardian as one of its ‘10 Women Architects to watch’.

Richard Coutts, Director – BACA Architects

Designer of the UK’s first amphibious house, Richard Coutts recently featured on the Channel 5 documentary entitled “Sinking Cities – The Great Flood of London: Environmental Challenges, Food and Floating”, which referenced Aquatecture (architecture on water) and the need for consideration to be given to intelligent innovative ways of living by optimising water as a resource.

From concept right through to completion, BACA Architects, founded and led by the talented Richard Coutts, has been a key collaborator and an inspiration for Tyram Lakes.

Tyram is so much more than a hotel, spa and resort. It shelters uncompromised luxury within an eco-friendly and sustainable environment.

BACA’s holistic approach is helping to create an environmentally-centred paradise from woodland and quarry pits, fishing and watersport lakes and an abandoned pub named William de Lindholme.

Richard Holland, Director – Holland Harvey Architects

Richard Holland leads the hospitality team at Holland Harvey Architects – working on early concepts through to turnkey delivery of some of London’s most high-profile hotels, working primarily with the Inhabit brand, now part of the Design Hotels portfolio.

The first site having opened in late 2019 and a second, larger, property is due in late 2021. In addition, he is currently working on the re-imagining of the five-star Montcalm hotel in Marble Arch, and a complex planning consent for new boutique micro-hotel in St. John’s Wood. Beyond this, the firm is currently working on hospitality led projects in Mexico, Singapore, France and the Middle East.

Simon Whittaker, Associate Director – Orms

Simon Whittaker joined Orms in 2003 and became an Associate Director in 2019 – the same year he was crowned Architect of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2019.

With a passion for retro architecture, Whittaker particularly enjoys transforming existing buildings to maximise their full potential, which in London is often on complicated and intricate sites.

He has worked on a wide range of projects in the commercial, education and leisure sectors and clients include Great Portland Estates, Crosstree Real Estate (The Standard Hotel London), British Land and Derwent London.

His most recent architecture challenge is to restore an iconic site in London’s Holborn, which will also unlock a new neighbourhood.

Terry McGinnity, Global Executive Design Director – G.A Design

Originally trained as an architect in Australia, Terry McGinnity moved to London to continue his career.

After assuming the role of Managing Director of G.A Design in 1998, he has turned it into one of the most dynamic and interesting design firms working out of the UK. He is now the Global Executive Design Director where he oversees the creative output for all G.A projects.

With his matched ability in both interior design and architecture, McGinnity is able to adopt a holistic approach to each project he works on – take Park Hyatt St Kitts for example. Sustainably designed with local materials and unique water features throughout, the hotel echoes the island’s rich heritage and culture, and seamlessly intertwines contemporary architecture and colonial design.

Timber-clad wall finishes and oversized glass hurricane lanterns remain true to the island’s history with the lattice-work detailing clearly referencing the Caribbean architecture which inspired the design.

The Brit List 2020 is Hotel Designs’ nationwide search to find the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers operating in Britain. This year’s campaign came to a close on November 13, when the virtual award ceremony unveiled The List as well as the individual winners

To attend The Brit List Winners’ Party, which takes place on April 29, 2021 at Minotti London, please click hereApplications and nominations for The Brit List Awards 2020 will open Summer 2021.

Embracing nature – a 2021 trends forecast we can relate to

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Embracing nature – a 2021 trends forecast we can relate to

With the aim to inspire a deeper connection with nature, this 2021 trends forecast by Modieus consists of four key themes, which are grounded, green utopia, textured layers and crafted…

Developed post lockdown, each this trends forecast reflects our freedom from isolation; it embraces nature, craves the simplicity and inspires a meaningful sense of peace.

Grounded

A new appreciation of the truly important things in life make us feel grounded. To some extent this reflects the collective state of people who have experienced Covid-19 lockdowns. Down to earth colour palettes, warm natural hues, create a sense of stability, balance and a foundation stone for change.

A mustard armchair on a honey-mustard rug and brass light

Image credit: Modieus

Warm earthy tones, soft, natural and soothing to create a sense of calm and comfort. Natural and cool beige, neutral with a faint green undertone will calm the senses. Nature will be intensified with mossy, sage greens paired with turmeric and citrus yellow hues.

Reflecting on nature’s influence, we see a fresh take on yellow. To feel optimistic, we turn to yellow. Pale citrus yellow, soft creamy butter and stronger turmeric yellow.  Spring and yellow floral hues reflective of gardens reinvigorating our interest in colour that inspires feelings of much needed optimism.

Green utopia

Embracing sustainability and wellness. We have grown tired of social media and digital devices so are reconnecting with nature’s beauty. We will continue to seek solid interactions with loved ones, family and friends, and give greater focus to what is around us immediately.

A large modern sofa in a contemporary setting

Image credit: Modieus

Green foliage and dappled light revives us. This palette’s green hue also includes shades of brown within green hues, such as discoloured grasses or new foliage on old branches. Inspiration is drawn from plants and the foliage of leaves, vegetables, cacti and flowers.

Issues of sustainability have never been so important and the pandemic has allowed time to accelerate our thinking moving forward. The textile industry is changing rapidly. Using resources more responsibly is the unifying theme of this trend.

Textured layers 

The textured layers trend is all about looking to the unseen and the finer details. Stone will be simple, concrete, minimal and almost cool. Terracotta will return, in modern hues, softer and paler. Colour will feel monochromatic, to emphasise small details to shine like matt and gloss.

A green room with jungle-like carpets

Image credit: Modieus

Engaging with imperfections of authentic natural materials that have been used, worn or look tarnished. Rusted metals, dark woods with irregular grain patterns. Fabrics will feel unblemished or unprocessed like raffia, recycled denim, hemp and hessian.

There is a tactile and visual dryness to these colours, which reflects the wider Australian environment of the bush and desert. In line with embracing a natural aesthetic, colour palettes will begin to reflect more warm earth-fired colours such as metal ores, russet shades, soft terracotta and browns.

Colour palettes will be layered and monochromatic. Sun-kissed colours are paired beautifully, such as soft dusky pink, also a gentle optimistic colour.  With a blue undertone, dusky pink is ideal for injecting warmth into palettes of grey and blue.

Crafted

Recognising the provenance of goods and how they are made has fuelled the Crafted trend.  There is a shift in thinking as we look to shop locally to avoid lengthy shipping delays from overseas suppliers. We’re looking at craftsmen for special custom pieces that are unique to our needs and taste.

An image of a crafted lobby

Image credit: Modieus

Aesthetically, a bespoke crafted style, embraces artisan-made, ethically produced, imperfect-looking pieces that are robust and enduring. Designs are fluid and loosely drawn.

Fabrics and products have a rawness that shows the hand of the craftsperson in their creation. In Australia we expect to see more indigenous patterns and collaborations with respectful references to Indigenous art, land and country.

Main image credit: Modieus

a long pool overlooking the Amalfi Coast

Stay One Degrees collaborates with Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Stay One Degrees collaborates with Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

The exclusive members community, Stay One Degree, which offers more than 3,500 properties in more than 250 locations, confirms up to US$5 million in a funding series led by Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

Stay One Degree has announced the closing of a funding round led by Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, the award-winning owner and operator that has recently announced new hotels in Vienna and Melbourne.

a long pool overlooking the Amalfi Coast

Stay one Degree is an exclusive members community that allows discerning luxury travellers to rent the finest holiday homes around the world directly from like-minded members. 

The funding round was led by a strategic investment from Mandarin Oriental and will enable Stay One Degree to accelerate the expansion of its global portfolio of exceptional luxury homes and move into new under-penetrated markets.

The investment also provides Stay One Degree’s fast-growing global network of members with access to new and exclusive experiences, including the launch of a mobile app, a new cutting-edge website, an online concierge service and a range of exciting collaborations with global luxury brands. These investments will enable Stay One Degree to continue to provide the most personalised and curated holiday experiences available in the luxury home rental market. 

“We are absolutely thrilled to have closed this Series A funding round and have a new strategic partner and shareholder in Mandarin Oriental, which in my mind is the most luxurious hotel brand in the world, offering legendary service standards and impeccable attention to detail,” said Thomas Bennett, co-founder of Stay One Degree. “We share their core values and obsessive focus on offering our members a unique experience whenever they stay in our homes.”

A modern wooden building next to the ocean

Image credit: Hawkes Bay, New Zealand/Stay One Degree

Co-founder, Jorge Munoz adds: “With the boundaries between luxury holiday homes and hotels becoming increasingly blurred and the needs of the luxury traveller constantly evolving, we are delighted to be partnering with Mandarin Oriental, bringing together our two luxury brands via a strategic partnership. Customers of Mandarin Oriental have for decades enjoyed incredible, personalised service and we look forward to learning from their wealth of expertise in the luxury segment as well as offering a unique and unrivalled range of luxury accommodation and experiences to customers of both brands.”

Stay One Degree and Mandarin Oriental will also look for opportunities to collaborate and develop a range of curated luxury experiences, combining Mandarin Oriental’s legendary service and Stay One Degree’s exceptional luxury homes, that are unrivalled in the luxury home rental market. The two groups will also explore avenues for customers to benefit from exclusive access, privileged benefits and superior recognition across the combined portfolio of destinations offered by both brands. 

“We look forward to working closely with Tom and Jorge as they expand their exceptional offering of wonderful homes and services to discerning global travellers. We see definite opportunities for our brands to collaborate together and look forward to exploring ways to introduce new luxury experiences that combine the best of both brands,” said James Riley, CEO of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group.  

Main image credit: Stay One Degree

pantone colour of the year: woman in grey standing in front of yellow backdrop

More about PANTONE’s Colour of the Year 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
More about PANTONE’s Colour of the Year 2021

For only the second time in the campaign’s more than 20-year history, PANTONE’s Colour of the Year 2021 will be two colours: PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating. Here’s all you need to know about these two tones. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

pantone colour of the year: woman in grey standing in front of yellow backdrop

The unveiling of PANTONE’s Colour of the Year means one thing: 2020 is nearly over! And with our editorial lens focusing into the future, we are intrigued about the decision behind the colour experts’ colour of choice for 2021.

PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating are two independent colours that highlight how different elements come together to support one another, a lesson surely learned by all in 2020, which we can start to practice in 2021.

Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, the union of PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is “one of strength and positivity,” says PANTONE, at least. It is a story of colour that encapsulates deeper feelings of thoughtfulness with the promise of something sunny and friendly.

A message of happiness supported by fortitude, the combination of these specific colours is aspirational and gives us hope, which with the way hospitality is at the moment something we are in hot demand of.

As people look for ways to fortify themselves with energy, clarity, and hope to overcome the continuing uncertainty, spirited and emboldening shades satisfy our quest for vitality. PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is a bright and cheerful yellow sparkling with vivacity, a warming yellow shade imbued with solar power. PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray is emblematic of solid and dependable elements which are everlasting and provide a firm foundation. The colours of pebbles on the beach and natural elements whose weathered appearance highlights an ability to stand the test of time, Ultimate Gray quietly assures, encouraging feelings of composure, steadiness and resilience.

Personally, I’m just glad that Covid Blue didn’t make it through…

Main image credit: PANTONE

A dramatic image of Múzsa bar inside Four Seasons Hotel Budapest

Richmond unveils new bar inside Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Richmond unveils new bar inside Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest

The new bar, Múzsa, inside Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest, is a masterclass in the evolution of the hotel lobby space, an area within the hotel that interior design firm Richmond International continue to set new design and hospitality standards in…

A dramatic image of Múzsa bar inside Four Seasons Hotel Budapest

Award-winning hospitality design specialists, Richmond International, unveil resplendent lobby-bar interiors for Múzsa at Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest. The completion of this project – following recent renovations of guest rooms and meeting spaces – marks Richmond’s latest collaboration with the hotel, having overseen its original design more than 16 years ago.

Occupying what was previously an open plan lobby area, Múzsa epitomises the evolution of the hotel lobby. An iconic design undertaking of its time by Richmond, the original lobby space at Gresham Palace was a true masterpiece, showcasing grand design and celebrating local craft. Originally built in 1906 as a residence for British aristocracy before undergoing a hotel restoration in 2004, it was restored during a period where public spaces in hotels aspired to be more reverential than multi-functional; extravagant passing spaces which provided little more than sights to behold.

Today, the hotel lobby is no longer a space that guests merely pass through. It assumes a more purposeful role, providing room to work, hold meetings, socialise or simply unwind. These once communal spaces have become highly sought-after, providing valuable services for guests and creating additional functionality and revenue for hotels, through thoughtfully-executed design.

“We’re really proud to be a part of the evolution of Gresham Palace.” – Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International.

Imbuing the glamour and elegance of Budapest’s golden age, Múzsa introduces a new lobby lounge concept to Four Seasons Gresham Palace, fusing the building’s rich past with the needs of today’s sophisticated clientele. This new offering reflects a bold departure from the historic trend of single use design, in favour of versatility and flexibility. The result is space that is convivial in nature and welcomes social interaction, offering a main reception, private concierge club, multiple meetings rooms, a tasting room and expansive bar areas.

“This was a project that was hugely important to the team,” said Fiona Thompson, Principal at Richmond International and winner of the Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry award at The Brit List Awards 2020. “When we first saw the hotel and then completed the restoration more than 16 years ago, we fell in love with the building. We’re really proud to be a part of the evolution of Gresham Palace and to see that it remains such a significant piece of architecture in Budapest today.”

A masculine design inside the Tasting Room

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

The journey through Múzsa was considered in meticulous detail, with each moment offering a distinctly different mise-en-scène which surprises and delights. A deep reverence for the heritage of the building sees Richmond adopt a modern, yet sympathetic take on Secessionist interior motifs and colour combinations, seamlessly blending past, present, and future to create one timeless experience.

Upon entering the building, guests are welcomed into the lobby lounge with banquette seating to create a social hub within the bar area, designed for guests to meet and relax throughout the day, and into the evening. It features peacock fabric with deep seaming and beautifully detailed screening sections. Large golden lampshades by Solinfo Lighting & Home hang over the banquette, showcasing a bass relief pattern which subtly replicates architectural tiling details on the walls.

A main concierge library area captures the splendour of the building, with two discreet meeting rooms and a tasting room creating additional intimate spaces for guests to use and enjoy. Warm-toned mosaic walls, statement lighting and striking artwork come together to create atmosphere and drama, whilst providing comfort for work and play.

In the bar area, which seats 130, a raised platform for live performances takes centre stage. Wrapped in bespoke artistic fabric by Rima and McRae, this hero feature is an ode to the luxury of traditional Budapest hotel bars of the 1910s and evokes a strong sense of theatre and dynamism to the space. Another key feature in this space is the bar fixture, adorned with a mirrored finish and intricate patterning. It’s circular shape and transparency allow guests to seamlessly walk around it, see through it and enjoy cocktails at the counter with an energetic ambiance. 

A voice of authority in hotel design, with more than 50 years of expertise working with the world’s leading luxury hotels, Richmond International was responsible for the original design of Four Seasons Gresham Palace. The award-winning team approached this project with profound insight and personal affection having been integral to its transformations over the years. 

Through the years, Gresham Palace has lived many lives. It was originally designed as a residence for British aristocracy before later being badly damaged during the war and Soviet era. Beyond this, the landmark building was also home to a shopping arcade before being converted to a Four Seasons Hotel in 1999. Ongoing renovations by Richmond International began in 2004 and continue today.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

How to achieve signature realistic photos & virtual tours

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How to achieve signature realistic photos & virtual tours

Studio Autograph is a creative hub, providing clients worldwide with realistic photos and virtual tours…

A team of experienced 3D artists and architects, Studio Autograph is daily focused on providing interior designers with signature realistic photos and virtual tours.

Studio Autograph offers assistance to give you an insight of your project in a 3d visual for future project. The company offers indoor and outdoor along with product 3d models. From the moment the interior designer or architect starts working on a project’s concept from the beginning to the end, they are here to assist you along your journey.

With the pandemic upon us this year, Studio Autograph has adapted and modified the way it works. The brand has learned to work efficiently and cost effective. For example, the team no longer need to travel to present a project when we can send a 3d realistic rendering.

The Process

The team will have an initial meeting to understand fully your requirements and design, but mostly how they can assist you better.

The team then studies your project to come up with best solution that fits your design and the final clients needs. At this moment, they will also discuss all the materials and technical requirements.

Following this meeting and our agreement, they will then commence designing the initial project.

After the first presentation of our visuals, they will then send you the final high-resolution designs.

Image credit: Studio Autograph

About Studio Autograph

Studio Autograph worked with luxury brands for many years and supplied interior designers, architects and retail clients with many options for both residential, hospitality and contract projects.

In its past experience, the brand has always felt they could be more helpful and resourceful if they were in charge of the project from the beginning to the end. With this in mind, they guarantee you that we will save you time, money and misunderstandings as you will be clear with your vision.

“Our aim is to make money with you and not from you.” – Barbara Garcia Neto, Director, Studio Autograph.

Even though this industry is more virtual, the team guarantee to supply you a more human aspect of it by having an account manager and someone you can speak to at all time and guide you throughout the project.

Our team consists of qualified architects, interior designers, 3D artists and product designers who are ready to assist you with any challenges you may incur.

Studio Autograph is one of our Industry Support Package clients and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Studio Autograph

The Brit List Designers of 2020 - profile images of the finalists

Meet The Brit List Designers of 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Meet The Brit List Designers of 2020

Each year, Hotel Designs unveils The Brit List, a publication that lists the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers who are operating in Britain. Following the official unveiling of The List at this year’s virtual award ceremony, please meet The Brit List Designers of 2020…

The Brit List Designers of 2020 - profile images of the finalists

For more than four years now, The Brit List Awards has shone the spotlight on the designers, architects and hoteliers who are proving to be trendsetters on the international hotel design scene. Earlier this year, Hotel Designs’ 2020 search began..

This year’s panel of judges– and of course our sponsors and partners – went above and beyond to support The Brit List Awards as the difficult yet responsible decision was made to organise the judging process and deliver the awards ceremony in virtual formats.

During the in-depth judging process, we all discovered a new meaning of hospitality as we read how designers, architects and hoteliers are continuing to push conventional boundaries.

To kickstart our editorial celebration of this year’s winners, please meet (in alphabetical order) The Brit List Designers of 2020…

Albin Berglund, Managing Director – Bergman Interiors

Albin Berglund is the co-founder of Bergman Interiors. He leads a team of designers with Marie Soliman that is unquestionably making ripples in London’s – and now the world’s – luxury interior and architectural design arena. With more than 25 years’ combined experience, Berglund and Soliman have built up an enviable portfolio of projects, spanning London to St. Petersburg, Qatar to New York.

The studio’s dynamic approach is to clearly define where design can have the maximum benefit and impact on our guests’ wellbeing and focus on these key wellness elements.

Currently, the firm is working on a seven-star spa hotel in Norway. It contains guest villas, a luxurious spa and common areas such as restaurants and bars. Berglund’s answer to the project has been to coherently formulate the spaces so that guests can read a continuous language throughout, drawing on nature to tell the story of both the hotel and its setting.

Carolynne Shenton, Founding Director – Studio Mica

Carolynne Shenton is the creative force at the core of the interior design team at Studio Mica, and has been the principal designer behind some of the most prestigious interior projects including the award-winning Nobu Hotel Shoreditch.

Her most recently completed project is a new build, two-storey hospitality villa in Ibiza. The studio was responsible for the interior design and furniture specification. The floor area of the villa is 1,000 sqm and the design features master and guest suites, internal and external bathrooms, dual-family and catering kitchens, bars, open-plan living with panoramic sea views, studio cinema, a gym, a spa with an infinity-edge lap pool, landscaped gardens, al fresco dining and roof terraces.

As well as this, Shenton is also currently working on the interiors and furniture fixtures and equipment for a new 85-key boutique hotel with a restaurant, members club, gym and spa in East London.

Charlie North, Design Director – Ennismore

The multifaceted approach to Charlie North’s design style has allowed him and his team to create award-winning interior schemes for Ennismore-owned brands such as Gleneagles and Hoxton Hotels.

Most recently, North led the team to complete Hoxton Southwark, a 192-key hotel, which features restaurants, bars, function rooms and 4,000 sqm of flexible co-working office space – all of which are stacked within and sheltered inside a slender 17-storey building.

The Hoxton Southwark places an emphasis on British-led design with antique and bespoke fixtures dotted throughout the hotel. The design scheme of the urban hotel, where possible, also brings the outdoors in, which gives each area a new depth entirely.

Clinton Freeman, Design Director – IHG

Former Design Director of David Collins Studio and former Senior Design Director of EU at Hilton, Clinton Freeman was appointment Design Director of IHG in September of 2019. The hotel group has been included in The Brit List for a number of years, with Henry Reeve being named highly commended in the Interior Designer of the Year category last year, and Emma King being shortlisted the year before.

The IHG Group is expanding at a rapid rate, with an emphasis on lifestyle hotels in new destinations, and is rapidly influencing a new breed of boutique hotels. Hotel Indigo, for example, currently has 104 hotel openings in the pipeline in the next three to five years*.

[*this was accurate at the time The Brit List 2020 went to print]

Dale Atkinson, Founding Director – Rosendale Design

Dale Atkinson has dedicated his life to his passion and takes pride in the design aesthetic he creates. Rich in tradition, and yet creatively contemporary, Atkinson utilises research as the bedrock of all projects, allowing each space to evoke a unique environment.

Next year will see the opening of the newly refurbished restaurant at the renowned Santa Marina Resort, Mykonos. The studio was commissioned to create spaces both internally and externally that celebrated Greek culture. Due to Covid-19, the project’s completion has been delayed until May 2021.

Damien Follone, Senior Associate & Senior Designer (F&B) – Wimberly Interiors

Damien Follone brings more than ten years of architectural and interiors knowledge to the Wimberly Interiors’ team as a Senior Associate and Senior Designer of Restaurants + Bars at the firm’s London studio.

His design approach and critical thinking ensure that each project is strategically positioned from inception through to delivery with emphasis on hotel food and beverage experiences. Follone is at the forefront of experiential design, exploring how F&B concepts and brands come together with products and personalities to create enjoyable and authentic guest experiences.

Having worked in architecture in Australia, he brings both high-level resort planning and humanscale design skills from a number of projects in Oceania and Asia.

More recently, his hotel experience in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia has allowed him to work with renowned luxury brands to analyse, position and design their F&B offerings to be successful and relevant in the local market.

David Mason, Director of Hospitality – Scott Brownrigg

Following four years as a Project Director in Interior Design for Scott Brownrigg, in 2019 David Mason was promoted to become Director of Hospitality at the firm, and made his debut in The Brit List as a result.

Mason has worked steadily to authentically grow Scott Brownrigg’s profile within the market place. As a global design leader, ranked 11 in the UK and within the global top 100 architectural practices, the firm’s interior design team have worked on projects for brands including Hilton, Hard Rock Hotels, Radisson Blu, Hyatt Regency & Assembly.

In the past four years, Mason’s team has created a budget hotel, Assembly London, behind the Odeon Cinema in Leicester Square. The project was praised by British GQ as one of its top 10 places to visit in London.

Last year, the studio completed its work on Hard Rock Hotel London in Marble Arch, which became the city’s new destination venue. Mason led a team, designing all the public spaces for the hotel.

Most recently, Mason and his team have been working on the re-development and re-branding of two existing hotels in East London, with its launch this year delayed due to Covid-19. The team are fortunately now heading back to site with the first phase launch anticipated for January 2021.

David T’Kint, Partner – Hirsch-Bedner Associates

As a Partner at Hirsch-Bedner Associates EMEA, David T’Kint is responsible for overseeing a team of designers and creatives. Driven by creativity and in response to the evolution of luxury design, his regional team brings together the talents and specialties of his global team to enhance the firm’s 360-degree service, creating a one-stop-shop for inspired hospitality design.

In December 2019, the studio completed on the interiors for Great Scotland Yard Hotel; a landmark development in London’s City of Westminster. Once the London’s Metropolitan Police headquarters, the listed building’s latest chapter is a 152-key luxury boutique hotel, in which the stories of the building’s past unfold through exquisitely sculpted interiors and eclectic decorative elements.

Transforming this historical space into a welcoming place for discerning travellers, T’Kint expressed the individuality of Great Scotland Yard through an unexpected play of Edwardian-inspired hues and patterns, conventional Whitehall, and colours that relive the timeless elegance and sophistication of the era with a flair of contemporary details.

Dennis Irvine, Founder / Creative Director – Dennis Irvine Studio

Dennis Irvine has consistently designed for world-renowned operators and high-end luxury private residences. As a voice and presence within the hospitality industry he remains respected for his ‘sense of place’ design aesthetic and relevant project design narration. Irvine continues to champion attention to detail and craftsmanship with local and international artisans, which often result in unique interiors both in the UK and globally.

A regular speaker, Irvine attends industry events and offers views on topics such as hospitality design evolution, advice to those starting their careers in the industry and sensitive historic restorations.

Irvine continues to be recognized in many publications including the Robb report, Forbes, Harper’s Bazaar and Architectural Digest amongst other well-known hospitality publications to ensure British design is recognised and respected globally.

Edward Davies, Managing Director & Principal – G.A Design London

 With more than 17 years’ experience working in the super luxury hospitality arena, Edward Davies has a meticulous eye for detail, and understands the high expectations of high-net worth individuals. Whether that is in the craftsmanship and detailed design of a hotel suite, or the personal service provided by the G.A Group.

Always pushing the boundaries of design and encouraging clients to take the leap into the unexplored, Davies isn’t afraid of dreaming big. An inspiring leader, Davies enables his team to take creative control and ownership of the luxury hospitality projects he oversees, whilst providing intuitive and inspiring direction. He manages to distil the client brief in a succinct way, with clarity. This combination of trust and creativity makes him a wonderful visionary of designers.

Working as the London Managing Director at G.A Group, Davies runs the day-to-day management of the 90-strong London-based studio, whilst also acting as Principal across a number of high-profile interior design and architecture projects worldwide.

Current projects overseen by Davies include a new luxury hotel brand in Southeast Asia, the latest new offerings from Corinthia Hotels in Rome and Moscow, and the 184-key 1 Hotel in Mayfair, London. Each a unique brief and challenge, Davies approaches them equally with the same verve and vigor.

Ed Warner, Founder & CEO – Motionspot

Hotel Brooklyn is regarded as the UK’s most accessible design-led hotel. Bringing New York flare to Manchester, the hotel provides 189 rooms that are set across 10 storeys with conference rooms, a restaurant and bar on the ground floor and mini cinema in the lobby.

But what really makes this hotel special is its commitment to design-led accessibility. Ed Warner is the founder of Motionspot, the design studio responsible for creating Hotel Brooklyn’s accessible solutions. This was central to the design and build of the hotel, which shelters nine wheelchair accessible bedrooms – including the first hotel in Manchester with ceiling track hoists – and nine ambulant accessible bedrooms.

Accessibility isn’t just limited to the bedrooms, as attention was paid to the communal spaces too, to ensure that guests with a range of physical, visual and cognitive access needs could enjoy all the hotel has to offer.

Elizabeth Lane, Partner – RPW Design

Highly accomplished designer Elizabeth Lane has been essential in many of RPW Design’s projects with her abundance of design expertise acquired from her work around the globe. A Partner at RPW Design, Lane is renowned for ensuring beautiful interiors and operational functionality work in complete harmony.

The designer’s 16-year tenure at the company has included welcoming current Managing Director Ariane Steinbeck and supporting a smooth transition as RPW founder Jan Wilson took a step back from the helm of RPW Design in late 2015 whereupon she became a Director and Partner in the firm.

One of her recent projects was spearheading the renovation of Four Seasons Hampshire. As well as being responsible for designing the guestrooms inside the hotel, Lane excelled in ensuring elegance and functionality throughout the renovation of the hotel’s conference and banqueting space and continually provides steady leadership in a complex project team of owners, operators and consultants. It was a project that Lane describes held true to their convictions as a firm. The results, she says, are a testament to RPW Design’s ability to deliver projects that will stand the test of time.

Emma Farren, Senior Designer – DesignLSM

Emma Farren is a strong, creative leader at DesignLSM and professionally manages her own projects, consistently working hard to push new ideas and active design solutions for clients. Farren’s conceptual approach and technical ability, combined with her passion for all things design related, provides her designs with a strong sense of refinement and flexibility. Since joining the team back in 2016, she has built up a vast portfolio of award-winning work that most recently includes the design evolution of Gaucho restaurants.

Farren worked in close collaboration with Gaucho CEO, Martin Williams, and his team helping them to evolve the Gaucho brand through a new creative direction that moves away from the cowhide of old and on to a more refined aesthetic that celebrates the modern-day Gaucho. Immersing herself into the brand story, she drew her inspiration from the visual narrative of Argentina and the Gaucho way of life, considering its spirit and stunning landscapes – from the dramatic mountain landscapes to the Pampas region through to the high-altitude vineyards.

The design results for the first site in Charlotte St London reflect the raw, majestic nature and cultural energy of Argentina through an elegant and sophisticated aesthetic that captivates guests as soon as they step through the door.

 Geraldine Dohogne, Founder – Beyond Design

Geraldine Dohogne does not fit the traditional mold of a designer since she, in her own admission, stumbled into this profession driven by passion. As a result, perhaps, there’s no such thing as copy and paste in Dohogne’s work. On the contrary, every project she touches offers a new story. The same core values are always respected, but each and every new project is thought through individually. This is the process that enables the former Head of Design a Zannier Hotels to grow personally as well as professionally.

Beyond Design is Dohogne’s recently launched studio. Much more than solely concentrating on the interior design, the designer prides herself to handpick every single object and source local craftspeople whom themselves form an integral part of the place in question. As a result, every project represents a marathon across flea markets and meeting with local artisans and artists in order for the result to tell a genuine narrative that makes people reflect and appreciate a place even more.

 Hamish Brown, Partner – 1508 London

 Having been involved since 1508 London’s inception, Hamish Brown has been pivotal to the growth of the company and has championed the studio’s expansion from private residential into multi-unit developments and hospitality. As a result, Brown has helped 1508 London become one the world’s most revered architecture and interior design studios.

As an interior architect, Brown’s ability to understand every facet of the design process ensures he is perfectly positioned to help support clients throughout their journey. His profound commitment to clients’ experiences has installed a dedication to the creation of timeless, elegant spaces of the highest quality, all of which are informed by a unique narrative, grounded in functionality with no one set style.

The studio was responsible for the interior design scheme that is sheltered in The Lanesborough Club & Spa, which is referred to as the world’s best hotel spa because of its innovative design.

Projects that are currently heading towards completion include The Carlton Tower Jumeirah and Rosewood Doha.

Henry Reeve, Director of Interior Design – IHG

Henry Reeve, last year’s Highly Commended in the Interior Designer of the Year category in The Brit List Awards 2020, continues to drive the boutique and lifestyle sector forward in what has been an incredibly difficult year for the industry.

Opening the luxury Kimpton ViviDora in early Q1 was a real highlight for the group in 2020, creating a hotel that felt both special and luxurious whilst fully integrating itself into the youthful, urban, raw and authentic Gothic quarter of Barcelona.

What’s more, during lockdown Reeve innovatively utilised his skills and craftsmanship to launch Made by Henry, designing handcrafted homewares and accessories for all. With the mantra, “Measure twice, cut once,” Reeve continues to lead a new wave of designers.

Lindsey Bean-Pierce, Partner, Head of Interiors – Dexter Moren Associates

Lindsey Bean-Pearce, Partner, is responsible for running the interior design team at Dexter Moren Associates, managing a talented group of ten designers across a diverse and varied portfolio of headline projects and ensuring a high level of design consistency throughout.

Currently she is working on the Autograph Abastumani Hotel & Spa in Georgia, the Westin Verdelago Resort Hotel & Village Club in Portugal, the conversion and refurbishment of the Malmaison York, Accor’s first Movenpick Hotel in Italy, the Pamphili Rome, as well as the refurbishment of a Victorian hotel in London’s Paddington and a new-build boutique hotel in Dubai.

Prior to this she most recently led the completion of the International Hotel & Property Award winning boutique Vintry & Mercer Hotel and the Clayton Hotel New Drum Street, London.

Boasting more than 15 years’ experience running projects in the UK and Europe, she brings considerable creative flair and strong conceptual and technical abilities to a role in which no two days are the same.

As head of a team of talented creatives from all sectors of expertise and experience, Bean-Pierce takes great pride in mentoring her more junior colleagues, watching them flourish into stand out designers, and ensuring that each is constantly growing and expanding their design knowledge.

Mark Bithrey, Founder & Creative Director – B3 Designers

Since founding B3 Designers in 2002, Mark Bithrey has worked on the interior design for iconic hospitality brands across the UK and Europe. B3 Designers has, under Bithrey’s creative direction, developed an impressive, diverse and award-winning portfolio. The most recently completed hotel project is The Prince Akatoki, London.

The hotel, part of the APAC hotel management group StayWell, launched in September 2019. The brief was to refurbish the 82-key former Arch Hotel in the heart of the West End, with a focus on bringing Japanese design and hospitality ideals to the West. The scope included the bedrooms, reception, sanctuary, communal workspace, corridors, lift lobby, TOKii (restaurant), and The Malt Lounge and Bar.

Marie Soliman, Co-Founder – Bergman Interiors

Marie Soliman is the co-founder of Bergman Interiors, and leads a team with Albin Berglund that is making ripples in London’s – and now the world’s – luxury interior and architectural design world. With more than 25 years’ combined experience, Soliman and Berglund have built up an enviable portfolio of projects, spanning London to St. Petersburg, to Qatar to New York.

The studio’s dynamic approach is to clearly define where design can have the maximum benefit and impact on our guests’ wellbeing and focus on these key wellness elements.

Currently the firm is working on a seven-star spa hotel in Norway, which contains guest villas, a luxurious spa and common areas such as restaurants and bars. Soliman’s approach has been to coherently formulate the spaces so that guests can read a continuous language throughout, drawing on nature to tell the story of both the hotel and its setting.

Martin Brudnizki, Founder – Martin Brudnizki Design Studio (MBDS)

Martin Brudnizki’s love for design started from a young age. His mother was a stylist and his father a mechanical engineer; the combination of these elements embedded a deep understanding of aesthetics alongside a grounding in functionality.

Following a number of successful positions at renowned interior design firms, Brudnizki established his eponymous Studio in London in 2000 and a New York Studio in 2012.

The designer has become a symbol – no, an icon – in F&B design because of his ability to sensitively uplift public areas and transform into becoming destinations within their own right for both travellers and locals alike. Statement examples include The Ivy, London; The Beekman in New York and Scarfes Bar inside The Rosewood London – he is currently working to complete new F&B spaces inside long-awaited Four Seasons Madrid.

Since winning Interior Designer of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2018, MBDS (a team of more than 70 talented members) has proven time and time again, through the projects it has completed, that the firm is leading the way in hospitality design on an international scale.

Martin Goddard, Co-Founder – Goddard Littlefair

As a designer, Martin Goddard is not afraid – in fact it’s one of his favourite parts of a project – to roll up his sleeves and relate directly with contractors on site. He overcomes the challenge of being perceived as the interior designer when contractors hear him slip seamlessly into their language and demonstrates that he understands the technicalities of their craft.

Most recently, Goddard and his team completed the interiors inside The Mayfair Townhouse, London. Curious, engaging and witty, the hotel is said to deliver the unexpected and redefines what it means to be a London hotel – think Oscar Wilde meets Alice in Wonderland.

Other projects that Goddard and his team have completed include Villa Copenhagen, Hilton Vienna, Chelsea Barracks, Belvedere Gardens and Spa, The Biltmore Mayfair, Sheraton Grand Warsaw, The Imperial Dubrovnik Restaurant, South Bank Place Spa and Corinthia Malta Spa.

Michael Bories, Design Director & Project Management – Marriott International

Michael Bories became Director Design & Project Management for Marriott International in 2017, following previous roles at Emaar Hospitality Group and Foster + Partners.

Matching last year’s ambitious growth strategy, Marriott International aimed to open 30 new luxury hotels in 2020. The global company currently encompasses a portfolio of more than 7,400 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 135 countries and territories.

Recent projects that have emerged this year from Marriott International include W Ibiza, Abu Dhabi’s debut The Luxury Collection, The Ritz Cartlon Nikko in Japan, Aloft Bali, Renaissance New York Chelsea Hotel and Aloft Tokyo.

Oliver Redfern, Interior Designer – Squid.Inc

Squid.inc is a leading interior design firm, which specialises in hotels, restaurants and clubs. Interior designer Oliver Redfern led the interior design project of Brooklyn Hotel in Manchester.

Strategically located for both convenience and luxury, right in the heart of Manchester, the hotel provides ample opportunity to experience the vibrant city in whichever direction you choose. Brooklyn’s public areas offer an atmosphere of irresistible familiarity. It’s the unplaceable yet undeniable sense of belonging, where outsiders become insiders, that defines Brooklyn as a destination of true Mancunian hospitality; everyone welcomed exactly as they are.

It’s a sanctuary of the urban explorers; a living room away from home, a workplace away from the office, a place where inspiration waits to be discovered and interpreted into an adventure of guests’ own making.

Simon Rawlings, Creative Director – David Collins Studio

As Creative Director of David Collins Studio, Simon Rawlings has overseen the realisation of some of the world’s most iconic hospitality, residential and retail spaces. In the course of two decades at The Studio, he has collaborated with clients such as Harrods, Alexander McQueen and Mandarin Oriental, both in reinventing prominent buildings and establishing important new landmarks.

His most recent headline-grabbing project is Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, which applies a contemporary approach to both aesthetics and hospitality, and has just opened. The hotel’s design takes cues from Japanese architectural disciplines and minimalist design, whilst utilising a refined colour palette influenced by heritage Japanese colour combinations.

Located in the heart of central London’s vibrant Marylebone area, the new luxury hotel features 249 guestrooms and suites, Nobu’s world-class restaurant, a ballroom and meeting spaces – all beautifully conceptualised by David Collins Studio with Make Architects.

Tina Norden, Partner – Conran and Partners

Tina Norden, Partner at Conran and Partners, led the interior design refurb of a building that was known locally as Prague’s most established boutique. Redesigning the 71-key Maximilian Hotel called upon experienced designers to sensitively reimagine and redesign the hotel’s interiors.

Norden’s design approach reflects the cultural and architectural heritage of its urban context, referencing Czech modernism and the progressive art movement influenced by famous avant-garde artist and architectural writer, Karel Teige.

The design team wanted to retain a strong element of Teige’s poetic modernism while creating a sense of place rooted in the city and the neighbourhood. This involved drawing upon the iconic pastel colour palette of Prague’s architecture and local crafts – including weaving and glass-making – for the materiality of the design.

The Brit List 2020 is Hotel Designs’ nationwide search to find the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers operating in Britain. This year’s campaign came to a close on November 13, when the virtual award ceremony unveiled The List as well as the individual winners

To attend The Brit List Winners’ Party, which takes place on April 29, 2021 at Minotti London, please click here. Applications and nominations for The Brit List Awards 2020 will open Summer 2021.

Profile image of Joel Butler, Co-founder of HIX

In the HIX seat: is London still a design & hospitality hub?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In the HIX seat: is London still a design & hospitality hub?

London is the theme of Joel Butler’s second column for Hotel Designs, as we ask the co-founder of HIX Event to use pedal power to explore the current hospitality and design scene in the big city…

“Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner, that I love London town!” The theme of this article takes me back to my roots, and should therefore, in theory at least, should be a relatively straight-forward piece to write about.

Profile image of Joel Butler, Co-founder of HIX

I was born in West London, and I have lived in the East End for 20 years. My work places have zig zagged across town throughout this time. And yet, I feel completely in the deep end writing about the capital at time when the city doesn’t feel like itself – but it is arguably more important to write about it now than it was pre-Covid.

“London is Europe’s beating heart of hospitality and design because…” A wave of hackneyed words envelope my mind: “diversity, history, innovation, fast-paced, energy and culture.” I realise that as valid as these words may be, they’re already very much accepted by everyone within our industry. I strike a line through these cliches as I think of the wonderfully quotable yet horribly over-used Samuel Pepys’ line: ‘A man who is bored of London…something something something” – I vow to not use this Pepys quote in the article.  

Following Lockdown 2.0, and as we drift into the uncharted territories of Tier 3, we are in an extended lockdown that doesn’t feel quite like the first one. There’s now light at the end of the tunnel yet the days seem colder and darker than the first time around. In short, there’s not much hospitality in London to write about so I get on my bike to look for it.

London is a collection of villages: lots of neighbourhoods connected – even the city’s square mile is a village. I set off from my East End village of Leyton and hit the canal, graffitied walls overlooking water make for a huge, damp art gallery that delights and challenges at once. Through Victoria Park and Bethnal Green and there’s no hospitality design to write about because it’s all essentially (or ‘non-essentially’) closed, independent cafes: closed, local pubs: closed. I speed into Old Street and hospitality offerings become lifestyle and boutique, but the doors are locked for now.

“It’s a Tour de Hospitality but I’m the only one racing.” – Joel Butler, Co-founder, HIX Event.

My route zooms past me at speed, Clerkenwell to Midtown, across the bridge to Waterloo, Southwark and into the city. I can’t help but notice the hotels that I pass. It’s a Tour de Hospitality but I’m the only one racing. The Zetter, The Hoxton Holborn, Rosewood London, ME London, crossing the bridge is like a low-budget zombie film where you might glimpse the odd bus or taxi ruining the idea of the apocalypse. Down into Lower Marsh and past the Ruby Lucy, The Hoxton Southwark, The Mondrian, Citizen M and Hilton London Bankside, and across the bridge back into the city to pedal past The Andaz, Mama Shelter, and back into the East End to pass the same closed pubs and cafes but in reverse.

This article, which is all about London being a major hot spot for hospitality and design, isn’t going too well and that hackneyed Pepys quote presents itself again as the easy option: ‘A man who is bored of London…’ I’ll google it when I get home. 

The sun is setting as I free-wheel home and at this point it’s my home of Leyton that single handedly writes the article…

“Londoners design, provide and demand hospitality that reminds us that we’re alive” – Joel Butler, Co-founder, HIX Event.

A restaurant that has been closed since March has suddenly metamorphosised into a pop up takeaway over night, serving really delicious Indonesian food. The queue is socially distanced and snakes 20 deep down the street. The beer and wine shop next-door is taking orders from those queuing and serving drinks, including mulled wine. Drinks are firmly categorised and consumed as takeaway. It smells like winter and the sky is turning orange and pink. People are talking through masks and across 1.5 metres gaps. A man sits on a bench and plays The Kinks’ Waterloo Sunset and it hits me: it’s Friday and I’m in London. The simplicity of this statement is joyous, so I join the queue and write these words on my phone: “Londoners design, provide and demand hospitality that reminds us that we’re alive, we’re in London and it can always feel like Friday.”

It’s a start, and those hotels, design studios and supplier showrooms that I cycled past today are literally bursting to re-open, and there’s no doubt that they’ll be back stronger than ever because of the enduring fact that London keeps going. Pepys’ quote comes to me in a flash as I order a signature lager, brewed just down the road: “A man who is bored of London clearly hasn’t cycled around town for his allocated daily exercise during lock-down.”

HIX Event is the Networking Partner for The Brit List Awards 2020, and Hotel Designs is with HIX every step of the way, as it prepares to launch in November 2021. Between now and then, we’ve scooped Joel Butler up as our resident columnist to inject our pages with a bit of fun and allow our readers to see the industry from a slightly wider perspective.

Main image credit: HIX Event

Render of luxury suite inside Hotell Reisen in Sweden

The Unbound Collection by Hyatt arrives in Sweden

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Unbound Collection by Hyatt arrives in Sweden

Celebrating its rich history, Hotell Reisen in Sweden will mark the first property under The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand in Scandinavia…

Hotell Reisen, which we first wrote about last month, is a 144-key hotel in Stockholm that has just opened as The Unbound Collection’s first property in Sweden.

Render of luxury suite inside Hotell Reisen in Sweden

The hotel has a proud history with origins from the 17th century, bringing the spirit of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt to life in the capital of Sweden. Located in the heart of Stockholm’s old town directly on the waterfront and next to the Royal Castle, Hotell Reisen is the first hotel in Scandinavia under The Unbound Collection by Hyatt  brand and will join the planned Grand Hansa Hotel in Helsinki, Finland and Hyatt Centric Reykjavík, Iceland.

Hotell Reisen pays homage to the building’s extraordinary past, beginning in the 1750s as one of the few places licensed to serve coffee. Dutchman Frederik Reiss ran the popular meeting place for sea captains, merchants and sailors, and soon his daughter started to rent rooms to travelers. True to its origin, Hotell Reisen has remained a destination for guests from all over the world. Decorated with ornaments from centuries past including a 350-year-old footprint in the bricks of the hotel lobby, the building offers guests the opportunity to discover the hotel’s rich history and experience a one-of-a-kind stay.

“We are truly proud to be opening our doors and unfolding a new chapter for Hotell Reisen in Stockholm,” said Tomas Tegfors, general manager, Hotell Reisen. “Celebrating the rich history of Hotell Reisen, we are excited to welcome travelers seeking experiences unlike any other and to deliver elevated service.”

Each of the 144 newly renovated, spacious guestrooms creates a sophisticated ambiance rooted in the culture of Scandinavia, with many featuring outstanding views of the sea and islands of Stockholm. Each also offer walk-in showers, while many also include private saunas. Commonly known as “bastu”, the sauna has a long tradition in Scandinavia and is a great way to relax after an eventful day in the city.

Classic Swedish cuisine with a modern twist and exceptional drinks are served at the hotel’s restaurant for guests who are looking to make memories and tell their tale afterwards.

Hotell Reisen will be the eighth property in Europe within The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand, joining The WellemHotel SOFIA BarcelonaPárisi Udvar Hotel BudapestHôtel du Palais BiarritzHôtel du LouvreHôtel MartinezGreat Scotland Yard Hotel, as well the planned Byblos Hotel and Grand Hansa Hotel, both expected to open in 2022.

Main image credit: Hyatt

In the factory with sustainable bed & mattress manufacturer Naturalmat

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In the factory with sustainable bed & mattress manufacturer Naturalmat

With its fascinating storyline stretching from luxury superyachts to international hotels, bed and mattress brand Naturalmat’s stamp of approval can be traced right back to the source, as editor Hamish Kilburn learns when he pays a visit to the brand’s HQ in Topsham, Devon…

The story behind the success of bed and mattress manufacturer Naturalmat, and its esteemed reputation for being a conscious brand, all started more than 20 years ago. The Tremlett family, boat builders at the time, were in their yard in Topsham, Devon, and realised that there was a void in the luxury marine industry.

Mark Tremlett and his father designed luxury superyachts for the super-rich, which were complete with high-end fittings and fixtures while flooded with innovative space-saving solutions. Each vessel that would come out of the yard was perfectly designed for its heavy pocketed owner.

And yet, the family realised that while the luxury marine industry had evolved into an exciting design-led arena, the pre-existing beds that were being specified within these floating abodes were not fit for purpose. “I saw that people were still sleeping on polyurethane foam mattresses underneath it all,” said Mark, who is the co-founder of Naturalmat, explained to Hotel Designs. “This is not a great material to use on a boat (or any bed) as it’s not breathable, leading to issues of damp and mould, and doesn’t give the most comfortable experience.” It was during this lightbulb moment when Naturalmat was born.

Image caption: The Rosemoor Bed | Image credit: Naturalmat

Image caption: The Rosemoor Bed | Image credit: Naturalmat

Five interesting facts about Naturalmat

  • The company saves approximately 40,000 kw per year through its various eco initiatives
  • Naturalmat offers three 100 per cent natural fibre mattresses, and three natural fibre plus pocket spring mattresses
  • Naturalmat uses the husk of a coconut within its mattresses, which gives the user a fairly straight, robust fibre. But if you twist these very tightly and unravel them, they retain that curl which is then perfect to tease into a pad —in the absence of metal coils, it’s the natural ‘spring’ layer that provides the structure and bounce on each mattress
  • Naturalmat does not use fire retardant chemicals in any of its products
  • As of last year, Naturalmat done away with using plastic in packaging, and now the various packaging across the business is either from potato starch, corn starch, sugar cane, unbleached cotton, recycled kraft boxes, paper bags, or large, infinitely reusable mattress-sized duffle bags.

A few years after all but conquering the marine and nursery industry with locally and intuitively designed mattresses, in 2008 the company was approached by Simon Woodroffe, founder of Yo! Sushi, who had just launched a new hotel concept, YOTEL. Naturalmat soon landed its first major hotel project, when Woodroffe specified the brand for YOTEL New York. With smaller sized rooms, which the hotel brand refers to as cabins, the meaningful partnership was stitched together. It was this leap into the hospitality market that allowed the Devonshire-based family business to boom on the international hotel design scene.

Following the extensive project inside the 669-key lifestyle hotel, more relationships between the bed manufacturer and hotel brands such as Qbic, Six Senses Resorts, Z Hotels, Hoxton Hotels forged as Naturalmat’s unique and fully sustainable manufacturing process complimented brand, sustainability and quality standards.

A bedroom inside Hoxton Southwark

Image caption: Hoxton Hotels specifies Naturalmat mattreses | Image credit: Hoxton Hotels/Ennismore

Following the bed and mattress brand winning Best in British Product Design at The Brit List Awards 2019, I headed down south to understand how each mattress is made, by hand. But before we dive in, first let’s explore where the materials are sourced from. The organic lambswool, used to create comfortable products that are unmatched, comes from Soil Association certified farms in Devon, Dorset and Somerset. The company purchases direct from organic farmers, not just to ensure the highest quality but also to give the farmers a better return than taking the wool to market. As a result, the company is consciously supporting the local farming community.

Once the wool has been purchased, here is the step-by-step process behind each and every handmade Naturalmat mattress:

  • First the roll of wool and cotton herringbone ticking is cut to the size of the mattress that has been ordered.
  • The company’s precise sewing team then stitch the handles onto the edge panels, as well as the Naturalmat label onto the surface.
A women sewing a mattress

Image caption: Anne is one of Naturalmat’s precise sewing team | Image credit: Naturalmat

  • Downstairs in the mattress making section of the factory, a team of two layer the mattress ‘sandwich’ starting with coir (or a spring unit, if being used), layering with natural latex, mohair, cashmere, or whatever else the ‘mattress recipe’ calls for.
Two men in the factory designing and making Naturalmat mattresses

Image caption: A team of two layer the mattress ‘sandwich’ starting with coir | Image credit: Naturalmat

  • When this stage is complete, each mattress and topper that is manufactured gets a top layer of organic lambswool, and the covers are loosely stretched out onto either side. The side panel is then rolled around the edges and loosely pinned.
  • This ‘sandwich’ is then moved to a large table where the brand’s expert upholsterer (who’s been making mattresses for more than 20 years) runs a clever tape-edging machine around it, which seals the mattress sandwich with the brand’s signature grey wool and cotton piping. The mattress is then flipped (bit tricky for Emperor-sized units), then the team tape-edge the other side.
  • Once the ‘sandwich’ is sealed, it’s moved across to a jig which props it up on its side, allowing the team to tuft all the buttons through the mattress. The tufting is what keeps all the natural fibres in place, as well as offers that bit of ‘puff’ for comfort.
  • The finished mattress is then slid into one of the company’s large, recyclable, sugar-cane derived packaging bags, sealed, then loaded onto a Naturalmat van ready for delivery.

What’s as impressive as the quality behind each product is the company’s passion around sustainability. From the very beginning, the company took a different approach to the rest of the trade. The factory, for example, that shelters this innovative manufacturing process is on its own an eco-friendly machine, complete with solar paneling that powers the building and the operations inside.

A blue bed in a modern room

Image credit: Naturalmat

From a materials perspective, Naturalmat could not understand why the majority of mattresses were made using man-made synthetic materials that were neither biodegradable nor from a sustainable source.

Most recently, the bed and mattress brand’s eco credentials caught the attention of Geetie Singh-Watson, a self-proclaimed warrior against greenwashing in hospitality, as she was designing The Bull Inn in Totnes. Singh-Watson was only interested in sourcing all products and services locally and researched each brand thoroughly before specifying each and every product within the eight-key pub/hotel.

A close up of a bed inside The Bull Inn in Totnes

Image caption: Naturalmat supplied the beds for The Bull Inn, Totnes credit: Rachel Hoile Photography

With the brand catching the attention of authentic independents and large chains – it is currently processing an order for the first urban Six Senses hotel, which will open in New York – the brand’s modern attitude matched with traditional ethos is going from strength to strength, and in turn is educating the hotel design and hospitality arena on the values of conscious design.

Naturalmat is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Naturalmat

An image of a pool outside a villa

RAKxa, a revolutionary wellness retreat in Bangkok, opens its doors

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
RAKxa, a revolutionary wellness retreat in Bangkok, opens its doors

The new ‘integrative wellness and medical retreat, RAKxa, has opened its doors to guests in Bangkok’s ‘Green Lung’. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes… 

Set in Bangkok’s preserved ‘Green Lung’, a protected jungle-clad island on the Chao Phraya River, RAKxa is a 60-key retreat (27 villas are currently open), which shelters tailored wellness programmes designed by certified medical doctors.

An image of a pool outside a villa

These programmes combine advanced medical treatments with revered holistic therapies alongside renowned Thai hospitality, resulting in a world-class medical destination.

A mix of traditional materials and crafts have been used in a contemporary styling to create a medical wellness retreat that has avoided the ‘spa’ look whilst ensuring the crisp, neutral tones are not associated with a hospital. Traditional materials include rattan, bamboo, reclaimed wood, earth-wear, ceramics, brass, jute, mulberry paper and water hyacinth. Light colours of teal and gentle greens are used throughout the premises to soothe and restore an element of calm. Showcasing the serene location next to the river, traditional river boats decorate the gym area as well as elements such as old balers used to decorate the walls.

RAKxa uses objects throughout the premises that may not traditionally be considered art, such as teapots, chairs and stools. These all have a sense of place and are considered as traditional Thai decor, based on the countries’ history. One area proudly displays 72 teapots along a shelving unit, all made from a local southern Thai pottery maker and each unique to one another. Using local artisans to create the rugs and woven wall decor, RAKxa exemplifies traditional Thai styling, creating the ultimate wellness retreat where Thai hospitality oozes through the design.

This ground-breaking enhanced wellness retreat is the first of its kind in Thailand and promises a fully transformative experience through personalised three-to-fourteen day programmes with long-term health goals in mind.

Main image credit: RAKxa

Bvlgari render of Miani hotel

Bvlgari Hotels to open debut property in the US

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bvlgari Hotels to open debut property in the US

Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts has announced the agreement for a new hotel in Miami Beach, scheduled to open in 2024…

The luxury hotel brand, Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts, is on a roll, following announced projects in Paris, to open in 2021, Moscow and Rome in 2022 and Tokyo in 2023.

Bvlgari render of Miani hotel

Its latest announcement to arrive in Miami will bring the Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts Collection to eleven properties, including Milan, London, Dubai, Shanghai, Beijing and Bali.

The new hotel in Miami will be located at 100 21st street in Miami Beach, and will mark Bvlgari Hotel’s debut in the United States. Waterfront located with beautiful beaches while being a short walk from the city’s most vibrant attractions and South Beach’s trendy Ocean Drive, the Bvlgari Hotel Miami Beach will offer stunning ocean views just a few steps from the exciting Miami Art Deco district.  

The building hosting the Bvlgari Hotel Miami Beach was originally designed as hotel by Miami architect Albert Anis in the late 1950’s, as part of the Miami Modern movement in Miami Beach; it is a contributing building located in the National Register Architectural District and was well known as a centre of events and parties for the Hollywood Crowd descending on Miami Beach for the winter.  

Image credit: Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts

“We are particularly proud to have secured such an extraordinary location for the new Bvlgari Hotel in Miami Beach,” said Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bvlgari. “This will be our first property in the United States which is a key market for our Brand and we are delighted to add the vibrant and glamorous Miami Beach to our Collection. We are convinced that the Bvlgari Hotel Miami Beach, to be opened in 2024, will represent an irresistible Roman Jeweler Hospitality, a unique ultra luxury experience in the American upscale hotel market.”

The design project, which will be curated , like all the other Bvlgari Hotels, by the Milanese architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel, will contemplate around 100 rooms, most of them suites, and a full range of luxury facilities including an outdoor swimming pool, a large spa and fitness center, and a Bvlgari restaurant and bar both curated by Italian three Michelin-star chef Niko Romito. 

Main image credit: Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts

Meliá Hotels International to open fourth hotel in Milan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Meliá Hotels International to open fourth hotel in Milan

The 70-key five-star hotel, which will be sheltered inside one of the most recognisable buildings in Piazza Cordusio, will become Meliá Hotels International’s fourth property in Milan when it opens in 2023…

Following the reopening of ME Dubai this week, Meliá Hotels International and Generali Real Estate have announced that they will be partnering together in a unique project in Milan: a new Gran Meliá hotel opening in the city centre in 2023. 

Significant buildings in the portfolio of Generali Real Estate in Europe (photo gallery updated at May 2020)

Image credit: Meliá Hotels International

The five-star hotel will be the result of the complete refurbishment and restoration of the historic Palazzo Venezia, one of the most recognisable buildings in Piazza Cordusio, just a few metres from Piazza del Duomo in the centre of Milan. The building owns its name to Generali’s Venetian roots: it was designed in the late XIX century by architect Luca Beltrami, built by the Generali Group as its headquarters in Milan, and hosted the Generali offices until the move of the Generali Tower in CityLife.

A render of a contemporary lobby

Image credit: Meliá Hotels International

The transformation of the building into a luxury hotel will be the perfect transition owing to its monumental architecture and innate elegance, coupled with state-of-the-art, world-class hospitality. After the renovation, the building will comply with the criteria required to obtain the LEED Gold certification, an international sustainability recognition that is particularly remarkable in the case of a historical building. Furthermore, as a hotel, the building will be accessible to the public for the first time in its history.

“Italy is one of the world’s greatest tourist destinations and it is a privilege for us to offer iconic hotels such as the Gran Meliá in Milan, which bring even greater recognition to our brands”, commented Gabriel Escarrer, Vice President and CEO of the hotel company, who also assures that “thanks to our efforts to raise the quality of our portfolio, we will be in the best possible condition to face the recovery and once again attract demand in the most competitive destinations in the world.” 

A render of a modern and contemporary bar/lounge within the hotel

Image credit: Meliá Hotels International

Thanks to its unique locatio