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designjunction’s speaker programme set to challenge, provoke and engage

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
designjunction’s speaker programme set to challenge, provoke and engage

designjunction, which is preparing to showcase more than 200 world-class international brands during London Design Festival, has just announced its speakership programme for 2019 which will be sheltered at Everyman Cinema in King’s Cross… 

This year designjunction will launch a brand new talks programme at the Everyman Cinema in King’s Cross, in association with Clippings.

Set against the millennial-pink backdrop of the cinema and curated by design and architecture writer and commentator Grant Gibson, the two-day platform (Thursday 19 – Friday 20 September) is set to challenge, provoke and engage with an eclectic range of topical issues that include: sustainability and the circular economy; the relationship between dyslexia and design; the need for increased diversity in design; and the importance of wellbeing at work.

In responding to this year’s theme Re(act), the two-day programme breaks the mould and opens up a discussion about what truly matters through a series of lively discussions. The diverse and considered programme includes debates and book clubs with a slew of the industry’s leading thinkers and expert voices including: renowned architect Nigel Coates, designer Sevil Peach, leading designers Sam Hecht and Kim Colin of London design studio Industrial Facility, Founder of 1882 Emily Johnson, product designer Matthew Hilton and University of Cambridge researcher, Helen Taylor.

“By clicking here and using the code DJ700, readers of Hotel Designs are entitled a 50 per cent discount off tickets to designjunction, which takes place from September 19-22 in London”

Thursday 19 September

Title: Wellness in the Workplace – Is It Anything More Than A Passing Fad?
Time: 10.00am – 10.45am

Speakers: Interior Architect Sevil Peach; Rosamund Pomeroy, workplace Scientist and Co-founder of brainybirdz; Fabienne O’Neil, Co-founder and Director of Cuckooz and Mark Eltringham, Founder of Workplace Insight. A panel of workplace experts – includingdesigners, journalists and workplace scientists – will unpick our current obsession with wellbeing and ask if it’s simply feng-shui for the new Millennium.

Title: Sheep to Seat, Fleece to Floor: Ella Doran and the Circular Economy
Time: 11.00 – 11.45

The award-winning designer Ella Doran discusses her latest project with the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Sheep to Seat, Fleece to Floor, where she took fleeces from the sheep grazing in the park’s grounds and turned them into a variety of products that were then sold in the park’s shop. The project involved a host of manufacturing companies including Camira, Coakley & Cox and Alternative Flooring. The talk promises to touch on subjects such as sustainability and the importance of the circular economy.

Title: Lunchtime Book Club | Brinkworth: So Far So Good
Time: 12.00 – 12.45

Speakers: Adam Brinkworth, Founder of Brinkworth and Kevin Brennan, Co-CEO at Brinkworth
Chaired by Riya Patel, Curator at The Aram Gallery and Contributing Editor at ICON

To celebrate the launch of their new monograph – written by Graeme Brookerand with a foreword from Michael Marriott and Peter Higgins – Adam Brinkworth and Kevin Brennan discuss the award-winning practice ‘Brinkworth’ and chart how it has grown from a small workshop in East London into a globally renowned design and architecture studio, with clients ranging from Converse to All Saints.

Title: Dyslexia and Design
Time: 14.00 – 14.45

A high powered panel including designer Ab Rogers of ARD, product designer James Rokos, metal artist Simone ten Hompel and Cambridge University Educational researcherHelen Taylor will be discussing their dyslexia, looking at the impact it has had on their lives, their experience of the education system, and, ultimately, how it has enabled – rather than hindered – their careers.

Title: The Standard London: How the Capital Got its Hottest New Hotel
Time: 16.00 – 16.45

Housed in the former Camden Town Hall Annex a mere stone’s throw from the Everyman Cinema, The Standard London is the brand’s first hotel outside the US. It contains 266 rooms in 42 unique styles and has been described as ‘London’s hottest hotel open for 2019’. In a warm up to the Sleep & Eat show in November, Sleeper magazine’s editor Matthew Turner talks to some of the people that made it happen.

Friday 20 September

Title: Britain Can (Still) Make It
Time: 10.00 – 10.45

Speakers: Emily Johnson, Founder of high end ceramics company 1882; Joni Steiner, Founder of hi-tech furniture firm Open Desk; Furniture and Product Designer, Matthew Hilton and Richard Blackwell, Executive Director at Bisley

A panel discussion that looks at the future of British manufacturing, seeking to unpick the problems and the benefits of making things in this country and asking what role design can play, as well as pondering how technology is likely to disrupt the traditional model. Expect Brexit to be mentioned on at least one occasion.

Title: New Voices in Design
Time: 11.00 – 11.45

Organised in conjunction with Living Etc, this panel talk seeks to discover how new voices from diverse backgrounds can be encouraged into the design industry. It will include a combination of personal stories and policy ideas.

The panel promises to feature industrial ceramic designer and creative director ofThomas Goode, Peter Ting, as well as textile designer Eva Sonaike, Kevin Greenco-founder of STORE STORE and Ella Ritchie, director of Intoart, an art and design studio that works inclusively with people with learning difficulties.

Title: The Future: Design in Turbulent Times
Time: 12.00 – 12.45

Speakers: Central Saint Martins Graduates including Mael Henaff, Elissa Brunato, Benjamin Benmoyal and Graysha Audren.

A session of rapid fire presentations from recent graduates of Central Saint Martins, tying in with its show at the nearby Lethaby Gallery. What will the future of design look like? And what materials will we be using? Can design help society become both more sustainable and equitable?

This talk will be introduced by Carole Collet, Director at CSM LVMH Sustainable Innovation, and hosted by William Knight, former Deputy Director of the London Design Festival.

Title: Queer Culture and the City
Time: 14.00 – 14.45 

Renowned architect, designer and educator Nigel Coates discusses how LGBTQ culture has fundamentally changed – and will continue to transform – the shape of our cities. With Isabel Allen, editor-in-chief of the new architecture magazine, Citizen.

Title: Aperitif Book Club: Industrial Facility
Time: 16.00 – 16.45

To celebrate their recent Phaidon monograph, leading designers Sam Hecht and Kim Colin of Industrial Facility discuss the studio’s history, which has encompassed an array of projects from office furniture forHerman Miller to a spray watering can for Muji via lights for Wastberg and, of course the brilliant Branca chair for Mattiazzi.

This year’s talks programme has been curated by design, craft and architecture writer Grant Gibson.

Grant has been published in The Observer, New Statesman, The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, FRAME, Dwell, House & Garden amongst others.

During a long career in magazines, Grant has been editor of Blueprint, deputy editor of FX, and acting executive editor of the RIBA Journal. More recently he has been editor of Crafts and a contributing editor of the Dutch architecture title MARK. He was also the launch editor of the London Design Festival Guide and co-founded Real to Reel, the UK’s first film festival devoted to making and in 2019 he launched the critically acclaimed new podcast series Material Matters.

Hotel Designs is a proud media partner of designjunction. By using the code DJ700, readers of Hotel Designs are entitled a 50 per cent discount off tickets to designjunction, which takes place from September 19-22 in London… 

Main image credit: designjunction

INSIDE THE FACTORY WITH: Hamilton Litestat

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INSIDE THE FACTORY WITH: Hamilton Litestat

Celebrating half a century of being the trusted, reliable and high-quality brand for switch plates and sockets, Hamilton Litestat’s is, without a doubt, an industry leader. The company’s Head of Marketing, Gavin Williams, invites editor Hamish Kilburn along to its headquarters in Bristol to share some of the tools behind its esteemed reputation and ongoing legacy… 

For more than 50 years, Hamilton Litestat, one of the first companies in the world to produce dimmable products and USB charging sockets, has been leading an innovative path.

Following large investment in both equipment and people – from the factory floor right through to the sales and marketing teams, the company remains one of the leading manufacturers for switch plates and sockets.

As a result of its ability to be ahead of the curve when it comes to product innovation without diluting the quality of its products, Hamilton has attracted and retained the attention of large chains such as IHG, Marriott, Millennium Hotels and Radisson among many others, as well as leading independent hotels.

Situated on the fringes of Bristol, the company’s headquarters, and workplace for over 100 employees, stands as an ever-evolving hub of innovation, technology and shelters a driving force that ships out roughly 200,000 products per month most of which are dispatched within 24 hours.

As the majority of hotels on the boards continue to strive to create more personal interiors, it is now more important than ever before for suppliers to offer a variety of products, all of which are stamped with the same quality – and no brand understands the value of this than Hamilton. “The interior designer is one of the key cogs in the chain,” said Gavin Williams, Head of Marketing at Hamilton Litestat. “Therefore, that has created a demand for adding a statement within fixtures and fittings.”

The factory itself is a well-operating formula balancing both practical facilities and creative break-out areas. The space on the ground floor has been designed to create a swift, seamless and free-flowing manufacturing process. The raw materials – metal and plastic sheets – are pressed on one side of the building using state-of-the-art technology. By laser cutting, one sheet takes an average of 30 minutes to cut, producing roughly 150 plates, which are then ready to be wired. This process, as well as the stringent quality control that follows, still to this day is carried out by a dedicated workforce.

“Quality is our number-one priority.” – Gavin Williams, Head of Marketing at Hamilton Litestat

If the lower level of the factory is where the components are cut and fitted together, then the upstairs is then reserved for innovation and fresh ideas. Housed inside a standalone chamber is the result one of Hamilton Litestat’s latest investments. Following popular demand and feedback gathered at international trade shows and from talking to loyal customers, the company has introduced its Paintable Range. With a new high-tech machine and colour expert to operate it, the company can now colour-match the products in the collection to replicate any tone or shade that an interior designer is working with. “Quality is our number-one priority,” says Williams. “So despite innovating, we will always over check the quality before releasing any product to the market. We have fantastic test facilities here in Bristol, which allows us to test the product continuously to and above the British standards.”

With lifestyle and people’s behaviour being a large factor and driver behind the launch of the company’s latest products, Hamilton Litestat’s headquarters also stages an area that assembles together new concepts. Inspired largely by trends – and in an effort to create a conversation with its customers – the product development team often share their vision on the company’s growing Instagram channel. “Having a full-time focus [on social media] allows us to follow trends, key words and connect with new clients from the many shows we attend,” adds Williams. “It also allows us to circulate in the wider world, engaging with perspective clients who would have otherwise never heard of us.”

With a reputation that spans across more than half a century for delivering quality products and a reliable service, Hamilton Litestat is equipped to handle almost any interior design brief. The company’s friendly team will be showcasing its breadth of products at upcoming trade shows, such as 100% Design, The Independent Hotel Show and Decorex International.

Hamilton Litestat 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: Hamilton Litestat

Checking In: Wyndham Grand Athens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking In: Wyndham Grand Athens

With unparalleled views casting over the ancient city below, Wyndham Grand Athens opened in 2017 to capture the city from a unique perspective. Editor Hamish Kilburn checks in two years later to explore just how timeless the interiors really are…

It seems to me that Greece – and Athens in particular – is a magnet this year for influencers – my Instagram feed for starters is bursting at the seams with the hashtag #VisitGreece. And so, like all consumers, slaves to the travel trends, I felt obliged to check in on the action to discover hotel design Greek style.

Despite the destination’s pockets of derelict and forgotten-in-time in places, Athens’ authentic charm amplifies through the streets and outwards towards the barefoot-luxury islands. And with a recent report published by GBR Consulting revealing that at least 40 new accommodation units (hotels and room-to-let properties) arrived in the city in the first half of this year, it seems as if my social media is, after all, an accurate tool for measuring travel hotspots.

With the vast number of archaeological sites dotted around – and the 5th Century BC landmarks – I would argue that a good place to start is up high, soaking in the establishing shot from a rooftop bar, which features panoramic views stretching from the ancient acropolis right through to the port of Piraeus. Luckily for me, and after the recommendation from the hotel group’s President and Managing Director, Wyndham Grand Athens offers all of this and more.

The hotel, which is the hotel group’s first property in Greece, is situated on Karaiskaki Place, an area that was once seen as an area to avoid for tourists. However, following a stream of newly opened art galleries, modern coffee shops and restaurants, it became one of the destination’s most up-and-coming neighborhoods – a reputation that Wyndham Hotels only strengthened when it arrived in 2017.

Zeus International transformed the building owned by VIOHALCO, which formerly housed the Hotel Athens Imperial. The now 276-key hotel shelters timeless and dynamic interiors, balancing a healthy mix of warm and sharp public spaces combined with calming guestrooms and suites.

Upon entering, guests are welcomed into a neutral yet inviting lobby, which leads up to FOS Restaurant on the ground floor. The interiors inside FOS, which is the Greek for ‘light’, create an appropriate scene. The contemporary F&B scene sits under a large chandelier that is suspended from an expansive floor-to-ceiling atrium.

From one unforgettable public area to another, located on the rooftop of the hotel is the Above Bar and Restaurant. Complete with unobstructed views over the acropolis, making it one of the best roof-top restaurants in the city, this area is quirky and relaxed. Blue, mustard, grey and black contemporary Enka furniture confidently contrast the geometric flooring, creating a strong mise en scéne for any scenario.

Adjacent to the subdued design-led restaurant and bar is a modest pool, which also captures the same Insta-worthy panoramic views over the city.

The majority of the 249 guestrooms and 27 suites include views over the city and the Acropolis or Lycabettus Hill. The interiors feature soft silvery-toned wallpaper with accents of colour in the furniture and soft furnishings and some include windows that wrap around the room, adding further natural light in.

Image credit: Marcelo Barbosa

The stripped-back modern décor of the guestrooms and suites continues in the marble bathrooms. The yellow glow in the suites’ furniture becomes a motif as it is also echoed on the soft reflective surface behind the wide bathroom mirror, creating an ambiance of subtle contemporary luxury.

Although Wyndham Grand Athens is not the latest hotel to emerge on the hotel design scene recently, it is certainly a strong example of how a design-led hotel can significantly lift a destination to become a major go-to travel hotspot.

Main image credit: Marcelo Barbosa

EXCLUSIVE: Pre-show interview with designer of The Conscious Bedroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EXCLUSIVE: Pre-show interview with designer of The Conscious Bedroom

The Founder and Creative Director of Harris & Harris London, Alex Harris, gives Hotel Designs‘ editor, Hamish Kilburn, a sneak peek of The Conscious Bedroom that he and his team are designing for The Independent Hotel Show London 2019… 

It was at the beginning of 2019 when Harris & Harris, the London based multidisciplinary design studio, were first approached by the organisers of Independent Hotel Show to work on this year’s concept room set.

The brief was simple (and came in after the show had viewed the studio’s interior design portfolio online): to design The Conscious Hotel Room for the Independent Hotel Show 2019. The design studio leaped at the opportunity to design the concept room. “It was a seamless fit for the studio and their ethos of looking at the most environmentally and socially conscious way of producing luxury interiors and products,” Alex Harris, the studio’s Founder and Creative Director, explains. Arguably most importantly, though, the space at the show would give Harris & Harris the opportunity to showcase this mentality through the design and curation of brand partners who have similar ethics.

When designing the skeleton of the room, Harris was keen to explore creating a heritage feel. “We wanted it to feel as if the room was located within a historic building instead of a new build,” he explains. “This was to prove that sustainable design practices can also be applied to older buildings, which are more prominent in the UK. This was achieved through introducing Georgian style wall panelling throughout the bedroom and including some historic design references in the interior design but with a modern twist.” 

Parallel to curating sustainable focussed products and brands in the concept room – including factoring in elements like using local suppliers to reduce milage – the studio was also focussed on ensuring the overall design felt fresh, inviting and luxurious, all of which could be achieved whilst minimising the impact on the environment.

Ahead of the official unveiling of the finished room on October 15, we caught up with Harris to understand more about the concept and his drive to design with purpose.

Hamish Kilburn: What sparked your passion for sustainability, both at university and beyond?
Alex Harris: I had the opportunity to gain work experience in 2005, prior to graduating from Bournemouth University, with the award winning furniture designer Russell Pinch (we grew up in the same tiny village in Gloucestershire). One day we traveled down to Benchmark Furniture in Berkshire as Russell was working on a new collection with them and I had the chance to see Benchmark’s incredible workshops, showroom and design office.

They are very focused on sustainability throughout their manufacturing process and the products themselves. Together with their passion for craftsmanship, this definitely resonated with me as a student and I knew that my final year project must represent this ethos that I witnessed with Pinch and Benchmark’s work.

I designed a (fully functioning) wooden wind-up LED lamp for my final year project, which I won an award for sustainability from my university. At the same time I approached the eco-design collective [RE] Design and had the opportunity to exhibit my lamp with them at the London Design Festival in 2006. Then in 2009 (after a stint living and working in Melbourne, Australia) I joined the Benchmark design team, four years after I had previously visited with Russell Pinch, so I had come full circle!

I then went to work for several interior designers in London who were focussed on luxury and not really concerned about sustainability, which was always difficult for me. I vowed that whenever I start my own design studio that we must bring together both ‘luxury’ and ‘sustainability’  to prove that they can work harmoniously.

HK: How will your concept The Conscious Hotel Room showcase environmental and social factors?
AH: We have thought about the design in terms of impact on the environment from floor to ceiling. It was very important to us that every element was considered, so we researched and approached companies that we knew could help us with this vision.

So we have organic and natural wool and linen fabrics, FSC certified timber flooring from Domus, bespoke 100 per cent recycled cardboard and plastic joinery pieces, many products that are made in the UK (to reduce ‘mileage’) such as our Harris & Harris furniture & lighting and the beautifully natural bed from Naturalmat, 100 per cent wool carpets from Axminster with their recycled car-tyres underlay (both also made in the UK). Handmade natural terracotta tiles, also from Domus, feature in the bathroom with Crosswater WC, basin mixers and showers with low water use. Edward Bulmer paint features on the bedroom walls that only uses natural ingredients. We have a boiling and chilled water tap from Quooker together with reusable water bottles at the mini bar, omitting the need for a kettle (as you only use the exact boiling water you need for a cup of tea) and of course no need for single-use plastic water bottles. Even the artwork we have curated with the art consultants ARTIQ has been chosen to minimise impact on the environment, with artists that use recycled materials and natural materials & processes.

“Natural materials are used wherever possible but in particular with the Naturalmat bed and linens from The Fine Cotton Company.” – Alex Harris, Founder and Creative Director, Harris & Harris

The social factors that we have considered include making the space as wheelchair friendly as we can, with clear space around the bed, sofa, desk and bathroom vanity and a wide doorless opening into the bathroom with no change in floor level into the shower. Plants throughout provide better air quality and general well being. Natural materials are used wherever possible but in particular with the Naturalmat bed and linens from The Fine Cotton Company, to provide the best night’s sleep possible. Snacks and beverages will be sourced as locally as possible and that contain healthy ingredients.

HK: What are the challenges of creating a heritage feel from scratch?
AH: Our first approach was to introduce wall panelling and decorative mouldings throughout, this gave the feeling of a Georgian style property which also helped it feel warm, welcoming and luxurious. Materials, colours and patterns were also chosen to be simple and classic throughout and the furniture and joinery designs are pared back to give a timeless feel.

Image caption: Independent Hotel Show Conscious Hotel Room sketch

HK: What are the historic design references that are mentioned in the brief?
AH: As discussed above, the wall panelling and decorative mouldings, gave the feeling of a Georgian style interior. Our Harris & Harris furniture we have specified for the project; ‘Totterdown’ sofa, ‘Orchard’ Bench and ‘Clarke’ dining chair all have subtle references in their designs to 1920s/1930s Art Deco era and our Harris & Harris ‘Wharf’ lights (both table and pendants will be showcased) feature classic reeded glass. Cole & Son’s wallpaper ‘Flamingos’ that feature in the bathroom are a take on their archived designs from the 1960s as do the ‘Palm Jungle’ fabric on the scatter cushions. The herringbone pattern in the Axminster carpet is another classic design feature and the recycled cardboard tubing, used in the joinery and bed backdrop, gives a feeling of fluted columns that were used in Greek and Roman architecture.

“There are so many ways in which hotels can embrace the three ‘R’s (reduce, recycle and reuse).” – Alex Harris, Founder and Creative Director, Harris & Harris

HK: Can a hotel be 100 per cent fully sustainable?
AH: Unfortunately I don’t believe we as human beings can ever be 100 per cent fully sustainable unless we go back to living in a cave! We can all do our bit to help minimise our impact, but we all consume and we all produce waste. There are so many ways in which hotels can embrace the three ‘R’s (reduce, recycle and reuse) and we are excited to showcase just a selection of examples of how this can be employed in the design of The Conscious Hotel Bedroom which we hope will inspire hoteliers for their current and future projects.

HK: Let’s talk about water consumption. So many hotel groups are pledging to reduce their water consumption by ‘X’ amount.. Which suppliers would you say are allowing this to be a reality?
AH: We are working closely with the British bathroom brand Crosswater who are supplying The Conscious Hotel Bedroom with their M Pro range which have WRAS and TMV2 certification. The WC has two flush types to encourage water management and the mixer tap features a Neoperl aerator that has a flow rate of only five litres per minute.

When I lived in Australia we received an egg timer from the local water company to encourage showers of under four minutes. This was such simple idea and gave a fun challenge to try and ‘beat the clock’ whilst saving water. We will be featuring an egg timer in the bathroom of The Conscious Hotel Bedroom.

“There will be many UK produced products that will feature in The Conscious Hotel Bedroom and will be noted in our literature at the show.” – Alex Harris, Founder and Creative Director, Harris & Harris

HK: What is the value of products that have been manufactured in the UK?
AH: We have many great craftsmanship skills and traditions that are hard to find abroad. Harris & Harris are passionate about producing the UK whenever possible and keeping these skills alive. There will be many UK produced products that will feature in The Conscious Hotel Bedroom and will be noted in our literature at the show.

HK: What can designers do to ensure an eco-hotel is still a trendy and fresh hotel?
AH: I think there is no reason why an eco-hotel cannot not still be trendy and fresh. Curating the products and materials specifically for The Conscious Hotel Bedroom galvanised this idea for us. Many brands now offer products which have less impact on the environment but still look fab. It is up to the designer to track these down and encourage their client to use in place of products that could be damaging to the environment.

HK: Can you explain the benefits of Smile Plastics?
AH: Smile plastics have kindly donated their ‘Dapple’ plastic sheets to us for the joinery pieces at The Conscious Hotel Bedroom. Dapple is made from recycled chopping boards and plastic packaging and with all of their ranges, Smile Plastics are produced from waste which would otherwise end up in land fill. With Dapple we felt it had the look of a natural material such as marble, to give a touch of luxury, particularly important in the bathroom where it features on the vanity joinery. Dapple is hard, dense and rigid, 100 per cent waterproof, rot-proof and strong weather resistance. It is solid and consistent, allowing for a decorative edge. It is also UV resistance and is food-grade and can be used for preparation of wet foods.

Harris & Harris will showcase The Conscious Hotel Room at the Independent Hotel Show 2019. In addition to this, Harris will also join editor Hamish Kilburn on stage to discuss this year’s major topic in a live talk entitled The Conscious Bedroom Report, which takes place at 11:30am on October 15, 2019.

Brand Partners (as of August 2019)
ARTIQ– art consultants and rental agency, Axminster- carpets, Cole & Son– wallpaper and fabrics, Crosswater- bathroom items including shower, basin, toilet and tapsCurran Packaging– recycled cardboard tubing, Domus – bathroom floor and wall tiles, timber flooring, Edward Bulmer – paint, The Fine Cotton Company – towels, gowns, slippers and bed linens, Harris & Harris London– furniture and decorative lighting, Naturalmat – bed, mattress and bed linens, Plant Plan – plants and moss/living wall, Quooker – boiling, filtered & chilled water mixer tap, Samsung– television and soundbarSmile Plastics– recycled plastic sheet material, Wandsworth Group – power, lighting sockets and faceplates

25Hours Hotels to debut in Italy in 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
25Hours Hotels to debut in Italy in 2020

The hotel brand that focuses on individuality, authenticity and striking first impressions has just announced that the opening of 25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino will mark the brand’s entrance into Italy… 

Irreverent, smart, and authentic, and always with design that starts with a compelling story, 25Hours Hotels will next year open what it is describing as a “first-of-its-kind 173-room hotel in Florence, Italy”. The hotel, which will be posited steps away from Piazza di Santa Maria Novella is slated to open in early summer 2020, unveiling daring interiors by Paola Navone and architecture by Genius Loci Architecture.

25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino will celebrate the wanderings of the exiled Dante Alighieri, with The Divine Comedy as the basis for its storytelling.

While the local architecture firm will take care of renovating the three existing buildings and integrating them into a single complex, Navone will add her own creative hallmark to the hotel combining the traditional with the contemporary.

The listed group of buildings in the Tuscan capital spans an area of 10,750 square meters and will set a new standard for the neighborhood with plans to incorporate many Florentine businesses and local heroes.

25hours is a young hotel idea that seeks to find contemporary answers to the demands of urban, cosmopolitan travelers. The German-born brand focuses on individuality, authenticity and character, and designs each of its hotels in partnership with various designers and in a unique style, under the motto “Know one, know none”.The hotel brand currently operates 13 hotels in German-speaking countries as well as in Paris. 2020 will also see more openings: The 25hours Hotel Firenze and the 25hours Hotel Dubai. The 25hours Hotel Company formed a strategic alliance with AccorHotels in 2016, and now also pursues hotel projects around the globe.

Main image credit: Studio OTTO

Independent Hotel Show 2019 announces this year’s talks

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Independent Hotel Show 2019 announces this year’s talks

Editor Hamish Kilburn will host The Conscious Bedroom Report on the Innovation Stage at Independent Hotel Show 2019, which takes place October 15 – 16… 

As proud a long-standing media partner, Hotel Designs, which recently lifted the lid on which trends will emerge during the event, shares this year’s major topics and sessions that will be explored during the Independent Hotel Show 2019, which takes place October 15 – 16 at Olympia London.

October 15

Innovation Stage

Title: The No Commission Mission, presented by eviivo
Time: 10:30am – 11:15am
Host: eviio
Description: Web tools have levelled the playing field for independent hoteliers when it comes to competing for bookings online, enabling savvy businesses to get more of their bookings direct and save on commission. However, with so many options available, how do you know which are the most effective and how can you ensure that your website is working as efficiently as possible? Ideal for: Owner-operators, Marketing Directors, Business Development

Title: The Conscious Bedroom Report 
Time: 11:30am – 12:10pm
Host: Hamish Kilburn (Hotel Designs)
Speakers Alex Harris (Harris & Harris), Olivia Richli (Heckfield Place), Sue Williams (Whatley Manor), Xenia zu Hohenlohe (Considerate Group)
Description: In line with the emerging trends of modern, environmentally savvy hotel guests, we’re introducing a futuristic and boundary pushing hotel room – The Conscious Bedroom. Here our panel will review the feasibility of this statement room and discuss the accompanying research piece to provide insight on capitalising on the thoughtful guest. Ideal for: Guest Relation Managers, Design Directors, Owner-operators

Three men on the Hotel Vision stage

Image caption: Editor Hamish Kilburn leading panel discussion entitled ‘Designing for Bleisure’ at Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam 2019

Title: Social Media 2020
Time: 12:40pm – 1:20pm
Host: Alison Battisby (Acocado Social)
Description: We all know the world of communication evolves rapidly, so join our session to explore what you need to know to make your social media impactful and economical in 2020. With plenty of best practice examples, we’ll delve in to chatbots, stories and the latest advice on influencers! Ideal for: Marketing Directors, Owner-operators, Sales Managers

Title: Unpacking the Wellness Traveller 
Time: 1:50pm – 2:30pm
Speakers: David Connell (South Lodge), Harry Cragoe (The Gallivant), Nadira Lalji (Inhabit Hotels), Rohaise Rose-Bristow (The Torridon)
Description: As travellers show an increasing desire to maintain a healthy lifestyle whether they’re at home, on a holiday, or on the road for business, catering for guest well-being can also lead to a healthier bottom line for you. Discover how to make wellness a revenue stream without having to open a spa, and learn how guest well-being and customer engagement are intrinsically linked.

Title: Discussing Design with SPACE 
Time: 3:00pm – 3:40pm
Speakers: Can Faik (SPACE Magazine), Russell Sage (Russell Sage Studio)

Hotel Vision Stage 

Title: Mental Health: Breaking the Taboo
Time: 11:00am – 11:40am
Speakers: TBC
Description: Long hours, high-pressure working environments and increasingly worrying statistics, and yet mental health continues to be a largely silent issue across the hospitality industry. Thankfully, people are starting to talk about their experiences. Join us as Mitch Collier recounts his own battle and recovery under the employment of Raymond Blanc OBE. Ideal for: HR Directors, General Managers, Owners-operators

Title: Hotel Dynasties 
Time: 12:00pm – 12:40pm
Speakers: Will Ashworth (Watergate Bay Hotel), Peter Hancock (Pride of Britain Hotels), Paul Milsom, (The Milsom Hotels)
Description: There’s no denying that family businesses carry with them a special essence, unique and distinct from competitors. So, whether you own a family-run hotel or not, make sure to be a part of the discussion, to get access to vital intel on how to create a family culture, gain trust and loyalty from your employees and build a strong company ethos. Ideal for: General Managers, Owners-operators, Front of House, Customer Service Staff

Title: Collaboration is Key: Building Successful Partnerships
Time: 1:00pm – 1:40pm
Speakers: Petra Clayton (Custard Communications), Laura Sharpe (Ham Yard Hotel), Chris Ward (Hotel Makers UK)
Description: Brand partnerships, that’s clever collabs with other like-minded businesses, are a valuable way to accelerate the growth of your brand and uncover lucrative new revenue streams. But how do you find the ‘best fit’ and work together to create value? Our panel will discuss the opportunities, so you’re pre-armed with strategies for your own hotel business. Ideal for: Marketing Directors, Owners-operators, Guest Relations Managers, General Managers

October 16

Innovation Stage

Title: How to Drive Direct Bookings, from those winning on the web
Time: 11:30 – 12:10pm
Speakers: TBC
Description: Our panel of industry experts will provide practical tips on exactly how to present yourself online to maximise your direct bookings, and pioneering hoteliers highlight how taking the theory and putting it in to practice really works. No jargon, nothing too techy, just stuff you can go back and do straight away!’ Ideal for: Owner-operators, Marketing Directors, Business Development

Title: The Dark Art of Digital
Time: 12:40 – 1:20pm
Speakers: Olivia Byrne (Eccleston Square Hotel), Julie Grieve (Criton), Steve Lowy (The Hotel Marketing Association)
Description: Hospitality has long been one of the most underserved industries in terms of digital transformation, but now is the time for change. Join our expert panel to unpick how the hotel industry is embracing new digital products and technologies; from AI and automation, to biometics and virtual concierges, this A-Z of opportunity is sure to leave you inspired. Best for: Marketing Directors, IT Directors, General Managers

Title: The Main Ingredients: Digesting the latest trends in F&B
Time: 1.50pm – 2.30pm
Speaker: Juan Diego
Description: With the dining sector facing its own struggles, it’s harder than ever for hotel restaurants to rustle up the winning formula. We’ll be exploring the top trends in food and drink for 2020, as well as the management styles and mindsets that can help hotel restaurants thrive in the modern age. Best for: F&B Directors, Restaurant Managers, Bar Managers, Marketing Directors

Hotel Vision Stage

Title: Community Business 
Time: 11:00 – 11:40am
Speakers: Nick Davies (Cottage in the Woods), Tim Holloway (The Manor at Sway), Julio Marques (The London Bridge Hotel)
Description: Owners and executives share how supporting and working with your local community can help you be an employer of choice, source talent nearby and support the local economy – and what to do when it backfires! Ideal for: Owners, General Managers, Heads of Operations, HR Professionals

Title: Company Culture
Time: 1:00pm – 1:40pm
Speakers: Liz McGivern (Red Carnation Hotels), Julia Murrell (Firmdale Hotels), Adam Rowledge (Rowledge Associates)
Description: New research by jobs website Glassdoor suggests most people believe a strong company culture will make them happier at work than earning a high salary. But if the solutions to the staffing crisis is as simple as having an engaged company culture, how do you actually creat and maintain one that works for your hotel? Ideal for: General Managers, HR Professionals, Heads of Department

Main image credit: Independent Hotel Show 2018

Hotel Indigo arrives in Italy’s fashion capital – Milan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Indigo arrives in Italy’s fashion capital – Milan

Hotel Indigo Milan – Corso Monforte becomes the hotel brand’s third hotel in Italy… 

Milan, known as the birthplace of some of the world’s most recognised high-end fashion designers including Prada, Armani and Dolce & Gabbana, has welcomed Hotel Indigo Milan – Corso Monforte to the mix of hotels in the area. The new design-led hotel is centrally located close to the notable fashion district – the perfect location for those looking to explore one of the world’s fashion capitals.

Hotel Indigo properties offer a gateway to discover some of the world’s most inspiring neighbourhoodsand locations. Each hotel brings the outside in; drawing from the local area to inspire every aspect of each hotel, from intriguing design to locally inspired menus.

Hotel Indigo® Milan – Corso Monforte takes inspiration from the surrounding neighbourhood, mixing elements from 1950’s Italian vintage fashion with contemporary cues intrinsically weaved into one seamless interior design theme of fashion through the ages. Throughout the hotel’s 75 rooms, bold prints and colour splash the walls and feature artwork and sketches from Biki, one of the most notable names of the Milan fashion scene in the 30s, 40s and 50s. Opening her first atelier (studio) in 1934 in Milan, Biki paved the way in the development of prét-a-porte fashion (ready-to wear). Her style wastypically classic Italian, specially made for the Milanese ‘vita’ – the high life. Throughout the hotel you can see nods to this through elements such as the large vintage leather-bound classic trunks embossed with the hotel’s initials.

“The hotel boasts unique design features that are recognisable to the fashion connoisseur.”

From ‘hat box’ bedside tables, bowler hat lamps and sewing machines desks, the hotel boasts unique design features that are recognisable to the fashion connoisseur whilst ensuring they blend with thebuilding’s original architecture. Throughout the historic palace, intricately detailed classically coffered ceilings and panelled walls can be seen, lending to the classical era of the hotel. Large arches dominate throughout and surround the interior courtyard, making it the perfect place for an afternoon coffee or drink.

“Set to double its portfolio over the next three to five years, Hotel Indigo continues its strong growth as one of the largest boutique brands in this fast-growing segment,” said Eric Viale, Managing Director Southern Europe, IHG. “The brand is now at home in over 100 different and vibrant neighbourhoods globally, which is an incredibly exciting milestone. We provide guests with the best of both worlds – the promise of a design-led hotel and the reassurance of a consistently upscale experience with the IHG name behind it.” 

There are more than 109 Hotel Indigo properties open globally with more than 103 in the hotel pipeline, including Japan’s first Hotel Indigo, Hotel Indigo® Hakone Gora due to open later this year. In Europe alone, there are 32 hotels open in key neighbourhoods with a further 19 due to open in the next three – five years, depending on forecasts.

Recently, IHG opened the highly anticipated Hotel Indigo® Venice – Saint’Elena, the first IHG branded property on the island of Venice and Hotel Indigo® Stratford upon Avon, in the heart of Shakespeare’s home town. 

Main image credit: IHG

Sensitively carpeting Grade-I listed Hawkstone Hall Hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sensitively carpeting Grade-I listed Hawkstone Hall Hotel

Brintons’ sensitive approach to hotel design was required when sensitively creating the timeless interiors inside Hawkstone Hall Hotel, a 37-key luxury abode that has emerged following a two-year restoration…

Grade-I listed 18th century Hawkstone Hall, which is owned by The Distinctly Hospitable Group, has been sympathetically restored over a two-year period and has now opened as a hotel for the first time in its 550-year history.

Located in the beautiful Shropshire countryside and set within 88 acres of gardens, the country mansion, which was originally built as a stately family home, features ceilings gilded with gold, sweeping staircases, four-poster suites and a private Chapel.

The Distinctly Hospitable Group decided to undertake a multi-million renovation of the building and re-open it as a luxury boutique hotel, with designer Kay Petrouis overseeing the renovation. The interior styling results at the newly- opened hotel have been breathtaking, Kay used an English heritage colour palette throughout the property to suit the listed period details and the Georgian manor has been restored to its original splendour, with many original features being reinstated.

The main hall hosts 12 sumptuous suites, all of which are named after British artists, writers, poets, and playwrights. Adjacent to the main building, The Orangery Wing has also undergone complete renovations, encompassing a further 25 bedrooms. Inside the rooms, colour tones mirror that of the main hall using the soft hues of duck-egg blue and calamine pink.

Jane Bradley-Bain, Brintons senior creative designer created bespoke, contemporary carpet designs for the Guest Suites within Hawkstone Hall featuring a warm grey and blue colour palette. The chosen designs capture the latest trend by taking a traditional design form and then giving it an abstract treatment to create a distressed classic elegance. Jane also developed a timeless classic motif design for the Library room using a cool neutral palette, the custom designs complement the sophisticated and contemporary interiors bringing a modern element that harmonises with the period of the building.

Amber Kashan from Brintons Renaissance stocked collection was selected by designer Nasim Köerting at Studio Köerting for the Byron Suite, the intricate large-scale design in bold, rich opulent colours is inspired by the golden age of Persian art and literature and compliments the mansions grand interiors. The design was also used in hotels bar area and snug.

“It was an absolute pleasure to design in a exceptional Grade-I listed building like Hawkstone Hall,” said Köerting. “We were able to create a real fairytale space. Brintons were flexible and could work within our building constraints like creating beautiful edged rugs to protect the original timber plank flooring.”

Traditional trellis patterns from Brintons QuickWeaveTM collection were chosen for key public areas including the Ceremony Room, corridors and reception, the trellis designs treated with texture provides a modern but contemporary feel.

The designs throughout the hotel vary, so each fitted carpet suits the specific finished space accordingly. Designs are classic patterns which harmonise with other interior surfaces and materials.

Main image credit: Aubadecreative

In Conversation With: Unidrain’s Kenneth Waaben on modern bathrooms

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Unidrain’s Kenneth Waaben on modern bathrooms

Hotel Designs exclusively sits down with innovative head designer at Unidrain, Kenneth Waaben, to understand more about the process behind the brand’s design of the modern bathroom… 

With the aim to “create aesthetic and functional designs that enhanced the company’s existing portfolio,” Kenneth Waaben started working for Unidrain in 2014. Since then, his clear methodical way of thinking when it comes to balancing practicality and good design has led to the launch of many of Unidrain’s hero products, including the dynamic Reframe Collection. 

For Waaben, who graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, design is an iterative process that is based on a specific problem, as we find out in our exclusive Q&A.

Hamish Kilburn: What made you want to take on the challenge of designing for Unidrain?

Kenneth Waaben: In my view, good design has to be durable, a design that makes a difference, both aesthetically and functionally. Unidrain wished for products that stood out and solvedproblems in amore elegant and intelligent ways than other products in the market. I was able to design these products, so it was a fine match.

As a designer it is my mission to improve what already exists. Unfortunately, these days many new products are created with no real focus and are not designed to improving anything.

In these days of eco awareness and sustainability this is neither an interesting nor effective approach to product development. As a designer I feel we have to do everything we can to make a positive difference.

“One should dare to be critical of general practice, see possibilities and be open and brave enough to try new things.” – Kenneth Waaben, Unidrain

HK: What is your motto?

KW: Improve the existing – the devil is in the detail!  One should dare to be critical of general practice, see possibilities and be open and brave enough to try new things.

HK: What is the process behind your designs?

KW: I like to look at the things we use and find out where there is room for improvement, and then generate ideas around this.  It can be a challenge to connect the aesthetic with the functional. The process requires repeated tests and adjustments, it’s important to be aware of even the smallest details, since it is often these that make all the difference.

The road towards the goal, the actual design process, is to a great extent an iterative process where inspiration, the idea, the form and function is developed in a constant interactionbetween mind and hands.

It is all collaboration between drafts in 2D and 3D on paper and drafts shaped in cardboard and foam,as well as 3D printing and CAD. Through the entire process it is extremely important to use your experience and intuition.

HK: What was your most recent project?

KW: The Reframe Collection has been taking up my thoughts most recently.  One of the designs that have been under the design microscope is the Reframe corner shelf. I wanted to give new life to an everyday product, improve on the design.

Two other products in the Reframe Collection,the toilet brush and shower wiper, were also being re-framed and re-designed.    We looked at each item; the new toilet brush has been designed with a splash collar that eliminates the accumulationof bacteria between the inner and outer containers.

There is a small, integrated handle, so that you can easily empty the container without coming into contact with any bacteria.  The actual brush head has also been designed to collect as little water and paper as possible, to reduce unwanted dripping.

The shower wiper is a difficult product to keep tidy in the shower space so we designeda way of integrating the shower wiper with the soap shelf.  It is held in place by hidden magnets, which avoids having the wiper standing on the floor or hanging on the mixer tap.

HK: Do you design your products to be long lasting?

KW: Products have to be durable, this is important, plus time has proven that well-designed, long lasting products are also often the most popular.

As a designer, it’s important not to focus on what’s popular right now, as you risk designing a product that quickly becomes irrelevant.  It’s far more interesting to take a long-term approach. Many of the design products that are now celebrated around the world were often created many years ago and not on the basis of contemporary fads and trends.

Unidrain 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.

SNEAK PEEK: B3 Designers lifts the lid on The Prince Akatoki Hotel London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SNEAK PEEK: B3 Designers lifts the lid on The Prince Akatoki Hotel London

London-based hospitality interior design specialist B3 Designers is heading towards the finish line of completing the interiors for The Prince Akatoki London, a new hotel located on Great Cumberland Place near Marble Arch…

Opening mid-September, The Prince Akatoki London’s newly designed spaces include 82 guestrooms and suites, a reception and sanctuary, a communal workspace for hotel guests, a Japanese restaurant featuring a sushi counter and robata grill, as well as a lounge and bar offering a tea ceremony room by day and a whiskey bar by night.

The Japanese-owned Prince Akatoki London, the first of its kind, will bring Japanese luxury design and hospitality to the heart of the West End, and this will be reflected in the design throughout the entire hotel. The brief to B3 Designers was to create spaces that encourage guests to relax and recharge in a light, tranquil, mindful and minimalist environment that champions Japanese craftsmanship and unparalleled attention to detail.

B3 Designers has fused quintessentially Japanese touchpoints into its minimalist and modern design to enhance and complete a luxury Japanese experience. The team has drawn inspiration from well-crafted simple joinery details, and has applied a strong use of natural materials, muted and light yet durable fabrics, crafted but modern seating, sleek metallic lighting, modern ceramics with rustic touches, and abundant use of stone and slate.

Image credit: B3 Designers/The Prince Akatoki London

The look and feel of the bedrooms, hotel reception and sanctuary (located adjacent to the reception) evoke a sense of calm through the use of lighter-coloured, fresh and tranquil materials. The use of decorative panels featuring Japanese landscapes, whether dark or light, help guests enjoy a unique, refined incarnation of Japanese hospitality and culture in the heart on London.

The destinational public spaces including the restaurant and a tea ceremony room that transforms into a whiskey bar for evening guests, flaunt a darker colour palette yet still boast natural, well-crafted materials.

The hotel is currently gearing up for its official unveiling, which is slated to take place next month.

Main image credit: B3 Designers/The Prince Akatoki London

CASE STUDY: Furnishing Hard Rock Hotel London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Furnishing Hard Rock Hotel London

Curtis Furniture explains its role on the first ever Hard Rock Hotel in the UK to bring the brand back to its British London roots…

When Curtis Furniture was tasked to work on the UK’s first ever Hard Rock Hotel, we had to understand the heightened importance of accuracy in order to bring to life the designer’s vision. Key to this was our ability to clarify accurately the requirements in advance, working as partners to the architects, Unwin Jones Partnership as we developed an on-site sample room and rolled this out through the whole hotel.

Benjamin Harvey, Category Buyer at glh Hotels explains: “Shipping supplies from outside the UK carries a risk to the quality of materials and timings of deliveries. To avoid these risks, we wanted to select a British Manufacturer, and Curtis are one of the few with the capacity to supply bespoke case goods for 1,000 rooms over a 12-month project.

Our relationship with them goes back more than 20 years. We needed to choose an expert partner we could trust to turn around the room refurbishments in a timely manner and with minimal disruption, as the hotel remained fully operational throughout.”

“The newly refurbished rooms buzz with the energy associated with the Hard Rock brand.”

Ultimately the success of the project was due to the accuracy and quality of materials supplied by a responsive, client-focused team. The newly refurbished rooms buzz with the energy associated with the Hard Rock brand. Hard Rock Hotel London is no longer simply somewhere to stay while experiencing all that London has to offer, it is now part of the London experience.

Main image credit: Hard Rock Hotel London/ ROBERTO LARA PHOTOGRAPHY

Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House opens in Rwanda

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House opens in Rwanda

The new hotel in Rwanda, designed by GAPP Architects in collaboration with the interior design teams Cécile & Boyd and Hesse Kleinloog (HK) Studio, opens to uniquely provide sanctuary for 320 endangered mountain gorillas on 178 acres of land… 

Multi-award winning conservation brand Singita has officially opened its doors to Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House in Rwanda.

Set on 178 acres of lush land on the edge of Volcanoes National Park, Singita Kwitonda Lodge is home to eight luxurious suites and resides alongside Kataza House – an exclusive use four-bedroom villa.

For the past 26 years, Singita has operated iconic ecotourism lodges and camps across three regions in Africa. The brand’s expansion into Rwanda supports the company’s 100-year purpose to preserve and protect large areas of African wilderness for future generations. To this end, Singita has committed to extensive reforestation initiatives in Rwanda, helping to increase the range and numbers of endangered mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. The presence of Singita Kwitonda Lodge on the park border will help to create a natural space between agricultural plots and the habitat of the estimated 320 mountain gorillas that find sanctuary here. The property itself has been named after named after a legendary silverback gorilla known for his humility and gentle nature – Kwitonda.

Singita has been inspired by the warm and welcoming spirit of the people of Rwanda which embodies a sense of goodwill and encapsulates their remarkable recovery from a painful past – this energy has driven them forward in their country’s rebirth. For this reason, Singita feels enormously privileged to open just ten minutes from Singita Volcanoes National Park and will contribute significantly to conservation, community partnerships and ecotourism. The lodge’s on-site nursery, Akarabo has to date provided approximately 250,000 indigenous forest shrubs, bamboo shoots and trees for an extensive reforestation initiative.

The design of Singita Kwitonda Lodge was conceptualised by GAPP Architects in collaboration with the interior design teams Cécile & Boyd and Hesse Kleinloog (HK) Studio. The design takes its cue from Rwanda’s cultural heritage and the enormous responsibility of protecting the strong, yet vulnerable gorillas. Bold, striking interiors, which are simultaneously nurturing, reflect the duality of the gorillas’ nature; and this is also seen in the interplay of surprisingly strong art and furniture with pared-back modernity.

“It’s an absolute dream to expand our conservation footprint in Rwanda – a beautiful country with a remarkable conservation success story,” said Singita Founder and Executive Chairman, Luke Bailes. “Contributing to the Government’s enormous efforts to protect the country’s wildlife is both a privilege and a serious responsibility. We’re thrilled with the elegant, exceptionally sustainable lodges we’ve created here. They allow guests to connect deeply with nature in the heart of Africa, after a humbling encounter with the gorillas.

Image credit: Singita

Guest suites are made up of cosy living spaces, indoor and outdoor fireplaces and heated plunge pools, with breath-taking views of the Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura volcanoes. Travellers are encouraged to enjoy soothing massages on return from their adventurous excursions. Natural elements like earth, mist, rain and lava are cleverly integrated into furniture pieces and linear artwork. Meanwhile the vivid colour palette of lava black, khaki green, ‘greige’ and fiery orange echo the surrounding landscape which flows in through large windows throughout the lodge. It’s an inherently African sophistication that is long-lasting, polished and earthy.

The property itself is made up of a collection of small buildings laid which follow the natural contours of the ground. Each element of the design and construction of the lodge and villa follow Singita’s which informed every detail from site design and materials used to energy and water systems as well as overall interior design. The team worked closely with the local community to locally source most building materials from the immediate Musanze district – a majority of the elements that make up the property have been made in Africa and handpicked by the interior designers.

More than 500 local artisans and builders were involved in the project crafting volcanic walls, impressive woven ceilings and hand-fired terracotta brickwork, ensuring an authentic translation of local culture into key elements, adding a significant boost to local employment and businesses.  The overall effect is strong and captivating, yet soothing, enhancing the serious, soul-centering experience of encountering gorilla families in their natural habitat.

The food and beverage offering at the lodge takes a farm-to-table-approach featuring largely vegetable-based dishes and local Rwandan favourites, the on-site herb and fruit garden supplies the lodge kitchens with an array of fresh ingredients. Other highlights of the food journey include tailor-made trekking lunchboxes, flexible mealtimes and a signature “bar-deli” which offers fresh fruit and small snacks, enabling guests to help themselves throughout the day.

Main image credit: Singita

PRODUCT WATCH: GESSI adds architectural wellness to its range

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: GESSI adds architectural wellness to its range

The GESSI Architectural Wellness project is a new concept in design that makes the functions of “wellness of the five senses” modular and customisable, with signicant technical advantages….

Binario, the system that inaugurates the new project launched by GESSI, envisages the overhead installation of wall mounted tracks, similar to those used in the lighting sector. These location, customisable by number, length and form, can contain modules with different functions: waterfall, nebulisation, rainfall, illumination, sound and aeration. 

The illumination component was develo- ped together with Artemide, with whom Gessi boasts a historic collabora- tion. The technical track that olds the shower, light, sound and air elements is installable and usable in the con gurations preferred by the client. 

The system can be easily modi ed over time without further structural work, through the addition of new plug and play modules. The beauty of this product can extend beyond the shower area to also furnish other space of the home, creating versatile and new compositions. 

Gessi 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.

Mitsis Hotels lifts the lid on redesign story behind Greek gem

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Mitsis Hotels lifts the lid on redesign story behind Greek gem

Architecture and design firm WATG completed the renovation and redesign of Mitsis Summer Palace on the Greek island of Kos… 

Uniquely positioned on an elevated site above a Blue Flag-awarded beach, the newly renovated Mitsis Summer Palace boasts 360-degree views across the Aegean Sea towards Nissiros Island and the Bay of Kardamena, and offers a stunning direct line of sight all the way to the coast of Turkey. Tasked with the evolutionary renovations was the multidisciplined design firm WATG.

Showcasing the full suite of of the firm’s services, the project – which included upgrades to thesite’s restaurant and pool amenities – incorporated strategy, planning, architecture, landscape architecture and Wimberly Interiors to achieve a fully integrated, considered space that celebrates the stunning surroundings while aligning perfectly with Mitsis Hotels’ commitment to creating one-of-a-kind travel experiences.

“The hillside situation of the hotel, with expansive views across the Aegean, was theinspiration for creating a space which seamlessly connects the guest with the horizon,” said Georgina Langridge of WATG’s London Landscape Architecture team who was awarded a Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30 earlier this year. “From a design perspective, it was all about connecting visitors with the surrounding sea and celebrating the Kos sunset. In contrast to other pools on the island, we made a bold move with the colour palette and opted for a dark tile – something that is quite unique to the property, which has bold features throughout including teal sun lounges and coralaccents in the restaurant.”

On working with Mitsis Hotels, WATG London Associate Vice President and Architect Nick Carrier commented: “WATG is thrilled to have an ongoing and exciting relationship with a company like Mitsis Hotels. We’re grateful to them for placing trust in us to make bolddecisions and contribute to their vision of creating unique, customer-centric spaces.”

Mitsis Summer Palace reopened in April 2019 following the highly successful renovation and reopening of Mitsis Norida Beach in April 2018, which featured five new pools, a pool bar, three restaurants and a beach bar – also a WATG multidisciplinary design project.

Main image credit: Mitsis Hotels

In Conversation With: Versa’s Paul Gibson on sustainable wallcoverings in EMEA hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Versa’s Paul Gibson on sustainable wallcoverings in EMEA hotels

As part of its expansion plans for 2019 and beyond, Versa Wallcovering has recently turned up the volume in amplifying its products in Europe. Hotel Designs editor Hamish Kilburn sits down with the company’s new Business Development Manager (EMEA), Paul Gibson, to understand more about his vision and the latest sustainable wallcovering products on the market… 

Having worked with the likes of Marriott International, Hilton Hotels, IHG and Four Seasons, among many other brands, Versa Wallcovering is currently at a crossroads in its journey. Known in the US as one of the go-to contract surface brands, it has recently added a new element within in its strategy in order to expand in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

The individual who has been tasked to direct the traffic forwards in the EMEA regions is Paul Gibson. With more 15 years’ experience in the sector, Gibson is, in Versa Wallcovering’s eyes, the ideal industry expert for the job. “This is very much a clean page for Versa,” he says. “The company has always had an element of a presence in the UK through distribution, but they decided about a year ago to do a full-on sales attack in Europe.”

What seems to set the company aside from other conventional wallcovering brands is its sustainability qualities – not only in designing durable products that are built to last but also considering materials at manufacturing stages. “We have the technology to recycle and recover used vinyl and factory waste,” explains Gibson. “We cover it to be used in new products, which is a completely unique process. We have a range called Second Look, which is created using recycled materials. There are recycled materials in all of our products with no sacrifice in appearance, durability and quality. The other thing we have launching later this year is a PVC-free vinyl.”

Image caption: Paul Gibson, Versa Wallcovering’s Business Development Manager (EMEA),

Quick-fire round

Hamish Kilburn: A trend you hope to never return?
Paul Gibson: Artex on walls. It’s hideous.

HK: What is the wallcoverings market as a whole really focusing on at the moment?
G: I want to say sustainability, but more needs to be done first. I guess innovation of design.

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
PG: Tokyo

HK: What is the number-one item you can’t travel without?
PG: My phone

HK: What’s the last transaction that will show up on your statement?
PG: Probably an ITunes download, or coffee!

HK: How has technology changed since you entered the market?
PG: I started in 2004, and there were silk vinyl copies that were plastic and shiny and it didn’t look real. Now, you can’t really tell the difference because they are so realistic. Just how far tech has come in a relatively short period of time is incredible.

One area in the hotel that benefits more than others from innovative and creative wallcoverings is the lobby – and a fairly simple way to give these public areas personality is to inject colour in them. “The days of having one tone of colour on a vinyl are almost over,” explains Gibson. “We have a very sophisticated printing process where we can print multiple layers.

“What people couldn’t achieve a few years ago they now can because tech allows them to. Digital wallcoverings is now moving more towards achieving more intricate detailed. Now are using digital printing methods in standard wallcoverings where we can print on a texture or print over a colour to create more varied effects.”

Versa Wallcovering’s latest collection, which includes Caba, Capri and Crush, is proof in the pudding that the company’s focus remains on hotels within all levels and its inspiration comes from nature – think stones, peacocks and floral aesthetics but with a modern twist. “Our design team are very good at looking outside our direct industry for inspiration is key,” adds Gibson. “They are visionaries who are thinking outside the box and I am very proud of the new collection that has been a result of that method.”

Keeping brand values close to home, the company’s ‘everything we sell, we manufacture’ policy keeps its products and service seamless and absolute. In addition, and as an incentive for designers to select more sustainable products at affordable costs, Versa Wallcovering promises competitive prices and endeavours to deliver samples the next day (where possible even same day).

Now that Versa Wallcovering has turned the page to enter a new chapter on a prosperous journey, its global reach of eco-sourced products has inspired designers, architects, owners and operators to think more about the materials used when designing the hotels of our future.

Versa Wallcovering 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.

MINIVIEW: room2 Southampton, the debut hometel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: room2 Southampton, the debut hometel

Claiming to be the world’s first hometel brand, room2 Southampton shelters the best of both worlds in 71 rooms. As Hotel Designs continues to focus the Spotlight On Hotel Concepts, editor Hamish Kilburn spoke to design firm Project Orange to understand the design story…

With the aim to create a home-from-home hotel on England’s south coast, room2 Southampton opened to float above the surface in a sea of competition among other sub brands sitting under larger groups to stand out as a lifestyle hotel.

Tasked to redesign the hotel experience as we know it, the design team at Project Orange were briefed by Lamington UK to conceptualise and create the ultimate apart-hotel. “We believed that there are a lot of tired, soulless, corporate hotels out there, and we wanted to inject fun, energy and life into peoples stay,” says Robert Godwin, the Managing Director of Lamington UK. “The design brief was to take inspiration from the local surroundings, and so the ‘golden age of cruise lining from Southampton’, was our design starting point. We wanted to make a place which would put a smile on someones face, not make them feel stiff, because if a guest was relaxed, they would rejuvenate better, and be their best version of themselves the next day (whether for work or play).”

Steering clear of gimmicks, which too often creep in to plans when innovating hotel concepts, the project started to convert a block of 1980s offices into the 71-key ‘hometel’. “The concept of room2 is neither conventional hotel nor conventional Apart-hotel,” says Christopher Ash, Director at Project Orange. “It is a space between a hotel and Airbnb.”

Image credit: room2

Before creating the modern, compact but well equipped kitchens and proper spaces to dine, eat sleep and relax, the design team faced a common challenge of planning restrictions. “The main challenges involved taking an un prepossessing 1980s office building in a fantastic location and transforming it into this new brand of hometel,” explains Ash. “Planning restrictions severely limited external changes to the main part of the building so we focussed on the ground floor and creating huge Edward Hopper type picture windows that drew the gaze into the room2 Living Room, married with a bold new entrance design. Incorporating new M&E services, especially as bedrooms include kitchen areas also presented challenges.”

“Guests ‘get it’, they rave about the concept for us.” – Robert Godwin, Managing Director, Leamington Group

In creating something new and aiming to make a marked improvement on conventional hotel and apartment-style accommodation, a new term has been created – the ‘hometel’ – and it’s the perfect way to describe the interiors, the feel and the overarching concept that is housed inside. “It has been our biggest achievement to date, because it is not a fad, or buzz word,” adds Godwin. “Guests ‘get it’, they rave about the concept for us, and what’s very special about ‘home’, is it means something special and personal to everyone, so therefore guests get an instant connection with the brand and their stay experience.”

The extremely flexible accommodation has clearly been designed with purpose in order to suit both long and short stay, full or part self-catering and mixed/family groups. Many of the rooms, for example, include an iconic second loft-like sleeping deck area, ideal for families travelling with kids. “Everyone one loves a well-designed hotel room, cleaned daily and with fresh towels and linen, air conditioning and (generally) a big TV you can lie and watch in bed,” explains Ash. “And lots of people love a good hotel breakfast too. But sometimes you want a bit of flexibility, especially with extended stay guests.  – a chance to enjoy your favourite breakfast cereal in your room, or to cook up a quick pasta in the evening. Or you may want the chance to rustle up something simple for the kids whilst they’re glued to the TV. These are things more associated with home, or an Airbnb. But then you have to do your own housekeeping!

“You can be as plugged in or as zoned out as you like.” – Christopher Ash, Director, Project Orange.

“room2 is the perfect half-way house. An informal hotel with lots of personality you can enjoy but won’t be beholden to. There is no restaurant or bar in the traditional sense, just the room2 Living Room which is part hang out space, laid back working area, café, bar and meeting area. Likewise there are no designated reception staff, waiters or bar staff – the room2 Roommates are easy going jacks of all trades. You can be as plugged in or as zoned out as you like.”

Drawing on extensive industry experience, room2’s design considers all people and checking in and all possible scenarios. The result is a rule-breaking design-led abode, full of personality and attitude that allows its guests to experience the hometel on their own terms.

Main image credit: room2 Southampton

Rosewood Washington D.C. reopens with new F&B and public areas

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Rosewood Washington D.C. reopens with new F&B and public areas

Rosewood Washington D.C., which is widely regarded as Georgetown’s leading luxury hotels, has reopened with new distinct dining concepts, including a new rooftop lounge, CUT Above…

With interiors led by Jacques Garcia, Rosewood Washington D.C. has reopened its doors to unveil a new public area and F&B spaces. Instilling a sense of conviviality at the very start of the guest journey, the hotel’s new public spaces include a reimagined lobby and library.

Elegant design and architectural details, such as wood paneling, antique mirrors and marble fireplaces, line the lobby and its corridors, evoking the environment of a private home. The signature residential style is further reflected in the library, where a double height ceiling, deep velvet sofas and armchairs and a stunning chandelier invite guests to visit with friends or relax on ones own.

“We are thrilled to reopen our doors and welcome back our neighbors and visiting guests alike,” said Gabor L. Vida, managing director of Rosewood Washington, D.C. “Created to complement the historic charm of the neighborhood, the new CUT D.C. is characterized by regionally sourced cuisine that celebrates the best of the area’s local farms and purveyors, marking a new chapter for the brand, hotel and local community. Combined with our new rooftop lounge, CUT Above, the restaurant reinforces Rosewood Washington, D.C. as an inviting gathering place for all of our guests.”

Destined to quickly become the most sought-after dining venue in the city, CUT D.C., debuts a new and unique take on Wolfgang Puck’s famed CUT concept through a highly evolved vegetable- and seafood-centric menu. Helmed by Executive Chef Andrew Skala, a veteran of the Wolfgang Puck brand who has spent the last 13 years working across its restaurants in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York City, the hotel’s restaurant features a locally inspired menu that brings a fresh flair to the district’s vibrant dining scene. The venue combines essential elements of American architecture with those of European interiors to produce a refined yet relaxed setting that invites guests to return time and time again.

Dark lit restaurant with modern interiors

Image credit: Ryan Forbes/Rosewood Hotels

“I want this CUT to be different, one that is true to the location of where it is,” said Wolfgang Puck. “It’s important to me that CUT D.C. has its own soul that reflects just how unique the Mid-Atlantic is and how diners want to eat now. While guests will still be able to order the signature steaks they have come to love at CUT, we want to showcase the bounty of the region and create a menu that encourages sharing.”

Set against the capital city’s iconic skyline, the hotel’s new rooftop bar and lounge, CUT Above, emerges as the ideal destination for al fresco entertaining.

In addition to the new dining venues, lobby and library, Rosewood Washington, D.C. is set to debut six new and one-of-a-kind townhouse suites later this year. Built at the turn of the century and situated along one of Georgetown’s picturesque, tree-lined streets, the accommodations will offer an entirely residential guest experience unavailable anywhere else in the city. Each approximately 1,100 square feet in size, the accommodations will be designed by local interior designer Thomas Pheasant and will boast private entrances, dedicated living spaces, fully equipped kitchens and a private back courtyard, in addition to custom furnishings and décor created by artisans and photographers from the surrounding metropolitan area.

Main image credit: Ryan Forbes/Rosewood Hotels

 

Blackpool Pleasure Beach welcomes new luxury hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Blackpool Pleasure Beach welcomes new luxury hotel

Boulevard Hotel is expected to be a game changer luxury hotel that is about to arrive on Pleasure Beach in Blackpool… 

The entertainment capital of the north west – AKA Blackpool – is about to add a new luxury hotel to the mix as part of a multi-million pound investment plan to reinforce the destination’s reputation as one of the UK’s most popular attractions. Situated on Ocean Boulevard, adjacent to iconic beaches, Boulevard Hotel is on the brink of opening its luxury offering.

With architecture by Allison Pike, the £12 million Boulevard Hotel comprises 120 stylish rooms designed by Amanda Thompson OBE, Managing Director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Accommodation offering will include eight junior suites, two park view suites and eight coastal suites, all with either coastal vistas or direct views of the attractions and rollercoasters – perfect for building the excitement.All boast bespoke artwork complemented by materials sourced from renowned British companies, including handmade furniture by Tetrad, Designers Guild fabrics and wallcoverings by Andrew Martin.

This superior accommodation will be complemented by a 90-seat signature restaurant, The Beachside, which uses locally sourced ingredients to create an array of exquisite dishes from around the globe.

“We are delighted to be able to build on the success of the Big Blue Hotel by offering both leisure and business visitors another hotel which exceeds all expectations,” said Thompson OBE. “This is a continuation of Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s ongoing investment and a pivotal moment for the town as a whole. We are proud to be at the very heart of a transformation that will see Blackpool become one of the UK’s most exciting resorts.”

The hotel is the latest addition to the Blackpool Pleasure Beach accommodation offering, which also includes the adjacent award-winning Big Blue Hotel. Both these properties are part of the Blackpool Pleasure Beach portfolio which has been operated by the Thompson family since the resort’s inception in 1896.

Main image credit: Boulevard Hotels

 

Lennox Hotels arrives on Miami Beach

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Lennox Hotels arrives on Miami Beach

Sheltered within an original 1930s Art Deco shell sits the newly opened 119-key Lennox Hotel Miami Beach. Hotel Designs takes a closer look at the new hotel on the block, imagined by acclaimed Argentinian interior designer Juan Ciavarella…

A striking new modern hotel, combining contemporary design with original Art Deco design, has opened its doors in South Florida hotspot, Miami Beach. Lennox Hotel Miami Beach is a bold luxury boutique property offering stylish accommodation and an authentic Miami experience.

The hotel – located on Miami’s iconic Collins Avenue – offers 119 contemporary guestrooms, 13 of these complemented by a balcony offering sweeping views of the buzzing streets of Miami Beach.  At the centre of the property’s four interconnected buildings, a Mediterranean-style courtyard features a 12ft swimming pool and poolside bar offering al fresco dining and serving innovative cocktails.

Located in what was once the Peter Miller Hotel, the property is a protected building in the heart of the area’s Historic District. Lennox Hotels purchased the building for $14.7 million in 2010 and has invested more than $100 million on an extensive transformation of the building.  The renovation has been focused on maintaining the property’s legacy by retaining its original Art Deco and Mediterranean Revival architectural style exterior and transforming it into a living landmark.

Exterior render of the hotel

Image credit: Lennox Hotels

“One of the most special features of Lennox Hotel Miami Beach is that not one guestroom is the same as the other.”

The guestrooms are enhanced by handcrafted furnishings from Patagonia, natural elements and eco-friendly and upcycled materials meticulously curated by acclaimed Argentinian interior designer Juan Ciavarella. Soft neutral tones and unique textiles combine in rooms that will range in categories from Terrace Poolside with direct pool access, to Balcony King with private balcony overlooking the colourful streets of Miami Beach. One of the most special features of Lennox Hotel Miami Beach is that not one guestroom is the same as the other.

“We are thrilled to be expanding the Lennox Hotel brand to the U.S. with the opening of Lennox Hotel Miami Beach,” said CEO of Lennox Hotels, Diego Agnelli. “Our reasons for choosing this area were as much because of the area’s vibrancy and liveliness as it was because of the welcoming spirit of its people and the friendliness they express toward travellers.  Our vision for Lennox Hotel Miami Beach is to provide a sophisticated and inviting setting for travellers to live an authentic Miami experience, one that not only provides a place to mingle with the locals, but also allows them to feel like locals and enjoy the area, its culture and vivacity through the lens of a local.”

The historic structure was designed by architect Russell Pancoast in 1934.  Pancoast is known for much of Miami Beach’s most celebrated buildings, including the Surf Club, the Church by the Sea and the Miami Beach Auditorium.

The property has the notable distinction of being among the 300 Miami Beach buildings that were leased by the U.S. Army for the Air Forces Technical Training Command during World War II. The buildings returned to civilian use in 1943 and remained a military property until 1944. The structure is now part of the Historic District.

The transformation of the hotel’s original structure into Lennox Hotel Miami Beach is the work of veteran Miami architect Beilison Gomez. 

Image of courtyard and long narrow pool

Image credit: Lennox Hotels

Stepping through the hotel’s front doors, guests will be welcomed by bartenders at the hotel bar, the ultimate lounge area to mingle with locals or relax after a day of travel and exploration. To the right, guests will find the lobby and to the left, a walkway will lead them to the hotel’s upscale restaurant.

The seamless service from the hotel’s staff will make guests feel welcomed in an atmosphere that exudes unpretentious sophistication.  Unparalleled signature service will include concierge services, room service, laundry and more.  Each guestroom will be complete with amenities such as a Nespresso Vertuoline with complimentary Nespresso capsules, 47-inch LG TVs, a stocked mini-bar and local artisan stacks (extra cost), in-room safe and complimentary Wi-Fi.

The team is also announcing a partnership with William Roamto provide the luxury bathroom products featured in each guestroom. From the brand’s SENSE collection, these products feature vegan, nature made beauty care. With Minnesota Tamarack Larch tree bark as the main ingredient and a blend of 21 aromatic extracts, the collection promotes lush and hydrated skin and hair. William Roam is a partner of American Forrest, a non-profit conservation dedicated to protecting and restoring healthy forest ecosystems. Thanks to this partnership, American Forest has committed to planting one tree for every hotel room at Lennox Hotel Miami Beach.

Additional amenities for guests include complimentary shuttle service within a one-mile radius, including to the hotel’s private area on the beach that offers lounge chairs, umbrellas and towels.

The property is located just one block away from the Miami Beach Convention Centre.  The hotel will provide an ideal setting for intimate meetings of up to 12 people in its Patagonia Boardroom, a multi-use space equipped with the latest technology.

Main image credit: Lennox Hotels

FINAL CALL: Applications for The Brit List 2019 close this week

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FINAL CALL: Applications for The Brit List 2019 close this week

FREE TO APPLY, nominations for The Brit List 2019 close on Friday August 9… 

Calling all interior designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers who operate in Britain, you have until Friday to submit your free entries for The Brit List 2019. Once all nominations/applications have been gathered, the expert judging panel will decide who will from this year’s The Brit List. All will be unveiled – including the individual award winners – on November 21 at an exclusive awards ceremony and evening drinks reception.

APPLY/NOMINATE SOMEONE FOR THE BRIT LIST 2019 BY CLICKING HERE

The concept of The Brit List, which launched in 2017, results in 75 names, split into three categories (designers, architects and hoteliers), being listed as true movers and shakers. The list will be created around the nominations (applications close on August 9) from the following awards that are up for grabs:

  • Interior Designer of the Year
  • Architect of the Year
  • Hotelier of the Year
  • Best in Tech
  • The Eco Award 
  • Best in British Product Design – NEW CATEGORY FOR 2019
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry

Suppliers: £150 + VAT (Please click here if you are a supplier to the industry to secure your ticket)
Designers, hoteliers, developers and architects: £20 + VAT (Please click here if you are either a designer, hotelier, developer or architect and secure your ticket)

In addition to attending The Brit List 2019 Awards, there are also various sponsorship opportunities for suppliers. If you would like to know more about these, please contact Katy Phillips on email or by calling 01992 474050.

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat

2019 Industry Partner: BIID

London to welcome ‘private members’ club’ hotel in 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
London to welcome ‘private members’ club’ hotel in 2020

Slated to open in Q1 of 2020, The Guardsman is a purpose-built luxury London boutique hotel that is expected to offer the atmosphere, discretion and personal service usually associated with a private members’ club…

Presenting guests with what is being described as “a true home away from home experience”, the 53-key The Guardsman, which will sit on Buckingham Gate, London, and is being designed by architects Dexter Moren Associates and multi-disciplinary design practice Tonik Associates.

The hotel will be sheltered in an intimate property said to cut the same style and atmosphere as that of a private members’ club. The top three floors will encompass six exclusive residences. Designed as the perfect London pied-a-terre, they comprise a selection of one, two and three bedrooms, along with sumptuous living spaces, dining areas and fully fitted kitchens. The Penthouse has a wraparound terrace, whilst two other residences feature a more expansive outdoor space with planting and seating.

The hotel is set amongst some of London’s most historic and prestigiouslandmarks. The Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace are both a short walk away, while the neighbourhood has been the seat of government for a thousand years. The hotel extends down the quieter, more hidden, Vandon Street, giving the impression of a sanctuary.

Image credit: Shiva Hotels

From the moment guests arrive, they will instantly be made to feel at home by the discrete yet attentive service. Along with their choice of rooms or residences, they can request their preferred brand of drinks, menu items or bathroom products, all of which will be prepared ready for their arrival. The hotel has an unmistakably British feel that befits such a prestigious address. Interiors are contemporary and relaxed, complemented by a few carefully chosen, classic and sometimes quirky embellishments.

Meanwhile, bespoke furniture will fill the intimate public spaces and curated art adorns the walls. The individually styled bedrooms are exceptionally comfortable. Meticulously considered interior design and clever use of space ensure each room feels spacious, whilst flourishes such as custom-made furnishings and free-standing baths combine with more classic features like herringbone parquet flooring to continue the unmistakably British feel. State-of-the-art integrated televisions and speakers with Chromecast ensure all travellers’ technological needs are met.

Plush snug area

Image credit: Shiva Hotels

The spaces for dining and socialising are set over two levels, perfect for relaxing, reading, small gatherings or enjoying the carefully selected whiskeys and spirits as well as a sommelier curated wine list.

At the core of the hotel’s personality is the exquisite restaurant, open to residents and their guests only. Although a few select dishes will always be available, menus are developed daily from seasonal produce sourced from carefully selected purveyors, London markets and organic farms. The kitchen will be open all day, and room service will be available around the clock.

The Guardsman is owned and operated by Shiva Hotels and represents a new direction in this market for the group. “The Guardsman is designed for those who want the tailored, personal experience offered by a club, the flexibility and luxury of a hotel and the comfort and familiarity of a home,” said Rishi Sachdev, Managing Director, Shiva Hotels. “It will also have a conscience, wherever possible putting both its people and the environment at the centre of its decisions.”

Main image credit: Shiva Hotels

 

Feature: Designing the ‘live like a local’ experience

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Feature: Designing the ‘live like a local’ experience

Hotel Designs spends time understanding a new hotel concept from SB Architects that is said to “switch on the senses, capture imagination and transport guests on a journey though a mobile-canvas of captivating landscapes”… 

Luxury travelers are increasingly seeking unique, authentic and immersive experiences. They are becoming more curious and bold in their explorations and subsequently, their modes of transport. 

In Booking.com’s 2018 ‘Travel Predictions’ survey, they reported that 25 per cent of travellers were planning trips based on the journey rather than the destination, aiming to embark on an “epic road or rail journey”. 

Hyperlocalisation is no longer a trend, it’s a vital part of the guest experience, and design should interact with and enhance the local culture of the destination. The popularity of services like Air BnB shows no sign of slowing down, as inherently they provide what the guest is craving, a hyperlocalised ‘live like a local’ experience. As designers, we are tasked with creating a sense of place, communicating the unique story of the locale and designing adaptable spaces to provide hoteliers with the opportunity to reinvent and stay fresh. 

 Synonymous with ultra-luxury and glamor, we are experiencing a rail revival. The American West was built along rail lines that span the nation. What were once bustling railways are now silent and forgotten vestiges of our past. Many of these railways span untapped, truly breathtaking, locations, but provide no footing for hospitality development. The Infinite Explorer provides a unique opportunity to embrace and transform the existing infrastructure of these underutilized spaces, making the unreachable, reachable. 

Life aboard The Infinite Explorer is about the voyage, not the end destination. It’s a one-of-a-kind hospitality experience, designed to switch on the senses, capture the imagination and transport guests on a journey through a mobile-canvas of captivating landscapes.  

Embark on a five-night odyssey through one of the world’s most spectacular natural landscapes. Not only can guests experience a five-star service and luxury amenities onboard; including a dining and observation car; the exclusive itinerary will satiate the palate of the most intrepid traveler. 

Train travelers usually only capture a glimpse of the immense beauty that passes by outside their window, but imagine if you could step out of your cabin into the wilderness to feel, touch, and smell it? As the train weaves through a profusion of wildflower-filled meadows, rocky peaks, and crystal clear, aquamarine lakes, the train will stop, the side of the guest’s cabin will open up, and guests can step from their cabin onto one of the extraordinary platforms and experiences located along the route. Each stop along the route is unique and designed with an immersive program of activity, including outdoor adventures, wellness and dining; designed to astound, delight and capture the guest’s imagination at every turn. 

The Infinite Explorer grants guests the opportunity to slow down, disconnect and intimately connect with scenery that might otherwise be unattainable.  

The concept, and its infinite possibilities, has been shortlisted for the Radical Innovation Award. 

Main image credit: SB Architects

Is this the most instagrammable hotel in Barcelona?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Is this the most instagrammable hotel in Barcelona?

During August Hotel Designs is shining the Spotlight On Hotel Concepts. The editorial team believe that Hotel Arts Barcelona has all the ingredients in the mix to be Barcelona’s most instagrammable hotel. It’s a bold statement, but here’s why…

Exclusive and indulgent, the 28 penthouses at the top of the tallest building in Barcelona give guests a behind-the-scenes experience to those photos on Instagram – where luxury is the bare minimum. Beneath them, is the entrance of a hotel that has been designed around essence of wellness and wellbeing.

Iconic design, incredible culinary experiences and the sparkling Mediterranean are what draw visitors to Barcelona, Spain. These elements are also what attract luxury travelers to Hotel Arts Barcelona. Towering 44 floors above the sea, the 5-star hotel is a striking tower of blue glass and steel with beautifully designed accommodations, a two Michelin-star restaurant and spaces, including a rooftop spa and two outdoor pools, that overlook the sea.

Beautifully curated by world-renowned Catalonian designer Jaime Tresserra, the penthouses display unforgettable wraparound views over the city and the Azur of the Mediterranean beyond, making Hotel Arts Barcelona an unmistakable icon of Catalonia’s capital.

The hotel has been designed to evoke a certain wellness ambiance to shelter a collection of Insta-worthy and bespoke experiences including private cocktail mixology classes by highly acclaimed mixologist and high-end cuisine. From bright sunrises to soft pink sunsets, guests of the Royal, Presidential, Barcelona or Arts Penthouse can also book expertly taught, mindful yoga classes or have the professional therapists from the hotel’s 43 The Spa set up terrace massages for Natura Bissé spa treatments paired with undoubtedly Europe’s finest views.

Each Penthouse also features indulgent Bvlgari amenities, daily personalised breakfasts and personal use of a MINI Cooper Cabrio. Unparalleled service throughout, combined with dynamic design, the Penthouses boast exclusive check-ins as well as dedicated, multilingual butlers and magnificent flower arrangements by celebrity florist Donna Stain.

Main image credit: Hotel Arts Barcelona

A legend reborn: Raffles Singapore reopens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A legend reborn: Raffles Singapore reopens

Raffles Singapore has announced its highly anticipated reopening. With interiors by the acclaimed Alexandra Champalimaud, the hotel’s sensitive design heralds an exciting new chapter in the iconic property’s rich history and heritage…

The infamous Raffles Singapore is now open, following the iconic hotel’s careful and sensitive three-phased restoration, which first began in February 2017. The meticulous restoration project, led by acclaimed interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud, was also supported by Aedas.

“There are few hotels in the world whose names have become virtually synonymous with the cities in which they are located – and none more so than the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. The newly restored Raffles will provide an experience like no other,” said Christian Westbeld, General Manager, Raffles Singapore. “It is our wish and desire that our guests will continue to create treasured memories at the hotel, while rediscovering what makes it so special – the distinctive architecture, heritage and legendary service.”

Discerning travellers can expect new levels of unrivalled comfort and inimitable service with enhanced suite experience, brought to life by the fabled Raffles Butlers, while enjoying the new and reimagined spaces at Raffles Singapore.

“Raffles Singapore reinvents emotional luxury.” – Jeannette Ho, Vice President, Raffles Brand and Strategic Relationships, Raffles Hotels and Resorts

Striking chandeliers hang down in modern nd contemporary restaurant

Image caption: La Dame de Pic. Credit: Raffles Singapore

“We are very pleased to be part of the reopening of the iconic Raffles Singapore officially returning to the city, refreshed, reimagined and revitalised,” commented Jeannette Ho, Vice President, Raffles Brand and Strategic Relationships, Raffles Hotels and Resorts. “This is where it all started and faithful to its roots, Raffles Singapore reinvents emotional luxury. As the hotel concludes its restoration and embarks on the next chapter, the return of this flagship property to Raffles Hotels & Resorts paves the way for the expansion of the brand as we deliver this same level of unparalleled service and sublime experiences to new destinations in cities such as Udaipur, London and Boston.”

The revitalised hotel offers luxurious all-suite accommodations, across nine distinct suite categories: State Room Suites, Courtyard Suites, Palm Court Suites, Personality Suites, Residence Suites, Promenade Suites, Studio Suites, Grand Hotel Suites and Presidential Suites. Residence, Promenade and Studio suites, are the three latest additions to the hotel’s existing line-up. The total suite count increases from 103 suites to 115 suites.

The Raffles Arcade has been newly outfitted with a charming Raffles Boutique and various bespoke retail brands. Guests and locals will also delight in exploring the worldly restaurants and bars at Raffles Singapore, including restaurant collaborations with Chef Anne-Sophie Pic, of the three-Michelin star Maison Pic in Valence, France; venerable French Master Chef Alain Ducasse; and Chef Jereme Leung, known for his innovative Chinese cooking. At the refreshed Long Bar, travellers will continue to enjoy the hotel’s most famous cocktail, the original Singapore Sling, along with the timeless tradition of tossing peanut shells on the floor.

Westbeld further added, “Raffles Singapore is one of the few remaining great 19th century hotels in the world and its restoration has been carefully designed to preserve its unique historic charm, while creating extraordinary experiences for our esteemed guests – a dedicated commitment from all of us at Raffles Singapore and also from our owner, Katara Hospitality.”

First opened in 1887, and declared a National Monument a century later by the Singapore Government in 1987, Raffles Singapore has through the years, gained both local and international recognition as an oasis for the well-travelled. It is a national treasure among Singaporeans who deeply value its historical significance and unique heritage. The last restoration was conducted from 1989 to 1991 where the hotel closed for two and a half years.

Main image credit: Accor/Raffles Singapore

SNEAK PEEK: Inside Hinode Hills Niseko Village, Japan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SNEAK PEEK: Inside Hinode Hills Niseko Village, Japan

Nestled at the south base of the 1308m Mount Niseko Annupuri, the design-led 79-key boutique hotel, Hinode Hills Niseko Village, operated by YTL Hotels, will open in Japan on December 1…

Named to pay homage to the rising sun, the elegantly furnished luxury all-suite Hinode Hills Niseko Village hotel is designed with a wabi-sabi aesthetic, unveiling its fine beauty through authenticity, natural forms, and the appreciation for nature.

Blending warm contemporary style with authentic Japanese aesthetics, and complemented with luxury hotel services and amenities, guests’ choice of multiple room and suite configurations up to three-bedrooms, provide a host of opportunities suitable for any type of merriment, from romantic getaways to large family vacations.

“The hotel is also strategically located adjacent to the Upper Village Gondola.”

Situated at the base of Mount Niseko Annupuri, Hinode Hills occupies a prime position at the heart of Niseko Village with stunning Mount Yotei views, ski-in, ski-out access, an in-house onsen, and a host of ski services available on property. The hotel is also strategically located adjacent to the Upper Village Gondola, which provides guests with the convenience of mobility around the mountain with easy lift access replacing the need to walk, drive or take a shuttle bus.

Services at Hinode Hills are held to the usual high standards of YTL Hotels, with concierge facilities and priority privileges at guests’ doorstep. Being part of an integrated resort managed by Niseko Village, all-mountain operations and experiences are designed to be seamless and guests are spoilt for choice with the variety of convivial social settings across diverse dining and retail venues, world-class facilities, indoor and outdoor attractions at The Green Leaf Niseko Village, Hilton Niseko Village, and at the heart of the village itself.

Image credit: YTL Hotels

“Hinode Hills raises the bar for luxury developments in Niseko and is committed to providing guests with a truly integrated and seamless experience,” says Luke Hurford, Senior Vice President of Strategy at YTL Hotels.” You will have the luxury of having your ski school instructors meeting you at your door, to ski-out directly to the ski area and lifts beside the hotel, the convenience of on-site gear rental and the advantage of the gondola beside the hotel to whisk you away to the village dining and shopping area.”

The highly anticipated hotel opened for reservations in April, and will officially open in December, adding to the strong portfolio of YTL Hotels.

Main image credit: YTL Hotels

THE BRIT LIST 2019: Last chance to claim early bird tickets

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
THE BRIT LIST 2019: Last chance to claim early bird tickets

Early bird tickets for The Brit List 2019 Awards, which takes place on November 21 at Patch East London, expire on August 4…

There are just two days left in order to claim your early bird tickets to The Brit List 2019 Awards. Hotel Designs’ annual awards, which as well as recognising individual winners also lists the top 75 influencers who are operating in Britain on the hotel design and hospitality scene. The awards evening takes place on November 21 at Patch East London.

Click here to purchase your tickets

The concept of The Brit List, which launched in 2017, results in 75 names, split into three categories (designers, architects and hoteliers), being listed as true movers and shakers. The list will be created around the nominations (applications close on August 9) from the following awards that are up for grabs:

  • Interior Designer of the Year
  • Architect of the Year
  • Hotelier of the Year
  • Best in Tech
  • The Eco Award 
  • Best in British Product Design – NEW CATEGORY FOR 2019
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry

Suppliers: £99 + VAT (£150 + VAT after early bird offer expires after August 4)
Designers, hoteliers, developers and architects: £10 + VAT (£20 + VAT after early bird offer expires after August 4)

Please click here if you are a supplier to the industry to secure your ticket NOW!

Please click here if you are either a designer, hotelier, developer or architect and secure your ticket NOW!

In addition to attending The Brit List 2019 Awards, there are also various sponsorship opportunities for suppliers. If you would like to know more about these, please contact Katy Phillips on email or by calling 01992 474050.

Headline Partner: Crosswater

 

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat

2019 Industry Partner: BIID

NYC-based design firm uses technology to re-imagine the hotel bar

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
NYC-based design firm uses technology to re-imagine the hotel bar

A sculptural “Cubic Sky” inside La Concha, one of San Juan’s most iconic technology hotels, takes spatial design, sound, and lighting to the next level…

Design firm Cactus transforms club Fifty Eight inside La Concha Renaissance Resort from an underused space into a must-see design destination using the latest innovations in digital technology and architecture.

A sculptural, full-ceiling, architectural installation which is capable of creating electrifying patterns and reacting automatically to live music and programmed controls. Created from hundreds of individual, custom-made light boxes, Cubic Sky combines architecture and technical innovation for a jaw-dropping display.

Each light box of the chandelier is capable of creating a wide range of color and brightness individually. The ‘cubes’ are networked together and utilize custom-built software that visualises data using a combination of graphic design, algorithms, and animation.

Cubic Sky can generate natural, ambient patterns, react automatically to live music, or be controlled with a custom, tablet-based interface which allows DJ’s, artists and hosts to adjust light patterns and create ephemeral and bespoke experiences.

During the day, subtle changes in light color and brightness create beautiful ambient patternsin the room, mimicking the passing clouds of the Caribbean right outside. In the early evening, the colors of the sunset from that day are reflected by the light colors and natural patterns on the ceiling, evoking the beauty of the surrounding area. At night, the lounge area transforms into one of the region’s most unforgettable nightclubs. The ceiling can react to the live music below, using inputs from the audio system to change thepattern, color and intensity of the lights.

Cactus is an experiential design studio that creates work at the intersection of physical architecture and digital technology. The studio works for visionary clients across a range of industries including media, fitness, medicine, entertainment, automotive and financial services. All client work is united by one objective – to imagine, design, and build what is next.

SPOTLIGHT ON: 7 hotel concepts on the boards that will rock your world

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: 7 hotel concepts on the boards that will rock your world

During this month’s Spotlight On Hotel Concepts, editor Hamish Kilburn identifies the projects on the boards that are taking international hotel design to unseen heights…

The hotels that are currently opening around the globe are impressive, innovative and are a reaction to the ever-evolving demands of the luxury and modern traveller.

“As designers, one of the biggest drivers we have noticed is in the demand for areas that enhance individuality and social wellness,” explains Fiona Thompson, Principal at Richmond International. “As a result, hotel public areas in the properties that we are currently designing are having to respond to these changes and be more agile in adapting to these changes.” With these trends in mind, and to really understand the public architecture forecast of the future, here are some raw sketches of the hotels of our future that are currently on the boards.

Whether they are floating, in the sky, robot-operated, pledge to fully eliminate carbon footprints – or so innovative that they can’t physically be built yet –  the concepts below that we have identified are gamechangers on the international hotel design scene.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel And Casino

Complete with swim-up suites and a 7,000- seat concert venue, a new hotel shaped like a guitar is emerging in Hollywood, Florida. The estimated US$1.5 billion hotel is all part of a US$2.2-billion expansion of the current Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino locations.

Hotel of 2119, imagined by Hilton Hotels

To celebrate the hotel group’s 100th anniversary, Hilton has just unveiled what it believes will be the hotel in 100 years from now…

Intergalactic getaways, fast-food nutrient pills, two to three hour working days and adaptable, personalised rooms that can transport guests everywhere from jungles to mountain ranges; in celebration of its 100thanniversaryHilton predicts the future trends set to dominate the travel and hospitality industry in the next 100 years.

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Mandarin Oriental Melbourne

Image credit: VA

Currently on the boards, Mandarin Oriental Melbourne, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects(ZHA), is a new signature hotel and branded residences that is slated to open in 2023. Soon to become the hotel group’s first property in Australia, the mixed-used 185-metre tower will be located in the heart of the city’s financial district.

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Cliff-hanging hotel in Norway

Image credit: Cover Images/Hayri Atak Architectural Design Studio

Istanbul-based Architecture firm Hayri Atak Architectural Design Studio. has released the first renders of a new project that shows a luxury hotel built into the side of a 2000-foor cliff in Norway. The concept would be constructed to blend into the natural surroundings with the exception of a statement pool that would extend over the edge of the cliff edge.

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Sofitel SO Los Cabos

render of ocean-side hotel

Image credit: SB Architects

Set on a prominent five-acre beachfront site in premier tourist destination, Los Cabos, this five-star luxury resort cascades gently down to the white sandy beaches below, providing unobstructed Pacific Ocean views throughout. Designed by SB Architects, and inspired by the vibrant history of Mexican haciendas and the central role of family gathering spaces, the resort embraces bold, contemporary architectural features with vivid interior hues, paying homage to the authentic Zócalo (community spaces) experience.

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JW Marriott Jeju

Image credit: WATG

Incorporating key aspects of Jeju’s culture, the design narrative laid out by WATG is an abstract representation of the island’s indigenous Chogo architecture. The traditional curved roof has been reversed, expressing the patterned lattice on the underside of the structure.

Floating city

Image credit: Oceanix

The floating city concept, imagined by architect Bjarke Ingels in collaboration with Oceanix, has been designed so that it can survive a category five hurricane. The concept, known as Oceanix City, is described as the world’s first sustainable floating city, which would essentially be groups of hexagonal platforms – anchored to the seabed – that could each house an estimated 300 people.

Main image credit: Oceanix

In Conversation With: Fashion designer Jack Irving

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In Conversation With: Fashion designer Jack Irving

Having previously designed statement outfits for many international music and fashion icons, Jack Irving’s alternative style has recently spilled out onto the hotel design scene. Editor Hamish Kilburn joins the fashion designer, in between photoshoots, to understand how two worlds have recently collided…

The brand ‘Jack Irving Studio’ and the creative man behind the logo are two very different things. One is bold, disobedient and you would expect – almost encourage – to cause an outrageous impression in almost any social scenario.

The other orders a lemonade on a hazy Thursday afternoon at a media interview as he catches his breath between work engagements. Opposites do attract, after all.

Made famous by creating outlandish outfits for the likes of Lady Gaga and The Spice Girls for their come-back tour, the talented story-telling designer, Jack Irving, made his mark on the fashion industry by producing items that infused glamour and engineered technology.

His innovative work recently emerged on my radar when he unveiled the result of a collaboration with W London Leicester Square, which has been the designer’s first interior design project to date. “The idea of working with W Hotels was mentioned to us at Pride London last year,” says Irving. “But it wasn’t until November, following my first show at the V&A, when we met the team to really discuss what we could do together.”

Fashion shoot of models on bed with cushion

Image credit: Charlotte Rutherford

Presented by a loose brief to bring a flavour of ‘Jack Irving’ into the hotel, it became clear that that the W brand was willing to give the designer the creative reins in order to produce a statement piece for their newly designed guestrooms and suites. “They wanted a replacement for the current cushions and bed throw that met brand standards,” he explains. “The bed, for us, became the canvas.”

One month after the brief was given, Irving pitched what he explained at the time to the client as a ‘crazy tech idea’ for the concept of new cushions. He wanted the items to be inspired his signature sea urchin style, which became famous by his work with Lady Gaga. Irving then wanted to make the interiors more instagrammable. The spiked pillows’ fabric would appear muted to the naked eye until they are brought to life through the click of a camera flash. Through the lens, the smart fabric would transform into an iridescent masterpiece. “To be honest, we were hesitant as to whether or not the client would see our vision,” explains the designer. “What we pitched was as far away from convention as we could have gone.”

Irving and his partner (in life as well as well as in business), Rhys Beynon, received a call from the client while they were on a yoga retreat in Goa over Christmas 2018. “They wanted to see prototypes the first week of January,” Irving explains. “At this point, the pressure for us was on to meet the deadline.”

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: What would a Jack Irving guestroom look like if you were to design it?
Jack Irving: It would be ridiculous – think sea urchin chairs and UFO beds. I also have the idea to design a Chesterfield sofa in the rainbow smart material.

HK: What’s been the most challenging part going from fashion to interiors?
JI: It hasn’t actually been that challenging because W Hotels were so on board with our idea.

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
JI: New Zealand and LA!

HK: How do you switch off from work?
JI: Both Rhys and I are really into techno. Oddly, it’s become our sanctuary.

HK: What’s your biggest bugbear when checking in to a conventional hotel?
JI: When hotels don’t stay in their lane.

HK: What materials are really inspiring you at the moment?
JI: For me, smart fabrics and metallic fabrics are really fun to play around with. I want to experiment more with the manufacturing of the material we have been using. That being said, you can’t rely on the fabric. The shape and structure is just as important.

Models on bed with cushion

Image credit: Charlotte Rutherford

With time depleting by the day, and with fabric supplies on order to be delivered when they returned home from India, the next challenge was to secure a manufacturer. “The word ‘impossible’ landed in our inbox a few times,” explains Irving. “We did receive a lot of kickback at this stage from manufacturers, mainly because of the demand and the order size.” Undeterred, Irving and Beynon’s ‘when there’s a will there’s a way’ approach led them both to source the materials themselves to prove that it could be done. “I remember sitting on the beach with Rhys making a cardboard model of the cushion,” says Irving. “It’s one thing drawing the design, but it becomes very real when designing a 3D model.”

As well as the shape of the accessory being unconventional, so too was the material that designer decided to work with. “We call it rainbow smart fabric,” he explains. “We were worried that it would look to synthentic when not lit up, but in reality it was the perfect material to use for creating that contrast.”

As with all creative projects at pitch stage, there is an air of uncertainty, especially when it comes to unveiling to clients a prototype as futuristic as this one. “I was terrified when it came to pitching because you just don’t know how it’s going to go,” admits Irving. “We hadn’t seen the new rooms that our statement accessories would sit in, so it could have gone either way, as these things often do. But they loved it, and the second prototype we made on the beach in Goa over Christmas became the product that’s in the W London today.”

Irving’s interior design work for W Hotels may be just a dip in the ocean for now, but the designer’s ability to disrupt convention through the use of innovative materials and shapes unquestionably makes him a true innovator on the international hotel design scene.

Main image credit: Jack Irving Studio

Has IHG just marked the end of bathroom miniatures forever?

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Has IHG just marked the end of bathroom miniatures forever?

Following hotel group IHG‘s plans to remove miniatures from all of its hotels, editor Hamish Kilburn investigates the significance of opting for bulk-size amenities to reduce plastic waste…

If it takes for David Attenborough to take over the Glastonbury Pyramid Stage in order for the world – and our industry – to sit up and make changes, then so be it. There is no doubt about it that The Blue Planet effect has swept across the UK – and consumers are now demanding for companies to clean up their act to eliminate single-use plastic products.

In its continued effort to reduce plastic waste – and following its and other hotel brand’s decision to eliminate plastic straws in 2019 – IHG has recently pledged to eliminate miniatures from its hotels by 2021. The group, which currently uses an average of 200 million bathroom miniatures each year, is the first global hotel company to commit all brands – to removing bathroom miniatures in favour of bulk-size amenities.

“It’s more important than ever that companies challenge themselves to operate responsibly – we know it’s what our guests, owners, colleagues, investors and suppliers rightly expect,” said Keith Barr, CEO, IHG. “Switching to larger-size amenities across more than 5,600 hotels around the world is a big step in the right direction and will allow us to significantly reduce our waste footprint and environmental impact as we make the change.

“We’ve already made great strides in this area, with almost a third of our estate already adopting the change and we’re proud to lead our industry by making this a brand standard for every single IHG hotel. We’re passionate about sustainability and we’ll continue to explore ways to make a positive difference to the environment and our local communities.”

IHG remains a constituent of the FTSE4Good Index, and recently joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Circular Economy 100 network, signalling its commitment to working with cross-industry partners to build a more sustainable world.

“We welcome IHG’s action to reduce plastic waste through this new commitment,” said Joe Murphy, Lead of the CE100, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. “Achieving a circular economy will be a challenging journey, but by working together we can find solutions to design out waste, keep materials in use, and regenerate our environment.”

Switching to bulk-size amenities is a tried and tested approach. Whether for business or leisure, hotel guests increasingly want their stays to be more sustainable without any impact on the quality of their experience.

Hotel Designs will be leading the opening session of Independent Hotel Show London on October 15, which will be entitled: The Conscious Hotel Room Report. 

Main image credit: IHG/Kimpton Hotels

The Brit List 2019: Free to apply before August 9

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The Brit List 2019: Free to apply before August 9

CALLING ALL DESIGNERS, ARCHITECTS, HOTELIERS AND SUPPLIERS: Applications for The Brit List 2019, which are free to apply for, close on August 9… 

Time is running out to apply for The Brit List 2019, Hotel Designs’ annual awards, which as well as recognising individual winners also lists the top 75 influencers who are operating in Britain on the hotel design and hospitality scene.  The deadline for applications and nominations expire on August 9!

In an aim to ensure that Hotel Designs’ nationwide search to find the best interior designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers operating in Britain, The Brit List remains completely free to apply for.

Simply click here to apply/nominate.

The concept of The Brit List, which launched in 2017, results in 75 names, split into three categories (designers, architects and hoteliers), being listed as true movers and shakers. The list will be created around the nominations from the following awards that are up for grabs:

  • Interior Designer of the Year
  • Architect of the Year
  • Hotelier of the Year
  • Best in Tech
  • The Eco Award 
  • Best in British Product Design – NEW CATEGORY FOR 2019
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry

“Now with suppliers able to participate in the awards element, The Brit List has allowed us to physically bridge the gap between industry leaders,” said Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs.

On November 21, the shortlisted finalists of designers, hoteliers, architects as well as key suppliers to the industry will gather at Patch East, London where The Brit List 2019 will be unveiled along with the individual winners . “We have, yet again, deliberately kept nominations for The Brit List 2019 free for all to apply in order to maintain a fair opportunity for all designers, hoteliers, architects and suppliers who believe they deserve to be profiled in The Brit List 2019,” explains Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs. “As a judge, I am personally looking forward to leading another nationwide search in order to find and platform exceptional creative thinkers who are operating or manufacturing in Britain today.” Patch East, London is a fabulous venue for our non-traditional awards ceremony, and we look forward to welcoming the industry’s finest for a night of celebration and high-profile networking.”

Read more about the judges by clicking here.

Early-bird tickets for the award ceremony are now available to purchase: 

Suppliers: £99 + VAT (£150 + VAT after early bird offer expires after August 4)
Designers, hoteliers, developers and architects: £10 + VAT (£20 + VAT after early bird offer expires after August 4)

Please click here if you are a supplier to the industry to secure your ticket NOW!

Please click here if you are either a designer, hotelier, developer or architect and secure your ticket NOW!

HOTEL CONCEPT: Cliff-hanging hotel on the boards

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HOTEL CONCEPT: Cliff-hanging hotel on the boards

A spectacular architecture concept has emerged from a Turkish architectural design studio showing plans for a luxury boutique hotel to be built into a cliff…

Istanbul-based Architecture firm Hayri Atak Architectural Design Studio. has released the first renders of a new project that shows a luxury hotel built into the side of a 2000-foor cliff in Norway. The concept would be constructed to blend into the natural surroundings with the exception of a statement pool that would extend over the edge of the cliff edge.

The hotel that is currently on the boards is proposed to be built directly into the rock within the cliff and would spread out over five levels. Straying from convention, guests would enter the hotel from the top level, which will be shared by a large viewing platform. The three floors underneath would shelter the guestrooms and suites. Each floor would have its own curved balcony, taking full use of the panoramic views own offer.

Pushing the boundaries of design and architecture, the firm’s renders shows an instagrammable narrow pool, which is arguably the most striking feature of the property. The pool, which extends out from the cliff on the lower lever, is complete with translucent sides and bottom in order to create a totally unmatched experience.

Although there is yet to be confirmation as to whether the hotel will ever be built, it raises some interesting questions around the landscape of hotel design, its boundaries and most importantly, the possibilities to blend together nature and architecture in designing future hotels.

Main image credit: Cover Images/Hayri Atak Architectural Design Studio

 

Render of the Melbourne skyline including the new ZHA designed hotel

SNEAK PEEK: Inside Mandarin Oriental Melbourne designed by Zaha Hadid Architects

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SNEAK PEEK: Inside Mandarin Oriental Melbourne designed by Zaha Hadid Architects

Following an insight into Zaha Hadid Architects’ Michele Salvi on The Morpheus, Hotel Designs heads backstage on another groundbreaking project the architecture firm is currently working to complete. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes… 

Currently on the boards, Mandarin Oriental Melbourne, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), is a new signature hotel and branded residences that is slated to open in 2023.

Render of the Melbourne skyline including the new ZHA designed hotel

Soon to become the hotel group’s first property in Australia, the mixed-used 185-metre tower will be located in the heart of the city’s financial district.

The 196 spacious guestrooms and suites have been designed to reflect local culture together with features inspired by Mandarin Oriental’s heritage. The Group will also manage 148 residences at Mandarin Oriental, located on the tower’s upper floors, which will provide some of the most well-appointed private homes in the city. Owners will have access to the hotel experience, as well as their own bespoke amenities including a private residents’ lounge.

“The tower’s design conveys the wide variety of interior spaces within; dividing the building’s overall volume into a series of smaller stacked vases.” – ZHA’s project director Michele Pasca di Magliano

The hotel’s design vision was first realised in 2016. When completed, it will feature an all-day dining restaurant and a bar with a landscaped roof terrace. There will also be avariety of meeting spaces and an executive club lounge. A Spa at Mandarin Oriental will offer the Group’s renowned wellness,relaxation and beauty facilities, while further leisure options include a comprehensive fitness centre and an indoor swimming pool.

“The hotel’s façade reinterprets this historical detailing in a contemporary solution, introducing a delicate litre that gently envelops the building,” said ZHA’s project director Michele Pasca di Magliano.“The tower’s design conveys the wide variety of interior spaces within; dividing the building’s overall volume into a series of smaller stacked vases, with each different vase housing the bespoke guestrooms, suites, residences or amenities of Mandarin Oriental’s renowned service and standards.”

The project, which is being developed by Melbourne-based property developer, Landream, is said to have taken its inspiration from the finest examples of historic architecture within the Central Business District. “Mandarin Oriental, Melbourne will set anew standard for bespoke service in the city and will offer a preferred choice to travellers and potential homeowners who desire thenest accommodation,” said Kevin Li, Managing Director of Landream.

Disrupting not only design boundaries, but also the hotel development landscape, Mandarin Oriental Melbourne will open following predictions from experts that the hotel development market in Australia is expected to slow down in the coming years as a result of the regulation-driven curbs on development lending and the increasing construction and land costs, especially in Sydney and Melbourne.

Main image credit: VA

16th century shell transforms to open modern boutique design hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
16th century shell transforms to open modern boutique design hotel

The in-house design team at IHG, construction firm Stepnell and architecture practice Hitchman Stone Partnership have together completed a £13.2 million restoration projects on a Grade II listed building, which now sheltered the boutique 93-key Hotel Indigo Stratford-Upon-Avon

Located in the heart of Shakespeare’s birthplace, a three-storey Grade II listed building, which dates back to the 16th century, now shelters Hotel Indigo Stratford-Upon-Avon.

“It is a truly unique site, our first Hotel Indigo in a town, and what a town,” says Henry Reeve, Director of Interior Design at IHG. “We could not have picked a better site.”

Hotel Indigo Stratford-upon-Avon, formerly known as The Falcon Hotel, has upgraded its internal facilities whilst preserving the heritage of its historic exterior during a comprehensive refurbishment. “It’s been amazing to work on such an interesting project, helping to preserve a piece of history that can be enjoyed by the public,” adds Paul Fish, operations manager at Stepnell. “The work was incredibly specialist from a refurbishment perspective, so we had a real sense of achievement upon completion.”

Exterior shot of hotel

Image credit: IHG

Plans were originally laid out to refurbish the roof, but the job quickly grew in size when it was found to be beyond repair and had to be removed entirely, along with the internal plastering which was reinstated by a specialist company. Measures were also taken to preserve and replace the external beams and timber flooring in a bid to protect to the hotel’s defining features.

“We used bold contemporary botanics to reflect the surrounding flora and add a punch of drama.” – Henry Reeve, Director of Interior Design at IHG

Fish added: “We faced a few challenges during the build regarding conservation and access to the site due to the historic nature of the hotel, but the team managed to push forward with the works and the outcome is truly stunning.”

The traditional timber build is now complemented by a contemporary interior and lavish decor to give guests a unique boutique hotel experience, with three style of rooms to choose from, including the Tudor room, Georgian townhouse and contemporary rooms. The hotel features 65 custom axminster rugs and 10 luxurious hand tufted rugs supplied by Brintons that are showcased in guest rooms and public areas.”Pattern and colour is reflective of the English countryside, deep rich greens and autumnal browns work together to create a space that feels instantly comfortable, familiar and welcoming,” explains Reeve. “We used bold contemporary botanics to reflect the surrounding flora and add a punch of drama and of course as it’s Hotel Indigo we have some perhaps surprising detailing hidden across the site.”

Beautiful bar area with aimless interiors

Image credit: IHG

Newly equipped with a state-of-the-art gym, a private dining room, snug lounge, cocktail bar and modern meeting rooms, the hotel also offers a luxury dining experience for its guests. The Woodsman Restaurant has been created by restaurateur and chef Mike Robinson who has the only Michelin star pub in London. The Woodsman’s focus is on sustainable, wild British food, cooked over charcoal and wood. Customers can sit and eat delicious local produce while watching the chefs work their magic.

With the aim to bring a building back to life, and to create a hotel that in Reeve’s words: “Felt truely English and reflective of the stunning surrounding Midland countryside,” Hotel Indigo Stratford-upon-Avon is showcases the tradition of a 16th century building through a timeless contemporary lens.

Main image credit: IHG

SB Architects reaches groundbreaking moment on Utah project

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SB Architects reaches groundbreaking moment on Utah project

The modern ski-in, lift-out destination will welcome a new luxury development, which is slated to open in 2021…

SB Architects,a full-service global architecture firm has celebrated the official groundbreaking of Pendry Hotels’ new branded residences, Pendry Residences Park City. Scheduled for completion in Winter 2021, the branded residences will bring a new height of luxury residential to Utah.

The contemporary ski-in, lift-out destination has garnered attention from discerning buyers who are seeking luxurious accommodations, activities-based amenities, immersion in natural surroundings, and the energetic pulse of the arts and local community.

“We are thrilled to witness the groundbreaking of Pendry Residences Park City, which beyond comfort and luxury is a magnetic draw for the level of sophistication and multi-faceted lifestyle it affords,”says Scott Lee, SB Architects President and Principal. “Today’s resort homeowner wants more than just a home; they gravitate toward spaces to gather and entertain friends, where they can access outdoor activities, have memorable meals, and enjoy the art and culture that shape a locale. Working with Pendry and Columbus Pacific Properties, we made Pendry Park Residences for people to express themselves within the unique character of their surroundings, from one moment to the next.”

SB Architects drew from Pendry’s signature blend of service, design and the celebration of culture to inspire a design that departs from the traditional log cabin aesthetic, reinterpreting Park City’s past within a new, more modern architectural vernacular. Influenced by the area’s rich mining history, and neighboring mountain ridges, the design is driven by the guest and owner experience. Residents will have protected balconies and large windows to showcase mountain views beyond and connect them to the art and activities in the nearby plaza.

Featuring 150 fully-serviced guestrooms and suites, ranging in size from studios to four-bedroom penthouse residences, Pendry Residences Park City is also comprised of four unique lounge, restaurant and bar experiences, includingthe only rooftop bar and pool in the area. In addition to a state-of-the-art fitness center, arcade games in the recreation facility and Pinwheel Kids Club, guests and residents will have access to Spa Pendry’s eight treatment rooms and a full menu of services. There will also be more than 7,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, including a 4,000-square-foot ballroom.

A historic mountain town, Park City is also home to the largest ski area in the nation, the world-renowned Sundance Film Festival, breweries and distilleries, boutique shopping and exceptional dining experiences. From its central location, Pendry Residences Park City will complement these year-round opportunities for outdoor and indoor activities with luxury resort-style services and amenities, and curated art experiences that will expose guests and residents to contemporary artists local to Park City.

Main image credit: SB Architects

EDITOR CHECKS IN: Proud of diversity in British design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EDITOR CHECKS IN: Proud of diversity in British design

As the world focuses its attention on amplifying equality in all forms, editor Hamish Kilburn believes now is the time to break down why diversity in British design is something the industry should celebrate and be proud of…

We’ve come a long way, and although the journey hasn’t exactly been a seamless one, here we are in Britain in 2019 where we are free to love whoever we want. The next mission is now to work towards a society that campaigns for equal opportunities for all.

Our colourful industry, which is full to the brim of creative people, can be at the best of times a forceful catalyst for good and I believe, together, we can significantly do more than our bit in order for that dream to become a reality – and it starts here.

For a little more than a year now, since proudly joining the Hotel Designs editorial desk, I have tried perilously to understand what it is about the UK that makes it one of the major design destinations around the world. Despite its scale, Britain, the tiny little speck of land in the northern hemisphere, attracts the majority of the leading designers, hoteliers, architects and suppliers to train, flourish and go on to lead the industry forward into an innovative direction.

What Britain lacks in size it certainly makes up for in style, creativity and diversity. It’s no coincidence, therefore, that a large handful of the world’s most premium international design fairs, such as Sleep + Eat, 100% Design, Independent Hotel Show and London Design Festival, among many others, take place here.

Today, just two weeks after we officially opened nominations for The Brit List 2019, I’m seeing London from a completely unrivalled perspective – and it is a beautiful moment to witness. Peering over the edge of a rooftop bar, every colour of the rainbow is being amplified loudly on the streets below. As many as 1.5 million people have attended Pride London 2019, which is now being hailed the UK’s largest and most diverse Pride parade to date.

“By celebrating and supporting the concept of diversity – and by not oppressing original ideas that challenge convention – we can allow new thoughts to emerge.”

There’s an Albert Einstein quote that hangs on our office wall. It reads: “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” For some, it may signify the balance of designers, hoteliers, architects and suppliers thinking outside the box while also designing with purpose.  For me, though, it encourages one to take on a challenge and make it fun! That way, with the ability of adding your stamp to your work, you will not only throw intelligence at the problem, but also personality and individual ideas too.

This, I believe, is where the UK flourishes on the international design scene. By celebrating and supporting the concept of diversity – and by not oppressing original ideas that challenge convention – we can allow new thoughts to emerge and evolve, which, as a result, gives original concepts a nudge forward in the right direction. Jack Irving is the perfect example. The fashion designer who has worked with the likes of Lady Gaga and The Spice Girls has just completed his first interior design project. Irving’s commissioned work for W London has resulted in introducing our industry to new, unconventional materials. On the other hand there’s Zaha Hadid Architects, with its firm footprint as an industry leader, that is turning new architecture chapters, with the likes of Morpheus, that create new elegant dimensions.

The Brit List 2019, our annual awards event, is all about championing the most influential and inspirational designers, hoteliers, architects and suppliers. In order to keep the whole process as open as possible, we have ensured that applying for our nationwide search is completely free.

It’s been a varied and colorful month at the helm of Hotel Designs and I for one am proud of our fabulous team. We started our mini July tour in Manchester for Meet Up North, where more 150 of us celebrated creativity outside of the capital. One week later, we further bridged the gap between suppliers and procurement specialists with our highly engaging meet-the-buyers event, Hotel Summit, which allowed me the great honour of interviewing Marco Novello, the Managing Director of The Lanesborough, on stage in front of our live audience. A quick 24 hours in Dusseldorf, Germany, opened up the opportunity for us to speak to Michael Struck, the CEO of Ruby Hotels, as well as Matthew Bolan, the brand’s lead designer, in order to understand more about Ruby Hotels’ aggressive expansion, which includes its highly anticipated debut hotel in London next year.

In an industry full of leaders and visionaries, who are designing the cities of our future, it makes sense for us to also carve the path for others when it comes to celebrating diversity. Here are Hotel Designs, we are determined to continue to praise and offer a platform to people, projects, and plans on the boards that further challenge convention.

Be proud and apply for The Brit List 2019 for free today!

During August, Hotel Designs will be putting Hotel Concepts and Beds under the spotlight. If you would like to contribute to these topics, please do not hesitate to email me.

Editor, Hotel Designs

Main image credit: ACT Studios

AB Concept unveils ‘futuristic luxury’ hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
AB Concept unveils ‘futuristic luxury’ hotel

‘Futuristic Luxury’ defines the AB Concept-designed interiors at Laguna Baycourt Club Hotel & Spa Resort…

Ed Ng and Terence Ngan, Founders of international design studio AB Concept, have collaborated on Laguna Baycourt Club Hotel & Spa Resort in Gamagori, with Japanese designers Tanseisha Co., Ltd. and Yasui Architects & Engineers, Inc., to create the interiors of the ultra-luxury members hotel by Resorttrust, Inc. in the Kaiyo-cho area.

AB Concept’s designs extend from the public areas of the receptions, concierge and lobby, to the private domain of the guest rooms, whilst also incorporating the restaurant and members bar.

Speaking about the project, Ed Ng said: “Our interiors are inspired by Laguna Baycourt Club’s coastal location in Mikawa Bay, and the fluidity of the building’s architecture. Contrasting colour schemes and wave-like elements helped us to emulate the surrounding coastline and capture the geographical essence of the area in our designs.”

Entering through the diamond-shaped vestibule, guests are guided into the sculptural space of the lobby by forms reminiscent of waves. Curving acrylic curtains divide the space, their translucency creating private spaces without blocking the dramatic panoramic views. Antique metal panelling and monochrome stone tiles add to the flow of the edgeless space, whilst a handcrafted free-form table in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows is reminiscent of a sea-surge.

Luxe and bright interiors within the suite of the hotel

Image credit: AB Concept

Intricately carved gold screens define Maroce, the hotel’s main dining, designed by AB Concept. Creating dramatic silhouettes and curvaceous forms, the opulence of the shimmering space is palpable throughout the restaurant. Entering through a feather-etched glass door, guests will find a sophisticated blend of light and dark merging seamlessly with the serenity of the surrounding seascape.

In the guest rooms, Ed Ng and Terence Ngan have created different themes in order to create a sense of time passing throughout the day. ‘Sunrise’ defines the Bay Suites, where the soft curves combine with the room’s light openness to create a calm environment, whilst in the Luxury Suites, the theme of ‘Sunset’ is explored through AB Concept’s design combined with the orientation of the room. Neutral tones have been used to emulate the fading afternoon sun, whilst gentle arching forms drawn on the walls and carefully places mirrors induce a sense of infinite time and space.

Image credit: AB Concept

Lastly, deep colours, midnight tones and rich textures characterise the two Royal Suites located at each end of the buildings top floor. Conjuring up images of starry nights, the ‘Twilight’ theme of the suite is accentuated by the seamless transition from interior to exterior, as a balcony outside each suite offers members unparalleled views of the ocean and the night sky.

Laguna Baycourt Club Hotel & Spa Resort opened on 28th March 2019, and is an exclusive membership resort located in the area of Laguna, Gamagori City, Aichi Prefecture. It is the third of the Baycourt Club properties, and follows the Tokyo and Ashiya openings.

New hotel in Santa Monica debuts ‘looser kind of luxury’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
New hotel in Santa Monica debuts ‘looser kind of luxury’

The 271-key Santa Monica Proper, designed by Kelly Wearstler, introduces a looser kind of luxury with interiors inspired by the natural coastline… 

A new hotel has emerged in Santa Monica that is said to disrupt the luxury hotel scene in California. Juxtaposing Hollywood glamour, Santa Monica Proper, designed by internationally acclaimed designer Kelly Wearstler, describes itself as embracing ‘looser luxury’ with an emphasis on wellbeing and holistic wellness.

The hotel, which is currently in soft-launch phase, is situated in the district around 7th and Wilshire, which is considered to be a rising hub of creative energy with upscale conveniences and wellness activities in any direction—and the beach and bike path only blocks away.

Using Santa Monica as muse, Wearstler took cues, motifs and hues from classic Santa Monica history. With room designs distinct to each building, the clean-lined environments are grounded in a bold, neutral scheme of subtle organic textures, materials, and natural elements: sandy palettes, light hardwoods underfoot; grasscloths, and floor-to-ceiling windows. To further enhance the site-specific, artisanal feel in public spaces, Wearstler has collaborated with the finest names in L.A. art for original artworks and monolithic installations, such as Ben Medansky, Morgan Peck, Tanya Aguiniga, Len Klikunas, and Bradley Duncan.

close up of soft headboard and comfy looking bed with white sheets

Image credit: The Ingalls

Meeting the needs of the modern traveler, each room is well-appointed with specially designed furniture and signature Proper beds dressed with Bellino and Fili D’oro linens. State-of-the-art technology includes the Proper App and mobile room keys and checkout. In addition to curved floor-to-ceiling windows, balconies and garden terraces offer plenty of natural California light.

Integrated into a Proper stay is the 3,000-square-foot flagship collaboration with celebrated wellness practitioners Martha and Roger Soffer. Following a philosophy that bridges the physical, mental, and spiritual, hotel guests and locals can explore 10,000 years of Indian wellness principles through therapeutic massage, steam and oil treatments, cooking, yoga, and meditation.

The hotel, which offers its guests a front-row perspective over unspoilt ocean, is expected to be fully completed and open by September 2019.

Main image credit: The Ingalls

citizenM Amstel Amsterdam hotel opens in 1920s shell

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
citizenM Amstel Amsterdam hotel opens in 1920s shell

citizenM’s third hotel in Amsterdam – 17th property worldwide – moves into a sensational location in a stylish 1920s building as location remains everything…

Returning to its humble roots, citizenM has opened its third hotel in Amsterdam, which becomes the Dutch brand’s 17th property globally. Staying true to the quest for triple-A urban locations, citizenM Amstel Amsterdam is tucked into Amsterdam’s historical canal ring, between the areas of Weesperbuurt-en-Plantage and Oude Pijp.

Designed by Amsterdam-based partner Concrete, the hotel is described as “a beauty to behold from the outside”. The property is a conversion of an existing structure dating back to 1928, built in the Amsterdam School style of architecture. The decorative red brick exterior with its multitude of elegantly slender windows stands out among the neighbouring buildings on Sarphatistraat. At street level, the hotel will distinguish itself even more with a bespoke art installation across the eight main windows. The artistic photographer duo – and our previous Schiphol collaborators – Freudenthal Verhagen have created a series of water-themed pieces inspired by Amsterdam’s centuries-long reliance on rivers and canals. It will undoubtedly become a notable photo-op in the neighbourhood.

Guests enter the hotel through existing doors, restored to keep the historical character of the building. Inside, they’ll reach a split-level check-in area and the famous citizenM living room with a 24/7 bar, canteenM kitchen, designated work areas, designer furniture by Vitra, and tall bookcases filled with interesting objects, art and browsable books. Amsterdam-based artist Pablo Lucker has created a special artwork for the entrance, as well as unique black-and-white wallpaper for the hotel corridors. The artist duo Pinar & Viola have painted the living room ceiling, and created four additional loose pieces for display. At the rear of the living room, double doors lead to a real hidden treasure – an enclosed courtyard with greenery and garden furniture, ideal for relaxing after a long day of business or sightseeing in the city.

Image credit: Richard Powers

Upstairs, 88 guestrooms have been designed especially to fit the existing structure. The sleek furniture is by Vitra, and the famous XL king-size beds are topped with luxury mattresses, duvets, and fluffier-than-snow pillows. Powerful rain showers wash away all travel fatigue, and large flatscreen TVs make for enjoyable viewing of the huge free movie libraries, international TV channels, or own-content streaming using the superfast free Wi-Fi. Room ambiance is controlled by a MoodPad – an iPad that manages everything from entertainment to blinds and temperature. There are also pre-programmed moods for relaxation, party, romance and movies. Art – an essential part of the citizenM in-room experience – is curated by the world-renowned Foam Editions, the gallery of FOAM Photography Museum in Amsterdam. The contributing artists are Isabelle Wenzel, Sanja Marusic and Lisette Appeldorn.

As always, citizenM sticks to its philosophy of ‘affordable luxury for the people’ by giving the guests everything they want, and nothing they don’t. There are never queues to reception, because there is no reception desk – instead, self check-in kiosks put a key in every guest’s hand in just one minute. In a prominent place nearby, guests will find collectionM – the carefully curated retail selection for the modern traveller, where essential travel items and stylishly amusing gifts make it easy to take a little bit of citizenM home. At canteenM, food and drinks are within an arm’s reach 24 hours a day, to satisfy thirst, hunger, and snack attacks of travellers from all time zones. In the living room, ultra-comfortable Vitra couches, tables and desks encourage the guests to leave the bedroom and relax, watch TV, enjoy a freshly shaken cocktail, and even meet up with friends.

Business travellers seeking a professional yet inspiring place to meet don’t need to leave the hotel. citizenM Amstel Amsterdam includes two societyM creative meeting rooms for up to 14 participants. The rooms are available for AM, PM and all-day sessions, and come with all tech essentials like AV equipment and cables for a multitude of devices; unlimited coffee, tea and water; stationery, designer furniture, and blackboard or whiteboard walls to draw on. societyM is bookable anytime online in just five simple steps, and catering is available on request.

citizenM Amstel Amsterdam – the 17th citizenM hotel in 11 years – is poised to become a favourite location in the Netherlands’ capital for leisure and business travellers seeking an affordable luxury alternative to traditional hotels.

Main image credit: Richard Powers

Trends forecast ahead of Independent Hotel Show London 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Trends forecast ahead of Independent Hotel Show London 2019

Ahead of the Independent Hotel Show London 2019, which takes place on October 15 – 16 at Olympia London, design partners and exhibitors identify four key areas predicted to be hot in hotel design… 

Now that registration is officially open for the Independent Hotel Show London 2019 – and following the announcement that Hotel Designs has once again come on board as a media partner for the show – here are a few trends that visitors should expect to see emerging during the two-day event.

Bold and bright décor

Soft, muted shades have been the preferred palette for hotel bedrooms and lobbies for many years, but it’s now time to ‘banish the beige’ and embrace bold and bright colours, says Gemma Tate, director of House of Sloane. “Gone are the days where all the rooms are filled with beige upon beige and look exactly the same,” explains Tate. “Boutique hotels are becoming more confident in their use of bold and colourful decor, mixing eclectic elements when styling individual rooms and giving the guest a captivating experience.”

As design partner to the Innovation Stage, House of Sloane is planning to fulfil the brief of ‘modern eclecticism meets maximalist glamour’ by kitting the stage out with bold hues, luxurious velvets, a dash of animal print and eclectic accessories.

Susi Bellamy, founder of her eponymous agency and wallpaper partner to the Independent Hotel Show, says the ‘trend for a more eclectic approach to interiors seems to be here to stay’ and notes a ‘growing appetite’ for brighter colours. “Jewel tones, acid brights and candy colours are omnipresent in hospitality interiors and add a joyful tone to spaces,” Bellamy says as she explains the three striking wallpaper designs – Grey Stucco, Grey Stucco Pebbles and Pietra Grigia – she has selected to hang on walls at this year’s show. “The palette of these designs means they work in harmony with one another and provide a versatile backdrop for a range of hotel settings,” Bellamy adds. “Grey Stucco and Grey Stucco Pebbles inject a pop of colour into a setting and feel very bohemian. Grey Stucco Pebbles layers some collage over the top of the design and is a slightly more eccentric choice for interiors that truly stand out. Pietra Grigia combines tones of pale greyish greens and works well alongside cream and neutrals. These designs are some of our bestsellers, owing to their adaptable colour scheme and understated elegance.”

Image caption: Shot from last year’s Independent Hotel Show London

Make a statement

If there’s no budget or time for a full re-design, investing in one eye-catching piece of furniture per room, or to place in a communal area is one way to refresh a hotel’s look and help your business seem on-trend. A similar impact can be found by painting or wallpapering a single feature wall or ceiling.

“Invest in a statement sofa or chair,” advises Tate. “This is potentially one of the first things your guests will see on arrival and actually says a lot of about a hotel. Be brave with your choice of colour and shape. This should be about what works for your brand and should be a part of your overall room design. We would highly recommend this is one of those high-ticket items that you don’t cheap out on. Eclectic pieces, hand built with quality craftsmanship that are sturdy and made to last is a winning combination. Anything else is a false economy.”

Felicity Randolph, of Cheeky Chairs, an exhibitor at this year’s Independent Hotel Show, agrees and believes that unique statement pieces lend themselves particularly well to boutique independent hotels. “With the ever-increasing influence of Instagram and Pinterest, consumers are seeking a more esoteric individual style of hotel,” Randolph says. “Independent hotels are perfectly placed to capitalise on this trend and offer something truly unique and unexpected.”

The company’s boutique collection of crafted designer chairs and bar stools feature naturally soft seats upholstered in striking designer fabric.

“Our approach has been very much along the lines of a fashion collection on the runway,” Randolph adds. “Our models are carefully chosen for a specific feature of their shape; perhaps it’s the subtle curve of their leg, the length of their back, their enveloping seat or the flick of their ankle. Each finished product is a unique combination of model, designer fabric and colour to create a truly unique statement piece.”

“If you are unsure of how to incorporate more colour and pattern into your interiors, consider having a single feature wall or using wallpaper in the back of a bookcase to provide a hint of colour and print,” says Bellamy.

Shot from last year's Independent Hotel Show London

Image credit: Shot from last year’s Independent Hotel Show London

Create a home-from-home

The way guests use hotels is changing and interiors need to accommodate these shifts in behaviour if they want to survive. Starchy, formal and defined areas are no longer in vogue. Instead, guests want to be able to access services wherever and whenever they want within a hotel, so designing multi-purpose, flexible spaces that can cater for these changing needs is key. “A home-from-home approach is where hotels are moving towards, expanding the lobby into a living room space, almost a common room area where guests can find intimate places to relax,” says Tate.

“Décor can also help hotels provide a more homely feel to spaces,” includes Bellamy. “Carefully selected ‘objets’ on mantelpieces, and soft furnishings like luxurious throws or plush cushions are an ideal finishing touch that transform a space to feel more homely and cosy.”

The home from home feel can also be achieved on a more practical level by making it easy for guests to settle in quickly by providing them with the tools to do so. “We also see a connection between home and life through technology which is here now and working, so an easy transition from home to hotel is essential,” says Nick Sunderland of Two’s Company, design partner for The Suite who recommends swapping light sockets to include USB chargers so guests can easily charge electronic devices during their stay.

A conscious approach

There is no doubt about it, sustainability is a hot topic. With everyone showing increasing concern for their carbon footprint, and investigating ways they can reduce it, it’s a topic that will be under the spotlight throughout the show. Hotels are no exception and forward-thinking hoteliers are keen to lessen their business’s impact on the environment in all areas, including design.

The Independent Hotel Show’s live installation this year is The Conscious Hotel Room where sustainability has been considered across “every inch of the room” according to Alex Harris, director of Harris & Harris, the multidisciplinary design studio in charge of creating it.

Brand partners, which include Axminster, Cole & Son and Naturalmat, will provide furnishings that include recycled, organic, natural or sustainably-sourced materials while others, like Crosswater, will showcase energy-efficient bathroom items.

“It was also felt important that the ‘mileage’ of each product was kept to a minimum by sourcing items that have been produced in the UK, an ethos which also helps support local businesses and communities,” adds Harris.

Sunderland of Two’s Company also regards sustainability as a key trend and will integrate this ethos into the design of The Suite. The area will feature tables from Nature Squared, which uses sustainable natural resources such as feathers, egg shells and seashells to create unusual surfaces.

“Conscious design doesn’t simply mean using sustainable furnishings and products, however. It also encompasses areas such as accessibility, so The Conscious Hotel Room has been designed in a way that is mindful of the needs of guests with mobility issues,” says Harris.

“Generous space was allowed around the bed, desk, and joinery as well as omitting the door to the dressing room and bathroom. Space was allowed below the vanity unit and a large wet-room style shower, with no change in the floor heights, making the bathroom wheelchair accessible,” Harris concludes. “Through articles in the media and better education, travellers are becoming more eco-savvy and are now demanding that hotels provide a more sustainable stay for them. Hoteliers need to keep up with this trend, which won’t be a passing fad but a new and better way of living. Hotels have the opportunity to be the best expression of sustainable living which can then inspire guests to live in a more conscious way when they return home,” he concludes.

Hotel Designs’ editor Hamish Kilburn will be on stage to host the opening session on October 15. More details on who will be joining him – and the topic he will be presenting – will emerge shortly. Register your place by clicking here.

Main image credit: House of Sloane

In Conversation With: Michele Salvi, Associate at Zaha Hadid Architects

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Michele Salvi, Associate at Zaha Hadid Architects

Following the opening of the 770-key Morpheus Hotel in Macau, Zaha Hadid Architects’ Michele Salvi sits down with editor Hamish Kilburn to discuss pushing boundaries, ever-changing public areas and how the pioneering practice is continuing the legacy of a design legend…

When Morpheus first opened to the public in June of last year as the “world’s first free-form high-rise exoskeleton” hotel, to the surprise of nobody, it quickly became one of the most talked-about new-builds of the decade.

Six years in planning, the ambitious brief that the team at Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) received by Melco Resorts Entertainment was to design and build the fifth and final tower to complete City of Dreams Resort in Macau.

“Morpheus is a step into the unknown.” – Michele Salvi, Associate, Zaha Hadid Architects

To understand more about the challenges that were attached to such an enormous project – and to get a glimpse into the inner workings of one of the leaders behind many of the decisions – I join project architect and Associate Michele Salvi for one of his typical lunch hours in London’s bustling Clerkenwell district. “I love it here,” he says tucking into a fresh salad. “London’s vibrant culture scene makes Britain such a significant design hub.”

Establishing shot of site against other buildings

Image credit: Ivan Dupont

The architect, who operates from the ZHA’s London HQ and has recently been confirmed among other visionaries to be a jury member for the Outstanding Property Award London, is currently working on projects such as Mandarin Oriental Melbourne as well as several high-end competitions in Europe, Asia and Australia. And while these buildings that are on the boards are full-on commitments, there was nothing that could have prepared Salvi and the ZHA team for the opening of Morpheus. “Throughout the year there were many launch events with the hotel’s grand opening being the most important and expectations were high,” he admits. “The large atrium had been unwrapped from its scaffolding only a few days before and we had been working full speed with the interior contractors to deliver a project of premium quality right up until the last day. To be honest, it was a huge team effort.”

Instead of referencing architectural styles from around the globe, like the majority of other buildings in and around Macau, Morpheus ascended from its own unique environment juxtaposing its neighbouring buildings. “As our client says, Morpheus is a step into the unknown,” adds Salvi, “an unprecedented mix of challenges. More so than previous projects as parametric design tools methodologies have been used extensively in all design stages until construction.”

“It takes more than a comfortable room and premium facilities to make a hotel experience truly special.” – Michele Salvi, Associate, Zaha Hadid Architects

Rewind six years, and it was the late Zaha Hadid herself who had originally signed off the plans for the project. “We started with the envelope and exoskeleton,” explains Salvi. “The massing was given by the brief, the limited footprint leftovers from the existing City of Dreams development and 160m height restrictions because of being in close proximity to the airport.”

To create a fitting first impression that allowed all guests to experience the full scale of the project, the design team decided to keep the public areas as open and exposed as possible. “It takes more than a comfortable room and premium facilities to make a hotel experience truly special,” Salvi explains. “We wanted people to physically experience the building, be amazed and discover something unexpected.” Examples of this can be found no further than the 12 panoramic lifts, which through the full-height atrium provides what can only be described as a breathtaking 45-second experience of defying gravity.

What gives the 40-storey Morpheus its iconic free-form exterior shape are a number of delicately created pockets within the architectural structure. “We carved out three voids from this solid block to increase the amount of unique corner rooms,” explains Salvi. “By bending and curving the façade towards the centre, we enhanced visual connectivity and created unexpected crossing views between different areas of the building, such as two panoramic bridges that host restaurants.”

Exterior shot of the hotel, with irregular details

Image credit: Ivan Dupont

The guestrooms and suites within the hotel are somewhat hidden in the non-uniformed design in collaboration with interior design studio Remedios Studio. “Most rooms are within the flat façade and corners, with unique suites in the transition between flat façade and the voids,” Salvi continues. “All of them are behind the exoskeleton, and the variation of its pattern provides shelter from direct sunlight and generates dynamic filter towards the city.”

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: How do you escape from the daily grind?
Michele Salvi: Sailing, when I can, and I love travelling

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
MS: Hong Kong and Jordan are on my list. I would love to visit Patagonia and La Tierra del Fuego

HK: Renders or sketches?
MS: Both of them in every stage of design

HK: If I were to give you unlimited budget to design a hotel, where would it be in the world?
MS: I would love to design a floating hotel, always in motion rather than anchored to a specific context

HK: In your career, so far, what has been the largest change that has affected the way in which you design hotels?
MS: For me, this was when I started to use parametric tools, which could manage more information and has a much higher level of complexity

HK: Who inspired you when you were training to be an architect?
MS: Primarily Zaha Hadid. But also Frank Gehry and later on, from other creative fields, Ernst Haeckel and D’Arcy W. Thompson.

“Zaha’s loss was devastating.” – Michele Salvi, Associate, Zaha Hadid Architects

Despite Morpheus being no-doubt an impressive piece of architecture, it is perhaps the fact that it was one of the last projects that the late Zaha Hadid herself worked on that makes it an important building – and a poignant moment – in the firm’s journey. “Zaha’s loss was devastating,” says Salvi. “However, there is a strong sense of community within the company and we all share the responsibility to continue her legacy.” Salvi joined the studio just more than 15 years ago, first starting in the firm’s Italian studio before moving to London to work within – and later lead – a larger team. “I do feel as if I have contributed to making the company successful,” he says. After more than three years, we are doing incredibly well and continue to deliver unique projects.”

Just like the project itself did over many sketches and renders, Salvi has also evolved since early stages through to the completion. “Due to the extraordinary scale of the project, I feel I’ve learnt a lot,” he says. “From façade technology and interior design to form structure and workflow management, which is now a precious resource on every new project.”

With the architect’s lunch hour over running, and a design competition deadline looming, it’s time for Salvi to head back to the London studio to contribute further in changing the skylines of our cities for the better, all while continuing the work of the woman who changed architecture – and equality within the sector – forever. And with that, the extraordinary work taking shape behind the firm’s studio doors continues into a new chapter, which will no-doubt be complete with new, unique and elegant dimensions.

Main image credit: Jacopo Spilimbergo

Checking In: Down the rabbit hole in Devon’s Glazebrook House Hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking In: Down the rabbit hole in Devon’s Glazebrook House Hotel

In search for English eccentricity, editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to Glazebrook House Hotel to explore the Alice-in-Wonderland meets Rule Britania interiors, designed by Timothy Oulton

When Peter and Fran Hamman, the owners of Glazebrook House Hotel, originally embarked on their tremendous journey to open a statement luxury boutique hotel in South Devon, they were faced with several key decisions to make.

The first, and arguably the most important: who was going to design the interiors of the hotel to help turn bring to life their vision of an Alice-in-Wonderland-themed hotel? If there was anyone who qualified in sensitively making this dream a reality it was internationally renowned British revivalist designer Timothy Oulton, a somewhat obvious choice considering his quirky portfolio of work.

Oulton’s alternative, somewhat edgy charm can be felt immediately upon entering the hotel’s lobby. Two statement chandeliers hang from the tall ceiling above a deliberately distressed-looking rug. On one side of the room, past a striking chesterfield sofa, is a white sculpture of a young Queen Elizabeth. On the other side, past two clashing metallic armchairs, and above the mantelpiece are the hulls of mini boats hang on wall, injects a subtle sense-of-place. Meanwhile, an oversized, eye-catching union jack curtain hangs behind an understated check-in desk.

Image caption: The lobby | Image credit: ACT Studios

Since opening in September 2014, the hotel has become as famous for its food and beverage offering as it has its award-winning design. The elegant, intimate F&B area is balanced precisely with refined parquet flooring and reclaimed British oak tables, which adds an element of welcome authenticity. Fun details such as British-made china and shining silverware trays create a bold yet brilliant choice of wallcoverings. Across the hall, an equally impressive bar area spills out onto a sun-trap terrace and connects to the cigar room, which features a sculpture of Winston Churchill smoking an illuminated cigar aptly positioned next to the liquor cabinet.

While corridors in some hotels naturally become a dead space that lack design and inspiration, Glazebrook House the hotel embraces the unconventional. Bizarre artefacts hang proudly on the walls, such as traditional horns and Oulton-style bowler hats. The landing is also a clash of ideas working together in harmony. A feature wall of traditional street signs reflects the main staircase, while furniture designed to be a nod towards Britain’s equestrian style – think upside-down saddle-inspired armchairs – create a relaxed yet refined feel.

“My nest for the evening, The Mad Hatter Suite, is full of idiosyncratic moments.”

Nine individually designed en-suite guestrooms, all designed in homage to Lewis Carroll’s most famous work, have been given apt names, such as White Rabbit (the hotel’s design-led disabled access room) and the twin room Tweedle Deez to reference further the overarching theme down the rabbit hole. My nest for the evening, The Mad Hatter Suite, is full of idiosyncratic moments, which include topsy-turvy dollhouses on the walls above a brown studded-leather headboard and low-hanging chandeliers tied with thick rustic rope, which juxtaposes solid marble side tables that sit underneath. The spacious ensuites in each room offer minimalist luxury, complete with Geberit WCs, Villeroy & Boch basins and Pura shower units.

Voted, among other award wins, as the best boutique hotel for 2018 by Visit England, the converted Georgian Manor house is full to the brim of personality and charm at every corner. Combining the best in British design with one-off quality elements thoughtfully thrown in to add new layers, the design story of Glazebrook House Hotel has been a methodical one. On the surface it seems that arbitrary objects have been paired together. But the realty is that every item sheltered in the shell of the building helps to create a seamless and unforgettable hotel guest experience for all.

Main image credit: ACT Studios

The Brit List 2019 Awards: Meet the judges

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List 2019 Awards: Meet the judges

Now that nominations have opened for The Brit List 2019 Awards, we would like you to meet our fabulous judges, handpicked in order to make this year’s process to find the most influential British designers, hoteliers, architects and suppliers the biggest and best yet… 

The Brit List 2019 is back, once again launching its nationwide search to find Britain’s leading interior designers, hoteliers and architects. Nominations are now open (until August 9) and, what’s more, the process in which to apply remains completely free.

This year’s judges, who have all individually been hand-selected, each come from a different sectors of design, architecture and hospitality in order to keep the process fair, creative and open to all.

The judges for The Brit List 2019 Awards are:

Harriet Forde, British Institute of Interior Design President (Industry Partner)

Harriet Forde, BIID President

Harriet Forde, who was recently interviewed by Hotel Designs,  is the founder and director of Harriet Forde Design, which provides a comprehensive range of interior design services predominantly based in the commercial property and hotel industries, as well as the high-end residential housing market. “The BIID are the UK’s leading professional body for interior designers and we are delighted to partner with the Brit List for 2019,” said Forde. “Our past president Gilly Craft had only good things to say about the process of judging the event and I am excited to participate this year.”

Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs

Hamish Kilburn, who will also be hosting The Brit List 2019 Awards on November 21, is the editor of Hotel Designs, which is the leading international hotel design website.

In 2014, Kilburn started his career in the industry when, as features editor, he helped launch a new international hotel design publication into the market.

Since then, he has traveled the globe and has reviewed some of the world’s most impressive hotels. In his day-to-day role, Kilburn is responsible for curating the content for Hotel Designs, bringing his readers the latest happenings, reviews, and features in the world of international hotel design.

Jacu Strauss, founder and creative director of LORE Studio

Jacu Strauss, Founder of Lore Studio | Image credit: Emily Andrews

Jacu Strauss, who was recently interviewed by Hotel Designs, is the creative director at LORE group and founder of LORE studio.

A qualified architect with a demonstrated history of working in the design industry, Strauss’ portfolio of projects includes The Pulitzer Amsterdam and Sea Containers London among many others. The architect and designer is now dipping his toe into the world of hospitality and will soon be opening his first hotel in Washington D.C.

Florence Rolfe, Former Deputy Decoration Editor, House & Garden

Florence Rolfe, Former Deputy Decoration Editor, House & Garden

Florence Rolfe, who is a regular contributor to Hotel Designs, is an interior stylist and art director based in London. Her career began with Condé Nast on House & Garden Magazine where she spent several years producing their monthly features, leaving after seven years as Deputy Decoration Editor. Since then she has worked with some of the most renowned interior photographers, producing & directing imagery for some of the biggest luxury brands including The One & Only Resorts, Nobu Restaurants, Heal’s, Habitat, Marks & Spencer, And So To Bed, Ballymore Homes, TH2 amongst others, and has had her work published in various national magazines including Vogue, GQ & Brides. With a background in publishing, Florence knows exactly how to style an image to make it appealing to editors and consumers alike.

Edward Webb, Director of Development Management, Nuveen Real Estate

Edward Webb, Director of Development Management, Nuveen Real Estate

Edward Webb is the director of development management at Nuveen Real Estate, which is a premier global investment manager that has been helping clients meet their goals for more than 100 years, making the world a better place along the way.

Mel Yates, Photographer 

Mel Yates, Photographer

Starting out as a portrait photographer working with a long list of subjects such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Javier Bardem, Jude Law, Keira Knightley, Tom Hanks, Mel Yates began to change direction and reconnect with his design background (originally trained as a product designer at Central St Martins) and now works internationally both as a stills photographer and video maker for numerous design related clients. In addition to photographing or filming designers such as Sir David Adjaye, Philip Treacy, Philippe Starck, Ron Arad, Tom Dixon, Yates shoots environments, people and objects for advertising, books, brochures, editorial and hotel clients, as well as interior and architectural projects. Hotel clients include The Four Seasons, ME and One & Only Resorts.

The judges will select the final 75 most inspirational and influential people in British design, hotels and architecture, as well as selecting this year’s individual winners of the following awards:

  • Interior Designer of the Year
  • Architect of the Year
  • Hotelier of the Year
  • Best in Tech
  • The Eco Award 
  • Best in British Product Design – NEW CATEGORY FOR 2019
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry

On November 21, the shortlisted finalists of designers, hoteliers, architects as well as key suppliers to the industry will gather at Patch East, London where The Brit List 2019 will be unveiled along with the individual winners.

Early-bird tickets for the award ceremony are now available to purchase: 

Suppliers: £99 + VAT (£150 + VAT after early bird offer expires after August 4)
Designers, hoteliers, developers and architects: £10 + VAT (£20 + VAT after early bird offer expires after August 4)

Please click here if you are a supplier to the industry to secure your ticket NOW!

Please click here if you are either a designer, hotelier, developer or architect and secure your ticket NOW!

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat:

Industry Partner: BIID:

Eccleston Square Hotel unveils major tech upgrade

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Eccleston Square Hotel unveils major tech upgrade

Known widely for being one of the most technologically advanced luxury boutique hotels in the world, Eccleston Square Hotel London becomes even smarter following its recent tech renovation… 

Eccleston Square Hotel London, which was  the setting for a unique Hotel Designs hotel review carried out by tech expert Jason Bradbury, has unveiled its latest technology upgrade, complete with Artificial intelligence and the 3D television.

Olivia Byrne, Company Director of Eccleston Square Hotel, sophisticatedly integrated a number intelligent, and A.I. cloud-based technology systems. Her smart strategy to automate as much of the business as possible saw her investing in more sophisticated systems based on modern technologies and machine learning. Why? Says Byrne, “Artificial intelligence and the integration of technology, done well, saves time so that energies can be spent on the guest experience rather than dealing with manual work behind a computer.”

Using a unique combination of A.I. and cloud-based technologies including MEWS, ATOMIZE, AIRWAVE and 4K Google Chromecast for screen mirroring – the hotel offers a very slick, A.I. incorporated solution for guest information, entertainment and property management. It is one of the first hotels in the world to exclusively provide 4K TV content to all guests, with the technology for everyone to enjoy their own personalised content like Netflix and YouTube – offering a continuation of the tech luxuries and conveniences guests enjoy at home. Eccleston Square Hotel is also the first hotel to exclusively use Sonos Beam soundbars in all the guest rooms offering the ultimate in sound quality.

Guests control their rooms using VDA’s Vitrum glassware collection. The touch-sensitive keypads have etched icons for each room function and are totally intuitive to use. Interfaces with the hotel’s building management systems mean that hotel staff can automatically set the rooms to a dormant mode, whereby unnecessary items are switched off and the heating/cooling turned down when the room is vacant to save energy. Digital convenience is everywhere. UK, US and European power sockets are provided within the rooms. Portable players, iPads, iPhones and PC’s can be easily charged or connected to the room TV via in-wall docking points. Thought has even been given to providing charging points on either side of the bed; these remain active even when the guest leaves the room and when other systems are switched off. A complimentary mobile smartphone provides unlimited free calls to British and international mobile and landline numbers – a great bonus for UK inbound guests. The smartphone also features an in-built concierge and butler service for hassle-free room service and requests for assistance. To be used both inside and outside the hotel, it also offers 4G for unlimited and complimentary browsing, plus handy shortcuts to recommended shopping, dining and transport links. Rooms also feature UK, European and US power sockets – and if that isn’t enough, there is always a handy supply of free-to-borrow adapters and chargers. Wi-Fi in the hotel is super-fast and complimentary.

Eccleston Square Hotel is the epitome of affordable luxury. To add to the comfort of the guest, every bedroom offers the ‘world’s best beds’ sourced from the acclaimed Swedish manufacturers, Hästens, which are handcrafted electronically adjustable beds are gift wrapped in the finest Italian sheeting and luxury non-allergenic bedding.

Guests can also enjoy a ready supply of complimentary Nespresso coffee, freshly made pots of tea, and drinking water – and those who book directly also enjoy a daily re-stocked free mini bar. Eccleston Square Hotel’s media lounge is ideal for meetings and events, it boasts an impressive (and huge) Media Wall. Super high-speed Wi-Fi and modern technology allows for the screen to be used for presentations as well as private cinema screenings. When not in use for business, guests like to watch their favourite 3D television and sporting events and films in cinematic glory.

Something particularly unique to Eccleston Square hotel is that guests may use the incredible private residential gardens which offer a calm, botanical oasis away from the prying eyes and stimulation of this capital city. The beautiful mature gardens feature a variety of picnicking spots, a tennis court and lots of dappled shade, it’s little wonder the BBC recently declared them as one of the best kept garden squares in London.

Some of the hi-tech treats include:

• 4K Smart TVs
• Complimentary smart phone with free regional and international phone calls and data
• Superfast Wi-Fi
• International power sockets
• Smart Glass walls
• Hästens electronically adjustable beds
• Automatic front door
• Screen mirroring
• Sonos Beam soundbars
• VDA Vitrum glass touch sensitive control keypads
• A.I chatbots
• Integrated Cloud Based Hotel PMS
• Smart automated revenue management system

Main image credit: Eccleston Square Hotel London

InterContinental Hayman Island Resort opens in Great Barrier Reef

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
InterContinental Hayman Island Resort opens in Great Barrier Reef

Designed in collaboration with DBI Designs, DAARC and KY Design, with the Great Barrier Reef as a main source of inspiration, InterContinental Hayman Island Resort has opened… 

Following InterContinental Hotels & Resorts (IHG)’s plans to extending its footprint in Australia as well as other regions, the 166-key luxury InterContinental Hayman Island Resort has opened its doors. With design by DBI Designs, DAARC and KY Design, the new luxury hotel has been created to evoke one-off experiences.

Nestled in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef – famously one of the seven wonders of the natural world –the hotel has opened a after a spectacular multi-million-dollar refurbishment. Located on a pristine 400-hectare private island in The Whitsunday Islands, the luxury resort features dynamic 166 rooms, suites and villas across three distinct wings, and is accessible by luxury catamaran, helicopter or seaplane.

Exterior establishing shot of the hotel

Image credit: IHG

New to the resort, InterContinental offers 11 all-new suites in the luxury collection of the Pool Wing, with remarkable accommodation options including the Three Bedroom Hayman Beach House with three rooms each with its own private pool, and the One Bedroom Pool Access Suite with direct swim-out access to Australia’s iconic Hayman Pool. Completing the immersive on-island experience is a brand-new luxury spa with 11 treatment rooms, all-new resort boutique, on-island chapel, world-class kids club, and fitness and wellness centre.

With luxury properties in more than 200 locations around the world – some more far-flung than others – IHG is the world’s largest global luxury hotel brand. The hotel group’s strategy now  is to expand its portfolio, focusing on destinations such as France, Maldives, Japan, Australia and Thailand.

Main image credit: IHG

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Styling a hotel for design press

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INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Styling a hotel for design press

With first impressions now being made before guests have even considered checking in, making a hotel’s style, personality and character pop in photographs is fundamental in any successful launch campaign. Florence Rolfe, former senior stylist at House & Garden – and judge for The Brit List 2019 – explains some of the tricks of the trade… 

The overriding question I am often asked is: “What do I have to do in order to get my brand into a leading publication?”

As we well know, the role of the journalist is to find the next big scoop, to draw the reader in with interesting content, and ultimately: to tell a story.

When it comes to creating engaging imagery, my advice is that your visuals should also tell a story. They need to express a lifestyle, and, moreover when it comes to hotels, where there is an abundance, that story needs to be aspirational. It needs to offer access to something that you wouldn’t usually experience, and conclusively to communicate this. The image should encapsulate the incredible journey you will have. What do we enjoy most about staying at hotels? For me, I like to indulge: step into my room, kick off my shoes and slip into that soft luxurious robe. I scout out the brand of miniature toiletries carefully curated in the bathroom. Perhaps run a bubble bath, then later tuck into high-thread count, Egyptian cotton sheets freshly turned down by housekeeping, before indulging in a chocolate left on the pillow.

“Whilst emulating the comfort of a home is important, the magic of hotels is also the escapist quality.”

But how can we convey this sublime experience into a photograph? Whilst emulating the comfort of a home is important, the magic of hotels is also the escapist quality. A luxurious element and impression of pampering is key. Detail shots of gorgeous bed linen, or a beautifully presented breakfast on a balcony, or a section of the bed with a thoughtfully styled bedside table, attractive looking cocktails at a beautifully stacked bar, or a good looking dish prepared by the chef. An evocative shot could also capture a neatly rolled towel pristinely perched on a sun lounger.

Are there any quirky design details around the hotel that the stylist and photographer are able to hone in on? Perhaps an interesting art collection, extensive book collection, rooftop pool with panoramic views, or an inviting private beach? Perhaps an unusual design element like a bath tub on the balcony – think The Zetter Townhouse, Marylebone. Draw your focus onto the interior design elements in a hotel, like an oversized bedhead – Kit Kemp style – or a mega chandelier, as seen in The Corinthia London’s lobby. Focus on the materials at your disposal: the tiles, upholstery, curtains, bed linen. Do they contrast with other fittings like dramatic brass door handles? The writing desk in a hotel room. Or a big beautiful armchair. These furnishings are interesting to photograph to show guests how differently the bedroom space can be used (outside the standard realm of bed and en-suite bathroom).

Consider the different mix of materials not as typical or practical in our everyday living spaces: silk curtains, bed throws, velvet armchairs. The prevailing impact that interiors trends have for press and bloggers means that in this day and age photography and styling is really important.

Think about whether you want the pictures to look as though they are ‘guest ready’, preparing for the customers arrival or whether they should encompass a natural ‘lifestyle’ quality? Do you want to create your bedroom shots with a more ‘lived in’ feel. This could be a messy bed, for example. If your shots have been commissioned purely for website purposes, I would stick to ‘guest ready’. Lifestyle are great for video and social media content. I would also always advise having a model on hand for any lifestyle imagery as the human element not only brings things to life, also helps scale in a photograph. A mix of the two works well for website, brochure and social media content. Movement can still be created in a still life image: a running bath or shower, lit candles or a barman pouring a drink or shaking a cocktail.

If the budget allows, I would suggest hiring a stylist and good photographer to bring these elements to life. My job as a stylist is to create this ‘home from home’ environment in a photograph, achieved by sourcing props in interesting shapes and sizes that I know will always photograph well.  You can never go wrong with beautiful flowers. They bring any image to life. Not only will they provide that pop of colour if needed in the photograph, but they can hugely help image proportions.

Flowers is another element I would suggest carefully considering for your branding. Take a look at your surroundings: which flowers and/or plants are native to the country or area that your hotel is based? A hotel or resort based in South Africa might decide to stick with their native flower, which in this case is the ‘Protea’, whereas a hotel or resort in Mexico might opt for succulents in their imagery. As we are all aware, flowers can be pricey and don’t always last long. This isn’t always ideal when you’re on a long shoot, as they need to look as fresh as possible for every shot. Faux flowers might be a good option. Once renowned for having a bad reputation, these days there are some beautifully crafted, really realistic ones available. A good selection of hardback books in various sizes and colours are always useful to fill a neglected area.

To create an image that not only gets you into the press, but also hooks your target market, you need to create emotion. Put yourself in the guest’s shoes. Do not simply take a cold image of a smart room, but rather bring that room to life. Allow the reader to envisage how they would feel when they walk through the door into your hotel room and sense all the wonderful things around them, which you’ve so carefully thought out for them.

Main image credit: CitzenM Kuala Lumpar

Madrid welcomes new tech-driven, Rockwell-designed Aloft Hotels property

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Madrid welcomes new tech-driven, Rockwell-designed Aloft Hotels property

Aloft Madrid Gran Via embraces the brand’s new future-proofed design formula, complete with a rooftop pool featuring 360-degree views of Madrid’s skyline…

Aloft Hotels, Marriott International’s hotel brand for music fans and tech-savvy travellers, brings a new beat to Spain with the opening of Aloft Madrid Gran Vía. Located in the vibrant heart of the capital, the new 139-key hotel is a stone’s throw from some of the city’s most popular hotspots.

Designed by world-class architecture firm the Rockwell Group, the property’s tech-forward, future-proofed design is aimed at the next generation of travelers, juxtaposed against the rich history of Gran Vía.

“Madrid has long topped destination wish-lists for travellers in Europe, thanks to its spirited culture, ” said John Licence, Vice President Premium and Select Brands, Europe at Marriott International. “Aloft Hotels is set to put its own unique spin on the capital’s social scene with live music programming, the hottest emerging artists, and great signature cocktails.”

Image credit: Marriott International/Aloft Hotels

Staying true to its roots as an innovative incubator brand, Aloft Hotels, in partnership with the Rockwell Group, developed a cohesive design strategy for Aloft Madrid Gran Via that draws on the sense of humor and the vivid color story the brand is known for. In a nod to the brand’s focus on tech and bold use of color, the property’s free-flowing design embraces the “glitch” design trend to aestheticise digital or analog errors, materialising in design details from distorted city art throughout the public spaces and guestrooms. The always-on, buzzing communal areas reflect the eclectic spirit of the city and respond to the needs of the modern traveller, allowing guests to seamlessly transition between work and play.

“Rockwell Group’s design concept celebrates Madrid’s vibrancy and energy,” said Elisa Rodriguez, Studio Leader, Rockwell Group Madrid. “We were inspired by the idea of seeing the city and its people through a kaleidoscope, rendering the resulting images as pixelated, blended, and multifaceted, to create dynamic moments throughout the hotel.”

Each of its 139 spacious guestrooms feature Aloft’s ultra-comfortable beds in the brand’s signature artful, clutter-free and innovative loft layout, 49-inch televisions with Plug & Play connectivity, fast and free Wi-Fi. Additional amenities include the Re:chargeSM fitness centre and Splash pool; Tactic, an interactive private creative meeting space with natural light equipped with modern audio-visual hardware; and Re:fuelSM by Aloft, a convenient 24-hour cafe for a quick bite on the go. Marriott brands were the first in the industry to introduce Mobile Key, the industry’s first keyless entry system. Marriott Bonvoy members can use the Marriott Bonvoy app on their smartphone or Apple Watch as their room key wherever available.

The brand’s signature Re:mix Lounge and W XYZ bar provide vibrant hubs for locals and travellers alike to socialise and enjoy live music performances as part of the Live At Aloft Hotels music series. The hotel programming will range from cultural, design and tech events, offering a new perspective in this vibrant city.

There are currently 161 Aloft Hotels in 25 countries and territories around the world. In Europe specifically, Aloft Hotels is present in key city-break destinations such as Dublin, London and Liverpool with expected openings in The Hague, Munich and more.

Main image credit: Marriott International/Aloft Hotels

Hilton is on track to open most luxury hotels in company’s history, says CEO

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hilton is on track to open most luxury hotels in company’s history, says CEO

Hilton’s CEO has announced that this year will go down in history for the hotel giant as it will open more luxury properties than ever before… 

Hilton’s President and CEO, Chris Nassetta, has announced that the company is on track to open more luxury properties in 2019 than in any previous year of its 100-year history. The hotel group expects to open seven hotels by the end of the year, in addition to the four hotels that opened in Q1 and Q2, across its luxury brands.

Hilton’s current and projected luxury openings in 2019, which join the 65 existing luxury properties, include:

  • Waldorf Astoria: Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre, Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregaland, Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
  • LXR: The Biltmore, Mayfair in London and Zemi Beach House Resort & Spa in Anguilla
  • Conrad: Conrad Hangzhou, Conrad Hangzhou Tonglu, Conrad New York Midtown, Conrad Shenyang, Conrad Tianjin and Conrad Washington, DC

The record-breaking year marks the beginning of impressive momentum for Hilton’s luxury category and stems from more than a decade of strategic investments and planning. Following this year’s openings, Hilton’s luxury pipeline includes more than 30 properties, approximately 25 of which are expected to open through 2025.

“After more than a decade of honing Hilton’s distinct luxury offerings and investing in key markets around the globe, we are embarking upon a very exciting phase for the category,” said Martin Rinck, executive vice president and global head, Luxury & Lifestyle Group, Hilton. “Over the next five years, starting with this year’s openings, we will start to see the positive impact of our efforts, and we are confident that our amazing portfolio of properties will reinvent luxury travel for Hilton – and for the entire industry.”

Luxury became a top priority for Hilton when Nassetta took over as President and CEO in 2007 and re-focused the company’s business strategy around organic growth. Hilton leadership mapped out a luxury growth strategy that centered on two priorities: refining the two core luxury brands at the time, Waldorf Astoria and Conrad, to resonate with specific customer needs; and bringing the brands to diversified markets. Last year, Hilton identified a gap among independent luxury hotels and launched LXR, its third luxury brand, to provide customers with a portfolio of distinctive, iconic hotels and resorts – full of character and individuality – that are backed by a world-class commercial engine.

“Hilton was among the first to predict that luxury travel was poised to take off across generations and markets in the years to come – and we wanted to be at the forefront of its reinvention,” said Ian Carter, president, global development, architecture, design and construction, Hilton. “Development in the luxury space requires time and resources to do it properly. Our thoughtful and targeted approach has enabled us to grow Hilton’s luxury presence globally – in many cases from the ground up – from new properties to spectacular conversions.”

As part of the enterprise’s organic growth strategy, Hilton’s luxury development team works with strong ownership groups to select markets and tailor the respective brand’s presence. Over the past decade, Hilton and its partners expanded the luxury category’s global presence from 15 to 29 countries and territories, and they are continuing to grow the portfolio with a finely curated pipeline of more than 30 signings that are diverse in regions and market-types.

Waldorf Astoria is growing to include more resort destinations, such as Los Cabos, Mexico and the Maldives, and is building a presence in more key urban markets like London (expected to open in 2021), San Francisco (expected to open in 2022) and Miami (expected to open in 2024). The Conrad brand, which has been concentrated in the Asia Pacific region, is gaining traction in other parts of the world, including the U.S. where it recently signed deals in Nashville (expected to open in 2021) and Orlando (expected to open in 2022) and opened a flagship property in Washington, D.C. LXR is gaining speed in a variety of markets with the additions of Anguilla’s world-class Zemi Beach resort and London’s sophisticated Biltmore Mayfair.

Hilton and its ownership partners continue to elevate and expand the company’s luxury offerings. The Waldorf Astoria hotels in New York and Las Vegas, as well as the Conrad in Miami, are among Hilton luxury properties undergoing substantial renovations to upgrade design and enhance the on-property experience. In addition, Hilton has increasingly invested in its luxury residential portfolio, which now includes more than 2,800 units across 22 properties.

The hotel group currently has a portfolio of 17 world-class brands, which comprises of more than 5,700 properties with more than 923,000 rooms, in 113 countries and territories around the world.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Concept to completion: Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Concept to completion: Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester

As the opening date draws ever nearer, Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester is starting taking form. Hotel Designs caught up with architecture firm jmarchitects to understand how the company restored a historic city building so that it can shelter Manchester’s new kind luxury hotel… 

The Manchester Stock Exchange building is a Grade II listed, fine example of Edwardian Baroque architecture.

Built between 1904 and 1906 and designed by Bradshaw, Glass and Hope, this historically symbolic institution has been lovingly extended and refurbished to create a new boutique hotel with a restaurant headed by Chef Tom Kerridge and a luxury penthouse residence.

When co-owners Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs first purchased the building, it comprised of three floors of office space which were converted in the 1980’s. These sat above a previously popular ground floor restaurant housed under a magnificent domed ceiling. Several trees had rooted themselves on the roof and had spread through the drainpipes, unfortunately causing water and material damage to the historic asset.

Stripping the building back to its bare bones, retaining only historical features and carefully preserving rooms of historical significance was the necessary starting point for the restoration and refurbishment. This process provided the opportunity to sensitively strengthen the existing structure in preparation for a two-storey roof extension.

Architect studio, jmarchitects began the design process with a thorough appraisal of the building and a brief to create a unique boutique hotel and restaurant with a luxury penthouse residence; focussing on the guest’s experience through the building while paying homage to its history.

Artist impression of public areas

image credit/caption: Artist impression of public areas,/Autoban

“Several schemes to extend the building were explored with the client in virtual reality, arriving at an extrusion of the existing mansard roof form, set back from the building frontage and clad in monolithic zinc.,” says Laura Turner, Architect, jmarchitects. “A contemporary insertion routed into the building via a seven-storey sculptural staircase in place of the former 1980’s circulation core.”

The complex nature of the historic building fabric was unveiled during the strip-out, which necessitated an ever-evolving design approach in adaption to the building’s needs. This was executed by working in close collaboration with a design team of engineers and specialists.

Artist impression of guestroom/

Image caption/credit: Artist impression of guestroom/ Autoban

The interiors are designed by internationally renowned, Istanbul-based, multidisciplinary design studio Autoban. The finished designs are opulent yet elegant, drawing on the building’s material palette of original marble, brass and woodwork.

“After three years testing and developing designs with the team we are thrilled to see this 100 year old building repurposed for modern use; bringing it up to date with current standards and technologies to see it through the next century,” adds Andrew Rogers, Director, jmarchitects. “We are confident that this sensitive, yet extensive refurbishment and extension will see The Stock Exchange become the first choice for hotel accommodation and dining in this fantastic city. We eagerly await the November opening and the excitement it will bring to those who visit.”

The Stock Exchange will be welcoming guests once again on November 15,  2019 as the first ever Relais & Châteaux member in Manchester.

Main image credit: jmarchitects/Stock Exchange Hotel Manchester

MINIVIEW: COMO Metropolitan London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: COMO Metropolitan London

COMO Metropolitan London has announced the opening of ten luxury Residences, which all offer private apartment-style accommodation adjacent to the main 144-key luxury hotel… 

Located in one of London’s trendiest neighbourhoods that is surrounded by discreet private members’ clubs, cult restaurants and a number of high-end boutiques. COMO Metropolitan London, like all luxury hotels in the area, has to work hard in order to stand out from the crowd and remain relevant to well-travelled guests.

Since opening in in 1997, ‘the Met‘, as it became known has seen many minor renovations and redesigns – the most significant of which was in 2015 – in order to keep ahead of demand and trends. The mood has changed from the late-night antics once centred around the Met Bar to a more holistic experience that balances work, play and wellbeing while still underpinned by COMO’s commitment to passionate service.

Most recently, the hotel has completed and opened of ten luxury Residences. Designed by Linzi Coppick of Forme UK, the Residences offer private apartment-style accommodation adjacent to the hotel on Brick Street, in Mayfair’s historic heart and opposite leafy Hyde Park.

The two-bedroom Residences provide an ideal base for long or short stays in London, reflecting all the comforts of home living at its finest.

Discretion is a significant draw, with the Residences benefitting from a separate entrance on Brick Street, as well as access to a courtyard designed by landscape architect Peter Curzon, shared only with the other Residences. The central feature of the courtyard is a strikingly crafted pergola, fitted with heaters for the cooler months and contemporary furniture from iSiMAR. Residences on the ground floor benefit from additional outdoor space, with private patios offering an unusual oasis in the heart of London.

Inside the Residences, Coppick has prioritised a sense of home. Natural daylight floods the spacious apartments, augmented by contemporary design with subtle warmth and bespoke artwork by Marta Suarez. In the open-plan living and dining area, natural wood floors and furniture from BO Concept create a sleek entertainment area adapted to the modern traveller, whether guests are staying as a family or visiting for business. A fully equipped Lauren Nicholas kitchen blends a refreshing white palette with marble countertops, incorporating breakfast-bar seating for more laidback meals. For formal dining, a dark wood BO Concept table can extend to seat eight people, while a large corner sofa and a reading chair in warm grey leather ensures plenty of space for relaxation.

Main image credit: COMO Hotels & Resorts

SPOTLIGHT ON: Fabric trends to bookmark for 2019 and beyond

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: Fabric trends to bookmark for 2019 and beyond

While Hotel Designs is shining the spotlight on fabrics, Hotel Designs has identified interesting trends and innovate materials on the market… 

There are many factors that determine the trends and movements of which fabrics designers use within products. Sustainability, durability and feel to the touch are all among them. With this in mind, the editorial desk have found the fabrics that should and are being specified in design hotels around the world.

Innovative and instagrammable material

Image credit: W London

Earlier this month, W London unveiled the result of its fashion-forward collaboration with designer to the stars Jack Irving. Completing his first ever interior project, Irving was asked to design a statement product for each room and suite. The designer’s urchant-shaped bed cushions are dynamic, quirky and very W! But what’s arguably more impressive than the shape is the material. “We call it Rainbow material,” says Irving. “That’s because of its ability to change colour. When you take a photo with the flash on, the cushion turns from a black to a multicoloured it glow, which the hotel loved.”

Sustainability

Image credit: Kvadrat

The Denmark-based textile manufacturer Kvadrat has a strong sustainability policy. By launching the sustainable company Really, the company were able to upcycle waste wool and cotton to create different materials, which includes acoustic felts. “We strive to develop sustainable products of high quality – products that add value to public and private spaces.,” said the company which has worked in collaboration with the likes of Anton Alvarez, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec and Patricia Urquiola, among others.

Another company that is leading the way on the sustainability path on the international hotel design scene is Mitre Linen. The company’s eco range, made from 100 per cent organic cotton and with a 200 thread count, is a classic, crisp white range that feels beautiful and soft to the touch. The cotton also conforms to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certificate which means it is guaranteed to be free from potential skin irritants.

Time travelling to the ’50s

Image credit: Sekers

Incorporating a multi-colour looped yarn, Kielder by Sekers captures the essence of the heavy bouclé fabrics typical of the 1950’s but with a modern performance. Supplied with a crib five flame retardant backing and with a Martindale abrasion performance of 100,000 rubs, Kielder meets all relevant UK, US and IMO standards for upholstery. This textural semi plain is perfect for the most demanding upholstery application and the ideal choice for the commercial hospitality, leisure and marine markets.

Faux leathers

Fabric specialist Skopos has recently unveiled three new crib five faux leather products.

Kiri offers an antiqued / aged effect, in a range of leather-look colours. Its design mimics the sophisticated feel of leather and is well suited to hospitality and leisure interiors.

Haiko comes in an array of colours meaning it can be suited and matched to a variety of contract interiors. This finish presents a plentiful palette, pushing designers to work with both colours and naturals in their contract schemes.

Tama is both bold and confident. The emboss on Tama vinyl is subtle, light and understated, pushing the boundaries of colour to include vibrant shades in addition to neutrals, thus potentially appealing to a younger audience.

Fabric in lighting

In an industry that is used to collaborations and convergence, last year Vaughan boldly launched a new range that was inspired by travels around the globe that Lucy Vaughan, the creative director of the brand, has experienced. The result is The Tribal Collection, an array of vibrant lampshades, embroidered cushions and unusual upholstered chairs which aim to celebrate the craftsmanship and culture of fabrics Vaughan and her daughter have sourced. Each unique in their own right, the products within the collection is ideal for boutique hotels looking to create a statement, an editorial story we brought you one week ahead of this launch.

Main image credit: W London

Ruby Hotels opens second hotel in Dusseldorf

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Ruby Hotels opens second hotel in Dusseldorf

Last night, Hotel Designs was invited to Dusseldorf for the official opening party of Ruby Leni, the disruptive brand’s seventh property. Ahead of the theatrical opening scene, editor Hamish Kilburn lifts the curtain to get a closer look backstage…

Following the hotel group unveiling its aggressive expansion plans last year, Ruby Hotels has officially opened its seventh hotel. Ruby Leni, the group’s second property in Dusseldorf’s central district for the disruptive Munich-based brand.

Shelted within a former 19th century hotel which later housed the iconic Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus theatre, the 170-key Ruby Leni enjoys a prime position not far from Dusseldorf’s famous Königsallee shopping boulevard and canal.

An expansive bar and rooftop terrace offers a stylish watering hole for guests and locals alike, while an on-property work space and library provide ample space for both work and relaxation. All guest rooms, which range in size from cosy ‘Nest’ rooms (13-15m²) to expansive ‘Loft’ rooms (23-38m²), showcase Ruby Hotels’ sleep-scientist-approved formula for an ideal night’s sleep, with full soundproofing, blackout curtains, high-quality linen and extra-long and wide custom mattresses.

Dressing room style design

Image credit: Ruby Hotels

For guests in search of a longer stay, Ruby Leni offers RESIDENT rooms, which are more spacious and are equipped with a larger wardrobe, a small fridge and a coffee machine. Residents also get access to the residents’ kitchen and lounge. For longer visits, the hotel offers a special extended-stay rate, with significant price discounts for bookings of seven nights or more.

Drawing on both the surrounding area and the building’s creative past life, the design of the hotel is themed around the theatre world of the early 1950s, with antique furniture and artefacts providing a sense of place and history. Ruby Leni is in fact named after Helena from Goethe’s Faust; Gustav Gründgens’ groundbreaking production of the play premiered at the Schauspielhaus in the 1950s before it became a film classic.

As with all Ruby Hotels, a musical theme runs throughout the property with quirky touches such as the inclusion of a Marshall guitar amp in each room, which guests can use both with their own guitar or one borrowed from reception. By night, regular live music events at the bar provide a stage for local musical talent, while by day the space serves as a relaxed space for guests to enjoy an organic breakfast as they listen to the sound of the hotel’s very own ‘Ruby Radio’.

Cutting-edge technology is displayed throughout the property; in each room guests can find a personal tablet PC and smartphone pre-loaded with Ruby Hotels’ carefully-curated Dusseldorf city guide, social media apps and unlimited data and calls to use throughout their stay. A state-of-the-art self-check-in system makes use of tablet computers to reduce check-in time to under one minute, leaving guests free to make the most of their time in Dusseldorf.

Just like the group’s other houses, the new hotel follows Ruby Hotels’ ‘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.

For example, a trendy communal space serves an organic, locally-produced breakfast without the need for a kitchen or chef, and instead of overpriced minibars and room service, galley kitchens, vending machines and ironing stations supply guests with all of their needs. Likewise, a modular design sees Ruby hotels occupying mixed-use and former office buildings in the heart of the city, rather than the traditional, prestigious addresses with sky high rents typically favoured by hoteliers.

Ruby Hotels first unveiled its unique concept with Vienna hotel Ruby Sofie in 2014, before opening two further hotels in Vienna, Ruby Marie and Ruby Lissi, as well as Ruby Lilly in Munich, Ruby Coco in Dusseldorf and most recently Ruby Lotti in Hamburg.  In response to the success of these properties, the brand plans further openings including Ruby Lucy in London’s bustling Southbank in early 2020, as well as hotels in Zurich, Cologne, Frankfurt and Shanghai before the end of 2020.

Main image credit: Ruby Hotels

Waldorf Astoria arrives in Dubai’s Financial Centre

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Waldorf Astoria arrives in Dubai’s Financial Centre

Waldorf Astoria expands presence in the Middle East with the opening of Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre, treating guests to a unique check-in experience from the 18th floor as well as sky-high dining and wellness facilities…

With the aim to bridge the world together, with a French Riviera-style rooftop bar and pool and a 1960s, New York-inspired F&B areas, the highly anticipated Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has opened its doors.

Waldorf Astoria DIFC occupies the 18th to 55th floors of the Burj Daman, a complex featuring residences and office towers. Guests will enjoy a unique reception and check-in experience on the 18th floor, which is also home to the hotel’s dining and wellness facilities and acts as the true heartbeat of the hotel.  All 275 guestrooms, including 46 suites and 28 residential suites, offer unobstructed views of the downtown Dubai skyline, which can be viewed through floor-to-ceiling windows in each room.

“We are pleased to be part of this rapidly growing district and look forward to delivering unparalleled experiences to guests staying in DIFC.” – Rudi Jagersbacher, President, Middle East, Africa & Turkey, Hilton

“We are delighted to expand our luxury presence in the region with the opening of Waldorf Astoria DIFC which is located in an important economic hub within the region,” said Rudi Jagersbacher, President, Middle East, Africa & Turkey, Hilton. “Earlier this year, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum approved the launch of DIFC 2.0 which will add 13 million square feet of space to the Centre. We are pleased to be part of this rapidly growing district and look forward to delivering unparalleled experiences to guests staying in DIFC.”

Image credit: Hilton/Waldorf Astoria

Inspired by the iconic architecture, lifestyle and mid-modern style of the 1960s, the hotel exudes a contemporary elegance and understated luxury. With its stylish furniture, multifunctional design peppered with marble, ebony, brass and bronze materials, the hotel boasts a sleek and contemporary look.

In line with Waldorf Astoria’s legacy of culinary expertise, Waldorf Astoria DIFC is primed to be a best-in-class dining destination. All restaurants and bars are located on the 18th floor, a stunning location from which to view the city.

Inspired by the original once located in the Waldorf Astoria New York, Bull & Bear is the hotel’s signature restaurant which offers a twist on the legendary eatery. Diners can enjoy imaginative cuisine in a stylish, relaxed setting.

An oasis in the heart of the city, St. Trop serves up a slice of the French Riviera in DIFC. This stylish rooftop lounge ⁠— with its pool, whirlpool, timber decking and bright colours ⁠— is perfect for drinks and light bites from day to night. Truly an urban escape, St Trop brings laidback poolside chic to Dubai’s financial district.

Peacock Alley is an elegant lounge and bar ideal for both sophisticated gatherings and informal gatherings. The term “Peacock Alley” was coined to portray the daily promenade of people through the original colonnade connecting The Waldorf and The Astoria hotels in New York City. The iconic venue is present at all Waldorf Astoria hotels worldwide ⁠— and this historical part of New York heritage is now in DIFC.

The Waldorf Astoria Spa ⁠— with its floatation tank, hydrobath, hammam and Vichy shower ⁠— is a sanctuary of relaxation in the middle of the city. Secluded on the 18th floor, the spa offers four treatment suites and the hotel’s fitness centre offers state-of-the-art equipment and views of Dubai’s skyline from 18 floors up.

luxe and large bathroom

Image credit: Hilton/Waldorf Astoria

The hotel offers five elegant, innovative settings, including a unique library concept which houses an open kitchen. The hotel also features spacious meeting rooms, a grand ballroom with a pre-function area and a sophisticated boardroom that is perfect for corporate meetings. All spaces have a residential, personal feel, providing the ideal setting for every type of event.

“We are thrilled to bring Waldorf Astoria to DIFC and offer True Waldorf Service in such a thriving and dynamic location within the city,” said Dino Michael, Global Head, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. “From Bangkok to Amsterdam, Waldorf Astoria properties are set in landmark locations all over the world, and Waldorf Astoria DIFC is a remarkable addition to our growing portfolio in the Middle East and beyond.”

Waldorf Astoria DIFC joins two award-winning Waldorf Astoria properties in the UAE ⁠— Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah and Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah ⁠— and is the brand’s first city-based hotel in the country. Like all Waldorf Astoria properties in the world, Waldorf Astoria DIFC offers True Waldorf Service: graceful, anticipatory service from the moment a guest books through checkout.

Main image credit: Hilton/Waldorf Astoria

Behind the scenes: Morgan’s Rakino Collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Behind the scenes: Morgan’s Rakino Collection

Post-Clerkenwell Design Week, Hotel Designs’ editor Hamish Kilburn catches up with one of the designers of the moment, Tim Rundle, in order to understand how his new collection with Morgan developed…

During this year’s Clerkenwell Design Week, Morgan launched a new furniture collection which juxtaposed soft sculpted upholstery with a strong, low line frame, the new family of lounge chairs and tables feature crisp timber detailing, emphasised by a clean linear structure.

But how did the collaboration start, and what inspired the design? We caught up with designer Tim Rundle to discover all.

Hamish Kilburn: Tell us more about the Rakino collection?
Tim Rundle: Rakino is a collection of low lounge chairs that combines soft sculpted upholstery and CNC machined timber frames with an upright, somewhat architectural, attitude. The frame is all right angles and straight lines, save for the back support rail, which is bowed slightly, as if formed by the act of leaning back in the chair. The seat, in contrast, is a soft, shell-like form with a crisp single seam running around its edge.

HK: What inspired your designs?
TR: This project started in what I believe is the ideal way; with a trip to see production, and this is what really inspired the design. In Hampshire I discovered a factory staffed by some serious experts in upholstery and timber joinery. I really wanted to make the most of these capabilities, and maybe even push them a little to see what was possible. In terms of the chairs themselves I wanted to create something that felt quiet and inviting, that could feel right in your home, while obviously being appropriate for hard working contract environments.

HK: Did you enjoy collaborating with Morgan? How was the experience/process compared to solo working?
TR: None of my projects are just me. I think that’s a misconception, maybe brought about by the fact that in our industry, designers tend to have eponymous business names. Everything I’ve ever designed have been made possible by numerous other people, from engineers to marketeers, craftspeople to logistics managers. I guess the main difference this time was geographical proximity – this is my first project with a British furniture brand! This meant we could work really closely, with numerous prototype reviews as we refined the details.

HK: Benefits of this collaboration?
TR: Working with Morgan’s dedicated prototyping team (Jonathan and Dean) was a highlight. This meant we were able to make adjustments and modifications to our prototypes, effectively on the spot – and nothing was impossible. The whole team were always keen to push the limits of timber production, and the results can be seen in a frame that perfectly blends CNC technology with expert craftsmanship, and an upholstery element that tapers to an impossibly fine edge, something not normally achievable with cut foam.

What inspired the name of the collection?
TR: As Morgan have a product code system that uses place names, it felt only right we choose a New Zealand name – being designed by a Kiwi, albeit London based. Rakino is one of a cluster of small islands in the Hauraki gulf, the body of water surrounding Aucklands East coast, where people are able to escape the busy city, a short boat ride leaving you with a pleasant sense of isolation and calm. A comfortable low lounge chair in a busy hotel or workplace could, I hope, provide the same feeling.

As Raikino is the result of a true collaboration, we asked Morgan a few questions too…

HK: How did the collaboration start? How did Tim and the Morgan team meet?
TR: We were looking to collaborate with a like-minded Designer who shares our passion for quality and integrity. Our Design Director came across some of Tim’s work and was impressed with his portfolio and the fine detail of his work. After the first meeting, it was obvious that Tim understood our brand and would be a good design partner, so we decided to give him the brief for a new product for CDW19.

HK: What makes this collection stand out?
TR: The Rakino collection stands out due to its striking timber architectural frame, with a strong, square, clean aesthetic, combined with a soft sculpted and slim line upholstered shell that is held within the frame. The frame is very open and honest and is a reflection of Tim’s eye for detail and our passion for precision CNC manufacturing and a hand-crafted finish.

Morgan 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: Morgan

Designing Beijing’s newest destination bar

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Designing Beijing’s newest destination bar

The social hotspot bar Union, which is sheltered in The Opposite House  has been inspired by simple elegance and seamless hospitality in mind…

The Opposite House has announced the launch of UNION – a bar exuding eleganceand comfort, the free spirit of an artist’s studio infused with hospitality that curates the guest’s experience. With a 20th century modernist sensibility, showcasing artwork and objects in an environment reminiscent of International Expos and drinks inspired by the ancient Silk Road, the space responds to the versatility ofguest’s needs through time.

UNION was designed by leading, New York-based design firm, AvroKO. Since its launch in 2001, AvroKO hasearned a reputation as one of the most innovative design firms in the field, due in large part to the group’sintegrated design process and focus on creating emotionally connected experiences. Seemingly whimsical in nature, UNION was strategically designed to have a clear social flow; copper architectural frames and metal mesh sheets showcase artwork, sculptures and objects, drawing in and engaging guests, whilst hidden elements such as the bar trolley, spicery wall and DJ booths enable a seamless transition from day to night.

Designed by AvroKO’s Bangkok studio, the interiors were inspired by potter, Lucie Rie’s, 20th century modernist studio – a beautiful, yet versatile, space that was suited to living, working and socialising. With the simple elegance of well-executed hospitality in mind, they created a space that enables exceptional levels of service and functionality, without compromising the guest experience.

UNION aims to create a sense of belonging and discovery, evoking the sense of witnessing something for the first time. A balance of ceremony and warmth create a personal, authentic experience, whilst a carefully curated soundtrack allows the bar to seamlessly transition through day to night with the perfect eclectic mix of tempo, BPM, energy levels and genres.

UNION offers a refined experience that celebrates the flavours, ingredients, customs and drinking traditions of the Silk Road. A sophisticated drinks menu consists of an extensive wine list made up of 60 bins that are all available by the glass as well as selection of signature cocktails and alcohol-free drinks. The wine list changes monthly and whilst it features some well-known wineries the list is carefully curated to provide representation for lesser known producers, hard to find bottles and biodynamic wines

As for the signature cocktail list, it encapsulates a diverse range of flavours inspired by international tastes; non-alcoholic creations include Spring breeze (a representation of Eastern Chinese flavours) which haspear, vanilla, coconut, citric acid and sea salt , whilst the traditional cocktail menu includes highlights such as Genghis Khan Martini (Mongolian representation) with French Gin, Mongolia Milk Wine, Dry Vermouth, Elderflower, Coconut and Sea Salt.

The Opposite House, located in the Sanlitun district is an intriguing urban hotel designed by eminent Japanese architect, Kengo Kuma. Its contemporary style and abundance of space perfectly complement the refreshingly individual service. More new spaces will be unveiled throughout the remainder of 2019.

Main image credit: The Opposite House

Hotel Summit 2019 bridges the gap between hotel buyers and suppliers

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Summit 2019 bridges the gap between hotel buyers and suppliers

Forum Events’ premium meet-the-buyers event, Hotel Summit, put on yet another spectacular event with guest speakers including representatives from The Lanesborough, Great Hotels Of The World and Areen Design, among many others…

Settling in a new home, located in the quintessentially British surroundings in the Oxfordshire countryside, Heythrop Park welcomed hoteliers, designers and suppliers alike for this year’s hotly anticipated Hotel Summit.

More than 60 procurement professionals from leading hotels around the UK such as The Lanesborough, The Beaumont Hotel and The Gainsborough Bath Spa and 30 supplier partners attended The Summit that was sheltered within the 18thcentury hotel, which combines both elegant heritage design with contemporary areas, making it the perfect venue for one of Forum Events’ leading meet-the-buyers concept for the hotel industry.

The two-day kicked off with an opening presentation with Rita Alves Machado, VP of sales and marketing for Great Hotels Of The World who joined editor Hamish Kilburn for a live interview on the topic of blesiure. “There should be more focus on public, intelligent areas when it comes to designing for bleisure guests,” Machado said. “For me, it’s about personalization, we look for that in our members, what they can do that will differentiate from others in an authentic way.”

Andrew Linwood, Head of Hospitality Design at Areen Design, aptly followed with a presentation entitled: How Design Adds Value To A Hospitality Brand. “Branding is not only the name above the door,” he said to the audience. “It’s about good design and good service working together.”

Meanwhile, Francisco Macedo, Operations Director for Clivedon House stood up in front of the audience to explain how to create a winning team, using personal anecdotes to explain how he has curated his army of staff in order to offer a seamless service within the hotel.

After a morning of face-to-face meetings with suppliers, delegates joined to attend a speaker session with Marco Novella, Managing Director of The Lanesborough, followed by a short live interview where Kilburn delved into what it takes to be at the helm of one of London’s most prestigious luxury hotels. “It’s been important to react to the right trends,” explained Novella. “Wellness, for example, is a very important factor for The Lanesborough, and our aim with the club and spa was very much to lead wellness and wellbeing.”

Following a lavish gala dinner and entertainment, delegates and suppliers gathered for a second day of pre-scheduled face-to-face meetings.

Partners:

ADI Trading Ltd, Airwave Europe, Alchemy House of Design, Birchall Team, Brushbox, Castrads, Discover Kangen Water, Elavon, Fortune Brands, Gallant, Good Energy, HCI, Hotel Champ, iBal Designs, Landmark Specialist Solutions, Ligne Roset Contract, Matrix Fitness, Mitre Linen, Out of Edan, Parkside, Phillip Jeffries, Portable Floormaker & Barlock Bars, Project Blinds, Riskmonitor Limited, Samsung Electronics, Tevalis Ltd, Timage, Toothbuckle, Virdor, Zennio

Next year’s Hotel Summit will take place in April 27 – 28 at Five Lakes Resort, Colechester. If you are interested in exhibiting at the 2020 event, please contact Jennie Lane on 01992 374098 or j.lane@forumevents.co.uk.

Hyatt Place arrives in Japan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Place arrives in Japan

The 363-key select service hotel offers a resort-like atmosphere and marks the first Hyatt Place hotel to open in Japan…

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced the opening of Hyatt Place Tokyo Bay, marking the debut of the Hyatt Place brand in Japan. Hyatt Place Tokyo Bay features the Hyatt Place brand’s intuitive design, cozy atmosphere and practical amenities such as free Wi-Fi and 24-hour food offerings.

“We are especially excited about this hotel opening as it marks the debut of the Hyatt Place brand in Japan, as well as the twenty-fourth Hyatt Place hotel in Asia,” said Sam Sakamura, vice president – Japan and Micronesia. “Japan welcomed its first Hyatt-branded property in 1980 and Hyatt has since grown its brand presence to thirteen hotels across seven Hyatt brands in Japan, now including Hyatt Place Tokyo Bay.”

The Hyatt Place brand is founded on extensive consumer insights indicating that guests seek stylish, comfortable and seamless experiences that accommodate their lifestyles and routines. Hyatt Place Tokyo Bay offers the brand’s distinctive casual hospitality and purposeful service in a smartly designed, high-tech and contemporary environment.

Located in Urayasu City in Chiba Prefecture, Hyatt Place Tokyo Bay is just 30 minutes by train or car from central Tokyo, offering a resort-like atmosphere with breathtaking views of Tokyo Bay. The hotel is also conveniently located between both of Tokyo’s airports, 21 miles (34 kilometers) from Haneda Airport and 34 miles (55 kilometers) from Narita Airport. The property is also less than 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) from Tokyo Disney Resort®, one of Tokyo’s premier destinations.

With rooms overlooking Tokyo Bay, the 10-story hotel offers 363 spacious guestrooms, including three suites, 2,110 square feet (196 square meters) of meeting space, an all-day dining facility, and a 24-hour gym. World-renowned Japanese fashion designer, Junko Koshino, designed the colleague uniforms and produced key art for the interior of the hotel.

There are now more than 335 Hyatt Place locations in Armenia, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Germany, Honduras, India, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Thailand, The Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Britlist_28-800x602

Free to apply: The Brit List 2019

800 602 Hamish Kilburn
Free to apply: The Brit List 2019

Calling all designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers who operate from or have a presence in Britain: The Brit List 2019, Hotel Designs’ annual awards, is free to apply for. Nominations/applications close on August 9.

In an aim to ensure that Hotel Designs’ nationwide search to find the best interior designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers operating in Britain, The Brit List remains completely free to apply for.

Simply click here to apply/nominate.

Britlist_28-800x602

The concept of The Brit List, which launched in 2017, results in 75 names, split into three categories (designers, architects and hoteliers), being listed as true movers and shakers. The list will be created around the nominations from the following awards that are up for grabs:

  • Interior Designer of the Year
  • Architect of the Year
  • Hotelier of the Year
  • Best in Tech
  • The Eco Award 
  • Best in British Product Design – NEW CATEGORY FOR 2019
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry

“Now with suppliers able to participate in the awards element, The Brit List has allowed us to physically bridge the gap between industry leaders,” said Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs.

On November 21, the shortlisted finalists of designers, hoteliers, architects as well as key suppliers to the industry will gather at Patch East, Londonwhere The Brit List 2019 will be unveiled along with the individual winners . “We have, yet again, deliberately kept nominations for The Brit List 2019 free for all to apply in order to maintain a fair opportunity for all designers, hoteliers, architects and suppliers who believe they deserve to be profiled in The Brit List 2019,” explains Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs. “As a judge, I am personally looking forward to leading another nationwide search in order to find and platform exceptional creative thinkers who are operating or manufacturing in Britain today.” Patch East, London is a fabulous venue for our non-traditional awards ceremony, and we look forward to welcoming the industry’s finest for a night of celebration and high-profile networking.”

Early-bird tickets for the award ceremony are now available to purchase: 

Suppliers: £99 + VAT (£150 + VAT after early bird offer expires after August 4)
Designers, hoteliers, developers and architects: £10 + VAT (£20 + VAT after early bird offer expires after August 4)

Please click here if you are a supplier to the industry to secure your ticket NOW!

Please click here if you are either a designer, hotelier, developer or architect and secure your ticket NOW!

The judges for The Brit List 2019

Last year’s winners of The Brit List, who were crowned at an exclusive drinks evening in London, included Martin Brudnizki from Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, Conor O’Leary from Gleneagles and Robin Sheppard from Bespoke hotels, among many others.

Please note that there is NO FEE to nominate and/or apply for The Brit List 2019. 

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat:

Industry Partner: BIID:

Checking In: Zafiro Palace Hotel Palmanova

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking In: Zafiro Palace Hotel Palmanova

Past the old town of Palma’s cobbled streets sits a newly designed timeless hotel, Zafiro Palace Hotel Palmanova, which was designed by Marga Rotgeron. Chantal Borciani checks in to review… 

With almost guaranteed blue skies and sunshine for an average of more than 300 days per year year, it comes with little surprise that Zafiro Palace Hotel Palmanova on the island of Mallorca has been designed to make the most of natural light so that it floods in to the guest areas at every possible opportunity.

Upon entering the lobby, a double-height atrium with floor to ceiling glass ensures the connection between the interior scheme and the outdoors is seamless. Overlooking the hotel’s central garden and pools, as do all suites, restaurants and lounge areas, first impressions are that of a open and airy design scheme.

Located on the south west coast of Mallorca, 15 minutes from Palma Old Town’s cobbled lanes, Zafiro Palace Hotel Palmanova marries contemporary style with home-from-home comforts.

“The Zafiro hotel is imbued with a deep sense of connection to the island of Mallorca throughout.”

Run by the Mallorcan Plomer family, initially by Tomeu Plomer and now headed up by his daughter Antonia, the Zafiro hotel is imbued with a deep sense of connection to the island of Mallorca throughout. Native Mallorcan plants, for example, dot the gardens amid myriad swaying palms and the artwork, photography, fixtures and fittings have been selected from Mallorcan and Spanish purveyors.

Image credit: Zafiro Palace Hotel Palmanova

Opened in 2017, Antonia Plomer worked with Mallorca-based interior designer Marga Rotgeron on the hotel design, with an aim to deliver a Mediterranean look that is modern and stylish, ornamental yet not overloaded and practical for guests.

“Down the sweeping staircase from the reception, the cocktail bar takes centre stage.”

Down the sweeping staircase from the reception, the cocktail bar takes centre stage. This octagonal centrepiece is hewn from black marquina marble purchased from local suppliers and imported from Italy. Commissioned by the Plomers, a sculptural 3D art installation occupies the double height wall adjacent, imagined to reflect Mallorca’s foliage, nature and land. The pleated trellis is made from acebuche olive wood, and textured cottons, harmonised by gold and ochre tones. Designed and produced by Palma-based ABA ART LAB and F. Schalekamp, its form deploys branches, some bare and naked, others adorned by texture, and adds a note of drama to the bar area.

In a hotel ‘made for families, by families’ these rich artistic touches add intrigue and a sense of refinement that is usually the preserve of adult-only establishments. The choice of Edison light bulbs, large spherical white orb lights to illuminate the gardens, modernist wire chandeliers and sleek lighting in the a la carte restaurants, alongside the bespoke art afford this hotel a welcome contemporary edge and leave a long-lasting impression.

The hotel’s 240 suites range from spacious junior suites to penthouse suites, the latter equipped with a bedroom, lounge, roof terrace with private Jacuzzi and cabana daybed – the ultimate option for an adult getaway.

My room, a ‘swim up suite’, is on the ground floor and boasts a private garden terrace with direct access to the adjacent pool. There are a whopping 11 pools so guests opting for a swim up suite can largely find themselves in blissful solitude though the pool is not categorically private. A bali-style day bed sits snugly in the corner of the private garden area – a perfect spot to read and then pad down to the water’s edge.

Inside, the rooms are airy, bright and spacious, and can be configured to accommodate cots and beds for children. From a super-king bed, the restful view out drifts across the private terrace to the sapphire pool. The bathroom and bedroom in all suites are open-plan and offer both a shower and bath with high-end and pleasingly tactile fixtures and fittings. “The colour scheme that we chose is natural as we wanted to create a cosy and warm ambience throughout,” says Plomer. “We felt it created a nice contrast to more commonly used minimalistic white.”

image credit: Zafiro Palace Hotel Palmanova

Nature infuses the hand-picked art in the rooms – locally sourced framed art includes fern leaves mounted on manuscript backdrops while geometric mirrors and quality soft furnishings add a touch of luxury. All fabrics and linens are also locally sourced on the island and handy touches include microwaves in most rooms and USB chargers by the bedside.

At its heart, of course, this is a holiday destination and Zafiro Palace Hotel Palmanova doesn’t skimp on the attractions. Alongside the main pool, there are a multitude of smaller pools scattered around the gardens, giving guests a sense of space and exclusivity.  The children’s playground, bouncy castle and pirate ship are set away from the main gardens and pool area, meaning adults can relax in peace if desired. An adult’s only Oasis pool is also located on a raised terrace for ultimate seclusion and is lined with cabana beds. The delightfully squishy cabana day beds line many of the poolsides around the complex and are free to use for all guests, adding a feel of beach club luxury to proceedings. Complete with a swim-up bar in the main pool, and the al fresco poolside restaurant, the F&B areas have been created to enhance the overall guest experience.

The island connection continues in the lounges and restaurants where large artwork has been acquired from Art Mallorcan art studio & Gallery ABA Art, while photographic art throughout the hotel has been sourced from local artist Joan Sastre.

In the five a la carte restaurants, the interior design offers a nod to the cuisine or region of each dining concept, without (mercifully!) venturing into some theme feel.

El Olivo, for example, is the a la carte Mediterranean restaurant and adorned with foliage, which trails down from planters above the tables and has an airy, al fresco feel inspired by the Med. Meanwhile the Tastes & Sushi Bar Restaurant gives a hint of the east with hummingbird print wallpaper, blush seating, and gold accent mirrors.

It’s no mean feat to effectively cater for adults and families in the same establishment, but perhaps it’s the family hand on the tiller that steers Zafiro on the right course. The Plomers collaborate on every facet of the hotel’s design and operation and the result is all the better for it. Located in the busy Palmanova resort, the hotel will certainly suit families looking for a convenient haven close to the beach and hustle and bustle of Palmanova and nearby Palma. For vast vistas and a heightened secluded feel, the north of the island and perhaps the larger Zafiro Palace Alcudia will provide a restful alternative.

This is a hotel with proud family heritage and a deep-rooted Mallorcan connection. Be sure to take advantage of the on-site concierge – the owners are keen to share the beauty of the island with their guests and the concierge is a font of great authentic recommendations. Some of our favourites include tours of the small island wineries of the town of Binissalem and the best tapas and vermouth bars in nearby Palma Old Town, both activities offering that secret gem, local feel.

Zafiro Palace Hotel Palmanova is a hotel where adults can getaway and the kids can have lots of fun to boot. A step above many other family friendly hotels, this resort strives to deliver luxury with a home from home edge.

Main image credit: Zafiro Palace Hotel Palmanova

Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester unveils sneak peek of design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester unveils sneak peek of design

Stock Exchange Hotel, one of the most eagerly anticipated hotels in Manchester, will open on November 15, 2019 as a member of Relais & Châteaux…

The former Stock Exchange building, located in the heart of Manchester, is a striking example of Edwardian architecture from the 20th Century and is currently being meticulously transformed into a hotel which will offer a collection of 40 rooms, including two signature suites and a stunning 3,500 square foot penthouse residence. The food and beverage operation within the hotel will be overseen by chef Tom Kerridge.

The sneak peek of the hotel follows Meet Up North, Hotel Designs’ premium northern networking event, which shone the spotlight further on Manchester being a hive of hotel development in the pipeline.

Co-owned by Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and hotelier Winston Zahra, the boutique property is set to open as a member of global hotel and restaurant fellowship, Relais & Châteaux and will be managed and operated by Manchester based GG Hospitality.

Having purchased the Grade II listed building six years ago, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs explained that their vision was to bring the building back to life: “We knew the Stock Exchange well from when it was a restaurant but it was only when we viewed it in its entirety that we realised the extent of the history there.

“Most people familiar with the building will know of the domed ceiling above the old trading room floor, but there are many other original features that will not have been seen by many, such as fireplaces, vaults and stained glass windows. For us it was critical that this heritage was protected, and it now sits at the heart of what we hope will be an exciting new concept for Manchester.”

Speaking about the association with Relais & Châteaux, co-owner and GG Hospitality CEO Winston Zahra said: “We are honoured to be the first ever Relais & Châteaux member in Manchester and one of the first properties in the 65 year history of the fellowship to become a member before its doors open. This is testament to all of the work the team has been doing behind the scenes. We have put a great amount of effort into ensuring the design for the property truly respects the history of the building.

“The values and foundations of Relais & Châteaux to protect and defend local arts of living are are reflected in every detail of our offering and we are committed to preserving an important part of Manchester’s heritage, while offering quality service in an exceptional setting.”

Philippe Gombert, President of Relais & Châteaux said: “We are very happy to count Stock Exchange Hotel as a member of our family and to be able to accompany them in the opening of this beautiful house. I am deeply convinced that Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Winston Zahra will revive Stock Exchange and its history in a remarkable way. This is a perfect example of what Relais & Châteaux is: properties anchored in their region, ambassadors of their heritage, but also passionate about their craft and deeply committed to forging warm, lasting relationships with their guests.”

The hotel’s interiors have been designed by internationally renowned design studio Autoban.  Their bespoke design – a subtle arrangement of a light palette of colours, combined with luxurious materials, original marble, brass, glass and woodwork – ensures guests will experience spaces deeply rooted in the history and heart of the city, crafted around the remarkable stories of the building.

The collection of unique rooms and suites can be booked as individual rooms or combined into a number of configurations, creating interconnected spaces ideal for guests visiting the city for business or leisure and for families or groups. Whole floors can be hired with full interconnecting capability and the building is also available to be booked out in its entirety for exclusive use.

Render of a lobby

Image credit: Stock Exchange Hotel

The Bradshaw, John Gass and Arthur Hope room collections pay respect to the architects who originally designed the Portland stone building which originally opened in 1906. Additionally, the Kent and Norfolk suite collections complement what will be a very unique accommodation offering in the city.

In addition to the room and suite collections, the hotel includes two signature suites – The 1906 Suite and The Boardroom Suite, measuring 1,070 and 1,700 square feet respectively. The signature suites are available for both short and long term fully serviced stays at the Hotel.

The 1906 Suite, named after the year in which the Stock Exchange opened for trading, is located on the newly constructed fourth floor of the building.  Comprising two bedrooms, this 1,070 square foot suite is a great space for families and friends who want to reside in the same room while retaining an element of privacy.

The Boardroom Suite, accessed via a private staircase off the main lobby of the hotel, is located in one of the most historically significant and architecturally preserved parts of the building – the original Stock Exchange boardroom. Designed to honour its past, the 1,700 square foot space boasts a number of original features, including marble pillars, wood panelling, an ornamental fireplace, stained glass windows, and the original Stock Exchange vault. Other features include a walk-in wardrobe, a large lounge area, dining room and small fitness room. The Boardroom Suite can be extended to 2,300 square feet with the addition of an interconnecting suite that also includes its own private terrace.

Complimenting the best accommodation available in Manchester, The House is an exclusive, fully serviced residence. With its own roof terrace offering views over and across the Manchester skyline, The House is a unique penthouse residence with superlative attention to detail, extensive amenities and spacious facilities, spread over 3500 square feet.

Ideal for both short and long term residency, The House encompasses three meticulously designed bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a fully fitted kitchen, breakfast bar, two separate lounge areas, a beverage bar and a stylish dining room. A fitness room completes this exquisite top floor residence, underpinned by the full range of services offered by the team of the hotel.

The heart and soul of the hotel will be a restaurant and bar overseen by chef Tom Kerridge, housed under the magnificent dome which for decades was the trading floor of the Stock Exchange. The space has been designed to be a social space where people can enjoy quality food in a casual and relaxed atmosphere.

In addition to this, private dining and a variety of events will be catered for within The Vault and The Bank. The Vault sits in the lower ground floor of the building and will offer events for up to 120 people.  The Bank, with its own private entrance off Norfolk Street, will offer private dining experiences for up to 14 people in an intimate environment. The Bank comes complete with its own wine cellar which guests can enjoy as part of an overall dining experience. Both event spaces will cater for tailor made events depending on guest requirements.

Main image credit: Stock Exchange Hotel

designjunction: Hotel Designs readers entitled to 50% discount

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designjunction: Hotel Designs readers entitled to 50% discount

Using the code DJ700, readers of Hotel Designs are entitled a 50 per cent discount on tickets to designjunction, which takes place from September 19-22 in London… 

As a proud media partner for the exhibition that takes place during London Design Festival, Hotel Designs is offering its readers a 50 per cent discount on tickets to designjunction. Readers can access this benefit by entering the code DJ700 when applying online.

The four-day exhibition will present more than 200 international design brands across multiple King’s Cross locations surrounding the striking UAL Central Saint Martin’s building.

Presenting the latest in cutting-edge design each year during the London Design Festival, designjunction is described as London’s leading contemporary interior design show, facilitating connections between architects, interior designers, retailers and exhibitors. Encompassing the best in furniture, lighting, jewellery and home accessories, the event is a place for industry leaders to gather with the widest variety of influential and international designers.

“Readers can access this benefit by entering the code DJ700 when applying online.”

For eight years running, designjunction has attracted thousands of architects, interior designers, specifiers, retailers, buyers and consumers to its show doors. Each year its exhibitors make lasting connections with influential figures in the design industry, designed to create partnerships that are made to last.

Hotel Designs will be on the ground throughout London Design Festival with ‘LIVE FROM LDF’ capturing all the news from the exhibition as it happens.

IN PICTURES: Meet Up North 2019

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IN PICTURES: Meet Up North 2019

Hotel Designs’ premium northern networking event, Meet Up North 2019, took place in Club Brass, Hotel Gotham’s spectacular rooftop private members’ bar… 

Meet Up North 2019, which took place on July 1, took over Manchester’s iconic Hotel Gotham. Hotel Designs’ premium northern networking event, which was sponsored by Hamilton Litestat, Architextural and Atlas Concorde, returned to the city for the second time in a row as a result of the city’s bustling and constantly evolving hotel design scene that sees many innovative hotels on the boards.

Meet Up North 2019 was attended by leaders from firms such as  Denton Corker MarshallGenslerAEW ArchitectsFusion by DesignLDA Design ConsultantsUtopia Projects and Abode Architecture.

Here are the official images:

If you have images from the event, please share on social media with the hashtag #HDMEETUPNORTH19

Waldorf Astoria arrives in the Maldives

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Waldorf Astoria arrives in the Maldives

The 122 all-villa Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi spans across three interconnected islands… 

Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Hilton’s iconic luxury hotel brand, has announced the highly anticipated opening of Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi — which is said to set a new standard of luxury in the Maldives. The 122 all-villa resort spans across three interconnected islands, including an independent private island for those seeking an exclusive enclave equipped with a dedicated staff and luxury amenities.

Each luxuriously appointed beach, reef and overwater villa opens onto either a white sand beach or an expansive deck, and features a private infinity pool with uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean, allowing guests to bask in the island’s natural beauty in the privacy of their villa.

The resort also features two Stella Maris Ocean Villas, accessible only by boat. These villas feature floor-to-ceiling windows and direct ocean access, providing unmatched views of the sunlit paradise and celestial charm of the nighttime Maldivian sky.

Image credit: Waldorf Astoria Hotels

“Asia Pacific is enjoying a golden age of travel, and the launch of Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi is part of the growing momentum of Hilton’s Luxury and Lifestyle portfolio throughout the region,” said Alan Watts, president, Asia Pacific, Hilton. “This is especially significant as the Maldives becomes an increasingly popular destination for global travelers. As the first international hotel brand to have opened in the Maldives over 21 years ago, it is especially fitting that this opening takes place as we celebrate Hilton’s 100th year milestone as a leader in global hospitality.”

Image credit:

At the height of exclusivity is the Ithaafushi Private Island. Accessible only by yacht, the 32,000-square-metre sanctuary features a four-bedroom residence, three-bedroom beach villa and a two-bedroom overwater villa, giving guests a transcendent sense of space. The private island comes complete with a dedicated chef and personal concierge team, an overwater spa and gym, five swimming pools, an entertainment center and pristine beaches, providing endless options in which guests can indulge.

“The debut with our flagship brand in the Maldives is no exception.” – Martin Rinck, executive vice president and global head, Luxury & Lifestyle Brands, Hilton

“The Waldorf Astoria brand has a long-standing legacy of setting the standard for luxury and for providing personalized, graceful service,” said Martin Rinck, executive vice president and global head, Luxury & Lifestyle Brands, Hilton. “The debut with our flagship brand in the Maldives is no exception, and we will continue to redefine what it means to provide luxury escapes and deliver memorable experiences for the discerning traveller.”

Continuing the brand’s legacy as a pioneer in culinary innovation, Waldorf Astoria’s landmark opening in the Maldives will feature an unparalleled array of choices for its guests with 11 celebrated specialty-dining venues — many of which are brand new concepts developed with the Waldorf Astoria guest in mind.

World-renowned chef Dave Pynt, mastermind behind Singapore’s Michelin-starred restaurant Burnt Ends, offers his expertise to the island’s barbeque grill restaurant, The Ledge. The restaurant features his signature, custom-built, four-ton, dual-cavity oven and elevation grills, enabling the use of techniques such as smoking, slow roasting, baking and grilling. Bringing culinary theatre to the Maldives, The Ledge allows guests to witness the preparation of their dish, including favorites such as the Dry Aged OP Rib, a 45-day dry-aged beef rib, and the signature Lobster Roll, a brioche bun stuffed with freshly grilled lobster and lobster aioli.

Other dining highlights include Terra, located on the island’s highest point and providing a unique gastronomic dining experience in private dining pods crafted from natural bamboo. Nestled among boulders, The Rock is a rustic wine cellar and dining experience set in a carved-out space, where guests can indulge in wine pairing meals or an elevated dining experience with a menu that pays homage to renowned wine regions around the world.

Yasmeen offers guests the chance to savor authentic Middle Eastern cuisine. Hot pitas and puffed breads baked in ovens based on centuries-old designs, charcoal-roasted meats, and hot and cold mezzes are served in dining rooms filled with decorative artifacts and antiques, creating an unforgettable sensory experience. The immersive journey continues at Glow, which is set in a greenhouse-like structure shaded by lush greenery. It celebrates the concept of interactive garden-to-table dining by serving healthy and holistic cuisine made from fresh ingredients harvested from the on-island garden.

Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi offers guests an endless number of remarkable experiences designed with the ever-growing wellness trend in mind. The calming ambience of the Waldorf Astoria Spa invites guests to indulge in a range of invigorating treatments — all from the tranquility of an overwater or garden villa. Nearby, soft white sand beaches provide the perfect backdrop for a day spent in the sun, while the 40-meter Mirror Pool is an ideal place to cool down.

“We aim to surpass the expectations of today’s luxury traveler with the introduction of our fifth Waldorf Astoria property in Asia Pacific,” said Dino Michael, global head, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. “Our guests are searching for new and extraordinary experiences during their travels, and we are confident that this latest luxury destination in the Maldives provides the perfect setting for our guests to Live Unforgettable.”

Main image credit: Waldorf Astoria Hotels

THE BRIT LIST 2019: Nominations are open and FREE to apply

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THE BRIT LIST 2019: Nominations are open and FREE to apply

FREE TO APPLY: Nominations for The Brit List 2019, which are NOW OPEN, will close on August 9… 

The Brit List 2019 is back, once again launching its nationwide search to find Britain’s leading interior designers, hoteliers and architects. Nominations are now open and, what’s more, the process in which to apply for The Brit List 2019 remains completely free.

Simply click here to apply/nominate.

Following popular demand, this year’s awards will also include a dedicated supplier category with the aim to recognise, celebrate and support British manufacturers.

Once all nominations have been received by the closing date of August 9, the judging panel – made up of figures from across the hospitality, design and architecture sectors – will select the final 75 most inspirational and influential people in British design, hotels and architecture, as well as selecting this year’s individual winners of the following awards:

  • Interior Designer of the Year
  • Architect of the Year
  • Hotelier of the Year
  • Best in Tech
  • The Eco Award 
  • Best in British Product Design – NEW CATEGORY FOR 2019
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry

“We have, yet again, deliberately kept nominations for The Brit List 2019 free for all to apply in order to maintain a fair opportunity for all designers, hoteliers, architects and suppliers who believe they deserve to be profiled in The Brit List 2019,” – Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs.

On November 21, the shortlisted finalists of designers, hoteliers, architects as well as key suppliers to the industry will gather at Patch East, London where The Brit List 2019 will be unveiled along with the individual winners . “We have, yet again, deliberately kept nominations for The Brit List 2019 free for all to apply in order to maintain a fair opportunity for all designers, hoteliers, architects and suppliers who believe they deserve to be profiled in The Brit List 2019,” explains Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs. “As a judge, I am personally looking forward to leading another nationwide search in order to find and platform exceptional creative thinkers who are operating or manufacturing in Britain today.” Patch East, London is a fabulous venue for our non-traditional awards ceremony, and we look forward to welcoming the industry’s finest for a night of celebration and high-profile networking.”

Early-bird tickets for the award ceremony are now available to purchase: 

Suppliers: £99 + VAT (£150 + VAT after early bird offer expires after August 4)
Designers, hoteliers, developers and architects: £10 + VAT (£20 + VAT after early bird offer expires after August 4)

Please click here if you are a supplier to the industry to secure your ticket NOW!

Please click here if you are either a designer, hotelier, developer or architect and secure your ticket NOW!

The judges for The Brit List 2019

Last year’s winners of The Brit List, who were crowned at an exclusive drinks evening in London, included Martin Brudnizki from Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, Conor O’Leary from Gleneagles and Robin Sheppard from Bespoke hotels, among many others.

Please note that there is NO FEE to nominate and/or apply for The Brit List 2019. 

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat:

Industry Partner: BIID:

Manchester comes alive for Meet Up North 2019

1024 684 Hamish Kilburn
Manchester comes alive for Meet Up North 2019

Last night, industry leaders gathered at Manchester’s Hotel Gotham for Hotel Designs’ premium northern networking evening, Meet Up North 2019…  

More than 120 designers, hoteliers, developers, architects and key-industry suppliers gathered last night at Hotel Gotham in Manchester’s exclusive private member’s bar, Club Brass, for Meet Up North, Hotel Designs’ premium northern networking event. Using the city below as its backdrop, Hotel Designs took over the rooftop bar to prove that Manchester is a thriving hotel design hotspot.

The event, which was sponsored by Hamilton Litestat, Architextural and Atlas Concorde, returned to Manchester for the second time in a row as a result of the city’s bustling and constantly evolving hotel design scene.

“It’s no surprise or secret that Manchester is a hive of hotel development activity,” said Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs. “This creative hub is certainly leading a clear innovative path by opening quality, dynamically designed hotels in the north.”

Delivering a presentation entitled “Hospitality is way more than hotels”, Tom Lindblom, hospitality leader and Principal at Gensler gave the audience an insightful look into how modern hotel exteriors and interiors are changing.

Ending the evening with a apt glimpse into the future, Hotel Designs announced that The Brit List, the publication’s annual awards ceremony, is back this year. “Nominations, which are free to apply, have opened,” Kilburn added. “One element that we believe sets us aside from any other awards ceremony, that we are aware of, is that The Brit List is completely free to apply. Anyone – hotelier, architect, interior designer, developer or supplier can nominate anyone they feel is deserving.”

If you attended Meet Up North, and would like to share your images with us on Instagram (@hoteldesigns), please do by simply using the hashtag #HDMEETUPNORTH19.

More official images of the night will follow…

Headline Partner: Hamilton Litestat

Event Partner: Atlas ConcordeEvent Partner: Architextural

Image credit – Tangerine Event Photography

In Conversation With: Simon Naudi, CEO of Corinthia Hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Simon Naudi, CEO of Corinthia Hotels

With a Dubai debut around the corner, Corinthia Hotels is strategically expanding its luxury arm one region – and one hotel opening – at a time. Editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with the CEO of Corinthia Hotels, Simon Naudi, to understand the trials and triumphs of evolving one of the world’s most luxurious hotel brands…

Given its esteemed reputation among the design community, luxury enthusiast and of course its loyal returning guests, the news that Corinthia Hotels will open a property in the Middle East comes with little surprise.

The 55-storey hotel, which will add to the ever-expanding city skyline of Dubai, is slated to open in 2020. Considering that the destination’s hotel room supply is set to reach 132,000 by the end of 2019, according to a study by the emirate’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) – and occupancy levels are forecast to remain at 76-78 per cent despite growth in capacity – the question is not why, but rather more ‘why now’. “Real Estate is expensive,” says Simon Naudi, CEO of Corinthia Hotels. “We are looking to expand sensitively. Our plan is to grow the portfolio sensibly and steadily, prioritising on looking for the right building or site in the right location.”

According to STR, the UAE as a whole gained approximately 8,000 new branded hotel rooms last year. As of June 2018, the Middle East had 358 projects/113,830 rooms under construction, up 13 per cent by projects YOY. “We’ve had several opportunities in the past, but we are happy to have waited for this project to come along,” explains Naudi. “We have the right partners, Meydan Group, and the right location, prime seafront on JBR, and a top-notch project being built to make the very best in the city. From the design of the building itself to the interior elements, the aesthetics of Corinthia Meyden Beach with be synonymous with the Corinthia brand: confident, exquisite and elegant.”

Image caption: Interior render of a suite bedroom inside Corinthia Meydan Beach Dubai

While all eyes and ears focus on the brand’s Middle Eastern arrival, further west there’s also much happening between now and then. “Our main focus remains on Europe and the Mediterranean,” Naudi says. “We are currently working on projects in Bucharest, Brussels, Moscow and several other projects are under consideration. We’re also focused on the USA, Manhattan in particular.”

Having recently featured in a two-part documentary with Corinthia London’s Managing Director Thomas Kochs, who also appeared on Hotel Designs’ Brit List last year, Corinthia London is arguably the brand’s most iconic building, and for good reason. With its headline-grabbing extravagant suites, innovative public areas and an out-of-this-world four-floor spa, the hotel has been a timeless gem for almost a decade since it was redesigned. But while the 283-key majestic hotel has stood the test of time, its interior design has had to evolve along with the brand in order to cater to the shifting demands of modern travellers. “Larger bathrooms, the less decreased demand for fixed TVs, connectivity and interactivity are all trends that have required guestroom designs to be functionally different today than they were previously,” explains Naudi. “In our case, we also continue to explore multiple uses of the foyer and lobby space, to double up as a space for meetings, social interactions and evening dining to a degree.”

With esteemed regular guests including a long list of celebrities as well as world leaders, Corinthia Hotels seems to have mastered the formula for offering seamless luxury. “It is tantamount to making an effort,” explains Naudi. “It is an effort in terms of investment on all levels, in the product, in the generosity of space, the quality of materials, the beauty of finishes and in the architecture. It is investment in technology, upkeep, maintenance. It is also effort in terms of choice of colleagues, investment in their training and wellbeing, and above all giving time to the pursuit of happiness. Uplifting lives is our company philosophy, and that is what we aim to do, both with our guests and our colleagues. If all of the above is in place, luxury follows.”

“Our single most effective weapon is indeed our size,” – Simon Naudi, CEO, Corinthia Hotels

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: What is the number one item you cannot travel without?
Simon Naudi: My passport!

HK: What has been the highlight of your career to date?
SN: Developing and launching Corinthia London

HK: What is the next destination on your travel bucket list?
SN: The regions of Spain

HK: What would you say is the number-one tool for success?
SN: Hard work, and more hard work

HK: What book are you reading at the moment?
SN: The Wise Men by Walter Isaacson

With so many lifestyle brands emerging in the market under the umbrella of large hotel groups, it’s refreshing to see an independent hotel group, like Corinthia Hotels, expanding and evolving without taking away its own core values as a brand known and loved by so many around the world. “Our single most effective weapon is indeed our size,” Naudi explains. “Being independent, and relatively small, means we can be, and are more open to be, true to who we are, and crucially nimble. We can also stay closer to our colleagues in all our hotels, the people who matter most to our guests and ensure we are all part of the spirit driving the company towards our aim of uplifting lives.”

“In most of our hotels, the spa is a key, central component, with large physical spaces allocated to this activity wherever we could.” – Simon Naudi, CEO, Corinthia Hotels

One of the major trends that seems to be dictating international hotel design, with the aim no doubt to ‘uplift lives’, is wellness and wellbeing, which is one topic that the brand identified early, if its London hotel is anything to go by. “We have always taken wellness seriously,” says Naudi. “In most of our hotels, the spa is a key, central component, with large physical spaces allocated to this activity wherever we could. Our guest profile has evolved over the years, and we are now more geared towards leisure guests, than corporate visitors, although all segments engage with our spas.”

Corinthia London ESPA spa

Image caption: Corinthia London ESPA spa

Hotels, especially ones operating in the luxury sector, seem to be adding value to their properties with the openings and renovations of in-house spas. And with Corinthia Hotels arguably leading the way for other hotels to follow suit, the challenge for brand is more around how to build on its already successful products. “We have had several highly successful partnerships with spa brands and products, but we are evaluating all options for our future in 2019,” says Naudi. “We have beautiful spas being built to add to our portfolio and wish to use this as a basis for a spa strategy that is relevant to our guests.”

Now that the hotel brand has pin-pointed its next destinations and is signing on dotted lines to secure them, calling the shots may be stressful and high-pressure at times, but it also carries with it unparalleled rewards. “I would count two main sources of satisfaction,” adds Naudi. “The first is to see old, abandoned properties, many of which may be heritage sites, rebuilt and launched as luxury hotels, with a legacy to span decades. Corinthia London was a case in point, but also our current projects in Moscow, Brussels and Bucharest too. Secondly, is seeing younger colleagues grow into more senior roles and take on leadership and entrepreneurial positions.” And with that, Corinthia Hotels continues to inspire generations by designing a healthy and strong family of hotels worldwide with a luxury metaphorical thread of impeccable service and innovative design connecting them all together.

UK predicts 130,000 new hotel rooms by 2025

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
UK predicts 130,000 new hotel rooms by 2025

Prime Minister announces a new tourism sector deal that will prepare the UK for an extra 9 million visits per year, with commitment to build 130,000 new hotel rooms by 2025…

The Prime Minister has announced the UK’s first ever tourism sector deal today (Friday 28 June), reaffirming the UK’s global role as a key player in the industry. The new deal is said to revolutionise the way data is used by the sector, through the creation of new Tourism Data Hub.

The hub will collate regularly updated data showing  the latest trends and spends, allowing businesses to better target overseas visitors.

“By 2025 experts predict that there will be an additional 9 million visitors to the UK.”

The deal will also support the creation of an additional 10,000 apprenticeships for people building their careers in the tourism and hospitality sectors.

Last year around 38 million people visited the UK, contributing £23 billion to the local economy. By 2025 experts predict that there will be an additional 9 million visitors to the UK. The new deal commits to building an additional 130,000 hotel rooms to respond to the increased demand for infrastructure.

The deal also outlines the government’s ambitions for the UK to become the most accessible destination for disabled visitors, through improvement of disabled facilities and access to destinations across the country.

“This deal recognises the important role tourism plays, and will continue to play, in showcasing what our great country has to offer.” – Prime Minister Theresa May

Prime Minister Theresa May said:“As one of the most visited countries in the world, the UK is a world leader in international tourism and it is crucial that we remain globally competitive to meet growing demands.

“That’s why today I am pleased to announce the UK’s first ever tourism sector deal, ensuring that we continue to innovate, boost connectivity and economic productivity, expand career pathways and breakdown barriers for visitors with disabilities.

“This deal recognises the important role tourism plays, and will continue to play, in showcasing what our great country has to offer.”

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said: “Today we have set out our vision for the future of UK tourism – a commitment to an industry that is vital for the prosperity of our communities, our businesses and our economy.

“The UK is one of the world’s greatest destinations and this deal recognises the importance of maximising our natural assets. We are dedicated to supporting life-long careers for those that work in tourism, offering insightful data to help grow businesses and ultimately creating a better visitor experience throughout the UK.”

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Tourism is one of our most valuable industries and it plays a vital role in our economy, with nearly two million people employed in the communities across the country and £23 billion pounds spent by visitors in the UK last year.”

“As part of today’s ground-breaking Deal, new Tourism Zones will deliver a direct boost to holiday destinations across the country, helping create new jobs as well as supporting improvements in transport connections.

“This is one of the many ways in which the Deal will be key in building a world-class experience economy, helping us deliver on the ambition we set out in our modern Industrial Strategy; Government and industry working hand-in-hand to build on our exceptional strengths in this sector, boosting productivity and further increasing the UK’s attractiveness as a holiday destination.”

Other commitments in the Tourism Sector Deal include:

  • More than 130,000 new hotel rooms are set to be built across the UK, with 75% being built outside of London.
  • £250,000 to improve broadband connectivity in conferences centres across the UK for business visitors.
  • Pilot of up to five new Tourism Zones to drive visitor numbers across the country. Zones will receive Government support for growing their local visitor economy, through initiatives like targeted support for product and promotion development, mentoring support to businesses and digital skills training.
  • 10,000 employees in the sector to benefit from new mentorship schemes.
  • A new government strategy to grow the number of Business Events and Conferences, helping to drive off-season visitors.

Developed in partnership with the British Tourist Authority and Industry, the sector deal forms part of the UK Government’s Modern Industrial Strategy supporting the continued growth of the tourism sector, ensuring the UK remains globally competitive as a top tourist destination.

British Tourist Authority Chair Steve Ridgway CBE said: “This sector deal is a game-changer for tourism, one of the UK’s most valuable export industries, spelling a step-change in how we underpin the success of tourism for a generation, moving it to the top table as a leading industry for the UK Government’s future economic planning.

“And it is a game-changer for the economy, growing the value of the industry and employment in tourism, fixing issues from skills and productivity to extending the season year-round, building stronger tourism destinations up and down the country and developing world-class experiences for domestic and international visitors.

“Tourism is one of the most fiercely competitive global industries and this deal ensures we can continue to compete internationally as a top destination for visitors, driving major economic growth across the whole of the UK.”

Main image credit: Corinthia Hotel London

MINIVIEW: AC Hotels by Marriott arrives in Jamaica

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: AC Hotels by Marriott arrives in Jamaica

The design-led European lifestyle brand, AC Hotels by Marriott, makes its debut in the heart of Kingston, Jamaica…

AC Hotels by Marriott, which boasts nearly 150 design-led hotels in 19 countries and territories, has announced the opening of AC Hotel Kingston, Jamaica, bringing the brand’s forward-thinking design approach to the island.

Born from the signature vision of renowned hotelier Antonio Catalan, the brand was founded in 1998 in Spain, and brought into the Marriott International portfolio in 2011, launching AC Hotels by Marriott globally in locations including France, Denmark, the United States, Latin America, Puerto Rico and now Jamaica.

Embracing the AC brand’s focus on purposeful design, the AC Hotel Kingston, Jamaica features 219 rooms to provide guests with thoughtfully-designed moments of beauty and experiences that elevate their stay and help them focus on what is important to them. The result is sophisticated yet unpretentious style and innovative food and beverage programming with locally-inspired experiences for both international travelers and locals.

Guests will have access to a spacious 24-hour fitness centre; an outdoor pool; the brand’s signature AC Kitchen which provides a daily European-inspired breakfast buffet infused with a taste of Jamaica; and the AC Lounge, which offers a chic, open and comfortable ambiance, ideal for co-working and socializing.

“We are delighted to welcome our first AC Hotel to Jamaica, offering travelers a modern aesthetic and intuitive service, as well as an opportunity to slow down and uncover the beauty in the essential while visiting the destination,” said Toni Stoeckl, Vice President, Distinctive Select Brands for Marriott International, and Global Brand Leader, AC Hotels by Marriott.

This new addition to the city is expected to have positive implications for the country’s tourism sector. In a recent walk-through of the hotel, Minister of Tourism for Jamaica, Edmund Bartlett said: “The debut of a brand like AC Hotels in Kingston will solidify the city’s status as a strong city tourism destination.”

Image credit: Marriott Hotels

AC Hotel Kingston Jamaica adds a modern touch not only to the Kingston skyline but to the wider Caribbean region, joining AC Hotel by Marriott San Juan Condado as the brand’s second hotel in the region. The hotel design includes elegant, clean lines that are signature features of the brand, along with thoughtful touches that harmoniously reflect Jamaica’s vibrant flair. Throughout the hotel, guests will find an impressive collection of art, each crafted by Jamaican artists, and one-of-a-kind furnishings that have also been locally made.

The hotel is equipped with more than 18,000 square feet of cutting-edge meeting and banquet facilities, making this the largest meeting space in the city. Whether hosting a small meeting, or a group of up to 600 people, the hotel is ready to cater to groups of various sizes.

“My family and I are determined to play our part in building the economy in the Caribbean. This is a monumental occasion as we venture beyond the beach to establish our first AC Hotel by Marriott,” said Adam Stewart, CD. Deputy Chairman of the Sandals Resorts International and ATL Group of Companies. “We are excited to work with a global company like Marriott International, while retaining the local Jamaican touch for guests visiting the city.”

The Stewart family, who own the AC Hotel Kingston Jamaica, selected Koen Hietbrink to oversee the hotel’s operations as General Manager. In addition to his fourteen years of leadership experience with the Marriott brand, Koen has led the openings of numerous Marriott properties in the Caribbean.

Main image credit: Marriott Hotels

British Institute of Interior Design backs The Brit List 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
British Institute of Interior Design backs The Brit List 2019

The British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) has been confirmed as the industry partner for The Brit List 2019, a leading award ceremony that recognises and celebrates the leading designers, hoteliers and architects operating in Britain… 

For the second year running, the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) has been confirmed by Hotel Designs as the industry partner for The Brit List 2019, with its soon-to-be president Harriet Forde accepted and announced as a judge for the awards.

The news comes after Hotel Designs interviewed Forde ahead of the start of her presidency, and also after the BIID’s current president, Gilly Craft, sat on the judging panel during last year’s event. “The BIID are the UK’s leading professional body for interior designers and we are delighted to partner with the Brit List for 2019,” said Charlotte Davies, Marketing Manager at the BIID. “Our president Gilly Craft had only good things to say about the process of judging the event and we know our new president Harriet Ford is excited to participate this year.”

The Brit List 2019 will once again platform Britain’s leading interior designers, hoteliers and architects as well as launching the following awards:

  • Interior Designer of the Year
  • Architect of the Year
  • Hotelier of the Year
  • Best in Tech
  • The Eco Award 
  • Best in British Product Design – NEW CATEGORY FOR 2019
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry

The winners of last year’s The Brit List, who were crowned at an exclusive drinks evening in London, included Martin Brudnizki from Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, Conor O’Leary from Gleneagles and Robin Sheppard from Bespoke hotels, among many others.

This year’s Award Ceremony for The Brit List 2019 will take place on November 21 at Patch East London.

The Brit List 2019, which is organised and hosted by Hotel Designs, is also an opportunity for leaders and visionaries in the industry to network. “Yet again, we are proud and incredibly privileged to announce our partnership with the BIID for The Brit List 2019, an association which wholeheartedly shares our vision to help promote talented creatives in Britain,” added editor of Hotel Designs Hamish Kilburn.

More information on how to apply, nominate and claim your tickets for The Brit List 2019 will be published on July 2.
Please note that there is NO FEE to nominate and/or apply for The Brit List 2019

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat:

Industry Partner: BIID:

FEATURE: Software and technology that is enhancing the overall hotel experience

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: Software and technology that is enhancing the overall hotel experience

To celebrate Hotel Designs putting the spotlight on technology, software and controls this month, the editorial team have compiled together all the latest and greatest technology pieces, both hidden and visible, that have launched to significantly help to evolve the overall hotel experience for the better.  

Edited by editor Hamish Kilburn…

Earlier this month, to celebrate the group’s 100th year anniversary, Hilton Hotels released a report supported by experts to reveal how the growing sophistication of technology and climate change will impact the hotel industry in the future. Using the results of the report as a metaphorical anchor, here is a selection of technology and software that is helping to shape the future of international interior design and, as a result, helping to improve the consumer journey within hotels.

Interactivity before checking in

With travel becoming more accessible to everyone, and the rise in alternative home-from-home accommodation, there has also been a rise of design-savvy guests checking in to hotels. Therefore, hoteliers may be interested to know that there is a range of software out there that actually allows the guest to interactively take a virtual tour of their hotel from behind a computer screen, mobile or tablet.

ACT Studios, Hotel Designs’ official photographer, is an innovative photography service that works with hotels to capture their interiors interactively. The company uses Matterport, a world leader in immersive 3D technology, offering a platform for the built environment that can easily capture, edit and share 3D models of physical spaces. The technology is able to fully capture the interior and the design of properties, including hotels and leisure destinations.

Matterport technology has already captured several spectacular hotels, resorts and travel lodges across the world. An example of this would be the Four Seasons Ty Warner Penthouse – located in New York that has hosted celebrity guests and has its own private spa room. An incredibly unique example is the Underwater Room at The Manta Resort and the Underwater Terrace – a floating underwater room as a private oasis located in the crystal clear waters of a conservation area in the Pemba Islands in Tanzania several hundred metres from shore. And up above in the clouds, Matterport has captured the Clouds Estate at Helshoogte Pass – a boutique hotel overlooking dramatic mountains in South Africa’s wine country.

Hotel Designs’ interactive hotel reviews which use the Matterport software include New Road Hotel, Hotel Gotham, University Arms and most recently Oddfellows On The Park.

Meanwhile, to improve the volume of guest bookings, STAAH is a channel management software, recognised as an innovator in hospitality technology solutions. STAAH has been using cloud-based products to help accommodation providers around the world power their online growth since 2008. Its award-winning products puts property owners in control by empowering them with technology that helps them attract, convert, analyse and maximise online reach and revenue.

Its latest products to emerge includes STAAH ReviewMinder, which follows a recent integration with booking.com API for review collection and STAAH Max App, giving users the ability to manage their property from their Mobile-On the Go. Find out more about the company’s June updates on products here.

Personalisation is key

In order to improve the holistic guest hotel experience, the evolution of behind-the-scenes technology has made a clear path for smart hotels, once considered the future, to emerge in the market. Guests checking in to a modern hotel can now expect to be able to adapt and personalise many elements, such as the AC or order room service using their phones, self check-ins are driving receptionists out of fashion, while smart door-opening solutions such as key cards or even mobile applications are fast challenging convention. Hamilton Litestat is an electrical solutions provider that designs, develops and manufactures innovative electrical accessories of the highest quality. With a vast product range, spanning consumer units, decorative switch plates and sockets, lighting control and multi-room audio, it is a one-stop-shop for all domestic wiring requirements to allow for guests to personalise their own stay.

Image of room with ceiling lights and display of Hamilton's switches

Image credit: Hamilton Litestat

A British manufacturer, Hamilton Litestat has created an enviable portfolio of switch plate and socket designs to please the hotel interiors fashion industry, as well as smart lighting control and audio systems designed to enhance the hotel guest experience. Its DMX control option allows a Red, Green or Blue colour-wash to be used as accent lighting to add drama to a space – ideal for guest rooms and restaurant/bar/public areas.’

Another emerging product that has emerged from the domestic market, and is quickly making its way into the boutique hotel sector, is Nanoleaf. The company’s canvas range allows guests to create their own masterpiece. Designed to add a dash of playful, ambient light to any room, the product, among other settings, reacts to the touch of the user. Via downloading the Nanoleaf app, guests can chose to change the colour of their wall tiles from