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Inside IHG’s debut Hotel Indigo property in Cyprus

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside IHG’s debut Hotel Indigo property in Cyprus

The 40-key Hotel Indigo Larnaca marks IHG Hotels & Resorts first Hotel Indigo and the second IHG property in Cyprus…

Days after announcing its arrival in Verona, IHG Hotels & Resorts opens Hotel Indigo Larnaca, which is the first and only Hotel Indigo in Cyprus. 

Each of the hotel’s 40 guestrooms are all uniquely designed and inspired by Cyprus’s craft heritage with balconies overlooking the picturesque city of Larnaca. Just a five-minute drive from the airport, the hotel is centrally located in one of Larnaca’s most historic areas, near the church of St. Lazarus and close to Finikoudes and Mackenzie beaches.

Image credit: Hotel Indigo

Within walking distance to the beach, the hotel combined two traditional Cypriot beach homes into a new hotel, marrying design elements from both old and new. The guestrooms have a modern yet contemporary feel by merging raw concrete with locally – made, brightly – coloured traditional textiles and light wooden furnishings. The en-suite bathrooms have spa-like rain showers, with brushed concrete flooring and original Cypriot tiling. All the balconies are fitted with traditional Mediterranean yellow shutters, reminiscent of old Cyprus, and mimicking the sunset amongst the surrounding mountains.

Hotel Indigo Larnaca also offers a stunning rooftop pool and Kampana Pool Bar with breathtaking views of the sea. The regionally inspired onsite restaurant, Avli, and the Oinotelia wine bar, are conveniently situated on the ground floor and are a destination for locals, tourists, and guests.

Image credit: Hotel Indigo

Mr. Savvas Kakos, President and CEO of Quality Group, said: “At Quality Group we are extremely happy and proud to welcome one of the most renowned hotel groups to the city of Larnaca. Unique and intriguing by definition, and one of the world’s largest boutique brands, Hotel Indigo is now part of the wider area of Saint Lazarus and a perfect addition to the heart of the city. On behalf of Quality Group, I convey my strong faith and certainty that this brand-new and organic collaboration with IHG and Hotel Indigo will leave its mark on the hotel industry in Cyprus.”

Inspired by the neighbourhood around each property, just as no places are alike, no two Hotel Indigo properties are the same. Each Hotel Indigo property features thoughtful design touches and vibrant restaurants and bars connected to the spirit of the local neighbourhood. Hotel Indigo Larnaca takes in the rich history of the Agios Lazaros area and is ideal for romantic getaways and caters to the most seasoned traveller. 

Hotel Indigo Larnaca will operate under the international agreement between IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), one of the largest hotel groups in the world, Sunnyseeker Hospitality which is the fastest growing hotel management company and Quality Group, one of the largest companies of land development and investment on the island.

There are currently 119 Hotel Indigo properties open globally including the recently opened Hotel Indigo Verona – Grand Hotel Des Arts, with another 104 in the pipeline to open in the next three to five years. 

Main image credit: Hotel Indigo/IHG

Render of the hotel property

Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts to open debut property in Rome

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts to open debut property in Rome

Bvlgari Hotel Roma, which is slated to open in 2022, will occupy a magnificent building in the heart of the Campo Marzio neighbourhood, a stone’s throw from the iconic Spanish Steps and the signature Bvlgari flagship on Via Condotti…

Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts has announced that it will open its first hotel in Rome.

Render of the hotel property

The decision to debut in capital of Italy has been described as a “full circle moment” for the Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts, but also a significant one, opening a hotel an iconic destination that is rooted in the luxury brand’s heritage.

The Bvlgari Hotel Roma, which is slated to open as early as 2022, will be strategically located in the central Piazza Augusto Imperatore. This is in the very heart of the Campo Marzio neighbourhood, a stone’s throw from Via del Corso and Via del Babuino, the iconic Spanish Steps and the signature Bvlgari flagship on Via Condotti.

Render of the new Bvlgari Hotel Roma

Image credit: Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts

It will be sheltered in a magnificent building, which was built between 1936 and 1938 to a design by architect Vittorio Ballio Morpurgo, is owned by Edizione Properties who was assisted by CBRE Hotels for the tenant selection activity.

The rationalist building faces two of the most iconic Roman landmarks, the Ara Pacis and the Mausoleum of Augustus, the first Roman Imperator. It is currently under renovation and will reveal a monumental, modern architecture emphasised by the use of traditional Roman materials and colours, such as ochre Travertine marble and burnt red brick. The rigorous rationalist architectural appeal of the building is counterbalanced by Antonio Barrera’s frescos, running in the via della Frezza atrium and offering different views of the Mausoleum of Augustus, while the Southern face is decorated with a 70-square-metre mosaic by Ferruccio Ferrazzi, who offered his personal interpretation of the Roman foundation myth.

“Italian architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel will be in charge of both the architectural project and the interior design of the new Bvlgari Hotel Roma.”

As for the other Bvlgari Hotels in the world, Italian architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel will be in charge of both the architectural project and the interior design of the new Bvlgari Hotel Roma, which will count more than 100 rooms, most of them suites. In addition, the firm will design the prestigious “Il Ristorante” curated by Michelin-starred chef Niko Romito and “The Bvlgari Bar,” both located on the top floor to guarantee an unparalleled view of the Eternal City. The luxury hotel will also include a range of additional facilities, including a high-end spa with an indoor swimming pool, and a state-of-the-art gym, offering Bvlgari’s exclusive Workshop training method.

As unique feature, the Bvlgari Hotel Roma will also present a Reading Room containing a collection of precious volumes dedicated to the history of jewellery.

Standing out on the building’s façade, on top of a splendid fountain, a Latin inscription says: “This is the place where the Emperor Augustus’ soul flies through the air.”

This unique link between the new Bvlgari Hotel Roma and Emperor Augustus’ vision will be highlighted with an interior design balancing the rigor of the stones used in Imperial Rome, concise yet powerful details, as well as rich textures contrasting with the architectural essentiality of the building.

Seamlessly blending different references to the unique Roman heritage with the contemporary and timeless Bvlgari style, the new Bvlgari Hotel Roma will celebrate the extraordinary magnificence of its hometown, and will welcome its guests in an outstanding and unique environment.

“This hotel, to be opened in 2022, represents a remarkable achievement for Bvlgari that will finally have its own ‘temple’ right in the city where the Company was founded and that still represents nowadays the beating heart of the brand.” – Bvlgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin.

“We are particularly proud to have secured such an extraordinary location for the new Bvlgari Hotel in Rome,” explained Bvlgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin. “This hotel, to be opened in 2022, represents a remarkable achievement for Bvlgari that will finally have its own ‘temple’ right in the city where the Company was founded and that still represents nowadays the beating heart of the brand. It will be by far Roma most luxurious hospitality experience ever”.

“Together with all parties, public and private, involved in this important project, we are proud to have planned and executed this large, world class real estate investment in Rome, a key place for Edizione Property”, added Mauro Montagner CEO of Edizione Property SpA.

Rome being Bvlgari’s hometown, this opening will be a remarkable addition to the Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts Collection, which already counts six properties in Milan, London, Bali, Beijing, Dubai, Shanghai and which will be further extended, between 2021 and 2023, with inaugurations in Paris, Moscow and Tokyo.

Main image credit: Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts

A montage created by editor H. Kilburn showing John R. Williams and his work

Editor Checks In: Celebrating ‘Hollywood’s Architect’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor Checks In: Celebrating ‘Hollywood’s Architect’

Having followed a month of tempestuous headlines, editor Hamish Kilburn has come to the stark realisation that more education is needed in order to project equality in the global architecture and design arena…

A montage created by editor H. Kilburn showing John R. Williams and his work

I sat alone peering over London’s Leicester Square from a unique vantage point at a swanky rooftop bar. Glancing down, I was able to capture the colourful scene that was taking place below. Inspired, and feeling immensely proud, I began writing my latest Editor’s Letter, which gave a nod to diversity in design. It was Pride London 2019, and the square was packed – social distancing hadn’t yet been conceived – and I remember thinking how beautifully raw, eclectic and accepting the capital felt as the confetti cannons sounded while equality echoed from all surfaces.

Fast forward one year and here I am today, this time feeling somewhat melancholy while writing my monthly column for what feels like a parallel publication to one I was editing 12 months ago. I’m knocking on the doors, but hospitality is closed (for now) and no one appears to be home. ‘Covid-19’, a phrase we didn’t know existed in 2019, has infected my inbox, and every story in it. There’s hope, though. July 4 is re-opening day for many, but as I begin to feel optimistic (and I really am optimistic about hospitality post-pandemic), the next article I read in my morning catch-up of the headlines prevents me from showing any sign of euphoria.

A 46-year-old black male, named George Floyd, has died in the hands of two white policemen. It began with a report of a fake $20 (£16.20) bill, and ended with the death of Floyd after one of the policemen knelt on his neck, while blatantly ignoring the man’s pleas for help, for an agonising eight minutes and 46 seconds.

The footage of the incident spilled into the boundless realms of social media with the hashtag BlackLivesMatter. And like the virus itself that put a halt on our industry and forced us to adapt to meet new consumer demand, the protests for equality went global.

While on the one hand I felt concerned that social distancing and heart-felt protests are a fractious pairing, I also felt compelled to read and learn after seeing a friend’s status, which read: “I understand I will never understand. However, I stand.” It was at that point when I decided to delve into the history of our industry, and when I first read about John R. Williams and everything he was able to achieve while working in and for a society that today we would be ashamed of.

“He designed more than 2,000 homes (all of which differed in styles) and his clients included many celebrities, including Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz among others.”

Williams was an architectural pioneer who was largely responsible for Hollywood’s eclectic, colonial and California ranch-style architecture landscape. He designed more than 2,000 homes (all of which differed in styles). His clients included many celebrities, including Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz among others. In addition, the trailblazer designed other buildings, such as the Mutal Life Insurance Building and the LA County Courthouse. He also worked on the design of the iconic googie-styled Theme Building at Los Angeles International Airport,  and in the 1940s, he was part of the team who redesigned of The Beverly Hills Hotel.

Having grown up as the only black child in his elementary school, Williams recognised that his clients of that era would feel uncomfortable sitting directly next to a black man, so he learned to draft and sketch upside down. And to avoid his clients having to shake his hand, he would often walk and talk with his hands either behind his back or in his pockets.

The real irony, in my opinion, was that so often Williams was not allowed to visit the public places he so painstakingly designed. Williams operated, where possible, under the radar in order to survive as a black architect in the western world.

“In 1957, he was the first Black architect elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).”

In his career that spanned five decades, according to the Paul R Williams Project, William’s not only imagined thousands of buildings, but he also served on a number of municipal, state and federal commissions. He was carefully active in political and social organisations, which earned the admiration and respect of his peers. Williams frequently donated his time and skills to projects he believed furthered the health and welfare of young people, African Americans in Southern California and the greater society. In 1957, he was the first black architect elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Williams retired from practice in 1973 and died in 1980 at the age of 85.

In 2017, his name joined legends such as Sir Norman Foster, Frank Gehry and Renxo Piano. Williams was posthumously awarded AIA’s 2017 Gold Medal, which is the highest annual honour that recognises individuals whose work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture. In consequence to his many achievements, he is known today (and is documented in the history books) as Hollywood’s Architect.

Hotel Designs is not a political platform. It is, however, an educational podium where trending topics are discussed, debated and amplified. Racism and inequality in general is recurrently guised, and it is so rarely in plain sight. I hope that by looking back and identifying injustices, like how Williams felt forced to work under the radar (and arguably work harder than any other architect of his era), we can together ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself and instead celebrate and promote people for their talent and their talent alone, regardless of race, sexual orientation, disability and social standings.

I understand I will never understand. However, I stand.

Editor, Hotel Designs

Main image credit: Dorchester Collection/AIA

Rosewood brand to arrive in Spain in 2021 as part of European expansion

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Rosewood brand to arrive in Spain in 2021 as part of European expansion

The iconic Hotel Villa Magna in Madrid is, in 2021, to become the first hotel in Spain to operate under Rosewood Hotels & Resorts…

Following the group’s recent announcement to take over Le Guanahani in St. Barth, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts has been selected by RLH Properties to manage the iconic Hotel Villa Magna in Madrid, Spain.

The hotel, which is situated in the heart of Madrid, on the revered Paseo de la Castellana, will  become Rosewood Hotels & Resorts’ first property in Spain and the fourth operation in Europe, where the group is sensitively expanding into other prime locations.

The beloved property will debut as Rosewood Villa Magna following a refurbishment, during which the property will remain open, that will incorporate a contemporary design, displaying an inspired interpretation of Spain’s capital city.

Exterior of Hotel Villa Magns

Image credit: Hotel Villa Magns

The hotel is centrally located, immediately neighbouring the prestigious Serrano shopping district, and other well-known nearby landmarks such as the Golden Triangle of Art, home to the Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza and Reina Sofía Museums. Villa Magna is currently closed as a precautionary measure due to COVID-19 and will reopen on September 1, 2020 operating independently until Rosewood assumes management once the refurbishment works have come to an end towards late 2021.

“As one of the world’s most alluring cultural capitals, Madrid is an ideal destination in which to raise the Rosewood flag, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to join together with our valued partners at RLH to breathe new life into one of the city’s most prolific properties, Villa Magna,” said Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group.  “A mecca for arts, culture and cuisine that perfectly balances the old with the new, Madrid offers the perfect canvas for our guiding A Sense of Place philosophy. We look forward to bringing our differentiated approach to ultra-luxury hospitality to Spain with this special hotel.”

With a refreshed contemporary sense of style and service that speaks to today’s travellers, Rosewood Villa Magna will feature 150 thoughtfully appointed guestrooms and suites, distinct dining experiences and an inspired Sense, A Rosewood Spa.

“The iconic Villa Magna plays an important part in Madrid’s history, and as such we are proud to embark on this new journey with our exceptional team at the Villa Magna and together with Rosewood Hotel Group towards enhancing this unique asset that enjoys an irreplaceable location and taking it to the next level of luxury. We are excited to add our third Rosewood property to the RLH portfolio, alongside sister resorts Rosewood Mayakoba in Riviera Maya, Mexico and the upcoming Rosewood Mandarina in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico,” said Borja Escalada, CEO of RLH Properties.

Rosewood Villa Magna will add to Rosewood’s network of distinctive European properties, which currently includes Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco in Tuscany, Rosewood London and Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel in Paris.  Additional properties set to open within the next three years include Rosewood Vienna (2022), Rosewood Munich (2023), Rosewood Venice (2023) and Rosewood Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London (TBD).

Main image credit: Hotel Villa Magna

IN PICTURES: Sneak peek of Four Seasons Hotel Madrid

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN PICTURES: Sneak peek of Four Seasons Hotel Madrid

Opening this September, after being on the drawing boards for nearly a decade, Four Seasons Hotel Madrid has been designed in collaboration between designers from BAMO, BG Architecture, Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, AvroKO and Luis Bustamante…

After a seven-year reconceptualisation and meticulous restoration of a collection of seven historic buildings, the new Four Seasons Hotel Madrid will open September 15, 2020.

With a soaring grand lobby welcoming guests at its heart, the hotel is located within Madrid’s Centro Canalejas, also home to 22 Four Seasons Private Residences and the Galería Canalejas luxury shopping centre. Architects Estudio Lamela led the restoration, preserving more than 3,700 artefacts throughout. Inside, interiors are by an international team of designers including BAMO, BG Architecture, Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, AvroKO and Luis Bustamante.

Exterior of the hotel

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotel Madrid

“It’s truly been a labour of passion and love as these beautiful buildings transform into a fantastic setting for a new chapter in their histories,” says Christoph Schmidinger, Four Seasons Regional Vice President and the Hotel’s General Manager. “Our owner partners OHL Desarrollos and Mohari Hospitality, and our all-star team of artisans, culinarians and hoteliers, share our vision for offering a very personalised Four Seasons experience in a truly extraordinary setting.”

In a city that is ever changing but always welcoming, visitors will discover something new with every return visit. Four Seasons is just steps from Kilómetro Cerothe central point from which all distances in Spain are measured. In this truly pedestrian-friendly city, most of the main points of interest are within a 20-minute walk, including the 125 hectare (300 acre) Retiro Park with its incredible Glass Palace and endless pathways amid trees, fountains and ponds. Three of the world’s best museums – the Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía – form a Golden Triangle in the neighbourhood around Four Seasons.

Luxe, eclectic interiors to reference Madrid's vibrancy in public area

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotel Madrid

Spanish celebrity Chef Dani Garcia will unveil Dani, a new dining concept from the three Michelin-starred chef, with an unmatched rooftop setting envisioned by acclaimed London and New York-based designer Martin Brudnizki. Expect a bright and vivid brasserie with a sophisticated touch, where guests will savour Andalusian cuisine and panoramic views throughout the day and evening, both in the spacious indoors and out in the sunshine on the terrace.

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotel Madrid

Isa, a gastrobar located on the first floor, will continue to move forward the tapas trend that began in Spain, adding modern Asian flavours paired with cutting-edge cocktails in a space created by global design studio AvroKO.  Adjacent to the Hotel’s lobby, El Patio also invites relaxed drinks and dining.

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotel Madrid

The hotel will shelter 200 guestrooms and suites – among them an exceptional triangular Royal Suite with double-height ceilings and numerous historic details.

Staircase in Four Seasons Madrid

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotel Madrid

Elsewhere, the luxury property will also boast the largest spa in the city, offering eight treatment rooms plus a salon and 24/7 fitness centre. It will also offer more than 1,400 square metres (15,400 square feet) of flexible function spaces – including the glamorous oval-shaped Sol Ballroom – can accommodate both business meetings and social events.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotel Madrid

Lighting Case Study: Designing The Bristol

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Lighting Case Study: Designing The Bristol

The 65-key hotel The Bristol, designed by Earl Swensson Associates (ESa), has a unique lighting story that includes specified pendants and chandeliers by Hudson Valley Lighting Group

The Bristol was born in 2015 when a commercial office building with historical character was marked for demolition. The Charlestowne Hotels group acquired it, hiring ESa (Earl Swensson Associates) to redesign and restore it, developing the eight-story brick building into a 65-key hotel.

Bristol is a town on the border of Virginia and Tennessee, and is commonly recognised as the birth place of country music: In 1927, Ralph Peer of Victor Records went out there to record some folks by the names of The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. The rest is history. That’s why the address of the The Bristol is 510 Birthplace of Country Music Way. With such an eclectic location and history, The Bristol was going to have to incorporate those influences into its design.

Luxury lighting in a residential style suite

Image credit: The Bristol Hotel/HVLG

The designers from ESa gathered together various pictures and mood boards that evoked the look and feel they were hoping to achieve and shared them with their HVLG source. The brand’s dedicated contract and hospitality representative in the area had a long-standing relationship with the lead designers, as well as a deep familiarity with the product.

As one of the standard products selected, Hudson Valley Lighting’s Humphrey pendants and chandeliers adorn many of the rooms. HVL’s contemporary classic feel meant these fixtures look as at home in the brand new rooms as they may have in the flourishing Art Deco period when the building was first constructed. Providing the ambient layer of light, these exquisite fixtures also contributed to a higher level of decorative sophistication for the space.

Corbett fixtures also enhance visitors’ experience; with their impressive scale and hand-applied leaf finishes, which the brand often says of its Corbett pieces that they have to be seen in person to be believed.

Additionally, the HVLG Contract Custom team got to work on designing a few special pieces, such as pendants for The Bristol’s awesome rooftop hangout, chandeliers for its banquet room, and a series of sconces for its conference room area. ESa reviewed initial drafts of the designs and made some adjustments. Once they were completely happy with the plan, the lighting brand proceeded to build these one-of-a-kind fixtures on time and on budget.

Sitting eight stories up in a town without a lot of high-elevation buidings, The Bristol’s special rooftop relaxation zone, Lumac, has a beautiful view of the surrounding environs — the painted brick sides of old buildings, the nearby hills, twinkling downtown lights, and the town’s charming entry gate. Originally built in the twenties, the whole thing feels almost like something out of a Baz Luhrmann film, with a distinct slice of heartwarming Americana. HVLG designed a custom outdoor pendant for this beautiful rooftop bar area, adding to its singular charm.

The Bristol Hotel is a good example of how HVLG can be your one-stop shop for a hospitality lighting project. Combining world-class standard product from across its four distinct brands (Corbett and Hudson Valley in this case) with custom pieces, the lighting specialists were able to satisfy this project’s requirements while providing lighting that elevated the environment.

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

Main image credit: Hudson Valley Lighting Group

Renovation revealed: Marriott Cancun collection reopens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Renovation revealed: Marriott Cancun collection reopens

Following a recently completed interior design renovation project, The Marriott Cancun Collection (JW Marriott Cancun and Marriott Cancun) is reopening calming spaces to cater to modern travellers’ demands in the post-pandemic climate. Editor Hamish Kilburn gets a closer look inside…

Only last week, I positioned Mexico’s region of Riviera Nayarit under our editorial spotlight to focus in on the hotel development projects that will soon be completed, and how the senstive renovation of its landscape will enhance the its appeal among modern luxury travellers. 

On the completely other side of Mexico, 2,427 km east of Riviera Nayarit, you will find Cancun, a destination famous for its white sand beaches, near-perfect weather, and bright blue waters. Among of the assemblage of hotels in the city are the sister resorts Marriott Cancun and JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, both of which have undergone renovations recently to their public areas, guestrooms and suites and are welcoming guests back into the refreshed spaces in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

Together known as Marriott Cancun Collection, the resorts have been given the green light to open their doors as a part of Quintana Roo’s phased re-opening strategy. JW Marriott Cancun opened June 8 and is already hosting guests, and Marriott Cancun Resort is trailing right behind with an expected opening date of July 1.

Large, spacious F&B area

Image credit: Marriott Hotels

Having debuted the trendy, Tulum-inspired SacBé Beach Shack last summer and its new lobby in January, Marriott Cancun Resort’s renovations, paired with JW Marriott Cancun’s extensive $40 million upgrade to all 447 ocean-facing guestrooms, set the stage for a roaring first quarter.

New renovated suites shelter stlish array of furniture and clean wooden floors

“There’s no greater feeling than welcoming our guests back with refreshed, inviting spaces that lay the foundation for an exceptional vacation experience,” said Vice President and General Manager Christopher Calabrese. “We continuously strive to elevate our offerings, and that started with JW Marriott Cancun’s design-forward room renovation. When taken in combination with Marriott Cancun’s new lobby, the final touch of an earlier renovation, it feels like two virtually new hotels.”

Image credit: Marriott Hotels

Dubbed ‘The Great Room,’ Marriott Cancun’s airy entryway complements the chic design of the resort’s 450 guestrooms. The colour palette includes marbleised beige and cream accented by shades of indigo and turquoise that are inspired by Mexico’s natural beauty. The lofty space features clean, crisp lines, modern furniture of varying textures and cream shades, along with the resort’s signature paneled windows that peer out to the palm-lined grounds and the ocean beyond.

Also in the pipeline for 2020 is Hana, a Polynesian restaurant set to replace Argentinian eatery, La Capilla. Hana, a play on the Hawaiian word for family, will feature intricate wood detailing on the ceiling and distressed brick accents, along with pops of yellow. The contemporary furniture, wall planters and Polynesian-inspired images are intended to transport guests to the most exotic corner of the world, while SacBé Beach Shack is influenced by Tulum’s bohemian atmosphere. The new beach club offers a fusion of local flavours and traditional Mexican cuisine. Here, local street food is served to guests on swinging bar stools set beneath driftwood rods and adjacent to macramé hammocks, hand-painted art and dine-in-the-sand tables.

Low tables in stylish new renovated bar/restaurant

Image credit: Marriott Hotels

Next door, JW Marriott Cancun’s stylish room interiors pay homage to the intricate textiles found in ancient Mayan garments. Meanwhile, the room’s aerial-view photographs are indicative of the region’s famous cenotes, or natural sink holes. Meticulously carved wood accents, architectural light fixtures, herringbone-patterned floors, luxe rainfall showers and free-standing soaking tubs with complimentary lavender bath salts are now standard in all guest rooms. The property also remodelled its exclusive Club 91 lounge with navy blue and olive-hued furniture in combination with coral reef ceiling décor, providing guests a glimpse into what lies beyond the hotel’s shores.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. This advice is being kept under constant review.

Main image credit: Marriott Hotels

CASE STUDY: Breathing new life into a ruined monastery in Naples

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Breathing new life into a ruined monastery in Naples

Kaldewei bathroom solutions perfectly blends a stylish mix of historical and modern styles inside this restored monastery in Naples, Italy…

It took one year and two months and a handful of premium Kaldewei bathroom products to restore a ruined monastery in Naples into a stylish, modern residential abode.

From the terrace, your gaze sweeps across the mountainside vineyards, olive groves and lemon trees, across the “lower town” of Naples to Vesuvius, the harbour and the Gulf of Naples as far as the island of Capri.

In the midst of this unique landscape, on Vormero Hill, Giovanni and Janine have turned their dream home into reality. They bought the ruined 14th century monastery, completely restored it and fitted it out with a stylish mix of modern and a timeless design. For the bathroom and guest WC, the couple chose Kaldewei’s steel enamel bathroom solutions that connect the historical and modern in a very unique way.

Image caption: The exposed shell of the 14th Century monastery before its sensitive renovation

Image caption: The exposed shell of the 14th Century monastery before its sensitive renovation

Even as a teenager, Giovanni knew that one day he wanted to live with his family, right beside his parents’ home on Vormero Hill. Vormero is the 13th district of Naples and is known as the “upper town”. The houses stand on a green hill and can only be reached by cable car and, in part, only via steep stairs. This is where Giovanni grew up, and this area is still home to three generations of his family. “La famiglia” was also the reason why, after studying and working abroad, he returned to Italy. He and his wife Janine, whom he met on a trip to Rio de Janeiro, began with renting a small house next door to his parents’ home. When the hunt for a suitable property, for his own growing family produced no results, he decided to buy a ruined monastery nearby and rebuild it as a family home.

Special challenges: preservation order and logistics

After thoroughly checking the terms of the preservation order and establishing that the monastery had indeed been used as a residential property in the past, Janine and Giovanni started turning their dream into a reality. The restoration of this ancient building presented the young couple with many challenges. The strict provisions of the preservation order, for instance, specified that the same materials used to build the monastery around 700 years ago, such as chalk and regional sandstone, also had to be used for the restoration – no cement was used at all. In addition, the hilltop location, surrounded by vineyards, called for some special logistical solutions. 150 steps had to be scaled when transporting the required building materials and products. As a result, throughout the entire construction period of 15 months one person was solely employed to constantly drive up and down the hill with a tracked vehicle.

Giovanni gave up his job and devoted himself to managing the building site for a year. To help them implement their ideas, the couple called in the architect Antonio Gravagnuolo, who specialises in listed projects, and the German interior designer Stephan Poeppelmann. Together, they created a unique house that skilfully blends the past and the present.

“The colours are restrained and are reminiscent of the vineyard landscape.” – interior designer Stephan Poeppelmann

When tradition and modern collide

“We wanted to retain the character of the ruined monastery. That’s why it was particularly important for us to use traditional materials as much as possible both for the building and the internal restoration and to work with suppliers from the local region,” Janine says. The interior planning corresponded with those wishes: restrained and respectful of the ruin’s history – but at the same time incredibly brave.

Talking about the concept, Poeppelmann says: “In keeping with the building’s past life as a monastery which was now to be restored as a home and be a part of the landscape, we didn’t remove corners and niches in existing walls, for example, but used them as spaces to integrate shelves or seating. The colours are restrained and are reminiscent of the vineyard landscape. The main colours are a delicate pastel green and warm shades of brown.” Ancient floor tiles which were salvaged, undamaged during the building work were also used in the interior design concept, as were lots of little apothecary bottles made of coloured glass, some of which have been integrated into the walls, or serve as decorative elements and vases around the house.

Kaldewei bathroom solutions: perfect match between product and room design

“Today’s bathroom is a multi-purpose space with the highest standards of design. The harmonious fusion of architecture, design, functionality and perfect light produce the optimum solution in the bathroom,” adds  Poeppelmann, describing the design approach for the bathroom.

Modern, quirky bathroom

Image credit: Kaldewei Cono

In fitting out the spacious bathroom, the designer was inspired by the former monastery’s distinctive vaulting. “Naturally, we were impressed by Kaldewei’s natural and classical yet modern shapes. Since we had a round-arched ceiling in the bathroom, we wanted to pick up on that shape with the bath and the washbasin. That’s why we decided on the Centro countertop washbasin, whose interior echoes the rounded shape, and the Meisterstück Classic Duo Oval bath,” says Janine, explaining the decision behind their choice. With its seamless panelling, the bath, made of elegant Kaldewei steel enamel, is the classic archetype of the freestanding bath. The Centro countertop washbasin with its spacious surround, designed by Anke Salomon, also exudes a sense of purity and simple elegance.

luxe bath on colourful tiles

Image caption: Kaldewei Meisterstueck Classic Duo Oval bath

The Kaldewei trinity in the bathroom is completed with the floor-level Scona shower in a restrained Pearl Grey matt. This shower surface fits harmoniously into the colourfully tiled floor, while the round, centrally-positioned waste cover made of steel enamel also picks up on the round-arch shape. The space-saving wall-hung Cono washbasin works well in the guest WC. The characteristic design element of this rectangular washbasin is the square waste cover which is also enamelled. “With the Kaldewei steel enamel bathroom solutions we have created a perfect match between product and room architecture,” says Stephan Pöppelmann.

Image caption: Kaldewei Scona

Image caption: Kaldewei Scona

Whether for a new-build or refurbishment, Kaldewei shower surfaces, washbasins and baths are a hit with builders worldwide. The enamelled bathroom solutions meet high aesthetic standards and, thanks to the huge range of different designs and sizes, they fit perfectly into virtually any room. As a material, Kaldewei steel enamel is exceptionally long-lasting and low-maintenance. Poeppelmann enjoys working with Kaldewei bathroom solutions: “The products are robust. At the same time, they have smooth, seamless lines. Thanks to the wide range of colours, I can pick up on current trends, if required. In addition, high-end design with a modern look should also always take functionality and the day-to-day habits of its users into account.”

Kaldewei 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: Kaldewei

IN PICTURES: OKKO Hotels’ new design-led guestroom concept

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN PICTURES: OKKO Hotels’ new design-led guestroom concept

On July of 2019, in the heart of Paris, along the platform No. 2 at Gare de l’Est, OKKO Hotels unveiled its second generation guestroom concept, designed by Studio Catoir, which chose two models from the Ligne Roset Contract collection as testimonies of a strongly claimed design ambition…

The concept of OKKO Hotels’ second generation guestroom is adapted to the use for a single person, as well as the use for a couple. Concretely, this means separated toilets, more storage space and redesigned ergonomics. The sleeping area has also been re-thought. Many changes had been made in line with sustainable development: choice of materials, implementation of sorting and recycling, use of water fountains. The wish to use natural materials, sometimes raw materials, has been kept. The idea of integrating the codes of interior design into hotel language also remains, by the choice of iconic pieces that are no longer used to being discovered in a nice apartment or a hotel. The choice of the Andrey lamp, design by the Studio Catoir and edited by Ligne Roset, with it design all in finesse and elegance is a great example.

Like most of the international luxury brands, the history of Ligne Roset is rooted in the French craft heritage. In 160 years, the brand has become the symbol of an elegance if life, the imprint of a luxury signed by the greatest contemporary design talents around the world. Ligne Roset, the leading creator-manufacturer-distributor of contemporary French furniture showcases nowdays a whole art of living through its full collection of seats, cabinet, decorative items, lightings, rugs, fabrics and know how to decline, adapt and blend in the bespoke décor imagined by architects and interior designers. It is the expertise of Ligne Roset Contract which is expressed today in the drawings of the Studio Catoir for Okko Hotels. For Okko Hotels, collaborating with a French brands which has an expertise that brilliantly combines craftsmanship and technicality is a strong guarantee of quality.

You will find in the bedrooms the Audrey light, the Rocher chair and Nubo desk.

The hats of the actress Audrey Hepburn inspired Studio Catoir for this lamp which combines great sophistication and resolutely design. A true piece of design, which brings a touch of refinement to the sleeping area of the hotel bedroom.

Image credit: Ligne Roset/OKKO Hotels

Iconic piece by the Berlin duo Hertel & Klarhoefer, manufactured by Ligne Roset, the chair Rocher adopts a fractal design, characterised by a faceted construction. The surface of the shell (seat / back and armrests) seems cut like a diamond. On four white lacquered legs, it brings a feeling of lightness as well as comfort and elegantly complements the office space.

With Nubo, designed by GamFratesi, aesthetic astonishment is provided by the unexpected meeting of the ‘déjà vu’ and a surprising new element: the simple spacesaving wall shelf metamorphoses into a treasure box, evocative of a suitcase such as the Air France blue fabric travelling case of the 1960s. Its rounded cloud shape and luminous yet warm association of natural oak and sky blue wool fabric also fall into the same vintage Scandinavian register.

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

Main image credit: Ligne Roset/OKKO Hotels

CASE STUDY: Lighting The Hoxton Southwark

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Lighting The Hoxton Southwark

A stone’s throw from the River Thames and London’s South Bank, the Hoxton Southwark opened its doors in September last year. The design team at Ennismore specified lighting products from Heathfield & Co to create a vibrant interior design scheme…

Hoxton Southwark, which opened last year, became the eighth property in the brand’s series.

The new-build hotel contains 192 rooms, various meeting and events spaces, and its two popular restaurants; Albie, an all-day dining spot and Seabird, a rooftop seafood restaurant with spectacular views across the capital.

Alongside owners Ennismore, Heathfield & Co’s experienced team of project managers, product designers and engineers worked on this incredible project for a year, supplying bespoke lighting across the hotel’s public areas. Aimed at creating a vibrant and welcoming space, the clients brief included vintage references and classic styles, which the team designed, developed and manufactured, resulting in 22 completely bespoke pieces, from table lamps and wall lights, to multiple ceiling fittings and pendants.

Unique materials and specialist finishes come together in the production of this beautiful collection of bespoke lighting, each manufactured and assembled in Heathfield’s UK warehouse. A custom brass finish created specifically for the project will organically develop over time, harnessing the natural antiquing process.

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

Main image credit: Hoxton Southwark/Ennismore

 

Monkey Island Estate opens private residences

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Monkey Island Estate opens private residences

The six new private residences open at Monkey Island Estate in Bray amid post-pandemic luxury consumer demands expecting a surge of self-isolated escapes… 

YTL Hotels’ Monkey Island Estate, which Hotel Designs reviewed shortly after it opened last year, has unveiled six new private residences.

Endearingly named to reflect their individual nature, the residences blend classic style and the warmth of a period home with contemporary and luxury comfort, each with its own intriguing history and story to tell. Guests staying in the residences can enjoy the freedom, space and privacy of staying with loved ones, whilst taking advantage of the hospitality and services of the hotel, just a stone’s throw away.

The residences

Long White Cloud is an embodiment of homely elegance, where Edward Elgar is known to have stayed and composed some of his greatest works.  More recent residents include Formula One racing legend, Sir Stirling Moss. The magnificent 19th Century property has four large bedroom suites accompanied by an impressive kitchen and a charming garden, ideal for alfresco dining in the summer months. Sitting on the banks of the River Thames, Long White Cloud also offers a private pool and jetty, ideal for those who may wish to arrive by boat.

Brook House embodies another spacious offering with four generously sized suites, a lavish living room and a large garden with private outdoor/indoor swimming pool perfect for hot summer afternoons.

Sundial Cottage with its secluded secret garden is quaint yet spacious, steeped in the same exciting history as Monkey Island itself.  Sundial Cottage boasts three gorgeous bedrooms with a kitchen-diner and cosy living room. Those staying in Sundial Cottage will share the same four walls as the famed Sylvia Anderson, the creator of Thunderbirds.

Bray House is a bijou gem just steps away from Bray’s church, offering the ideal country bolthole for those looking to escape the city. The three-bedroom residence has undergone multiple transformations over the years from stable block to cobblers’ shop, antique centre and family home.

Dormer Cottage enchants guests with standout features including wooden beams, a welcoming open fireplace and a dramatic silk-clad wall. The 500-year-old one-bedroom residence offers guests immediate access to the heart of Bray.

Lavender House also sits in the heart of the village offering three bedrooms. With an impressive double fronted cottage façade believed to date back to the early 1700s, the impressive property was once home to several local families in three terraced cottages.

Monkey Island, with its intriguing history dating back 800 years, has been the haunt of monks, monarchs, aristocrats and writers alike. Surrounded by elegant gardens, Monkey Island is accessed only by footbridge, boat or helicopter, offering a secluded country venue, yet is conveniently located less than an hour’s drive from Central London. The addition of the Private Residences offers those who want to enjoy this historic landmark and the delightful village of Bray even more opportunity to do so, in true comfort, style and privacy.

Main image credit: YTL Hotels’ Monkey Island Estate

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The ‘anything is possible’ approach in interior design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The ‘anything is possible’ approach in interior design

Timothy Oulton is a British designer who has mastered the ‘anything is possible’ approach greater than most when it comes to interior and product design. Hotel Designs gets comfortable in the Apollo to learn its secrets… 

Nothing epitomises the ‘anything is possible’ ethos that Timothy Oulton Studio is famous for better than Apollo.

It is a unique environment modelled to scale on the Apollo 11 spacecraft, encapsulated in a polished stainless steel shell and featuring luxurious, fully customisable interiors created in-house and by hand by the brand’s skilled cohort of makers and craftspeople.

Image caption: Apollo by Timothy Oulton Studio

Recent research points to just 16 per cent of holiday goers now considering trips abroad, yet the urge to escape the new normal is a powerful force. For the luxury and ultra-luxury hotelier the question of how best to create an experience capable of satisfying this desire, wherever in the world, is more pertinent than ever.

As a commercial interior design studio serving the hotel and hospitality industry, this question is one the Timothy Oulton Studio team has considered from its own perspective. Since the global Covid-19 pandemic took hold, studio founders Timothy Oulton and Simon Laws have been asking themselves what the changed future looks like for a market as vital as the travel and hospitality industry, and for the individual businesses that operate within it.

“Marry the impulse to be transported to another world with a sensitivity to the needs of this one.”

The practice is responsible for delivering unforgettable design concepts that enable its clients to attract, engage and wow visitors – impacting revenue streams by offering unmatched experiences. A potential answer to the question of what next? Marry the impulse to be transported to another world with a sensitivity to the needs of this one. 

An outdoor iteration of the Apollo is something Timothy Oulton Studio has been asked for on numerous occasions. Now, after a year of research, development and prototyping, it is ready to be bought to market and – when the ability to be outdoors in small numbers holds great influence over decisions about where we go and how – the launch seems appropriately timed.

“A design like Apollo can pivot existing businesses in so many ways.”  – Simon Laws, co-founder, Timothy Oulton Studio

For hotels with surrounding land or existing glamping facilities the outdoor Apollo creates a phenomenal point of difference in the luxury market, while larger businesses can use it is an attention-grabbing centrepiece inside or out. At Gordon Ramsey’s Bread Street Kitchen the Apollo is used as a private dining space, enabling small group to drink and eat separately within the buzzy atmosphere of the wider restaurant – this is something that the studio team is expecting more of, as Laws explains. “Now more than ever people want to get away, both physically and metaphorically, and I think perhaps hoteliers are seeing an opportunity to facilitate that for people within their own countries, removing the need to jump on a plane,” he says. “A design like Apollo can pivot existing businesses in so many ways. 

“Being so unique and visually impactful also helps clients understand the value of this particular design – Instagrammability is front of mind for almost everyone in the industry. If it was prevalent before the pandemic it can only be more so now our circumstances have changed and we are out and about less frequently. You only have to take a glance at the breadstreetkitchen hashtag to see what a difference this kind of design makes to the popularity of a business.”

The Apollo can be viewed and bought at Timothy Oulton, Bluebird, 350 King’s Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 5UU.

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

Main image credit: Timothy Oulton Studio/Image caption: Apollo by Timothy Oulton Studio

IN PICTURES: Italy’s Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa opens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN PICTURES: Italy’s Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa opens

The sensitively designed 11-key boutique jewel has opened in the heart of Italy’s White City, Ostuni, Puglia…

With Covid-19 stalling its inaugural opening, the team at Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa are finally able to officially open the doors.  The elegantly restored red palace in the heart of Puglia’s White City, Ostuni, has been meticulously restored to boast 11 individually curated rooms, meaning guest numbers are naturally limited and exclusive takeovers are possible. 

Standing in stark contrast to the whitewashed buildings of Ostuni, Paragon 700’s red brick façade cocoons a lush garden and swimming pool, a rare green space in the heart of the city, offering a spacious, tranquil and exclusive oasis, just a five-minute walk from the main square. 

The Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa team painstakingly restored every inch of the former Italian palace using traditional handcrafted techniques, while injecting a splash of modern flair. French parquet flooring extends throughout all 11 rooms and suites, which feature stonewashed bed linen, cathedral ceilings, period frescos and fireplaces.

Image credit: 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Naturally, each guestroom is different, some offering terraces, balconies or in the case of the Paragon Suite, a sunken bathtub and private terrace with sun loungers. Guests who fall in love with the chic interiors will be delighted to discover that they can buy select furniture and décor to take home as the ultimate holiday memento. Any sold pieces will be replaced by the boutique hotel’s stylish owners, who will be happy of an excuse to indulge their passion for sourcing eclectic items.  

The hotel brings a fresh taste to Ostuni, with the opening of Restaurant 700. Head chef Giovanni Cerroni, the protégé of Michelin-starred Paulo Airaudo, offers an enticing menu that celebrates outstanding local ingredients and cuisine. Open to guests and locals alike, this new venue, including the quirky Bar 700, will offer an intimate dining experience, with impeccable service and the finest local vintages from the hotel’s impressive wine cellar.

As the only hotel in the heart of the White City to offer a swimming pool and garden, Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa will also be an unrivalled haven for guests looking to unwind and recharge. The palace’s former water chamber has been transformed into a unique spa offering a Turkish bath, Himalayan salt wall, multi-sensory shower and a natural whirlpool dug into the ground. 

Image credit: 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

The team at the hotel have put in place a full range of cleanliness and safety measures in light of Covid-19, including daily temperature checks for staff and for guests on arrival, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all those who wish to enjoy this exciting new boutique hotel. 

Main image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

CASE STUDY: Creating the art scheme for Great Scotland Yard Hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Creating the art scheme for Great Scotland Yard Hotel

Months after it’s official opening, Hotel Designs gains access inside London’s Great Scotland Yard Hotel for an ‘Unbound’ look into what it took art consultancy firm Elegant Clutter to complete a bespoke artwork scheme…

Most people associate Scotland Yard with the London Metropolitan Police. For some, the words are almost interchangeable.

This is explained by the fact that the original Metropolitan Police Headquarters in Whitehall Place had a rear entrance on a street called Great Scotland Yard. This became the public entrance to the police station and over time the street and the Met Police became synonymous.

It may come as a surprise that Scotland Yard is no longer technically in Scotland Yard. It is less of a surprise that the original 1820’s Grade II listed building, situated only three minutes walk from Trafalgar Square, has been turned into a luxury hotel. It is now proudly the first UK hotel in Hyatt’s Unbound Collection. The renovation has been dramatic and art has played a big part in the hotels development. We take a look behind the scenes at what was involved in creating, curating, handling and finally placing the extensive artwork collection on the walls of this striking hotel.

Image credit: Elegant Clutter

Elegant Clutter was appointed to be part of the team responsible for the transformation of this iconic building. Discussions on how best to deliver the artwork strategy were ongoing for more than two years. The team at Elegant Clutter were required to survey, scope, cost and re-cost in order to help the client plan budgets, feasibility and time scales. With such an iconic London landmark at the heart of the project everyone was focussed on ensuring the content was perfectly matched to the venue and its many backstories.

The first thing to mention is that no two of the 152 bedrooms are the same. And then there are the 15 individually appointed suites that were to be marketed as ‘enjoying a bespoke art selection that celebrates the historical element of your memorable stay’. Whilst this contributes to the hotels appeal and makes the guest feel they are staying somewhere truly unique is poses many challenges to the artwork company. (image – no 2 rooms the same)

The gauntlet was well and truly cast down. Whilst relaxing on their bed, taking in the sumptuous surroundings the guests will have no idea the lengths to which Elegant Clutter went, to make sure the artwork selection and positioning was ‘just so’. The rooms and suites benefit from a collection of investment art from artists such as Belinda Frikh and Nicola Green, bespoke framed by Elegant Clutter as well as custom made and designed artworks by Elegant Clutter themselves.

Image credit: Elegant Clutter

One of the bedroom artworks was inspired by Richard Hamilton’s renowned 1950s pop art piece crafted from painted and layered timber to create a 3D relief. Elegant Clutters highly stylised version picked on references from the period of Robert Peels premiership to create an imaginary London street scene – with a humorous twist. The traditional ‘bobby on the beat’ being replaced by a modern security camera in partnership with the emblematic blue police box. It perfectly fitted the brief from the hotel to fuse its rich history and tradition with modern luxury.

The subtle colours of the various artworks needed to be considerately paired together so that each room had its own mini-collection that worked as one. With all the rooms being so different the artwork selection had to be sympathetic to the colours, shape and layout of each one.

Elegant Clutter developed luxury feel frames for limited edition art and their relationship with the Tate enabled them to print Graham Southerland originals onto luxury silk scarves to be presented in acrylic boxed frames. The spreadsheet required to manage the accurate installation would have been more at home in an accountants office than a fine art studio. The invisible, behind the scenes work is just as important a part of the process as creating the art itself.

Image credit: Elegant Clutter

A key appeal of the hotel is that its historic and cherished buildings hold more hidden stories than any other kind in London. The role of the artwork in the public spaces was also to expose some of those stories but had to remain highly bespoke with a luxury finish.

Elegant Clutter was granted access to the London Metropolitan Polices historical records and memorabilia. These were used to help create story filled installations to give a contemporary museum like experience around the main entrance. Intriguing artefacts were carefully curated and floating display cases were designed and hand made to house them. The feature was brought together by using a metallic digital mural background made up of a rogues gallery of past ‘guests’ of The Yard. What you see as a result is an opulent history wall with multiple layers of interest. What you don’t see is the work involved with making a completely different sized box to house a different item requested by the client at the eleventh hour.

Equal care was taken in the framing of the collectable originals to the same part of the hotel. Pride of place on the ground floor is an imposing Belinda Frikh portrait. Its impact has been boosted with a hand-made frame, non-reflective glazing and a gold leafing to ensure an authentic luxury feel. Gold leafing is sometimes perceived as dying art but Elegant Clutter have painstakingly taken the time to hand gilt frames and even the artwork itself for a variety of luxury hotels. The result is impressive but very few would be aware of the time and diligence taken in the studio to achieve it.

Image credit: Elegant Clutter

With artwork this valuable and unique the Elegant Clutter art handlers insist on a white glove service. It’s an important detail for a project such as Great Scotland Yard where the artwork must be protected at all costs. And it’s not just the art that needs protecting. A 200 year old building must be respected too so an understanding of the walls themselves and the most appropriate fixing solutions is imperative. No one wants to accidentally drill into a lath and plaster wall for a grade II listed building because they haven’t done their homework. An art consultancy needs to be trusted for what they don’t do as well as what they do do. It may not be visible – but its all part of the service.

Image credit: Elegant Clutter

Elegant Clutter is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Great Scotland Yard Hotel

Hotel Designs LIVE: Technology’s role in tomorrow’s hotel with Jason Bradbury

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs LIVE: Technology’s role in tomorrow’s hotel with Jason Bradbury

On June 23, Hotel Designs hosted its first ever virtual conference. To kickstart Hotel Designs LIVE, sponsored by Technological Innovations Group, editor Hamish Kilburn welcomed tech influencer and the former presenter of The Gadget Show Jason Bradbury to discuss technology’s role in tomorrow’s hotel…

Following a warm welcome from editor Hamish Kilburn to officially launch Hotel Designs LIVE – and quick-fire Q&A round with the event’s headline partner, Technological Innovations Group – Jason Bradbury made a dramatic entrance, on a hover board (we wouldn’t expect anything less). The former presenter of The Gadget Show, who has built an international career as a futurology and tech-trends corporate speaker, took the microphone to start the conference’s debut session entitled: Technology’s role in tomorrow’s hotel.

“The last 10 weeks have defined the next 10 years of innovation.” – Jason Bradbury

Sponsored by Hamilton Litestat, the session started by Bradbury suggesting that the current coronavirus crisis  – and indeed all cultural changes in the past – opened up an opportunity for new technology to be utilised in the hotel experience. Using the case study of Bainland Park, which is a luxury escape just a few miles from his home in Lincoln, Bradbury explained how the resort is redesigning its concept to dissolve the conventional public areas altogether. “Bainland Park is completely self-sufficient, ideal for the post-corona consumer, and the architecture and design really does set the scene,” he said. “Before lockdown, the owners were intending to renovate the public areas. However, as a result of the pandemic, and the change of consumer demands, they are now eliminating the the communal areas completely. What’s most interesting is that this change has been driven in the last 10 weeks alone.”

“Technology that offer peace of mind and wellbeing are going to be central to the buying experience from consumers.” – Jason Bradbury

Another case study that Bradbury referred to when predicting technology’s role in the future hotel experience was Eccleston Square, a tech-savvy  boutique gem that sits in the heart of London. With the aim being to understand where technology is heading in hotel design, in 2019, Hotel Designs asked Bradbury to review the hotel 30 years in the future. “The technology in Eccleston Square is almost invisible, if you exclude the media lounge,” he explained, “which results in a seamless experience for the guests. However, post-pandemic, I wonder if in the future we are going to see more overt instances of technology [when it comes to cleaning], because that will make us feel safer as consumers.

During the seminar, Hotel Designs LIVE featured a PRODUCT WATCH segment, which allowed the audience to hear from key-industry suppliers within within the technology sphere to ultimately find out about the latest innovations and products that have appeared on the hotel design scene recently.

Below is the full seminar (in two parts), with PRODUCT WATCH pitches from Hamilton Litestat, Technological Innovations Group, NT Security, Air Revive and Aqualisa.

In part two (see below), Bradbury continued to explore, through technology lenses, what he believes will likely be the hotel of the future. In addition, he answered some tough questions on which piece of technology he believes should never have been invited, what tech item he simply cannot live without and how long he could go living without technology…

Born in the chaotic realms of the coronavirus crisis, Hotel Designs LIVE, sponsored by Technology Innovations Group, is Hotel Designs’ way to simply, meaningfully and virtually keep the industry connected while keeping the conversation flowing. Bradbury’s future-gazing session, where he predicted technology’s evolution in the hotel experience, kickstarted a full day of insightful talks and panel discussions on topics such as Public Areas, Sleep and Wellness, which will all be published shortly.

Hotel Indigo arrives in Verona

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Indigo arrives in Verona

The 62-key property has stood as one of the most prestigious hotels in Verona for years, and was reopened following an exciting redesign under the Hotel Indigo brand…

IHG’s Hotel Indigo brand currently has 119 properties open globally, and a further 104 in the pipeline. It’s latest unveiling, following a tense lockdown period for the entire industry, is located in the heart of Verona, Italy, a destination that continues to attract travellers from around the world with its links to Shakesphere’s Romeo and Juliet.  

With 62 uniquely designed rooms, Hotel Indigo Verona – Grand Hotel Des Arts draws inspiration from the city’s passion of preserving history. With headboards throughout the bedrooms mimicking the beautifully preserved fresco paintings in the city, and the back panelling in the lobby that plays to the garden of Romeo and Juliet, guests will be able to find nods to the surrounding neighbourhood in the hotel’s design. Red marble native to Verona (Marmo rosso di Verona) throughout the public areas creates an elevated feel of a grand Italian residence – inspired by the most famous love story ever told. Hotel Indigo Verona – Grand Hotel Des Arts is a beautiful tribute to the city it calls home. 

Right when you enter, the reception area combines two elements that characterise the city: The Arena and the Shakespeare theatre. The architecture draws inspiration from the theatrical facades, its draperies, the arches of the Arena, and Juliet’s terrace. The Arena in Verona is a Roman amphitheatre built in the 1st century and is one of the best conserved amphitheatres in Italy. Made up of 44 levels holding up to 22,000 spectators, it is still used today and is internationally famous for hosting some of the world’s most spectacular large-scale opera performances.

“We are very proud to announce the renovation and reopening of Hotel Indigo Verona – Grand Hotel Des Arts, thanks to our affiliation with IHG and the Hotel Indigo brand of boutique hotels in the chain, commented Luca Boccato, CEO of HNH Hospitality Group. “This new opening joins art, culture and comfort at a top level and is the perfect destination for both Italian and international tourists, thanks to the attractions in Verona. In a difficult moment for our sector, we look toward the future with faith, confident that a good project in such an important location will be a success.”

Image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

Perhaps the quirkiest Shakespearean touch is the meeting rooms named after the duelling families in Romeo and Juliet, Montechhi, and Capuleti. The event spaces are easily adjustable for different uses – conferences and small functions. The hotel also has an onsite bar, Arya Bar & Mixology, with a selection of locally inspired cocktails and nibbles, perfect for guests to have an aperitif and relax after a day exploring the neighbourhood.

Eric Viale, Managing Director, Southern Europe, IHG, added: “With its iconic architecture and historical charm, Verona is the perfect neighbourhood for Hotel Indigo’s unique design and distinctive guest experience. Hotel Indigo Verona – Grand Hotel Des Arts is the fourth location for the brand in Italy, signalling significant interest in boutique, design-led hotels in the region. Partnering once more with HNH Hospitality, we look forward to being part of the tourism recovery in Italy and welcoming guests from across the country and beyond.” 

Image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

Inspired by the neighbourhood around each property, just as no places are alike, no two Hotel Indigo properties are the same. Each Hotel Indigo property features thoughtful design touches and vibrant restaurants and bars connected to the spirit of the local neighbourhood.

Main image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts to manage Le Guanahani St. Barth

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Rosewood Hotels & Resorts to manage Le Guanahani St. Barth

The iconic Caribbean resort on St. Barth will reveal a comprehensive refurbishment under the Rosewood flag, which is expected to be completed and revealed in Spring 2021…

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts will manage St. Barth’s renowned retreat, Le Guanahani, which is set to reopen in Spring 2021 following an extensive restoration of the fabled property.

Closed since 2017 due to the effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the property will reopen as Rosewood Le Guanahani St. Barth with a property-wide rebuild and refurbishment that preserves the unique spirit of the resort and perfectly embodies Rosewood’s A Sense of Place philosophy, wherein the local sensibilities of the destination inspire the resort’s many offerings. Rosewood Le Guanahani St. Barth will mark the growing ultra-luxury brand’s third property in the Caribbean and first in the French West Indies.

Ideally situated over eighteen lush and secluded acres on a private peninsula overlooking two stunning beaches, Marigot Bay and Grand Cul-de-Sac, Le Guanahani originally opened in 1986 and quickly established itself as one of the most iconic resorts in the world celebrated by both families and couples for its incredible beaches and relaxed style that complements St. Barth’s chic ambience. With stunning architecture by David M. Schwarz Architects and unique interior design by Luis Pons Design Lab, the new Rosewood Le Guanahani St. Barth will evoke the rich and authentic French Caribbean heritage of the island with its signature colorful style featuring vibrant design hues of turquoise inspired by the Caribbean water, yellow reflecting the tropical sun and lavender as a nod to the South of France.

“We are honored to steward Rosewood Le Guanahani as it sets a new standard of luxury on St. Barth and around the world.” – Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group.

“A legendary resort cherished for its rich offerings, memorable service and captivating landscape, Le Guanahani is a jewel within the Caribbean and an idyllic destination for Rosewood’s affluential explorers,” said Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group. “We are honored to steward Rosewood Le Guanahani as it sets a new standard of luxury on St. Barth and around the world.”

Upon opening, Rosewood Le Guanahani St. Barth will debut with the complete renovation of all 66 guestrooms, suites and villas, many with new private pools. As the only full-service resort on St. Barth, the property will offer a range of updated amenities including a distinct beachfront dining concept and new pool, a Rosewood Explorers children’s club, fitness center, tennis court, Sense, A Rosewood Spa and dedicated event spaces. Surrounded by two beautiful beaches, including a reef-protected lagoon, and just a short distance from the dynamic downtown, Rosewood Le Guanahani St. Barth will further deliver endless opportunity for guests to discover all St. Barth has to offer through a myriad of watersports, hiking, and sea and town excursions.

Rosewood Le Guanahani St. Barth will continue to operate under the leadership of Managing Director Martein van Wagenberg, who has managed the property for the past six years. This marks the return to the Rosewood family for van Wagenberg, who previously held Managing Director positions at Rosewood Little Dix Bay and Las Ventanas al Paraíso, A Rosewood Resort.  “For more than 30 years Le Guanahani has been renowned for its unique guest experiences and sustainable approach to hospitality – a true reflection of the destination,” said van Wagenberg. “Rosewood Hotels & Resorts is the perfect partner and one that shares our core values through their A Sense of Place philosophy, demonstrated through an unwavering commitment to our associates and community. This is an extraordinary opportunity for the Le Guanahani team to join Rosewood’s global network and stand alongside sister properties such as the iconic Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel in Paris, Las Ventanas al Paraíso in Los Cabos and The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel, in New York City. We are delighted to launch a new chapter of Le Guanahani’s storied legacy with Rosewood by our side.”

Rosewood Le Guanahani St. Barth will join Rosewood’s portfolio of distinguished Caribbean and Atlantic properties, which currently includes Rosewood Baha Mar in The Bahamas, Rosewood Bermuda, and Rosewood Little Dix Bay in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands. Additional projects underway in the region include Rosewood Half Moon Bay in Antigua, set to open in 2023.

Main image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Dean Winter, Managing Director, Swire Hotels

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In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Dean Winter, Managing Director, Swire Hotels

Following his recent appointment as Managing Director of Swire Hotels, Dean Winter sits down (virtually) with editor Hamish Kilburn to explain the brand’s change of direction…

Swire Hotels, which shelters luxury and lifestyle brands The House Collective and EAST, has recently announced a new Managing Director.

Dean Winter, who first started working with the hotel group in 2006, has more than 25 years’ experience as a hotelier and restaurateur in destinations such as London, Hong Kong and Singapore. Taking over from Toby Smith, who will now sit as Deputy Chairman for the group, Winter’s new role is part of a wider internal restructuring of management for the group with the aim to continue to inspire teams across the brands.

Following his appointment, I caught up with winter.

Hamish Kilburn: Dean, congratulations on your new role! What are you most looking forward to as Managing Director at Swire Hotels?

Dean Winter: People are central to what we do at Swire Hotels – both our guests and our dedicated team members – and their personal satisfaction is a main priority for me. By training our team and then empowering them to make decisions, we enable them to exceed expectations and build personal relationships with guests and other team members.

This dedication to service is core to our ethos at The House Collective and EAST, Hotels and I couldn’t be more excited to continue to support the people and guide the beliefs of a company that I’ve been part of for over a decade.

woman walking down modern staircase

Image credit: The Middle House, Shanghai

HK: How much does the design of the hotel affect the guest experience of Swire Hotels?

DW: Design lies at the heart of Swire Hotels and its brands. First impressions matter to our guests. When you walk into a hotel, its interior design can affect the way you feel and can influence your mood.

Each hotel within The House Collective all have their own identity, which boast some of the best design signatures in the industry. For example, behind The Opposite House’s unique design as an art gallery-inspired hotel there is visionary architect Kengo Kuma, who made our hotel one of Beijing’s hottest spots to visit.

HK: What are the key characteristic differences between Swire Hotels’ brands, The House Collective and EAST?

DW: All our hotels provide an extremely personalised service with each guest treated as a valued individual. The House Collective is all about design-led homes away from home, each with its own identity rooted in the destination, and a spirited, cultural soul. EAST is adapted to the new business traveller experience in destinations like Hong Kong, Beijing and Miami, blurring the line between business and leisure and enabling authentic experiences through art and design. At EAST, creating spaces that effectively accommodate guests at various points of life or of their day is also and important element. Examples of this would be the Domain spaces at our EAST hotels which function as cafés, meeting spaces, co-working zones and early evening bars; Sugar the rooftop bar is a popular nightspot for guests as well as locals and BEAST with well equipped gym, pool and wellness programmes helps keep our guest fit.

HK: Can you give us an overview of Swire Hotels’ commitment to sustainability?

DW: Swire Hotels is committed to making a positive impact on the environment and in order to manifest this change, we start from our people. What we envision is creating a healthy ecosystem of people who embody our values and care about our impact on the environment. We’re always looking to create meaningful initiative across our properties focusing on reducing water wastage, energy savings and better waste management. Some of these initiatives include removal of single-use packaging, amenities made of recyclable or biodegradable materials, paperless check-in and at EAST Miami, we have a smart pump that regulates water pressure throughout the hotel in order to reduce water usage. We are determined to find new ways to improve the sustainability of our properties, for our guests and the community around us. This way, we can continue delivering wonderful experiences not just for right now, but for many years to come.

“We have been taking advantage to accelerate some planned projects for both in terms of rooms and restaurants enhancements or systems development.” – Dean Winter, Managing Director, Swire Hotels

HK: What does 2021 look like for Swire Hotels?

DW: Overall I think everyone will have a more positive attitude towards travelling given how 2020 has unfolded. This year we’re celebrating the 10th Anniversary of EAST Hong Kong with new packages available to book directly from the hotel’s website and The Opposite House exciting new relaunch with the completion of an extensive renovation of the restaurant and bar spaces will have the celebration continue into the new year.

During the recent downtime, we have been taking advantage to accelerate some planned projects for both in terms of rooms and restaurants enhancements or systems development. So there will be more new spaces to reveal in 2021. We have also embarked on an expansion plan to grow both our brands, The House Collective and EAST, through management contracts throughout Asia Pacific and hope to have some announcement in 2021.

HK: Are you able to give us an insight into any new openings?

DW: We do have some evolving plans for new restaurant spaces next year. I’m excited by these opportunities and how we can continue to demonstrate our creativity on what is a core competency for the group.

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
DW:
Montenegro; I’m facinated by the history and the architecture. Followed by a drive along The Adriatic; ideally in a classic sports car!

HK: What’s one item you cannot travel without? 
DW: A great novel!

HK: Can you describe the Swire Hotels ethos in three words?
DW: Innovation, design, people.

HK: How have Swire Hotels and its two brands been preparing to welcome guests back following the health crisis?

DW: The relationship between The House Collective and EAST, Hotels and our guests have always been centred around trust – we are dedicated to providing the best for our guests, and will continue to uphold our standard of service moving forward from this pandemic. We have already been hosting guests from neighbouring cities to our destinations and are looking forward to welcoming guests from all over the world again. We have introduced various prevention and control measures since the very beginning of the health crisis, such as temperature and travel history checks for all guests upon arrival including our staff members, increased frequency of deep cleaning as well as preparing care kits for our guests with hygiene wet wipes, hand sanitiser and face masks.

Main image credit: Swire Hotels

FEATURE: The ever-growing importance of biophilic design

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FEATURE: The ever-growing importance of biophilic design

While sustainability remains high-up on the agenda, and following editor Hamish Kilburn’s panel discussion at the Surface Design Show on biophilic materials in surface design, Nest explores the importance of bringing nature in…

If there’s one thing we’ve noticed over the past few months, it’s been how much people have been connecting with nature.

In times of stress, we crave a relationship with the natural world – whether this be walking through our local park, filling our homes with houseplants or being able to relax in our gardens. Exposure to nature and the colour green has been shown to provoke the release of good endorphins; it can even help people heal faster. Mental health charities across the world also recommend spending more time outdoors to combat problems such as anxiety and depression.

So, with nature’s proven impact on our mental health and physical wellbeing, could biophilic design principles hold the key to creating sustainable and inviting spaces in the post-pandemic landscape?

How biophilic design can be applied in a hospitality setting

Wellbeing is huge industry that will only continue to grow. Spaces that can improve our health and wellness will play an ever bigger part as the hospitality sector looks to entice people back to international travel.

Biophilic design principles suggest that humans have an innate connection with the natural world. Through bringing elements of nature into our interiors, we can elevate the well-being of those inhabiting the space.

“Oliver Heath suggests that guests are willing to pay 23 per cent more for rooms with views of biophilic elements.”

As shown in many studies show, biophilia has the potential to be very powerful within a hospitality setting. A cost-effective way of improving the experience for guests, Oliver Heath suggests that guests are willing to pay 23 per cent more for rooms with views of biophilic elements. This is something that can be clearly seen in the link between the price of hotel rooms and whether they have a sea view.

But biophilic design is not just about views or introducing plants to your spaces. Materials, textures, colour, shape, lighting and ventilation all combines in well-designed biophilic spaces to create an environment which is calming and inviting.

We’ve picked out a few key ways in which you can start to introduce biophilic design principles into your interiors:

Directly introduce nature into a space

Whether this be through framing a striking view out of the window or simply displaying a bunch of fresh flowers in a statement vase, bringing the great outdoors inside is easier than you may think. Layer up your greenery to create a statement feature or even invest in dried flowers if keeping plants watered is too much to handle. This is an easy and often affordable way to introduce biophilic design principles into a space.

Image caption: Nest’s Fritz Hansen Lily Chair | Image credit: Nest

Make it easy for people to access the outdoors

As well as providing glimpses of nature within your interiors, consider how your building allows people to access the outdoors. Could you introduce outdoor seating onto a patio to create a place of refuge outdoors? Does your courtyard encourage people to spend time in it? An inviting outdoor space may well be key in a socially distanced future.

Introduce natural motifs

A pattern in the wallpaper, the form of a vase or the curves in a chair – organic forms that suggest shapes from nature are a great way to introduce another nod to nature into your interiors.

Make the most of natural materials

Textures that tempt our fingertips – combining materials such as cork, rattan, wool and wood in a space creates a natural material palette which can put us at ease. Tactile stimulation has been shown to help reduce our cortisol levels (which cause stress) and trigger the release of oxytocin (the love hormone) helping us to feel happier and more relaxed.

Consider the colour temperature of your lighting

Lighting can have a huge impact on our mood and alertness. There are now a number of circadian lighting systems on the market which mimic natural daylight through colour-changing LEDs. By subtly removing the stimulating blue spectrum of light in the mornings and evenings, these lighting systems help to improve both alertness and sleep quality by creating a more adaptable space.

As many of us continue to spend more time indoors, spaces that support us both physically and mentally will only continue to grow in importance.

Nest is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image caption: Nest’s Hashira Table Lamp | Image credit: Nest

Avani Kalutara Resort unveils full renovation

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Avani Kalutara Resort unveils full renovation

Originally designed by Geoffrey Bawa in collaboration with furniture designer Rico Taravella, Avani Kalutara Resort in Sri Lanka has completed an impressive renovation, revealing new facilities and refreshed guestrooms and suites, and F&B areas…

Avani Kalutara Resort has emerged from the pandemic with a new look, which includes fully-renovated suites and lobby, refreshed outdoor spaces as well as introducing brand new pool suites and dining venues and a 360-degree grand ballroom with panoramic views.

Originally designed in 1994 by Geoffrey Bawa, one of Sri Lanka’s most significant architects, in collaboration with furniture designer Rico Taravella, the vision of the entire Resort was to define a spacious amphitheatre which is achieved through a triton-like layout, as the accommodation wings expand off at angles from the centre. The 105-key resort sits where the Kalu Ganga (River) diverges into a lagoon and the Indian Ocean. The surrounding scenery amplifies the new look of the Resort, which stays true to the tropical modern aesthetic while refreshing the property with crisp, bright touches.

A completely revitalised look and vibe awaits guests at the Avani Ocean View Suites with their tropical airy layout, the brand new Avani Ocean View Pool Suites equipped with private plunge pool and two spacious terraces, and the Avani Deluxe Ocean View Rooms with views of the Indian Ocean and lagoon.

Bringing colour and cool to Sri Lanka’s southwest coast, Avani Kalutara offers a few culinary hotspots; Karadiya Bar provides a picture-perfect backdrop with a new pool bar experience, Miridiya Bar serves up refreshing drinks and bites by the riverside, the Mangrove Restaurant continues to feature the freshest, locally sourced ingredients brimming with local and international delights, along with the brand’s signature deli concept Pantry by Avani for visitors on the go, which offers freshly brewed coffee cold-pressed juices, artisanal sandwiches, and local tea flavours that the country is renowned for. For a more exclusive dining experience, resort chefs are ready to create in-room seafood feasts with Sri Lankan flair.

The brand new Ganga Ballroom, with an ode to its name, features stunning 360-degree views which encompass the Indian Ocean, Kalu Ganga and lagoon. Designed to cater up to 300 guests, a dedicated events planner oversees décor, catering, and logistics to ensure every wedding, party, meeting, or seminar runs smoothly and successfully. 

Recreational facilities include a swimming pool surrounded by coconut palms, the 24-hour AvaniFit inspired gym, a Glider Adventure Tower for ziplining, climbing and abseiling, and water sports on the lagoon. Guests can also access adjacent sister property Anantara Kalutara Resort, including the award-winning Anantara Spa with Ayurvedic treatments.

Main image credit: Avani Kalutara Resort

“You can’t touch this” – handsfree sensor taps by GESSI

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
“You can’t touch this” – handsfree sensor taps by GESSI

Bathroom brand GESSI has injected hygienic and antibacterial electronic hi-tech technology into its taps to cater to evolving modern traveller demands…

Inciso by David Rockwell, Rilievo by HBA, the gleaming steel of Gessi 316, Anello&Ingranaggio and Goccia, are all the latest multi-award winning creations from Gessi.

The sophisticated minimalism of the design by Gessi acquires an advanced technology that combines the beauty of the lines with the functionality of “no touch” electronics. The water supply doesn’t need to be handled or touched as it can be switched on by a movement as simple as the passage of the hand before the sensor.

Thanks to Gessi no-touch system, the beauty of the shape is pure and anti-fingerprint, achieving a better hygiene and avoiding possible damages to the tap.

For the first time, Gessi sensor taps bring the refined elegance of a sophisticated design in public space, where aesthetically simple electronic taps are used to be installed, providing endless finishings with the possibility to choose among a wide range of nuances never seen before. Splendid Gessi Sensor Taps suit also private environments, of course.

Here’s a closer look at some of GESSI’s products, which now feature touchless tech…

GESSI316

Image caption: The GESSI 316 range | Image credit: GESSI

Woven steel

Gessi’s Creativity and style infuse a total new perceptibility into steel itself, giving a material which is usually “technical” and cold, an unprecedented heat, and a special furnishing capacity. Gessi has indeed enriched the body of the faucet with aesthetic and decorative details, such as textures and patterns with different tastes; the steel seems thus “dressed” by the texture. Handles and distinguishable reed valves, finishes of contemporary charm, and an innovative

New technology

Gessi electronic taps are in the vanguard and come available with different technological solutions. The sensor can be incorporated into the tap body or into the very spout, otherwise it can fit into a proper remote plate. In the first two cases the water flow is automatically switched on or off by bringing the hands towards the spout. In the case of the remote detector, the flow is activated or turned off simply by the hand crossing over the detector: it’s almost like a magic move.

Aesthetic and smart

The technology of the electronic taps by Gessi not only makes life easier but it’s also environmental friendly. Thanks to the automatic activation of the flow, water is delivered only for the time it is actually needed. Without any waste.

The warm modern style of New York design

From surface and floor coverings to lighting and furniture, the firm celebrates pro-duct design as a natural extension of its immersive environments. Drawing on an encyclopedic knowledge of design, Rockwell Group creates flexible, transformable products that support new ways of living, working, and communicating. The collaboration with Gessi on the firm’s first-ever line of bath fittings and accessories was a thrilling challenge for David Rockwell. Defined by simplicity and possibility, the Inciso Collection weds modern style with heritage details and finishes that invite tactile discovery.

Pure beauty

Thanks to its no touch system, the beauty of shapes is pure and free from prints, guarantying the hygiene and avoiding tap’s damages. Gessi electronic taps first provide the refined elegance of most sophisticated design to public settings, where electronic devices have usually simply aesthetics. What is more they are available in many finishings, giving the possibility to choose different nuance for the first time in this field. Of course, these beautiful taps are suitable also for private space.

Subtle and elegant industrial details

The bathroom interior fit with the Inciso Collection was not intended to feel unapproachably minimal, but rather calmly chic and warmingly inviting. The goal was to create a design that be both timeless and timely.

RILIEVO

Image caption: The Rilievo range by GESSI | Image credit: GESSI

A concept of tidiness and harmony

If harmony, based on order, is dictated by a mathematical/geometric ratio between parts, the maximum expression of purity of form is probably the enrolment of a circle into a square. This geometric and architectural figure has been greatly evocative through time and across continents and cultures. The circle evokes eternal movement; the square symbolises eternity and immutability.

Discreet and low-impact

The electronic detector can be connected to the normal electricity network or to a lithium battery, ensuring in both cases a minimum water consumption. The electronic technology fits in a graceful way to the tap, preserving the perfect shapes of its studied design, or even better enhancing its essential and simple beauty.

Inspiration meets with innovation

A circle inscribed into a square is the theme that RILIEVO brilliantly brings to life. This design gives gracing touch and sight and it evokes that body and soul equilibrium take center-stage in the bathroom. A new balance between style, emotion and functionality.

GOCCIA

The brilliant beauty of water

Goccia demonstrates how creativity and innovation, together with a content of poetry and respect for the world can turn dreams into objects. This is all Gessi’s accomplishment, a company different by nature

Not only is Goccia a style and a product philosophy, it’s also an eco-friendly creation. All of the Goccia taps are equipped with a technology allowing for a 50% saving of water without compromising the functionality of the tap itself. Goccia is indeed the epitome of a more intimate feeling for luxury, one attentive to the elegance and glamour of the objects as well as to their impact on the environment.

Matter, shape, function

Goccia is not a mere complement, it’s the very distinguishing feature of the design of an interior. It’s an original concept that induces new gestures, new interactions with water, living space and the person. Goccia makes the beauty and usefulness of water available wherever it is needed or desired, with charming and fresh solutions.

ANELLO & INGRANAGGIO

Gessi succeeds in developing its own distinctive and characteristic design language: pure lines with an emphatic recall to primary shapes, like the suggestive ring shape. Symbol of continuity and perfection, Anello evokes the most sober and elegant pledge of a deep blend.

The precious mark of metal

Gessi offers new options to choose and finishing combinations that boost the strong design peculiarity with colours and materials through different architectural effects. As a result, the new living design trends will be conveyed in bathroom spaces, creating also innovative and original creative solutions. The new deep and warm polished brass version and the fascinating and elegant rough burned brass finishing represent a surprising change respect the typical metallic surface of taps. Anello gives also the opportunity to realize innovative look thanks to a prestigious velvet opaque black, besides chrome, copper, black metal, and brushed ones.

Beyond its time

Anello concept meets the desire of freedom in décor and customisation of the bathroom, even more than other Collection before.

RETTANGOLO

Image caption: Rettangolo by GESSI | Image credit: GESSI

Original and iconic

To bring to life this unprecedented aspiration – moving the flow of water to wherever we desired – Gessi thought up a radical design based on the purity of an absolute, strong and rigorous form: abstraction in its essence, like parallel lines traced on a designer’s sketchbook, in any form.

The sign

Rettangolo was born from an expression of creative freedom, from the original and ironic exploration of iconic symbols, in simple yet evocative forms. The rectangle is a surprising and unusual geometric shape for taps, a perfect demonstration of how design, with its ability to infuse art and liveability in consumer and everyday products, can enrich the spaces in which we live, transforming simple, everyday actions and places into something special.

Visionary innovation

With a long-standing, 100-year history of brass castings and round taps, Gessi created the world’s first tap built of solid brass, providing it with a square, almost sharp body; an explosive concept of innovation.

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.

Main image credit: GESSI

5 Minutes With: F&B talk with Mark Bithrey, Founder & Creative Director, B3 Designers

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5 Minutes With: F&B talk with Mark Bithrey, Founder & Creative Director, B3 Designers

There is a serious question being put to the industry on whether public areas will ever be the same again. In an exclusive interview with Hotel Designs, Mark Bithrey, the Founder and Creative Director of B3 Designers sits down virtually with editor Hamish Kilburn to discuss F&B design in a post-pandemic world…

In just a few days time, Hotel Designs will go live to the world with its debut virtual conference. The topics we will explore during Hotel Designs LIVE will include technology, sleep, wellness and whether public areas will ever be the same again. In order to understand the role of F&B areas, while also getting an access-all-areas deeper look into the inner workings of the studio, I caught up with Mark Bithrey, the Founder and Creative Director of B3 Designers. The award-winning studio has transformed many F&B hospitality projects, such as The Prince Akatoki, Marriott Hotel Budapest and Ritz-Carlton Geneva among many others.

Hamish Kilburn: Thanks for joining me, Mark. How are you feeling right now as a hospitality interior designer?

Mark Bithrey: The world has been through really tough times, but this one has definitely knocked the hospitality industry for a six. I have always believed in 2 things: that hospitality will forever have a strong place in the world in some form or other, and two, that design plays a pivotal role in shaping a changing world. So I’m feeling a mix of anxious and eager.

HK: When restaurants do eventually open up, we are still looking at reduced covers and therefore revenue. What are your thoughts there?

MB: We have been helping clients redesign their restaurants for social distancing, with beautiful screens and additional features like plants and cushions. But you are right, it can mean reduced revenue. Some of our clients have been really creative and opened up whole new streams of revenue.

Image caption: Design in F&B has spilled into the marketing and packaging of products with a rise in demand for deliver/takeaway service. | Image credit: B3 Designers

HK: There is obviously a lot of focus on takeaways at the moment. How can F&B businesses be more creative when adapting to the times?

MB: Quick service has immense potential. Think about kiosks where you are able to churn out dishes quickly. Our clients at Mei Mei are doing just that, with Michelin star winning Chef Elizabeth Haigh at its helm. Also consider Itsu/Pret style shops, with impactful branding and graphics on the floor. You can look into takeaway/delivery-only kitchens with creative food packaging. Extra brownie points for eco-friendly packing! We are working with a Vietnamese restaurant in London at the moment to use clever packaging to build out loyalty, repeat orders, and engagement.

Image caption: Mei Mei has adapted its offer during the pandemic to focus on takeaway service | Image credit: B3 Designers

HK: Speaking of food delivery, it does mean that restaurants are reliant on the large delivery services that eat into their revenue considerably. How can they move away from using the shared delivery systems?

MB: Yes, indeed! Have you heard of Mumbai’s dabbawalas? It’s an incredible concept. Think localised kitchens, subscription meals, and your own fleet of delivery folk racing food on bicycles. Typically, a kitchen will cook a few hundred meals a day. The subscription lunch will include food that can be batch cooked – so a lentil dish, a curry, rice, and perhaps some bread. This is then packed into stainless steel “tiffin” boxes, and delivered quickly, while the food is still hot. Because the kitchens are localised, nobody is travelling more than a couple of kilometers and they are often the service teams themselves. The previous day’s box is picked up and brought back – no packaging waste!

Food trucks are another way to circumvent delivery commissions. With all the right permissions, you could set up in a park/outdoor space and serve up anything you want to, really. Think also about drive-throughs or walk-past counters for food pick up. You can even offer an interesting experience (graphics/games) while they wait in line.

Image caption: Gourmet takeaway food truck | Image credit: B3 Designers

Image caption: Gourmet takeaway food truck | Image credit: B3 Designers

HK: What about fine dining, how can businesses integrate social distancing into this concept?

MB: Without a doubt, fine dining is going to change for a while. Restaurants that get very crowded are going to have to give customers more room – which can be quite cool if you think about it.

Smaller restaurants however, are quite fortunate and can use their spaces to offer truly caring experiences. We have worked with Michelin star winning Chef Tom Aikens in the past, whose restaurant Muse spans 950 sq ft. “Muse is very unique in that it is for guests not only looking for great food in a very special restaurant, but welcomes them as if they were in their own home. Guests will always get special care and now more than ever, of being looked after and pampered,” said Aikens.

If you have outdoor space, however small, milk it. Erect pods or beautiful temporary structures. Adapt for weather changes with fans and space heaters. You could also think about bringing your restaurant completely outside – are you on a street that could be pedestrianised, or do you have parking space that could be converted?

For indoor spaces, think gorgeous on-brand free standing folding screens. In hotels, use your banquet rooms as restaurants so you can offer more space between tables.

If you want to be really creative, as the rules relax more, consider catering services for small gatherings, or even a fine dining experience that you can take to people’s homes. We may follow off where you mention that Muse is small, and say that it is massive in experience.

HK: Is there a way for F&B professionals to go where customers already are?

MB: Supermarkets and the internet! This is a great time to consider creating your own line of sauces/pastas/food kits. Paired with solid branding and graphics, it could open up a whole new stream of revenue. Could you create barbecue kits for example, with recipes and ingredients?

We are spending a ridiculous amount of time on the internet now. Host cooking lessons and sell kits after. And remember to up your digital presence – it is the only way people will learn of your restaurant/hotel’s F&B offerings.

Main image credit: B3 Designers

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Visualising the future of F&B spaces in hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Visualising the future of F&B spaces in hotel design

Hospitality will awake from the pandemic to face new challenges when it comes to designing F&B spaces. Hotel Designs turns to the CGI experts at North Made Studio to try and visualise the future of these public-facing outlets…

With the industry on a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be some important future choices to make for hoteliers.

These choices will need to be made in all areas, but may become most stark within the F&B spaces of their hotels.

Until government guidelines are released, exactly how this sector of the hotel industry will proceed is a mystery. Dictating dates for reopening and the easing of certain measures will be crucial to define how the industry needs to adapt.

Should measures not be eased enough and distancing remain in place for the foreseeable future, questions will need to asked about profitably for certain spaces in a ‘socially-distanced’ world. Within the hotel sector F&B spaces may not be deemed a profitable use of available space.

From a visualisation perspective there may be more focus put on the finer details of a F&B space. Viewpoints centred around individual seating areas, up-selling the attributes of the table setting, rather then focusing on the overall aspect of the whole F&B interior area.

Some hoteliers my choose to get ahead of the game and move F&B spaces outdoors, allowing the potential for these spaces to open sooner. Over the last few years interior design for the luxury F&B sector has tried to bring the outdoors in, with Biophilia becoming a growing trend. This potential move of F&B spaces from indoor to outdoors would switch this around. Visually this could allow for outdoor F&B spaces to be depicted with extensive greenery, using the current trend and taking it beyond what was capable within an indoor environment. Or the alternative could happen, and a drive to bring the indoor aesthetic to outdoor spaces could become a trend.

The visualisation sector is geared up to work with both interior and exterior spaces, minimising any differentiation between the CG imagery produced in terms quality or realism.

Another possibly trend for F&B spaces within the hotel sector may be to move more than just the seating/eating areas outdoors. With the popularity of street food kiosks, van and trailers, There is the potential to move the complete catering service outside. Providing an innovative feature to the hotel experience that also opens up the F&B space to the general public, increasing potential custom.

Another great possibility of this is that the catering trailer/van can easily be switched out, to provide customers will different food and drink offerings on a regular basis. Incredible engaging visualisation can be produced for these kinds of external spaces. Creating the scene is just the start, population elements can be embedded within the scene to built a complete visual that includes food trailers, tables, chairs, different demographic of people. Finer details can also be added such as drinks on tables, litter bins. The more detailed the space is visualised, the more realistic and engaging it can be.

To further explore the future of F&B spaces in hotel design, we need to take things back to a pre-COVID stage. Many companies are simply waiting out the Coronavirus pandemic, putting projects on hold, in the hope that things will return to some semblance of normality. For these type of businesses the visual aspects of their F&B spaces will continue to follow current trends.

Experiential

Customers need to be enticed to utilise the F&B facilities within the hotel, creating engaging design with attractive styling is key. Sell these experiences during the early phases of a project with 360 degree viewpoints and visual reality tours can be a great way of boosting interest and getting designs approved.

Convenience

A core factor for F&B spaces in hotels is their convenience. Ensuring the spaces are easily accessible and positioned close to heavy footfall areas, will help to increase their usage. Positioning and ‘eye-catching’ features can be showcased via traditional still CG images, assisting the planing and development phases.

Variety

No two hotel customers are the same, with hotel spaces being used for both business and pleasure, the needs of specific customers will vary. Offering a variety of services with a F&B space will accommodate for ‘on the go’ customers as well as those customers who have more time to sit down and have a full meal. Showcase these innovative features via the use of cameo shot visuals.

Adaptability

The ability for a F&B space to be multi-purpose is vital. Catering for breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and drinks allows for the capture of more customers throughout the day.

With the core features of the space remaining the same, the F&B space can be created in CGI for visualisation purposes, and redressed several times to show the adaptability of the space.

Image credit: North Made Studio

Overall F&B spaces within hotels are facing some challenging times. But whatever happens in the future regarding reaction to COVID, these spaces will always be required  in some form. And the visualisation sector will be there to assist with what changes to the design ethos are needed. If new ways to communicate a space are required, the technological advancements in virtual reality could be the key to creating ongoing engagement in the future.

North Made Studio is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: North Made Studio

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: ‘Togetherness’ is the new luxury post-pandemic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: ‘Togetherness’ is the new luxury post-pandemic

‘Togetherness’ is a new phrase emerging as self-contained serviced apartments are in high demand as old friends and extended family seek to reconnect as lockdown eases…

As travel restrictions begin to relax, serviced apartment brands have seen a spike in bookings as the demand for self-contained apartment hotels increases. As a result, a new trend is starting to emerge: “togetherness”, which is being seen as the new luxury.

One of these brands that are seeing their bookings rise in the wake of the pandemic is SKYE Suites, developed by Crown Group. The group’s Chief Operating Officer, Pierre Abrahamse said the emergence of the “togetherness as the new luxury” trend would replace the focus on experiential travel that had prevailed in the luxury hotel market over the past decade. “Togetherness is emerging as the biggest trend for 2020 and beyond,” he said. “People want to reconnect with those they have been separated from for the past few months and hotels are responding.

“Guests are calling to ask can they book co-joining apartments so that they can enjoy a holiday with their kids and the grandparents in the one place, or so they can have friends who live in regional areas finally able to join them in the city for restaurant or gallery outings,” he said.

Image credit: SKY Suites

SKYE Suites offer spacious one-bedroom and two-bedroom hotel apartments sized from 43sqm to 80sqm, in Sydney, Green Square and Parramatta, each with open-air balconies or courtyards to take in fresh air. Guests can do their own cooking and washing with SMEG appliances and Vittoria or Nespresso coffee machines, or head out to the array of restaurants that have opened their doors again in the city.

There are ‘virtual concierge’ tablets in each suite for guests to access hotel services. Guests can also catch a movie or watch Netflix by streaming their own content to huge in-room TV screens. Sleeping Duck bedding allows them to choose mattress firmness on each side of the bed.

SKYE Suites opened its third hotel above Green Square train station in April 2020, which offers 90 luxurious apartments in a precinct designed by globally renowned Koichi Takada Architects and offering 18 retail and dining offerings including Butcher & The Farmer, Nam2 pho, Bashan noodles, KFC, McDonalds and Gong Cha bubble tea.

Image credit: SKY Suites

The SKYE SUITES brand first launched in August 2017 with the opening of the stunning SKYE Suites Parramatta, part of a mixed-use residential, retail and hotel development, V by Crown Group.

The building was designed by Allen Jack + Cottier and Koichi Takada Architects and Crown Group’s signature resort facilities including a beautiful outdoor pool area, well-equipped gym and expansive foyer.

The second SKYE Suites opened in October 2018 as part of the stunning Arc by Crown Group residential tower at 300 Kent St. This luxe and inviting enclave in the heart of the city was also designed by Koichi Takada Architects whose “ice cave” themed lobby and lap pool have become one of Sydney’s most Instagrammed spaces.

The building has become known for its eye-catching brickwork and glass and steel towers that soar dramatically into the city skyline. It has 73 plush and inviting hotel apartments.

The Sydney and Parramatta hotels have earned accolades at the HM Awards two years running, for Best Serviced Apartment Property and Best Tech Hotel.  

Main image credit: SKY Suites

It’s a hat-trick! Ruby Hotels announces third hotel in London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
It’s a hat-trick! Ruby Hotels announces third hotel in London

Ruby Hotels, which only recently entered into the UK hospitality market, has announced that it will open a 173-key property in London’s Notting Hill area in 2023…

Just months after making its London debut with the launch of Ruby Lucy on London’s Southbank, and while construction is underway to open a 153-key hotel in Clerkenwell next year, Ruby Hotels has announced that its third property in London will be based in Notting Hill.

Ruby Zoe, which is being built in conjunction with UK investor and developer Frogmore, will shelter 173 rooms.

Led by founder and CEO Michael Struck, Ruby Hotels has set its sights on further international expansion with a third hotel planned for London. The new-build, 173-bed property will be in the heart of colourful Notting Hill and will include a spacious street-front public area combining retail and hotel elements.

“Based on the model of modern luxury yachts, we accommodate our luxury in a relatively small area and simply leave out the unimportant,” explains Struck. “We also organise ourselves using our own technical solutions in a very different way to the rest of the industry. We plan and build in a modular way, centralise more, and automate consistently behind the scenes. As well as helping us to make a luxurious and unique hotel experience affordable for our guests, this approach gives us a leaner and more adaptable cost structure and means lower risks for our real estate partners. This combination of advantages helps us especially in these unpredictable times.”

After the successful opening of Ruby Lucy on the South Bank earlier this year and Ruby Stella set to open in 2022 in Clerkenwell, expanding to the west of the city is the next logical step for Ruby in the thriving London hotel market.

Jo Allen, Chief Executive of Frogmore commented: “We are delighted to have secured Ruby Hotels as an occupier on our Notting Hill Gate Estate. When we asked Gerard Nolan and Partners to market the hotel opportunity in our West Block we received 13 bids from 10 different hotel operators. We really love Ruby’s approach and vision for the project which we believe will complement the area. The Ruby Team have been fabulous to work with, have convincing development and construction competence together with the financial resources to deliver something special which I hope will be enjoyed by many.”

Ruby Zoe follows Ruby Group’s Lean Luxury philosophy: a top location, high-quality fittings, and outstanding design. All of this is offered at an affordable price by rigorously cutting out the superfluous and focusing on the essential.

Main image credit: Ruby Hotels

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: How to embrace the artisan revival

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: How to embrace the artisan revival

With the modern consumer more aware than ever before when it comes to sustainability, and clients willing to broaden their imagination when it comes to signing off new materials and products that can stand the test of time, the era of artisan is having a moment. Felicity Randolph from Cheeky Chairs explains why the demand for artisan is more than a trend…  

One of the leading interior ‘trends’ of 2020 has been a return of traditional textiles and techniques. As the world increasingly turns to a more sustainable way of living, the culture of throwaway items has begun to fade and, in its place, there’s a growing emphasis on artisanal furnishings that will last. Consumers now want products that will stand the test of time, seeking furniture and furnishings that are made from natural materials and built using traditional methods. Within the hotel industry, this celebration of craftsmanship evokes a more unique style and allows brands to tell a personalised story through interior design.

The artisanal renaissance takes inspiration from history, embracing the natural methods and materials of the past. Hotels can achieve this look in a number of ways, from opting for authentic ornaments, ceramics and wall hangings to seeking out natural upholstery fabrics and working with companies that champion bespoke designs. Handcrafted décor items play a large role in achieving this look, creating a unique style that is warm, inviting and filled with personality.

“The bland and soulless designs from mass-produced pieces are increasingly being replaced with innovative products from creative designers.” – Felicity Randolph, Cheeky Chairs.

Choose tactile furniture 

Furniture can make or break the overall look of a room, so it should be the first port of call in celebrating artisanal makers. The bland and soulless designs from mass-produced pieces are increasingly being replaced with innovative products from creative designers. As a result, the idiosyncrasies and nuances of craftsmanship has a new appeal for the public who are embracing the original and personal nature of artisanal pieces. The artisanal trend also lends itself well to tactile furniture, such as through textured fabrics, warm natural woods and soft furnishings that invite visitors to explore.

Three wooden chairs next to green plants

Image credit: Cheeky Chairs

For example, Cheeky Chairs create hand-crafted framed chairs with traditionally upholstered seats that make use of natural materials such as coir, hessian and wool. Each of the designs produced by Cheeky Chairs is made using tried and tested methods to create a product that is built to stand the test of time. These include using traditional joinery techniques. Compared to modern joinery which relies on the use of bindings, adhesives and fasteners, traditional joinery depends only on wooden elements for a strong and sturdy result. The use of natural materials helps to bring a more organic and calming atmosphere to any space – something that is of particular importance in hotels where you want your guests to feel relaxed and at home from the moment they arrive.

Historic details

Details can add unique touches to a space that are subtle yet effective. For example, architectural joinery such as well-considered skirting boards, door panel moulds or creative architraves. These details can improve the feel of a room immensely and provide a pop of individual style as well as a nod to the past. There’s also an opportunity to evoke certain eras with such detailing – for example, bobbin chairs are an example of traditional renaissance style that evokes the look and feel of this time period while also working well with modern furnishings. Using classic joinery techniques, such as those adopted by Cheeky Chairs, helps to create these more traditional finishes. For example, steam bending and hand-carved spindles such as those features on the Darwin or Elkin models, or the elegance of the smooth wooden style of the Marco chair, bring luxury to any space. The use of texture through smooth wooden spindles and backs, as well as different colour and types of wood grain, can create a warm and rustic look that pairs beautifully with cosy wools and natural materials for a welcoming ambiance.

Image caption: The Marco Armchair upholstered in Morrison’s Andean Vertical Stripe alongside Sanderson’s Linnean Indigo | Image credit: Cheeky Chairs

Image caption: The Marco Armchair upholstered in Morrison’s Andean Vertical Stripe alongside Sanderson’s Linnean Indigo | Image credit: Cheeky Chairs

Design for guests

When interior designing, it’s important to remember that you’re designing for people, so emotions play a big role. Looking to artisans and traditional crafts is a great way of achieving an emotional response in a way that can’t be attained through off-the-shelf items. The tactility of good-quality, handmade items, whether that’s a carved frame chair, ceramics or a sumptuous artisanal blanket will remind you of luxurious spaces. Much like having a bespoke item of clothing elevates an outfit, using customised pieces in interior design creates a unique environment that can’t be found elsewhere. Artisan features with a hand-crafted look and feel are great for personalising a space and helping shift the eye around the room to create a comfortable yet interesting feel.

Image caption: Darwin Pavillion Set | Image credit: Cheeky Chairs

The desire for unique, traditionally-crafted furniture and classic textiles has led to an artisanal revival, both in residential properties and in businesses around the world. The hotel sector, in particular, as adopted this trend as a way of adding character and personality, using natural materials and traditional methods to create inviting spaces that are individual, creative and deliver a sensory experience. Thanks to innovative designers, handcrafted items are enjoying a second wave and the hotel industry is perfectly positioned to embrace this wonderfully creative trend.

Cheeky Chairs is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Cheeky Chairs

 

LOCATION WATCH: Hot hotels opening soon in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
LOCATION WATCH: Hot hotels opening soon in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

Ever since Hotel Designs started the concept-to-completion article series with SB Architects to cover the honest journey to design and build Conrad Punta Mita, Riviera Nayarit has been on our editorial team’s radar. Here editor Hamish Kilburn discovers which other hotels are opening in the area soon…

Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, a remote 192-mile-long coastline that frames the majestic Sierra Madre mountains, is tipped to be in hot demand once travel restrictions have lifted. Later this year, the region will welcome two new five-star luxury properties for those looking for isolated remote escapes whilst keeping hygiene, health, and wellness front of mind.

Riviera Nayarit is welcoming two unrivalled luxury hotel openings (Conrad Punta Mita and One & Only Mandarina), that will complete its extensive luxury hotel offering, in preparation to be one of the most anticipated destinations of 2021.

Conrad Punta de Mita

Accepting reservations now and opening in October, Conrad Punta de Mita is a new 325-key property that will offer a tranquil retreat for guests, surrounded by palm trees and the Pacific Ocean. Explored by our team throughout its design and build, the hotel draws influence from Mexico’s rich history and unique culture, indigenous artwork integrates with the luxurious amenities to create an environment that will allow visitors to connect authentically to nature and to the sophisticated, contemporary architectural design.

Image credit: Conrad Hotels/SB Architects

Dovetailing with the dramatic scenery, resort bungalows, pavilions, and cabanas are nestled in coastal vegetation and all boast views of the aquamarine ocean, with suites offering fully-furnished kitchens and living rooms, perfect for larger groups, large patios, plunge pools, freestanding soaking tubs and outdoor showers.

Hilton’s first Conrad-branded resort property in Mexico will be set in the same private development as the Litibu Golf Course, an 18-hole experience designed by Greg Norman. 

One&Only Madarina

One&Only Mandarina is located just north of Punta Mita, on a spectacular cliff-side overlooking the Pacific Ocean with dramatic vistas and a lush rainforest setting. Blending chic interiors amid the lush jungle wilderness, the resort offers a combination of 104 free-standing villas that float above the treetops or perch against the cliffs – each with their own private plunge pool. 

Image credit: One&Only

Allowing nature to take centre stage, One&Only Mandarina has been designed and built to respect and blend with the environment. Experts were consulted on the development of the resort to minimise the effect on the existing natural landscape, and careful low-density planning has preserved the ecological importance of the destination. 

In addition, the resort will feature 54 Private Homes, among the first One&Only residences in the world. Available to own, One&Only Mandarina Private Homes offer privacy, seclusion, and comfort with unparalleled service – offering luxury resort living for a privileged few. 

The hotels will join an already thriving luxury hospitality scene and will sit alongside St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, Imanta Resorts Punta de Mita and other luxury hotels and villas.

Main image credit: One&Only

CASE STUDY: How Page8 Hotel has made its air cleaner

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: How Page8 Hotel has made its air cleaner

The ‘new normal’ in hospitality and hotel design will largely revolve and evolve from a demand for clean environments, which goes beyond wipe-clean surfaces, as Page8 Hotel has learned after installing Blueair purifiers…

In a YouGov survey commissioned by leading air purification brand Blueair, it was found that there is consumer demand for clean air hotels, with 54 per cent of Brits considering air quality to be important when choosing a hotel.

Prior to the government-stipulated lockdown, Page8 had begun its soft launch and was on the front foot thanks to its status as the first ‘clean air’ hotel in central London, a title it claimed by placing a Blueair air purifier in all 138 rooms.

Experts from the Swedish brand Blueair tested the difference in air quality before and after using an air purifier in the rooms of Page8 Hotel. Thanks to the efficiency of Blueair’s unique HepaSilent™ filtration technology, airborne particles were reduced by 96 per cent after using an air purifier for only one hour, making the air in the hotel rooms as pure as the Swedish Archipelago.

Philip Chan, Project Development Manager of Butterfly Hospitality Group explains why Page8 has opted for air purifiers and the importance of clean air for both guests and hoteliers alike.

Every little thing we do is to improve the experience of our guests – even if this is invisible.

Air quality is directly related to the quality of our health and environment. After a long day of activities, Page8 which is located in the heart of London, welcomes urban explorers back to the hotel with the purest air, detoxing them from the pollution of the city and providing a hygienic, clean environment for a quality night’s sleep. All 138 rooms, from single to family rooms, are equipped with a Blueair air purifier to ensure our guests are breathing the purest air throughout their stay.

Our urban explorers travel with a health-concerned state of mind.

By partnering with the best air purifier brand in the world, Page8 promises to provide the best indoor air quality for guests. A cozy well-designed hotel room is essential for a pleasurable trip, while breathing clean air in the room is an added value which is not commonly offered to guests of a hotel. Given now the world’s pandemic, we wish to provide the best confidence to our guests that we are dedicated to providing sanitised rooms with the best possible air quality resulting in less germs. Using a Blueair air purifier that removes airborne pollutants will go a long way towards helping our guests stay healthy by breathing cleaner air.

A great night’s sleep is everything.

Breathing pure air definitely improves your sleep quality and helps you to relax in a new sleeping environment. Blueair works so quietly that you can enjoy the best air quality without even hearing it. We aim to provide every guest with the best night’s sleep in the heart of London.

Page8 Hotel opted for Blueair’s Blue Pure 411 air purifiers. Based on Blueair’s proprietary HepaSilent™ technology, these air purifiers remove at least 99.97 per cent of airborne particles as small as 0.1 microns in size from the air. These compact air purifiers effectively clean the air while taking up little space and the colourful pre-filters can be changed to suit the décor of any hotel room!

Blueair is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Blueair

In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Design legend Jean-Michel Gathy

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Design legend Jean-Michel Gathy

If the renders on the boards are anything to go by, Jean-Michel Gathy, who is widely considered as one of the industry’s finest, has embarked on one of his most ambitious hospitality projects to date, to design Amaala Island. Editor Hamish Kilburn learns more…

There is not a hotel designer or architect alive today who has not heard of the name Jean-Michel Gathy, and for good reason. The creative mastermind, who doesn’t just design but more reinvents hotel experiences, has been repainting the backdrop of luxury for what is coming up to three decades.

Not shy of his ambition – he once stated that he wanted to be the first person to design a hotel on the moon – Gathy’s approach to a project is all-encompassing, allowing him to further push (and at times break through) conventional barriers.

Arrival experience, luxury

Image credit: Capella Sanya, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

His latest project, Amaala Island will be an ultra luxury resort destination spanning three sites, a first for the region of Saudi Arabia. Designed to evolve and elevate the very best in travel, the island is an ultra-luxury destination that focuses on curating transformative personal journeys inspired by arts, wellness and the purity of the Red Sea.

To find out more about the project, and in homage to the designer’s award-winning career, I managed to speak to the architect/designer.

Hamish Kilburn: Jean-Michel, how will the ultra-luxe Amaala Island – aka the “Diamond of the Red Sea” – challenge conventional island developments?

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

“It’s not a matter of a specific place; it is the fact that when you travel, your mind is continually challenged by the happenings around you.” – Jean-Michel Gathy

HK: How does your approach differ when designing a destination from you’re designing a hotel?

JMG: Constant travel is a huge part of the job. It allows me to observe and to be constantly inquisitive about my surroundings. Travelling builds a subconscious library of ideas, which are expressed in my work and helps my ideas remain innovative and fresh. It’s not a matter of a specific place; it is the fact that when you travel, your mind is continually challenged by the happenings around you. It’s not about where you travel, either – what counts is that you explore. No matter where you are, every country has something new to offer in terms of inspiration.

Luxury spa area that frames unspoilt view through rustic blinds

Image credit: Image credit: The Chedi Muscat, Oman, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

HK: What have been some of your design highlights in your career?

JMG: Perhaps the one for which I am most renowned is the overwater hammocks or ‘basking nets’, which I initiated in the Maldives at the One&Only Reethi Rah in 2000. Until then, you would find balustrades around the terraces of villas. I decided to alter that – if anyone was going to fall off the terrace, they could fall on to the nets. And I put scatter cushions on them.

Image credit: One&Only Reethi Rah Maldives, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

Today, just about every hotel uses this idea. Another pioneering step was turning standalone tents for safari-style camps into a commodity. The accommodation at these hotels used to be basic but this started to change after I designed luxurious tents for the Amanwana in 1990. I am also known for my oversized, dramatic swimming pools such as the one on the roof of Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

Large, oversized swimming pool

Image credit: The Setai Miami, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

HK: What has been the most demanding request you have received from a client to date?

JMG: I guess I take every client that I work with as a challenge more than a demanding request.

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

JMG: I would love to travel to Iceland to see its rugged landscapes, glaciers, rough seas, hot springs and volcanoes. I’d also like to visit the south of Chile and the peninsula of Kamchatka in Russia, which has extraordinary wildlife and endless forests.

HK: What’s your biggest indulgence when travelling?

JMG: Collecting art – I like to collect and invest in local artwork whilst on my travels.

HK: What lesson would you teach to your younger self?

JMG: The pathway to success is never easy, it takes hard work, dedication and passion.

HK: If you could design a hotel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

JMG: I’d love to design a hotel in Antarctica. There’s an ice hotel in Sweden, but that’s only open four months a year, so I want to do one that permanently remains ice.

HK: What’s been your favourite year on the international design scene?

JMG: To be honest, every year working with my team at Denniston has been and is special to me.

HK: What’s one item you cannot travel without?

JMG: I travel light, but I always ensure I have a cashmere scarf for the plane, and a sweater (I’m a big cashmere fan). I also travel with my camera, a Canon EOS 5D Mark III.

“The hotels where you arrive and lay on the beach and do nothing have progressively disappeared.” – Jean-Michel Gathy.

HK: How is the perception of luxury changing – and how is this evolving the way in which you create spaces in the luxury arena?

JMG: Before, hotels were just a place where you go and relax. Today, guests are connected: they want spas, they want food and beverage, they want activities, they want things to do. The hotels where you arrive and lay on the beach and do nothing have progressively disappeared, because life is such that people have become more and more active. I think luxury property clients are now asking for more than simply great rooms. They want retail facilities, a cinema, an extraordinary spa, award-winning F&B offerings and outdoor activities all integrated into the hotel.

“In terms of reliability, price strategy, and brand positioning, Toyota is a fantastic commercial car – but I prefer a Bentley.” – Jean-Michel Gathy.

HK: What’s the value of having designers and architects in your practice?

JMG: There are many good architects, but we have a specific niche. I’m going to compare us to branding: thousands of people buy Toyotas, but few people buy Bentleys. I believe that we are more Bentley than Toyota. This doesn’t mean that a Toyota is not a good car. In terms of reliability, price strategy, and brand positioning, Toyota is a fantastic commercial car – but I prefer a Bentley. Designers are the same; many prefer commercial projects and properties, because their interest is financial. They just want to make money, which means they’re not romantic about their projects. Then you have other designers, which is where I belong, who are more interested in the success of the project, the excitement of the journey of designing a hotel, and having the pride of making something fantastic, even though you earn less money.

Restaurant overlooking ocean in the Maldives

Image credit: One&Only Maldives, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

HK: Has the way in which you source inspiration changed over the years?

JMG: I’m someone who designs from the heart so my style is one that’s charismatic. It’s not an ego trip like the architects who design for themselves. I design elements that are a composition of dramatic effect; I create large and dramatic space, in opposition to intimate areas, so the space is always dynamic. Secondly, I design for the sensation you get out of it. I want every space in the hotel to be comfortable and for my clients to come back and say, I like this space. Sometimes they don’t know why they like it, but if they walk in and feel good, I know I’ve succeeded.

And succeeded Gathy has in widening the path of innovative hotel experiences in far-flung destinations around the world. While his past hotel projects have firmly etched his name into the architecture, design and luxury hospitality history books, his latest ideas and concepts that are currently on the boards highlight Gathy and Denniston’s ambitions. Inspired by his worldly perspective of design and architecture, I believe that Gathy’s aspiration is yet to peak as he continues to think big with the future landscape of luxury international hotel design patiently waiting in his sketchbook for its cue to emerge.

Main image credit: Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

CASE STUDY: Carpeting 1 Hotel South Beach Miami

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Carpeting 1 Hotel South Beach Miami

Hotel Designs goes behind the scenes to understand Barry Sternlicht and his team’s unique design ethos for 1 Hotel South Beach Miami, and why Ulster Carpets had the ultimate solution when it came to the commercial carpet design…

As designers and manufacturers of wool rich bespoke carpets, we have always been in the business of creating sustainable products that enhance any space both in terms of aesthetics and quality.

As industry pioneers we continually review our processes to find more efficient and sustainable ways to manufacture luxury carpet, helping our clients to meet their own sustainable goals.

Wool is a rapidly renewable material as well as luxurious and versatile, at Ulster Carpets we use only the best wool sourced from Britain, Ireland & New Zealand. Wool fleece re-grows every 12 months providing a constant supply of high quality raw material. Naturally stain repellent, flame resistant, non combustible and easily cleaned, wool is both sustainable and a safe choice.

There are many health benefits from including wool within indoor spaces. Research shows that wool carpets effectively trap dust and allergens in its top layer. Its natural filtering effect makes it perfect for people with asthma or allergies. Naturally absorbing humidity and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a wool-rich carpet will provide a cleaner, more comfortable space to sit back, relax and breathe in.

Alongside the comfort of their guests, 1 Hotel is a brand whose focus, as with Ulster Carpets, is also on prioritising sustainability, environmental protection and community engagement. On their website, Barry Sternlicht their CEO & Chairman says: “I wanted to capture the beauty of nature in a hotel and commit to safeguarding it as best I can, a responsibility that I believe we all share. It’s 1 world. But 1 is more than a hotel – it’s a philosophy and a platform for change.”

Organic, raw, natural and reclaimed materials are therefore an important part of any design brief they develop. From using reclaimed driftwood as wall coverings, plant walls and green spaces to details such as ditching plastic key cards in favour of recycled wooden tags & providing hangers made from 100% post consumer waste.

Image credit: 1 Hotel South Beach, Miami FL | Design Firm: Meyer Davis | Photography – Eric Laignel

Therefore commissioning bespoke wool rich carpets from Ulster Carpets for their 1 Hotel South Beach, Miami was an obvious choice. A retreat wholly inspired by its natural surroundings, namely the 600-feet of beach along the Atlantic Ocean, Ulster Carpet’s creative team took inspiration from these elements to create the texture and look of wood grain, echoing the driftwood and natural materials in the interior of the hotel. The bold yet calming pattern moves though the hotel pulling all the strands together of this sustainable and luxurious hotel.

As a company, Ulster Carpets were delighted to be part of 1 Hotel’s vision, where our beautifully crafted product plays a role in delivering a sustainable experience without compromising on quality or artistic flair.

Visit Ulster Carpets website to learn more about their sustainable business and the beautiful carpets they have designed and manufactured across the globe.

Ulster Carpets is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: 1 Hotel South Beach, Miami FL | Design Firm: Meyer Davis | Photography: Eric Laignel

TIG becomes headline partner for Hotel Designs LIVE

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
TIG becomes headline partner for Hotel Designs LIVE

Technological Innovations Group (TIG) has been confirmed as the headline partner for Hotel Designs LIVE, which takes place on June 23…

With less than two weeks until Hotel Designs goes live to the world on June 23 with its first ever virtual conference, TIG, which offers technology solutions from world-class brands such as Crestron, Black Nova, Embrava, Gude, Hoylu, Oblong, NFS and Salamander Designs, has been announced as the event’s headline partner.

Headed up by industry stalwart Robin van Meeuwen, TIG is an EMEA sales agency offering an ecosystem of compatible AV, UC, IT and control solutions from brands at the forefront of leading-edge technology development. The company specialises in engaging customers across all verticals including consultants, integrators and specifiers, to deploy fully integrated, tailor-made and future-proof smart spaces in any environment. With a hugely experienced leadership team and staff in locations across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, partnering with TIG gives organisations – whether in corporate, marine, education, residential or other smart spaces – a real edge over the competition.

During Hotel Designs LIVE, TIG will face editor Hamish Kilburn for a Quick-fire Q&A. “Considering that TIG is relevant for all of our four seminars that we have planned for Hotel Designs LIVE, it feels very fitting to welcome the technology company as our headline partner,” explained Kilburn. “I am excited for the quick-fire Q&A, which will allow the audience to understand more about TIG, while aptly serving as a warm-up during my editor’s welcome ahead of our first live seminar that is entitled: Technology’s role in tomorrow’s hotel.”

TIG is respected within the hotel design industry for pushing the boundaries of technological integration for Smart Spaces and, as a result, is able to create amazing experiences for the designer to integrate into the consumer journey.

Click here to see the line-up of Hotel Designs LIVE | Click here to secure you seats in the audience.

“TIG is excited to attend Hotel Design Live as the solutions TIG represents touch on every aspect of Hospitality,” said Petra van Meeuwen, Director of Media Relations at TIG. ” Innovation is key at TIG and with its ecosystem of world-class solutions from high tech brands combined with a long standing experience in the sector, TIG brings true innovation, collaboration, efficiency, security and safety to create smart hospitality spaces. 

“TIG has just launched a virtual experience space to give visitors an engaging, life-like experience showcasing all its solutions whilst we are working hard to open our real Experience Spaces in London, Frankfurt, Paris, Jo’burg and Moscow when it is safe to do so.”

The Virtual Experience Space is an immersive online space as part of TIG’s new website that has been carefully designed to welcome and deliver an engaging and life-like experience for consultants, integrators, specifiers and end-users. By embarking on a ‘walk-through’ tour of the virtual space, accompanied by vocal explanations, visitors will understand how the ecosystem of solutions available from TIG integrate to transform smart spaces in any corporate, residential, hospitality, education or healthcare environment.

If you are a designer, architect, hotelier or developer and would like to join the live conversations on June 23, click here to secure your virtual seats in the audience.

Main image credit: TIG

Europe’s hotel construction pipeline continues to expand despite pandemic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Europe’s hotel construction pipeline continues to expand despite pandemic

Analysts at Lodging Econometrics (LE) report that at the close of the first quarter of 2020, Europe’s hotel construction pipeline expanded to near-record highs with 1,840 projects and 294,047 rooms, a 10 per cent increase in projects and a 15 per cent increase in rooms, year-over-year (YOY)…

Projects under construction in Europe stand at 878 projects, with an all-time high of 142,185 rooms; while projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months stand at 522 projects with a record-high 82,229 rooms. Projects in the early planning stage have 440 projects/69,633 rooms; up significantly at 27 per cent and 44 per cent respectively, YOY. During the first quarter of 2020, Europe opened 84 new hotels with 10,469 rooms.

The United Kingdom leads the construction pipeline with 342 projects with an all-time high of 52,231 rooms, and then Germany with 323 projects/58,935 rooms. France follows with 172 projects/21,070 rooms. Next is Portugal with 120 projects and a record 13,049 rooms and then Poland with 92 projects/14,529 rooms. 

The cities in Europe with the largest pipelines are London with 96 projects and an all-time high 18,055 rooms, Dusseldorf at 58 projects/11,290 rooms, and Paris at 39 projects/6,108 rooms. Next is Hamburg, with 34 projects/7,294 rooms and then Lisbon with 33 projects/3,116 rooms. 

Accor Hotels is the leading franchise company with the largest European pipeline by projects with 238 projects/32,763 rooms; followed closely by Marriott International, with 227 projects/37,764 rooms. Hilton Worldwide is next with an all-time high of 195 projects/30,289 rooms, then InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) with 160 projects/25,632 rooms. These four global franchise companies account for 45 per cent of all projects in Europe’s pipeline.

The leading brands for these four companies are Accor Hotel’s Ibis brands with 108 projects/13,779 rooms and then Novotel and Mercure Hotels with 25 projects/3,890 rooms and 25 projects/3,177 rooms, respectively. Marriott International’s top brands are Moxy with 75 projects/13,386 rooms, Courtyard by Marriott has 28 projects/4,892 rooms, and Autograph Collection with 20 projects, and an all-time high 1,909 rooms.

Hilton Worldwide is led by Hampton by Hilton at an all-time high of 81 projects/ 12,736 rooms, Hilton Garden Inn with 42 projects/7,093 rooms, and DoubleTree by Hilton with an all-time high 28 projects having 3,354 rooms. IHG’s top brands include Holiday Inn Express with 70 projects/10,844 rooms, Holiday Inn with 31 projects/7,196 rooms, and Hotel Indigo with 16 projects/1,661 rooms.

Similar to other pipelines around the world, Europe’s hotel construction pipeline is experiencing temporary delays of approximately two to four months. Hotel construction across the region varies by country; some countries have resumed construction while others are still waiting for guidance on precautionary measures, guidelines and start dates. 

Countries across Europe are working on plans to safely reopen existing hotels, with plans varying by country. Some countries have partially reopened under strict guidelines, while others plan to roll out “phased reopenings” through June and into July. 

Main image credit: Pixabay

VIRTUAL ROUNDTABLE: The role of UV lighting in hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIRTUAL ROUNDTABLE: The role of UV lighting in hotel design

With the industry’s attention focused towards possible solutions following the Covid-19 crisis, Hotel Designs, in collaboration with the human-centric lighting brand humanlumen, has brought together a handful of industry experts to discuss UV lighting’s role in the post-pandemic world. Editor Hamish Kilburn moderates… 

On the panel: 

Recently, humanlumen switched on our attention at Hotel Designs to focus our editorial gaze, during pandemic paralysis, towards the possibilities and boundaries of architectural lighting design. The launch of the brand’s Clean Air Series inspired us to investigate how figureheads of the industry are reacting to UV Lighting.

No question was off limit as the panel of interior designers and lighting designers put humanlumen through its paces to understand Clean Air Series and UV lighting’s role on tomorrow’s hygienic hospitality scene.

Hamish Kilburn: Andrew, so that everyone can familiarise themselves with the product, can you briefly explain humanlumen’s Clean Air Series?

Andrew Boydell: We have invested a lot of time and money in the new technology around UV lighting and its effects on bacteria in the workplace as well as in hospitality spaces. We believe that UV lighting in these areas is going to be fairly revolutionary going forward. From a hospitality point of view, we have developed Clean Air Series, a purification product that integrates a high level of UV light within the system. This allows up to 300 cubic-metres of air to be cleaned in four hours – think of it as a remote AC unit with multiple UV light chambers. 

Image caption: humanlumen’s Clean Air Series UV Lighting unit.

Mark Elliott: There has been a lot of research around the risks attached to UV lighting around eyesight and artwork, for example. One of the benefits of using LED lights over halogen lights is that the reduced UV prevents issues such as degrading artwork/finishes. How have you considered this in Clean Air Series?

AB: The product that has gone to market is a completely sealed unit. There are nine high intensity UV bulbs within a purification unit, which is basically an aluminium housing. Within that unit is a motor, a cooling unit and a number of chambers. The air is passed through the chambers, and no UV light is exposed to the outside world. It has been a major consideration of ours, as well as an engineering challenge.

“As manufacturers and designers, we all need to start looking and thinking outside the box now!” – Chris Peach, Principal lighting designer, FUTURE Designs.

HK: Mark, has UV Lighting been on your radar as a lighting designer?

ME: From our perspective, to be honest, it’s not something we have been investigating, which is probably because our focus as lighting designers is the beautification of spaces while enabling task-based solutions. However, it’s interesting to hear how lighting is being used to create more sterile environments.

Chris Peach: As manufacturers and designers, we all need to start looking and thinking outside the box now! With the ability to integrate the UV element within a luminaire could have major benefits. UV lighting is used throughout hospital environments, and there has to be a way of integrating that in hospitality.

Ariane Steinbeck: I want to continuously led by science. What I know that has been proven is that the detectability of the Covid-19 virus continues for between two and three hours in an aerosol format. What scientists don’t know yet is how much virus is needed to make you sick. From a practical standpoint, when this lighting is switched on out of hours, and the virus has settled on different surfaces, what does your product do to eliminate it?

AB: There are three elements: airborne particulates, surface particulates and particulates carried on the person. Airborne has been tackled with a continuous clean air unit that will run 24/7. Essentially, you will leave that in a hospitality space throughout the day. The surface element is different. The exposed UV light’s role, to be used when someone is not in that space, will help to clean the surfaces, and be used in harmony with the cleaners. We have been investigating an exposed UV product that will clean 25 square-metres of space. Of course, there would have to be a very clear protocol of use and we are looking at this to be linked to a control system so it can be activated when the room is not active. For a typical hotel room, we are estimating that this process will take an hour.

HK: What are the pitfalls in today’s lighting design?

Dylan Wills: Across the board, everyone would value in being more educated in lighting technology. Too often is lighting an afterthought behind the interior design itself.

David Mason: A lot of clients realise the benefits of lighting designers. There was a time where we would only ever use lighting designers in high-end projects. Now, though, we collaborate with lighting designers for most of the hotel projects we work on. 

“As soon as we all started to save energy and technology advanced, lighting design became a lot more convoluted.” – Mark Elliott, Global Creative Director, FPOV.

Neil Andrew: I worked on a project once where they didn’t have a lighting consultant. When I had won the argument to bring one on, they ended up removing 30 downlights, which of course saved a lot of money.

ME: As soon as we all started to save energy and technology advanced, lighting design became a lot more convoluted. As a lighting designer, keeping up-to-date with tech every day is very complex. That has driven designers to realise that they are not experts in that area.

HK: From a wellbeing perspective, how is lighting climbing up on the agenda in hospitality?

ME: I think we can take inspiration from the aviation industry. There have been studies carried out on how significant lighting can be to help combat jet lag. I’m not sure about UV lighting, but there are certainly applications at the moment on lighting being used to enhance wellbeing in hospitality.

NA: In terms of mental health, it’s hard to know the impact of Covid-19 right now, but I guess in general the big one for me is circadian lighting systems. The research and technology that will allow a room to intuitively adjust the lighting to where you have travelled from in order to aid jet lag is pretty impressive.

DM: We were working with a hotel chain to design windowless rooms. The idea behind the lighting was so that you could adjust the lighting to time zones. This also worked around your circadian rhythms.

HK: In these sessions, we always try to look at these new innovations and conversations with clients and budgets in mind. How realistic is it therefore for you to pitch these new innovations to clients?

DW: In this exact moment in time, the focus should be on the businesses that are having to reopen hotels in cost-effective ways. Adding new products that will incorporate expenditure will be a big focus. We have been speaking to hotel operators who are just moving furniture around and changing the lobby configuration because they simply don’t have the money to spend.

I can see UV lighting being integrated into new-builds. However, with existing buildings it will be difficult considering the financial positions of developers and operators at the moment.

ME: I believe there are two sides in this. On the one side there are people who are trying to cut corners, while others are trying to find a unique sales point. Also, the more a piece of technology gets adopted, the cheaper it becomes. When that happens, the benefits are then able to be used on a wider scale.

AS: I believe, at this point, everyone is trying to ‘out market’ their cleaning protocols. Personally, I doubt it will inspire the consumer to choose one brand over the other. There was a big opportunity missed to do something unanimous across all brands in all countries to inspire confidence. In terms of mandating improvements, it will be difficult because hotel owners are struggling to pay the bills.

HK: So Andrew, is the product better suited to new-builds?

AB: Not necessarily. We were approached yesterday by a boutique chain with nine hotels. They were looking for us to fit the UVC light units and the centric lighting units in their existing properties

DW: There is another sector of the market that we should highlight, and that’s distressed assets. As we move forward, we will see hotel operators purchasing those struggling hotels and rebranding them to become new products. There, I see the UV lighting working and it will instil security in consumers’ minds.

AS: What is the cost of one of these units?

AB: It’s variable depending on the volume. But if you work between the parameter of 1,200 – £1,700 per unit.

NA: How visible are these units?

AB: The best way I can describe them is similar to a free-standing water dispenser. The unit is mobile and will sit in the corner of the room.

Matthew Voaden: I’m assuming that you are looking at exposed UV units in guestrooms and the purification in public areas?

AB: The exposed UV will benefit the turnaround, for sure. The air purification unit will give a constant purification of the space.

HK: Where do you see lighting in hospitality going in the future?

“One of the main elements I see being a focus of innovation in the future is control systems.” – David Mason, Director and Head of Hospitality, Scott Brownrigg.

DM: The margin between too much lighting and not enough lighting is very small. Most guests, I would argue, checking into a hotel want something simple.

ME: David’s right, people want flexibility. They want it to be intuitive. It’s a challenge to operate all those functions and not have a complex control system as a result. It’s a mass quandary. One of the main elements I see being a focus of innovation in the future is control systems. I can see these systems using tech that is embedded in each fitting so that the consumer can control each light from one device.

DM: That, as well as Covid-19, will steer more things being operational from your own device.

ME: Lighting is a constant; it is everywhere. Development of lighting will be multiple carriers of different things, which as a result simplifies ceilings. A good lighting solution is tailored to work around any space.

DW: Lighting design and interior design have to work hand-in-hand. Decisions have to be communicated throughout the entire process.

DM: This is going to be a catalyst in a lot of industries. I believe there is going to be a lot more collaboration between other industries to discover purposeful solutions.

HK: What lighting solutions are you integrating into the projects you are working on at the moment?

ME: David and I are working on a hotel where in the public spaces there will be a focus on day to night technology.

DM: We wanted to create a particular experience in the corridors, which are currently long and bland. Together with FPOV, we developed and prototyped a light fitting and it will now be manufactured and installed. Together we were able to get the client on board with this and it really does come down to designers working closely together to produce the best solution.

AS: Making things simpler is our objective. If we can add benefits that are automatic then that’s even better and I am looking forward to seeing what added value UV lighting can bring to the table.

HK: So there you have it, collaborations between designers, manufacturers and specialists are allowing the industry to navigate a clean path forward in hospitality for a post-pandemic world. In case there was any doubt, UV lighting is now on the agenda as today’s hotel designers are looking for new ways to functionally adapt spaces so that they meet the hygienic demands of tomorrow’s travellers with the ever-evolving demands for characterful, design-led spaces. If you would like to have your say on UV Lighting and other lighting solutions, please tweet us @hoteldesigns.

humanlumen, which is based in Clerkenwell, is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

BIOGRAPHY FEATURE: A journey through tents

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
BIOGRAPHY FEATURE: A journey through tents

Volumes could be written about the man who founded Exclusive Tents, as editor Hamish Kilburn comes to discover when understanding Paul Zway’s journey through tents…

Paul Zway, the founder of Exclusive Tents, grew up surrounded by nature, and his passion for all things wild and free was as much a part of him as the blood in his veins.

As a schoolboy in South Africa, his bedroom was a self-styled zoo and sanctuary for all manner of animals. The extensive list includes snakes, such as the extremely venomous green and black mambas, squirrels, bush babies, a spotted eagle owl, a bullfrog, a monitor lizard and a sun gazer lizard, a jackal, a bat eared fox and hedgehogs. These features of the young Zway’s bedroom were a reflection of his informative years spent in the outdoors camping and catching snakes whilst developing a love of wildlife and a deep appreciation for being surrounded by nature. Something that would shape his life to come.

Man with two boys watching snake on safari

Image caption: Paul Zane and Anders watching a python | Image credit: Exclusive Tents

Game ranger

School was never as exciting as the great outdoors, and a career as the youngest ever professional game ranger in the famed Kruger National Park in South Africa soon followed. It was a natural evolution for him as the wildlife in which he immersed himself, spending seventeen years working as a game ranger and specialising in anti-poaching. Zway enjoyed the opportunity to flourish within his preferred environment which also presented the chance to discover the various types of accommodation that can be found experienced in the African Savannah.

“The immense protected reserve was where his affinity with tents was born and nurtured.”

He was first stationed at a remote wattle-and-daub thatched hut that was built in 1935. Located close to the Mozambique border in the northern Kruger Park, Zway spent two years living in the hut and using a tent as his office. The immense protected reserve was where his affinity with tents was born and nurtured, as were his sons. It is therefore not a surprise that they have followed in his footsteps and share his passion for nature, tents and the great outdoors. 

Man on a quad bike

Image caption: Paul Zway on patrol “| Image credit: Exclusive Tents

 Anti-poaching specialist

In the late ’70s and early ’80s, rhino and elephant poaching became an organised affair and a serious problem. During this period, Zway specialised in anti-poaching and under-cover operations which led him to spend many extended periods of time camping in the bush looking for poachers or lying in wait to ambush them. These clandestine operations had a definite impact upon the poaching activities plaguing the area. With the operations occasionally leading him into direct conflict with the poachers, Zway became well known to this criminal element. If he had not had a family to care for, he would probably still be fighting the fight, however when threats were made against his sons, he chose to move his family abroad. They found themselves in Arizona in the United States and Zway, for the first time, found himself somewhat of his depth.

Luxury tents

Zway was, and still is, an avid explorer and adventurer. More comfortable in remote and wildly beautiful places in foreign countries, where he could immerse himself in different cultures and find ways of communicating and interacting. Thus, finding himself in America was a shock to the system and he had a difficult time adapting to driving a taxi and working in convenience stores to pay the rent. Never idle, he was, at the same time, setting up his first business venture importing BBQ tools and unusual outdoor gear from South Africa.

In 2004, he was contacted by the elderly owner of a tent factory in South Africa who came to visit him and his sons in Arizona and after a few nights around the fire the decision was made to try and bring the luxury tent concept into the USA. In the latter part of his career he had discovered the use of basic luxury tents for tourists in the private game reserves on the western boundary of the Kruger National Park. This was, effectively, the origin of Today’s Glamping (a contraction of ‘Glamorous camping’).

“Spurred on by the possibilities, very little in the bank, and his eldest son Zane helping him every afternoon after school, Zway launched Exclusive Tents.”

This suited Zway perfectly as most weekends he would be out in his jeep with his sons and his dog, “Puppy”, four-wheeling in his Jeep, and camping way out in the Sonoran Desert exploring new trails and old mining ghost towns in the mountains.

Zway already had a great deal of experience in camping. During his youth and game ranger days, the campsites made use of the typical frameless green cotton canvas and windowless tents. Hot, and quick to get smelly, they also leaked if you touched the inside of the canvas during rain showers: A far cry from the tents Paul would introduce to the World as the icons of luxury safari experience.

Spurred on by the possibilities, very little in the bank, and his eldest son Zane helping him every afternoon after school, Zway launched Exclusive Tents. There was only one tent design at the time, the ever-popular Serengeti Tent. With this, so began his journey with luxury tents that would see him revolutionise the entire industry.

Image credit: Exclusive Tents International

Innovation. Detail. Vision. Mission. Passion

Exclusive Tents’ innovative approach saw them creating new designs and bigger tents, perfecting the use of the very best fabrics and materials. Every element of a tent was assessed and traditional solutions innovated upon using insulation, steel and wood elements to create elegant and seductive tents. These new tents were safer in strong winds and extreme climates, while maintaining their essential ability to blend into nature and add to the surrounding aesthetic.

As a tribute, and now a tradition, Zway has named most of the tent designs after some of Southern Africa’s most legendary elephants, both past and present.

From those early beginnings, Exclusive Tents has evolved. With business partner Johan, Exclusive Tents’ Master Canvas Crafter, and his family doing the manufacturing in South Africa while Paul’s family handle the branding, marketing and sales, Exclusive Tents soon became the “go-to” company for luxury & bespoke tent designs. A unique two-family business with an emphasis in crafting the best tents. Without ‘suits’, conveyer belts and corporate bureaucracy, it is their personable and friendly approach that opens many doors and has Exclusive Tents speaking to some serious names in hospitality and amongst royalty.

Passionate about bringing conservation services to bear and integrating wildlife conservation and ecotourism with rural development where at all possible, Exclusive Tents offer solutions that bridge the gap between the wild and the luxurious.

Interestingly, Exclusive Tents also offer containerised sanitation, desalination, hybrid power and water purification solutions to minimise the impact on the environment. Factors that make them a family for the increasingly eco-conscious hospitality sector. From the start, Paul and his team have worked hard to make sure they combine quality, aesthetics, elegance and longevity with the best customer service possible: Their approach to this has been completely in character with his life-long quest to safeguard the best that nature offers us.

Zway and his wife, Angelika, have been immersed in the jungle of Belize living permanently in their own ‘Exclusive’ tents for the past seven years. Completely in character for a man who has never learnt how to cautiously dip his toe into anything, this invaluable time and experience contributes to their understanding of both their products and what is required of them by their owners and occupiers. The last twenty-four months bear the fruit of this experience, with a complete overhaul of the entire range of luxury tents, applying a variety of innovations to ensure their continued presence as the market leaders in Luxury Tents.

Image credit: Exclusive Tents International

A critical element

The critical element Zway has found for their own home is perfecting the marriage between living space and the surrounding jungle environment. In This way nature becomes an integral part of his and Angelika’s everyday life.

Johan and his wife Susan, equally great nature lovers, are also about to commence life as “Tent Dwellers” and are constructing their own new tent home in a beautiful and remote stretch of the African wilderness.

With both partners of Exclusive Tents living permanently in their own creations, it is living proof of the viability, versatility, and charm of living in thoughtfully designed and lovingly crafted luxury tents.

As undertaken in their own homes, Exclusive Tents team work with clients to achieve the most from choosing tents. There a numerous advantages to a life under canvas, whether in a  personal or commercial context: The ‘footprint’ upon the environment is significantly reduced with no need for heavy infrastructure, land grading, heavy foundations, etc.; A site can very quickly be returned to its natural state when it is time to move on; Both powerful reasons to adopt a luxury existence under canvas, especially in beautiful, sensitive, or fragile environments such as National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Zway and his team are always pleased to help others explore the wildest ideas, for example the floating tents at four Rivers Floating Lodge.

Exclusive Tents has built a reputation of offering quality tented solutions that has resulted in many loyal customer relationships. “It is with much delight that I write to recommend the services (both supply and install) of Exclusive Tents and in particular, Paul Zway,” explained Robert A. Virgin from Limited Edition Hotels and Resorts. “We have worked with Exclusive Tents for the past 10 years, during which time they have been involved in the supply and installation of 10 tents over three separate projects on our Kasbah Tamadot property in Morocco.”

Zway believes that the Glamping sector will be one of the first hospitality sectors to recover from the impact of Covid 19 as people will want to reconnect and ground themselves in nature. The attributes of luxury tent lodges – their spaciousness & the space separating them – are ideally suited to these times. Furthermore, many people will not be traveling abroad for unique experiential vacations but finding these experiences closer to home.

As such, we may be at the forefront of a new chapter of hospitality, where the ‘Tent Dweller’ is king!

Exclusive Tents International is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Exclusive Tents

A new generation of luxury: Curating art for hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A new generation of luxury: Curating art for hotels

As international art consultants, Artelier specialises in curating art for luxury hospitality, residential, yacht and aviation projects. Here, the brand explains how art curation is vast becoming the new luxury on the international hotel design scene…

When travelling the world in pursuit of new experiences or as part of a sophisticated business trip, what does the high-end traveller look for in a luxury hotel?

How could a hotel lobby or presidential suite be given an added edge, so that it exceeds the expectations of the discerning traveller who is accustomed to the highest standards of worldwide luxury?

Often, art in the hotel sector may veer into leaving an unremarkable impression – it can be tasteful and pleasing, but altogether unsurprising, as it blends into an invisible layer of the interior design scheme.

By contrast, hotel art collections that have been thoughtfully and intelligently researched, curated and commissioned are the ideal opportunity to offer guests something that rises to the calibre of the luxury connoisseur. Memorable art which resonates with the hotel context, whilst elegantly communicating the mood and design of a space, can set the tone for an experience that is not only first-class, but extraordinary.

Image credit: Artelier

Merging worlds of hospitality & private residential

Recently, the distinctions between hospitality and high-end residential have become increasingly blurred. London developments like the Mayfair Park Residences and 20 Grosvenor Square are examples of a new generation of super-prime private residences. They have not only been designed by the most revered interior designers with no expense spared on the finishes, furniture and collector’s art, but also provide for a lifestyle where the property is fully managed and serviced by five-star hotels – complete with 24hr concierge and a chauffeur driven Rolls Royce. The two worlds have seamlessly merged, whereby the private overseas home transcends into a permanent and completely exclusive presidential suite – no sharing this space with world leaders.

Whilst the customer service of the hospitality industry has brought new standards to private residences, the opportunity for the private residential world to inform hotel design and artwork curation has remained ever-elusive and behind closed doors. The typical hotel art consultant has had limited or often no involvement with the residences, private yachts and aircraft of this clientele. However, with the two worlds closer than ever before, the need to understand the expectations of the elite hotel guest has rarely been greater.

Offering a rare insight

As specialists in curating and commissioning art for a variety of luxury projects, Artelier has cross-sector expertise. Initially established as an art advisory for private clients, more than 70 per cent of their projects involve consulting directly with private clients and their team to deliver bespoke art in their residences, yachts, and private jets. Likewise, through their collaborations with luxury designers and developers, they have been privy to every stage of the design process behind the world’s most exclusive contexts.

Of these projects, a large proportion have been superyachts between 70-160m in length – with artwork collections delivered for 16 superyachts so far, many of which showcase at Monaco Yacht Show each year. Of course, private aircraft projects are few and far between, but over the years Artelier has had the privilege of developing bespoke artworks for a privately owned Boeing BBJ 737, Airbus A320 and most prestigious of all a Boeing BBJ 787 Dreamliner.

In order to protect the confidentiality and privacy of high-end clients, projects of this nature are always wrapped up with non-disclosure agreements; therefore, images and awareness of these elusive projects never surface, and remain tight-lipped amongst a closed community. Having established a trusted reputation within this sector and elite community, Artelier’s professional experience of working directly on these projects gives them an exceedingly rare insight into the artistic standards and tastes of the high net worth client, and an intimate understanding of what it takes to bring the best to luxury travellers.

Image credit: Artelier

Dismantling the typical luxury aesthetic

It goes without saying that anything that is easily found, ubiquitous and characteristically similar to its counterparts will fall not even close to the aesthetic criteria of a sophisticated and discerning client. The boom in internet art databases, online mood boards and interiors trends has provided a ready-made database where many art consultants simply browse for inspiration, often following trends and popular themes which leads them into a generic pool of luxury aesthetic. For Artelier to meet the expectations of its clients, it is vital for to avoid this type of research in order to create collections which present true originality of ideas, and innovative use of materials.

A guiding principle of their research methods is to discover artists organically, from the ground up – they seek to become embedded into international artist communities, and build a strong repertoire of associated artists through in-depth research and networking.

Artelier’s database of 10,000 artists is a culmination of 20 years of research and art market expertise, and is ever-expanding due to their team’s commitment to meeting artists at open-studios and spotting exciting emerging work at graduate shows. With a trained eye, it is possible to maintain the highest standards by looking for artistic integrity and quality of craftsmanship, rather than being driven by popular trends. Due to this organic research approach, the database is a reflection of the full spectrum of art practices in the world today.

Image credit: Artelier

Drawing on these artists, they can then respond to any theme that the client is interested in with high-quality artworks created by professional artists, who are capable of meeting the standards that such luxury projects demand. Since they do not rely on generic online searches for their research, it is possible to bypass the trappings of the “typical” luxury aesthetic, and present dynamic art collections that are ahead of the curve.

 Nurturing artistic talent through commissions

The most exclusive clientele seek something that is not available elsewhere. A sense of luxury often comes from ultimate customisation, as the client receives art that is unique to their context, interests, tastes and property location. A key part of Artelier’s role is therefore collaborating with artists to explore concepts and to develop new artworks that are wholly unique to the client, and true to the vision of the project.

With 20 years’ experience of working with artists, Artelier has developed an instinct for which concepts will work, and which won’t. Close liaison with client and artist ensures that the client’s vision is fulfilled, making it advantageous to have the same team overseeing the commissioning process from concept to completion.

It is fundamental to have a comprehensive understanding of the artistic processes, techniques and different mediums. This leads to a mutually beneficial collaboration with the artist, and helps bring their creative insight to the project. The result is a one-of-a-kind artwork that creates impact in a space, and brings together the collective ideas of the client, art consultant and artist.

Every project necessitates fresh research that is focussed on the particular needs of the brief. Clients for a hotel project regularly want to incorporate artists, for example, who are linked to a specific region or heritage. Quality should not be compromised when working to such specific requirements; instead, it is crucial to filter for high-quality work and spot potential in emerging artists, and nurture their development to create ambitious new works. Supporting emerging artists from a local region in this way is a rewarding process for both client and artist; the client is acknowledged for supporting local grassroots arts practice, whilst the artist gains valuable professional experience and exposure.

Image credit: Artelier

The four pillars of luxury hotel art

Curating art that truly creates impact in hotel spaces comes down to our four critical standards

1) Quality research makes the difference – Responding to a client’s brief in a surprising way requires thorough, in-depth research, which is amassed over time. Artworks which are obvious choices, or are easily found online, will fall short of the expectations of a discerning client. Interpreting a theme in a way that is visually interesting requires a breadth of knowledge and creative thinking, in order to form subtle connections that go beyond design trends. Rather than seeking inspiration from online mood board platforms and search engines, discovering high-quality artists and establishing direct links with them gives a spectrum of interesting artworks that can be drawn on in response to a brief.

2) Rarity is Key – The rarity of an artwork is a fundamental consideration for the luxury market – an artist’s work should be sought after, yet have an element of exclusivity. Artists who produce a limited number of artworks for selected projects offer this kind of exclusivity, since they invest time and craftsmanship into their work. The client understands the value of high-quality pieces created specially for them, enjoying the knowledge that few others will have comparable artworks in their spaces. Commissioning your own bespoke art is an ultimate mark of rarity, as it allows the client to own an artwork unique to them.

3) Integrating with interiors – Art has a unique ability to elevate a space; rather than being an afterthought, it should therefore be considered at the conception of a development project. Specialist curatorial skill is required to read a space and identify opportunities for creating statement pieces which are also in harmony with their surroundings. Commissioning artworks allows a new level of customisation – it is possible to consult the artist and create art that enhances the design scheme, highlighting subtle colour palettes and metallic finishes by incorporating them in the artwork.

4) Presentation & framing – An outstanding artwork can be let down by careless final presentation, yet it is still an often overlooked aspect of incorporating art in a space. Both high and low value works enormously benefit from well-thought out framing and finishes – artworks can be cleverly enhanced simply through elegant framing solutions, considered curation within a space, and fine-tuning the installation. Final touches need not be expensive, as the economies of scale afforded by hotel projects often allow excellent relative costs in comparison to residential projects. Artelier has also developed an extensive fine art framing range, which offers full customisation depending on the needs of the project.

Artelier is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Artelier

Editor Checks In: “And we’re going live in 3, 2, 1…”

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor Checks In: “And we’re going live in 3, 2, 1…”

During the COVID–19 pandemic, the team at Hotel Designs have announced initiatives to help further create conversations like no other. It’s safe to say that the editorial team have been anything but taking it easy during lockdown, as editor Hamish Kilburn explains… 

I have come to the conclusion this month that there are two types of people at the moment: those who are twiddling their thumbs or baking banana bread as a result of being furloughed and those who are practically performing CPR on their brands and businesses in order to maintain a strong pulse of exposure.

To be honest, neither camps are principally inviting, as there really is no middle ground in between these two extreme circumstances.

“If the pandemic was a storm, we are in the eye, while hospitality is preparing to rebuild and adjust its thinking in order to live up to the hefty demands of tomorrow’s modern travellers.” – editor Hamish Kilburn.

Our job at Hotel Designs has been simple: to compliment the incredible ideas and campaigns that the hospitality industry has conjured up during the time its doors were forced shut. And while we have done this to the best of our ability, by following Hospitality For Heroes campaign and checking in on a handful of our leaders during lockdown, I have also wanted to ensure that we don’t lose sight of conversations we were having before. For example, this month we asked  Senior Associate at HBA EMEA Erica Pritchard to investigate why sustainability needs to remain high up on the industry’s agenda, while also keeping our focus on the latest product innovations.

Only by thinking outside the box and by creating robust media platforms can we really help the industry as a whole sail through these turbulent waters. If the pandemic was a storm, which I have heard it metaphorically referred to a number of times in recent days, we are in the eye, while hospitality is preparing to rebuild and adjust its thinking in order to live up to the hefty demands of tomorrow’s modern travellers.

Now, I believe, is the perfect time for the launch of a one-day virtual conference that will shelter meaningful conversations around how we move the market forward. Cue the launch of Hotel Designs LIVE, which is taking place on June 23 and aims to define the point on international design by putting four of the most relevant topics (technology, public areas, sleep and wellness) through the editorial lens. With world-renowned speakers confirmed such as Jason Bradbury (former presenter of The Gadget Show), Simon Naudi (CEO of Corinthia Hotels), Emma King (Head of Design at IHG (EU)), Greg Keffer (Partner-In-Charge at Rockwell Group) and many more, we have searched far and wide in our quest to bring together a wealth of experience and knowledge for our first ever virtual conference in order to find solutions to today’s problems.

In addition to the live seminar sessions – and to ensure that the event is bridging the gap between hospitality suppliers and designers, architects, hoteliers and developers – the conference will also include structured ‘PRODUCT WATCH’ pitches around each session, allowing suppliers the opportunity to pitch their products and services in a ‘live’ environment to the hospitality buyers that are tuned in.

What’s more, Hotel Designs LIVE is free to attend. So if you are a designer, architect, hotelier or developer and would like to be part in the audience, please register in order to save your complimentary seat in the audience.

In the meantime, feel free to keep in touch with our team on TwitterFacebookInstagram or LinkedIn, because one of the biggest lessons that Covid-19 has taught me is that the industry is stronger when its components work together.

Editor, Hotel Designs

Main image credit: ACT Studios

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Managing a hotel after lockdown

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Managing a hotel after lockdown

In the wake of the forced hibernation the industry has experienced in recent weeks, hotels are now making plans to re-open. But what will the ‘new normal’ look like? Rocco Bova, the general manager of Chable’ Yucatan, investigates hospitality post-lockdown…

While I honestly detest the fact that we will now have to provide a personalised, luxury experiences while wearing masks, gloves, shields and possibly even protective clothing, we so however need to get used to this new normal, at least until we will have more relaxed guidelines from the respective government’s health authorities.

The provision and wearing of PPE for staff is a minimum standard as it is the increased frequency of cleaning and sanitising to provide a healthy environment to guests, however my focus as a general manager will be more towards enhancing soft skills, EQ (emotional intelligence) and empathy, as part of my training and supervision of my team.

I forecast a higher level of concerns from our guests when travelling and therefore we will need to be ready to read their behaviour already at the arrival or even before, should we receive, for example, detailed email on what procedures we are using to sanitise our premises.

This means that they will come with much higher expectations, and we will need to manage them if we want to succeed in having them as ambassadors once more.

Image caption: Guest expectations will be higher in all areas of the hotel, but particularly in the F&B and public spaces. | Image credit: Chable’ Yucatan

The risk of losing the reputation is too high, particularly when the health and safety of a person can be at risk. Therefore, now is the time to show to our guests what and how we are doing to protect their health and overall wellbeing.

Here is where the EQ comes into action, where we listen and observe with empathy and we respond kindly to give comfort and respect. What do we know if this particular guest lost a loved one to COVID–19? If so, their response is quite normal and we should not dismiss them as exaggerated or overreacting. We need to know what, when and how to do it. Regardless of the rate paid, the new normal is an expected readiness and professional response from all us hoteliers globally.

In addition to the operational precautions and adaptive protocols, now more than ever, management needs to be visible for both staff and guests.

Staff need directions and supervision, as well as encouragement and motivation, and this can only be done in presence, face-to-face (maintaining the due distance) and with a positive behaviour, so that they can transmit it to the guests.

Guests, too, need to see management around and they want to make sure there is enough supervision and control over the new standards and ensure the correct procedures are applied all along their stay beside being able to speak to a senior member of the hotel in case they will encounter something inappropriate.

To us, it will offer the opportunity to check the pulse of the guests, continuously, watch their body language, ask with subtlety what their expectations are and how we have been doing so we are prepared to change the course of actions if needs be.

While I am preparing for all this as we tentatively look to reopen in June, I am also reflecting on something. Why did we not do anything like this to protect our staff and guests alike during SARS, MERS, ZIKA, malaria and other transmissible diseases? I don’t have an answer, but I am encouraged that the industry is taking action so that we can once again provide exceptional experiences for our guests.

Main image credit: Chable’ Yucatan

Osaka Hotel sets sights on a summer unveiling

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Osaka Hotel sets sights on a summer unveiling

Palace Hotel Management Company’s first property to open under a new hospitality brand Zentis is being designed by Tara Bernerd of Tara Bernerd & Partners

With a pedigree that flows from the acclaimed Palace Hotel Tokyo and designs on rewriting the playbook for lifestyle brands, the management arm of Palace Hotel Co. Ltd. has announced plans for a Q3 opening of Zentis Osaka, the first property of its new hospitality brand.

Internationally renowned UK designer, Tara Bernerd of Tara Bernerd & Partners, has been tapped for the property’s modern interiors while Café Co. – the esteemed Japanese food & beverage operator behind the one Michelin-starred CRAFTALE in Tokyo – will develop and operate the hotel’s restaurant, bar and lounge. A top-flight team of seasoned staffers from Palace Hotel Tokyo, the first Japanese-brand hotel to achieve the prestigious Forbes Five-Star rating, will guide the standards of service.

“We see an opportunity to really elevate expectations for service, accommodations and F&B in the upper reaches of the select-service category,” said Daisuke Yoshihara, president of Palace Hotel Co. Ltd. “We believe those critical aspects of the stay experience are what will emerge as key standouts to our guests, truly differentiating our brand from those already in the market.”

Image credit: Palace Hotel Management Company

With Zentis’ strong focus on design, the new property is a member of Design Hotels – a curated selection of independent hotels with a passion for genuine hospitality, cultural authenticity, thought-provoking design and architecture. “We are truly privileged to collaborate with Palace Hotel Management Company to bring Zentis to the Design Hotels community. I am certain that our trend-forward and design-conscious travelers will be inspired by this sophisticated lifestyle addition to our portfolio – and our first for Osaka,” said Jinou Park, Vice President of Asia Pacific.

An entirely new build, the 16-storey property’s contemporary yet laid-back feel flows from a natural colour palette of raw materials, including exposed brickwork and timber beams. A stone staircase anchors a lobby wrapped in floor-to-ceiling windows where a double-sided fireplace creates a focal point and connects an intimate lounge space with the landscaped green space that surrounds.

One floor above is the hotel’s bar and main dining area as well as an airy lounge and outdoor terrace featuring lofty, seven-meter-tall ceilings. Also on the second floor is the hotel’s fitness center – outfitted with Life Fitness equipment and accessible 24 hours.

Taking inspiration from the modular design and intuitive functionality of bento boxes, the 212 guestrooms feature the same fresh palettes that are found throughout the hotel. Polished wooden floors, muted tones and splashes of mustard as well as art on the walls commissioned from a local Japanese artist define spaces that make ingenious use of otherwise snug square footage.

At the helm of UPSTAIRZ – the hotel’s dining venue that is likely to emerge as a destination not only for guests, but also discerning locals – will be Executive Chef Shinya Otsuchihashi, who, after having honed his culinary skills over the last two decades in both Japan and France, will be closely overseeing the eatery’s concept and menus from his base at CRAFTALE.

Zentis Osaka is situated where the picturesque, riverside area of Dojimahama and the high-end business entertainment district of Kita-shinchi meet. Nakanoshima, an islet home to some of the city’s premium attractions – including the Osaka Science Museum and the National Museum of Art, Osaka – is a leisurely three-minute stroll from the hotel while Osaka Station, the city’s main rail hub, is a mere five-minute taxi ride away. The two major airports that service Japan’s third largest city – Kansai International Airport and Itami Airport (Osaka International Airport) – are located less than an hour’s drive away.

Main image credit: Palace Hotel Management Company

PRODUCT WATCH: Beneath the surface of Kerakoll Design House

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Beneath the surface of Kerakoll Design House

Casa Ceramica explains some of the beneficial properties of Kerakoll Design House

Kerakoll Design House is an integrated project for the Interior Design featuring innovative materials – cement, resin, handcrafted wood, micro-coatings, paints and glazes – coordinated in the10 colours of the inviting and neutral Piero Lissoni Warm Collection.

A new style of interior design, where materials, textures and colours blend together. Floors and coatings, walls, fixtures, furnishing accessories, lighting and heating fixtures all become a single seamless surface. Each material is hand made by skilled decorators, and any distinctive marks and irregularities in the surface are proof of its refined and exclusive nature.

Patina 

A breathable natural “old look” plaster effect finish. Applied seamlessly by skilled applications the product is unique and available in the 10 Warm Collection colours. Patina is indicated for internal surfaces (walls); for all environments in the house, with the exception of shower cubicles and around kitchen units, and for all commercial areas.

Patina gives environments an “old-look” style with great personality. Creating a sense of unfinished and imperfect, that clothes the walls with charm. It simulates the effect of passing time that, by building up a characteristic patina, attenuates the original colours, adding unexpected shading or allowing underlying layers to shine through. The texture of Patina, which is soft to the touch and extremely beautiful, features ripples, marbling and vibrations.

Microresina 

An eco-friendly decorative and protective microfilm, perfect for redesigning of existing ceramic walls & floors quickly and easily. Available in an extra matt finish and silk-touch effect. Microresina is suitable for internal surfaces either in the home or in commercial areas.

Microresina is comprised of a polyurethane elastic microfilm used to redesign existing wall surfaces. Following application the results provide a seamless colour of which, enhances patterns textures and irregularities to give rooms a fresh & contemporary look. The product redesigns and protects existing floorings and joints, transforming into a continuous surface that is completely non-absorbent, hygienic and safe.

Wallcrete 

A continuous, two-layer coating, 3 mm thick, with a trowled cement texture. Hand made by skilled decorators, and any distinctive marks or irregularities in the surface are proof of its refined and exclusive nature. Wallcrete is indicated for internal surfaces (coatings on columns, shelves, worktops and other architectural elements); for all rooms in the house and for all commercial areas, including coating of shower interiors (with the insertion of Wallcrete Aquastop waterproofing). Wallcrete is a surface with a great aesthetic impact that enhances the physical texture of the cement.

Casa Ceramica is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Kerakoll Design House

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The fine art of story telling

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The fine art of story telling

Hotel Designs has always championed creative art outside the conventional framework. Here, art consultant Ollie Griffin from Elegant Clutter explains the importance of narrative when choosing art for hotel interior design…

Art Consultancy is a fine art in it’s own right. Many people have an opinion on art, welcome or otherwise.

How many times have you heard someone’s throwaway comment when regarding a critically acclaimed artwork, ‘I could have done that’? Maybe they could, but the fact is they didn’t.

A key part of the Art Consultants job is to ensure the artwork makes the right connection with the hotel guest. Using the art as a story-teller is a great way to engage the guest. Hopefully it will make them think. Or smile. Or both. They may even learn something about where they are staying or eating.

The importance of research

There really is more to art than meets the eye. Elegant Clutter starts any artwork project with extensive research into the story of the hotel, location or people involved with it. There are usually a multitude of untold stories that can make great inspiration for an artist. They just need to be uncovered.

Elegant Clutters Creative Director, Harry Pass, reminds us to, ‘skip the artwork research stage at your peril’. He insists that his team meticulously research and he takes a personal sense of pride in the comprehensive proposals submitted. This is the crucial first stage of any Art Consultancy project. A well thought out art narrative can help add an intriguing and subtle thread to a hotels interior scheme.

And if the story is a heavy one then a bit of humour can help communicate it. The artists at Elegant Clutter were challenged to create some original artworks for the bedrooms of Malmaison Oxford, a former prison. Their contemporary graphical artworks depict a jailor locking up prison cells for the night featured the slogan ‘Lights out at 10’.

Seaside surrealism and modern opulence

Seaside surrealism and eccentric curiosity helped Elegant Clutter create a Brighton hotel that truly rocks. Just a few considered, quirky and nautical-inspired pieces, designed and made by EC, have totally transformed the main restaurant space at the Hotel de Vin, Brighton.

In a separate recessed area, the eccentric seaside odyssey continues. Every type of captain, from sea to spaceship, adorn the walls in a series of striking framed prints. Humour is key to the set of artworks which hopefully make people smile as well as offering a link to the sea. There are many different levels of story-telling. Some more obvious and others woven subtly into the layers of the artwork.

Image credit: Hotel Du Vin Brighton/Elegant Clutter

Another subtle piece of story-telling was involved in developing the artwork for the Brenners Park Hotel in Baden Baden. Elegant Clutter approached the artwork with modern opulence in mind. The Fritz Felix Restaurant effortlessly captures the beauty and culture of its forest surroundings.

A delightful blend of eras past and present, its mix of classicism and modernity creates a wonderfully refined, informal dining space.  The main restaurant, designed by Robert Angell Design International, features four oversized geometric artworks, painted and bespoke framed by Elegant Clutter. Reflecting the ever-changing seasons, these remain a constant view through the impressive sliding windows.

Image credit: Fritz Felix Seasons/Elegant Clutter

An abstract landscape painting was also created for the open kitchen area and a collection of pencil sketches of local architecture were commissioned for the bar. All telling the story of the locality.

Spa town renovation

Original period detailing, combined with beautiful bespoke artwork supplied by Elegant Clutter, brings the heritage of the M Gallery Hotel, Cheltenham alive.

Image credit: MGallery/Elegant Clutter

What began with thorough research, has resulted in a striking display of artwork that perfectly complements the existing aesthetics.  All of the framing and detailing are designed to fit seamlessly with the hand-crafted period interior, while providing a contemporary, playful twist.

Various artwork techniques were explored to create a totally distinct look. You’ll find everything from hand-sketched originals and printed porcelain, to vinyl silhouettes and digital murals. The bedroom artwork collection was designed by recreating the original hand painted wallpaper uncovered in the grand staircase and re-imagining it as a kaleidoscope.

City culture

Creating artwork for Radisson Blu, Leeds was a perfect fit for Elegant Clutter. With a shared belief in pushing the boundaries of hotel design, what resulted makes quite an impression.

Trevillion Interiors briefed the project in an open and dynamic way, with ‘Leeds stories’ to become the central focus. The brief allowed for complete creativity and what stands now is an impressive interior that truly reflects the heritage of this vibrant city.

One of the most striking pieces has to be the oversized, spray-painted mural of Leeds legend Peter O’Toole. The exposed wall contrasts with the smooth charm of this iconic figure, creating an industrial yet intimate feel.

Image credit: Radisson Blu/Elegant Clutter

Another statement piece constitutes a second wall mural but applied with a combination of hand painting and digital mural. The team at Elegant Clutter photographed typical street scenes of Leeds but from a very stylistic perspective. These images made up a landscape of commuters, street artists and families that were used to add interest to a previously unused and soulless atrium. The graphics and hand painted shadows adorn the three levels of bedroom walkways to create a unique atmosphere.

Other artwork references more of Yorkshire’s icons, including its famous financial district. This story was brought to life using real digitally printed penny coins to make up the image.

A similar inspiration was used on the Moxy Hotel Dusseldorf located in the banking sector of the city. Elegant Clutter have transformed the siding lift doors in a frivolous and charming way. To get to your room, you first have to get through the bank vault!

Just a bit of fun

When a story is treated a little irreverently and the client has the confidence to run with it Elegant Clutter are allowed to have a bit of fun. Working on the ETC Venue site in Chancery Lane one of Elegant Clutters free-hand artists set about painting a brick wall. With a bit of imagination the result was a glimpse at how one of the local legal fraternity may spend their breaks from court.

Sometimes it just feels right to put a smile on people’s faces by putting a smile in their face. Another art installation destined for an ETC Venue site in New York was conceived to do just that. This piece was inspired by the kindred spirits that are New York and London – and it seems more poignant than ever right now! I believe that sometimes we need art that just makes us smile.

There is a lot more to art than meets the eye so next time you hear someone disrespecting an artwork perhaps it’s worth reminding them to take moment to look a little deeper. It’s quite likely there are some interesting stories involved and at the very least some subtly veiled humour to appreciate. If they just gave it a little thought.

Elegant Clutter is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Elegant Clutter

IN VIDEO: Preparation and design solutions for a post-pandemic world

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN VIDEO: Preparation and design solutions for a post-pandemic world

Hotel Designs took over the Montgomery Group Series yesterday, interviewing Design Equals’ Katie McCarthy to understand how how the hospitality industry should be preparing for a post-pandemic world…

“Who would have predicted this time last year that we would be here, giving you [the audience] live webinars and putting Preparation and Design Solutions for a Post-Pandemic World under the spotlight,” explained editor Hamish Kilburn when he introduced the next episode in the Montgomery Group Series. “But, we are here, and we are not afraid to put it under the spotlight.” Kilburn then introduced Katie McCarthy, Founder and Design Director of Design Equals to the hundreds of individuals who tuned in for the live discussion.

If you missed the live session, here’s the full interview:

The 40-minute interview covered all angles, including common pitfalls to avoid when designing on a budget, the realities of re-opening after lockdown measures become more relaxed and the long-term impact of COVID–19. In addition, Kilburn asked McCarthy about Design Equal’s innovative initiative ‘Design = in a Box’, an industry toolkit that the design studio has launched that addresses the main areas of priorities, which are safety, space and style.

The session came as Hotel Designs prepares to go live to its international audience on June 23 with Hotel Designs LIVE, a virtual conference that will include four engaging seminars with world-renowned designers, architects, hoteliers and developers on the global hospitality and design scene.

Montgomery Group Series is a cluster of weekly webinars with Q&As from leading industry figureheads, aimed to help keep the community updated, inspired and motivated during these difficult times.

Main image credit: Hotel Designs/Design Equals

5 Minutes With: Talking modern spas with designer Beverley Bayes

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 Minutes With: Talking modern spas with designer Beverley Bayes

With pools and spas dominating the headlines on Hotel Designs this month, editor Hamish Kilburn has five minutes with Beverley Bayes, Director of Sparcstudio, which is responsible for the design schemes inside Cottenmill Spa at Sopwell House, The Spa at South Lodge and many more luxury wellness hubs that have challenged convention… 

Earlier this month, Sparcstudio kindly shared its insight on how the current pandemic will affect wellness in hotels going forward.

Although the feature was honest, engaging and informative, it left us and our readers with wanting to know more. Considering the significance of COVID–19, and its long-term affect on the perception of wellness, I caught up the studio’s director, Beverley Bayes, ahead of Hotel Designs LIVE on June 23, where she will be on the panel as we discuss the The Future of Wellness Post-Pandemic.

Hamish Kilburn: Beverley, some would argue that spas and wellness areas are a breeding ground for viruses. Is that a fair statement?

Beverley Bayes: There is a lot of debate about this topic and it’s even more relevant today as spas consider their reopening strategies. I don’t believe it is a fair statement. There are very strict cleaning and hygiene protocols already in place and spas adhere to these stringently. But good design is absolutely key in creating a spa that is easy to maintain and it’s all about the detail. Sadly there are examples of bad detailing even within luxury spas. A common one is not designing in good ‘falls’ to flooring in wet areas, the sloping floor detail enables water to drain off rather than pooling, which around a pool deck is critical. Get it wrong and you face either having your staff constantly going around with squeegees to get rid of excess water , or resorting to the installation of anti-slip matting (as recently witnessed in an otherwise beautiful spa that shall remain nameless!)

Going forward, when spas are given the green light to reopen, I would advise businesses to refer to their equipment and wet and thermal suite suppliers for additional advice on maintaining health and hygiene in a COVID-19 world. I am already seeing suppliers issue new guidance of cleaning rituals that will help to protect guests and staff, so it’s a case of liaising with your current suppliers and following their advice.

Image credit: The Spa at South Lodge, designed by Sparcstudio

HK: How can a hotel sensitively inject its style and branding into the spa/wellness areas?

BB: ‘Sensitively’ is the key word here. I think it’s a real missed opportunity when a spa feels like a continuation of a hotel environment, with similar materials and finishes and maybe a sense of ‘formality’ that you might experience in the Hotel public spaces. For us a Hotel Spa is a chance to enter another more sensuous world where guests can kick off their shoes and ‘let their hair down’ !

For that reason, We always strive to create an informal ‘bare foot luxury‘ vibe to the spas that we design. This can be achieved by adding playful elements, for example at Sopwell Spa where we created a central relax area in the Garden relax room with a group of suspended Swinging chairs arranged around a panoramic fireplace overlooking the fabulous spa Garden. (The garden was expertly designed by Ann-Marie Powell )

Style and branding elements that Hoteliers can inject into a spa include a great service ethic and service style and also a passion for food and beverage, For example at South Lodge Spa, the Exclusive Collection team led by Danny Pecorrelli, applied their passion for F & B to create a  unique 80 seater relaxed all day dining concept for the Spa called ‘Botanica’ (Working in conjunction with the ‘Gorgeous group’ and Sparcstudio for the interiors).

The restaurant offer is designed to complement the other more formal dining options at the Hotel and is open to all hotel, spa users and external guests and is based on botanical, largely plant-based sharing plates utilising ingredients from local suppliers from the south downs.

Image credit: Aqua Sana Spa County Longford, designed by Sparcstudio

HK: From a lighting perspective, has LED lost its place to natural lighting in the spa?

BB: Sparcstudio director Tom Howell, is responsible for all of our lighting design, ‘Being well lit in a spa is key to a sense of wellbeing. We do design spaces to utilise natural light where ever possible, but LED lighting in linear strip or curving tape form concealed in a wall floor or ceiling or joinery feature, provides subtle washes of indirect light and enables us to create great effects. The key with spa lighting is to be mindful of the lighting source position and the guest position which is often in a lying down / facing up position, so the ‘old school’ style ceiling mounted halogen spotlights are definitely  to be avoided in order to prevent uncomfortable glare for guests’.

HK: What will the spa look like in 50 years? 

BB: High tech … low tech. I think the ancient traditions and rituals developed by the Romans in terms of bathing, washing and thermal experiences in a social setting will still be at the core of the spa experience, together with ‘hands on treatments’ reflecting the power of human touch, which will always have a place in spa.

Technology will no doubt have a big role to play in terms of treatments. Fully immersive Virtual reality experiences will no doubt be on the menu, but designed to appeal to all of the senses, including sound, touch and smell, giving wellbeing, as well as cosmetic benefits.

Given our precious link to the natural world, Spas that celebrate unique settings, will be an important part of worldwide Spa Tourism. For example, the world’s first ‘energy-positive’ hotel, Svart, will open in Norway’s Arctic Circle in 2022.

Image caption: The Spa at South Lodge, designed by Sparcstudio

Image caption: The Spa at South Lodge, designed by Sparcstudio

HK: How do you find out about new products on the market?

BB: Word of mouth, trade shows and social media and we are also lucky to be kept updated with the latest innovations and cutting edge products that are being developed by the suppliers themselves. We also relish the opportunity to create bespoke individual designs – be it furniture,  (for example the double lounger with integral lighting at Sopwell’s Cottonmill Club spa) light fitting or heat cabin and thermal suite, all of  which helps to add to a Spa’s feeling of authenticity and uniqueness.

Quick-fire round

HK: What’s the biggest misconception about being a designer who specialises in spas and wellness areas?

BB: That we design ‘spa pools’- those lovely big injection moulded plastic ‘people soup’ models spring to mind! A common mistake is to design a series of spa ‘spaces’ without really understanding or thinking through the journey and how they connect.

HK: Where is next on your spa bucket list?

BB: Aman Kyoto, Anada in the Indian Hymalas and Aro Hā  (Overlooking the ‘otherworldly’ expanse of Lake Wakatipu) in New Zealand’s Southern Alps.

HK: What is your go-to treatment?

BB: A Hammam. A recent Couples Hammam in Bodrum was amazing – the facial loofa part was a bit scary at the time but was amazingly effective!

HK: What has been the most significant innovation on the wellness scene in the last five years?

BB: I would say one of the largest innovations, which is much more low-tech, is the rise of the Spa Garden, particularly here in the UK.

HK: What does luxury mean to you?

BB: Uninterrupted time away from technology and work/ home life distractions relaxing in a tranquil, stimulating/ sensuous environment that is ‘authentic and unique’ and beautifully / thoughtfully designed of course!

Image caption: Cottonmill Club at Sopwell House

Image caption: Cottonmill Club at Sopwell House, designed by Sparcstudio

HK: How is social media driving a change in the way in which wellness spaces are being designed?

BB: Social media is a powerful influence in the world of spa. Hotels and wellness spaces are very visual and this links perfectly to a social media platform like Instagram as it is all about the perfect picture. What we are seeing, in some instances, is that spas are creating experiences that are very obviously designed to create an ‘Instagram worthy shot’. An over the top (but often used) example is the placement of pink flamingoes in a spa or pool area, or a snug area that is branded and decorated with flower walls. You see this a lot in resorts in the Indian Ocean. The difficulty is that these experiences don’t place wellness or the guest experience at the heart of it. Following short term trends can be a problem as they are short lived and aren’t durable. They will quickly look outdated as Instagrammers hunt the next big thing, leaving your wellness space looking tired and past its sell-by date.

HK: There is a difference between wellness and wellbeing, how can modern spas evoke both in their design? 

BB: Wellbeing is the experience of health, happiness, and prosperity. It includes having good mental health, high life satisfaction, a sense of meaning or purpose, and ability to manage stress Good Spa Design should create a sense of wellbeing by providing experiences that appeal to the senses and are ideally related to natural elements, and provide an escape from the stresses of work and everyday life.

Wellness, the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort. Fitness/ wellness facilities are an increasingly important element of a spa offer, in the form of yoga studio or outside Yoga deck, a well-designed gym (sensitively designed to fit with the Spas over-all ambience).

We also anticipate that there will continue to be overlaps or a blurring of the lines between fitness, wellness, spa and medical facilities. High end gyms such as ‘Third Space’ integrate spaces for relaxation and wellbeing with the inclusion of thermal suites and relaxation spaces. The sensuous Hot yoga studio that we designed at the Tower Bridge site has shaker style panelling and end grain Juniper log panelling that emit a soothing aroma when heated.

Sparcstudio, which will be involved in Hotel Designs LIVE on June 23, is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: SparcStudio

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Striving for a more sustainable future in hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Striving for a more sustainable future in hotel design

With Covid-19 taking up much of the industry’s attention at the moment, it’s important to keep sustainable design high on the agenda, as Senior Associate at HBA EMEA Erica Pritchard explains…

It wasn’t all that long ago that hotels could be praised for putting in LED lights, or banishing plastic bottled water from the mini bar. Yet in more recent times, the world has become focused on sustainability in an insistent way, and in no other industry has this been more apparent than in the world of travel and hospitality. Modern day travellers are seeking to travel more sustainably, and for hoteliers, sustainable credentials have become a necessity. But whilst offering eco-friendly straws and reducing towel washing is certainly commendable, ensuring sustainability is at the core of a hotel or restaurants design vision, and is fundamental in futureproofing it for generations to come.

Broadly, to be sustainable means to organise all human activity in support of the natural systems that ultimately give us life. In our field, to be sustainable means to integrate the processes of development planning, architecture, engineering, interior design, and construction in a way that will also support the natural systems in which we live. As such, sustainable design simply cannot come as an afterthought. Rather it requires intensive forethought to emerge from being an aspirational trend to having sustainability credentials that stand up. The most successful projects are those that have sustainability written into the brief as a core objective and where the whole design team are working together in carbon lifecycle thinking, along with the help of a dedicated sustainability consultant.

Image credit: HBA EMEA

Often simple planning decisions that need to be thought through early in the design process can be make or break for how sustainable a building is. For example, if you open-up aspects that are southern facing, you minimise the need for artificial heating. Similarly, look at optimising natural ventilation to reduce the need for mechanical cooling – it may be obvious to us as designers, but it is all too easily overlooked.

I’ve already touched on the dreaded plastic bottle – a permanent fixture at the hotel bedside and in every mini bar for the last few decades. Not so in vogue anymore but quite difficult to phase out given guests need for fresh water. Hospitality spaces are more commonly adding water stations now, which of course negates the need for plastic bottles but also gives the guest a feeling of generosity. The same goes for the mini bar: in its current iteration it is surely a prime example of unsustainability and has reached its lifespan. However, by stocking it with earth-friendly products that are prepared and purchased locally it becomes an eco-warrior and champion of locale. And let’s face it, not everyone wants Pringles!

Image credit: HBA EMEA

As designers we are just one piece of the puzzle and it is important to acknowledge the value of suppliers in the quest for eco-friendly design. We rely heavily on having strong relationships with suppliers and procurement, and the expert knowledge they provide. There are some amazing companies doing the heavy lifting of research for designers and such partnerships with these enterprises are invaluable as we work together to deliver sustainable hospitality spaces.

Companies offering a level of bespoke craftsmanship that hold their suppliers accountable will hopefully enforce the cause. For example, Christophe Delcourt a Parisian furniture designer offers pieces that are made from natural materials, timber, ceramic, metals and because of the quality they have an extended lifespan, aging with integrity. Like Christian Liagre’s furniture, they are instantly contemporary heirlooms. In the genre of lighting, Alison Berger Glass Works creates lighting that is based on, “the visual vocabulary that societies create to manifest their beliefs, desires and rituals…Like memory itself, these glass objects, sculptures and furnishings transcend time and place.”

Dodds&Shute, a furniture procurement company, are leading the way in putting the carbon footprint of their products at the heart of their work. They have also partnered with Cordillera Azul National Park project in Peru and are offsetting their carbon on projects by buying forest credits. Other companies are offering a level of bespoke craftsmanship that Having companies hold their suppliers accountable will hopefully enforce the cause.

Of course, the mechanics and materials of a building are fundamental in how sustainable it is, however we are also responsible for making such spaces beautiful and inspiring, particularly in the luxury sector. The key here is timeless design. Much like fast fashion, designing for trends is undoubtedly one of the biggest contributors to the world’s sustainability issues. Trends are disposable and thus, so are the materials that are used. The focus should always be on designing for quality and longevity, and recyclability.

Whilst sustainability has been high on the agenda for some time now, the current pandemic has meant it has acquired a new meaning for us all. Hoteliers, restaurant owners and operators find that the sustainability of their business model itself is being radically challenged. Looking ahead beyond the current shutdown future guests will, first and foremost, expect assurances that a hotel or restaurant can sustain the basic health and wellbeing of patrons and staff. In this complex context, interior designers alone cannot ensure a project is sustainable. However, interior designers can play a crucial role in reassuring guests, helping solve the problems of the ‘new normal’ and futureproof such buildings.

It strikes me that we are entering the Age of Responsibility, forced into sharp focus by this pandemic. It includes a principle of life cycle assessment: cleaner production, sustainable consumption, and cradle to cradle concepts. This is not wishful thinking, but a practical strategy for achieving sustainability and responsibility, economically, socially, and environmentally. We know how to green deserts, purify air, seed the rain, and create an abundance of food. We know how to enhance soils rapidly and build healthy and completely natural shelters. How can we, as the present generation, weave regenerative life methodologies together to enable future generations to enjoy a more sustainable environment?

 

One example, albeit extreme, of regenerative values are the Bridges of the Khasi people located in Northeast India. High in the mountainous plateau near the border with Bangladesh, this matrilineal society has been growing and stewarding living root bridges grown from the roots of the banyan tree. These bridges over their high mountain gorges and rushing rivers grow stronger with time, unlike our modern-day concrete and rebar structures. It takes 15 – 20 years just to cross one of these gorges, and maybe another decade before the bridge can bear the regular weight of a passing human. While many of the bridges that are planted are by people who will never walk on them in their lifetime, they are planted and tended to for future generations.

Sustainability clearly isn’t a one-step equation, but a multifaceted process towards making a lasting change. The 7th Generation Principle of Design is a lens through which to measure a design’s effectiveness at maintaining continuity through time – in other words, will it still be performing its intended functions 150 years from today when your grandchildren’s grandchildren’s children are born?

On the surface, to create a sustainable design appears to be a longer and more expensive process, but it doesn’t have to be. The more we adopt sustainable designs, the more such an approach becomes normalised. Sustainable design can be achieved in a way that takes it beyond that of an aspirational trend and towards an embedded cultural change. This is something we need to both inspire and educate our clients on. As designers, we research our market, the setting, and its context. The market will soon be pushing us even further in terms of sustainability as we re-enter a world post-pandemic and we need to be ambassadors of this information, feeding it to clients so that it becomes a core objective for all the stakeholders involved. We must be rigorous in creating holistic hospitality spaces, places that inspire, are differentiated in the marketplace but most importantly, can thrive for generations to come.

Main image credit: HBA EMEA

CASE STUDY: Lighting the iconic Britannia Hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Lighting the iconic Britannia Hotel

Following an extensive three-year renovation, the iconic Britannia hotel reopened in April 2019 as a luxury five star hotel and member of The Leading Hotels of the World. The complete refurbishment was designed by leading interior architects Metropolis, working with renowned lighting designers Stokkan Lys

Metropolis’ clear attention to detailing and use of quality materials have resulted in 22,000 square metres of contemporary classic style, dressed with continental and local references.

Selected to deliver highlights in the contemporary classic aesthetic, key Heathfield lighting can be found throughout the 257 hotel rooms. Junior, Superior and Deluxe suites feature Amelia or Antero bedside table lamps in their bestselling Antique glass finish, completed with an Andro desk lamp in each room.

Heathfield  & Co’s Czarina Old Gold chandelier forms the central feature of the high-end Signature suite, whilst a pair of Herzog Champagne table lamps draw focus in the inviting conference centre lounge.

Image credit: Britannia/Heathfield Lighting

Heathfield Lighting is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Britannia/Heathfield Lighting

HD launches a one-day virtual conference, Hotel Designs LIVE

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
HD launches a one-day virtual conference, Hotel Designs LIVE

Hotel Designs LIVE, which takes place online on June 23, will consist of engaging seminars by the leading figures on the international hotel design scene, while also putting the latest products and innovations under the spotlight…

If you are designer, architect, hotelier or developer, secure your complimentary place at Hotel Designs LIVE here.

Hotel Designs, the leading international hotel design website, has launched Hotel Designs LIVE, a one-day virtual conference to serve the industry during the Covid-19 crisis.

The inaugural Hotel Designs LIVE, which takes place online on June 23, will define the point on international hotel design’s most relevant topics with the help of some of design, architecture and hospitality’s leading figures as well as identifying the latest product innovations on the market.

“Not even lockdown will prevent Hotel Designs from creating conversations like no other,” explains editor Hamish Kilburn who will host the virtual event on June 23. “The concept of Hotel Designs LIVE is to use a new method to engage with our audience, and will so do that by hosting  thought-provoking discussions and identifying the latest products on the market in a concise and meaningful way.”

Designers, architects, hoteliers and developers who wish to attend the free conference can do so by registering online. The seminars, which will be divided into four relevant sections throughout the day (technology, public areas, sleep and wellness), will include discussions and insights from leading individuals on the international hotel design scene.

What’s on the agenda? 

 

In addition to the live seminar sessions – and to ensure that the event is bridging the gap between hospitality suppliers and designers, architects, hoteliers and developers – the conference will also include structured ‘PRODUCT WATCH’ pitches around each session, allowing suppliers the opportunity to pitch their products and services in a ‘live’ environment to the hospitality buyers that are tuned in.

If you are a designer, architect, hotelier  or developer and would like to find out more about Hotel Designs LIVE, or book on to any or all of the above sessions, you can do so by visiting the event page.

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

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Should business hotels go ‘FIFO’?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Should business hotels go ‘FIFO’?

No, it’s not a rendition of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ “Hi ho hi ho it’s off the work we go”. Instead, designer Peter Mance, the director of MAAPS Design and Architecture, explains how hotels in the hospitality industry could adapt the ‘Fly in/fly out scheme…

FIFO (Fly In/Fly Out) is a common workforce rostering concept employed by the gas and mining communities.

With the move into our “Stay Alert” phase in the UK it may be the opportune moment for business focused hotels to explore and offer a FIFO business model to corporate and institutional teams. Expanding and adapting the concept of a family “Social bubble” to a new “Corporate bubble” which allows a way out of lockdown and a return of business to city-based hotels.

I see three converging drivers that may open up the concept of city FIFO arrangements for business travel and workforce accommodation in the short to medium term:

  • Workers desire from an emotional and financial well-being perspective to return to work. In this I am noting Salesforce’s Marc Benioff recent remarks that the general anxiety about the coronavirus coupled with the isolation of being alone at home took an emotional toll on their workforce, with 36% saying they were experiencing mental health issues.
  • The ongoing concerns around the control of virus spread, reduced public transport availability, concerns about environment pollution and the promotion of walking and cycling.
  • And to ensure that teams, personnel, and wider social networks are kept safe throughout their day.

Perhaps the other question to be explored at this time is whether brands that operate off a smaller room footprint will be at a disadvantage because of this pandemic.

Return to work

You may have already noticed that five weeks into lockdown there has been a noticeable drop off in remote working productivity, incremental erosions of morale and collegiate purpose. Something is missing. Our experience with remote working has seen colleagues using Microsoft Teams and WhatsApp to keep a constant chat lines open throughout the day. A casual desktop presence so that colleagues can simply spend time (albeit virtually) close with one another, aware and sharing the incidental routines of the day, the coffee break, the toilet break, the cat wandering across the keyboard. Whether it is due to lack of decompression space at home, or anxieties piled on by housemates, parents or partners, I know that some of our younger staff are noticeably itchy to return to their desks and are asking “why isn’t our office our home as well?”.

Image caption: A model of what fly in/fly out could look like.

Image caption: A model of what fly in/fly out could look like.

With the likely staggered returns, staggered days, and rotation of previously furloughed staff FIFO working methods could well become an effective way for institutional and corporate businesses to safely rebuild and reconnect teams over the evolving “Covid Secure” protocols which will be required until a vaccine is available.

Location, location, location

If we are to accept scientific and government advice, then Covid-19 will remain a continuing risk for many months to come. Given that this will be a slow and cautious readjustment I can readily imagine a scenario where both business and budget hotels or hostels can provide collegiate “Bubble Bookings” for companies. The same logic that has anchored many hotels to key transport nodes may for the short term provide the ideal FIFO workforce dormitory location. Allowing what are effectively “quarantined” staff to walk or cycle to their place of work and retreat at the end of the day to a secure, controlled, safe and hospitable environment.

We must anticipate that there will be a mixed degree of workforce acceptance or willingness to return to work. Many anxieties will remain about protecting loved ones at home. Over and above the basic guidance from our government, companies will be speaking with staff to agree how they can safely work, protect themselves, protect colleagues and families while starting to re-engage and drive our economy back to life. My sense is that the offer of a trusted hotel room for key staff can be one of the ways that we can bring people back to work, allow an appropriate level of protection and keep vital businesses going.

In know that hotels, in the absence of prescribed government guidance, will define their own pathway back to accepting guests. As has always been the case, it will be the operators and owners that carry the risk and responsibility for guest safety and will therefore look to transform and lead the way forward from the front foot. Happily, one of the paradoxes of the pandemic is that it will be an impetus for, not an impediment to, innovation.

Covid protocols

Hotels have already demonstrated they can successfully operate within the Covid climate and maintain impeccable hygiene standards. The first wave and initial lock-down saw the likes of Best Western, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Travelodge, Whitbread’s Premier Inn, Ibis, Mercure, Novotel and Adagio opening their doors to the NHS and other government mandated key workers, in addition to working with local and national government agencies during the repatriation of Brits returning home to the UK. Let us pivot this capability and knowledge to reassure future guests and demonstrate that business hotels remain an attractive option to businesses.

As a result, there may be future development opportunities for hotel operators to utilise their collective hospitality and logistical capabilities to provide “pop-up” accommodation within larger offices. Perhaps converting a couple of floors, or dormant retails spaces, and bringing in housekeeping resources and cleaning expertise to keep things in order.

Hotels will have already focused on upgrading their hygiene skills. Working with AHCP (Association of Healthcare Cleaning Professionals) to certify staff and institute improved procedures and protocols. I’m also aware of the many examples of patient hotels in Scandinavia and their expertise in maintaining a healthy comfortable environment with impressively low incidents of infections. Much as I am suggesting for FIFO work rostering to help the UK’s return to work, many of the patient hotels provide accommodation for doctors on six-month training periods at adjacent hospitals. It is therefore clear to me that the necessary level of preparedness and resources within the hospitality world already exist to keep guests and staff safe.

The size of rooms

It will not be about size of the guestrooms. It will be about the journey to it.

In my opinion hotels with compact room forms and long-stay options will be adept at welcoming guests back business guests. They will in fact have the advantage as their essential mode of operation is their studied efficiency, often with a stripped-down aesthetic, which will be eminently easier to clean and protect.

Image credit: MAAPS Design & Architecture

Much as it is being explored in the workplace arena, strategies for safer hotels and hostels post-Covid, will be using simple and cost-effective measures such as staggered room allocation to reduce density and the redesign of circulation routes to allow for one-way directional movement through the hotel. Adaptability will be key, with the ability for spaces and guest rooms to flex to accommodate perhaps a duel use – part guestroom, part office. With Club Quarters Hotel LIF Club Level guestrooms, we have explored similar transitional room concepts which are achieved through creative, yet uncomplicated, design solutions. Where shuttered internal windows between rooms and corridors provide visual outward connections. Now might the very moment that these experimental guestroom thoughts find traction.

Initial hotel concerns will focus on improvements to increase ventilation capacity and filtration, along with enabling one-way guest circulation through the hotel and guestroom levels. While there will be a reluctance to drop room count, hotels will have to reduce density for operational reasons. While we may not be able to stretch corridors, and until the pandemic passes, it should be feasible to identify new stacked cores through which to tread a new stair and ductwork network. With lifts then designated for upward distribution and stairs are down.

Closing thoughts

As I mentioned above, our younger design team members are craving for the incidental connections of life and a return to work. They would like nothing better than for us to provide the means, accommodation and safety of our own “Corporate bubble” close to work. Life in lock-down has thrown many things into relief. Among them the spaces in which we work, stay, and how they are purposed. Particularly, and in some instances painfully realised, as many of us have asked homes to carry the combined weight of work, sanctuary, school and gym. The FIFO accommodation model may help both business and hospitality transition back to an integrated life and foster lasting connections with location and community.

Oh, and you’d be well advised to plan for lots of additional bike storage!

MAAPS Design and Architecture is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: MAAPS Design and Architecture

PRODUCT WATCH: Tape Cord Outdoor range by Minotti

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Tape Cord Outdoor range by Minotti

As Hotel Designs starts to place outdoor style under the editorial magnifying glass this month, editor Hamish Kilburn gets comfortable as he checks out Minotti’s Tape Cord Outdoor range of furniture, a fine example of outdoor, robust furniture meeting indoor style… 

If you are familiar with the Italian furniture brand Minotti’s timeline of product launches, you will know all about Tape, a collection of seats that were designed in collaboration with Studio Nendo, and first launched in 2018, that bring together couture detail and soft curves.

As with everything on the international design scene, meaningful furniture collections evolve – and the same can be said for the Tape collection, which in 2019 incorporated items for the outdoor environment that maintain the undeniable elegance of the forms and concepts of the design, and add a few welcome variants that embrace the concept of outdoor living.

The seats became deeper, larger and more relaxing, while the metal frame, in a new outdoor finish, was covered with the wicker-effect cords, which is available in two colours: mud and licorice.

Here, the couture detail of Tape – the piece of ribbon that holds the feet on to the body – takes the form of a light bronze-coloured metal plate. This finish is the minimal common denominator and leitmotiv of the entire 2019 Outdoor Collection.

Image credit: Minotti

The family offers many elements, ideal for creating relaxation areas also in small outdoor spaces or on urban rooftop terraces: from the armchair to the sofa, from the Paolina chaise longue to the original open couch – open at the back – from the chair to the coffee tables.

The concept of the small tables in metal with light bronze finish is inspired by the distinctive Tape detail itself, which aesthetically secures the legs to the crown, inside which the top in Silver Beola or Corian EC is inserted.

Image credit: Minotti

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

Main image credit: Minotti

“Hygiene is a top priority for bathroom designers”, says GROHE

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
“Hygiene is a top priority for bathroom designers”, says GROHE

The bathroom manufacturer GROHE tells Hotel Designs that a new approach to the topic of hygiene will significantly change the work of architects in the future…

Bathroom supplier GROHE has reported unprecedented demand for hygienic touchless taps in the wake of the coronavirus COVID–19 crisis.

At a time when the pandemic has pushed the everyday necessity of hand washing into the spotlight, it would seem finding solutions to optimise hygiene in both the workplace and at home is spurring the demand.

“Together with sustainability, health will define the way we build and design homes, offices and places where people meet,” – Coen van Oostrom, Founder and CEO of EDGE.

Leading figures within the design community are also considering how hygiene will come to the fore in the interior spaces of the future. Coen van Oostrom, Founder and CEO of EDGE, a company that specialises in developing a new generation of buildings that focus on the health of people and the planet, predicts that new health measures will play a key role in a new generation of workplaces. “Together with sustainability, health will define the way we build and design homes, offices and places where people meet,” the architect said. “Touchless products and speech-driven technology will play a key role in making healthy and safe offices. Consumers will want to minimise contact to surfaces as much as possible”.

Having specified the healthcare, hospitality and commercial sector for many years, where hygiene-optimised products are already far more commonplace, GROHE is braced for the vast changes ready to hit the mass marketplace. “With our wide range of touchless and hands-free products, we at GROHE have the right response to the increased need of hygiene in sensitive areas such as kitchens and bathrooms”, says Jonas Brennwald, CEO LIXIL Water Technology EMENA, Deputy CEO Grohe AG. “Currently, we can say that we are already experiencing a higher demand for our hygiene enhancing products – from both our private and business customers.”

In the UK market, the transition to a more hygiene-focused workplace and business environment has already been in motion since the beginning of the year. Elina Enqvist-Twomey, Category Manager at GROHE UK says: “Feedback from the commercial market in the last three months tells us that hygiene is top of the agenda for specification, with a large proportion of projects specifying more hygiene-focused products such as infra-red taps , infra-red flush plates, and shower toilets. In recent weeks, we have seen an increase in customers purchasing infra-red taps as a result. Likewise, in the kitchen, several of our tap designs which use advanced technologies to minimise physical interaction with the handle of the tap itself such as our SmartControl kitchen mixer and Zedra Touch range have also seen an increased interest. When the industry returns to a sense of normality, we expect the increasing scrutiny of hygiene in the workplace and public buildings to continue. This pandemic has encouraged all of us in some way to rethink our hygiene practises and consider new lengths to protecting ourselves and those around us.”

Image credit: GROHE

Why an infra-red touchless tap is more hygienic

In recent years, the property market has seen a shift to include more alternative housing settings such as grandparents living with their children and families, or groups of young professionals co-habiting together. This is when infra-red technology first began to be demanded in the residential sector and its benefits have continued to strengthen demand ever since. Infra-red taps require minimal, if any, human contact with the tap itself unlike standard taps where germs from unclean hands could linger on tap handles, unless continual thorough cleaning was carried out after each use. The GROHE Bau Cosmo E, a strong robust design made using composite polymer, uses motion sensors to detect movement, which then activates the water flow. A mixing valve on the side of the spout can be used to adjust the temperature if required and a temperature limiter can also be installed if desired. Once the user removes their hands from the basin, the sensors will detect this and stop the water flow.

GROHE is one of Hotel Designs’ 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: GROHE

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Photographing a hotel for design press

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Photographing a hotel for design press

Following on from the popular feature that explained how to style a hotel’s narrative for design press, Hotel Designs asks photographer Brenden Cox of The Towner  what to consider when framing and capturing a hotel’s interior design scheme…

One of the first questions I always ask a client when I’m photographing is: ‘what are you trying to say’ and ‘who is your target audience’. These questions play a vital role in dictating what these images will look like.

If your hotel has a strong and consistent message, why not express this with your photography?

Image caption: A luxury villa in Ibiza | Image credit: Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Tower

Image caption: A luxury villa in Ibiza | Image credit: Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Towner

People will choose a hotel as they want to be part of the story that the hotel has created. Joseph Campbell wrote that all good stories start with a ‘Call To Adventure’ which is exactly what these photos need to be. Unique angles of rooms or communal spaces makes you want to explore what is around the next corner. Framing an image through a doorway or partly into a room draws the viewer in and excites their imagination. This can also help hide some unflattering but necessary utilities, make these angles work for you! Draw your viewer in and capture their attention with what they find.

Showing what a space looks like is a very important part of advertising your hotel, but as with any great story it comes down to the details. Showing off interesting and unique textures, fabrics and finishes in a hotel gives a taste of what the customer can experience. The great thing is these images can be shot all year round. When booking photoshoots, walking the line of wanting to have beautiful weather but not wanting to disrupt your clientele can be extremely difficult. That is why focusing on detail shots can help increase your content and will compliment beautifully those ‘Hero Shots’ you capture when you have nice weather.

Image caption: Luxury villa in Ibiza: Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Tower

Image caption: Luxury villa in Ibiza: Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Towner

Customers are also usually looking for a certain type of atmosphere when choosing a hotel. Is your hotel in a busy area, surrounded by the lights of the city and the noise and romance of late night dinner spots? Then a dark and moody photograph, showing off the rich textures and colours of your hotel’s interiors, suggests the perfect intimate hideaway. Fitting perfectly with the holiday experience your customer is piecing together in their mind. This is all about playing a role in the story that they are trying to create.

Image caption: The Giri, Ibiza | Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Tower

Image caption: The Giri, Ibiza | Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Towner

Conversely, are you trying to appeal to young families, big groups or people just travelling for business. Having your images wide and bright gives comfort to parents that they will be able to see where their children are playing. Groups know there is space for everyone and there will be no shock about what it looks like when arriving. A photograph is there to put the viewers mind at ease, that the hotel will deliver on what their message says. A dark and rich photograph of a hotel restaurant has the same importance as a wide and well-lit image of that hotels conference room. It is all about what you are trying to say!

Image caption: Inside Eilean Shona Hotel, Vanessa Branson's island, Scotland | Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Tower

Image caption: Inside Eilean Shona Hotel, Vanessa Branson’s island, Scotland | Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Towner

Colour plays a very significant role in expressing what a space has to offer. A photographer will usually take the lead of the interior designer or stylist who has decorated a room by trying to reiterate what it is they are trying to say. Dark woods and rich upholstery will compliment beautifully with a warm light and deep saturation. Reds and oranges are associated with hunger and desire, drawing the viewer in and leaving them wanting more.

When showcasing a rooftop pool or beautiful garden and outdoor area, blues and greens express relaxation, nature and freshness. Using these colours has the added benefit of really making an image stand out. Colours are incredibly versatile and are there to be used to your advantage. Try and keep your branding in mind when discussing with your photographer as well. Most companies have a style guide which all their promotional materials reside within, so why wouldn’t your photos?

Image caption: Luxury villa in Ibiza | Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Tower

Image caption: Luxury villa in Ibiza | Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Towner

One of the best ways to tell a story with photographs, is juxtaposing them in a way that celebrates not only your beautiful hotel but also the area in which it is located. This again will be closely tied to the interior designers approach and how they have tied the styling into the look and history of the surrounding area. Images of white towels and large glass windows, complimented next to rolling surf and white sandy beaches, tell your potential customers all they need to know to convince them to stay!

This is also a great opportunity to really make you hotel stand out from the crowd. How is your space interesting and unique to the area it inhabits. Images of a busy London street next to a photo of a chic Japanese inspired interior excites the imagination and curiosity. As well as images of an open African savannah adjacent to a secluded glass room overhanging it, tells such a vivid story with only two images.

With all this in mind, the most important thing is to really try and explore what you can achieve with your imagery. Due to the rise of social media people are always on the lookout for what is new and exciting. Staying in a hotel can be luxurious and full of adventure, and that should be taken advantage of when planning a photoshoot.

Main image credit: The Towner/Brendan Cox

SPA SPECIAL: A new age of sub-zero wellness travel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPA SPECIAL: A new age of sub-zero wellness travel

As Hotel Designs continues May by positioning Spas and Outdoor Style under the spotlight, editor Hamish Kilburn learns more about a new pioneering spa concept, located in the Arctic Circle, which is expected to open in 2022…

Last week, the editorial desk was appropriately focusing its attention on the present, with an unprecedented pandemic shaking the industry to inspire us to look at the hotel spas around the globe that are naturally self-isolating in style.

As we continue our month discovering the flowing world of spas extraordinary outdoor style, we are looking ahead (towards uncharted waters, if you like) to the possibilities and the role of wellness in tomorrow’s luxury hotels. And there is no better example of pioneering wellness hotels on the boards than Svart, the 99-key hotel in Norway’s Artic Circle that has created waves in the luxury travel press recently as it is billed to become the world’s first energy-positive hotel.

More than ever before, by 2022, consumers are predicted to value and seek sustainable travel which incorporates health awareness, mindfulness and wellness. Designed by architecture firm Snøhetta, Svart will aim to offer travellers a new means of conscious escapism. 

Image credit: Snøhetta/Plompmozes/Miris

The Svart Spa and Wellness Clinic will provide a personalised, outcome-focused wellness plan which will underpin the guest experience. Taking individuals on a journey to ‘Climatise, Condition and Evolve’, programmes will target the mind, body and skin and will be individually-tailored to support, strengthen and optimise the outdoor pursuits of the adventurer. 

The 1,000 square metre indoor-outdoor wellness hub will comprise of treatment rooms with outdoor bathing facilities, a relaxation lounge, swimming pool, fully equipped yoga and sound-healing studio, steam rooms and state-of-the-art gym.

Treatments and therapies will range from massages and facials using locally-sourced, sustainable ingredients and indigenous Nordic elements, to sound-healing, reflexology, cryotherapy and transformative health and nutrition coaching incorporating cutting-edge wearable technology.  

A variety of holistic treatments will be on offer, from the traditionally Norwegian – encompassing native Nordic methods – to the medically and technologically cutting-edge. All Svart therapies will use 100 per cent locally-grown natural products, herbs and marine ingredients. 

Upon arrival, guests will have a one-to-one consultation with the expert Spa team and resident health concierge to discuss and select a unique programme of services, therapies and supplements. The treatment plan will be individually-tailored to support and enhance the outdoor activities guests wish to pursue during their stay.

From the cutting-edge spa and adventurous activities offering – which will target physical and mental wellbeing – to the nutritional-focused dining offering, wellness will flow through every element of the hotel. 

A balanced and considered blend of human interaction and sensory attention, within an immersive and comforting atmosphere will aid guests to optimum success in their evolution of wellbeing.

With non-invasive technology available such as wearable devices, guests will also have access to useful data to better understand themselves and enhance goal-orientated efforts. 

“Our aim was to create a truly immersive and purpose driven experience for guests, enabling them to become more in tune with themselves as they take in the natural wonders of Norway’s incredible Svartisen,” explained Felicity Leahy, Svart’s appointed Spa & Wellness Consultant and Co-Founder of iMPACT-Business Health, a leading management consultancy to the medical aesthetics and private healthcare sectors.  

Image credit: Snøhetta/Plompmozes/Miris

A collaboration between property firm MIRIS and leading Norwegian companies, Svart will be the world’s first ‘energy-positive’ hotel, meaning it will produce more energy than it uses. It aims to be fully off-grid, carbon neutral and zero waste within the first five years of operation.

To add to its stellar eco-credentials, the project will be funded by Green Bond, a sustainable investment fund recently launched by MIRIS.

Green Bond provides an opportunity for investors to build wealth responsibly, investing in the future of travel, property and technology while safeguarding the planet for generations to come.

Main image credit: Svart/Snøhetta/Plompmozes Miris

Hotel being formed from train carriages on bridge in Africa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel being formed from train carriages on bridge in Africa

The train hotel, which will be called Kruger Shalati, is under construction on the Selati Bridge in South Africa’s Kruger National Park…

Talk about a one-off travel experience. Unmatched views of the South African wildlife in Kruger National Park will soon be spectacularly framed from the vantage point of a new 31-key luxury hotel that will be formed from a set of 13 restored train carriages on a disused bridge.

Kruger Shalati is expected to offer a unique luxury accommodation in the re-envisioned train which will pay homage to the guests who explored the park nearly 100 years ago while welcoming new explorers from near and far. The hotel’s location marks where the first visits to the iconic park were allowed in the early 1920s (the train would park overnight in the exact spot where Kruger Shalati will be positioned.)

Render of train on bridge

Image credit: Kruger Shalati

Renderings of the new hotel show how the carriages will merge together and perch over the Sabie River on the Selati Bridge. The glass-walled, large train rooms will allow for infinite views along the length of the majestic river below, while the style of the train is a celebration of African design in collaboration with local art and crafting skills. Despite the architectural challenges, its renderings suggest that the hotel will feature decking, carious view points and even a private plunge pool.

African-inspired Interior design in luxury guestroom.

Image credit: Kruger Shalati

“Even though we’re experiencing a nationwide lockdown, the excitement of the outdoors grows stronger and stronger,” the hotel wrote in a statement on Instagram. “We’re looking forward to heading back to construction on the Kruger Shalati Train on a Bridge. and experiencing the beauty of its surroundings.”

The hotel, which is described on its website as “an express entryway to freedom, relaxation and meaningful connection,” is still under construction.

Main image credit: Kruger Shalati

IN PICTURES: New photography emerges of ME Dubai at the Opus

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN PICTURES: New photography emerges of ME Dubai at the Opus

Photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu has shared new images of Opus, an innovative glass-façade building that was designed by Zaha Hadid Architects…

Home to newly opened ME Dubai, the Opus, which conceptualised in 2007 by Zaha Hadid Architects, explores the balance between solid and void, opaque and transparent, interior and exterior.

The late Zaha Hadid herself presented this project as the only hotel in which she created both its architecture and interiors, which gives it a special significance among the architecture firm’s portfolio of work.

“The cube has been ‘eroded’ in its centre, creating a free-form void that is an important volume of the design in its own right.”

Spanning 84,300 square metres (907,400 square feet), the Opus was designed as two separate towers that coalesce into a singular whole – taking the form of a cube. The cube has been ‘eroded’ in its centre, creating a free-form void that is an important volume of the design in its own right. The two halves of the building on either side of the void are linked by a four-storey atrium at ground level and also connected by an asymmetric 38 metre wide, three-storey bridge 71 metres above the ground.

Striking architecture of the cube like building

Image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

“The precise orthogonal geometries of the Opus’ elemental glass cube contrast dramatically with the fluidity of the eight-storey void at its centre,” explained Christos Passas, project director at Zaha Hadid Architects.

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

Image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

The void’s 6,000 square metre façade is created from 4,300 individual units of flat, single-curved or double-curved glass. The high-efficiency glazing units are comprised of 8mm Low-E glass (coated on the inside), a 16mm cavity between the panes and two layers of 6mm clear glass with a 1.52mm PVB resin laminate. This curved façade was designed using digital 3D modelling that also identified specific zones which required tempered glass.

During the day, the cube’s façade reflects the sky, the sun and the surrounding city; whilst at night, the void is illuminated by a dynamic light installation of individually controllable LEDs within each glass panel.

Furniture by Zaha Hadid Design is installed throughout the hotel, including the ‘Petalinas’ sofas and ‘Ottomans’ pods in the lobby that are fabricated from materials ensuring a long lifecycle and its components can be recycled. The ‘Opus’ beds are featured in each guestrooms, while the ‘Work & Play’ combination sofa with desk are installed in the suites. The bathrooms incorporate the ‘Vitae’ bathroom collection, designed by Hadid in 2015 for Noken Porcelanosa, continuing her fluid architectural language throughout the hotel’s interiors.

Modern, angular guestroom

Image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

The ME Dubai hotel incorporates 74 rooms and 19 suites, while the Opus building also houses offices floors, serviced residences and restaurants, cafes and bars including ROKA, the contemporary Japanese robatayaki restaurant and the MAINE Land Brasserie.

modern bathroom

Image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

Sensors throughout the Opus automatically adjust the ventilation and lighting according to occupancy to conserve energy while ME Dubai follows Meliá Hotels International initiatives for sustainable practices. Hotel guests will receive stainless-steel water bottles to use during their stay with drinking water dispensers installed throughout the hotel. With no plastic bottles in guest rooms, and a program to become entirely plastic free in all areas, the hotel is also reducing food waste by not serving buffets and has composters to recycle discarded organics.

Main image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

SPOTLIGHT ON: Hotel spas that naturally self-isolate in style

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: Hotel spas that naturally self-isolate in style

Throughout May, Hotel Designs is putting Spas and Outdoor Style under the spotlight. We continue with an editor’s round-up of some of the world’s most awe-inspiring spas. Hamish Kilburn writes…

Before the COVID–19 pandemic, and I am guessing long after the turbulent waters become calm again, architects and designers globally will question and creatively challenge the conventional spa and wellness experience in and out of hotels.

Despite pretty much all travel around the globe currently being on hold, the desire for quality treatments and checking in to relaxing escapes will return. With more and more hotel groups and brands developing their strategy around the rise in demand for wellness and wellbeing, Hotel Designs takes a look at the most dynamically designed hotel spas around the world.

Arctic Bath, Sweden

Establishing shot of the spa on a frozen lake

Image credit: Arctic Bath Hotel, Sweden

Designed by architects Bertil Harström and Johan Kauppi, the Arctic Bath in Sweden was opened recently following much anticipation. The spa, sheltered in the bath house that floats on the frozen River Lule, was designed using natural woods and stone to create an eye-catching ‘birds nest style’ structure.

W Ibiza, Spain

Outdoor pool

Image credit: Marriott Hotels/W Hotels

“When we first entered the building, which is positioned on the beach front, we couldn’t even see the sea,” the founders of  BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERG, Irene Kronenberg and Alon Baranowitz, told Hotel Designs when explaining how the concept of W Ibiza was born. “There had been no thought as to how guests would and should use these public spaces.” The energy of the water, unsurprisingly, became the design concept of the 167-key hotel’s public areas. By opening up the space to become a flexible social hub, the hotel becomes a place that nurtures human connections, and through the use of subtle levels creates touchable distance between each functional area. “The idea is that the energy descends into the unconventional pool area,” adds Baranowitz. “As you move up levels, the lobby/lounge area becomes more reclined, but the open architecture scheme allows for a clever connection between all spaces.”

Equinox Hotel New York

Light and bright pool area in the spa

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

In the summer of last year, Equinox – the brand that made its name for opening and managing a tight-knit community of exceptional fitness and wellbeing clubs in major cities dotted around the world – opened its first ever hotel. Designed by David Rockwell and Joyce Wang to evoke comfort, creativity and focus, the ‘world’s fittest hotel’, as Hotel Designs labelled it ahead of its opening, is sheltered in a 14-storey limestone and glass skyscraper designed by architecture firm SOM. The hotel’s immersive 27,000 square foot spa area, which was the brainchild of Joyce Wang Studio and spa design and consultancy firm TLEE, maximises the most valuable commodity, time. The luxury wellness facilities include tailored treatments, an indoor salt water pool, hot and cold plunge pools, and our E.scape Pods — private relaxation areas that capture unparalleled views of the Hudson River.

Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House, England

Outdoor pool

Image credit: Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House

Following a £14m investment, Cottonmill’s three-storey, state-of-the-art, private members’ spa at Sopwell House in Hertfordshire is a break away from the conventional hotel spa. Designed by Sparcstudio, the spa has embraced the growing role of technology in the wellness world, with both the Dornbracht luxury shower, Sensory Sky, which recreates the sensation of showering in the open air, and the ELEMIS Biotec machine, which works to switch skin back on, increasing its natural cellular energy. Outside, award-winning garden designer Ann-Marie Powell created a space to enrich the soul. The botanical theme works around three secluded outdoor hot tubs and a swim-in/out hydrotherapy infinity pool.

COMO Shambhala Estate, Bali

Outdoor pool surrounded by jungle

Image credit: COMO Hotels & Resorts

Set in a tropical rainforest in Bali – the hotel is nestled in a clearing above a jungle-covered gorge beside the River Ayung – COMO Shambhala Estate remains unmatched, major player on the world’s wellness scene for its effortless approach to wellbeing. Architect Cheong Yew Kuan worked with interior designer Koichiro Ikebuchi to create the estate, combining local stone, wood and traditional alang-alang roofing to build sophisticated spaces that are at once contemporary and thoroughly traditional.

7123 Hotel, Switzerland

thermal bath overlooking mountains

Image credit: 7132 Hotel

7132 Hotel, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, is described best as a ‘luxury hotel and design hotel wrapped into one’, and was designed by world-famous architects including Tadao Ando, Kengo Kuma, Thom Mayne of Morphosis, and Zumthor. The crown jewel of the hotel is the award-winning thermal spa by Peter Zumthor, constructed from 60,000 slabs of local quartzite. The unique atmosphere and the highly mineralised water that comes out of the St. Peter spring at a pleasant 30° Celsius creates a deeply relaxing and natural experience.

Kagi Maldives Spa Island, Maldives

Birds eye view of villa with pool by the ocean

Image credit: Kagi Maldives Spa Island

The 1,500-square-metre wellness centre, slated to open in September 2020, is designed by architect Yuji Yamazaki, who was the mastermind behind the world’s first underwater villa. The 50-villa property is said to provide “a 360-degree wellness experience” with a fully-integrated wellness hub that sits at the centre of the island. This area will be complete with an open-air, teardrop-shaped sky roof its core, and will appear to float atop the island’s turquoise lagoon waters.

Hôtel Chais Monet, France

luxury hotel pool

Image credit: Hôtel Chais Monet

The luxury spa hotel was described as a “modern take on traditional French luxe” when Hotel Designs first caught wind of the project in 2016. In simple terms, an extensive restoration project to convert the wine cellars into a luxury hotel has given the buildings on site a new lease of life. Beneath the guestrooms and suites, the hotel’s spa wellness facilities include an impressive 25-metre indoor and outdoor pool, which allows guests to soak in the natural landscape while enjoying R&R from exploring the city. In addition, the spa also features a modern jacuzzi, a sauna, a handful of massage therapy rooms and a state-of-the-art gym.

Main image credit: COMO Hotels & Resorts

Architect designs hotel prototype of the wardrobe purifier

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Architect designs hotel prototype of the wardrobe purifier

A new battery-powered wardrobe purifier that is suitable for hotels has been designed by Carlo Ratti Associati, which uses ozone to help remove most micro-organisms, bacteria, and viruses from clothes…

It is anyone’s guess as to what the ‘new normal’ will be like after the COVID–19 pandemic has passed. And while it is, for some, too far-fetched to suggest that hotels will permanently introduce new hygiene measures, others believe that the pandemic has opened the hotel door to welcome in innovative new hygiene products.

One architect who has taken the lockdown as as an opportunity to create something purposeful is Carlo Ratti, who is the brains behind a new battery-powered wardrobe purifier.

Currently developed as a prototype, Pura-Case is a portable wardrobe purifier that uses ozone to remove most micro-organisms, bacteria, and viruses from clothes and fabric. The project aims to address the needs of the “new normal” – that is, the emerging changes brought forward to our domestic life by COVID-19. The product was commissioned by Scribit, the tech startup which recently converted part of its production line to respond to the current pandemic. Once a piece of garment is hung inside the case, an air purification system by ozone treatment cleans and deodorises the fabrics.

render of modern wardrobe

Image credit: Pura-Case/Scribit

Viruses or bacteria can survive on clothes for long periods. Ozone, a naturally-occurring triatomic form of oxygen (O3), is commonly used in the health and textile industry to sanitise fashion items, objects, and spaces. Pura-Case brings this technology safely into the household. It uses ozone to sterilise clothes while reducing the need for unnecessary washing and thus the consumption of water. Employed together with public health guidelines of the World Health Organisation, Pura-Case would help contribute to a more hygienic environment in the house.

“As the entire world adjusts to a new normal in terms of health and hygiene, Pura-Case aims to promote top sanitation standards in the key interface between us and the environment – clothes,” says Ratti. “Pura-Case is an alternative to large-sized devices currently being used in hospitals. It can play a vital role in the post-pandemic world next year as we regain our old social life.”

The product can be installed in a domestic setting and complete a cycle of purification in about one hour. Users can place the clothes inside the case, which accommodates up to four hangers and close it with an air-tight zipper. Using only a small amount of power, an imperceptible discharge will activate the ozone to penetrate the fabric and purify it while at the same time removing its odour. Once the cleaning cycle is completed, the ozone is reduced to oxygen through a natural decay process, ensuring the case is safe to open. The entire process can be started and controlled either via the LED-lit top panel or remotely through the Pura-Case mobile app.

Main image credit: Pura-Case/Scribit

Concept to Completion: Designing Conrad Punta de Mita (part 2)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Concept to Completion: Designing Conrad Punta de Mita (part 2)

In the second article of the concept-to-completion series with SB Architects, Hotel Designs learns about some of the challenges that emerged when designing and creating Conrad Punta de Mita, which is slated to open later this year…

The design process, from concept to completion is often lengthy and you are almost always guaranteed to come up against challenges and obstacles along the way.

Challenges call for creativity and innovation; the best architecture is a product of a little friction and creative tension. Facing and overcoming any bumps in the road, expands the design possibilities and ultimately makes for a richer, stronger project.

“We wanted to embrace the remarkable landscape, celebrate it and highlight it throughout the design.” – Ana Ramirez, Senior Associate, SB Architects.

image credit: Conrad Playa Mita/SB Architects

A tranquil respite from Mexico City’s energetic pace, Riviera Nayarit not only boasts more than 200-miles of sun-kissed beaches, but it is one of the only places in the world where you can find all four groups of mangroves; White, Red, Black and Buttonwood, so, as you can imagine, the mangrove reserves on-site at the Conrad Punta de Mita were completely protected. Ana Ramirez, Senior Associate, SB Architects, explains: “The mangroves add a natural magic to the resort, we wanted to embrace the remarkable landscape, celebrate it and highlight it throughout the design.”

In an effort to harness the natural beauty of the site, SB Architects situated the Specialty Restaurant next to one of the largest mangrove reserves and worked within the local government regulations to sensitively construct the space, creating a transformative, captivating experience for guests. In future phases of the project a nature trail through the mangrove preserve will be curated, aimed to educate guests about the fauna species around the natural lagoon, instilling a deeper appreciation and sense of curiosity in hotel guests and positioning the property to make long-lasting impressions.

The Conrad Punta de Mita is situated on a relatively large site, so, one of our main challenges was to break down the scale and reflect a more intimate ambience. The existing on-site building had a narrow opening, limiting the view. In collaboration with landscape designers, EDSA, SB Architects opened the view corridors from the lobby into the landscape and out over the pool, towards the ocean. An efficient circulation path creates a walkable resort for the guest and reduces the feeling of distance in the built environment. At the start of the project, the design team attempted to salvage a large existing pool on the beachfront, but it didn’t feel in-sync with the circulation flow throughout the resort, so the decision was made to redesign.

Throughout the architecture, SB Architects created a direct connection to the outdoors, crafting spaces that invite the natural landscape into the built environment. All exterior doors have been designed to open wide, and lush tropical vegetation, open corridors and contemporary and coastal decor is incorporated throughout the resort.

The 324-key Conrad Punta de Mita is slated to open later this year.

Main image credit: Conrad Punta de Mita/SB Architects

Ruby Hotels to open first property in Stuttgart, Germany

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Ruby Hotels to open first property in Stuttgart, Germany

Ruby Hotels‘ 10th property in Germany, which is slated to open in the spring of 2023, will shelter 1,700 square-metres of co-working space…

Following its recent London debut, Ruby Hotels has announced that it will open its first property in Stuttgart, which will take the brand’s portfolio in Germany into double figures.

The 150-key hotel, which is slated to open in the spring of 2023, will be situated in Central Stuttgart’s Gerber Shopping Mall, and has been designed with both the modern traveller and the city’s locals in mind. For the first time since the brand launched in 2013, Ruby will combine its lean luxury philosophy for a hotel and a co-working space under one roof. The new urban hotel and ‘Ruby Works’ co-working space (with approx. 190 workstations) forms part of an ambitious expansion plan to unveil a total of seventeen new properties by 2023, which will include new properties in Munich, Hamburg and Asia. 

Lounge area

Image credit: Ruby Hotels

It is the second time a Ruby Hotel has been integrated into a shopping mall and the first time actual retail space has been converted for this purpose. The challenging conversion work of the 8,000 metre-squared space is scheduled to start in the autumn of 2021 in collaboration with the Stuttgart architecture firm, BWK Architekten, and will be designed sensitively by the brands Head of Design, Matthew Balon

Image credit: Gerber Shopping Mall/Ruby Hotels

 “As a conversion of former retail space right in the heart of the city, the Gerber project represents a ground-breaking milestone for us,” commented Michael Struck, CEO and founder of Ruby Group. “We have created completely new room types for this project, adapted to the challenging floor layouts. The excellent location, high ceilings and unusual style of the building are a perfect match for our lean luxury philosophy and the project therefore represents an attractive new addition to the Stuttgart hotel market.”

All of the 150 guestrooms, from ‘Nest’ rooms to expansive ‘Loft’ rooms, will showcase the brand’s sleep-scientist-approved formula for a peaceful night’s sleep, with full soundproofing, blackout curtains, high-quality linen and extra-long and wide custom mattresses.

White and simple guestroom

Image credit: Ruby Hotels

Ruby, which currently operates eight hotels, will apply its signature lean luxury philosophy to the Gerber project; a location in the heart of the city that will soon connect locals and modern travellers together as the Ruby brand expands at rapid speed in Europe and beyond.

Main image credit: Ruby Hotels/BWK Architekten

In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Robert Whitfield, GM of The Dorchester

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Robert Whitfield, GM of The Dorchester

With the UK hospitality industry drastically adjusting its strategy during lockdown, Hotel Designs takes the opportunity to re-connect with one of the world’s most prestigious hotel brands, Dorchester Collection. Editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to Robert Whitfield, the brand’s Regional Director (UK) & General Manager of The Dorchester

For centuries, Mayfair’s leafy Park Lane has been the epicentre of London’s luxury hospitality scene. At present, though, the streets are bare and the extravagant entrances into opulent lobbies and extraordinary lifestyles remain (for the time being at least) sealed shut – and its not the kind of lock-in one is familiar with.

Among the five-star (currently empty) shells stretched along the east side of Hyde Park is The Dorchester, an iconic place that really does define its destination. Since its grand opening in 1931 – the same year the Empire State Building was completed in New York – the hotel, designed by architects William Curtis Green and Sir Owen Williams, has been setting new standards in premium hospitality.

89 years from when the famous doors first opened, the hotel stands majestically as ever having adapted sensitively to meet the demands of modern luxury travellers while also retaining its illustrious character. However, it, along with the rest of the hospitality industry, is facing unprecedented times, as the COVID–19 pandemic sends hospitality into paralysation.

To learn more about what the hotel is doing during lockdown, as well as celebrating its recent successes, I speak to the man at the helm, Robert Whitfield, who is the Regional Director UK of Dorchester Collection and General Manager of The Dorchester.

Hamish Kilburn: Robert, can you tell us a bit more about how The Dorchester is coping during the global health crisis, and how are you staying connected with your community?

Robert Whitfield: There is no denying that the global crisis has hit everyone hard, and sadly the hospitality industry is one of the worst to be affected. However, what it has re-affirmed for me is the true connection our team members have, keeping morale high and each other in good spirits. If you work in hospitality you have a natural instinct to want to be around people and make them feel at home, it’s in our DNA. So, we have channelled that passion into further helping our community.

Image caption: The living room inside the Harlequin at The Dorchester-

Image caption: The living room inside the Harlequin at The Dorchester

The Dorchester is very proud to have established an ongoing partnership with Manorfield Primary School in East London, working closely with pupils and staff on a number of initiatives since 2019, including helping raise funds to go towards developing their learning kitchen and donating furniture for areas of the school. As part of our continued partnership and as a response to the current global health crisis, we are providing chefs from The Dorchester’s staff restaurant to cook for the faculty and children of parents who are part of the essential workforce. We are also offering recipe classes to the pupils of the school to help keep them engaged and interested in cooking.

Every evening, The Dorchester illuminates in bright blue as a ‘thank you’ to the NHS and essential workers. Employees of The Dorchester, 45 Park Lane, and Coworth Park have pledged their support to the NHS and are assisting in the donation and distribution of food and necessary supplies to those impacted by COVID-19.

Image caption: During the COVID–19 pandemic, The Dorchester illuminates in bright blue each evening as a nod and ‘thank you’ to the NHS and essential workers

Executive chef Stefan Trepp and executive pastry chef Daniel Texter, along with chefs Jordan Champions and Sanjam Nagpal, handcrafted Easter Eggs for distribution amongst patients and staff of Great Ormond Street Hospital to help them celebrate the Easter weekend.

Dorchester Collection has also donated £25,000 on behalf of its UK hotels to Hospitality Action, a non-profit who supports hospitality workers who are in need and to help feed their families. Several colleagues have also signed up to the Golden Friends scheme via Hospitality Action and are making regular check-in calls to hospitality retirees in isolation due to the crisis.

Image caption: The living room inside The Dorchester's Terrace Penthouse

Image caption: The elegant living room that captures a unique London skyline vista inside The Dorchester’s Terrace Penthouse

HK: How do you stay connected to guests when they aren’t able to physically come to visit the hotels?

RW: Several of our team members have fostered great relationships with our guests over the years and are in regular contact with them via calls and email. We are also engaged with our most loyal guests to keep them in touch with news and updates from the hotel.

One of the best ways for us to stay connected to our guests after they have stayed with us is through our social media platforms. We are transferring our team’s talents online, showcasing our chef’s recipes and how-to’s, as-well-as expert tips from our sommelier or florist. This is a fun way for our social community to still see the smiley faces of some of our team members and hopefully learn a thing or two.

Quick-fire round:

HK: What is your favourite luxury item that you own?
RW:
My MGB sports car

HK: What was the last hotel you stayed in and what was the purpose of the trip?
RW:
The Pendry in San Diego meeting up with my kids for the Presidents Day Holiday weekend.

HK: In three words, can you describe the Dorchester Collection family?
RW:
Caring, passionate, fun-loving! 

HK: What superpower would make your job easier?
RW:
Teleporting.

HK: Why is Britain such a hub for luxury hotels?

RW: The hospitality sector contributes hugely to the British economy, with the hotel industry in particular a significant contributing factor. The growth of the hotel market over the last few years here, and indeed looking at what’s to come over the next couple of years, clearly demonstrates how important Britain, and London in particular, is a world class destination for leisure and business travellers.

“You also cannot deny that certain charm Britain has, which lends itself perfectly to hotels at the luxury end of the market.” – Robert Whitfield, Regional Director UK & General Manager of The Dorchester.

It makes sense, then, that some of the world’s most renowned luxury hotel brands are opening their doors in Britain. You also cannot deny that certain charm Britain has, which lends itself perfectly to hotels at the luxury end of the market – travellers are drawn to the rich history and heritage of a quintessentially British experience. Combine that with the fact that Britain occupies a vibrant position on the world stage and it’s a winning destination for the luxury traveller.

It is not just London at the forefront of luxury hospitality; across the country you have the best hotels in the world. Coworth Park in Ascot celebrates its 10 year anniversary this year and from the moment it opened became one of the world’s best country house hotels and remains at the top a decade later.

HK: How does The Dorchester differentiate luxury on the London hotel scene?

RW: There are many hotels that claim to provide the best in luxury, whether it’s the biggest pool, or most expensive wine list, but for The Dorchester our definition of luxury is: service. How do you feel when you come to stay with us? How can we go above and beyond what you were expecting? That is what is most important, everything else is just a given, and for us to be world leaders in service really is a testament our talented people.

HK: How has luxury changed since you started in hospitality?

RW: The biggest change has to be the level of competition, especially in London where all the global luxury players want to have a presence. And that’s a good thing. It has kept London’s hospitality scene at the top of its game.

Luxury used to be about the physical elements of a hotel. The décor, the facilities and this has evolved away from the material to the experiential. Personalised service and recognition is more valued. The guest is also more sophisticated and knowledgeable. Search engines allow access to so much information our team members need to stay up to date and have an intimate knowledge of the very best experiences that might appeal to our guests.

We look for ways to surprise and delight our guests with small and meaningful touches. Often, it is the small things that make all the difference.

“Before I started my role at Dorchester Collection I spent ten years at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai in Hawaii, and prior to this I worked for the company in California and Nevis in the Caribbean.” – Robert Whitfield, Regional Director UK & General Manager of The Dorchester.

HK: How has travel enriched your life and made you into the hotelier you are today?

RW: I have been lucky enough to work in some of the most beautiful places in the world. Before I started my role at Dorchester Collection I spent ten years at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai in Hawaii, and prior to this I worked for the company in California and Nevis in the Caribbean. Having that experience, learning how other countries approach service and operate day-to-day, has really helped inform my management style here in London. I was able to travel to a wide variety of locations from Bora Bora, to Bali, to Jackson Hole in Wyoming to the snowy peaks of Whistler.

I have developed an appreciation for different cultures and for diversity and the strength that this can bring to a business. It has also told me that service is about humility and caring for others. I am so proud to have worked with some extraordinary people who have shaped my career and taught me so much. Many lessons have come from my bosses, but also from the employees I have worked with.

HK: There has been a huge buzz around the re-launch of The Grill at The Dorchester. Why did you choose to relaunch?

RW: The Grill has been an integral part of The Dorchester since the opening in 1931, in order to keep the restaurant busy you need to ensure its identity and offering is relevant to your guests. We appointed Tom Booton, who happens to be our youngest ever head chef of The Grill, to lead the next chapter of the restaurant, supported by a fantastic team of fresh talent. The idea of creating an experience that would juxtaposition away from people’s  more traditional expectations of The Grill at The Dorchester was exciting and Tom was the perfect catalyst that made this come to life.

Image caption: Head chef of The Grill, Tom Booton and a few of his  special dishes on the new menu

Our aim was to create a more relaxed dining experience for guests through the development of new menus and a series of interior updates. The most prominent interior change is our statement ‘Pudding Bar’, which adds an element of theatre to the dining experience. Guests are invited to dine here for their final course to watch the pastry chefs in action.

HK: How will the newly adapted restaurant embrace the legacy of the 89-year-old hotel while also reflect the future of luxury F&B offerings?

RW: Our rich past matched with our ability to embrace ‘the new’ is deeply rooted in The Dorchester’s culture, and our guests are charmed by that.

At its core, The Dorchester has always been a hotel to celebrate. The new chapter of The Grill is no exception, and Tom’s dishes alone are a reason to come back to visit. Original features of the restaurant have remained, but new elements such as The Grill Bar, with a cocktail menu by award winning senior bartender Lucia Montanelli, and the Pudding Bar concept offer something new.

HK: You have, for the first time, a physical florist boutique within the hotel. Can you tell us more about this project?

RW: The Dorchester has become world-famous for its floral arrangements, all to the credit of our in-house designer florist Philip Hammond and his fantastic team. It is also a place of celebration. Guests come to celebrate, birthdays, anniversaries and all kinds of milestone moments in their lives. Flowers are a wonderful sign of celebration. We wanted to create a physical space where guests and visitors to the hotel could buy flowers and we found the perfect spot at the entrance to The Promenade.

Image caption: Philip Hammond, the Florist at The Dorchester

Image caption: Philip Hammond, the Florist at The Dorchester

We coincided the boutique opening with the launch of ‘The Dorchester Rose’, which is a really beautiful new variety of rose. The rose took seven years to make and was created by Meijer Roses, a family company with a long tradition of creating the highest quality roses who selected The Dorchester to carry the name of this new variety. The rose now fills the entirety of The Promenade and the colour is perfect to complement the interior tones of The Dorchester.

Main image credit: Dorchester Collection

Editor Checks In: Emerging from pandemic paralysis

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor Checks In: Emerging from pandemic paralysis

As the lockdown measures continue to the halt the industry’s reawakening from its slumber, editor Hamish Kilburn confronts the pandemic from a new vantage point…

The front cover of this month’s US Condé Nast Traveler has managed to harmonise the opinions of the uncertain, and no-doubt anxious, hospitality, design and travel industries worldwide.

“See the world in a new light” was the entirely relevant theme that the always forward-thinking Editor-in-Chief, Melinda Stevens, chose to run. I like to imagine the decision was made while working from home, after a new-found mindset enabled the self-isolating editorial desk to take a deep exhale before thinking about future issues, both in print as well as the complexities that lie ahead for the now-suffering travel industry.

“My role, I feel, is to identify how we, the international hotel design and hospitality industry, can emerge from the hibernation with a positive mental attitude when looking towards the future with (dare I say it) optimism.”

I say this because, as well as cheerleading Stevens’ sharp and at-times eccentric writing style from afar, I too am trying to broaden my horizons to look past the pandemic paralysis. My role, I feel, is to identify how we, the international hotel design and hospitality industry, can emerge from the hibernation with a positive mental attitude when looking towards the future with (dare I say it) optimism. As I write this, I am reminded by a friend that Issac Newton discovered the law of gravity while in self-isolation from the Great Plague of London. The point being that a change of focus – a welcome break from studio life, commuting hell and general disruption from our typical weekly routine – may just allow us to bury our heads into new drawings to metaphorically sketch the route towards a fresh, creative destination that is waiting on the other side.

Going back to drawing board is not only relevant for designers and architects, but also hoteliers in order to maximise service with design. In this month’s exclusive roundtable, it was mentioned that many hotels are using this time to enter a ‘re-opening’ mindset. For some leading luxury establishments, which opened nearly a decade ago, their doors being forced shut is an opportunity to confront challenges and to tweak and enhance the hotel’s design and service so that when it reopens, it is more relevant to tomorrow’s travellers and their hefty demands.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions about how the pandemic will impact the industry in the long-term. But one thing, among others, is  crystal clear: post-pandemic, the definition of hospitality as we know it will change, perhaps permanently, to become more of an inclusive lifestyle where formalities are dissolved. Many designers, of course, such Geraldine Dohogne, the former Head of Design at Zannier Hotels, have caught on to this already, and are using this time to plot the ambiance of hospitality and lifestyle brands that will arrive in the future to challenge the conventional shells of yesterday’s luxury hotels.

Exhibitions, as we know them, are being forced to confront the inevitable change of scenery that lies ahead in the next chapter. HIX, for example, has themed its debut event ‘All together now’. The all-new interiors event that takes place in November at the Business Design Centre is encouraging designers to go as far as “unlearning what they know about industry” in order to explore new behavioural patterns and shifting perceptions that are dictating tomorrow’s hotel design landscape. The aim, with a dynamic exhibition line-up and inspirational speakers, is to inspire new and meaningful concepts to allow our industry the freedom to continue churning out boundless possibilities for tomorrow’s hotel guests. Sleep & Eat has also announced its return to London Olympia in November with its focus being on collaborations. “As we emerge from the crisis, there will be a vital need for new collaborations, new engagements and different ways of doing things,” explained the show’s director, Mark Gordon.

During the turbulent times that we are currently self-isolating in, Hotel Designs is committed to ensure that the industry is supported. Therefore, in direct response to the COVID–19 pandemic, we have launched an ‘Industry Support Package’ to help brands to engage with the hospitality sector spanning designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and those that supply to the industry. The exclusive package includes, among other benefits, three pieces of editorial content. If you would like to learn more on how you can take advantage of this one-time offer, please email Katy Phillips.

As the pandemic forces us to get used to a ‘new normal’ and to, as Stevens puts it: “see the world in a new light”, Hotel Designs has launched its official podcast. Six months in planning, DESIGN POD is the contemporary podcast for all on-the-go interior designers and architects globally– and will launch episode 1 shortly after the lockdown measures are relaxed.

In the meantime, the editorial team will keep you updated on all the latest developments in the COVID–19 crisis, while also supplying you with some inspirational content to speed up that much-needed change of perception. And, just for laughs, here are some images that capture freer times…

We will be released back into the wild again shortly… In the meantime, feel free to keep in touch with our team on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, because we are all in this fight together.

Editor, Hotel Designs

Main image credit: Zannier Hotels/tibodhermy

SPOTLIGHT ON: The challenges of creating the modern spa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: The challenges of creating the modern spa

Spas are often considered an essential part of a hotel offering. To kickstart Hotel Designs putting ‘spas’ under the editorial spotlight this month, Beverley Bayes, Creative Director at Sparcstudio explains how to create a modern spa in 2020 and how to avoid the common pitfalls of design and build…

Spas are synonymous with luxury and over the past decade have become an essential ingredient for many investors who are planning major hotel developments and refurbishments.

As we enter a period that looks beyond the post-COVID-19 lockdown, the desire for spas to provide space and light with the ability to relax in nature will become even more important factors within the remit of spa design.

In our drive to create spas that are authentic, unique and inspiring with a real ‘sense of place’ there are a number of key considerations.  Firstly, the move away from standardisation of the spa experience reflects the path that hotel brands are increasingly taking which is driven by guests desire for authenticity (which also accounts for the rise in popularity of AirBnB).

Authenticity and uniqueness are established at the early concept stage in terms of developing the experience and the guest environment. There maybe elements about the site or historical factors that inform the concept, for example the botanic references throughout The Spa at South Lodge were inspired by botanical history dating back to the 1800’s. Frederick DuCane Godman, a British naturalist and plant collector built the original house and surrounding gardens with over 360 species of trees and plants sourced from the Azores, Caribbean and Central & South America. This helped to layer the build with authenticity and great storytelling.

Image caption: The Spa at South Lodge, designed by Sparcstudio

Image caption: The Spa at South Lodge, designed by Sparcstudio

The selection of materials and finishes that are relevant to the location and the creation of bespoke designed elements, such as furniture and lighting also adds to the feeling of authenticity. The curated spa can also act as a great gallery environment – involving the commissioning of local artists and Artisans add to the uniqueness of the spa and its sense of place.

Location, location, location

The positioning of the spa itself is key if you want to take full advantage of the vistas, natural light and links to outside spa space, gardens or a even a roof terrace. Thankfully spas have largely emerged from being consigned to the hotel basement, reflecting their increasing importance as part of a hotel’s overall wellness offer and the rise in global spa tourism where spas are destinations in their own right. The Aqua Sana Forest spa concept that we helped develop transformed the Aqua Sana space – planning model from inward facing experiences, to experiences that reached out into the forest with the inclusion of in-out pools and panoramic saunas surrounded by trees. At the Sherwood Forest site, we created the first sauna on stilts which takes ‘forest bathing’ to a new level.

Image caption: The outdoor pool at Aqua Sana Longford Forest

Image caption: The outdoor pool at Aqua Sana Longford Forest

Well considered space planning

This is the ‘bedrock’ of a successful modern spa, which I liken to a giant multi-layered jigsaw puzzle, where in order to create a unique and beautiful customer focussed journey and experience, a comprehensive understanding of the operational and technical issues is required.  The siting and sizing of staff/back of house spaces as well as air handling, pool and thermal suite plant is as important to the location and flow of guest spaces and experiences and is essential in the delivery  of a smooth running seamless and profitable operation.

We always look to create an intuitive guest journey obviating the necessity for lots of signage. We also strive to minimise corridors and build in glazed vistas into experiences to help orientate and build sense of anticipation. Special attention needs to be paid to the creation of  ‘signature spaces’ AKA ‘the money shot’. This could be the main pool area or perhaps a feature cabin and is the ‘go to’ shot for spa press, travel writers and beauty editors.

How have spas changed recently

We are witnessing a shift within luxury spa design away from formal, minimalist spas, towards spas that have ‘heart and soul’ that are about comfort, relaxation and reconnecting with nature, and are designed to appeal to the senses; aroma, fire, water, light and planting which are all key elements to incorporate. These trends draw on the concept of ‘barefoot luxury’ and are all delivered in a way that is inspiring, yet practical in a European setting by bringing the outside – in.

Image caption: Dormy House Veuve Clicquot Nail bar, designed by Sparcstudio

Image caption: Dormy House Veuve Clicquot Nail bar, designed by Sparcstudio

The concept of luxurious materials has changed away from plush and bling. Use of natural, raw materials will become more commonplace as spas aim to recreate the kind of ‘barefoot luxury’ that guests experience on luxury, island resorts. The design style will reflect this ethos with the use of marbles such as ‘Forest Green’ in a honed finish (rather than the highly polished black and white marble) recycled end grain timber panelling and green slate and Terracotta tiles in interesting formats. New luxury is about nurture and care, handmade and bespoke design.

New additions, design developments, and how this caters to new customer demand.

Spas have changed massively  A contemporary spa design is far less regimented and is freeform, natural and personalised. Thankfully we are moving away from deep relax rooms that have rows of beds (referred to as ‘chapels of rest’ by some therapists!) to a greater choice of relax zones and experiences scattered throughout the spa.

Image caption: The Whisper Room inside Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House, designed by Sparcstudio

Embracing far greater usage of external garden spaces and natural chemical-free experiences is also key. This could be as simple as relaxing in a herb garden or by a wood burning fire, stargazing from a hot pool as can be seen at the most recent spa development to open in the UK at Carden Park.

Thermal suites and pools are evolving to offer bespoke experiences, rather than standardised designs formed from modular components. There is a move away from thermal suites that are a series of doors leading to enclosed heat cabins, into thermal suites that are light filled glazed spaces, as can be witnessed by the rise of the ‘panoramic saunas’ – such the organic bespoke sauna we designed at ‘South Lodge’. It’s curving forms were inspired by the rolling hills of the Sussex South Downs, over which it looks.

“We also look to connect wherever possible to the surrounding landscape and outside bathing continues to rise in popularity” – Beverley Bayes, Creative Director, Sparcstudio.

Water, water, everywhere

Water will of course continue to play a key role in spa, with its subliminal calming influence.

In a spa the body is fully immersed in water – we spend a lot of time considering this cleansing and the healing processes involved. We also look to connect wherever possible to the surrounding landscape and outside bathing continues to rise in popularity, whether in be in large bespoke hydropool, an in-out swim pool or individual Japanese style hot tubs.

Image caption: Entrance to the in-out pool and lounge area at Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House, designed by Sparcstudio

‘Natural’ swimming pools also offer a sense of freedom and escapism whilst tapping into the popularity of ‘wild swimming’. These fresh water, naturally filtered pools and ponds are set to become an essential element for any forwarding thinking, eco-conscious spa developer. These are friendly to the environment and a unique spa experience for all guests keen to embrace the outdoors.

“We also anticipate that there will continue to be overlaps or a blurring of the lines between fitness, wellness, spa and medical facilities.” – Beverley Bayes, Creative Director, Sparcstudio.

Changing face of spa – the spa as a private members club

Undoubtedly post lockdown there will be an even greater desire to be fit and well. ‘Health is the new wealth’ will be the new mantra, and spa and wellness facilities will have a bigger role to play . Spa design will need to adapt and evolve to meet new requirements and sensibilities, which will include a requirement for more personal space. We also anticipate that there will continue to be overlaps or a blurring of the lines between fitness, wellness, spa and medical facilities. High-end gyms such as Third Space integrate spaces for relaxation and wellbeing with the inclusion of thermal suites and relaxation spaces.

Image credit: Third Space hot yoga room

Image credit: Third Space hot yoga studio, designed by Sparcstudio

The sensuous Hot yoga studio that we designed at  the Tower Bridge site has shaker style paneling and end grain Juniper log paneling that emit a soothing aroma when heated. Whilst a more natural sensuous spa environment can transport  users from a world of work and worry, the integration of intelligent use of technology in a discreet enabling way, will be even move important in the post Covid world, Touch technology via wristband enables hand-free access to zones and areas, can open a locker and pay for lunch or products.

Moving away from the concept of a spa as a once in while treat, we anticipate that there could be an increase in the Spa as a Private members club similar to the model that can be experienced at The Club at Cottonmill Sopwell House Hotel, where spa becomes as regular a  visit  as the traditional gym.

Sparcstudio is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image caption: Dormy House raised infinity pool, designed by Sparcstudio

MINIVIEW: Equinox Hotel, New York – the world’s ‘fittest’ hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: Equinox Hotel, New York – the world’s ‘fittest’ hotel

The luxury fitness and wellbeing brand Equinox opened its debut hotel to sit proudly in the epicentre of New York City’s Hudson Yards, an iconic architectural marvel that reflects a new style of neighbourhood. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores… 

Until recently, the Equinox brand was limited to the cluster of exceptional fitness and wellbeing clubs in major cities dotted around the world.

However, in June of 2019, the affluent brand hit a major milestone by opening its first ever hotel –not a surprising move considering the link between wellbeing, fitness and hospitality that has strengthened over the years.

The hotel is sheltered within a 14-storey limestone and glass skyscraper designed by architecture firm SOM, and is situated in the heart of Hudson Yards, a major up-and-coming neighbourhood along Manhatten’s westside that is arguably most known for Thomas Heatherwick’s The Vessel, an elaborate honeycomb-like structure that rises 16 stories. Adjacent to the giant public space, Equinox’s new hub has settled in and is setting standards.

Designed by David Rockwell and Joyce Wang to evoke comfort, creativity and focus, the ‘world’s fittest hotel’, as Hotel Designs labelled it ahead of its opening, is an ideal hub to meet, eat, sleep and connect. Extraordinary environments, such as a co-working community space, and thoughtfully chosen elements come together in order to reimagine how people move, eat, sleep, work, and live.

Sunset pool

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

From the moment guests arrive at the 212-key hotel, and throughout their stay, they are immersed in a world that the brand describes as “infinite possibilities”.

When it come to specifying the luxury elements inside, selecting products and materials that fit perfectly with the Equinox aesthetic was paramount. In addition to Zaha Hadid Design sofas in the public areas, all guestrooms feature the brand’s proprietary sleep system that ensures the best quality sleep. Complete with total soundproofing, a total-blackout window system, the areas also include CocoMat all natural fibre mattresses and Scandinavian-style duvets that allow temperature regulation. In true Equinox fashion, each guestroom and suite comes with a foam roller, yoga mat, blocks and straps, whilst the mini bar contains a juice press and magnesium-based sleep supplements.

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

Elsewhere, in the presidential suites, British brand Lusso Stone was chosen by the nominated interior designer to supply its Vetrina stone bath. With an ergonomic design, smooth contours and matte black finish, the timeless piece complements the hotel’s vision of performance and regeneration. “The Equinox project is something we are incredibly proud to be a part of as it allows us to showcase our designs in a truly unique setting in the beautiful and exclusive project in New York,” said Mike Manders from Lusso Stone. “We’re constantly evolving as a company and we make sure that we know exactly what we want to develop next. Whether it’s a new design, expansion or the latest bathroom collection, we want to be leading the charge in design and innovation.”

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

Fresh, seasonal flavours, market-driven menus and dynamic social spaces work in harmony to create modern and clean F&B areas. On the menu, as well as in the architectural design aesthetic, discipline and decadence merge.

The modern and contemporary bar area

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

Upstairs, the iconic rooftop bar operates in an open-air casual setting, and all activity happens around the dramatic Jaume Plensa sculpture, a startling monolith on the terrace’s infinity-edge water feature.

Large structure that sits on rooftop at the edge of an infinity water feature

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

The hotel’s immersive 27,000 square foot spa area, which was the brainchild of Joyce Wang Studio and spa design and consultancy firm TLEE, maximises the most valuable commodity, time. The luxury wellness facilities include tailored treatments, an indoor salt water pool, hot and cold plunge pools, and our E.scape Pods — private relaxation areas that capture unparalleled views of the Hudson River.