Industry News

BREAKING: Independent Hotel Show 2020 forced to cancel

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BREAKING: Independent Hotel Show 2020 forced to cancel

The organisers of Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam have made the difficult yet responsible decision to cancel this year’s physical show in response the global pandemic of COVID–19…

The Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam 2020, which was originally due to take place in March 17 – 18 but was then postpostend until June 24 – 25, has now been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement, the show organisers said: “It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we must inform you that, due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam 2020 is cancelled and will no longer take place on 24-25 June at RAI Amsterdam, as planned.

“We hoped that postponing the event until June would have provided enough time for life to return to normal, but unfortunately this has not been the case. We understand the significant impact coronavirus (COVID-19) is having across the entire hotel and hospitality industry and offer our support in these challenging times.

“Please rest assured that all paid for tickets will be refunded in due course so please bear with us as we get these processed.

“We are truly in awe of the resilience, innovation and kindness that we have seen by so many within our industry.”

In order to keep in touch with its audience, the show has said that over the next few months, it will be sharing stories from suppliers and hoteliers that are thinking differently and offering advice on how to stay ahead in this current climate. In addition, on June 24, the date Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam should have taken place, the event will be running a free one-day online webinar series, featuring many of the speakers who were due to speak at the event. If you are interested, you can register your interest on the website. 

Main image credit: Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam 2019

The hospitality social media campaign sweeping the nation

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The hospitality social media campaign sweeping the nation

James & Cranwell, a luxury hospitality headhunters company, has presented the ‘Hospitality 4 Heroes Challenge’ in aid of NHS workers during the COVID–19 pandemic…

The Hospitality 4 Heroes Challenge is a simple social media champaign that has emerged during the COVID–19 pandemic with the aim to raise funds for the NHS front line workers.

Set up by Warren James and Matthew Cranwell, the campaign asks the nation to upload a short video on social media doing something related to hospitality. Viewers will then be able to click a link which will direct them to a GoFundMe page that has been set up to support the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Appeal.

“This is our way of giving back to the incredible superheroes at the NHS,” explained Warren James in the video that launched the initiative.

How to join the campaign:

  1. Upload a short video to introduce yourself, followed by a ‘how to’ video of your chosen hospitality-related challenge
  2. Share on your social media accounts, including the GoFundMe link and the hashtag #hospitality4heroes
  3. Tag three people in the post who then have 24 hours to complete their own challenge

The target is to raise £10,000 through the Hospitality for Heroes Challenge. “Whilst everyone’s priority is staying home and staying safe, we know that everyone is looking for ways to help,” the duo explain on the GoFundMe page. “We believe the Hospitality for Heroes Challenge is a powerful way to do that, whilst having some fun in the safety of your own home.”

The duo nominated Michael Bonsor (Managing Director of Rosewood London), Tom Booton (Head Chef of The Grill at The Dorchester) and Thomas Kochs (Managing Director of Corinthia London). Other individuals who have completed their challenges include Vincenzo Arnese (Head Sommelier at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal) and Martin Siska (Director of Scarfes Bar). The campaign is attracting the wide-spread attention of the industry as social media continues to play a crucial role during the COVID–19 pandemic.

The NHS Charities Together represents 140 member NHS charities throughout the UK, and funds from its COVID–19 appeal will help support the health and wellbeing of NHS staff and volunteers supporting COVID–19 patients in ways above and beyond that which NHS funding can ordinarily provide, including wellbeing packs and costs associated with travel, parking, accommodation and volunteer expenses.

Main image credit: Hospitality 4 Heroes

1 million room nights donated across America during COVID-19 Pandemic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
1 million room nights donated across America during COVID-19 Pandemic

Hilton and American Express will donate one million hotel room rights across the USA to frontline medical professionals leading the fight against COVID-19 pandemic…

Beginning next week, Hilton and American Express will make rooms available without charge to doctors, nurses, EMTs, paramedics and other frontline medical staff who need a place to sleep, recharge or isolate from their families through the end of May.

Hilton is initially working with 10 associations who collectively represent more than one million healthcare workers to provide access to the program, designed to support individuals who would otherwise have to spend their own money on accommodations.

“During this crisis, we have seen so many examples of medical professionals working in the most challenging circumstances, sacrificing their own needs for the greater good. They truly are heroes,” said Hilton President and CEO, Christopher J. Nassetta. “We are honored to extend our Hilton hospitality to them during this difficult time.”

American Express, Hilton’s long-standing strategic partner, is investing alongside Hilton in the donation of the hotel rooms, which will be provided at or below cost by Hilton’s network of independent owners and franchisees.

“Our medical workers who are courageously and selflessly serving on the frontlines in the coronavirus crisis represent the best of who we are,” said American Express Chairman and CEO, Stephen J. Squeri. “We’re honoured to support this initiative with our longtime partner, Hilton, to provide the heroes in our communities a place to rest, recharge and help keep their loved ones safe during this time.”

William Jaquis, MD, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said the room donation will be welcome relief for the thousands of medical staff enduring long hours under challenging circumstances.

“Knowing that there is a safe, clean and comfortable hotel room waiting for you at the end of a long shift can make all the difference in the world right now,” Dr. Jaquis said. “The kind of compassion and caring that Hilton and American Express are offering has never been more welcome.”

Rooms will be available across a variety of Hilton brands, including Hampton by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, DoubleTree by Hilton and others. Hotels will be staffed by Team Members who have received additional training on relevant health and safety measures to safeguard their own and their guests’ well-being. Hotel rooms and common areas will continue to be sanitised using industrial grade cleaners and updated cleaning protocols. In some high-demand locations, room availability may be limited at times. Nassetta credited owners from Hilton’s portfolio for joining the effort. “Across the United States, owners of Hilton hotels of every brand are eager to support their communities and be part of the solution. They have been instrumental in making this response possible.”

Main image credit: Hilton/American Express

Hotels that are self-isolating in style (part 4)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotels that are self-isolating in style (part 4)

Marking the conclusion of Hotel Designs’ series to discover hotels that are naturally self-isolating in style, editor Hamish Kilburn metaphorically explores some of the world’s most detached destinations…

For four weeks now, I have researched some of the world’s most secluded hotels that are self-isolating in style. Part four in the series has taken me to the furthest-reaching regions where social distancing comes naturally.

Following on from parts one, two  and three in this series, Hotel Designs continues to start the week during lockdown with some Monday motivation to explore a handful of hidden, untouched luxury gems.

Eichardt’s Private Hotel, New Zealand

View overlooking lake and mountains

Image credit: Eichardt’s Private Hotel

Eichardt’s Private Hotel, a Queenstown icon, provides fine accommodation in five luxurious suites in an historic building situated on a premium lakefront position.

The hotel under the historic building reflects contemporary, provincial elegance — its modern features in perfect harmony with distinctive antiques and luxurious furnishings. The opulent suites invite guests to soak up a sense of quiet before exploring one of the world’s truly remarkable locations. The confident strokes and flawless symmetry, which are the hallmarks of New Zealand designer Virginia Fisher, are married seamlessly with every amenity you would expect in a world-class hotel.

Saffire Freycinet, Tasmania

Image credit: Saffire Freycinet

Saffire Freycinet provides an authentic and immersive connection to the magnificent Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay in Tasmania. Distinct in its design, exclusive in its features and set apart by its approach to individually tailored experiences and service, Saffire features 20 private suites, a luxury day spa, an unforgettable culinary offering and so much more.

Amanemu, Japan

Image credit: Amanemu

On the shores of Ago Bay, Amanemu’s rustic ryokan-inspired retreat is where Japan’s ancient hospitality ritual finds its contemporary expression. Mineral-rich waters from a natural hot spring enable guests to embrace the tradition of onsen bathing – while nourishment in culinary form reflects a region famed for rare delicacies. Surrounded by Unesco pilgrim trails, sacred forests and the diving culture of the pearl-rich Pacific, here, rejuvenative stays and wellness experiences are imbued with a deeper cultural sensibility.

An Lam Retreats Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam

Image credit: An Lam Retreats

An Lam Retreats Ninh Van Bay is the perfect destination for personal comfort, relaxation and rejuvenation from the bustling life, ideally for those seeking a genuine retreat. The resort is ideal to connect with nature with contemporary chic architecture meeting natural elegance in interior designs, blended with a Vietnamese touch of each villa makes your own private hideaway.

Zannier Hotels Sonop

Image credit: Zannier Hotels

Built entirely on stilts connected through sturdy elevated wooden decks, Zannier Hotels Sonop’s tents are covered by an elegant canvas, designed to harmonise perfectly with the surrounding environment. Shaped in an oval formation facing out towards the spectacular landscape, the tents offer comfort to cater for today’s discerning travellers whilst also avoiding soil erosion and ensuring the preservation of the insects, fauna and flora that make up the Namibian desert dune ecosystem.

White Pearl, Mozambique

Nestled in a sheltered bay on Mozambique’s Lagoon Coast, poised amongst the dunes on timber stilts, our 22 luxurious suites have been sensitively designed to take advantage of their beautiful natural setting, while protecting the fragile eco-systems beneath them. Cool, clean lines, contemporary furniture and a palette inspired by the surrounding coastal landscape, make for a getaway out of this world.

Main image credit: Zannier Hotels

“COVID-19 pandemic will put sustainability on hold,” experts warn

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“COVID-19 pandemic will put sustainability on hold,” experts warn

Analysts at GlobalData have predicted that the global outbreak of COVID-19 will steer the UK consumer’s attention off sustainability…

Sustainability was the buzz word of 2019 and would have continued to increase in prominence in 2020. However, the COVID–19 pandemic will bring progress to a halt, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

“Making changes to materials, logistics and production processes to improve the sustainability of products and operations will slow, as sustainability is no longer top of retailers’ and consumers’ agendas,” commented Emily Salter, Analyst at GlobalData. “This is due to long-term adjustments being costly and many non-food retailers will be financially unstable as they emerge from this crisis after a significant period of low or no sales.”

Sustainability and single-use plastic will be less important to many consumers in the short term where hygiene and cleanliness is more of a priority to prevent the spread of the virus. Prior to the outbreak, shopping habits were starting to shift – 74 per cent of nationally representative UK consumers surveyed in 2019 said they would prefer to shop at a retailer that has more loose fruit and vegetables. However, the prioritisation of health over the environment has led to a drastic increase in sales of anti-bacterial gel and hand wash in plastic bottles, with little regard for plastic-free alternatives or refills that may be available.

Salter continues: “Another issue is the problem of unsold stock that retailers will be stuck with, as all non-essential stores and some websites have ceased trading temporarily. Some items and ranges could be able to be sold at a later date, but this may not be the case for highly seasonal and trend-led pieces, raising questions about how these items will be disposed. Given Burberry came under fire for burning stock in 2018, retailers must be careful how they deal with this issue. Acting quickly, Kurt Geiger has announced it plans to donate some of its stock to NHS staff, clearing through the excess while also generating positive press.”

Additionally, during the outbreak consumers will be less likely or unable to buy second hand items – sales via some Facebook neighbourhood groups for instance are being discouraged or stopped, and willingness may decline after the crisis is over due to lingering concerns about the hygiene of used products.

Salter concludes: “Although sustainability will slowly become more important again once the spread of COVID-19 has ceased, the increased awareness of cleanliness and germs is likely to remain at the forefront of shoppers’ minds and will continue to hinder the growth of sustainability initiatives, such as refill stores.”

Image credit: Pixabay

Bill Bensley has designed a ‘human zoo hotel’ concept

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bill Bensley has designed a ‘human zoo hotel’ concept

Architect Bill Bensley responded to a hotel brief by designing a hotel where guests are caged while wild, exotic animals roam free…

Known for his bohemian and brilliant ideas when it comes to sustainability, architect Bill Bensley has perhaps new creative heights by designing a concept to flip the idea of a zoo on its head, allowing animals to run free while humans in put in cage-like rooms.

CNN reported that the first phase of the eight-year WorldWild project, which will consist of several different top branded hotels, is slated to open in as early as 2023.

The ‘human zoo’ hotel concept, which will be targeted to luxury travellers who are seeking for unparalleled experiences, will shelter 2,400 ‘human cages’ that will actually look more like high-end, design-led guestrooms that frame an uninterrupted and uncorrupted view on natural the wildlife below.

The site where the hotel is being conceived is situated on a 2,000-hectare plot, which will reinstate wetlands to encourage biodiversity.

With the concrete aim being firm to free wildlife from captivity, Bensley’s concept has recently reached a milestone, gaining approval from Southern China’s Communist Party to relocate abused animals from zoos in the country, to be released onto the roughly 2,000-hectare piece of land where the ‘human zoo’ will be located.

Bensley’s latest wild concept will give animals the luxury of 95 per cent of the land to roam about in, while humans will reside in just five per cent of the grounds in the hotel.

Turning the Zoo concept on its head when designing a new hotel approach has raised further questions as to how hospitality can help to educate people on how to conserve areas that would not otherwise be protected.

Main image credit: Bensley

Inside JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa

Hotel Designs has gained virtual access inside JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa, which is expected to open in May as the brand’s second hotel to arrive in Orlando… 

Ideally situated on the doorstep Walt Disney World Florida, JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa has been appropriately designed with warm interiors that are suitable and accessible to all.

The resort’s calm, inviting social spaces and amenities will include a Spa by JW, resort pool with splash pad, specialty restaurants, as well as a rooftop terrace boasting nightly views of theme park firework displays.

Render of outside terrace

Image credit: Marriott International

Inspired by its natural surroundings, the expansive 516-key JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa has been thoughtfully designed to promote a sense of wellbeing and relaxation. The sophisticated décor includes indigenous woods, wicker, reeds and stone features from the inviting lobby to the airy guestrooms and suites.

“We are truly delighted to continue to expand our JW Marriott portfolio in Orlando, Florida,” said Mitzi Gaskins, Vice President & Global Brand Leader, JW Marriott when the hotel’s opening date was announced. “The new JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa will bring a modern, luxurious and wellness-focused setting to our guests in Orlando, inviting them on an enriching journey of relaxation with experiences crafted with their holistic well-being in mind.”

Render of modern, light guestroom

Image credit: Marriott International

The guestrooms and suites feature lofted beds for an array of sleeping arrangements, spa-like bathrooms, and larger living areas, Family Suites are designed specially to make stays more comfortable and convenient for multi-generational families traveling with young children or any guests looking to come together and foster a true connection.

When the hotel opens, JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa will provide guests with warm, uplifting service and experiences designed to deepen their journeys. The new resort is said to offer a luxury escape for travellers who come to feel present in mind, nourished in body and revitalised.

Main image credit: Marriott International

SPOTLIGHT ON: Unconventional public areas

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: Unconventional public areas

To mark the change of focus of Hotel Designs’ editorial lens, editor Hamish Kilburn goes on a journey to discover some of the world’s most unconventional hotel lobbies and public spaces… 

From striking rooftop bars above bustling metropolises to home-from-home hot-desk sanctuaries, the design of hotel public areas have evolved to capture not only a property’s rare personality but also a brand’s ethos and character.

While luxury hotel etiquette and demand has changed, one thing has remained firm for the operators and designers alike: you only have one opportunity to make a lasting first impression, which is arguably most true when it comes to designing the hotel lobby and public spaces. It’s a fine balancing skill to master. Designing a space suitable and accessible for everyone, but creating skilfully and meaningfully designing public spaces that add drama in all the right areas without coming across too strong can take a well-designed hotel into the realms of extraordinary masterpieces.

To kickstart Hotel Designs firmly positioning Public Areas under the editorial spotlight this month, here are nine uniquely designed lobbies and public spaces that each aptly amplify a hotel’s purpose and charm.

The Ritz Carlton – Astana

Image credit: Ritz Carlton

With a unique yet graceful design, The Ritz-Carlton – Astana is a natural extension of the square around the nearby Bayterek Tower, a monument and symbol of modern Astana. The property features an architectural lighting scheme designed by Nulty Lighting with carefully positioned luminaires in the soffit, which graze light across the fins for a dappled effect. In the restaurant, surface-mounted spotlights nestle within a bronze trough that cuts through an otherwise architecturally clean ceiling, complemented by a suspended rail with adjustable spotlights, which drops from the same detailing to provide a focus along the continuous marble counter, drawing the eye through the space.

PUBLIC Hotel, New York

Image credit: Public Hotel, New York

Featuring what our editorial team are unofficially concluding as the largest sofa in the world, PUBLIC, designed by legendary designer Ian Schrager, has all the necessary ingredients of a successful urban retreat. The New York-based hotel is known for being refined, sophisticated, smart, simple, yet flamboyant and provocative all at the same time. Its public areas, complete with high ceilings and modern comfortable furniture, attract locals and guests alike to work, socialise and simply chill out in a comfortable setting.

The Standard London

Image credit: The Standard London

The ground floor inside The Standard London was inspired by the groovy 70s, a decade full of character with Psychedelic Furs (the early years), Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin and the debut of The Muppets and Star Wars capturing the movement.

The Standard London’s lobby/lounge features fabulous circular fixtures and quirky furniture that set the scene. The carefully curated library pays homage to the building’s original use. Look down and you’ll notice a sumptuous orange rug leading the way into the hotel, look up and the bright red ceiling offsets the striped wooden walls and the blue mural behind the reception – forcing you to take everything you thought you knew about maximalism and throwing it out the window. The muted lamps and pot plants only enhance the boldness of the lobby’s design.

AKELARRE Hotel

Image credit: AKELARRE Hotel.

Architecture studio Mecanismo was responsible for the construction and interior design of AKELARRE Hotel. The carefully and meaningfully designed public areas evoke a sense of calm with a clever use of curves. The design concept was to use elements that coexist in harmony with the surrounding environment, to connect the interiors with the striking views of landscape that surrounds.

The Murray Hotel, Hong Kong

Image credit: The Murray Hotel

The Murray Hotel was a preservation project undertaken by Foster + Partners, the brief being to design a 336-key luxury hotel within the shell of one of the city’s most iconic landmarks that was built in 1969.

The hotel’s rooftop bar and restaurant both reflect Hong Kong’s vibrant cosmopolitan style, open to the city’s flamboyant population. The interior spaces feature high-end luxury furniture from Minotti, including Aston sofas and Lounge little armchairs animated by vivacious Cesar side tables. A wraparound terrace frames the restaurant with Aston “Cord” Outdoor sofas, armchairs and dining chairs.

Nobis Hotel Copenhagen

Image credit: Nobis Hotel Copenhagen

The patterned-geometric rug, cosy leather seating and contemporary white lighting reflects Scandi modern living. The home-from-home lobby inside Nobis Hotel Copenhagen, designed by Wingårdh Architects, shelters subtle deft touches, clean lines and playful colour while balancing the well-to-do elegance of the original building.

The Langham, Chicago

Image credit: Langham Hotels

The Langham Chicago, designed by Richmond International, is part of the former IBM tower, the final masterpiece of architect Mies Van Der Rohe and a well-loved feature of Chicago’s skyline, which the design team respected while creating a new, luxurious hotel inside its magnificent shell.

The designers opened up the reception with double-height spaces and introduced views of the city and the Chicago River. Materials such as bronze and travertine reference the original building, while decorative elements including onyx and velvet were inspired by the architect’s residences. The result is a warm, elegant hotel that honours its past.

nhow London

‘London Reloaded’ was the interior design concept for nhow London. The design studio Project Orange stretched that broad theme to its limits when imagining the look and feel of the the lobby inside the 190-key hotel. Although the arrival experience is impressive and memorable, we believe that the corridors, which often become ‘dead spaces’ are a true reflection of the studio’s ability to uniquely narrate a story with interiors. Inspired by a London stroll in the park, the corridors feature detailed HD carpets by Brintons and has been brought to life with humour. Each floor, facing the lifts, features a stencil of a bike chained to a fence. As guests move up each levels of the hotel, another part of the bike is removed, which is a playful nod to the reality of most, if not all, for cyclists in the city.

Proper Hotel San Francisco

Image credit: Proper Hotels

The flagship property of Proper Hotels is nestled in a landmarked flatiron-style building in San Francisco’s vibrant Mid-Market district., and features captivating interiors by designer Kelly Wearstler. The designer’s luxury residential style is arguably most felt in the lobby, which has been created using a clash of patterns, colours and textures alongside European furniture pieces from a number of design movements in history.

Main image credit: AKELARRE Hotel

Getting a sense of Hotel Indigo’s new explorer initiative

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Getting a sense of Hotel Indigo’s new explorer initiative

IHG’s Hotel Indigo recently launched a new initiative to allow travellers to unlock the best experiences in Hotel Indigo destinations. To explore more, editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with Meredith Latham, Vice President, Global Hotel Indigo at IHG and Henry Reeve, Interior Design Director at IHG.

Hotel Indigo, which currently has more than 100 properties worldwide, has launched Clues to the Neighbourhood, which is a new concept that allows guests and locals to discover authentic experiences.

The new hospitality concept is a collection of items and artefacts that have been curated in partnership with historians, creative directors and artists, which are brought to life through artfully presented installations integrated into the hotel’s design. The clues allow travellers to explore a neighbourhood’s off-the-beaten-path experiences, whether that be a local museum, an unparalleled view, a music venue, a local boutique or a place where locals eat and drink.

Image caption: Clues to the Neighbourhood co-curated by Hotel Indigo Laura Mvula, Cloudy Zakrocki and other musicians, artists and local experts to provide off the beaten path experiences

To get more of an understanding into the new approach, and to find out more about the brand’s expansion plans, we sat down with Meredith Latham, Vice President, Global Hotel Indigo at IHG and Henry Reeve, Interior Design Director at IHG.

Hamish Kilburn: Can you explain how this concept marries up to Hotel Indigo’s brand values?
Meredith Latham: The purpose of Hotel Indigo is to ‘discover the world within the neighbourhood’, and each and every neighbourhood has a unique story. We deliberately launched Clues to the Neighbourhood in Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of one of the greatest storytellers of all time, William Shakespeare.

HK: Henry, I know the depth of research that goes in to designing new Hotel Indigo properties? Is Clues of the Neighbourhood a way of giving guests that same information?
Henry Reeve: As you know, we spend a lot of time learning about cultures and what makes a destination special when designing a new hotel. We do want to ensure that those stories are relayed to our guests authentically. Therefore, we spend a lot of time in the design department explaining to the front-of-house staff why we have made certain design decisions, such as the lighting, the carpets and so on. Also, we want to create these hotels not just for our guests, but also for locals, because we want to create spaces that truly reflects the destination they are built in.

HK: How is Hotel Indigo ensuring it keeps its boutique status during the huge expansion?
ML: We have a tremendous amounts of new openings on the horizon. Each time we renovate or create a new hotel, we look at the local culture to ensure that everything is coming to life in the right way.

HK: Why is it so important for a brand like Hotel Indigo to ensure that design and service work in harmony?
HR: You simply can’t have beautiful design with terrible service, and design will only get you so far. Ensuring the two elements to work together is critical. I believe we have some of the best staff in the business that really truly reflect the brand and the area.

HK: When you are scouting for new properties, what are you looking for in an neighbourhood?
ML: We are looking for a place that will allow us to provide a Hotel Indigo experience, that allows our guests – the explorers – to find curated and special details. Generically speaking, city centres tend to have very rich stories.

HK: What’s been the most interesting thing you have learned so far about a Hotel Indigo neighbourhood?
HR: Stratford is fascinating, and not just for Shakespeare. For example, Pashley Bikes were made here, and we have taken the vernacular of the bike and integrated it into the hotel’s design.

ML: For me, the internet aborts the opportunity to find things out in person. We are hoping to take our guests the extra mile to learn something new about the area.

HK: What’s the most challenging part of curating something like this, on this scale?
HR: For all of our neighbourhoods, we want to go deeper into the community to find something that perhaps stands out, such as a local distillery or authentic craftsmanship. This obviously requires a lot of detailed research, which can perhaps be challenging but also equally rewarding.

Main image credit: Hotel Indigo

FEATURE: COVID–19 pandemic is forcing an evolution in wellness

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FEATURE: COVID–19 pandemic is forcing an evolution in wellness

When we eventually return to ‘normal’ life following the worldwide pandemic of COVID–19, we will all have become acutely aware of how Mother Nature can rapidly alter the status quo and severely affect each and every one of us; where we go, who we see, what we do. Room to Breathe gives Hotel Designs an insight on what might change…

There’s no doubt about it, the personal and commercial effects of the current outbreak will be felt for years to come.

Personal and social hygiene awareness has increased exponentially, with a growing scepticism of what and what is not clean.

Whether we are at our workplace, attending leisure facilities or travelling for business or pleasure, we all now have a heightened awareness of how we interact and will now expect and demand a higher level of service from providers that takes cognisance of the perceived risks as a result of this. Put simply, COVID–19 will change the way we work, how we live and how and where we travel.

Image credit: Room to Breathe

Few markets have felt the full force of this pandemic more than the hospitality sector. It has decimated trade, scattered the labour force and threatened the very existence of the supply chain. Travellers, holiday makers and businesspeople alike will now become even more difficult to satisfy and will seek to be given as much reassurance as possible.

A single night stay becomes your biggest issue as each and every night your new customer requires that peace of mind that your room is as safe as possible for them to stay in. Failure to address these new concerns could result in the long-term repeat visitor more likely to ‘go somewhere else next time’.

“By taking steps to show your commitment to your customers’ health and wellbeing is now, more than ever, of paramount importance.”

Family on bed

Image credit: Room to Breathe

Capturing this feeling of assured safety every time must be seen as the focal point for Customer Satisfaction.

What can be done?

So what can the hospitality sector do to insulate itself from the aftershock of COVID–19 and prepare for the inevitable increase in customer demands? What can be done to provide that ‘peace of mind’ that is desired?

Is carrying out the same cleaning protocols more frequently by an already stretched housekeeping department going to provide the reassurance required? In a word, no.

By taking steps to show your commitment to your customers’ health and wellbeing is now, more than ever, of paramount importance.

Image credit: Room to Breathe

A cleaner solution

A new approach to a new problem must be the way forward. It needs to address the worries and concerns of your customers but must, just as importantly, be cost effective. Imagine the cost of a ‘deep clean’ between every guest. This is neither practical nor affordable.

This is where Room to Breathe comes into its own. By providing a room that can demonstrate continuous and permanent ‘self-cleaning’ provision, you can provide customers with an unrivalled level of service and commitment to their needs and concerns.

“Room to Breathe also kills 99.99 per cent of viruses and bacteria, including coronaviruses.”

Originally developed to provide safe, clean accommodation for the millions of travellers who have a hypersensitivity to various toxins, pathogens and allergens, Room to Breathe also kills 99.99 per cent of viruses and bacteria, including coronaviruses (incl. influenza, SARS, MERS).

Step One – deep clean

An initial industrial air purge followed by a combination of steam cleaning above 40℃, ultra-low-penetration air (UPLA) vacuuming and the application of our unique decontamination fluid which is deadly to pathogens (but is safe to all higher living organisms) is fogged into the area ensuring every surface coated.

Additionally, by using innovative UV technology we can rid mattresses, pillows and soft furnishings of undesirable micro-organisms within seconds.

Fogger in room

Image credit: Room to Breathe

Step Two – Anti-microbial coating

Once the area has been decontaminated, our antimicrobial coating ‘BioTouch’, will be is applied. The BioTouch formula bonds to a clean surface and when viruses and bacteria land on the protected surface, the cellular structure is ruptured (not poisoned) and becomes defunct.

The only way BioTouch can be removed is by it being chipped off. Where there is a risk of this, on door handles, light switches for example, we can easily reapply to maintain the coatings efficiency.

Step three – Bedding and soft furnishings

Using our own unique formula, Protext solution provides a layer of invisible protection which permanently interrupts the life cycle of dust mites and bed bugs.

Our method avoids the use of toxins so whilst lethal to bugs and mites does not pose a risk to the client. This is also applied to all fabrics and soft furnishings.

Step Four – continuous air sanification. 

Installing filterless air sanifiers provides the final level of protection. Using technology originally developed by NASA, our sanifiers seek out contaminants and pathogens within the air and on surfaces and neutralise them.

By applying this four step process, we not only eradicate 99.99 per cent of viruses and bacteria, we also provide a continuous level of protection in between our Deep Clean processes.

Certification

On completion certification is provided and displayed either outside or within the room to provide that peace of mind to Customers and employees alike.

A Room Information Pack is provided for guests to simply explain the RTB system, providing that peace of mind. In order to maintain the certification, Steps One and Two are carried out every four months in accordance with our terms and conditions.

On-site training is also provided to Housekeeping staff in order to ensure the efficacy of the RTB system is maintained. This is no more onerous to staff and in fact will simplify their cleaning protocols.

Cost 

Based on an occupancy of 72 per cent, our cost model demonstrates that a ROI of 100 per cent can be achieved in the first year with a surcharge of just £15 per night per room.

We truly believe Room to Breathe is the next step in the evolution of the hospitality market. Our processes not only provide protection from unseen pathogens but are also proven to improve cognitive function, enable better quality of sleep and promote overall wellbeing.

So whether you are wanting ensure the highest level of protection for your customers or are looking to capture the untapped market for those travellers with intolerances or allergies then Room to Breathe could well be the answer.

Room to Breathe is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Room to Breathe

IN PICTURES: Jean-Michel Gathy’s plans for Amaala Island, Saudi Arabia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN PICTURES: Jean-Michel Gathy’s plans for Amaala Island, Saudi Arabia

Design and architecture studio Denniston’s Jean-Michel Gathy has been announced as the master planner of the ultra luxe AMAALA Island in Saudi Arabia…

Denniston’s internationally multi-award-winning architect, Jean-Michel Gathy, has released the first rendering showing what Ultra Luxe Amaala Island will look like.

Designed to evolve and elevate the very best in travel, AMAALA, located along Saudi Arabia’s northwest coast, is an ultra-luxury destination that focuses on curating transformative personal journeys inspired by arts, wellness and the purity of the Red Sea.

Rendering of 'The Palace', which will be situated on The Island

Image caption: A rendering of ‘The Palace’, which will be situated on The Island

Set in the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Nature Reserve across three unique communities, the 3,800-square kilometres (1,460-square miles) year-round destination will include 2,500 hotel keys and more than 800 residential villas, apartments and estate homes, alongside 200 high-end retail establishments, fine dining, wellness and recreation.

“This is truly unique, nothing like it has ever been planned before.” – Jean-Michel Gathy

“The Island development will be an immersive and interactive art-inspired jewel,” explained Gathy. “Its lifestyle components, its landscaping, the museums, and art installations together with the art community will transform this island into the ‘Diamond of the Red Sea’. It will feature many different venues for permanent installations or temporary exhibitions and artistic performances. The graphic layout of its spine will be distinctive from the air and will be recognised internationally as an iconic landmark. The project features all elements programmed and reflects the areas, numbers and facilities. This is truly unique, nothing like it has ever been planned before.”

Image caption: A rendering showing the open-air design scheme of a 'seven-star' hotel room

Image caption: A rendering showing the open-air design scheme of a ‘seven-star’ hotel room

Representing one of AMAALA’s trio of communities – Triple Bay, Coastal Development and The Island – ‘The Island’ will be the tranquil home of an exclusive art community, and an Arabic botanical garden filled with sculptural pieces. The new destination will house masterpieces across four key design elements: a contemporary art museum and academy, a Riviera-lifestyle artists’ colony, immersive artistic experiences, and art and sculpture co-creation opportunities.

The active community of The Island will be anchored by an artists’ village of working studios, artisanal shops, galleries, plus exhibition and performance facilities hosting a year-round calendar of immersive, and transformative works, representing the pillar of arts and culture. Fully aligned with Saudi Arabia’s ambitions for the future, the development of AMAALA is being rolled out across three key phases, with completion of the destination aimed for ahead of the realisation of Saudi Vision 2030.

AMAALA carves a unique positioning within the global hospitality portfolio, catering to select travellers looking for innovative experiential escapes,” said Chief Executive Officer of AMAALA, Nicholas Naples. “Our ambition is to create personalised experiences, catering to the individual needs of each guest. Entrenched in the philosophies of art, wellness, and inspired by the purity of the Red Sea, we are excited to be working alongside Jean-Michel Gathy and Denniston to bring to life our vision for The Island. It is here where our guests will embark on a transformational journey and feed the soul through arts and cultural offerings, with opportunities for philanthropic art co-creation.”

In addition to the The Island, Triple Bay will offer a fully holistic wellness retreat, state-of-the-art diagnostic medical facilities and authentic treatments designed to feature the local environment. Triple Bay will also be home to a fully integrated sports and entertainment community.

Elsewhere, The Coastal Development is set to become the defining hub of contemporary art in the Middle East, playing host to a dynamic programme of exciting events from the global arts and cultural calendar.

All image credits: Denniston/AMAALA

Aloft Hotels arrives in Bali with new ‘future-proof design’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Aloft Hotels arrives in Bali with new ‘future-proof design’

Aloft Hotels’ First property on the Island of Bali introduces the brand’s new ‘future-proof design formula’…

Aloft Hotels, Marriott International’s hotel brand for music enthusiasts and tech-savvy travellers, has announced the opening of Aloft Bali Seminyak.

Located in the heart of vibrant Seminyak, within walking distance to the beachm, the urban-inspired hotel features interactive social spaces and modern style, along with a fresh new social scene to Bali as the first Aloft hotel to open on the island.

“We are excited to be unveiling the Aloft Hotels brand in Bali,” said Mike Fulkerson, Vice President, Brand & Marketing, Asia-Pacific, Marriott International. “The new Aloft Bali Seminyak is set to own the stage as the hottest gathering hub for travellers visiting the well-known social scene of Seminyak. From its bold design to its live music programming, locals and guests alike can experience the next generation of hotels that will enhance their stay while vacationing on island paradise.”

Aloft Bali Seminyak embodies the brand’s new tech-forward design philosophy with a lively, industrial-inspired aesthetic intermixed with distinct local touches that complement the free-flowing open spaces. The hotel is home to 80 modern and stylish guestrooms, all of which have been designed with the brand’s signature artful and innovative loft layout in mind. They feature airy nine-foot-ceilings, Aloft’s ultra-comfortable beds and contemporary décor with Balinese accents. In addition, the hotel features eight guestrooms with direct access to a lap pool, complete with stunning views of a tropical hanging garden.

render of luxury guestroom

Image credit: Aloft hotels/Marriott International

The hotel features a variety of dining and social spaces including its main attraction: The Kahuna rooftop restaurant, which serves up a fusion of eclectic fare with a playful twist on international and local cuisine complemented by mesmerising sea views as a backdrop.

The open and expressive lobby is adjacent to Re:mix lounge that provides locals and travellers a space to mix and mingle. The brand’s signature W XYZ bar offers signature cocktails and light bites for guests to enjoy over live music as part of the brand’s iconic Live At Aloft Hotels music series which offers emerging local artists a platform to showcase their musical talent.

Business travellers can make use of the two multi-functional, tech-forward meeting spaces equipped with fast and free Wi-Fi, which can also be transformed into an intimate event venue accommodating up to 66 people.

Aloft currently operates 176 lifestyle hotels globally. There are 132 Aloft hotels in the signed pipeline expected to open in North America, Caribbean & Latin America, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Asia Pacific.

Main image credit: Marriott International/Aloft Hotels

SNEAK PEEK: Inside Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SNEAK PEEK: Inside Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

The iconic Hotel Ritz, Madrid is expected to reopen later this year as the Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid, following the most extensive restoration in its 110-year history…

The statuesque property, which will become Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid later this year, was designed and built under the supervision of legendary hotelier César Ritz, and first opened its doors in 1910.

An extensive restoration is underway to significantly enhance the hotel’s facilities and services, while maintaining its unique character, encapsulated in the Belle Époque style of the original building.

Spanish architect, Rafael de La-Hoz, has been instrumental in providing the context for the historical restoration, while French designers, Gilles & Boissier, have overseen the interiors with the aim of increasing the property’s appeal to local and international guests alike while celebrating César Ritz’s pioneering spirit.

The re-design of the public spaces has focused on restoring the hotel’s many fine interior architectural features, while incorporating a number of valuable artistic pieces from the property’s collection, including crystal chandeliers, antique paintings and sculptures.

Image caption: Rendering of the restaurant inside the hotel | Image credit: Mandarin Oriental

Image caption: Rendering of the restaurant inside the hotel | Image credit: Mandarin Oriental

The hotel has always been an integral part of society in Spain’s capital, and has been host to royalty, politicians, corporate leaders and celebrities. It is situated within the ‘Golden Triangle of Art’, an area defined by the most important museums in the city – the Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Reina Sofía Museum of Modern Art. The property’s location within a prestigious residential area close to Madrid’s financial and commercial district and to El Retiro Park,  adds to its appeal.

“The meticulous restoration is designed to ensure that this legendary property is once again recognised as one of Europe’s greatest hotels,” said James Riley, Group Chief Executive of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group.  “We are confident that the local community will be even more proud of this historic landmark, and we look forward to providing our guests with memorable experiences, in majestic surroundings, all underpinned by Mandarin Oriental’s exceptional service.”

Gilles & Boissier have created a sophisticated design for the hotel’s new guestrooms, encapsulating a classic but contemporary residential style for the 153 rooms including 53 suites. Within the suite inventory, there are several one-of-a-kind speciality suites, featuring unique design elements inspired by the hotel’s historic connections to the city, Spanish culture and art. A spacious Royal Suite and the Presidential Suite feature magnificent views over the Prado museum. Located in the top floor turrets are two new suites, each with private balconies and views over the Prado Museum and Lealtad Square.

Image caption: Rendering of the Royal Suite, designed by Gilles & Boissier | Image credit: Mandarin Oriental

Chef Quique Dacosta, one of the most celebrated chefs in Spain, was appointed to design, develop and oversee all culinary operations at the hotel’s five restaurants and bars.

The hotel’s new leisure and wellness facilities include a heated indoor swimming pool, a vitality pool, experience showers, a steam room and a contemporary fitness centre. A dedicated treatment room has been designed as a hidden sanctuary, providing a range of exclusive local and signature beauty and massage treatments.

As one of the most iconic buildings in the Spanish capital, Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid is ideally placed for memorable social events. The ballroom and functions spaces, with their large windows facing the Prado Museum will be beautifully restored and designed to ensure the hotel is once again the venue of choice for weddings, private dinners and parties.

Main image credit: Mandarin Oriental

Annual Hotel Conference unveils 2020 programme

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Annual Hotel Conference unveils 2020 programme

As the world continues to adapt in response to the current pandemic, The Annual Hotel Conference (AHC), which is due to take place later this year, has shared a sneak peek of this year’s programme…

Over the last 18 years, The Annual Hotel Conference (AHC) has become one of the leading events for the UK hospitality industry.

In a statement, the show said: “The immediate future is uncertain, but we do know that the uncertainty won’t last forever and when it disperses there will be a new normal where originality, information, passion and adaptability will be king. The importance of face-to-face meetings, handshakes, clinking glasses, and embraces will resume, even within the context of a new normal.”

The programme, which is available to view on The AHC website, is full creativity but also addresses the areas fundamental to the industry’s recovery. The conference content has always been rooted in delivering practical knowledge that delegates can take back to their hospitality businesses and implement and the event organisers remain steadfastly true to that promise. “We have a relentless focus on researching, shaping and delivering content that is relevant and fresh from speakers who are well-informed, interesting and stimulating,” the statement added. 

In light of the current circumstances, The AHC is making adjustments to significantly reduce the cost of attending The AHC for hoteliers to ensure they are able to join together with the rest of the UK hospitality community to learn, network and be inspired. The AHC was created by hoteliers for hoteliers and it is vital you are able to be part of the experience. 

The event is due to take place on September 21 & 22 at the Manchester Central Convention Centre. For more information and to register, please visit www.theahc.co.uk.

Main image credit: The AHC

Outstanding Property Awards’ 2020 winners announced

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Outstanding Property Awards’ 2020 winners announced

Outstanding Property Award London (OPAL), which Hotel Designs is a media partner of, has announced the winners of this year’s international awards…

Outstanding Property Award London (OPAL)’s global search to find the best architecture, interior design and property development projects from around the world has come to a close as the winners have been announced.

With entries from all over the world, each project was anonymously peer-reviewed by the distinguished OPAL jury panel comprised of international industry experts, rating each project according to their individual merits. The final winners were chosen based on the overall score of all the Jury votes.

“Being on the judging panel for the inaugural OPAL has been an enlightening experience from beginning to end,” commented editor of Hotel Designs and OPAL jury member Hamish Kilburn. “The quality of projects that were submitted this year, in all categories, is a true reflection of the boundless creativity that our industry is famous for. As a result, OPAL has emerged as a prestigious international award that celebrates mind-blowing and functional design, which will inspire designers and architects around the world to reach new heights.”

OPAL’s ‘Project of the Year’ trophies were awarded to who the jury voted to be the single best projects in three categories:

Architectural Design of the Year: The Shed
Design/architecture by: Diller Scofidio + Renfro / Rockwell Group

Image credit: The Shed/Diller Scofidio + Renfro (lead Architect) And Rockwell Group (collaborating Architect)

Image credit: The Shed/Diller Scofidio + Renfro (lead Architect) And Rockwell Group (collaborating Architect)

The Shed is dedicated to commissioning, producing, and presenting original works of art, across all disciplines, for all audiences. The building is designed to physically transform to support artists’ most ambitious ideas. Its eight-level base building includes two levels of gallery space, a versatile theatre, a rehearsal space, a creative lab, and a skylit event space. A telescoping outer shell can deploy from its position over the base building and glide along rails onto an adjoining plaza to double the building’s footprint for large-scale performances, installations, and events.

Interior Design of the Year: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Designed by: Shenzhen Wanjing International Design Consultant Co., Ltd.

Image credit: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon/Shenzhen Wanjing International Design Consultant Co., Ltd.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is located in Suichang, Zhejiang Province. It is a tea garden village with a thousand-foot cliffs of Jiulong Mountain. The minimalist design of the property was inspired by the local culture and craftsmanship, using natural materials to enhance a strong sense-of-place.

Property Developer of the Year: One Manhattan West
Developer: Brookfield Properties

Render of glass skyscraper

Image creditL Brookfield Properties/
One Manhattan West

Manhattan West is a seven-acre mixed-use development located in the heart of Manhattan’s Hudson Yards district. The 2,117,000 Sq Ft project completed in 2019 demonstrates our multi-faceted development capabilities – site assembly, master planning, development, leasing and operations. The site sits directly between the busiest train station in North America and New York City’s first subway extension in decades.

Speaking about OPAL’s award program, Jesper Thomsen, OPAL’s co-founder, commented: “Our esteemed jury members have worked hard to select the best projects. We are proud to present the winners of our inaugural year, celebrating the creativity and talent of incredible design projects from around the world, giving them the global exposure they deserve.”

Each winner receives the coveted OPAL Winners Seal to promote their award, a Winner’s Certificate, and a permanent profile on the OPAL online Winner’s gallery. OPAL has decided to postpone the Awards Ceremony due to the unfortunate Covid-19 situation until further notice and hope all are staying safe during these troubled times.

The full list of winners can be accessed on the OPAL website.

Main image credit: The Shed/Rockwell Group

CASE STUDY: utilising sustainability and emotional practice in hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: utilising sustainability and emotional practice in hotel design

Conscious, emotion and sustainability formed the design recipe for Kalukanda House, as interior designer Dee Gibson from Velvet Orange explains…

As an interior designer, I have always extolled the virtues of how a successful design makes my clients feel – and the aesthetics form only a part of that.

A space should functionally work, but it must also awaken as many senses as possible and I believe that comes from the designer at design stage connecting at a human level. Right from the get-go, we should be thinking about all the elements that will be pulled together to create an awakening for a user within a space that will stay with them long after we have gone.

“I deliberately allowed the design thinking to evolve as I discovered materials and fixtures that would fit the bill.” – Dee Gibson

Building a luxury hotel from scratch was an opportunity for me to put this into practice, and I deliberately allowed the design thinking to evolve as I discovered materials and fixtures that would fit the bill. Of course, the story doesn’t end there, we have a responsibility as hoteliers and designers to create and build sustainability, especially considering residential design trends can be influenced by the hotel market. Sharing this information and passion encourages others to join us; to engage emotionally and create spaces that people understand and want to talk about and replicate themselves.

Exterior of the property

Image caption: The colonial Walauwa architectural style of the building had to be restored sensitively in order to retain its charm and character

The hotel is on a gorgeous natural piece of jungle backed by a tall, golden cliff and 100 metres from the beach. Its garden was overgrown and the original derelict building had to be razed to the ground (not part of the plan). With a finite budget, it was important not to cut corners just to save money. At the same time, we had to balance the requirements of a demanding, luxury travel market. The challenge was to build and respect the elements of sea air, enormous trees, wildlife and extremes of weather and make the right financial choices around this.

The hotel is created in the colonial Walauwa architectural style associated with “Headmen” and the aristocracy, so the look was to be ultra luxury but had to be built responsibly. We wanted to evoke feelings of nostalgia for beautiful bygone eras, far away from the glass and steel structures that many developers favour today.

Image caption: Elements such as clay roof tiles and shutters were up-cycled to keep the style of the property

We stripped the bungalow of every inch that could be re-used. Original clay roof tiles were removed one by one and saved, shutters, doors, even the rotting fretwork was all dismantled. It was important to us to re-use as much as possible but also replicate original patterns wherever we had to make new. The charm of the original building had moved us and this was the closest I could get to completely replacing it and creating a sense of history.

The original grounds were bursting with tropical life; the trees and flora giving home and sanctuary to countless monkeys, birds and other wildlife. We carefully hand selected and cut back a small number of trees that were blocking light and designed outdoor spaces around the remainder. The gardens today are packed full of original, gigantic palms and Jackwood trees, and sunlight floods through to the ground where we have planted new exotic flowers, shrubs and Frangipanee.

Wooden shutters and doors on hotel

Image caption: The hotel has a distinct residential style that is both luxurious and thoughtful.

Working with the footprint of the original bungalow was crucial. Rather than cramming lots of small rooms in as was suggested (bums on seats), we created two levels and carved off half the space for a large double height, vaulted living area which would stay cool naturally, and the other half for four lovely bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms. We installed the refurbished doors, shutters and windows from the original property back into similar locations and had additional ones handmade by local craftsmen from local, sustainable sources.

We have a natural water well and that water is used to irrigate the gardens. If the well runs dry when it is particularly hot, then the gardens go without. The original jungle has been there for centuries without being watered and we chose beautiful but hardy plants that could withstand extreme weather patterns. It was one of hundreds of decisions we debated – how to balance finances, sustainable design and luxury market expectations.

Image caption: The bedrooms shelter a traditional look and feel with hidden technology keeping it relevant for the luxury market

Powerful hot showers are a personal must have for comfortable, luxury travel and the electricity for this comes from solar panels. The Grohe fittings are expensive in Sri Lanka but the thought of having cheaper, mass produced variants was not an option. In a hot country like Sri Lanka there are times when the heat can be intense, so we have installed fast, efficient high-tech AC units in the bedrooms in addition to ceiling fans, and we actively ask and encourage guests to use the fans where possible and be mindful of the impact on the environment.

Our future plans include switching over entirely to solar power, but frequent power cuts will mean we still have to rely on our generator.

The hotel is styled with antiques that are all in daily use, and individually selected based on how they stirred us emotionally. We used a local antique dealer who had stories to tell of his life including where he was on the day of the Tsunami in 2004. These human connections and stories of provenance added layers of interest and emotion into the process.

Other craftsmen hand carved furniture for us, and we consciously sought out Sri Lankan artisans instead of mass produced, replica retailers. The entire space breathes and pieces are installed for specific use, their inherent beauty and details are styling enough. Carvings and statues add a sense of nostalgia, these too are minimal so they can be admired.

Image caption: The interior design scheme inside the hotel evokes a strong sense-of-place and time

Having regular contact with the contractors meant that I could see the hotel going up brick by brick. Our Sri Lankan builders had knowledge of local building techniques as well as modern materials, they used labourers from local streets to help on smaller tasks and we retained the caretaker who had looked after the site before we bought it. Relationships were built and strengthened, our presence in the village has roots.

Every detail was considered, from drainage and irrigation to power sources and building materials, and contractors, craftsmen and staff. It took time and effort and since opening, there are costs associated with maintenance, but the hotel has been built responsibly and with authenticity.

Sustainability is an on going project for us. We share our story with guests and engage them as much as possible to join in by making conscious choices on meal ingredients, water and electricity consumption and even local experiences. Our toiletries are all organic and every bathroom has china bottles that are topped up with products. Single use plastic is down to less than five per cent and we are always thinking about what we can do to improve.

We are asking that all guests go on at least one of our experiences where we encourage a human connection with locals. We also have strong links with a local children’s charity who we support through donations from guest bookings and other means.

Our staff are trained to be discrete while attentive and they are encouraged to warmly interact with guests if it feels appropriate, recreating those moments of connection we had with various people when building Kalukanda House.

All of this brings the guest experience into a deep sense of connection with the provenance and values of the hotel, the people, and the environment. Guests want to actively participate in our sustainability and green initiatives and ask about this when booking to stay.

Designers and hoteliers must insist on thinking about a design approach that is both conscious, emotional and sustainable. Whether in Sri Lanka or anywhere else, we can use our influence to create engagement between users and their environment, as this is the beginning of a journey to good mental health, wellbeing and thinking about our world in a kinder and respectful way.

Over complicated technology, throw away fixtures and faddish design aesthetics result in buzzes that are easily forgotten, and an un-conscious lack of respect for the environment.

The Kalukanda House definition of luxury is having the time and means to engage at a human level, to savour every pleasure our senses can find and to leave a positive social impact on the space we leave behind. That word ‘conscious’ is the golden key to sustainable and timeless design.

Main image credit: The Kalukanda House

Hotels that are self-isolating in style (part 3)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotels that are self-isolating in style (part 3)

The editorial series continues with part three, as editor Hamish Kilburn mentally checks in to some of the best hotels that are self-isolating in style…

The weeks are starting to feel like years. As the number of cases of COVID–19 increases day-by-day, so too do our social restrictions. From our new-found goldfish bowl perspective on the world, travel is beginning to feel like a distant memory.

Following on from parts one and two in this series, Hotel Designs continues to start the week during lockdown with some Monday motivation, – a non-permanent day-dream, if you like – to explore some of the world’s hidden luxury gems. Here are a handful of hotels that are naturally self-isolating in style.

Dharana at Shillim, in the Western Ghats of India

Lounge overlooking greenery

Image caption: Spa Pool Villa’s Living Room | Image credit: Dharana at Shillim

Spread over 3,000 acres of its own fertile valley, Dharana at Shillim used a completely local work force to respectfully build 23 rooms and three Presidential Villas within the forest. Each room celebrates the nature they’re in while also paying homage to Indian local design. The roofs are made out of tin, as a reflection of the village homes surrounding Shillim, and also to heighten the sound of the rain during monsoon season, reminding guests that nature rules here.

Treehotel, Sweden

Glass-mirrored structure hanging from trees

Image credit: Treehotel Sweden

The mirrorcube structure was launched as an “exciting hide-out among the trees, camouflaged by mirrored walls that reflect their surroundings.” Its base consists of an aluminium frame around the tree trunk and the walls are covered with reflective glass. The interior is designed from plywood with a birch surface. The total of six windows provide a stunning panoramic view. A 12-meter-long bridge leads up to the tree room.

Matetsi Victoria Falls

Luxury suite with sensitive interiors

Image credit: Matetsi Victoria Falls

Nestled within a 123,000-acre (55,000 hectres) wild game reserve, Matetsi Victoria Falls is arguably the most self-isolated hotel in the world. The hotel has been constructed to blend into its natural surroundings. The interiors, designed by local designer Kerry van Leenhoff, have been sensitively created to evoke sense-of-place at every turn.

Artist Helen Teede spent much time on site at Matetsi in order to find the inspiration of a unique collection of 18 paintings entitled ‘Mapping Matetsi’. Having done extensive walks and drives in the area, Teede divided the cartographic map of Matetsi unit seven into 18 parts and drew it to scale on each canvas, adding her own impressions of the river, the landscape and the pathways walked in the area, both man and animal-made. These 18 paintings hang separately in each suite. However, put together and these pieces of art actually form the aerial map of the reserve.

Severin*s – The Alpine Retreat

Luxury pool inside the hotel

Image credit: Severin*s – The Alpine Retreat

Severin*s is an uber-luxe hotel in Lech, situated in the Arlberg region which is part of Austria’s largest inter-connected ski areas. It set a new design standard in an otherwise predominantly traditional hotel landscape – Severin*s oozes James Bond glamour with pine interiors, fires in the rooms and fur throws.

The luxury hotel shelters just nine exclusive super-suites, each with private terraces and mountain views, a private four-bed Residence and an indoor luxury spa. 

Heritance Aarah, Maldives

Luxury pool on stilts in the middle of ocean

Image credit: Aitken Spence Hotels

The design of Heritance Aarah compliments the group Aitken Spence Hotels’ policy of sustainability by implementing components such as fuel saving generators, energy saving LED lighting, water saving fixtures and energy efficient air conditioning. The premium all-inclusive resort boasts 150 villas, six restaurants, five bars, a PADI dive centre and the first of its kind IASO Medi Spa.

Main image credit: Dharana at Shillim

BREAKING: Salone del Mobile postponed until 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
BREAKING: Salone del Mobile postponed until 2021

The 2020 edition of the Salone del Mobile.Milano has been suspended to 2021 due to the COVID–19 pandemic…

Just weeks after Salone del Mobile.Milano was postponed from April until June of 2020, due to the outbreak of COVID–19, the organisers of the event have now announced that the event has been further suspended until April of 2021. 

Salone del Mobile.Milano, which is the world’s largest and arguably most visible furniture fair in the international design calendar, will now take place between April 13 – 18 2021.

The decision to postpone was made by the Board of the Salone del Mobile.Milano in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that is spreading to almost every country in the world.

In a statement, the show’s organisers said: “Although we were determined to keep to the June date, to allow the annual event to take place as planned, the present, unprecedented circumstances and medium-term uncertainties now mean that this year’s Salone can no longer go ahead.

“The 2021 edition, which will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Salone, will be a special event for the entire sector. For the first time ever, all the biennial exhibitions will be held in conjunction with the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the International Furnishing Accessories Exhibition, Workplace3.0, S.Project and SaloneSatellite. This means that EuroCucina, FTK – Technology For the Kitchen and the International Bathroom Exhibition will also take place next year, along with Euroluce, which was already scheduled for 2021.” 

The sector-wide trade fair is said to represent a fresh opportunity to pull together to revitalise our businesses, the entire supply chain that works in synergy with the Salone, and Milan. 

This is breaking news, more to follow…

Main image credit: Salone del Mobile.Milano/Andrea Mariani

Marriott debuts multi-purpose-built property in South Africa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott debuts multi-purpose-built property in South Africa

Marriott International grows its footprint in South Africa with the opening of Johannesburg Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch, the chain’s first multi-purpose-built hotel in the country… 

Marriott International has announced the opening of Johannesburg Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch, which marks the first purpose-built Marriott Hotel in the country.

Owned and developed by the Amdec Group, the hotel and apartments are situated in the bustling Melrose Arch Precinct and provide a premium destination for business travelers and a fully serviced extended stay destination.

“We are thrilled to open Johannesburg Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch and Marriott Executive Apartments Johannesburg Melrose Arch, further strengthening our relationship with the Amdec Group in South Africa,” said Sandra Schulze–Potgieter, Vice President Premium & Select Brands, Marriott International Middle East and Africa. “The openings are part of Marriott International’s commitment to expand our footprint in Africa and deepen our brand portfolio in South Africa. The property is a strong representation of two brands which will deliver tailored services, sophisticated spaces and enriching experiences.”

Johannesburg Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch is the first Marriott Hotel in South Africa to showcase the brand’s new design touchpoints. The property features 306 guest rooms, including 10 Junior Suites. Each of the spacious rooms are thoughtfully designed with a balance of tailored utility and contemporary style for the traveler who believes that form is just as important as function. Local accents add a sense of place to the sleek aesthetic, while open workspaces allow for flexibility to connect anytime.

The hotel is home to spaces that spark brilliance and seamlessly blend work and play with state-of-the-art business facilities, such as the Greatroom – a contemporary space located in the hotel lobby designed for socialising, relaxing and working. Guests can enjoy an elevated experience through the Mobile Guest Services, delivered with the warm and professional service for which the brand is globally renowned.

The F&B areas include Archer Bar and Eatery – a charismatic social space, part bar and part coffee hangout, serving local craft beers, specialty coffee and creative mixology, and Keystone Bistro – a stylish restaurant serving international cuisine with a South African flair. In addition, the hotel features seven meeting rooms, a ballroom, pre-function space and a 24-hour fitness centre, complete with outdoor heated swimming pool and pool bar.

On the upper floors of the new build, Marriott Executive Apartments Johannesburg Melrose Arch features 84 fully sized and equipped apartments, ranging from one-, two- and three-bedroom units, for travellers seeking a trusted, longer stay.

Main image credit: Marriott International

Radisson signs debut beach resort in Dubai

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Radisson signs debut beach resort in Dubai

Radisson Hotel Group has announced the signing of the Radisson Resort Dubai Palm Jumeirah, its first beach resort in Dubai and third Radisson hotel in the United Arab Emirates…

Located on the Jumeirah shoreline, Radisson’s latest resort brings the group’s UAE portfolio to 23 hotels in operation and under development.

Inside Radisson Resort Dubai Palm Jumeirah’s 389 upscale rooms and suites, guests will discover the renowned hospitality and modern amenities. The hotel will feature five food and drink outlets, with cuisine suited to every taste at the all-day dining restaurant and guests can explore the hotel bars which overlook the infinite views of Dubai and the sea.

“Radisson is a very compelling brand to all stakeholders, blending real estate efficiencies with guest relevance,” said Elie Younes, Executive Vice President & Chief Development Officer, Radisson Hotel Group. “We are excited to enter this new partnership and look forward to a successful journey with our partners based on trust and responsibility.”

The hotel will also house a fully equipped gym, and a luxury  spa, which will utilise the breathtaking views of the Arabian Gulf. The hotel will also be home to three meeting rooms; the ideal space to host any leisure or business function.

Main image credit: Radisson Hotel Group

PRODUCT WATCH: Atlas Concorde’s debut decor collection by Piero Lissoni

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Atlas Concorde’s debut decor collection by Piero Lissoni

The global specialist in premium porcelain tiles and wall tiles, Atlas Concorde, has unveiled the new Reverse Canon collection with Piero Lissoni

Atlas Concorde presents the new Reverse Canon collection. The collection is signed by Piero Lissoni, architect and designer known for his unmistakable style and the elegance of his creations.

Canone Inverso reflects a combination of fluidity, materiality and interprets the vision that Atlas Concorde had given Piero Lissoni: create decorative elements for wall and floor tiles.

The designer explains: “The four compositions of the Canone Inverso collection are the variants of a model, a scheme that is composed and recomposed to create a harmonious relationship that like in a musical score is formed by the assembly of different notes, or rather the forms that make it up”.

Image credit: Ceramiche Atlas Concorde S.p.A.

The company adds: “we gave the designer our range to be freely mixed and matched, to create a ‘decor collection’ to be presented individually or to be used in combination with our different collections and surfaces.”

The project is divided into four porcelain tile mosaics inspired by the world of cement and minimalist stones, in shades ranging from warm white to beige with traces of clay and dove grey, from greys in cooler and lighter tones to the darker anthracite and smoke.

Each module of Canone Inverso’s four mosaics has its own particular geometry, in some cases deliberately asymmetrical to create new patterns. Each module also constitutes a colour in the collection, obtained by mixing hues of similar shades selected from the Atlas Concorde range of minimalist cement-effect and stone-effect designs: Boost and Dwell (cement effect), Raw (cement plaster effect), Arkshade (minimalist cement effect), Kone (minimalist limestone effect).

The graphics of the individual tiles recall the cement and stone concept and refer to the collections they derive from, in perfect colour and stylistic harmony. Aesthetically, the surfaces have an almost smooth touch or a slight three-dimensional structure with a perfectly matte texture.

Image credit: Ceramiche Atlas Concorde S.p.A.

An important added value of Canone Inverso is the possibility of creating refined combinations of each mosaic with Atlas Concorde collections.  In particular:

Canone Inverso 1 matches the colors that compose it: Kone White, Arkshade White, Boost White and Dwell Off White.

Canone Inverso 2 goes well with the nuances of Arkshade Dove, Kone Beige, and Arkshade Clay.

Canone Inverso 3 combines with Kone Pearl, Kone Silver, and Raw Pearl.

Canone Inverso 4 reflects the color moods of Dwell Smoke, Boost Smoke, and Arkshade Lead, obviously in any format and in the matte version.

Canone Inverso finds its natural application wherever there is not only the need to decorate floors and walls, but above all, a desire to redesign spaces with decorative elements that act as furnishing elements.  A new tool to interpret ceramic tiles in a creative and personalized way, in line with the latest demands of high-end interior design.

Atlas Concorde is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Ceramiche Atlas Concorde S.p.A.

VIP Arrivals: hotels opening in April 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP Arrivals: hotels opening in April 2020

Despite COVID-19 putting the brakes on hotel development activity, Hotel Designs’ Hamish Kilburn wants to still celebrate the hotels that were originally planned to open in April so that we have something to look forward once the crisis is over…

It was all going so well. Only last month I wrote that 2020 was shaping up to be a year of expansion for many hotel brands.

A few weeks after publishing that article, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a pandemic following the COVID–19 outbreak. Now with businesses and homes in lockdown – something that everybody is having to comes to terms with – hotels that were originally planned to open in April have hit a temporary red light, but we still want to shine the spotlight on a handful of them away.

Villa Copenhagen

CGI rendering of a light and open classy brasserie

Image caption: CGI rendering of The Brasserie inside Villa Copenhagen

Sheltered inside what was the century-old Central Post and Telegraph Head Office, the 390-key Villa Copenhagen was originally planned to open in April. Traditional Danish and international F&B areas have been designed by London-based studio Goddard Littlefair with the aim to promote wellbeing and sociability. It was described in an interview with Jo Littlefair as “the destination’s answer to The Ned, London”. A member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, the hotel will offer a conscious approach to luxury with a focus on all things eco-friendly.

W Ibiza

Render of green and blue exterior of the hotel

Image credit: W Ibiza

The brainchild of BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERGW Ibiza was slated to open in April. Located off the beaten track, the 167-key hotel strikes a pose on the palm-fringed beachfront of Santa Eulalia. As the only global brand on the island, the design brief was to fuse together the parallel realities of Ibiza with a magnetic pull that turns up the sass.

The design scheme has opened up the public spaces to become a flexible social hub, the hotel becomes a place that nurtures human connections, and through the use of subtle levels creates touchable distance between each functional area. “The idea is that the energy descends into the unconventional pool area,” Alon Baranowitz told Hotel Designs in an exclusive interview. “As you move up levels, the lobby/lounge area becomes more reclined, but the open architecture scheme allows for a clever connection between all spaces.”

Soneva Fushi, Maldives

Render of luxe villa on the water

Image credit: Soneva Fushi, Maldives

Sources have told Hotel Designs that there are no new guests arriving in any of the hotels in the Maldives at the moment, and that hotel staff are being told to self-isolate for at least 14 days.

Meanwhile, Soneva Fushi is preparing to launch new overwater villas, which were expected to be up and running in April. The one- and two-bedroom villas of the refreshed Soneva Fushi will feature private pools, sunken seating areas, catamaran nets strung over water, and retractable roofs.

Six Senses Shaharut

Villa over looking desert

Image credit: Six Senses

Following a significant year of growth for the hotel brand that aggressively extended its luxury portfolio with a number of openings around the globe, Six Senses is preparing to open its first hotel in Israel.

Perched on the edge of a cliff in the south of the Negev Desert, the 58-suite hotel will pride itself of on eco-living, going as far to ban cars on the property as well as all outdoor lighting to further minimise light pollution.

Camp Sarika by Amangiri, Utah

Image credit: Aman/Amangiri

A five-minute drive across the desert from Amangiri, Camp Sarika’s collection of 10 elegant and spacious one- and two-bedroom pavilions was slated to open in April. Complementing the clean lines and natural material palette of Amangiri’s suites, the generously proportioned pavilions each have indoor living and dining areas, as well oversized terraces with fire pits and heated plunge pools.

Hotel Designs is currently researching and writing the next article in this series, which will identify the top hotels that are opening in May, 2020. If you are working on a hotel project, or know of a hotel that would be suitable for the feature, please email the editorial team

Main image credit: Aman/Amangiri

CASE STUDY: Creating ‘sense-of-place’ in nhow London carpets

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Creating ‘sense-of-place’ in nhow London carpets

Carpet manufacturer Brintons were asked by design studio Project Orange to help them capture the theme of ‘London Reloaded’ in the carpets inside nhow London…

Brintons supplied carpets for key public areas and the Royalist Suite within the UK’s first nhow hotel, a four-star property under NH Hotel Group’s design and lifestyle brand, which is situated on the fringe of Shoreditch.

The hotel, which Hotel Designs was the first to check in to, exploded onto the London hospitality scene earlier this year. Themed ‘London Reloaded’, the interiors were designed by architect James Soane, combining “British icons with unconventional contemporary elements”.

Brintons worked with James Soane at Shoreditch-based design firm Project Orange; together creating carpets to suit both the business traveller and tourist guest of the hotel. The bold, floral carpet designs seen throughout the corridors and staircases of the eight-floor hotel reflect the Walk in the Park theme, while the sharp modern ‘space invaders’ houndstooth that forms the design in the three meeting rooms called Laboratories enhance the hotel’s modern structure.

“Working with the creative brief ‘London Reloaded’, Project Orange continued their long-time collaboration with Brintons to develop original and playful designs that tell a story,” said James Soane, Director at Project Orange. “The guest corridor was pictured as a Walk in the Park – where the bedroom doors are painted different bright colours complete with brass door knockers along with a dark green carpet strewn with roses. This romantic and theatrical experience offers the guest an immersive experience unlike any hotel and is truly unique.”

Image caption: Brintons supplied thew carpets for the Royalist Suite inside nhow London

Image caption: Brintons supplied thew carpets for the Royalist Suite inside nhow London

The East End’s coolest new hotel, plays homage to both the area’s industrial past and technological future. Throughout the hotel, bold and fresh design takes inspiration from traditional British icons, such as the Royal Family, London landmarks and the underground. This quirky new offering is the fifth property in the nhow portfolio, joining hotels in Milan, Berlin, Rotterdam and Marseille.

Image caption: Brintons supplied carpets for all the meeting rooms inside nhow London, including the Tech Lab.

Image caption: Brintons supplied carpets for all the meeting rooms inside nhow London, including the Tech Lab.

Loughton Contracts were commissioned to install the carpet for the project. “It was great to work with Brintons on such an amazing project,” added Craig Anstey, Divisional Director at Loughton Contracts. “The vibrant and luxurious carpet design worked perfectly with the eclectic and industrial look of London’s first nhow Hotel. I can’t wait for the next collaboration between Loughton Contracts and Brintons.”

nhow, commissioned Brintons to supply custom axminster carpets to run throughout the corridors, staircases and meeting room areas, and to create a bespoke axminster rug for the Royalist Suite, each echoing the contemporary feel of the hotel setting.

Main image credit: Brintons

In Conversation With: Interior Designer of the Year 2019, Jo Littlefair

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Interior Designer of the Year 2019, Jo Littlefair

Securing her place in the history books, Jo Littlefair came out on top last year at The Brit List Awards 2019, spectacularly winning the coveted title, Interior Designer of the Year. A few months later, she welcomes editor Hamish Kilburn into the Goddard Littlefair HQ to give him a glimpse into studio life…

“Jo, can I borrow you for just a second,” says senior associate and architect David Lee Hood as Jo Littlefair and I walk through the studio. “This archway,” he says pointing to a life-like rendering on his monitor, “what are your thoughts on adding in a line of colour here?” As he shows the before and after, it is a game of ‘spot the difference’ to the untrained eye. But for the multi-layered studio Goddard Littlefair, where the devil is so often in the detail, it could be the difference between winning a pitch or losing it, as any design practice operating on today’s international scene will confirm.

“We have made a few changes to encourage people to come and talk to us more.” – Jo Littlefair, co-founder, Goddard Littlefair

The short but important moment is proof, if ever I needed it, that Littlefair likes to naturally lead from within her team. And as we walk through the open-planned office that is flooded with natural light towards her workstation, I notice also that there is no door, and no boundary, between herself and everyone else in the building.

Image caption: The Lowry Presidential Suite, designed sensitively by Goddard Littlefair

Image caption: The Lowry Presidential Suite, designed sensitively by Goddard Littlefair

“We got to the point last year when, as we reached 60 employees, we decided Goddard Littlefair was too big as a studio,” she confesses. “We have made a few changes to encourage people to come and talk to us more, because I would rather know about something – and be able to comment at a point where it is possible to comment – rather than get further down the line and it be too late. At the end of the day, leading this design studio with Martin Goddard has always been a collaboration, not just between himself and I but also our team.” As the designer is explaining, I notice that there’s a cordial and relaxed atmosphere in the Clerkenwell studio, and the strong relationship between the co-founders and their team is apparent.

Image caption: The bar inside Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik, designed by Goddard Littlefair

“We look at the finer details, as you have just seen, that perhaps make a space look and feel more residential,” the designer explains. “Things like tabs on the curtain pole having a little leather strap and a metal rivet, and it’s those elements that give it quality and detail. It’s important that someone has thought about it in that much detail, and there is a reason why it’s leather and why it’s embossed, or whatever.”

“What’s most important is that it has to be right for our client, the property and the location every time.” – Jo Littlefair, co-founder, Goddard Littlefair

Recently completed projects within the studio’s portfolio include The Biltmore Mayfair  London, Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik , Sheraton  Grand Warsaw , the new F&B areas inside Hilton Munich City, The Lowry in Manchester and the Kimpton Charlotte Square. Having followed many, if not all, of these projects from concept through to completion, it’s fair to say that the studio believes that variety is the spice of life. “We don’t like being pigeon-holed,” explains Littlefair. “We have a great variety of style, which is fantastic. Also, we are not divas when it comes to our personal taste. What’s most important is that it has to be right for our client, the property and the location every time.”

Modern award-winning bar

Image caption: The award-winning Juliet Rose at Hilton Munich, designed by Goddard Littlefair, has become the city’s new destination bar.

Despite the studio clocking up the air miles with unavoidable trips abroad for site visits and account management, in order for the team to understand the culture and fabrics of new destinations, the studio’s HQ is positioned slap-bang in the epicentre of the design community in London, just a few streets behind some of the city’s major design showrooms in Clerkenwell. “There is always a corner of London that you can find a narrative to that is really individual,” says Littlefair. “Whether  When? you are living, working and breathing in London, like many of our designers, the city becomes a fantastic place. I think that’s because it is made up of villages that have, over time, morphed together. As a designer working on a project here, the identity of what those villages were can really shine through.”

“I literally had to work my way around the world, and it made me a different person.” – Jo Littlefair, co-founder, Goddard Littlefair

Despite London having its place in the designer’s heart, Littlefair mostly finds inspiration in design from nature, and decompresses daily from city life, after a hefty commute, in Buckinghamshire where she lives. “It’s a very open community, close enough to London for work, but full of fresh air,” she explains. “My kids love it there, and so do I!”

But where was Littlefair’s inquisitive nature born, I wonder? “When I left university and went travelling, technology as we know it now didn’t exist; email had just come out for crying out loud,” she admits. “I used to pay to sit in a café to type an email home to say I’m alive. For me, that was about really cutting off from the world. My mum didn’t think I was going to come back,” she laughs, “I did some crazy things; I worked out on boats and I threw myself into experiential travel, albeit on a shoestring. I literally had to work my way around the world, and it made me a different person. Experiencing places and learning about people and cultures.”

Image caption: The Principal York's luxe, residential look and feel was designed by Goddard Littlefair

Image caption: The Principal York’s luxe, residential look and feel was designed by Goddard Littlefair

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: What trend do you hope will never return?
Jo Littlefair: Rag-rolled walls and transitional furniture.

HK: What’s next on your travel bucket list?
JL: Chile , Argentina and Egypt.

HK: What would you say is the number-one tool for success?
JL: Hard work, and you can’t teach taste. I learn something new every day, nobody can know everything!

HK: Who was your inspiration growing up?
JL: The reason I made it into interiors is because I used to work on super yacht designed by Terence Tisdale. I couldn’t believe that somebody got paid to put this together and design with  all those beautiful timber veneers and mirrors everywhere, which I had to clean! I spent four months in the Med working on this 64m Feadship  . It had everything and gave me an insight into luxury and interior design.

HK: What is the one item you cannot travel without?
JL: This is ridiculous but my cashmere jumper, which is so not me. You will always find a lightweight cashmere jumper in my flight bag!

HK: What is the last item that will show up on your bank statement?
JL: Whole beans for my coffee machine. Always buy a small bag because you want the freshest roasted beans for your coffee.

HK: What has the last year taught you?
JL: To keep everyone in the studio on one floor, so that we are working together. Also that quality far outweighs quantity.

“Think of it as the destination’s answer to The Ned.” – Jo Littlefair, co-founder, Goddard Littlefair

Back to today, and the studio is currently hard at work with a number of projects on the drawing boards. The studio is currently working on designing four restaurants and bars inside the soon-to-open 360-key Villa Copenhagen. “Think of it as the destination’s answer to The Ned,” Littlefair teases. “But it’s so not about men and women in suits. Instead, the whole project has been about understanding the Danish vernacular, the locals’ way of life.”

Other projects that the studio is working on include five star resorts on the Mediterranean coast line, the repurposing of a beautiful Viennese building to a 150 plus bedroom five star hotel and what may be the future best spa in London.

Image credit: The atmospheric restaurant Cucina Mia inside Shertaton Warsaw, designed by Goddard Littlefair

Image credit: The atmospheric restaurant InAzia restaurant in Sheraton Warsaw, designed by Goddard Littlefair

As two people who are, parallel to others in the industry, so thoughtfully leading interior design forward in terms of meaningful innovation, Goddard and Littlefair both feel pressure to adapt sensitively with the times while also maintaining a fundamental quality. And their approach to evolution is enlightening.  “Someone once told me that everything in life is a phase,” explains Littlefair. “I have learned to embrace change and see it as a positive. It is intrinsically scary to human nature, but when you learn that it is necessary to be a little bit cathartic about things, life runs smoother.” I would argue that it is this breath-of-fresh-air attitude that led the designer to win The Brit List Awards’ Interior Designer of the Year 2020.

“You have no idea how much the award means to me.” – Jo Littlefair, co-founder, Goddard Littlefair

“I just can’t believe it,” she said fresh off stage at the event in November when her new-found title was revealed in front of a sea of leading designers, architects, hoteliers and developers. Months later, and the reality of ‘that win’ hasn’t quite sunk in. “You have no idea how much the award means to me,” she says now. “The line-up of people you had there was fantastic, they are my peer group and I am very respectful of what everyone else is doing. So, that people within this industry consider what we are doing here to such high regard means everything!”

Image caption: Interior Designer of the Year, Goddard Litterfair's Jo Littlefair with editor Hamish Kilburn at The Brit List Awards 2020

Image caption: Interior Designer of the Year, Goddard Litterfair’s Jo Littlefair with editor Hamish Kilburn at The Brit List Awards 2020

In a recent roundtable discussion that Littlefair attended, it was mentioned that all designers are having to work harder than ever before in order to differentiate from other styles and common motifs. As I sit around the table in the hub of her studio, I wonder how Littlefair and her team approach this topic when it comes to designing future hotels. “We are getting to the point where people have not seen a beautifully letter-pressed card before,” she says. “The ‘tech revolution’ has changed everything that we do and the way our work is perceived, but we can’t lose touch of humanity in the process.”

“We crowned a really worthy winner,” I can’t help by think to myself after I’ve said my goodbyes to the  Goddard Littlefair team. For me, it’s not necessary  necessarily? Littlefair’s work that is the most inspiring thing about but  the designer, but more her incredible journey, which was fuelled by hard-work, passion and determination, that I believe every single designer can learn from – or at least be energised by.

Main image credit: Goddard Littlefair

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: VIP suite security in luxury hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: VIP suite security in luxury hotel design

Following his article regarding cyber security issues in design, architecture and hospitality, Toren Consulting’s Mark Tucknutt, explains why the design of a hotel suite is only as valuable as its physical and electronic security systems…

It’s a common lament of any designer that if they’d been involved earlier, when designing a suite, they could have added more value for the client.

For us as hotel security consultants, the truth of this can be most apparent when considering VIP or Presidential Suite design; not only are some of the potential modifications difficult to achieve late in the design process but there is a direct link to the completed hotel’s ability to sell rooms to certain types of VIP and the rates that can be achieved.

I run a boutique security design consultancy, supporting developers and architects in designing hotels that meet the security requirements of planning authorities, hotel brands and hotel guests. I started my career in the Home Office where I designed security for VIP residences, before moving to the private sector and bringing that experience to hotel and private residential design and construction.

Security, including security design consultancy, is often considered to be a grudge purchase in construction projects. However in luxury hotels we’ve found that considering security alongside architecture and interior design means that a hotel is better equipped to attract the kind of guests that the owner and brand intended for its VIP Suite.

I’ve described below some of the areas that luxury hotels might consider during design and construction. Whether there’s value in building these security features, and more, depends of course on what your VIP guest profile is intended to be. We increasingly find though that hotel security isn’t just a concern of diplomats and dignitaries, it is also part of the hotel selection criteria for business travellers, privately wealthy individuals and of course celebrities.

Image credit: SALTO Systems

Privacy and discretion

Luxury hotels are known, of course, for providing discrete service to high profile guests. How easy it is for them to do so, however, can be significantly affected by the layout of the hotel. Considerations that we typically discuss with the architect and hotel operator include:

  • Can multiple suites be booked together, including a smaller room or rooms for the guest’s security team?
  • Are the suite entrance doors isolated from other hotel uses and general guest circulation?
  • Are the windows to the suite overlooked?
  • Are there separate, discreet, VIP entrance, exit and evacuation routes?

Physical security

The higher tiers of security-conscious guests consider the physical security of potential VIP Suites, or at least their security teams consider it on their behalf.

In this context physical security means walls, doors and windows. Depending on the anticipated guest profile, we may consult on and design security measures including:

  • Explosion resistance – protection against a nearby bomb, for example
  • Ballistic resistance – protection against an attack nearby, at the hotel or on the guest
  • Manual attack resistance – protection against covert or aggressive entry into the suite
  • Refuge areas – hardened spaces within a suite (sometimes known as panic rooms)

“At Toren Consulting, we include a VIP Suite Security Workshop in our scope of services when appointed to design security for luxury hotels.”

Electronic security

Most tiers of hotel guest expect to be reassured by seeing electronic security in a hotel, including video surveillance cameras in common areas and electronic locks to guest room doors. Luxury hotels tend, though not exclusively, to feature at least more of the same; they’re more likely to have CCTV cameras in lift cabs and corridors for example.

VIP Suite electronic security tends to include the fundamentals that are present in other areas of the hotel, but with some unique enhancements including:

  • Additional intruder alarm sensors to doors and windows on the routes to the VIP suite
  • Monitoring of relevant cameras, intercoms and intruder alarm sensors in a VIP Suite security room, potentially instead of in the hotel security control room

Designing for VIP guests

At Toren Consulting, we include a VIP Suite Security Workshop in our scope of services when appointed to design security for luxury hotels. We also provide this as a standalone service, including follow-on design of specialist physical and electronic security measures.

We find that, even when there is an experienced hotel brand or operator as part of the project team, security can be overlooked. The list above should help you to ensure that you’ve considered most of the more important elements of VIP Suite security design, so that your hotel makes it easy for VIP guests’ security teams to recommend your property.

Main image credit: Toren Consulting

Hotel Designs launches new initiative to help businesses through uncertain times

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs launches new initiative to help businesses through uncertain times

The industry’s leading online platform, Hotel Designs, has launched a three-month introductory offer for companies, as the leading international hotel design website continues to support the hospitality industry…

In direct response to the COVID–19 pandemic, Hotel Designs has launched an ‘Industry Support Package’ to help brands to engage with the hospitality sector spanning designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and those that supply to the industry during the testing months that lie ahead.

“The aim of this three-month package is to simply support businesses that have been effected by the COVID–19 outbreak and that require a springboard of support,” explained publisher Katy Phillips. “While the hospitality market adapts, the ‘Industry Support Package’ will enable brands from all sectors of the market to share their latest news to our highly engaged readers via our various online platforms.”

The Industry Support Package, which is just £99 + VAT, includes: 

  • A comprehensive company profile page on Hotel Designs website to include full company details, contact information, product imagery etc.
  • Editorial coverage on the Hotel Designs website for a three-month period
  • Contribution to Hotel Designs’ ‘Spotlight On’ monthly editorial features
  • Social media support across all social channels – reaching more than 20,000 users
  • Exposure within Hotel Designs weekly e-newsletter sent to more than 12,000 recipients

The package is only available to new clients, and to take advantage of the offer, companies will need to be book by EOP on Friday, April 3, with activity commencing no later than Monday, April 13. 

If you would like to take advantage of this offer, please email Katy Phillips or call +44 (0)1992 374050.

Editor Checks In: The hospitality industry fights back

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor Checks In: The hospitality industry fights back

In his monthly column, editor Hamish Kilburn, like others, is self-isolating. He is reflecting on where it all went wrong – and, crucially, how we can make it right again for the hospitality industry. In the eye of the COVID–19 storm, which will pass, he finds himself praising the hospitality industry for showing compassion and versatility in uncertain times…

It’s amazing – and equally devastating – to witness just how quickly things can change on the international hospitality scene. Just a few weeks ago, I was on stage at HRC in London presenting to a crowded audience how, because of new technology and the evolutions of social media, competition is no longer just on a hotel’s doorstep. And here I am, writing my monthly Editor’s Letter, as the United Kingdom, like other countries around the world, is in lockdown following the Pandemic outbreak of COVID-19. The doors into nations are firmly closed, social distancing guidelines have been set and new measures are being put into action in order to slow down the spread of the virus.

“Mother nature has simply had enough – she has sent us all to our rooms to think about what we have done.”

Meanwhile, face-to-face interactions, which have been a key element for our socially driven industry since the dawn of time, are restricted, and we are all well and truly on our knees. Major events such as Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam, Clerkenwell Design Week, Salone del Mobile in Milan and Hotel Summit were all compelled to postpone when the outbreak became a pandemic. Even the Olympics, the largest sporting event on the planet, is stuck in the traffic jam of uncertainty and will not make it time for 2020.

Mother nature has simply had enough – she has sent us all to our rooms to think about what we have done ­– and it’s time to reflect on how we can respond to the global catastrophe.

Lessons for the wellbeing of earth can surely be learned from this. In just days of the countries closing their borders and going into lockdown, both China and Italy recorded major declines in nitrogen dioxide – a serious air pollutant and powerful warming chemical – as a direct result of reducing industrial activity and car journeys.

Elsewhere, locals in Venice noticed a significant improvement in the water quality of the iconic canals that flow through through the city as the area was cleared of tourists.

With millions of people now in isolation around the world, social media and technology is playing a leading role in order to help people interact, entertain and be kept informed of news as well as vital government instructions.

“In times of crisis, we become stronger than we thought we were.”

Neighbours have united once more, with residents seen singing and applauding health workers from balconies. As I type, my best friend, who owns her own tattoo studio, is currently delivering vital medicine to the sick and elderly in and around her community in the wake of having to temporarily close down her local business. In times of crisis, we become stronger than we thought we were.

The selfless acts of kindness don’t end there. The hospitality industry, despite being one of the most affected in this crisis, is fighting hard to prevent the spread of COVID–19, and I am totally overwhelmed with pride to see how adaptable our market is. One by one, hotel chains, brands and boutique independents are unveiling how they innovatively plan to help fight the invisible enemy of COVID-19.

The last few weeks have raised a lot of questions about the future design of hotels: should we encourage guests to gather in public spaces, should we introduce working-from-home measures and is touchless technology the way forward? As things are changing day-by-day as we are all told to #stayhome, this will no-doubt make us think deeper about how we can meaningfully design and open better social spaces for all.

To be honest, I am at a loss for words, which, for anyone who knows me, is really saying something. I cannot predict what happens next, but from all of us at Hotel Designs HQ, we wish for you all to remain safe during this unpredictable period. And remember, storms don’t last forever. If it’s any consolation, the whole world is going to need a holiday when all this is over.

Feel free to keep in touch with our team on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, and let us all distribute the weight of this disruption evenly, because we are all in this fight together.

Editor, Hotel Designs

How the hospitality industry is responding to COVID–19 pandemic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How the hospitality industry is responding to COVID–19 pandemic

As the world settles in to the realities of lockdown, editor Hamish Kilburn has noticed a number of hospitality brands going above and beyond to help prevent the spread of COVID–19…

The industry may be on its knees financially, with hotels having to remain shut following the outbreak of COVID–19, but the spirit of hospitality around the world has arguably never been stronger.

With borders to nations closed, and new measures being put in place to further extend social distancing, the tourism and hospitality industries have suffered most – hotels, restaurants and other venues have had to temporarily lock their businesses down.

In this time, however, the true spirit of hospitality has led to hotels and hotel chains to do amazing things. Here are just some of the ways in which the hospitality industry is selflessly helping to prevent the spread of COVID–19.

Offering free rooms to the NHS

Image credit: Stock Exchange Hotel

One of the first in the hospitality sector to offer its help, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs announced that they were temporarily closing their two Manchester-based hotels in order to offer their rooms to the NHS for free. Hotel Football and Stock Exchange Hotel, which will shelter MEET UP North on July 6, have started a trend for other hotels, brands and chains to follow on from.

“The company is working with its team to put a package in place for all staff members for the months ahead, following which the hope is that things would have returned to normal,” they said in a statement. “While health and safety remain the company’s primarily concern the economic situation of each individual team member is also being given utmost priority.”

Lighting up communities with symbols of hope, and offering rooms to the homeless

The meaningful plot thickens daily with the IHG. Firstly, the major hotel group reacted amplified a statement of hope by lighting up many of its empty rooms with signs of love as the world faces prospect of lockdown. In addition, the group then announced that it was going to waive cancellation feels until the end of April. Most recently, though, the hotel group is working with the Mayor of London and the government to offer 300 of its hotel rooms to the homeless to self-isolate during the COVID–19 crisis.

Transforming hotels into hospitals

Following the recent outbreak of COVID-19 in the UK, major hotel chains are in discussions with the government about transforming their properties into temporary NHS hospitals, The Guardian reports. Best Western, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Travelodge and Whitbread’s Premier Inn chain are among the operators discussing  the logistics of closing their hotels to the public so that spaces can be given to vulnerable groups who are at a heightened risk of contracting the virus in the coming months.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, ILUNION Hotels has placed its hotel chain at the disposal of the Community of Madrid’s political and health authorities to take in patients across its three Madrid properties with mild cases of coronavirus, who need to isolate themselves during the coming weeks and cannot do so in their own homes. ILUNION believes that “at this time society needs every institution and company to rise to the occasion.” Moreover, ILUNION Hotels are planning on presenting the same proposal to other regions across Spain, offering a safe place for patients to spend their isolation, without putting friends and family at risk.

Donations of food and space

In order to help local communities to battle through the coronavirus crisis, brands and hotels such as Handpicked Hotels, Michel Reybier Hospitality, Ocean House and Bespoke Hotels have also welcomed in the community by donating food and offering safe spaces for the elderly as the outbreak of COVID–19 progresses.

Ocean House in Rhode Island has said it will deploy its Ocean House Management Food Truck, which will go to the same place three times a week, until May 31.

Meanwhile, back in the UK, Bespoke Hotels’ Cotswolds House, The Lyndene Hotel, Oddfellows Chester, Branston Hall Hotel, Green Dragon on Herford and Ennerdale Hotel are all offering food bans and/or afternoon teas for local care homes. “Given the current circumstances, we cannot let our food and beverage go to waste without helping those in need”, commented Robin Sheppard, CEO of Bespoke Hotels. “We have an active community and local charities in each region – we must work together and be kind to one another during these unprecedented times.”

Please email Hamish Kilburn, or tweet us @HotelDesigns, if you have a story you would like us to share about a hotel or brand that is doing something incredible in order to help fight the spread of COVID–19.

Main image credit: Pixabay

IN PICTURES: Kagi Maldives Spa Island reveals all ahead of opening

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN PICTURES: Kagi Maldives Spa Island reveals all ahead of opening

The 1,500-square-metre wellness centre is slated to open in the Maldives’ North Male Atoll in September 2020…

New images have been released to show what the five-star Kagi Maldives Spa Island will look like when it opens later this year.

The 50-villa property will is said to provide “a 360-degree wellness experience”, which we first discovered a few weeks ago, has been designed by esteemed architect Yuji Yamazaki, who was the mastermind behind the world’s first underwater villa.

Outdoor pool overlooking ocean

Image credit: Kagi Maldives Spa Island

Set within a 1,500-square-metre, purpose-built wellness centre, Kagi’s Baani Spa will provide a personalised, outcome-focused wellness experience. Taking guests on a journey to ‘Release, Restore and Regain’, offerings will range from reiki, crystal and sound-healing, holistic health coaching and transformative ‘Wellness Sabbatical’ retreats. 

The fully-integrated wellness hub will sit at the centre of the island, and will be complete with an open-air, teardrop-shaped sky roof its core, the spa will appear to float atop the island’s turquoise lagoon waters.

outdoor bathroom

Image credit: Kagi Maldives Spa Island

Guests will be able to choose from three room types, a Beach Pool Villa, a Lagoon Pool Villa or an Ocean Pool Villa, all of which will be distinguished by their unique locations and will house a private pool, a sun deck and an expansive indoor-outdoor bathroom.

Contemporary guestroom

Image credit: Kagi Maldives Spa Island

The spa takes its inspiration from the ocean, with its name, ‘Baani’, translating to ‘The Ocean Swell’ in the Maldivian Dhivehi language. Just as the waves slowly lap onto the shore, gently slowing down, guests will arrive at Baani Spa to slow down, unwind, release the stress of mundane life and start to restore their inner balance. Through the treatments, programmes and facilities on offer and like the swell of the ocean gaining momentum, one regains their energy and vitality. 

Main image credit: Kagi Maldives Spa Island

Spain has closed all hotels to fight COVID–19 spread

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Spain has closed all hotels to fight COVID–19 spread

Today, for the first time (in well) ever, Spain has ordered all hotels and tourism accommodation in the country to close as it ups its efforts to fight against the spread of Coronavirus COVID–19…

Spain has taken further measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus COVID–19 by announcing that all hotels in Spain will close today.

Spain is among the European countries that has been worst affected in the ever-evolving coronavirus pandemic, with 33,098 cases recorded cases and 2,206 deaths so far.

The virus has now spread to all Spanish regions, with Madrid suffering the highest number of cases with 9,702 people. The impact in the northern regions of Catalonia and Basque Country was also significant, with 4,700 thousand and 2,000 cases respectively.

Like the UK government, the Spanish authorities have been reported to be planning on turning empty hotels into temporary hospitals, to help ease pressure on the country’s healthcare system.

The country has been in lockdown since March 14, which restricts people from leaving their homes other than to buy food, medicine, to seek medical help or travel to and from work.

Main image credit: Pixabay

UK hotels to become shelters for homeless people during COVID-19 outbreak

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
UK hotels to become shelters for homeless people during COVID-19 outbreak

Hotels will be transformed into emergency safe spaces, outlines a new national action plan to fight the Coronavirus COVID–19 pandemic…

In a new action plan drawn up by government outlines that hotels will be converted into temporary safe spaces after the government was accused of “sleepwalking” on homeless people’s vulnerability to Covid-19, reports The Guardian.

The strategy to safeguard the homeless is expected to be announced imminently following the lead of California in allowing vacant hotels to be requisitioned into homes for rough sleepers and those vulnerable to the virus.

Hotels, which are currently empty in the wake of social distancing and self-isolation guidelines, are being seen as a ‘ready-made solution’ during COVID–19 outbreak, and some hotel chains are already in talks with the government on converting their hotels into hospitals.

It has been reported, that, in practical terms, 45,000 ‘self-contained accommodation spaces’ need to be found in order to protect and shelter the UK’s population of homeless people and rough sleepers.

Although ambitious, this is not unachievable, as the capacity for housing homeless people in hotels certainly exists. London alone is to have almost 160,000 hotel rooms, with further 8,000 sheltered under 65 new hotels that are projected to open this year.

The news comes in after Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester block-booked its hotel rooms for NHS workers and InterContinental Hotel Group was the first chain to announced it was block-booking 300 beds for the next three months so that homeless people can self-isolate. The development has designed to halt the spread of coronavirus, and will mean two London hotels are given over to rough sleepers.

Main image credit: Pixabay

Hotels that are self-isolating in style (part 2)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotels that are self-isolating in style (part 2)

While the entire world continues to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hotel Designs is turning up the temperature on the editorial desk. Part two in the series ‘Hotels that are self-isolating in style’ takes editor Hamish Kilburn on a journey of discovery without his feet even leaving the ground… 

The industry has really taken a hit from COVID-19. While some hotel groups are in talks to transform their hotels into hospitals, others are shining as beacons of hope for locals in lockdown.

The outbreak is also taking its toll on the major trade events that the industry was looking forward to attending; MEET UP London and Clerkenwell Design Week are the latest events that have been forced to postpone until later in the year.

Following on from part one in this series, Hotel Designs has taken the baton in this unfair relay to maintain a steady pace of inspirational stories in order to keep moral in the industry high. If you are understandably lacking Monday motivation, just think that once all this is over everybody is going to be booking – and needing – a holiday. Here are a few gems that are naturally self-isolating in style.

Aristi Mountain Resort & Villas, Greece

‘Off the beaten track’, and then some, Aristi Mountain Resort and Villas is the perfect location for travellers who are looking for some adventure as well as some relaxation – think the opposite of a Greek package beech holiday. Situated in west Zagori, Epirus in north-western Greece, Aristi Mountain Resort & Villas is home to luxurious accommodation set within a wild and rugged landscape.

Hotel Lou Pinet, Saint Tropez, France

Soft-lit guestroom

Image credit: Hotel Lou Pinet

Captivated by the location to this day, the Pariente family, which recently opened Le Coucou in Meribel, took over the Hotel Lou Pinet in 2017 and completely transformed it with the help of the ultimate dream team. Charles Zana was invited in to be responsible for the architecture, landscape designer Jean Mus was called up to work his magic in the gardens, while the restaurant BeefBar was imagined and created by Riccardo Giraudi. The result is a luxury boutique hotel that works in harmony when it comes to both style and service.

Marbella Elix, Corfu, Greece

Greek interiors inside suite overlooking sea

Image credit: Marbella Collection

The soon-to-open Marbella Mix will become MarBella Collection’s first property to open outside the mainland of Greece. Like all motherships when it comes to leaving the nest, its children (of hotels in this case) can’t fly too far from the nest. The new hotel will find its home in the rugged mountains within the resort-studded shoreline of Corfo.

Eclipse at Half Moon, Montego Bay, Jamaica

Large, spacious and locally sourced lobby

Image credit: Eclipse at Half Moon

Opened earlier this month, and nestled on the 400-acre Half Moon property, between the lush rolling hills of Montego Bay and the glistening Caribbean Sea, Eclipse at Half Moon is a celebration of authentic Jamaican culture and its surrounding natural beauty. The most luxurious addition to the Caribbean in a generation, the resort features 57 new beautifully appointed accommodations, a natural swimming cove, seven bars and restaurants, and a stunning infinity-edge pool with views of the Caribbean Sea.

The heart of the resort is the Great House, the property’s new reception area, marked by a large Gaungo Tree which was carefully replanted to ensure natural and mature surroundings. Inspired by traditional Jamaican design and the history of the property, the Great House is decorated with elegant shutters, vibrant colours and vintage photographs from Half Moon’s founding families.

Joali Maldives

Pool overlooking endless ocean in the maldives

Image credit: Joali Maldives

One of the Maldives’ few independent luxury hotels, Joali was designed around each and every palm tree on the island of Muravandhoo in the unspoilt Raa Atoll. A collective of young international artists from all over the world including Porky Hefer, who has worked with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, and Misha Kahn, were commissioned to create an array of eco-inspired pieces of immersive art for Joali, made from natural and sustainable materials and each with an environmental message. Guests receive a map to the resort’s ‘art trail’ on arrival, including an underwater coral mosaic museum that can be experienced when snorkelling, a giant Manta ray shaped treehouse among the palms for sunset cocktails and special dinners and a hanging, woven heron’s head on the beach that guests can sit inside and read a book.

 

Mullion Cove Hotel, England

Indoor pool with glass overlooking bay

Image caption/credit: The main indoor pool of the spa | Mullion Cove Hotel/Hart Miller Design

The clifftop retreat, Mullion Cove Hotel, with its infinity pool and stunning sea views enhances the hotel’s existing offering and marks a new chapter in its history. Hart Miller Design were selected to create a distinctive spa experience, unique to the South West of England. At the heart of the project is a contrast of scale – placing intimate human sensory experiences within a jaw-dropping natural location of rock, sea and elemental power. Japanese mountain retreats were taken as a key inspiration, grounded in ritual and symbolism.

Main image credit: Joali Maldives

Talks for hotels to be turned into temporary hospitals

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Talks for hotels to be turned into temporary hospitals

Hotels are in logistic talks with the Government about giving up empty hotel rooms to vulnerable groups or medical professions…

The hospitality industry has proved time and time again that it is both adaptable and resilient. Following the recent outbreak of COVID-19 in the UK, major hotel chains are in discussions with the Government about transforming their properties into temporary NHS hospitals, The Guardian reports.

Best Western, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Travelodge and Whitbread’s Premier Inn chain are among the operators discussing  the logistics of closing their hotels to the public so that spaces can be given to vulnerable groups who are at a heightened risk of contracting the virus in the coming months.

The brand Best Western’s first hotel to be turned into a hospital support site is reported to open in south London next week, with every guestroom used to house lower-risk patients and NHS staff.

With 270 properties, Best Western is the largest independent hotel chain in the UK. Although details of the location of the first hotel to open next week are still confidential, The Guardian reported that a Best Western spokesman said: “However we are in conversations with a number of NHS hospitals and local authorities around the country to see if we can do something similar for them, to help provide accommodation for NHS staff, care workers, lower-risk patients and vulnerable people at this time, such as elderly and homeless people.”

The news comes after Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester, which will host MEET UP North on July 6, opened it’s doors free of charge to health workers, freeing 176 beds for NHS employees and other medical staff. Meanwhile, IHG lit up its empty hotel rooms to display a symbol of love for locals in lockdown.

This is just the latest development on the UK hospitality scene as hotels around the country remain empty, while operators are thinking of resourceful ways to help the community, which after all is what true hospitality looks like.

Main image: Pixabay

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Multi-sensory design in hotel bathrooms

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Multi-sensory design in hotel bathrooms

Awareness of mental and physical wellbeing has never been greater, yet many of us still struggle to find the time, freedom and sanctuary we need to recover from the stresses of everyday life – until, that is, we check into a hotel. Sophie Weston, channel marketing manager at Geberit, explores the role that architects and designers have to play in sensory bathroom design in hotels, and examines, in particular, the issue of noise and its impact on our wellbeing…

According to Geberit research, nearly three quarters of us struggle to find the time to relax with the same amount telling us that they felt so stressed that they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope. It’s a damning snapshot of modern lives dominated by technology and our ‘always on’ culture. Good design is, therefore, increasingly less about how spaces look and more about how they make us feel.

Reimagining a new hotel space

We know from our research that the bathroom is the most popular place of escape from the pressures of modern life so perhaps, then, the role of the bathroom in hotel design should be even more crucial. A hotel bathroom or washroom should no longer be designed as a purely functional zone but as a relaxing space to unwind and one that appeals to all our senses. To do this, designers must understand the four key senses of auditory (sound), visual (sight), kinaesthetic (touch) and olfactory (smell) before applying this understanding to specify the bathroom solutions that can help mitigate the impact of each.

Solutions to a multi-sensory approach

There are many innovations and product solutions to help meet the demands of the senses in hotel bathroom design. For example, preventing overstimulation of the visual sense through simple orientation lighting, which helps preserve the sanctuary of sleep by eliminating the need to switch on additional lighting. Manufacturers have also developed solutions to support designers in meeting kinaesthetic demands, such as clean lines, sleek corners and the use of natural materials. Meanwhile, modern, efficient odour extraction technologies address the challenge of smell. Yet, it was the role of auditory that we were particularly interested in when we undertook a YouGov survey to establish the impact of unwanted noises on our wellbeing.

Noisier than ever?

Our ears work even when we’re asleep, with the brain continuing to process the sounds it detects, albeit in a different way. And when we are awake, we need to consider the impact that irritating sounds could have on our mental wellbeing – a dripping tap or flushing toilet, for example.

We surveyed more than 2,000 adults across the UK to get a greater insight on the impact of unwanted internal noise and, in particular, bathroom noise. As part of this research, we found that almost a third (30%) of respondents who had stayed in a hotel in the last 12 months had been disturbed by bathroom noise at night. What was clear, too, from our research was the impact of this; more than half (51%) of respondents cited unwanted internal noise as having a negative impact upon their wellbeing.

Noise is clearly an issue. So what solutions are available for architects and designers to meet these very obvious challenges?

From acoustically optimised pipework with noise reducing properties, to decoupled pre-walls for added noise insulation, manufacturers are constantly innovating sound-proofing solutions that help to mitigate the age-old issue of sound from flushing toilets and other unwanted bathroom noise. Acoustics is one of Geberit’s ten core research areas and our unique building technology and acoustics laboratory enables our team of acousticians to research products and technologies.

Wall-hung toilets with concealed cisterns and pre-wall frames decoupled from the construction, for example, prevent noise from travelling down the wall and through the floor. Opting for a toilet mounted using a frame such as Geberit Duofix can almost halve the decibels produced by a traditional floor standing toilet.

Likewise, sound optimised drainage piping can reduce noise transfer from flushing water, washbasins or showers. Geberit Silent db-20 is manufactured with mineral reinforced polyethylene for a denser materials and fittings to dissipate noise at impact zones.

Selling experiences

As the trend for selling ‘experiences’ and creating an escape for guests continues, so too does the value of creating a unique, positive guest experience to help build stronger memories and ensure customers keep coming back.

As we focus ever more on physical and mental health and wellbeing to help combat the stresses of modern life, it’s clear that good design in the bathroom or washroom space could be the key to unlocking better lives. And it is critical for designers to be aware of this opportunity.

Geberit is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Geberit

IHG’s display of hope and love for locals in lockdown

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IHG’s display of hope and love for locals in lockdown

The major hotel group IHG has amplified a statement of hope by lighting up many of its empty rooms with signs of love as the world faces prospect of lockdown. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Last night, while the majority of hotels around the world remained empty as the industry suffers the consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak, IHG put out a sign of ‘love’ and ‘hope’ across many of its properties.

Locals in destinations such as Davos, Amsterdam and Berlin watched as heart symbols were formed from guestroom lights in the windows of empty properties.

The display came after the hotel group, which has more than 5,900 hotels and approximately 884,000 guestrooms in its franchise, updated its cancellation policy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The group has now waived cancellation fees for existing and new bookings at all IHG hotels globally for stays between March 9, 2020 and April 30, 2020.

If you are a hotelier looking for answers, please read our recently published feature on how hotels can stay above the surface in uncertain times like these.

While the industry has temporarily fallen to its knees, as more and more nations announce lockdowns and self-isolation regulations, there is hope that the industry will bounce back eventually. After all, the world will need a holiday once this passes.

Image credit: Instagram/ems_at_cherries

Hart Miller Design completes new landmark Cornwall spa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hart Miller Design completes new landmark Cornwall spa

The award-winning Mullion Cove Hotel on Cornwall’s Lizard peninsula has opened a landmark new spa, designed by Hart Miller Design

The clifftop retreat, Mullion Cove Hotel, with its infinity pool and stunning sea views enhances the hotel’s existing offering and marks a new chapter in its history.

Having worked with the hotel since 2012 on a rolling expansion project, Hart Miller Design were selected to create a distinctive spa experience, unique to the South West.

Mullion Cove Director Daniel Thompson said: “This has been a landmark year for Mullion Cove as we completed expansion of our self-catered apartments, and opened our new spa. Having designed both of these projects, Hart Miller understand both our vision and our client base – vitally important in creating a spa that feels right. I’m looking forward to our continued work with Hart Miller Design as we begin work on the next phase of our expansion.”

Blue arm chair and stretching view across bay in the lobby

Image caption/credit: The Spa’s lobby area | Image credit: Mullion Cove Hotel/Hart Miller Design

At the heart of the project is a contrast of scale – placing intimate human sensory experiences within a jaw-dropping natural location of rock, sea and elemental power. Japanese mountain retreats were taken as a key inspiration, grounded in ritual and symbolism.

“Passing along the Sandō, the Japanese-style approach to a temple, the customer is stepping over the threshold into the spa experience.” – Anna Hart, Design Director at Hart Miller Design

The spa takes its users on a personal journey of relaxation: a carefully chosen palette of timbers and natural tones complement the hues and contours of the Cornish landscape and help to create spaces and textures that welcome and embrace. Visitors are wrapped up in the materiality of the building and the sea views beyond, offering an immersive experience from start to finish.

Indoor pool with glass overlooking bay

Image caption/credit: The main indoor pool of the spa | Mullion Cove Hotel/Hart Miller Design

“When you enter the space you are arriving very much in the heart of the spa – a relaxed lounge with fire and soft settings, rich materials that signify the beginning of a journey,” added Anna Hart, Design Director at Hart Miller Design. “Passing along the Sandō, the Japanese-style approach to a temple, the customer is stepping over the threshold into the spa experience. The lounge is somewhere you can return to and take a moment and soak it all up – not to mention the most amazing views.”

Floor to ceiling windows contrast the enveloping private treatment rooms and provide a perfect setting to unwind whether a dark, stormy day or beautiful summer evening. The lighting design is also a key feature of the project. Working with Amos Lighting, a series of subtleties and contrasting ambiences has been added in the form of dimming, treatment-specific lighting.

Main image credit: Mullion Cove Hotel/Hart Miller Design

The Unbound Collection expands in The Americas region

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Unbound Collection expands in The Americas region

New Unbound Collection openings and signings signify a strategic focus on the Hyatt brand expanding in the Americas region… 

Hyatt Hotel’s recent announcement of Unbound Collection openings and brand transitions suggests that the brand is focusing its ongoing development plans on the Americas region.

Currently, The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand includes more than 20 unique hotels – located in key destinations around the world – each with their own distinct story.

“Because Hyatt’s efforts are grounded in listening and fuelled by care, The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand has a unique position within the Hyatt portfolio, as each property has the opportunity to tell its own story,” said Heather Geisler, senior vice president of global brands, Hyatt. “As we continue to see the brand thoughtfully grow across the globe, we are excited to watch each story unfold, further driving brand loyalty to travellers looking for experiences unlike any other.”

Image caption: Aerial of Carmel Valley Ranch | Image credit: Hyatt Hotels/Unbound Collection by Hyatt

The latest development agreements within The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand include plans for Hotel La Compañia in Panama City, Panama, which will be nestled within the heart of Casco Viejo (Spanish for “Old Quarter”), a UNESCO World Heritage site. Expected to open in 2021, the 88-key hotel is set to become the first property in Panama that is part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand.

The historic Chicago Athletic Association landmark property located in the heart of Chicago’s business and cultural district joined The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand in November 2019. The unique property was restored from a renowned 19th century athletic club to a hotel in 2015, with the purpose of returning the building to Chicagoans following 125 years of members-only access. Today, the 241-key “urban playground” offers seven award-winning food & beverage outlets – including the Prohibition-era microbar Milk Room, lively Game Room, the swanky, James Beard Award-winning Cherry Circle Room, and the hotel’s crown jewel, Cindy’s, its rooftop restaurant and bar perched 13 stories above Millennium Park.  In addition, locals and guests alike are invited to experience the Chicago Athletic Association hotel’s 150+ annual programming events, ranging from pop-up roller skating nights in the hotel’s vintage gym to hands-on cocktail workshops with in-house experts.

The storied Carmel Valley Ranch, a 500-acre all-suite resort tucked in the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains on the Monterey Peninsula, joined The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand in January 2020. Unveiled as part of the resort’s 2019 reimagination, Carmel Valley Ranch offers a variety of interactive adventures including artisanal cheesemaking workshops at The Creamery, wine and cheese tastings at The Market, falconry, hatchet throwing and more.

Mar Monte Hotel, located just minutes from downtown Santa Barbara, nestled between the rugged Santa Ynez range and pristine Santa Barbara beach, is set to join the collection in Spring 2020, rebranding from Hyatt Centric Santa Barbara after an extensive renovation. The 200-key hotel has been reimagined to establish a style of contemporary Santa Barbara with classic Spanish-influenced design.

Two additional properties within The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand that are set to open in the U.S. in 2020 and 2021, respectively, include the 144-key restored landmark property, Hotel Kansas City, in Kansas City, Mo. and a 64-key boutique hotel in Hollywood, Calif. Both properties are currently being restored to their original beginnings, with a focus on providing extraordinary architectural details for guests looking to feel inspired.

Globally, The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand expanded its footprint in 2019, with the reintroduction of Hotel du Louvre, after completing a property-wide renovation in June 2019. Inspired by the original Napolean III style, the famed hotel sits in the heart of the Paris’s Palais-Royal district, surrounded by the Musée du Louvre, the Comédie-Française, the Palais Garnier and Palais Royal.

In December 2019, the brand also debuted in the UK with the opening of Great Scotland Yard, a luxury hotel with rich history residing on the site of the former headquarters of the Metropolitan Police. Expected to reopen in summer 2020 is the historic gem Hotel du Palais Biarritz, a palace built by Napoleon III for his wife Eugenia de Montijo.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels/Unbound Collection by Hyatt

BREAKING: MEET UP London postponed until September

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
BREAKING: MEET UP London postponed until September

BREAKING NEWS: MEET UP London, which is Hotel Designs’ premium networking evening for designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers, has postponed this year’s event until September 15 in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak… 

MEET UP London was due to take place at Minotti London on May 13, but in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, and Government recommendations, the event has been forced to postpone until later in the year.

Sheltering the theme of Inspiring Creativity, the networking evening will still welcome award-winning sound designer and functional music innovation expert Tom Middleton and award-winning research entrepreneur Ari Peralta as headline speakers.

“The decision to unveil the shortlisted finalists of The Brit List Awards 2020 at MEET UP London has come because we want to give the individuals a platform that lasts longer than one awards ceremony.” – said editor Hamish Kilburn

In addition, given the timing of the postponed event, Hotel Designs will use the event as a springboard to unveil the shortlisted finalists for The Brit List Awards 2020. “We are used to adapting to the times here at Hotel Designs, and the decision to unveil the shortlisted finalists of The Brit List Awards 2020 at MEET UP London has come because we want to give the individuals a platform that lasts longer than one awards ceremony,” said editor Hamish Kilburn. “In line with our theme for MEET UP London, Inspiring Creativity, it makes sense to celebrate the individuals who are proving to lead the way.”

MEET UP London 2020 is just the latest event that has been forced to postponed in response the spread of COVID-19. Yesterday, Clerkenwell Design Week announced it has postponed this year’s event until July 14 – 16. Salone Del Mobile, which is arguably the most popular trade fair in the design calendar, was the first to announce a postponement, which was followed by the Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam last week.

Tens of thousands of people in the UK have been tested for Covid-19, with currently 1,950 cases. Meanwhile, the government has now put in place strict social distancing rules in an attempt to deal with the pandemic.

How to attend MEET UP London

EARLY BIRD SUPPLIER TICKETS*: £99 + VAT (expires on March 31)  | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.***
EARLY BIRD BUYER  TICKETS*£10 + VAT (expires on March 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.***

If you would like to discuss various sponsorship packages available, or if you have any enquires regarding tickets, please contact Katy Phillips via email, or call 01992 374050.

Exclusive headline partner: Hamilton Litestat

Exclusive style partner: Minotti London

Event partner: Crosswater 

* Those eligible to purchase Supplier Tickets must be industry suppliers.
** Those eligible to purchase buyer tickets must prove that they are an interior designer, architect, hotelier or developer.
***Hotel Designs’ Early Bird promotion ends on March 31. After this time, tickets for designers, architects, hoteliers and developers will inflate to £20 + VAT and supplier tickets will inflate to £150 + VAT. 

Cole and Son unveils Seville wallpaper collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Cole and Son unveils Seville wallpaper collection

The wallpaper company Cole and Son’s latest collection was inspired by the plethora of cultural fusions of Seville, the Andalusian capital…

From the breath-taking blend of Mudéjar architecture and art, fragrant flora and diverse fauna, to the percussive strumming of guitarists accompanying passion-filled flamenco dancers resounding through the vibrant city, emerges Cole & Son’s latest collection Seville.

With graphic architectural prints in sun-drenched antique palettes to vibrant botanicals and primary-toned ceramic tile motifs, Seville captures all the ebullience of southern Spain.

From its Phoenician foundation to Roman rule, and centuries of Islamic dynasties and Christian Castilian conquerors, came waves of unique crafts and traditions leaving an indelible mark upon the Iberian city port.

A total of 15 new artworks have been born from the collection, which are as follows:

Orange Blossum

Colourways: Orange & Spring Green on Parchment; Lemon & Dark Olive Green on Duck Egg; Orange & Spring Green on Black; Burnt Orange & Mint on Seafoam.

Oranges are synonymous with Seville, with its city streets and courtyards teeming with fruit trees.This delicate, fabric-like representation of Seville’s iconic fruit pays homage to the regal tapestries found hanging in the Royal Alcazar’s Salón de los Tapices with a subtle textured feel to its foliage. Orange Blossom’s elegant repeat is presented in muted, vintage-inspired palettes of Orange & Spring Green on Parchment; Lemon & Dark Olive Green on Duck Egg; Burnt Orange & Mint on Seafoam; and the moody Orange & Spring Green on Black.

Angel’s Trumpet

Colourways: Cream & Olive Green on Charcoal; Chalk & Sage on Stone; Ballet Slipper & Sage on Cerulean Sky; Coral & Viridian on Ink.

Native to the tropics of South America, Angel’s Trumpet flourishes in the searing Sevillian heat of the Alcazar’s courtyards and city gardens. Its feminine shape is enhanced by delicate, painterly details in pretty palettes of Cream and Olive Green on Charcoal; Chalk & Sage on Stone; Ballet Slipper & Sage on Cerulean Sky; and Coral & Viridian on Ink. Entirely hand-painted in a traditional botanical illustration style, Angel’s Trumpet creates a beautifully bold, elegant floral stripe.

Hispalis

Colourways: Khaki Multi.

Hispalis takes its name from the Latinisation of Seville’s earliest known moniker, Spal, with Julius Caesar designating the city Colonia Iulia Romula Hispalis. This tapestry-like design depicts an antique land in the balmy late afternoon sun with its densely overgrown archway in sun-bleached shades of Khaki, Burnt Orange and Sand.

Alfaro

Colourways: Canary Yellow & Petrol on Parchment; Ochre & Racing Car Green on Terracotta; Dark Ochre & Forest Green on Duck Egg.

The Plaza Alfaro residence in Seville is said to have inspired the iconic balcony scene in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. With its wrought iron balustrades, sunshine yellow paintwork and blooming tropical flowers, Alfaro is a vibrant ode to Sevillian architecture in true-to-life tones of Canary Yellow & Petrol on Parchment; Ochre & Racing Car Green on Terracotta; and Dark Ochre & Forest Green on Duck Egg.

Light and bright coloured wallpaper in a suite

Image caption: The Alfaro range from Cole and Sons’ Seville Collection.

Triana

Colourways: Canary Yellow & China Blue on Teal; Teal & Dark Teal on Denim; Marigold & Hyacinth on Canary Yellow.

The Triana neighbourhood is home to Seville’s famous ceramic workshops and potteries, filled with artisans creating the traditional, vibrant tiles seen throughout the city. Triana’s design contains time-honoured elements of flowers, leaves, and geometric shapes, hand-painted to reflect each of the unique hand-crafted tiles to come out of this bustling quarter. Choose from classic, primary palettes of Canary Yellow & China Blue on Teal;Teal & Dark Teal on Denim; and Marigold & Hyacinth on Canary Yellow.

Alcazar Gardens

Colourways: Terracotta & Spring Green Multi.

An enduring architectural icon of the city, the Real Alcazar is a stunning testament to centuries’ old blend of Mudéjar architecture and ornamentation. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Alcazar left an indelible impression on the Cole and Son design studio, leading to this fantastical interpretation of the fortress palace’s gardens. Illustrative and pictorial in style, it is a unique artwork piece presented in a classic Terracotta & Spring Green Multi colour palette.

Bougainvillea

Colourways: Rouge, Olive Green & Emerald on Cream; Rouge, Leaf Green & Cerulean Sky on Charcoal; Marigold, Leaf Green & Emerald on Parchment; Ochre,Viridian & Petrol on Ink.

Covering palaces, chalky plaster walls and creating bright borders to parks and sun- soaked avenues, Bougainvillea is another of Seville’s vibrantly coloured flora. With its soft, water-coloured petals and leaves, Bougainvillea’s inflorescence has a delicate ombré creating movement and life. Choose from organic, sunshine palettes of Rouge, Olive Green & Emerald on Cream; and Marigold, Leaf Green & Emerald on Parchment; or the deeper evening tones of Rouge, Leaf Green & Cerulean Sky on Charcoal; and Ochre,Viridian & Petrol on Ink.

Piccadilly

Colourways: Petrol, Red & Metallic Gold on Ink; Grey & Metallic Gold on Black; Leaf Green & Mint on Forest; Denim & Rouge on Chalk

Composed of a host of beautiful curved, swirling lines, Piccadilly is a classic tile print found throughout Seville, from the Alcazar’s tiled bench nooks, to restaurant walls and elaborate ceramic floors. Piccadilly’s traditional print is made contemporary in striking shades of Petrol, Red & Metallic Gold on Ink; Grey & Metallic Gold on Black; Leaf Green & Mint on Forest; and Denim & Rouge on Chalk.

Talavera

Colourways: Rose & Spring Greens on Terracotta; Fuchsia & Forest Greens on Cerulean Sky; Magenta & Spring Greens on Stone.

Talavera’s plentiful pots abundant in flowers and trailing plants can be found throughout Spain, with the traditional ceramics each painted with their own unique decoration. The plaster-style grounds of Terracotta, Cerulean Sky, and Stone are reminiscent of Seville’s sun-soaked buildings with the pots presented in authentic tones of Rose & Spring Greens; Fuchsia & Forest Greens; and Magenta & Spring Greens.

Geranium

Colourways: Lemon & Forest Greens on Electric Blue; Rouge & Leaf Greens on Black; Rose & Forest Greens on Parchment;White & Sage on Seafoam.

Flourishing in Seville’s temperate climate, geraniums can be found adorning balconies as well as creating vibrant bursts of colour throughout parks and cultivated gardens. This archive design was completely redrawn and repainted by the Cole and Son design studio to enhance the lush, robust fanned leaves and blooming clusters of bright petals in vibrant Lemon & Forest Greens on Electric Blue; earthy White and Sage on Seafoam; and the day to night Rose & Forest Greens on Parchment; and Rouge & Leaf Greens on Black.

Jasmine & Serin Symphony

Colourways: Rose & Racing Car Green on Dark Viridian; Yellow & Leaf Green on Dark Forest Green; Coral & Petrol on Ink; Char treuse & Olive Green on White.

At once sprawling and serene, Jasmine & Serin Symphony is a contemporary update of a graceful Arts and Crafts-style print. Depicting ethereal birds perched among trailing jasmine vines, its flora and fauna create a subtle ombré as the design fans in gentle arcs across the wall. Presented in soft botanical shades of Rose & Racing Car Green on Dark Viridian;Yellow & Leaf Green on Dark Forest Green; Coral & Petrol on Ink; and Chartreuse & Olive Green on White.

Alicatado

Colourways: Soot on Snow; Hyacinth on Chalk; Leaf Greens on Chalk; Terracotta on Parchment

Alicatado, meaning a geometric mosaic of coloured glazed tiles, is the design studio’s interpretation of Seville’s famous azulejos. Its simple two-toned print creates a striking graphic backdrop and has been designed and coloured in order to complement other designs within the collection. Choose from fresh hues of Hyacinth or Leaf Greens on Chalk, as well as the monochromatic Soot on Snow, and the warm Terracotta on Parchment.

Lola

Colourways: Forest Greens on White; China Blues on Midnight; Petrol Blues on White.

Lola is a damask with a hidden secret; within the rolling scrolls and flowers of this archive print is one of Seville’s most iconic figures: the flamenco dancer.With its cultural origins firmly in Andalusia, Lola captures the dynamic, vivacious drama of a traditional flamenco performance. Verdant palettes of Forest Greens on White and Petrol Blues on White evoke a freshness, whilst China Blues on Midnight are reminiscent of a deep evening sky.

Image caption: Cole and Sons’ Lola range in the Seville Collection

Flamenco Fan

Colourways: Cerise, Dark Tangerine & Metallic Gold on Black; Magenta, Red & Metallic Gilver on Ink; Fuchsia, Rouge & Metallic Gold on Cream; Rose, Bright Rouge & Metallic Gold on Crimson

A cultural symbol of Spain and deeply entrenched within flamenco culture, the fan exudes romance and passion with its dramatic shape and versatile movement. The theatrical print of Flamenco Fan incorporates many of the dance’s notable symbols such as the carnation and rose, both representing love and admiration.The delicate metallic detailing of the fans elevates decadent tones of Rose, Bright Rouge & Metallic Gold on Crimson, and the sultry Cerise, Dark Tangerine & Metallic Gold on Black; and Magenta, Red & Metallic Gilver on Ink, as well as the soft, lace-like Fuchsia, Rouge & Metallic Gold on Cream.

Cole and Sons is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Cole and Sons

SPECIAL FEATURE: Crisis mitigation – gaining back control of your hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPECIAL FEATURE: Crisis mitigation – gaining back control of your hotel

COVID-19 has attacked, and crisis is looking through the door. What are the smart ways to manage your hotel during this crisis? How did we recover when something similar hit the industry in past? The experts at STAAH and the team at Guestjoy explore further… 

The occupancy rates in hotels have taken a hit, hotels are experiencing a dip, and major international events are being put on hold. Meanwhile, the travel industry has been grounded. The headlines surrounding COVID-19, and the daily updates from the Government, are worrying for the hospitality industry, which unsurprisingly sparked a petition doing the rounds.

However, we’ve been through things like this before, except the media coverage wasn’t so extensive and panic-inducing. Where is the swine flu, SARS or H1N1 now and how did hotelier deal during those outbreaks? Remember, websites often implement a pay-per-click rule, therefore spreading hysteria is beneficial for them.

Recessions naturally happen in economic cycles, however, and investing during a recession is an old ‘trick’ to make it through to the recovery period. If you want a quick course on that, check out Investopedia – investment during recession.

For our industry that we love serving, here are our tips to stay on top of your business

  • Stay flexible, give your guests what they ask for and provide an easy way for them to cancel their booking.
  • Don’t lower your rates too much, it will hurt your business. Focus on your extras and add-ons to make their stay better and exciting, and to encourage them not to cancel but reschedule where possible. (eg: Mother’s day is coming up!) As Sherri Kimes – Revenue Management Expert puts itWhile the pressure to reduce rates is understandable, hotels should exercise caution in manipulating rates because of the potential negative long-term effects on profitability and the hotel’s image.
  • Try new technologies. This is exactly the right time to invest and implement things that can potentially strengthen your presence on the market. You can still conduct business through the internet, e-mail, video conferencing, telephone and by other means.
  • Maintain high employee morale: Keep them enthusiastic and happy so your quality of service does not suffer. Keep all your employees informed about your decisions.
  • Invite your local community: Domestic travel could also provide you with revenue.
  • Create strategic partnerships – especially with your distribution channels (travel agents, OTAs, they might be willing to share a higher proportion of their business to you)
  • Focus on your loyalty program: Send out a newsletter to them, offer rewards or reduce the number of nights needed for a free stay. This will keep your loyal guests connected and encourage them to spend more in other outlets. Acquiring new customers can cost so much more, cut the coin on attracting new people and invest in your existing customers or domestic market.
  • Stop cutting costs! It will hurt customer satisfaction and the quality of the service. “Don’t reduce standards but add added value; guests are very sensitive to changes. Bad time is not forever and it could take a longer time to recover if you cut corners to save a buck!”
  • Keep your guests healthy. Take a look at how this Hong Kong-based hotel is informing guests.
  • If there is nothing else to do, and you have free time on your hands then train your staff, refurbish, or deal with those issues you have been putting on hold. Try to implement new technology and improve your hotel.

We hope these tips help you, let us know how you are coping and how is the current situation at your location! Tweet us @HotelDesigns

STAAH is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Pixabay

PRODUCT WATCH: QUADRADO modular seating by Minotti Outdoor

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: QUADRADO modular seating by Minotti Outdoor

The Quadrado range sits in the Lifescape Collection by Minotti Outdoor, which reflects a new approach to outdoor living without compromising on comfort, quality and aesthetics…

Each piece of furniture in Minotti’s Lifescape Collection is characterful and elegant, and ties in with natural settings, with unexpected patterns and colours creating a landscape in dialogue with the architecture, in the name of pure relaxation.

Collection after collection, Minotti’s vast outdoor selection offers a range with an increasingly versatile international style, taking design motivation and inspiration from leading designers and architects, interpreters of diverse styles and features. As unique outdoor solutions of guaranteed quality in increasingly high-performing materials, they not only fit their natural residential context, including smaller urban outdoor spaces, but are also perfect for exclusive hotels, spas and yachts: spaces characterised by an approach to interior design that references the domestic one.

Living wall behind the outdoor furniture collection

Image caption: A range of the QUADRADO range of furniture pieces within the Minotti Outdoor collection

Designed to perfectly complement each other stylistically, in order to meet the needs of different spaces with originality and versatility, the various furnishings stand out for their formal details and refined aesthetic, as well as finish and texture.

Colelction of furniture above striking views of a lake

Image caption: The collection of generous sized furniture is stylish, original and versatile to many luxury interior schemes

In this regard, the design interpretation of Marcio Kogan / studio mk27 with the Quadrado modular seating system, launched in 2018, offers generously sized seating with modules of 102x102cm that can be assembled together, to furnish large open spaces. Floating bases in natural teak, backrests enveloped in a special woven fibre and soft cushions mark this out as an extremely appealing seat.

Inspired by the classic teak duckboard used in the yachting industry to facilitate the outflow of water, the Brazilian architect Marcio Kogan developed Quadrado, a modular system consisting of suspended square platforms that furnish outdoor spaces with exceptional lightness and flexibility.

Twi backs of armchairs

Image caption: The furniture pieces include floating bases in natural teak, backrests enveloped in a special woven fibre

A flexible and dynamic furnishing, of undisputed quality and comfort, which perfectly dialogues with the surrounding environment: a young and contemporary proposal that invites informal and original solutions.

The wooden bases welcome comfortable padded cushions with backrests in a special fibre woven with wicker-effect, available in Mud colour or plain Liquorice colour. The sitting elements are interspersed with wooden surfaces that feature trays or candle holders, that can be arranged as desired with a surprising interlocking effect. A circular armchair joins this outdoor landscape characterised by its broad compositional freedom.

For the concept, Kogan was inspired by the Japanese Metabolist architecture of the Fifties and Sixties, defined by modular volumes. Originally conceived for large living areas with 102×102 cm modules, Quadrado now integrates within its range a new, more compact version with 87×87 cm modules that can be combined together to adapt to more limited urban, residential and Hospitality contexts.

Minotti, which is exclusive style partner at MEET UP London, is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Edge Architects completes 3 design-led Mercure hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Edge Architects completes 3 design-led Mercure hotels

The architecture and design firm has recently completed Mercure hotels in Cardiff, Birmingham and Bedford…

In the last few months, Edge Architects + interior designers has completed three Mercure-branded hotels in Cardiff, Birmingham and Bedford.

The lead designer on all three projects, Craig Parry, has an impressive portfolio including ibis Styles Southwark, Doubletree by Hilton Snowhill, a host of other Mercure hotels, Hampton by Hilton Manchester and Old Bishops Palace Chester.

Parry has sensitively designed the hotels, inside and out, with the aim to balance consumer demands for fresh interiors as well as the need for flexible public areas while also retaining character and style in the architecture and the motifs sheltered within each property.

For example, the 121-key Mercure Bedford Centre Hotel is located in a popular destination for canoeing and kayaking, with the property itself encompassing elements of the area’s cultural and historic past, including timber features from canoes, water graphics and rowing illustrations.

Meanwhile, the new Mercure Cardiff North Hotel draws inspiration from local landmarks such as the Millennium Centre façade in Cardiff Bay, with details such as copper aesthetic lining and curated display items that encompass elements of the area’s cultural and historic past.

The Mercure Birmingham West Hotel is an urban retreat that consists of 168 rooms, which feature locally inspired and sourced artwork and design elements.

White bed, with construction inspired wallcovering

Image credit: Mercure Cardiff North

“Each hotel has the Mercure service and features that guests expect but they offer local touches too.” – Michael Brag, Chairman of Proark

Having previously operated under the Park Inn brand, the hotel is one of six across the UK to have been signed by Danish based property group, Proark, and rebranded to Mercure.

We have worked closely with Accor since signing this portfolio of Mercure hotels and are extremely pleased with the result of the refurbishment. Each hotel has the Mercure service and features that guests expect but they offer local touches too, which we are confident will be well received by business and leisure travellers alike,” Michael Brag, Chairman of Proark told Hotel Designs. “For the design, we decided to work with Craig Parry, as he has vast practice experience in hospitality for Mercure, as well as independent boutiques, so we felt he was the right man for the job.”

Main image credit: Accor/Mercure/Proark

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Sensitively lighting the bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Sensitively lighting the bathroom

The lighting experts at Vaughan talk us through how the brand successfully lit the bathrooms in prestige projects such as Gleneagles, The Ned and St. Ermins…

Lighting brand Vaughan was one of the first companies to provide bathroom lighting that was both functional and refined when they began designing lights for this purpose more than 15 years ago.

Although bathroom lights need to be equipped with an IP44 rating, the company recognise that clients require a product that kept in line with their visual aesthetic.

Throughout the past 15 years, Vaughan’s bathroom lights have been featured in numerous hotel projects – from the Soho House Group to Firmdale Hotels, as well as stand-alone projects including Claridge’s and Grantley Hall. In the past year alone, Vaughan have provided lighting for more than 50 hotels across the United Kingdom and Europe. And here are just a a handful of them.

Nestled in the centre of London, the Ned is architecturally more than 100 years old – and was originally known as the Midland Bank building. Now renowned for being a hotel, the Ned is the shared project of Nick Jones, founder of Soho House & Co., and Andrew Zobler, CEO of New York’s Sydell Group. Thanks in part to its longstanding relationship with the Soho House Group, Vaughan supplied the Ned with the Sudbury Wall Light for a number of their bathrooms.

Made from solid cast brass, decorated with a scalloped edge and given an antique brass finish, it is one of Vaughan’s early designs – one which is more traditional in style yet still stands the test of time. Featuring a distinctive, ribbed, scroll-shaped arm, and beaded detailing, it showcases the variety of texture that is made possible thanks to the lost wax casting process.  Placed on each side of the whimsical oval-shaped mirror, the Sudbury Wall Light subtly complements the brass accents that Jones has implemented – from the door handle, to the bathroom taps, and the towel rack too.

Located in Perthshire, Scotland, Gleneagles formally opened its doors in 1924. Described as “a Riviera in the Highlands”, it was initially conceived thanks to the vision of Donald Matheson, General Manager of the Caledonian Rail Company, whose railway line ran through its picturesque terrain.

Following a refurbishment from 2015 – 2017, Hotel Designs reviewed the hotel, and noticed  Vaughan’s Seaton Storm Wall Lights feature in a number of suites.

Based on a traditional ‘hurricane lamp’ that was originally designed for candles, it comes with an elegant glass shade and is pictured here with an antique brass finish.  A delicate combination of hot forged brass and glass, the Seaton is a simple design, with minimal decoration, yet is executed with precision and care.  Similar to the bathroom interior at the Ned, the Seaton Wall Lights continue the theme of brass, and neatly unite themselves to the taps, mirrors, and drawer handles to create a cohesive room set.

The bathroom at St. Ermin’s offers a departure from the brass theme previously discussed, in a decidedly more contemporary interior with pink wallpaper, mother-of-pearl mirrors and sleek, black marble. Situated just around the corner from St. James’s Park in London, St. Ermin’s is an independent hotel yet is also part of Marriott International’s ‘Autograph Collection’.

Image caption: Vaughan’s Norfolk Wall Light can be found in the bathrooms at St. Ermins Hotel

For this bathroom, Vaughan provided the Norfolk Wall Light in a sleek chrome finish. Placed either side of each mirror, the wall lights are topped with a square fabric shade which softly diffuses the light.  Like the Seaton Wall Light, the Norfolk is a simple design and form – featuring a rectangular backplate, square candleholder and angular arm.  When combined with the oval sinks, cylindrical worktop legs, and rectangular mirrors, it creates a satisfying, playful interior – one that is predominantly focused on the relationship between different geometric shapes.  Made with a base metal of hot forged brass, the Norfolk is available in a number of finishes – from the chrome one pictured here to antique brass and nickel too.

Variety, as well as quality, are two central components to Vaughan. Product design is meticulously developed and lead by Lucy and Michael Vaughan, co-founders of the company, and their shared background as antique dealers is without a doubt an underlying influence in their creative process. “Our creative process is very much cyclical, updating and reflecting on products we’ve already made and antiques, which we have seen throughout our time as dealers,” said Lucy Vaughan.

For Vaughan, bathroom lighting is no exception – with a variety of styles, finishes, metals and shapes available to both retail and the trade, and a clear alignment with the brand’s existing lines. Ranging from the more subdued Beverley Wall Light to the more ornate, glass-art beauty of the Morillon Wall Light, Vaughan offers a wide selection of bathroom lighting to choose from, while remaining committed to their pursuit of quality and craftsmanship.

Vaughan is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image caption: Bathroom lighting by Vaughan inside The Ned

Modern guestroom with colourful accents in headboard and art

Destination Hotels arrives in Charlottesville, Virginia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Destination Hotels arrives in Charlottesville, Virginia

Quirk Hotel Charlottesville, the latest boutique hotel to open in the Destination Hotels’ portfolio, pays tribute to local culture, history and arts with unexpected twists…

Quirk Hotel Charlottesville in Virginia is said to be the first boutique hotel in the area that has opened with a focus on curated art inspired by the city’s historic downtown.

Modern guestroom with colourful accents in headboard and art

Charming and distinctive by nature, Quirk Hotel Charlottesville delivers a warm sense of approachability and playfulness that appeals to curious travellers of all ages seeking a sense of belonging, and is the second rendition of the Quirk Hotel concept within the Destination Hotels collection, with its original location in Richmond, Va.

“After opening Quirk Hotel Richmond in September 2015, we are excited to bring to life our gallery concept and beautiful hotel amenities into a new, charming Virginia city,” said Kate Ukrop, co-owner of Quirk Hotel Charlottesville alongside her husband, Ted. “Alongside the Quirk Gallery in Richmond, I am looking forward to also being the director of Quirk Gallery in Charlottesville, continuing to make art more accessible for guests across the Destination Hotels brand.”

The concept for Quirk Hotel Charlottesville stemmed from the desire to use art and history as central design elements to spark curiosity and conversation. This vision was realised by building a main hotel around two street-facing homes that date back to the 19th century. Incorporating the historic red and beige brick homes at 501 West Main St. and 503 Main St., respectively, Quirk Hotel Charlottesville embodies the Quirk Hotel reputation for “uncommon accommodations.”

Large, minimalist lobby area with contemporary art on walls

Image caption: An artist’s impression of the contemporary public areas | Image credit: Hyatt Hotels/Destination Hotels

Creating a novel space where guests can genuinely embrace new people, places and culture, the hotel features original works of contemporary art by renowned artists. Adding unexpected surprises to every nook and cranny, the artwork is speckled throughout the entire property, some of which can be purchased at Quirk Gallery. The locally curated, bi-level gallery, features local, regional and national artists, and serves as a gathering place for artist talks, classes and openings, as well as private events.

Designed by national architecture and interior design studio ARCHITECTUREFIRM, the 80-key hotel showcases a minimalist, contemporary design, elevated by gold accents. Each guestroom has a signature look including original artwork throughout, floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and downtown Charlottesville, mini bars with locally sourced goods, and custom headboards designed especially for Quirk Hotel Charlottesville.

In juxtaposition to the contemporary art and design inside the main property building, the two 19th century historic farm homes resemble art relics of Charlottesville’s years past. Plans for the Vernacular style Red Brick House include a quaint café and an expansive barrel aged spirits bar, set to open in late April. The Federal style Beige Brick House is home to Laurie Nicole’s upscale beauty salon on the main floor, while the upstairs will be repurposed into a private room and loft suite.

A true to place destination where independent travellers can make their experience their own, the hotel features a new signature dining concept, a laid-back rooftop bar, an indoor lobby lounge, two spacious ballrooms, an in-house art gallery and two historic homes surrounding the property with added amenities.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels/Destination Hotels

Petition for Government to support UK hospitality industry

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Petition for Government to support UK hospitality industry

A petition has appeared online to call the government to support the UK’s hospitality industry through the Coronavirus crisis…

The hospitality industry, the third largest industry in the UK, is calling the Government for support as the Coronavirus crisis continues to affect individuals and businesses.

The petition, which can be signed here, states that the petition has been set up in the wake of the Government’s “total lack of responsibility” for the hospitality industry regarding the knock-on effects from the COVID-19 outbreak on individuals and businesses operating in the sector.

You can support the campaign and sign the petition here. 

It asking for a review of the following:

  • A clear support – financial and practical – laid out by the government for both staff and business owners alike
  • A decision from the government – because if we take the decision to close any form of insurance is no longer an option
  • Clarity for guests to ensure their safety
  • Transparency on timeline so businesses can prepare logistically and rationally for times ahead

Main image credit: Pixabay

BREAKING: Clerkenwell Design Week 2020 postponed

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
BREAKING: Clerkenwell Design Week 2020 postponed

BREAKING NEWS: Clerkenwell Design Week 2020, which Hotel Designs is a proud media parter of, has postponed this year’s event in response to the latest developments in the coronavirus spread…

Clerkenwell Design Week 2020 was due to take place between May 19 – 21, but in response to the coronavirus outbreak and the World Health Organisation labelling it as a pandemic, the exhibition has been forced to postpone.

“The event is now due to take place on July 14 – 16.”

The event organisers, which last week hosted a press conference to unveil this year’s plans, have confirmed that the event is now due to take place on July 14 – 16, and you can register for your tickets on the website.

“We will continue to consult with all relevant parties on a regular basis as we work towards delivering the best possible CDW this summer,” said Lee Newton, CEO of Media 10 in a statement. “The safety and wellbeing of all those involved is our priority and we are grateful for the support we have received from our exhibitors and partners in making this difficult decision. We believe that these new dates provide us with an opportunity to deliver what will be a very successful CDW in the height of British Summer.”

Clerkenwell Design Week is just the latest event that has been forced to postponed in response the spread of COVID-19.  Salone Del Mobile, which is arguably the most popular trade fair in the design calendar, was the first to announce a postponement, which was followed by the Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam last week.

The most recent update reported on the BBC is that more than 1,500 people have tested positive for the virus in the UK – but the actual number of cases is estimated to be between 35,000 and 50,000.

There have been no other announcements regarding changes to Clerkenwell Design Week, other than the date.

Main image credit: CDW 2020/Haberdashery

EXCLUSIVE: Aqualisa unveils next generation of smart showers

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EXCLUSIVE: Aqualisa unveils next generation of smart showers

Brand new smart shower products have catapulted Aqualisa out to the front of the smart shower market. Hotel Designs has the exclusive…

Almost imperceptibly, the smart home/hotel is becoming a reality. It’s a fully-fledged sector – not just a niche market anymore and bathroom brand Aqualisa has recognised and is responding to the emerging demands of a marketplace it believes will be increasingly driven by the benefits of smart technology in the bathroom.

The recent launch of the new Aqualisa Smart Quartz Collection of showers shows that the shower brand is firmly in the driving seat for innovative shower technology in the UK.

Bathrooms and wet rooms are fast becoming integral parts of today’s hotel experience, and new intelligent technology in is not only making possible to launch exceptional controls for ease of use, but also providing a stronger reliability and easy installation. The new Aqualisa Smart Quartz Collection ‘ticks’ all these boxes, with intuitive control, stunning good looks and an unsurpassed level of personalisation and convenience.

Image credit: Aqualisa

The established Quartz name, universally respected by the shower trade, has been retained for this exciting new ‘headliner’ range. This evolution of the original Quartz digital shower creates a new generation of showers with an exceptional level of connectivity, including breakthrough voice activation, added to its established and renowned performance quality.

Quartz was initially launched back in 2001 and has since become the best-selling shower in its category. The product story for this exceptional product has seen a number of style developments over the past twenty years. The latest chapter sees advanced smart technology adopting the iconic Quartz name to provide state of the art showering via a mobile app that brings Aqualisa fully into the emerging smart home environment.

Digital shower on wit marble wallcovering

Image credit: Aqualisa

Quartz technology has stood every test of time over the past nineteen years, consistently delivering the same high-performance showering experience.  Adding connectivity pushes the boundaries of smart technology and takes showering to new experiential levels. The next big thing for showering here in the UK has long been to establish Wi-Fi connection, app technology and voice activation as an integral part of the showering experience – all things that come as standard with the new Smart Quartz Collection from Aqualisa.

“The range consists of Quartz Blue, Quartz Classic and Quartz Touch.”

App technology allows the user to control the smart digital shower via WIFI, connecting through residential WIFI networks to the Aqualisa Smart Valve (ASV) using safe and secure best practice for IoT/Connected devices. It utilises the simplest on-boarding techniques possible to establish secure and robust connection with the ASV via WIFI.  It’s voice activation and personalisation of the new showers that will make it stand out against the competition. It integrates with established smart home eco-systems via voice control – using software like Alexa.

The range consists of Quartz Blue, the introduction to the smart showering revolution for the new collection, Quartz Classic, an already proven best seller now with added smart technology and top of the range Quartz Touch, which offers the most personal showering experience yet and to which devotees of the smart home will aspire. Every member of the family can activate their own personal shower requirement – created and saved on the App for the perfect, consistently repeated showering experience.

For installers, the new Smart Quartz Collection is a great proposition for new build, self-build or renovation projects, principally because the unique Aqualisa Smart Valve – the brains of the new smart collection – can be located up to 10 metres away from the shower itself, providing unbelievable flexibility in installation.  Installers will find this new product range easy to sell, impressing their customers with the benefits of connectivity – voice activation being a major unique selling point.

“’Alexa turn my shower on’ will quickly become a familiar command in homes/hotels with a new Aqualisa Smart Quartz Collection shower”, says Aqualisa CEO, Colin Sykes. “The Quartz excellence established from the early two thousands has now reached new heights and will offer users the most sophisticated showering experience available. Despite the advent of the smart home/hotel and the arrival of a myriad of smart products, the suggestion, even five years ago, that showers would take this huge step into the world of smart technology would have been difficult to imagine. Thanks to Aqualisa, this is now a reality. It seems the most natural development for them to take, but we’re delighted it’s us introducing this technology to the UK and Ireland.”

Aqualisa is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Aqualisa

5 new elements to look out for at Clerkenwell Design Week 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 new elements to look out for at Clerkenwell Design Week 2020

At an exclusive press launch in London, editor Hamish Kilburn learns how the organisers of Clerkenwell Design Week 2020 are preparing to make this year’s festival of design bigger and better than ever before…

Members of the press gathered at The Charterhouse last week in the heart of London to understand how the 2020 edition of Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW) will once again demonstrate the vibrant creativity and originality of this three day celebration of design.

In London’s key hub for design and architecture, visitors can participate in new dialogues between showrooms and designers, hear from influential voices in the world of design and experience upcoming talent and innovating brands who are taking part. 

Here are five take aways from the press launch.

1) CDW Presents will be themed around ‘CLOCKWORK’

Each year, CDW presents new design projects and street spectacles, commissioned specially for the festival and featured prominently around Clerkenwell. Inviting some of the leading pioneers in the creative industry, these projects aim to push the boundaries of design, in terms of concepts, process and material capabilities. Often a response to the local area, CDW Presents allows visitors the opportunity to discover Clerkenwell in a new and imaginative way, often referring to the area’s illustrious past.  At the beginning of the 18th Century, Clerkenwell was the home of clock-making and the area quickly became a hothouse for horologists; for 2020 in recognition of Clerkenwell’s historical importance in the clock-making industry, CDW Presents ‘CLOCKWORK’ – a series of five large-scale horology-themed installations, each interpreting the area’s significance to the craft and the artisans that once lined the cobbled streets.  From a contemporary take on the traditional sundial to an installation inspired by the hourglass, the selected designers who include Pilbrow and Partners and Shape London,  have created ideas that play with and explore the notion of measuring time.

Scale Rule, now in its 5th year at Clerkenwell Design Week, continues to engage students from across London in design as well as young architects and engineers to realise those emerging ambitions. This year’s design concept for the NextGen pavilion exemplifies human impact upon the earth and in turn mankind’s responsibility to protect and shape it for better.

The domed structure illustrates a deconstructed planet, which is formed, fractured and reconfigured from natural materials including timber geometric segments. The pavilion celebrates sustainability through its modular production methods, recycled materials and future re-use. The pavilion encourages people to rest and socialise within its bounds making use of and leaving their positive trace upon the structure.

2) ClerkenWELL playing its part to inspire designers to think about wellness and wellbeing

On trend, Clerkenwell Design Week will be focusing on wellness, tying in with Mental Health Awareness Week which coincides with the festival. With the rise of nomadic working and a society that has 24/7 access to email, the ability to disconnect from our work can become increasingly challenging and in turn employers are recognising the need to improve their wellbeing offering.

From ergonomic furniture that helps physical posture, to acoustic pods that block out exterior noise, to workplace yoga and discounted gym memberships, more and more employers are taking steps to help their employees achieve wellness in the workplace. 

Clerkenwell Design Week will be hosting free activities and events throughout the area demonstrating how we can relax and de-stress during the day, from outdoor yoga sessions to meditation workshops.  Holistic counsellor Julie Strandberg will explain how decluttering your workplace can lead to better mental health.  Having trained under Japanese tidying guru Marie Kondo, Julie innovatively blends the KonMari Method with her own innate Scandinavian aestheticism.

Texaa, the Bordeaux-based specialists in acoustic products for architecture, marks its debut at Clerkenwell Design Week with a colourful tepee installation in Design Fields. This will also be the first time new colours for Texaa’s Aeria fabric will be seen in the UK. 

3) Conversations at Clerkenwell to amplify vegan interiors, colour and the environment

Render of a bandstand pavilion

Image caption: CDW Presents The Bandstand Pavilion, where many of the talks will take place.

CDW 2020 has commissioned architectural practice Fieldwork to design the Talks space, sponsored by Equitone, within Spa Fields.  Their concept reimagines the traditional Victorian bandstand as a focal point within the Park, a place for gathering, discussion, entertainment and shelter.   

Rather than a traditional forward facing seating arrangement, the nature of the bandstand form allows the focus point to be partially in the round and engage the audience as a discussion, rather than a presentation. Equitone panels clad the internal dome and the external cube at high and low level. A bold use of colour and CNC pattern formed façade panels aim to draw attention from the surrounding park, as a modern interpretation of a Victorian architectural style. The bandstand becomes a place to stand, lean and sit in participation, focussing attention on the speaker and engaging the audience and the park in its entirety. 

Conversations at Clerkenwell, the programme of panel sessions and debates exploring show content, trends and issues, is again curated by Katie Richardson. Lead speakers include Morag Myerscough, known for her expansive use of colour across both art and design,  designer and craftsman Sebastien Cox and designer Ab Rogers.

Increasingly focused on design-led issues currently underpinning the changing world as we know it, the programme this year will look specifically at topics connected to the workplace including design responses to mental health issues and an increased need for overall wellness. Trends – led curators Franklin Till present recent work on the importance of Play. Dulux Creative Director Marianne Shillingford reveals what shifts in colour trends will take place over the next few years. Other topics for 2020 include vegan interiors, retail marketing and how contract showrooms need to keep reinventing to succeed, restoration with Roddy Clarke and New London Architecture host ‘don’t move, improve’ – a series of presentations from architects looking at how re-used materials and conscious environmental design, create the perfect home for a modern family.  Hosted on a purpose built space on London Spa Fields the programme runs across the three days and a separate series of talks focusing on lighting will be held at Fabric.

4) New showrooms open for business

Each year Clerkenwell welcomes a host of new showrooms to the district and these make up a key part of CDW with installations, launches and exhibitions. This year, the festival welcomes Ideal Standard, VitrA and Fritz Hansen.  Many other showrooms will be hosting a variety of events, with this year seeing a focus on wellness, recycling and sustainability.  Ultrafabrics,  the Japanese-American performance animal-free fabric brand will be collaborating with award winning design duo PATTERNITY who are creating a tactile and immersive installation within Ultrafabrics’  showroom entitled ‘Closed Loop: The Future of Design’.  Plastic waste has rightly become a major issue and Camira Fabrics will showcase its latest fabric innovation using plastic sea waste as a key component.   Oceanic is a fabric born of the SEAQUAL Initiative to achieve a waste free environment. 

Other participating showrooms include Actiu, Ceramiche Piemme, Davison Highly, Havwoods, Interface, KI House, Modus, Moroso, Catellani & Smith, Sky-Frame, Solus, Tarkett, and Orangebox.

Parkside, a leading specifier of architectural tiles, will focus on colour and how we can use it as a way of improving our wellbeing in our work and leisure spaces. The showroom’s series of events will include a panel discussion, ‘Curative colour: the power to heal’, exploring just how deep our emotional wellbeing is related to colour and whether a genuine link to health improvement can truly be found.

5) Fringe activities for all

As well as hosting an abundance of furniture and interiors showrooms, Clerkenwell is also home to a variety of other creative practices including architects, branding agencies and craft studios.  In celebration of Clerkenwell Design Week, a selection of these local practices open their doors to the festival’s visitors and host workshops, displays and installations. At the Zetter hotel, Sophie Thomas, Creative Director of Thomas Matthews, will be showing a collection of beautiful glass vases made using recycled plastic ocean waste.

If you are interested in attending CDW 2020, head over to the website to register.

Main image credit: CDW 2020

Amp by the side of white bed

Ruby Hotels to open second Swiss hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Ruby Hotels to open second Swiss hotel

The 220-key hotel, which is yet to be named, will bring the Ruby Hotels brand’s ‘Lean Luxury’ philosophy to a central Geneva location…

In the wake of the brand’s loud debut in London with the opening of Ruby Lucy, Ruby Hotels will launch its second Swiss property in early 2022 in Geneva.

Amp by the side of white bed

The new 220-room hotel will follow the launch of Ruby’s Zurich hotel in 2021 and forms part of an ambitious expansion plan to unveil a total of seventeen new properties by 2023.

The new Ruby Hotel will be located right in the heart of the city, between the rue du Rhône and the rue du Marché – the two biggest shopping streets in Geneva. The hotel entrance will be in the famous Malbuisson Passage, with the Lake Geneva promenade just 200m away and the Geneva Old Town reachable on foot within a few minutes.

“We will be able to exploit a previously unfilled niche in Geneva, one of the most stable hotel markets in Switzerland.” – Ruby Hotels’ CEO Michael Struck

“This works because we base our design on the model of modern luxury yachts and confine our luxury to a relatively small area, simply omitting non-essentials,” explained Ruby Hotels’ CEO Michael Struck. “Our management methods are also quite different from the usual practice in the industry as we utilise our own technical solutions. We plan and construct in modular form, adopt a more centralised approach and make a consistent effort to automate procedures behind the scenes. This helps us to make a luxurious and unique hotel experience affordable for our guests. In this way, we will be able to exploit a previously unfilled niche in Geneva, one of the most stable hotel markets in Switzerland.”

The hotel will be created from three existing buildings, one of which has a historic facade. The seventh floor will feature a roof terrace with an atrium at the centre, which will also be accessible from the public areas. The Molard tram station and bus stop is located in the immediate vicinity, which will provide the hotel with ideal access to local and long-distance public transport options.

The property will house 220 rooms, ranging in size from cosy ‘Nest’ rooms (14-15 m²) to expansive ‘Loft’ rooms (21-23 m²), a stylish 24-hour bar, a communal work station and a library. All guest rooms will showcase Ruby Hotels’ sleep-scientist-approved formula for a peaceful night’s sleep, with full soundproofing, blackout curtains, high-quality linen and extra-long and wide custom mattresses.

Just like the group’s other houses, the new hotel in Geneva will follow Ruby’s ‘Lean Luxury’ philosophy: a top location, high-quality fittings, and outstanding design. All of this is offered at an affordable price by rigorously cutting out the superfluous and focusing on the essential. 

Main image credit: Ruby Hotels

Hotels that are self-isolating in style (Part 1)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotels that are self-isolating in style (Part 1)

While the entire world is feeling the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, Hotel Designs is here to start your week with some stunning hotels that are naturally self-isolating in style. Editor Hamish Kilburn emerges from his quarantined slumber to write part one… 

In uncertain times, it can become easy for designers and architects to lose focus on a creative vision.

The outbreak of the recent coronavirus COVID-19 is taking its toll on all creative industries, and has resulted in a number of major events, such as Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam, Hotel Summit and Salone Del Mobile Milan, to postpone all activity until later in the summer.

With the aim to simply lift spirits and steer those who are lacking Monday motivation back on course, here are a handful of remote hotels that will allow you to escape from the madness, even if it’s for just a minute.

Lepogo Lodges’ Noka Camp, Limpopo Province, South Africa

Large bedroom overlooking the African wilderness

Image credit: Lepogo Lodges’ Noka Camp

Lepogo Lodges, one of Africa’s few entirely not-for-profit high-end safari lodges, has opened its very first lodge in South Africa’s Limpopo Province, Noka Camp. Just a short air transfer or a three-hour drive from Johannesburg, Noka Camp enjoys a remote spot within the 50,000-hectare, malaria-free Lapalala Wilderness Reserve, home of the ‘big five’.

Lepogo Lodges is the very first luxury camp in Africa to offset the carbon footprint of every visiting guest, from the time they leave their home to the moment they return. Family-owned and operated, the project has been developed as part of a life-long dream to create a sustainable conservation legacy in Africa, with 100% of any financial gains made re-invested back into the reserve for the benefit of wildlife, conservation and the local community. 

Jade Mountain, St Lucia

walkway to suites

Image credit: Jade Mountain St Lucia

On the western stretch of Saint Lucia, an island that last year welcomed more than 1.2 million visitors, two incredible design gem stones can be found. While the two hotels are very different in style, the experience of Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain comes as one.

Not only are the hotels two of the region’s most sought-after places to check in to, but they also stand as a permanent reminder of an unforgettable journey, which is full of discovery, challenges and sustainable solutions that is still ongoing for husband-and-wife team Nick and Karolin Troubetzkoy. 

Zannier Hotels Sonop, Nambia

Image credit: Zannier Hotels/Tibod Hermy

Arnaud Zannier’s inspiration for Zannier Hotels Sonop’s design was conceived during his very first trip to the site and first view from the top of the boulders. Arnaud recognised that he had been fortunate enough to discover somewhere very special, likening the feeling to an old explorer discovering a destination for the first time – hence the property was designed to resemble a 20th Century tented camp for explorers.

The construction process was challenging due to the hotel’s remote location and protected surroundings. All building materials and interiors were manually transported up the huge boulders, by expert craftsmen from Namibia. Zannier Hotels only used a limited number of existing roads to the site, to ensure the human impact on the fragile flora was minimal. In addition, each piece of furniture, including twelve 30kg handcrafted four-poster beds, had to be carried by hand over the rocks and boulders thereby avoiding the use of disruptive machinery.

Hotel Chais Monet, France

Image of old and new architecture blending into one frme

Image credit: Hotel Chais Monet

The project was reported to have cost €60 million, and was the brainchild of chief architect Didier Poignant of Ertim Architects. But the result of the sensitive restoration to transform the traditional Cognac trading house site into a 15,000m2 luxury spa hotel, offering what it was described back then as a “modern take on traditional French luxe”, has given the buildings a new lease of life.

I would go one step further in saying that it has reopened up the destination’s history books, perhaps to a different chapter. In the process, it has added a new contemporary architectural jewel ­­– a rare find in and around the low-level city ­– one that is sensitive to its surroundings.

Four Seasons Nevis

Recently, the Four Seasons hotel underwent a complete renovation, which was led by TAL Studio. The hotel is situated on the pristine beaches of the remote Caribbean island where building regulations state that no building is allowed to be taller than a palm tree.

The hotel’s latest chapter of renovations includes the redesign of the resort’s main signature pool, construction of a new restaurant concept – On the Dune – that extends out on to the sand and the unveiling of additional improved spaces around the property for guests to enjoy a variety of new experiences and amenities.

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

Image of restaurant overlooking green countryside

Image credit: Cape Kidnappers

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers is just that: a working farmstead of arable land and sheepherding, poised on the edge of a scenic bluff on North Island’s east coast so dramatic, idyllic and untouched that the views – and best enjoyed from the outdoor swimming pool or Jacuzzi. The hotel’s design is one that is considered to blend in harmony with the natural beauty of the area. 

Image credit: Zannier Hotels

5 reasons to attend Hotel Summit 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 reasons to attend Hotel Summit 2020

Hotel Summit, the original hotel meet-the-buyers event that last year was shortlisted at the Indy Awards, is gearing up to once again bridge the gap between hotel operators and suppliers with engaging talks and networking opportunities throughout… 

For more than 20 years, Hotel Summit has been bridging meaningful relationships between suppliers and hotel operators alike.

While uncertainty surrounding recent headlines is forcing industries to consider and control numbers at networking events over the coming months, Hotel Summit’s successful meet-the-buyer concept is an event that is capped to 150 people.

Here are five reasons to attend this year’s event:

1) The speakers

Hotel Summit 2020 speakership line-up

Hotel Designs is proud to be curating this year’s speakership programme, and has deliberately put certain subjects, such as accessibility, technology and sustainability, at the forefront of conversations. Editor Hamish Kilburn will chair a panel discussion entitled: Designing accessible spaces for modern travellers with the multiple award-winning hotelier Robin Sheppard and accessibility design expert Ed Warner. Alexandra Tollman, Director of Sales at Red Carnation Hotels, will speak to the audience about how to tackle sustainability to make travel matter, and to lift the spirits The Summit will also welcome happiness guru, Danny Bent, to explore the ‘happiness of being you’. The full line-up of speakers can be accessed on the Hotel Summit page.

2) Valuable pre-arranged meetings with suppliers

Qualified buyers (hoteliers, operators and procurement managers) attending Hotel Summit, Hotel Summit, which includes overnight accommodation and a gala dinner, are able to attend free of charge. The two-day event consists of a number of pre-arranged face-to-face meetings with key-industry suppliers of products that buyers have specified in knowing more about. These are carried out throughout the event, in-between seminars, and are designed seamlessly to benefit both supplier and buyer alike. To find out if you qualify as a delegate, please email Kerry Naumburger.

3) The venue: Five Lakes Colchester

establishing shot of hotel around countryside

Image credit: Five Lakes Colchester

Balancing the requirement for the event to be sheltered in an interesting venue that is easily accessible, Hotel Summit this year will take place in the serene Five Lakes Resort in Colechester, Essex. The 194-key spa and resort is run by AB Hotels group. The four-star hotel is located in 320 acres of parkland between Colchester and Maldon, has two restaurants, an indoor pool and spa and two 18-hole golf courses, which sits alongside a large exhibition hall and has 18 purpose-built meeting rooms.

4) Quality suppliers on board

Hotel Summit’s supplier list (so far) is full of key-industry brands from all corners of the industry; from technology software to fitness equipment, lighting to bathroom solutions. They are:

Portable Floor MakersAirwaveBirchall TeaVictoria + AlbertADI TradingCole & SonSicoLUQELJames Alexander Bespoke FurnitureRuark AudioMatrix FitnessMeikoHCIGood EnergyFalcon Contract FlooringSchluter and NT Security

5) Forum Events’ professional approach to synchronise business

Forum Events is respected and well-known for being one of the leading meet-the-buyer forums and summits providers in the industry today. Putting its clients first to create experiences that synchronise business, the company has been the root to many meaningful relationships that have formed in all sectors. The quality reputation of the company is enforced by a dedicated team for each brand. Everyone attending Hotel Summit is briefed prior to the event so that they are aware on who they will be meeting and when, to ensure that The Summit is facilitating relevant meetings that are business appropriate for both buyers and suppliers alike.

How to register for Hotel Summit 2020: 

If you are a supplier to the hospitality industry looking to meet top hotel professionals, contact Jennie Lane at j.lane@forumevents.co.uk– or click here to book your place.

If you are a hotelier and would like to attend the Summit for free, please contact Kerry Naumburger at k.naumburger@forumevents.co.uk – or click here to book your place.

*Please contact Kerry Naumburger for complete delegates list.

Taste of the future: personalised water for all

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Taste of the future: personalised water for all

Yes, it’s a thing! Water Station from LUQEL offers a multi-stage filtration system, which allows every user to draw their favourite personalised quality water from more than 30 recipes with a simple press of a touchscreen. Editor Hamish Kilburn sat down with the company’s President to find out more… 

The benefits of keeping hydrated to drink the recommended two litres of water per day have been long-documented.

And while consumers are becoming more aware of the environmental implications from buying non-refillable bottles, with a recent study showing that 75 per cent of guests believe hotels should be doing more to be greener, the industry is, too, changing it’s stance on plastic and how it provides water.

For a luxury hotel brand, where operational measures to become more eco-conscious can to the naive eye look like budget-saving methods, ensuring service and design work in harmony is more important than ever before.

When it comes to offering a suitable water solution, there is one brand on our radar that is going above all others to meaningfully explore the qualities of clean water. LUQEL has created a concept, which will offer guests the ability to taste personalised recipes. To find out more about the benefits of personalised water–  as well as the journey to invent such technology – I spoke to the the company’s President, Josef Schucker.

“This allows every user to draw their favourite personalised water from more than 30 recipes, in pristine quality every time at the press of a touchscreen.” – Josef Schucker, President, LUQEL

Hamish Kilburn: How would you describe the LUQEL solution?
Josef Schucker: At its heart it is unique water beverage technology using mineral ions in combination with a multi-stage filtration system. This allows every user to draw their favourite personalised water from more than 30 recipes, in pristine quality every time at the press of a touchscreen. With no bacteria in the water or held in the machine, due to the unique way the water is processed.

HK: What is your favourite recipe from the Water Station?
JS:
I’ve recently switched to drinking our recipe “Smooth Times”. It is a fizzy water with a strong mineralise level, particularly sulphate which supports digestion and maintains cell function, it has been helpful since I started my detox at the start of the year. That doesn’t mean I still don’t use “Green Power” for my green tea first thing in the morning.

Image credit: LUQEL

HK: What inspired you to start the company?
JS: I saw so many washed-up plastic bottles whilst I was living out my childhood dream to sail and explore the most remote of places on earth. It made me see how careless humanity is with its plastic waste and with nature, and how senseless it is to drink bottles of water that are transported thousands of miles. “It’s so simple,” I thought. “Just turn on the tap and enjoy a glass of water.” I grew up in Germany where the quality of the tap water is safe to drink but it doesn’t always taste great. This isn’t the same for all countries and the idea to provide everyone with great tasting water started the development and the idea for LUQEL and the water station.

“Dr. Monique Bissen has built a team around her of water engineers, creative designers, chemist and engineers to bring to life the ideas and concepts.” – Josef Schucker, President, LUQEL.

HK: How did you go about developing/nurturing engineering talents for this new revolutionary concept?|
JS: During the search of a water station solution, I encountered the expert in this field: Dr. Monique Bissen, who is a qualified engineer working in the field of water chemistry and has more than 20 years’ experience in the treatment of water. She has built a team around her of water engineers, creative designers, chemist and engineers to bring to life the ideas and concepts. The product, technology and engineering has never been done before, it has brought together the best minds to achieve the solution we have, and to create a leading edge solution.

LUQel water system on table

Image credit: LUQEL

HK: Does Dr. Bissen share the same view on water and plastic waste as you?
JS:
She does, she believes the combination of water and plastic to be unhealthy. She is annoyed that many water-treatment devices used by people at home or at work to avoid plastic bottles still contain too much plastic that the water stored is constantly contaminated by the material. She envisages a pure, completely individually personalised water. This new water not only needs to be packaged differently, it has to be better and requires a completely new, plastic-free method of water treatment. We are certain that this can be achieved.

HK: What has surprised you during the development and launch of LUQEL?
JS:
The biggest surprise has been people’s reaction to tasting the water from the LUQEL Water Station. You wouldn’t believe that the recipes can taste so different until you try them. As the water can be hot to compliment teas and coffees, cold with a choice of still or sparkling that will balance with food and drink, all without adjusting any of the settings. It really has that wow factor and makes it exciting to drink water.

Josef pouring water from the station

Image caption: Josef Schucker, President of LUQEL

I started out to develop a machine based on those plastic bottles and to filter the water to provide quality drinking water. We’ve developed not only a proficient water filtering product, but it also enables the user to customise their drink to their personal taste.

HK: Just how safe is drinking water in the UK?
JS:
As water is a clear liquid it is often assumed to be clean and safe. Tap water in the UK is processed to a high standard by the water companies, but new elements are now entering the water table and are different to the bacteria that had historically been removed. One of those that will deteriorate the quality of the water are microplastics and that are increasingly enter our drinking water. Invisible to the naked eye, these tiny particles, whose effects we are only now beginning to discern, are causing irreparable damage to the environment and to fish and sea birds. The aim would be to separate drinking water and plastic, turn our back on standard water and embrace our individual requirements.

HK: Is the solution then to just remove the reliance on plastic water bottles and containers?
JS: The sustainability element is just part of the LUQEL solution, providing great tasting water to your individual taste will encourage you to drink more water. People choose to drink water only if they have exhausted all other options, carbonated soft drinks, coffee, tea. Sugar consumption has increased and even with the UK sugar tax or Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) introduced in 2018 this hasn’t deterred consumers from their favourite drink. LUQEL’s system guides you on the amount you should be drinking, tracks your consumption and welcomes you when you approach the water station with your LUQEL water bottle or NFC tag.

HK: Has this changed how you now drink water?
JS: I’m drinking more water than I used to and enjoy the variety of the selection of waters that I can try. I’d previously look for something refreshing or different as I didn’t want just “boring” water, that would result, most of the time, in a soda of some kind so this has been great for my hydration levels but also for my sugar intake.

HK: Who are LUQEL’s competitors?
JS:
There isn’t a product on the market that does all that the LUQEL Water Station does in one machine. There are plenty of companies that offer different levels of water filtration for the business or home, whether cold or hot at a set temperature, but not to the range or variations we have developed. We seriously believe this product will revolutionise the water market.

HK: What is the future roadmap/developments for the business?
JS: The Water Station we have developed is the first of a family of solutions to meet different capacity needs in the home, a business or whilst you are out and about. We are continuing to invest in technology to make the most efficient technological product we can and provide an enjoyable and exciting experience to our customers wherever and whenever they choose to do so.

HK:  What is your vision for the company?
JS: To ultimately see LUQEL water stations providing consumers with great tasting mineralised water and that they are drinking more water as their regular choice of beverage. From a sustainability aspect, it has to be that as a planet we have to reduce our reliance on plastic, ultimately helping the environment and for it to continue to be a great place for the next generations to enjoy.

Main image credit: Pixabay

Large, luxe suite

Luxury hotel opens in Portugal with focus on art, wellness & design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Luxury hotel opens in Portugal with focus on art, wellness & design

Led by local interior designer Sofia Andrez, the hotel’s design creates a sense of simplicity, serenity and balance, reflecting Longevity Wellness Worldwide’s core principles of restoration and regeneration…

Through its ground-breaking architecture and its minimalist interior design, the newly opened Longevity Health and Wellness Hotel offers guests the perfect space to focus on their health and wellbeing.

Large, luxe suite

A ground-breaking health and wellness property set in the western Algarve, with panoramic views of Alvor Bay, the property offers a world-class dedicated health & wellness clinic over two floors. The hotel has a total of 70 guestrooms and suites, combining simplicity and elegance with a contemporary and natural eco vibe, giving a primary attention to comfort and quality.

Open and spacious public area

Image credit: Longevity Wellness Worldwide

With wellness at the heart of the project, it was important to create a space where guests can improve their health and wellbeing, from the architectural features to the interiors. The distinct wave-like structure of the building symbolises Longevity’s focus on guests’ harmony and balance, as well as the water used in the spa (Salus per Aquae) as a source of health. Meanwhile the interior concept aims to create a sense of serenity and tranquillity through the use aqua-marine colours and neutral sandy tones inspired by the neighbouring sea and beach.

“This type of connectivity between your emotions and mind is transcendent and also extremely beneficial for your mental wellness.” – Nazir Sacoor, CEO of Longevity Wellness Worldwide.

Longevity Health and Wellness Hotel’s focus on ‘Art as Wellness’ is showcased through its partnership with local art gallery Lady in Red who will be exhibiting pieces throughout the hotel. LiR – Galeria de Arte is located in Adega de Lagoa winery and showcases a range of works from local, national and international artists. For Longevity Health and Wellness Hotel, the gallery has carefully curated a selection of works from a roster of artists. The 51 canvass and 12 sculptures works exhibited in the hotel include stunning water colour and oil paintings, sculptural busts and photography.

“Creativity expressed through art has the power to heal us and improve our overall mental wellness on a large scale,” said Nazir Sacoor, CEO of Longevity Wellness Worldwide. “This type of connectivity between your emotions and mind is transcendent and also extremely beneficial for your mental wellness. By unleashing our creativity and establishing human connection, art has an amazing power to boost wellness which should be a major priority in modern society.” 

Luxe, clean and simple hotel bed with glass bathroom

Image caption: Junior Suite

Interior designer Sofia Andrez approached the entire building as a place of wellbeing, ensuring synergy between the spaces of the hotel, from the guest rooms to the restaurant and treatment areas. Whilst meeting the different technical and functional requirements of each part of the hotel, the designer ensured the entire property fulfilled the brief.

The guest bedrooms have been designed to emphasise the hotel’s stunning views. The designer introduced shades of grey, white and beige which are complemented with simple touches of blue in the decorative cushions and bed throws.

In the restaurant, the designers have created an intimate atmosphere by introducing some darker tones and elements including the table bases, which offset the sand-coloured tops. Additionally, the wood-panelled buffet area and bench seats create a warm and inviting setting.

Within the spa, Andrez used organic materials such as the wooden floor lanterns and macramé ceiling lanterns that both help producing a relaxing atmosphere.

The colour scheme and sense of tranquillity has also been reflected in the furniture created exclusively for the hotel. The designer introduced bespoke pieces throughout the property, with 80 per cent of the furniture made in Portugal. By carefully selecting the right materials, fabrics and colours, the designer achieved an elegant and simple aesthetic. Whilst also reflecting the views and surrounding areas, it was important for the interiors to complement the unique architecture of the hotel. The use of curvaceous furniture such as the round sofas in the lobby mimic the wave-like structure of the building, creating a synergy between the interior and exterior of the hotel.

By focusing on simplicity, serenity and balance, the hotel’s design relates to the key pillars of the Longevity Wellness Worldwide brand. These five pillars are: treatments that are preventive, personalised, holistic, integrative and regenerative.

Main image credit: Longevity Wellness Worldwide

Red headboard, colourful art work and a white bed

Hard Rock Hotels makes its long-awaited debut in Ireland

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hard Rock Hotels makes its long-awaited debut in Ireland

Hard Rock International debuts in Ireland with Hard Rock Hotel Dublin, which aims to brings the brand’s musical energy to the famed Temple Bar district…

With a presence spanning more than 76 countries, Hard Rock International continues its expansion into Europe with the opening of Hard Rock Hotel Dublin.

 

Red headboard, colourful art work and a white bed

The iconic red-brick property is located on Exchange Street Upper near the Temple Bar district, and shelters a theme that is a celebration of the rich cultural and musical history of Dublin, bringing Hard Rock’s signature music-infused vibes to the heart of the city.

The 120-key hotel is a contemporary reimagining of two historic buildings, combining the Exchange Building, a listed property built at the turn of the 20th century, and the adjacent Fashion House building, linked together by a newly built glass bridge.

“Dublin connects to our deep musical roots, we are honoured to bring the Hard Rock Hotel experience to the city, its residents and visitors alike.” – Dale Hipsh, Senior Vice President – Hotels for Hard Rock International

Reflecting Dublin’s vibrant atmosphere, the rooms are furnished with electrifying colour schemes, paired with warm woods and bright stone. The fresh interiors are adorned with priceless Hard Rock memorabilia, expertly curated to include treasured possessions and instruments from some of Ireland’s most loved musicians. Irish favourites such as Phil Lynott, Van Morrison, Hozier and U2 feature, as well as pieces from artists that have played truly memorable gigs in Ireland.

Image credit: Hard Rock International

“As Hard Rock furthers its expansion into Europe, we continue to target destinations that are culturally influential and perfectly aligned with our musical soul,” commented Dale Hipsh, Senior Vice President – Hotels for Hard Rock International. “Dublin connects to our deep musical roots, we are honoured to bring the Hard Rock Hotel experience to the city, its residents and visitors alike.”

Enda O’Meara, CEO of the Tifco Hotel Group, added: “We are greatly looking forward to the opening of Hard Rock Hotel Dublin. Our aim is to match the energy of this vibrant city through our world-class service offered by the people who truly make up the fabric of the hotel, and who will work passionately to deliver the best guest experience.”

Surrounding the hotel is an abundance of local attractions, heritage sites, eateries and bars. Within walking distance are the world-famous Guinness Storehouse, the Jameson Distillery, Dublin Castle and the renowned Temple Bar district. Also easily accessible from the hotel are several of Dublin’s cultural institutions, including the Olympia Theatre, the Gallery of Photography and the Irish Film Institute.

Following the opening of the hotel in Dublin, Hard Rock International portfolio plan to open Hard Rock Hotel Amsterdam American will break into the entertainment capital of Europe in April 2020, located in a famous Art Nouveau building on the lively Leidseplein Square. Opening in May, Hard Rock Hotel Budapest will be situated in the heart of “Budapest’s Broadway” surrounded by the city’s famed cultural attractions. Hard Rock Hotel Madrid will follow, opening in a prime location opposite the historic Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in the Atocha district.

Main image credit: Hard Rock International

BREAKING: Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam 2020 postponed

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
BREAKING: Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam 2020 postponed

BREAKING NEWS: Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam 2020, which Hotel Designs is a proud media parter of, has postponed this year’s event in response to the latest developments in the coronavirus spread…

Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam was due to take place between March 17 – 18, but in response to the coronavirus outbreak and the World Health Organisation labelling it as a pandemic, the exhibition has been forced to postpone.

The event organisers have confirmed that the event is now due to take place on June 24 – 25, 2020 at RAI Amsterdam.

One week after the success of Hotel Restaurant and Catering Show, the organisers of the show have confirmed the postponement in a statement. “It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we have to inform you that Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam will no longer place between 17-18 March as planned and has instead been postponed to 24 – 25 June 2020 at RAI Amsterdam,” the statement read. “This is due to the significant escalation of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) cases across the Netherlands as well as yesterday’s announcement by the World Health Organisation that COVID-19 is now labelled a pandemic.

“The event is now due to take place on June 24 – 25, 2020 at RAI Amsterdam.”

“Whilst we have been paying close attention to the World Health Organisation and have been following the advice from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment leaves us with little option but to make the decision to postpone the event to later in the year when we hope the effects have subsided.”

The update comes after the total number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases reported by the Dutch authorities (as of March 11, 2020) amounted to 503. In just a week, multiple cases have been reported all over the country. Officially, the coronavirus entered the Netherlands on February 27, 2020 after a Dutch resident returned from the Italian region of Lombardy.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom is expected to move to the ‘delay’ phase after the BBC reported that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country has reached 460, after the biggest rise in a single day.

Main image credit: Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam

SNEAK PEEK: Inside Mama Shelter’s soon-to-open Luxembourg hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SNEAK PEEK: Inside Mama Shelter’s soon-to-open Luxembourg hotel

Mama Shelter is expected to bringing its playful hotel brand to Luxembourg in May of this year. Before the wild opening, Hotel Designs got a sneak peek inside… 

Hot off the heels of opening another hotel in Paris, Mama Shelter is expected to touchdown in Luxembourg this May, opening the brand’s 13th hotel since coming to the market in 2008.

Sheltering 145 design-led rooms, Mama Luxembourg will continue its commitment to providing its affordable boutique hotel offering to the Grand Duchy. In keeping with the brand’s playful philosophy, Mama Luxembourg interprets the spirit of its location through its bespoke design, while also offering guests a well-priced option from which to explore the city.

An important financial hub, with links to neighbouring France, Germany and Belgium, Luxembourg is also home to several European Union institutions. Mama Works will offer local professionals and business travellers the flexibility to work from its new co-working space, offering individual working spaces and shared desks. There is also a ‘CineMama’, an intimate space with seating for up to 31 people which can also be used for presentations and screenings.

Wild and funky public areas, full of character and colour

Image credit: Mama Shelter

Mama Shelter’s instantly recognisable style continues throughout its new property. Taking inspiration from the region’s rich history, the ceilings are adorned with one-of-a-kind graffiti by renowned French artist – Beniloys – and each room has been individually designed by its dedicated in-house design team.

“Luxembourg is as beautiful as it is cosmopolitan,” said Jérémie Trigano, CEO of Mama Shelter. “We knew that combining these features with MAMA’s fun personality meant we would get a truly explosive result.”

Mama Luxembourg bridges the gap between the chic style of boutique hotels and openness of Mama’s playful philosophy. This unique DNA creates the perfect home-away-from-home for travellers and local professionals.

Playful public areas with wooden furniture and colourful design scheme

Image credit: Mama Shelter

“Luxembourg is largely known as a financial hub,” added Serge Trigano, president of Mama Shelter. “The Mama group wants to contribute actively to the discovery of the country’s culture, its landscapes and its castles. Bankers or teams from great financial institutions as well as Luxembourgers will always be most welcome and free to visit the Mama whenever they wish, to shed their suits and enjoy a meal or a cocktail in our restaurant or on our rooftop.”

The Mama Shelter journey started in 2008 with the launch of Mama Paris East. Founded by the Trigano family – co-Founder of Club Med – and world-renowned designer Philippe Starck, Mama Shelter believed in launching in lesser-known, ‘out of the way’ neighbourhoods in iconic cities, allowing guests to uncover new and exciting cities. The founding Paris property was followed by Marseille to Lyon, Bordeaux, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Prague, Belgrade, Toulouse, London, Paris West and Luxembourg. Upcoming openings include Bucharest, Bahrain, Dubai, Santiago de Chile, Rome, Lisbon and many more. In 2014, the international hotel chain, Accor, partnered with Mama Shelter to develop the concept and welcome travellers and locals throughout the world.

As with all of Mama Shelter properties, Mama Luxembourg aims to be a confluence for visitors and locals alike, providing a witty and welcoming ‘home’ in the city.

Main image credit: Mama Shelter

The St Regis San Francisco completes renovation

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The St Regis San Francisco completes renovation

The luxury hotel in San Francisco’s new guestrooms, meeting and event space were designed in collaboration with Chapi Chapo Design to evoke renewed vibrancy… 

Toronto-based studio Chapi Chapo Design has completed a project to renovate the guestrooms and meeting spaces inside The St. Regis San Francisco.

Namesake of the famed St. Regis Hotel in New York City, founded by John Jacob Astor in 1904 and synonymous worldwide with design excellence, European-style elegance and personalised “anticipatory service,” The St. Regis San Francisco introduced a new dimension of luxury and gracious living to San Francisco, personified by the signature St. Regis butler service, when it opened in 2005.  The hotel remains the crowning jewel of the Yerba Buena cultural corridor, steps from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Contemporary Jewish Museum and the Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts and proximate to Union Square, the financial district and the Moscone Convention Centre. 

“This has been a wonderful opportunity for us to return to The St. Regis San Francisco,” said Boris Mathias, co-CEO of Chapi Chapo Design. “Our goal was to honour St. Regis’ distinctive heritage while refreshing the property with a design that captures San Francisco’s innovative spirit, rich history and natural beauty, and to create ultra-luxe guest rooms and event spaces that anticipate the needs of today’s discerning traveller.” 

luxe suite open up to striking vistas of the city

Image credit: Marriott International/St Regis

The St. Regis San Francisco’s 260 rooms and suites were refitted with customised furniture, exclusive to the hotel. New room seating includes chairs and ottomans designed both for lounging and working.  Headboards picoted with rich leather paneling, suggestive of a luxury sports car interior, also serve as homes for the connections that power the rooms’ sophisticated technological upgrades.  San Francisco’s iconic hills and valleys are subtly referenced in wall covering that features the soft curves of a Richard Serra-inspired sculpture. Viewed through layered smoked desk glass, California’s glorious panoramas, as captured by legendary landscape photographer Ansel Adams, evoke the dreamy intrigue of a Dashiell Hammett novel. 

Continuing the theme of wedding historic milestones to contemporary sensibility, the California Gold Rush of 1849 that put San Francisco on the map is referenced by a colour palette of silver, copper and iron, adding an alluring luster to the rooms’ ambience but setting off distinctive custom 3D computer graphic applications created by Christo Saba. The artwork pays homage to the innovative spirit of San Francisco with subtle visualisations of past luminaries and today’s tech industry giants.

Image credit: Marriott International/St Regis

The redesign also focused on enhancing The St. Regis San Francisco’s 15,000 square feet of meeting and event spaces, creating refined, comfortable and innovative areas designed to facilitate conversation and collaboration.  Continuing to balance tradition and contemporaneity, the new custom carpet in the ballroom features a modern, earthy abstract pattern with unexpected bursts of color that ideally complements the room’s magnificent existing chandelier.

And with a subtle touch of whimsey that acknowledges the city’s storied geological uncertainty, Chapi Chapo Design fitted the hotel’s meeting spaces with tectonic-plate themed custom-designed carpet.  

Main image credit: Marriott International/St Regis

7 interior trends to emerge from London Design Week 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
7 interior trends to emerge from London Design Week 2020

During London Design Week 2020, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour is sheltering many of the product launches, teasers and conversations that are expected to make a noise on the design scene this season. Editor Hamish Kilburn identifies some of the prominent styles, colours and trends to look out for… 

“We champion creative excellence,” said Becky Metcalfe, Head of Content at Design Centre Chelsea Harbour (DCCH). “And we have certainly seen a move towards inform choices.”

Now that there is more demand among consumers for conscious and meaningful designs to compliment seamless service, hotel designers are widening their lenses to understand the narrative, craft and creative vision of new collections launched.

It is this change in behaviour that is enforcing most, if not all, of the strong styles that I discovered during my time at London Design Week 2020.

1) Botanical paradise on earth

With biophilic design being put front and centre at the moment around the world, conversations and the products that are launching are finding the balance between indoor space and the great outdoors – think exotic gardens where fragrance and sound are depicted in patterns and colours. Sanderson’s floral showroom, which houses hundreds of new designs this week, highlighted the creative possibilities that can emerge when designers open the door to outdoor influence with purpose. Other brands to leverage nature in design include Pierre Frey’s enriched wallcoverings, Abbott & Boyd’s capture of birds and Bec Brittain’s Taxonomy collection seen in the Tai Ping showroom that explores unexpected paradoxes inspired by the minutiae of insect anatomy and pleating techniques.

Offer with pink and black textured rug

Image credit: Taxonomy collection by Bec Brittain/Edward Fields Carpet Makers/Tai Ping

2) Land of the rising sun – everyone is talking about Japan

Considering the incredible oriental principles – not to mention the in-depth culture, heritage and authentic craftsmanship – it’s hardly surprising that many designers and brands are finding inspiration in Japan. There are parallels between the demand for simple, elegant luxury and the minimalist aesthetics of design in Japan (take a look at Muji to see this in action). Wallcovering brands such as Arte are exploring Japanese techniques and diverse styles, such as the Kimono pattern motif, to create new textured layers to their collections.

Intricate Kimono pattern detail in wallcovering

Image credit: Arte Wallcovering

Taking the theme in a different direction, Arteriors’ Trapeze Sconce is an effortless example of how Japanese influence can be balanced delicately in elegant lighting. With so much yet to explore, we expect more designers and brands to delve into the archive of Japan’s design heritage to invest in timeless practice and precious pieces.

3) Embracing imperfections

Admittedly, this isn’t anything new. In fact, designers, consumers and brands alike have been championing and demanding one-off products that can’t be replicated for as long as time. But recently, with timelessness and narrative playing so much importance in any design scheme – and while designers become more adventurous with materials – this look is everywhere. Lighting brand Vaughan is celebrating a proud authentic look and feel with its Chalk White collection, while wallcoverings brand Harlequin is keeping in touch with nature by using natural materials and creating an interesting weave structure.

Chalk-like chandelier

Image credit: Vaughan’s Chalk White collection is a curation of six products

Meanwhile, Parkside Architectural Tiles are showcasing their fantastical imperfect Spectre collection of tiles, which have proved a hit with designers and architects looking to add personality onto the walls of new and existing spaces.

Spectre collection by Parkside Architectural Tiles

Image caption: Spectre collection by Parkside Architectural Tiles

A relatively new brand thats DNA is very much focused on creating this look is Ilala, curated by Miranda Vedral, which proudly presented its idiosyncratic handwoven  furniture and lighting during the event.

4) Amplifying craftsmanship in all areas

There are more and more brands out there that are willing to collaborate with experts to produce the highest quality and the most interesting designs. With a digital overload from social media and a move to challenge the disposable mindset, brands such as Porta Romana have enhanced tactility in products and styles, which is putting momentum behind the sustainable movement.

Image credit: Porta Romana

5) Take a walk on the wild side

As we have identified before, the eco-conscious world is allowing for more adventurous influences to emerge to the surface. During the showrooms in Chelsea, there was a clear and defined theme of endangered species being used in wallcoverings, fabrics and soft furnishings. Some of the brands that are mastering this with style include Altfield, Anthology, Harlequin and Andrew Martin.

Image credit: Harlequin’s Mirador Collection

6) Warm colours are in!

Finally, in the doom and gloom of the current economic climate, designers and brands are discovering the warmer end of the colour spectrum. Designs from Edelman Leather, Vaughan and Zoffany are all setting their style compass to rosy red, which suggests there is a new confidence in the air. Grasping the statement-like benefits of using primary colours, British brand David Hunt Lighting has recently opened up its archives to find unique techniques and craft that has inspired their latest collections of pendants and chandeliers. In the Design Avenue – a hotspot for talent and unmatched styles – there was arguably no brand more colourful and bold than Timorous Beasties, but with their intricate signature of styles, would you really expect anything less?

Red, yellow and blue pendents

Image credit: David Hunt Lighting/Instagram

7) Home Heritage

An interesting theme to explore on the international hotel design scene – and one that no doubts divides the industry – there seems to be a move towards home-from-home comforts, but not perhaps as you would expect. We know that lobbies are becoming more lounge-like, but in addition there is an interest to explore storied providence. Brands such as Zimmer + Rhode, Samuel & Sons and Holland & Sherry are all using this to drive their latest designs, and I suspect more brands will keep this in mind when innovating new products in the future to add further meaning in design.

If you identified anything at the show that you believe we should be sharing our readers, please tweet us @HotelDesigns.

Main image credit: Design Centre Chelsea Harbour

industrial looking suite

SNEAK PEEK: Inside the ‘first true design hotel’ in Warsaw

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SNEAK PEEK: Inside the ‘first true design hotel’ in Warsaw

The 117-key Nobu Hotel Warsaw is located in lively, culinary neighbourhood of central Warsaw and is slated to open this June…

Nobu Hospitality, the lifestyle brand founded by Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper, has announced that its first hotel in Poland will open in June of this year. 

industrial looking suite

Nobu Hotel Warsaw will have 117 sleek and spacious rooms, thoughtfully tailored meeting and event spaces, an expansive fitness centre and signature Nobu Restaurant and café.

Exterior of the hotel

Image credit: Nobu Hotels

Situated on Wilcza Street, the creative hub of the modern-day city, Nobu Hotel Warsaw is an integrated mix of luxurious hotel and energised living spaces. The hotel’s neighbourhood is a walk away from the Old Town, originally built in the 13th century, which has been meticulously reconstructed since the Second World War, welcoming the intellectual traveller to rediscover its charm as an increasingly popular leisure destination. Etched into the city’s skyline, Nobu Hotel Warsaw is surrounded by a vibrant urban scene full of trendy wine bars that spill out onto the pavements in the summer months, as well as independent shops, art galleries, cafes and restaurants, enriching the community with a sense of locality and present-day style.

“Nobu Hotel Warsaw is a really exciting project for us,” said Trevor Horwell, Chief Executive Officer of Nobu Hotels. “The luxury hospitality market has been gaining momentum in Warsaw for a while. There’s a certain type of energy that extends far beyond the bricks and mortar – we’re very excited to be at the forefront of this new wave of lifestyle and hospitality development – and being from Poland originally, this opening is particularly exciting for our co-founder Meir Teper.”

The city’s first true design hotel, Nobu Hotel Warsaw is a combination of two wings: the ‘classic’ is housed in an Art Deco building, the former Hotel Rialto, which dates back to 1920s inter-war Poland and the ‘modern’ is an ultracontemporary, new build – designed through a transformational, cross-continental collaboration: a concerted effort between Polish architectural firm, Medusa Group, and California-based Studio PCH. Respecting the city’s history and resilience, the result tells the story of present-day Warsaw: open, modern and diverse.

Nobu Hotel Warsaw juxtaposes contemporary style with the adjoined classic Art Deco building’s character and distinct aesthetic, an important symbol of the city’s historical tissue. In the hotel lobby, crossing between the old and new wings feels like crossing two streets, with a sculptural spiral wooden staircase leading to the first floor. The new wing features sleek, meticulous Polish wood detailing in the lobby with a minimalist, charcoal grey marble reception desk; teak-timbers and polished-concrete adorn the walls, complemented by palette-rich terrazzo floors that together create a harmonious blend of natural materials and Japanese-inspired design. Outside, the strikingly designed window-box glass façade sits neatly beside the Art Deco wing, which draws on traditional Polish architecture. All public spaces throughout the hotel will house modern Polish art masterpieces from the Jankilevitsch Collection.

“The result is an interesting architectural form from the outside, and a variety of room sizes, on the inside.” – Lukasz Zagala, co-founder of Medusa Group

“The core of the hotel has been created by shifting seven floors aside to form a “V” shape”, said Lukasz Zagala, co-founder of Medusa Group. “The result is an interesting architectural form from the outside, and a variety of room sizes, on the inside. The movement of floors also allowed for spacious balconies with planted greenery, creating a vertical garden, as well as added privacy for the rooms. The deconstructed rounded corner block is a nod to the characteristic corner buildings which dotted Warsaw’s 19th century streets.”

“In keeping with its theme, the new wing’s suites are contemporary in design, using simple materials: raw concrete, wood, stone and glass, taking inspiration from Japanese design philosophy.”

The rooms span classic to ultramodern, representative of Poland’s rampant revival, allowing guests to choose the style to suit their taste. All room categories exude a sense of calm with Japanese design, and floor-to-ceiling windows with either city or skyline views. In keeping with its theme, the new wing’s suites are contemporary in design, using simple materials: raw concrete, wood, stone and glass, taking inspiration from Japanese design philosophy. Whilst those classic in style are located in a renovated tenement house, dating back to the 20th century and Art Deco in style: drawing on the traditions of old Warsaw architecture, interior design and art.

The Nobu Suite features separate living and dining room areas and a Japanese soaking tub, that looks out onto the city. A spacious 109 m², the room has a 98- inch home cinema and surround sound system that guests can stream to from smart devices, and like all of the other 116 rooms, comes with in-room amenities by Natura Blissé, a luxurious Yukata robe and a minibar stocked with classic Japanese favourites such as Matcha Kit Kats.

The property plays host to the Nobu restaurant and cafe, as with all the hotels worldwide, and is rooted in creating memorable experiences around exceptional food and locality. A stone’s throw from the bustling Hala Koszyki food hall, the area is fast becoming Warsaw’s foodie hub. The Nobu restaurant concept is based on Chef Nobu’s inventive, non-traditional cuisine which showcases high quality produce, colour and texture, cooking classic Japanese dishes created with South American ingredients. Executive Chef Yannick Lohou arrives fresh from Nobu Hotel Barcelona, with previous experience at Nobu Dubai where he began his brand journey. 

Dark restaurant, minimalist design

Image credit: Nobu Hotels

The hotel’s flexible 438 m2 first floor events space provides a stylish setting for large conferences and meetings and can be divided by a mobile wall with acoustic separation, to offer two independent spaces – the Sakura room at 266 m2 and Hikari room at 171 m2. Crushed glass walls allow plenty of natural light and an independent lobby complete with terrace, allows for total privacy. Further meeting rooms with state-of-the-art facilities exist on the same floor. These can be combined with a variety of bespoke services including planning, catering, business services and technology, including Wi-Fi and audio-visual equipment.

Main image credit: Nobu Hotel Warsaw

New ibis Styles hotel offers striking Art Deco interiors

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
New ibis Styles hotel offers striking Art Deco interiors

Having recently opened in the heart of Hounslow, ibis Styles London Heathrow Airport East offers stylish and affordable accommodation, inspired by the architecture of Hounslow’s Golden Mile…

The Art Deco-styled ibis Styles London Heathrow Airport East hotel celebrates the modern world with an eclectic blend of 1920s glamour.

The 125-room ibis Styles hotel has been developed in partnership with Splendid Hospitality Group, and designed by specialist Hotel & Leisure interior design company, Matthews Mee, whose previous clients have included Mercure, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Hilton’s DoubleTree.

“The inspiration was the Great West Road into central London and the Art Deco mid 20th century style of architecture,” said Design Director of Matthews Mee, Robert Matthews. “This includes the Hoover building, Firestone headquarters, Gillette factory and tube stations that line this main arterial route to London, celebrating the modern mechanical world with an eclectic blend of progress and handcrafted tradition.

The hotel is the whole package, the roaring 1920s narrative runs through everything from door handles to furniture, some details are obvious whilst others need more work such as bespoke woven carpets and wallpapers.

“Although the hotel’s story is based around the 1920s, the idea behind the interiors was that the hotel should not recreate the exact style of the Art Deco era but instead, use the upscale simplicity of form to create a contemporary interpretation of the style reminiscent of the age.”

Quirky Art Deco carpets, mirrors and furniture in lobby

Image credit: ibis Hotels

The lobby is bright, fresh and comfortably elegant with a touch of Romanticism. Remaining faithful to the hotel’s glamorous theme, the restaurant and bar blends classical features with modern touches, such as brass accessories and vibrant art with hard materials such as walnut and marble. The polished flooring and statement rugs also add to the multi-functional space and encourages leisure and corporate guests to relax and unwind in the decadent bar and lounge areas.

The practicalities of the hotel match the high standards of the design, with each of the spacious bedrooms fitted with triple glazed windows to ensure a completely sound-proof environment. A stand-out feature of the hotel is the availability of four accessible family rooms on each of the three floors, with two each at opposite ends of the corridor and the option to book them together to have interconnecting rooms. Bespoke ‘roaring 20s’ music and dance style bedhead murals are featured in each bedroom, along with Art Deco inspired dress mirrors to complete the sophisticated look.

Main image credit: ibis Hotels

5 Minutes With: Emma Masters, associate at Richmond International

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 Minutes With: Emma Masters, associate at Richmond International

Taking five minutes out of planning and designing luxury hospitality scenes of the future, Emma Masters, Associate at Richmond International, speaks to editor Hamish Kilburn about landscape changes, client demands and over-used words in the industry…

Hamish Kilburn: How long have you been involved in interior design, and how has the landscape changed from when you started to now?
Emma Masters: I’ve been working in the industry for around 16 years, 15 of those have been with Richmond International. In this time the industry has steadily changed, largely due to technological development, i.e. the changes in the ways we research subjects and destinations, to retrieve design references and influences. The proliferation of imagery shared internationally makes the world feel smaller and more accessible.

CGI and VR experiences are becoming a minimum expectation, having replaced hand drawn and coloured renderings. Whilst computer generated images provide almost an exact representation of the design proposal, hand drawings were very evocative and left some element of wonder to what would finally be revealed in reality.

We’ve also seen massive advances in manufacturing techniques, the materials used, and specialist finishes to the extent that we can add unique signatures to interiors.

There’s also certainly a greater awareness of our environment and the need to be mindful of our design impact, ensuring our designs have longevity, rather than being based on trends that will date and need replacing frequently.

Large, luxurious and grand penthouse

Image credit: London West Hollywood penthouse, designed by Richmond International

HK: What are your clients currently looking for in hotel design?
EM: We’re seeing a demand for public spaces that are transitional, for environments that work for social dining, meetings, shared workplaces and seamlessly blend together to create one holistic space.

Additionally, we’re regularly creating designs that are authentic to the location and with strong narratives – this helps us bring the interiors alive for their guests.

“We as a company have regular team meetings where everyone from junior designers to associates can contribute their ideas and participate in the building of the narrative of a project.” – Emma Masters, Director, Richmond International

Bath in modern marble bathroom, with skyline of Chicago in the background

Image caption: Bathroom in Langham Chicago suite, designed by Richmond International

HK: Where do you find inspiration to keep your designs fresh and meaningful?
EM: Trade shows like Salone de Mobile and Maison et Objet are a great source of new products and styles. I also get a lot of inspiration from travelling, working with artisanal manufacturer and, in general, a lot of research.

HK: How important is nurturing young talent for Richmond International?
EM: It’s a very important part of our company and something I experienced first-hand having started at Richmond as a junior designer. It was a hugely nurturing experience and I was able to work with talented designers who allowed me to explore my capabilities and mentor me in my development. We as a company have regular team meetings where everyone from junior designers to associates can contribute their ideas and participate in the building of the narrative of a project.

“F&B areas have also evolved to become destinations in their own right aside from the hotel and are a draw not just to hotel guests but the general public that wish to dine.” – Emma Masters, Director at Richmond International

HK: We had Terry McGillicuddy join us on the Vision Stage at the Hospitality Restaurant and Catering show. How are F&B areas in hotels evolving?
F&B areas now blur the boundaries between lobby lounge, restaurant, bar and meeting spaces. The public spaces are the heart of a hotel and the is a desire for them to be vibrant has activated a move away from the traditional lobby lounge space. F&B areas have also evolved to become destinations in their own right aside from the hotel and are a draw not just to hotel guests but the general public that wish to dine. They now have a different identity to the rest of the hotel, where it previously was designed to work with the overall feel of the rest of the hotel. F&B is now more independent and can have a completely different narrative that may relate to the food served, for example rather than being simply a functional part of the hotel.

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

HK: What trend do you hope will never return?
EM: String curtain dividers, they were everywhere and not surprisingly disappeared as quickly as they arrived after the realisation that they were really impractical for public spaces and looked neat for all of five minutes before tangling an unwilling hotel guest who had stumbled into one.

HK: What is one word that is overused in our industry?
EM: Two words admittedly and the phrase we all dread – Value Engineering.

HK: What would you say is the biggest catalyst driving change in the hotel design area recently?
EM: Sustainability and authentic experiences across the board.

HK: What would you be if you were not a designer?
EM: I had always wanted to be an art teacher until I went to St Martins for my foundation year. My tutor was very inspiring and introduced me to the idea of interior design as a career instead of teaching.

HK: What’s one lesson about the industry that studying didn’t teach you?
EM: My role at Richmond has been predominantly FF&E focused and I feel it can really complete and enhance a design. As an Interior Architecture student, spatial design was key, and furnishings were more secondary, but I feel one cannot work as a cohesive design without the other.

HK: What’s your biggest bugbear in interior design?
EM: Designing to a trend and not for longevity.

Luxurious longe area in suite

Image caption: Metro Suite inside London West Hollywood, designed by Richmond International

HK: What has been your favourite project to date?
EM: My favourite project would have to be working on The London, West Hollywood Penthouse with Vivienne Westwood. Alongside the interior design we also worked closely with her team to develop custom fabrics, rugs and wallcoverings, as well as bespoke bath robes and towels. We worked with an archive of scarves that were then mounted and framed to use for the penthouse artwork.

Main image credit: Richmond International

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Finding balance in bathroom mirror lighting

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Finding balance in bathroom mirror lighting

Advancements in meaningful technology is allowing designers to be more creative when it comes to lighting spaces. But when it comes to bathroom lighting, a sensitive approach is best, as Electric Mirror explains… 

Lighted mirrors began appearing in five-star luxury hotel bathrooms more than 20 years ago.

As their popularity has increased, so too has their presence – today you can find lighted mirrors in millions of hotel rooms worldwide. So what’s new?

Today’s lighted mirrors come in virtually unlimited styles, from on-trend radius corners to custom designs that include asymmetrical shapes and added functionality such as built-in shelves.

The once-ubiquitous rectangular frosted-light window has given way to new light shapes and patterns, allowing designers to create lighted mirrors that match or complement anything from wall coverings to furniture.

Lighted mirror technology has continued to evolve as well. For example, Electric Mirror’s Savvy™ Smart Mirror, chosen for Marriott Autograph Collection’s Sinclair Hotel – America’s most technologically advanced hotel – includes Pro:Idiom and is PoE compatible.

And finally, lighted mirrors aren’t just for the bathroom vanity any more. Designers can offer hotel guests the beauty, convenience and luxury of a lighted mirror as a mirrored cabinet, a fog-free shower mirror, a makeup mirror, even a wardrobe mirror.

Electric Mirror is a Hotel Designs’ Recommended Supplier. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Electric Mirror

Render of large, luxury property

Corinthia Hotels announces debut hotel in Doha

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Corinthia Hotels announces debut hotel in Doha

Corinthia Hotels has signed an agreement to manage and operate a luxury Corinthia hotel in Doha to be built in the Gewan Island development…

As the final preparations are underway for Corinthia Hotel’s entrance into the Middle East, with the opening of Corinthia Dubai around the corner, the hotel group has just signed a deal to open a property in Doha.

Render of large, luxury property

The agreement with United Development Company (UDC) was signed by UDC senior officials; H.E. Mr Turki bin Mohammed Al-Khater, Chairman and Mr Ibrahim Jassim Al-Othman, President and Chief Executive Officer and Member of The Board. Signing on behalf of Corinthia was Mr Simon Naudi, CEO, together with Mr Paul Pisani, Senior Vice President of Development and Mr Matthew Dixon, Area Managing Director Middle East. Under the agreement, Corinthia will manage and operate the first Corinthia Hotel in Doha which will be constructed by UDC.

Corinthia currently owns, operates or is developing a portfolio of luxury hotels in major destinations including London, Lisbon, Prague, Budapest, Malta, Tripoli, Khartoum, St Petersburg, Rome, Brussels, Moscow, Dubai and Bucharest.

Corinthia Doha is therefore poised to be a prominent structure in Gewan Island, overlooking the Island’s planned golf course and beach club.

Corinthia Doha will be established on an area of 13,000 sqm and will comprise 110 guestrooms, a banquet hall and outdoor patio with a 1000 people capacity, an all-day dining and specialty restaurants in addition to a luxurious spa facility. The development will also include luxury branded villas, a golf course, and a beach club, all to be managed by the Corinthia Hotel.

“This project is part of Gewan Island’s development plans and will ensure the Company’s sustainable growth and the creation of new opportunities and revenue sources over the long term,” said UDC Chairman H.E. Mr. Turki bin Mohammed Al-Khater.

H.E. Mr. Al-Khater also highlighted that partnership with Corinthia Hotels which boasts an extensive experience in managing and operating hotels worldwide, falls in line with UDC’s development strategy to support Qatar’s real estate sector and underscores the importance of constructive partnerships that support the national economy and facilitate foreign investment.

For his part, UDC President and Chief Executive Officer and Member of The Board, Mr. Ibrahim Jassim Al-Othman, said that the leading reputation of Corinthia Hotels in the hospitality sector and its success in providing luxury hospitality services and facilities, and spreading its Mediterranean heritage culture internationally, are the main motives for choosing it to manage the new landmark hotel in Gewan Island.

Mr. Al-Othman also added: “Driven by UDC’s mission and vision, the agreement with Corinthia Hotels lays solid foundations for UDC’s expansion plans through investments in vital sectors such as real estate and hospitality that aim to optimize and sustain good shareholder value. This is further evidenced by the growth witnessed in the tourism movement in Qatar as a result of recent various government incentives, which in turn bodes well for UDC’s planned developments in its flagship projects; The Pearl-Qatar and Gewan Island.”

“Corinthia Doha will be another landmark property that will enrich our portfolio and will equally add value to Doha’s hospitality offerings.”  – Simon Naudi, CEO, Corinthia Hotels.

Further echoing their excitement to be operating in the Qatari market, Mr. Simon Naudi, CEO of Corinthia Hotels said: “We are delighted to have signed an agreement with UDC to manage a luxury hotel in Gewan Island which promises to be a magnificent location. The energy, vision and quality of resources assembled by UDC for this project will ensure that Corinthia Doha will be another landmark property that will enrich our portfolio and will equally add value to Doha’s hospitality offerings.”

Gewan Island, UDC’s latest real-estate project, is situated next to The Pearl-Qatar, spanning 400,000 sqm. Once completed, the Island will accommodate 3,500 residents and a similar number of daily visitors. Gewan Island will be home to 714 residential units, including 641 apartments, 20 standalone villas located along a placid beach in a quiet and gated seaside community, as well as 21 beachfront villas with private beach, 26 waterfront villas that are equipped with private pontoons for private boats and 6 island villas, in addition to 11,000 sqm of retail spaces and several multi-use buildings.

Gewan Island will feature in addition to Corinthia Hotel, a golf course with a beach club, an air conditioned ‘Crystal Walkway’ outdoor promenade, parks and green areas, which will play a major role in attracting various new brands to Doha. The Island will also be home to entertainment facilities, a sports club and a mosque.

Main image credit: Corinthia Doha/Corinthia Hotels

Zannier Hotels opens property atop boulders in the Namib desert – built on stilts

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Zannier Hotels opens property atop boulders in the Namib desert – built on stilts

Comprising of ten luxury tents, Zannier Hotels Sonop has been cleverly constructed atop a group of boulders, affording spectacular, unmatched 360-degree views of the Southern Namib desert…

Arnaud Zannier’s inspiration for the hotel’s design was conceived during his very first trip to the site and first view from the top of the boulders. Arnaud recognised that he had been fortunate enough to discover somewhere very special, likening the feeling to an old explorer discovering a destination for the first time – hence the property was designed to resemble a 20th Century tented camp for explorers.

The construction process was challenging due to the hotel’s remote location and protected surroundings. All building materials and interiors were manually transported up the huge boulders, by expert craftsmen from Namibia. Zannier Hotels only used a limited number of existing roads to the site, to ensure the human impact on the fragile flora was minimal. In addition, each piece of furniture, including twelve 30kg handcrafted four-poster beds, had to be carried by hand over the rocks and boulders thereby avoiding the use of disruptive machinery.

Built entirely on stilts connected through sturdy elevated wooden decks, Zannier Hotels Sonop’s tents are covered by an elegant canvas, designed to harmonise perfectly with the surrounding environment. Shaped in an oval formation facing out towards the spectacular landscape, the tents offer comfort to cater for today’s discerning travellers whilst also avoiding soil erosion and ensuring the preservation of the insects, fauna and flora that make up the Namibian desert dune ecosystem.

Each tent has been devised to invite guests to live the life of intrepid explorers from the early 20th Century, whilst the materials and colour palette have been selected to complement the surrounding desert and blend into the boulders. Zannier Hotels Interior team only worked with natural textures and materials including dead wood, rocks, mud and thatch to ensure that nature remained at the forefront of the design. Not to mention, the spa at Sonop has been designed to resemble the rich traditions of the Owambo tribes in terms of its interiors, its construction and the materials used. The Owambo are admired for their respectful attitude towards nature – values that Zannier Hotels maintain.

“Rather than buying new furniture, Zannier Hotels endeavoured to reuse as much as possible – preference was always given to antiques.”

All tents feature a large bedroom, living room area and a separate bathroom with a large bathtub and rain shower. Furnishings include dressing tables with ornate objects, such as tiny flasks and antique combs. Moreover, the ceiling to floor windows allow guests to experience a taste of living in complete isolation, immersed in the surrounding landscape. The bedrooms feature handcrafted king size four-poster beds, an airy living area with comfortable armchairs, and a telescope to look out into the distant surroundings or gaze into Namibia’s dark sky reserve.

Explorer suite with dark interiors to reflect landscape

Image credit: Zannier Hotels

Complete with private terraces that extend out across large wooden decks, the tents offer magnificent views of the desert. Rather than buying new furniture, Zannier Hotels endeavoured to reuse as much as possible – preference was always given to antiques. Zannier Hotels sourced more than 550 antiques for Zannier Hotels Sonop, including binoculars, maps, mirrors, magnifying glasses, bedside tables, carpets, trunks, armchairs and picture frames, as well as unique ornaments such as gramophones, 19th Century explorer boots, vintage walking sticks and historical Pith helmets. Any new furniture was specifically made from Namibian materials by local architects, carpenters and construction suppliers, native to Namibia.

Main image credit: Zannier Hotels/Oyen-Rodriguez

MEET UP North confirms Manchester venue

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MEET UP North confirms Manchester venue

Hotel Designs’ MEET UP North will take place on July 6 at Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester… 

In hot pursuit of the exclusive March-only Early Bird promotion launch for all of Hotel Designs’ MEET UP networking events, MEET UP North has announced that it will take place this year in Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester.

Hotel Designs’ premium northern networking event, which will bridge the gap between designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers, will be themed Manchester On The Boards following the number or creative hotel concepts being developed in the city.

Situated in the heart of the city – in the former home of the Manchester Stock Exchange – the hotel was one of the city’s most anticipated openings of 2019. The stunning example of Edwardian Baroque architecture, with its original marble, brass and woodwork, has been carefully restored to breathe new life into one of the city’s most historically symbolic institutions.

Monochrome tiles in the luxury lobby at Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester

Image caption: The lobby inside Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester

“The hotel’s event space, The Vault, is the perfect setting to shelter a networking event like MEET UP North,” said editor Hamish Kilburn who will host the evening. “Oozing character, style and sensitive interior architecture, Stock Exchange Hotel will effortlessly and aptly shelter the creative geniuses who are transforming cities and hotels in the north of England.”

More information on our headline speaker will be announced shortly.

Exclusive Headline Partner: Hamilton Litestat

Event Partner: Crosswater 

Venue: Stock Exchange Hotel

Boutique aparthotel, The Gate, debuts in East London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Boutique aparthotel, The Gate, debuts in East London

With a Banksy in the lobby, Maple & Co café, 360-degree views of the city and quality suppliers specified throughout, aparthotel The Gate shelters the best of a hotel with a home-from-from look and feel throughout…

The Gate is a boutique aparthotel opening in Aldgate East, which offers the service and style of a hotel with the privacy of a self-service apartment.

Modern travellers’ needs and taste in accommodation are changing – people desire more choice than a traditional hotel versus self-catering apartments, and The Gate aims to bridge the gap between the two. The new aparthotel feels like an elevated version of your own home, with full-service amenities and flexible stay periods where guests can stay for one night or up to three months.

Situated in Whitechapel, just a one-minute walk from Aldgate East tube station, The Gate is directly influenced by the style and culture of the vibrant London streets it overlooks, connecting guests with its surroundings and the local East London community.

With 20 floors and 189 rooms, The Gate offers unparalleled 360° views of The Gherkin, The Shard and Brick Lane appealing to guests no matter the length of their stay. Partners include Maddox Gallery, who have curated the artwork around the hotel including a Banksy in the lobby and Retna, Bradley Theodore and The Connor Brothers pieces displayed in the private members lounge, making the property their new East London Gallery.

Apartments feature include cooking facilities, quality and comfortable Hypnos beds, Soundbars with Bluetooth connectivity, Nespresso machines, walk-in showers and rainfall shower heads, washing machines and dishwashers.

Yellow headboard, with luxe bed

Image credit: David Cleveland | Caption: Each of the 189 rooms feature Hypnos Beds.

Guests checking in for days or weeks can enjoy rooms designed to be modern and functional, but with artistic flourishes to create a distinctly homely feel. There are nine room categories each with a bedroom, fitted kitchen and living area, and some featuring a separate living space with a sofa bed. Room types include one and two bed apartments, accessible rooms, interconnecting family rooms and rooms with skyline views. No two rooms are the same with unique art and bespoke upholstery and new mid-century furniture designed in Europe.

The healthy-eating trailblazer Maple & Co will be opening its eighth location here, Maple & The Gate café, opening to the public on the ground floor including outdoor seating. The renowned New York fragrance brand, Le Labo, supplying in-room bathroom amenities and a boutique gym with Technogym equipment including Peloton bikes, which are also available in apartments by prior arrangement.

The Gate promises to combine a lifestyle hotel with apartment amenities to cater for a modern generation of long and short-term guests providing a Gateway to the capital.

Main image credit: David Cleveland

MEET UP London announces headline speakers

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MEET UP London announces headline speakers

MEET UP London, under the theme ‘Inspiring Creativity’, will welcome two award-winning visionaries to explore the concept of using sensory experiences in international hotel design… 

Hotel Designs has invited an award-winning sound designer and functional music innovation expert Tom Middleton and award-winning research entrepreneur Ari Peralta to become headline speakers at MEET UP London.

“The visionaries will respond to MEET UP London’s theme by immersing our audience into a sensory experience like no other before.”

The event, which takes place on May 13 at Minotti London, will be carry the theme of ‘Inspiring Creativity’, and will further bridge the gap between designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers.

Applying principles of neuroscience, behaviour and psychology, the visionaries will respond to MEET UP London’s theme by immersing our audience into a sensory experience like no other before. This will be followed by an engaging talk, entitled: “Amplifying Wellness: Using Sensory Experiences To Innovate International Hotel Design”. The talk will discuss how and why sound should be considered when designing the hotel of the future. From Jet Lag to Mindfulness solutions, their unique collaboration represents the synergy and creativity needed to future-proof hospitality.

“As the boundaries of our industry widen, designers, architects, developers and suppliers are willing to reach new depths to find innovative and meaningful ways to evolve the hotel experience,” said editor Hamish Kilburn who will host the evening’s event. “I believe it is, therefore, perfect timing to invite both Tom and Ari to share their wealth of knowledge and experience in this subject with the aim to inspire the leaders of our industry to think beyond conventional architecture and interior design.”

The pair, who in 2019 gave a powerful keynote on the ‘future of wellness’ for Innovation Day’s (ID19) at Marriott International HQ, are on a mission to engage with the hoteliers, designers and architects to highlight how the sensory experience could enhance the overall guest journey. 

About the speakers

Tom Middleton headshot

Image caption: Tom Middleton in the studio

Tom Middleton is a true polymath who literally wears many hats, including a pioneering electronic musician, award-winning sound designer, DJ and producer, a certified Sleep Science Coach, trained in Mental Health First Aid, and Co-Chair on the AFEM Health Group. He has toured the world and performed to millions observing the positive affects of sound, and has shared the stage with Mark Ronson, Lady Gaga and Kanye West.

Middleton regularly speaks on panels covering sensory customer and guest experience, immersive wellness, sound architecture, how to sleep better, workplace wellbeing and mental health.

Creator and innovator of empathic science-backed functional music and soundscapes for mental, physical and emotional health and wellbeing, relaxation, mindfulness, focus and productivity. 

His mission is to rescore the soundtrack to life with functional, transformational soundscapes, music and immersive experiences to help tackle stress, anxiety, burnout and sleep deprivation. Middleton aims to do this by applying principles of the neuroscience and psychology of sound, listening, breathing and human behaviour. 

As YOTEL’s chief Sound Architect for eight years, he developed smart and cohesive soundtracks to optimise guest experience.

His most recent work includes content for meditation and sleep app Calm, a collaboration with Nissan to create a zero-emission lullaby and Breathonics for Silentmode –  the first passive fitness platform for guided breathwork and music on the Appstore.

Middleton believes the science of sound, combined with mindful listening and conscious breathing within holistic multisensory environments can help us relax and reduce stress, be more happy, healthy and productive.

Headshot of Ari

Image caption: Ari Peralta

Ari Peralta is an international award-winning research entrepreneur working alongside a global network of scientists, immersive technologists and artists, developing wellness-led sensory initiatives across a wide range of industries.

By 2019, after two decades working in media research (Nielsen), medical marketing (ALO), immersive and strategic development (ProFix), he co-launched Arigami, an independent innovation consultancy dedicated to helping organisations design healthier and happier environments. 

Today, Peralta is a Forbes recognised provider for wellness and sensory-based strategies within hospitality, mobility, retail and healthcare. Arigami powers holistic innovation programs for startups, corporates and academic labs seeking to mitigate anxiety by developing transformative immersive and service design solutions for complex human problems within wellness, sleep and human performance. Besides leading his firm, Peralta dedicates much of his time guest lecturing at universities, speaking at international conferences and volunteering for organisations that promote STEM education for children.  

How to attend

EARLY BIRD SUPPLIER TICKETS*: £99 + VAT (expires on March 31)  | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.***
EARLY BIRD BUYER  TICKETS*£10 + VAT (expires on March 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.***

Exclusive headline partner: Hamilton Litestat

Exclusive style partner: Minotti London

Event partner: Crosswater 

* Those eligible to purchase Supplier Tickets must be industry suppliers.
** Those eligible to purchase buyer tickets must prove that they are an interior designer, architect, hotelier or developer.
***Hotel Designs’ Early Bird promotion ends on March 31. After this time, tickets for designers, architects, hoteliers and developers will inflate to £20 + VAT and supplier tickets will inflate to £150 + VAT. 

EARLY BIRD tickets to MEET UP events now open

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EARLY BIRD tickets to MEET UP events now open

Early bird catches the worm, as discounted tickets to attend Hotel Designs’ MEET UP London (May 13) and MEET UP North (July 6) are now available to purchase…

During March, Hotel Designs is offering designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers to purchase discounted EARLY BIRD tickets to Meet Up London and Meet Up North.

The regional events, which last year bridged the gap between more than 400 design and hospitality professionals, are regarded as two of the industry’s most established networking events. “We are fully committed to host our networking events in locations and venues that are at the heart of the hotel design community,” said editor Hamish Kilburn. “We hope that Meet Up London and Meet Up North, which include relevant themes and talks at both, help to build seamless relationships as well as inspire the industry to further push boundaries in design and hospitality.”

About Meet Up London 
Date: May 13, 2020 | 6pm – 10pm
Venue: Minotti London | Theme: Inspiring Creativity
Headline Partner: Hamilton Litestat | Partner: Crosswater | Style Partner: Minotti London

Following the success of last year’s spring networking eventHotel Designs is delighted to return to Minotti London for Meet Up London 2020, the publication’s first networking event of the year. The London Fitzrovia showroom, which recently played host to an exclusive roundtable, will shelter an evening like no other around the theme of Inspiring Creativity, with the concrete aim to further bridge the gap between designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and key-industry suppliers.

EARLY BIRD SUPPLIER TICKETS*: £99 + VAT (expires on March 31)  | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.
EARLY BIRD BUYER TICKETS**£10 + VAT (expires on March 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.

About Meet Up North 
Date: July 6, 2020 | 6pm – 10pm
Venue: Central Manchester (venue to be announced shortly)| Theme: Manchester On The Boards
Headline Partner: Hamilton Litestat | Partner: Crosswater | Style Partner: Minotti London

Considering the vast amount of hotel projects currently on the boards in the north – many of which are slated to complete in Manchester and open this year – Hotel Designs will be returning to the city of Manchester for Meet Up North 2020. The city, which has hosted the concept since its launch in 2018, will once again welcome leading designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and key-industry suppliers for the market’s leading networking event in the north of England.

EARLY BIRD SUPPLIER TICKETS*: £99 + VAT (expires on March 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.
EARLY BIRD BUYER TICKETS**£10 + VAT (expires on March 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.

If you would like to discuss various sponsorship packages available, or if you have any enquires regarding tickets, please contact Katy Phillips via email, or call 01992 374050.

Early Bird offer strictly ends March 31, 2020.

* Those eligible to purchase Supplier Tickets must be industry suppliers.
** Those eligible to purchase buyer tickets must prove that they are an interior designer, architect, hotelier or developer.

Sindhorn Midtown hotel opens in Bangkok

750 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sindhorn Midtown hotel opens in Bangkok

The opening in Bangkok marks the new hospitality brand’s debut in Thailand… 

Sindhorn Midtown, the flagship property of a stylish new Thai-inspired hospitality brand, opens in the heart of Bangkok’s Langsuan neighbourhood. 

Inspired by local artistry and designed for a sophisticated lifestyle, Sindhorn Midtown introduces a contemporary Thai hospitality experience for today’s business and leisure travellers alike.

Image of pool and skyline of Bangkok

Image credit: Sindhorn Hotel Bangkok

“We’re thrilled to open our doors and introduce guests to our new brand of hospitality,” said Jee Hoong Tan, Sindhorn Midtown’s General Manager. “Sindhorn Midtown is a chic urban escape that welcomes guests with authentic warm Thai hospitality. With intuitive service, thoughtful amenities and sleek design, Sindhorn Midtown is setting a new standard in the market sure to appeal to savvy travellers.”

“Sindhorn Midtown delivers modern living with the allure of relaxation, comfort and sustainability.”

Uncomplicated and harmonious, Sindhorn Midtown delivers modern living with the allure of relaxation, comfort and sustainability. Nestled within a pocket of greenery in the midst of the quiet Langsuan neighborhood area, the hotel offers a collection of 344 hotel guestrooms and suites and 49 serviced residence units within two sleek, modern towers offering urban views.

The hotel blends art-infused contemporary interiors with a calm vibe. Food and beverage offerings include Tr.EAT, an in-house eatery with the flavour and flair of the local neighbourhood; and Rhumba, a lively gathering spot offering a large selection of rum, mixed into classic and creative cocktails. On the 18th level, the Horizon Pool offers skyline views, cocktails and small bites; while the Fitness Center on the 19th level allows guests to stay fit 24/7 with the latest equipment from Life Fitness.

Main image credit: Sindhorn Hotel Bangkok

Hyatt announces plans for a 756-key hotel in Makkah

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt announces plans for a 756-key hotel in Makkah

The property, which is slated to open in 2025, will mark the first hotel under the Grand Hyatt brand in the Holy City of Makkah…

Hyatt Hotels has announced that a Hyatt affiliate has entered into a management agreement with Umm Alqura for development and construction of a Grand Hyatt branded hotel in the Holy City of Makkah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Located in close proximity to the Grand Mosque, the hotel will be an integral component of the King Abdul Aziz Road (KAAR) mixed-use urban development project, designed to support one of the fastest-growing religious tourism markets in the world.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of Hyatt’s prime focus areas within the Middle East,” said Ludwig Bouldoukian, regional vice president of development, Middle East and North Africa for Hyatt. “The country’s significant strides to boost tourism complements our own commitment to creating a pipeline in markets that matter most to guests and World of Hyatt members. Consequently, the opening of Grand Hyatt Makkah will strengthen the Kingdom’s vision to attract more tourists and offer guests an elevated, luxury experience with plans to open further properties in the Holy City in the near future.”

“Grand Hyatt Makkah will feature interiors that integrate materials and artwork representing Islamic tradition”

Slated to open in January 2025, Grand Hyatt Makkah will be the first Grand Hyatt hotel in Makkah and the second Grand Hyatt hotel in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, joining Grand Hyatt Al Khobar which is slated to open in 2020. The hotel will be uniquely designed to celebrate iconic cultural facets and evoke a welcoming service to create exceptional moments for its guests. Grand Hyatt Makkah will feature interiors that integrate materials and artwork representing Islamic tradition, whilst maintaining the detailed design and luxurious services synonymous with the Grand Hyatt brand.

“We are delighted to work with Umm Alqura to open the first Grand Hyatt hotel in the Holy City of Makkah,” said Peter Fulton, group president – Europe, Africa, Middle East and Southwest Asia, Hyatt. “The Kingdom’s plan is to attract more than 30 million tourists by 2030 and we are proud to be able to contribute to this vision. Grand Hyatt Makkah is set to become a  captivating destination of its own, welcoming both visitors and pilgrims to this important cultural and religious destination.”

With a portfolio of 20 premier brands, as of December 31, 2019, Hyatt’s portfolio includes more than 900 hotel, all-inclusive, and wellness resort properties in 65 countries across six continents. Hyatt Grand’s entrance into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is further proof of the brand’s expansions into new territories.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

VIP ARRIVALS: hotels opening in March 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP ARRIVALS: hotels opening in March 2020

With the aim to cut through the noise in a contemporary tone, Hotel Designs has the scoop on which statement and game-changing hotels are opening in March, 2020…

So far, 2020 is shaping up to be a year of expansion for many hotel brands, such as Hotel Indigo, Le Meridian, Radisson Hotels, Hoxton and ME.

And there’s more to come from both large brands and independents as Hotel Designs identifies some of the most iconic and statement-like hotels poised and ready, waiting in the wings, to open in March 2020.

Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

The elegantly restored red palace in the heart of Puglia’s White City, Ostuni, set to open on March 4 2020. This quintessentially Puglian property is being meticulously restored to boast 11 individually curated rooms and suites with a cosmopolitan soul. Standing in stark contrast to the whitewashed buildings of Ostuni, Paragon 700’s red brick façade cocoons a lush garden and swimming pool, a rare green space in the heart of the city, that will offer guests a tranquil and exclusive oasis, just a five-minute walk from Ostuni’s main square.

Canopy by Hilton Hotel – West Palm Beach

Exterior of the modern structure around other buildings

Image credit: RP Architects

Designed by RSP Architects, The Canopy West Palm Beach Downtown is architecturally artistic with a soaring glass atrium that is home to a 60-foot fibre optic art installation resembling the long roots of a banyan tree. Locals and visitors alike will relish the hotel’s prominent location, within minutes of three world-class cultural venues, waterfront recreation along the Intracoastal Waterway, all the attractions of Palm Beach and Clematis Street’s famous nightlife. Travellers in town for business are only a short walk away from the Palm Beach County Convention Centre. Among the 150-room hotel’s standout features will be two restaurants (including one on the 13th floor rooftop) plus complimentary evening tastings each night of local specialities. Handcrafted cocktails and stunning city and ocean views are on the menu on the roof at Treehouse, which will offer the most photo-worthy dining experience in West Palm Beach. The Canopy’s ultra-flexible, 3,060-square-foot ballroom will combine convenience and wow factor for meetings, weddings and other special events.  

Generator Washington D.C. 

bunk beds overlooking Washington D.C.

Image credit: Generator Hotels

Generator, the award-winning, design led, culturally affluent and socially-driven provider of accommodation, is set to open a new property in  Washington, D.C. in March. After successfully breaking into the American market with their inaugural U.S. property in Miami Beach in 2018,acclaimed hospitality group Generator recently announced plans for their second stateside venture in Washington, D.CSituated in the heart of the city between Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle, the property will boast the brand’s signature elements: ultra-comfortable private rooms and luxury suites, brilliantly designed shared accommodations, trendy F&B outlets and interactive programming, all at affordable price points in one of the hippest neighborhoods in the nation’s capital.  Generator is the perfect option for those who want to be in the heart of the city and its social scene, but don’t want to pay a fortune, with a unique mix of hip designed, super-friendly and centrally located spaces that ensure all types of travellers feel welcome.   

Maafushivaru, Maldives

Image of pontoon with restaurant and bar

Image credit: Maafushivaru, Maldives

Maafushivaru will be opening from March 1 after a total refurbishment of the island that includes five all-new villa categories (overwater and beach) as well as six new restaurants. 

The highlight of this stunning resort, is without a doubt, it’s castaway sister island, Lonubo, which is exclusively available for resort guests. Found just 500 metres from the shores of the hotel, Lonubo encourages guests to escape reality in an authentic Maldivian island experience. This miniature white sand isle is ringed by a vibrant coral reef with towering palm trees concealing a private beach villa for two.

The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu

Rener of exterior of Japanese property

Image credit: Prince Hotels

The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu will open in Kyoto, Japan’s former capital city. It is a conversion of the once Kyoto Kiyomizu Elementary School, which opened in 1869 and played a huge role in Kyoto’s history and traditions. The school will be reborn as a luxury hotel comprising of 48 guestrooms, restaurants, private baths and a gym. Guests of the hotel can explore the culture of Kyoto with shrines, temples and historic landmarks close by. The hotel will be a 10-minute walk from the Kiyomizu-dera Temple, which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site ‘Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto’.

Eclipse at Half Moon, Jamaica

Exterior wide shot of the shore

Image credit: Half Moon

Half Moon will open the highly anticipated Eclipse at Half Moon, which is being described as a ‘new luxury resort experience’ on March 1. Framed by the glistening Caribbean Sea to the north and the lush hillsides to the south, Eclipse at Half Moon is one of the most luxurious additions to the Caribbean in a generation. The new property features 57 luxurious and spacious accommodations, two restaurants, three bars, a market café, Fern Tree ­a Salamander Spa, a sweeping infinity-edge swimming pool, and private beachfront with a natural swimming cove. 

Hotel Designs is currently researching and writing the next article in this series, which will identify the top hotels that are opening in April, 2020. If you are working on a hotel project, or know of a hotel that would be suitable for the feature, please email the editorial team

Main image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: How guest behaviour is changing hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: How guest behaviour is changing hotel design

To understand how important it is to react to changing guest behaviour, Paisley Hansen identifies some of the drivers that have significantly evolved the hotel experience globally…

Hotel design has evolved in the past decade. With the rise of technology and growing social awareness, designs need to incorporate new ideas and reflect the growing aesthetic demands of both the traveller and the hotel operator.

Following on from identifying interior design trends that are expected to shine this year, as well as hospitality trends that are emerging, here are some of the consumer catalysts that are dictating the future design of hotels everywhere.

Making a Reservations – there’s an app for that

From apps to websites, technology is transforming how customers are selecting their hotels. To understand how this trend will develop, take the time to research which are the best apps are being used to book hotels. Customers are looking for the best deal as well as hotels that offer more than just a simple room. “Instagrammable” hotels pull in a younger crowd, while those offering seclusion and privacy attracts a different demographic. Paying attention to how your consumers are utilising technology and social media will help create an innovative hotel design to attract more guests.

Redesigned check-in areas

In 2020, lobby design trends are expected to evolve to reflect the changing needs of the customer. The traditional check-in counter is disappearing in favour of residential-like lounges that incorporate exciting interior design ideas to welcome guests. Hotels are including simplified check-in spaces that offer perks to add a touch of luxury to the process. The use of bold colours and patterns are creating a welcoming dichotomy of hues and textures. These changes all come in to create a check-in experience that relies less on the traditional service and more on creating a relaxed atmosphere as guests transition in and out of the hotel.

image of child reaching out to touch arm of robot

Image credit: YOTEL

Interacting in a personalised guestroom

Smart technology is taking its place in hotel rooms. From finding ways to incorporate streaming TV services to smart controls, hotels need to innovate how guests are interacting with their room environment. Hotels that fail to modernise will feel the impact in the years to come. Outside of technology, the most important part of any hotel room is the bed. If the history of beds tells us anything, comfort and design will win out in the years to come. Creating an environment where guests can enjoy control over their room while relaxing will lead the way in room layout. Comfort and innovation need to be at the forefront of any design plans.

modern guestroom

Image credit: Freepik

Creating unique, one-off experiences

Travellers are looking for new ways to capitalise on their time away with experiences. Hotels can embrace this trend by utilising personalised services with artificial intelligence to help build customer profiles allowing for a more personal touch to each interaction. In the more general sense, hotels can look into providing a local experience via a tour or introducing local culture to the hotel design and/or menu. By incorporating local themes into the hotel design, hotels can provide a regional experience for guests without ever leaving the hotel. Hotels cannot afford to miss out on capitalising on this trend.

Taking care of mother nature

By including local features into the design, hotels can take advantage of one of the biggest trends of the year: increased ecological awareness. The environmental impact of tourism is weighing heavily on the minds of tourists as they travel. Guests are moving away from wasteful spaces, and hotels that embrace green policies are seeing an influx of customers. Hotels are finding ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Customers can expect to see more of this as hotels reduce using single-use plastics and implement systems to decrease water usage across the board. Another aspect of this will be the incorporation of sustainable design, this includes sourcing local materials and putting energy management and reduced carbon emission plans in the design.

Main image credit: mrsiraphol/Freepik

Inside the world’s first ‘super boutique’ hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside the world’s first ‘super boutique’ hotel

The world-class design team of The Londoner ‘super boutique hotel’ consists of interior designers at Yabu Pushelberg, engineer experts at Arup Associates and artist Ian Monroe

After seven years and a £300 million investment, The Londoner, the world’s first super boutique hotel, will open its doors in June 2020.

The property will take centre stage on London’s Leicester Square and is the latest project by Edwardian Hotels London.

 The project is a feat of design, architecture and engineering that aligns with the vision of Edwardian Hotels London’s Founder and Chairman, Mr Jasminder Singh to create “a celebration of London; its history, aesthetic and people.”

Its 16 storeys will incorporate 350 guestrooms, suites and a tower penthouse with panoramic views, two private screening rooms, a mix of six concept eateries – including bars and a tavern, alfresco dining on the ground floor and a contemporary Japanese lounge bar with a rooftop terrace and fire pit – plus an expansive ballroom suited for any occasion, a variety of meeting spaces and a results-driven gym and spa.

Edwardian Hotels London’s Design Architect, Rob Steul and architectural firm Woods Bagot CEO, Nik Karalis collaborated to develop the architectural design concept fitting of its cornerstone position on Leicester Square, and a guest experience with a ‘West End Story’ narrative at its core. Interior designers Yabu Pushelberg, engineers Arup Associates and artist Ian Monroe round out the world-class design team.

“From inception, Edwardian Hotels London saw the building as more than a hotel and sought to create an ‘urban resort’ destination of the highest architectural quality,” said Steul. From the wellness space below, to an extraordinary rooftop terrace overlooking Trafalgar Square, we developed a central core of meeting, eating, lounging and event spaces running vertically through the building around which wrap the guestrooms.”

“It is essentially two buildings intertwined – with the interplay between them creating a dynamic guest experience. Working closely with City of Westminster planners, we carefully considered the urban context of the site and responded with a building which fits its context in both massing and materiality.”

Engineers Arup Associates provided expertise across 16 different disciplines, from mechanical, electrical and public health to fire, acoustics, vertical transportation, accessibility and façade engineering.

Image credit: Edwardian Hotels London

Due to urban planning height restrictions, the architects proposed a 30-metre subterranean series of spaces on six levels, creating the deepest habitable basement in London and among the deepest in the world – a factor that presented a number of architectural, structural and engineering challenges for the teams involved.

In order to reach down to the depths required, an excavator had to be specially designed and made by construction company McGee Group, who built the basement and building superstructure.

Portland stone predominates on the façade with a vertical pattern of punched bronze-framed windows trimmed in rich blue architectural faience tiles numbering over 15,000, which were both conceived and designed by artist Ian Monroe and individually hand-made by British company Darwen Terracotta. 

Each tile took traditional artisans up to six weeks to create, from the initial pour through to the final firing – and when in place, set at a specific angle, will reflect the natural light of the sky during the day and the dynamism of the area’s myriad of lights following nightfall.

A truly public work of art (a condition of the hotel’s planning approval) and Monroe’s first hotel project, the faience extends from the ground floor of The Londoner up and through to its roof.

Inside, a luxurious and contemporary experience crafted by world-renowned designers Yabu Pushelberg speaks to the backdrop and approximation of the city’s cinema district. Marrying charming wit with British sentiment, thoughtfully designed common areas, dining spaces and guest rooms enhance the motions of everyday life.

When talking about The Londoner’s guestrooms, George Yabu of Yabu Pushelberg said: “The Londoner was designed to play into the roots of Leicester Square as London’s historic theatre district. We created layers of programming up into the sky and deep into the earth that emphasise this extraverted, alluring, playful voice.

“Through subtle nuances, we gently infused this energy into the guestrooms because we wanted them to remain evident spaces for comfort and relaxation. Stylistically, we tapped into traditional British sensibility and a minimal, cohesive neutral palette.”

Ensuring sustainable luxury for future generations, The Londoner secured a £175 million Green Loan from HSBC UK, which will ensure it exceeds the BREEAM Excellent category in building environmental and sustainable performance.

The Londoner, a member of the prestigious Preferred Hotels & Resorts Legend Collection, is the latest project by Edwardian Hotels London, the privately-owned hotel group behind the development of The May Fair Hotel, the newly opened The Edwardian Manchester and a collection of restaurant and bar brands, including May Fair Kitchen, May Fair Bar, Bloomsbury Street Kitchen and award-winning Peter Street Kitchen.

Main image credit: Edwardian Hotels London