4th mpu review

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MINI VIEW: CANVAS Dallas Hotel reopens

768 511 Hamish Kilburn

The newly branded CANVAS has been reimagined by Studio 11 Design to paint a fresh industrial-chic perspective on the boutique hotel in Dallas that previously lacked colour and character… 

Guests checking in to the newly launched CANVAS Hotel Dallas should expect color outside the lines as they enter into a space where art and hospitality collide to create dynamic and contemporary interiors.

Formerly known as NYLO Dallas South Side, CANVAS Hotel Dallas is an art-centric base for modern trendsetters, an inspirational hub for relentless artisans, and a destination for locals to be creatively inspired while enjoying world-class dining and unparalleled skyline views.

“CANVAS Dallas Hotel is a timely addition to the burgeoning district of South Dallas,” said Jack Matthews, president of Matthews Southwest, lead developer and co-owner. “With a prime location in the heart of the Cedars district, and in close proximity to downtown and the convention center,
CANVAS is nestled in an eclectic neighborhood undergoing a renaissance in terms of culture, shopping, food, art, and music. This property is poised to be the destination of choice for modern travelers looking for an authentic Dallas experience that will inspire their creativity and satisfy their contemporary tastes.”

“CANVAS paints a fresh perspective of its original building.”

With 76 art-infused suites and guestrooms, CANVAS Hotel Dallas offers an authentic-yet unconventional Lone Star State adventure. As a blank slate for guests to create their own experiences, the rooms, suites, lobby area, and F&B outlets have been renovated and reimagined.

The fresh interior design, décor and artistic elements directed by Dallas-based Studio 11 Design, CANVAS paints a fresh perspective of its original building, a structure integral to the history of South Dallas that is almost a century old, that has been well-preserved, refurbished and now LEED certified.

Upon entering, guests are made to feel at home in the refreshed first-level lobby and restaurant with elements that portray a living room-feel. Intimate seating areas foster common social spaces in the eclectic industrial space, adorned with locally discovered and bespoke accessories from the Dallas area. The restaurant’s dining area converts into flexible meeting space, divided by a sliding glass partition.

The guestrooms and suites feature quirky, loft-style design and décor, with 10-12 foot high ceilings, pressed concrete flooring, exposed brick, and funky industrial elements and fixtures. New custom carpeting, two lighting and art has been installed in all public areas and guest hallways, and the lobby has been reconfigured to be more conducive to social gatherings, common work areas and meeting the needs of the modern hotel guest. More room renovations are slated for 2019.

From palette to palate, CANVAS Hotel Dallas brings two art-inspired restaurants and lounges to the South Side of Dallas. Chef’s Palette is the redesigned first-level lounge and restaurant where every plate is a tasteful expression of culinary creation.

Meanwhile, the rooftop bar formerly known as SODA has been redesigned and renamed The Gallery Rooftop Lounge. The indoor/outdoor lounge offers a sweeping 270-degree view of the Dallas skyline, but the vista isn’t the only masterpiece at The Gallery. From chef-centric food offerings, to handcrafted cocktails and eclectic art by up-and-coming Dallas artists, everything at The Gallery Rooftop Lounge is an ode to originality.

Whether guests are experiencing the hotel for the first time or whether they are locals enjoying the sharp and quirky public areas, the whole hotel has been lifted and redesigned to inspire. CANVAS Hotel Dallas will officially open on January 1, 2019.

 

Checking in to Matetsi Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe’s answer to luxury

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in to Matetsi Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe’s answer to luxury

Travelling 7,500 miles to Zimbabwe, editor of Hotel Designs Hamish Kilburn learns more about the design direction of one of the country’s most luxurious hotel offerings, the award-winning Matetsi Victoria Falls

Beyond the baobab trees – which are said to be sacred among the locals because of the natural healing powers they lock within their roots.

The dehydrated shrubs on the African soil, elephants, hyenas, zebras, warthogs, leapards and lions sits an award-winning luxury riverside hotel that is indubitably one of the most luxurious offerings in Zimbabwe.

After 15 minutes 4x4ing the dirt road into the heart of the 123,000-acre (55,000 hectres) reserve, we arrive at Matetsi Victoria Falls, a place that promises luxury, comfort and unmatched style. “I have the largest back yard in Africa,” jokes the owner John Gardiner who greets me on arrival. And with nothing between us and the natural safari, my experience in the African bush begins.

The entrance of the hotel is framed by three traditional Mokoro (dug-out) canoes, which hang from wooden beams and sway in harmony with the soft Zambezi breeze. With no need for a traditional lobby, guests are immediately welcomed into the indoor-outdoor public areas complete with a copper bar and durable outdoor sofas and chairs scattered in a home-from-home setting that has been designed around nature, and not the other way round. “We didn’t take out a single tree when designing these camps, because we wanted these areas to remain as close to nature as we could,” said interior designer Kerry van Leenhoff , a previous graduate from Cape Town University of Technology who was hand-selected by Gardiner and totally supported in all her decisions. Using the striking vista of the Zambezi River, which flows towards the tremendous Victoria Falls, dining tables are placed in such a way to make every meal one to remember. “The lobby areas have been designed in order to encourage guests to connect with people and nature,” adds van Leenhoff.

As we approach suite 17 – AKA, my home for the next four nights – I am reminded just how ‘in the sticks’ we are, catching a glimpse of an elephant and a giraffe just metres from each other as my key enters the lock. I open the heavy, black teak front door, which was recycled and polished from the previous lodge, and the room is immediately filled with light. Interestingly enough, though, this was not the case when the hotel first opened, as van Leenhoff explains: “When the hotel first opened and the guests gave us their feedback, we realised that we needed to revisit the lighting, especially in the public areas,” she says. “So we added some more outdoor feature lighting around the trees and columns in order to really pronounce what we felt were the important and dramatic areas of the hotel.” However, my immediate attention is not on the lighting. Instead, my imagination is taken over by the striking panoramic view of the Zambezi River, which I later find out is home to legend; the locals believe that a famous God is said to protect the flowing waters, and his name is Nyami Nyami. As legend goes, the spirit which is often depicted as half snake half fish, protects life in and around the river.

The River Lodge Suite is everything you would expect of a luxury lodge in the bush, and so much more. The skin of matepi latte creates an organic ceiling and roof – and this material does more than just give a nod to the location. This decision was made in order to keep the lodge blending into its location and celebrate Zimbabwean culture. “It was really important for us to work with skilled craftsmen and women from our culture,” explains van Leenhoff. “We have such a diverse culture with about 16 different tribes and languages. We mainly focused around the Tonga tribes as we were by the river.” The result is that from the far side of the river, you can’t actually see where the hotel starts and ends, which suggests even further that the whole property has been created with nature in mind.

Van Leenhoff decided to take Matetsi’s love for nature and the environment and inject it into the fabrics and the walls. The result is a naturally calming, peaceful abode, which empowers an everlasting feeling of total luxury and relaxation. Modern high-quality furniture and hand-scultpted trunks of trees used as tables create the perfect blend of modern, luxury and timeless décor.

All 18 suites have been thoughtfully curated and the hotel is a credit to the talent of van Leenhoff. The art, for example is by Helen Teede who 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.

With the privilege of space, the hotel shelters two camps: East Camp, West Camp and one large villa, River House, which sits in between the two camps. Interestingly, the whole team – chefs, butlers, housekeeping, back-of-house staff – alternate between both East and West camp every couple of weeks in order to maintain the property and keep service personable at all times.

Gardiner, who I first met in London just a few weeks before my trip, is the real visionary behind the property surrounding the reserve. A local Zimbabwean hotelier, Gardiner has transformed the reserve since acquiring it in 2014 and aims to “give back to Zimbabwe”. With the help of his team, who all share Gardiner’s love for nature, he has restored and conserved the natural wildlife within the reserve by building various watering holes, 15 in total with a further 10 in the pipeline, I am told.

Before I check out, I have an opportunity to exclusively discuss the future of Matetsi with the team and how it plans to expand its luxury arm. “We are working on a few things at the moment, which are really exciting projects,” adds van Leenhoff. “The design direction and our aim is to strike the balance between feeling isolated and feeling safe.” The new plans will further challenge conventional luxury lodges in Africa with a real focus on opening up the guests to undisturbed nature.

The future sounds exciting and it’s clear that the design team and the hotel are totally in sync with ideas, vision and what luxury in Africa should look like. I leave Matetsi and Zimbabwe having cemented my respect in African design and culture. I am grateful that the reserve’s calming atmosphere allowed me to relax and escape from the lively London scene, if not only for a few days.

Key suppliers

Guest Suites-
Tables/ Headboards/ Beds- Adam Seager Furniture (ZIM)
Upholstery – Fiona Edmunds (ZIM)
Desks/ Luggage racks/ Wardrobes/ Lounge chairs – Nigel Joselyn (ZIM)
Pottery Pendants and Chandeliers- Chart Pottery (ZIM)
Beaded Ottomans- CHIPO women’s group (ZIM)
Spring stone Basins- Tonderayi Mahachi (ZIM)
Bamboo Lights- STEP Trust (ZIM)
Floor lamps- Collaboration between Bruce Elliot & Tonderayi Mahachi (ZIM)
Porcupine wastepaper baskets- Lupane Women’s Centre (ZIM)
Basin Tops- Zambezi Roots (ZIM)
Bath- Euro trends (SA)
Sanitary ware- Antique baths (SA)
Nguni Cowhides- Holly Hudson (ZIM)
Ceramics- Marjorie Wallace: Mutapo (ZIM)
Mirrors- Brigette Lotter (ZIM)

Main areas-
Dining tables- Adam Seager Furniture (ZIM)
Woven Screens- Collaboration between Jane Taylor & Judith Ncube of Matabeleland Weavers (ZIM)
Curated Tables- Helen Teede (ZIM)
Bar and Interactive kitchen- Collaboration between Adam Seager & Copperwares (ZIM)
Woven Poufs – Lupane Women’s Centre (ZIM)
Wrought Iron lights- Misty Edwards (ZIM)
Pottery Pendants and Chandeliers- Chart Pottery (ZIM)
Reed mats- Newlands Craft Market (ZIM)
Shop – Nigel Joselyn (ZIM)
Sofas- Fiona Edmunds (ZIM)
Coco chairs- Coricraft (SA)
Chairs/ Bar stools- Weylandts (SA)
Boardroom table- Collaboration between Zambezi Roots & Complete Steel (ZIM)
Ceramics- Marjorie Wallace: Mutapo (ZIM)
Wine cellar Chandeliers- Basil & Lindy Rowlands (ZIM)
Wine cellar- Ruwa Furniture (ZIM)

Dark-toned room with high ceilings mixes plush velvet and low lighting

Fitzrovia’s mysterious and magnificent The Mandrake Hotel

1024 681 Hamish Kilburn

Nestled under a canopy of plants in London’s Fitzrovia district sits The Mandrake Hotel, an unlikely yet very welcome neighbour to this part of town. Hamish Kilburn takes a peek inside…

Blink and you will miss it. The unassuming framed ornate wrought iron gates are the first of many indications that rules have been broken when designing the concept of The Mandrake Hotel. Unlike other luxury hotels in the area, such as Charlotte Street Hotel and The London Edition, The Mandrake’s entrance is very low key – almost as if its exact whereabouts is on a need-to-know basis, which of course it is.

Five years in the making, and a first for the Fustok family, The Mandrake Hotel sits in a former Victorian office block and has been artfully converted into the cool, urban boutique hotel that it is today.

During fashion week last year, when The Mandrake opened, its unique Bohemian-Gothic style led to it becoming the venue of choice for British Vogue’s editor Edward Enninful and a stream of A-listers who followed. The most recent neighbour to move in and name the hotel its premium local hangout spot is Facebook’s new swanky London headquarters in Rathbone Square.

One thing that is immediately apparent when entering the building is that the design elements of the hotel feel very personal. Interior designer Tala Fustok’s creativity literally runs through the walls of the hotel. “It was important to keep the honest feel of the building, and preserve its identity,” explains Fustok in a recent press release. An example of this can be found in the public areas that have been carefully curated with surrealist sculptures to portray the feeling that nothing in this hotel is what it first seems.

The Lobby. Image credit: The Mandrake Hotel

Striking pieces of art depicted by nature make a lasting impression when entering the strangely calming lobby. Industrial-style walls marry nicely with the understated yet stylish reception desk. The lobby hangs under a large gothic-style chandelier, lit by 30 wax candles, and the soft ambient lighting is well balanced to welcome guests into a curious new world.

The theme of outdoor indoor space has been well examined throughout the building, with natural light and the hotel’s incredible terrace being seen from almost all corners of the public area. A modest courtyard is poised and readily equipped for all occasions and looks up to the terrace, above which is a large living wall of plantation.

Outdoor terrace looks down onto a palm courtyard

The terrace. Image credit: The Mandrake Hotel

The dramatic Labradorite bar, at some 30ft in length, is the hotel’s source of energy. The dark Victorian panelled mahogany long bar is balanced by the room’s inspiration of nature. This area is rich in greens, with a gentle riot of Parisian fabrics and thick verdant palm textures of green, purple and red. Above the bar hangs the specially commissioned mythical-gazelcock (part-impala, park peacock) by Enrique Gomez de Molina, adding the mixture of eclecticism and humour.

The guestrooms

Considering the hype, only 34 guestrooms, three suites and one incredible penthouse are sheltered on three levels, each designed to unlock a chic, unique, cosy, quiet, high-ceilinged refuge, worlds away from the hustle and bustle of London life below.

All guestrooms are carved around the palm tree-studded interior courtyard, which centres the hotel and provides rooms with ample natural light. Designed with a mixture of maximalist bohemian throughout, the rooms create “a glamorous constructed garden of Eden” as Fustok puts it.

There is a sense of harmony as if two cities are colliding in the room’s interior fittings. Indulgent Parisian jewel-toned velvets, gilding mirrors and commanding metallic coffee tables add a flare of glitz in the interiors. This is balanced with a cool London city vibe of earthy-toned drape curtains, an curvaceous wing chairs.

Guestroom with statement circular mirror on the wall

Image credit: The Mandrake Hotel

“I wanted to keep the feel of the building’s natural, raw energy,” explains Fustok when describing the well-proportioned rooms and high ceilings of the Victorian shell. Clean lines have replaced the unusual period mouldings, resulting in bedrooms that envelop you in their infinity of moody hues. Striking vintage one-off pieces compliment the dark paint tones, while accents of colour are added by interesting artwork. Together, 33 different chandeliers and vintage panel screens covered with lush botanical plants in the guestrooms echo the bohemian vibes weaved around the hotel.

The pièce de résistance is The Mandrake Suite, painted in dark sultry tones that echo through from the bar and seductive hallways. The luxurious bed is swathed in Bedouin-style folds of fabric. A standalone bathtub set on a slab of black-veined marble adding to the majestic look and feel of the suite.


Image credit: The Mandrake Hotel

As I descend down the lift towards check-out, the courtyard emerges and the sense of coming back down to earth feels very real. My conclusion is that, among the hundreds of hotels to open in London, The Mandrake stands as a shining example of how taking risks and following the heart when injecting a hotel’s personality pays off. Bravo Tala, the rest of Fustok family and all others who were involved in creating what we hope to be the first of many truly transformational boutique luxury hotels.

Fitzrovia’s ever-evolving trendy hotspot is rumoured to soon welcome a new Bluebird cafe as well as one of London’s premium HIIT and spin studios, Digme Fitness, which will open directly opposite the new Facebook offices in Rathbone Square. With these major openings, I get the feeling that The Mandrake’s quirky shell could soon well become ‘the local’ for many premium businesses nearby.

The Henrietta Hotel review, Covent Garden: Ideally located boutique stay with louder than life interiors

1024 525 Adam Bloodworth

Londoners, and visitors to London, will know Henrietta Street, even if they don’t know it by name. The unassuming road is one of four framing Covent Garden Piazza, and has celebrated restaurants Flat Iron, and new opening Frenchie, on it. It also houses the relatively new Henrietta Hotel.

You’d blink and miss it. Behind a stately jet black door, the hotel is purposefully unassuming, to the point that this reviewer walked past it twice, without spotting it on both attempts at entry. Once in the day, and once at night. Thankfully I wasn’t hungry.

At first sight the lobby is equally unassuming, like a private home, only past check in, things quickly get eccentric. In the adjoined bar and restaurant, eponymously titled Henrietta, and upstairs in the rooms, the hotel’s design is loud and proud. In fact it’s why guests visit the Henrietta in the first place.

The intimate bar and lobby area (Picture: Hotel Designs)

The eye-catching design is by Parisian designer Dorothee Meilichzon, whose design firm, Chzon, has been at the receiving end of plenty of awards. Those include Designer Of The Year by Maison & Objet In 2015, and being called one of the best 20 designers in the world by Wallpaper magazine in their W* Power 200.

The main design themes are mismatching textures and patterns, and boldly bright colour schemes which compete for the eye’s attention.

The Henrietta Hotel is a relatively new project from artisanal hospitality group The Experimental Group, behind London bars Joyeux Bordel, Compagnie Des Vins Surnaturels and Experimental Cocktail Club, who also run bars and hotels in Paris, New York and Ibiza.

The 18 rooms are spread thinly across the three floors of this tall, skinny ex-townhouse. Doors have pineapple door knockers and old fashioned (read: proper) manual keys, there’s not a key card in sight.

Chzon have made each room its own individual design statement. Embellishments are everywhere, from the golden skirting boards, to the retro amenities (radios, clocks) to mismatched fabrics.

Statement seating in our room (Picture: Hotel Designs)

The care taken to differentiate not even every room, but every inhabitable space within even the smallest rooms, is impressive. Designers and creatives will poke around for hours, although the sum of the parts taken as a whole can lack cohesion and feel overly busy.

We felt this way particularly about our bed stead, a sort of interpreted Art Deco think piece, it needn’t have been so busy to have been beautiful.

The bedstead was maybe a bit too much (Picture: Hotel Designs)

However, the bathroom – with its gradual lighting enhancements – was a shimmering pale pink room which succeeded in feeling airy, while relaxed and calming.

The bathrooms feature generous natural lighting (Picture: Hotel Designs)

A statement bathtub embellished with marble finishes took up a third of the room, with bespoke toiletries bagged up below branded towels. The room found the perfect harmony.

The gentle colour schemes in the bathroom (Picture: Hotel Designs)

There are four grades of room which range from a comfortable double to a suite, although there isn’t much difference in size or amenities between the rooms. That said, the suite – at around £500 – isn’t outrageously priced considering it comes with its own intimate rooftop terrace.

Staying at the Henrietta is really suited for guests exploring the area, so the hotel’s facilities are minimal. Breakfast, however, is included and can be served in the room and features classics alongside an excellent twist on the classic porridge, with dates.

Of equal prominence to Chzon’s design is the famous British chef Ollie Dabbous, who is in charge of the food in the restaurant. Dabbous’s menu is ingredient-led with a French sensibility (simple, whole cuts of meat, finely served) and the restaurant features the same zany, whimsical interior design by Chzon as the rooms.

Bespoke bathroom toiletries (Picture: Hotel Designs)

The premise of “restaurant and cocktails” is an exciting one, given the hotel’s owners; we trusted our French, gentlemanly barkeep to make us the cocktails that suited our palettes.

The a La Carte has five rotating starters and five mains. A smoked duck, pomegranate and chickpea flatbread was freshly baked and well-balanced, and deep with flavour. A theatrical dish of stracciatella had a flavour that was delicately policed by bold blood orange and pecans.

The a La Carte (Picture: Hotel Designs)

The sirloin arrived as delicately plated as it was to taste, as was a veal tonnato, served classically with a wave of puntarelle for flare.

As delicately plated as it was to taste (Picture: Hotel Designs)

Desserts though, are best. The rhubarb crumble is light! But so ripely full of flavour, and arriving with a fresh glass of rhubarb juice, still feels as hedonistic as the full slab of crumble you’d find homestyle elsewhere.

And warm, fresh madeleines with Chantilly cream could, predictably, be scoffed 12 times over.

‘Normal’ prices are, shall we say, best suited to a celebration, rather than mid-week treat – but go for the Sunday Brunch or the spectacularly well-priced pre theatre dinner for £30 which is unmissable for food of this quality and notoriety (Dabbous has a new restaurant, Hide, which, opening this summer in Piccadilly, is already talk of the town).

The view from the rooftop suite (Picture: Hotel Designs)

The Henrietta will have extroverts squealing with excitement – but it packs a loud and bold punch that is divisive.

Andaz Singapore

Miniview: Andaz Singapore – Andre Fu’s design

609 393 Daniel Fountain

Conceived as a contemporary lifestyle destination that embraces the energy of Singapore’s urban spirit, architect Andre Fu and his design studio AFSO seek to capture the city’s eclectic shop-house experience of dining at Andaz Singapore.

Working within the framework of the modernist Duo development by German architect Ole Scheeren, Fu has fashioned a multi layered journey that conveys relaxed luxury yet captures the vibrant atmosphere of local areas such as Kampong Glam and Bras Basah Bugis.

As guests explore the hotel, they will experience a strong sense of discovery – an experience that is quintessential to Singapore itself.

THE ARRIVAL & PANDAN
The Andaz journey begins with a dramatic 8m high lobby where guests encounter an abstract interpretation of the traditional Singaporean shop-house façades which is a recurring theme throughout the hotel. The arrival experience also introduces the concept of a Pandan where guests are enticed by a spectrum of Pandan chiffon cakes and a selection of sweet and savoury soft buns to enjoy.

Andaz SingaporeALLEY ON 25
Conceived as the hub of the hotel, Alley on 25 brings the spirit of the local neighbourhood into a matrix of seven distinct shop-house experiences. Sunroom is an airy timber pavilion with an intricate checkered grid ceiling that has drawn inspirations from the works of modernist architect Schindler. Hanging ferns and greeneries are suspended from the ceiling to entice the guests with a sense of urban retreat. Icehaus , which is crafted in monolithic white Carrera marble has an open kitchen and views to a terrace of frangipani and guests can view live cooking preparations.

Aunties Wok & Steam is an eatery dedicated to the art of steam and wok cooking and has been designed to evoke a lively market dining experience. Decked with tilted metallic windows and timber furniture upholstered in olive green and lemon yellow, this intimately-proportioned dining room offers panoramic views of the city and exemplifies a genuine street-dining spirit. Other shop-houses guest can visit are Bar Square, Smoke & Pepper, Plancha’Lah! and The Green Oven.

Andaz SingaporeTHE GUEST ROOM EXPERIENCE
In-keeping with the alley concept, the experience of the guestroom also embraces the neighborhood spirit. Conceived as a contemporary bungalow, Fu has introduced whimsical moments throughout the room – from the entrance doorbell that is housed in a bespoke post-box, the shop-house doors in bold mango yellow to the floor-to-ceiling ivory paneling. The room experience is also punctuated with ethnic touches in aubergine and mustard yellow to celebrate Singapore as a city.

Andaz SingaporeMR STORK
Nestled high above the hotel is Mr Stork – the destination rooftop bar set within a lush tropical landscape and cobbled paving. At the heart of Mr Stork is a free-standing bronze pavilion, designed as an installation with radial tilted fins reminiscent of a classic wind-mill. The journey is also layered with a series of private tents where guests are invited to escape into a rural dreamscape. The exposed aggregate and tropical landscape reinforce the idea of an urban yet rustic al-fresco experience.

singapore.andaz.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home