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ACE Hotels to arrive in Australia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
ACE Hotels to arrive in Australia

ACE Hotel Sydney is slated to open in 2021 and will become the brand’s debut property in Australia… 

Ace Hotel announces their first Australian property with Ace Hotel Sydney, slated to open in 2021. Marking its 20th anniversary this year, Ace Hotel celebrates a double decade with 10 hotels spanning North America, Europe and soon Asia, including hotels in New York City, Los Angeles, London and Kyoto, Japan (Spring 2020).

Atelier Ace, the agency and operator behind Ace Hotel, also launched two new hotel brands this year: Maison de la Luz, a luxury guest house in New Orleans, and Sister City, a thoughtfully designed hotel in NYC inspired by simplicity and beauty.

“Opening an Ace Hotel in Sydney, and on our fourth continent, is a project that aligns with our Pacific roots and love of food, art, architecture, design and cultural creatives — things that are in rich abundance in our new Surry Hills neighbourhood ” said Kelly Sawdon, Ace Hotel Group Partner and Chief Brand Officer. “We’re excited to partner with Golden Age, whose vision and sense of collaboration is in kinship with Ace, to build a central gathering place for locals and travelers alike.”

Jeff Xu, Golden Age Founder and Managing Director commented: “Ace Hotel is one of the best and draws inspiration from the characteristics of the city they operate in. Surry Hills is known for being a culinary hub with a stylish culture and acts as a great canvas to design a hotel from. We’re excited to be bringing the first Ace to Australia and the brand’s fresh approach to the hotel industry is one that has been missing from the local hotel market.”

Holding space in the global imagination as a singular destination, Sydney balances a relaxed spirit with renowned architecture, design and food, embodying kindness, culture and community in kinship with Ace.

Opening in the Surry Hills neighbourhood in a part historic, part new build structure built around Tyne House, one of Sydney’s original brick structures. Ace Hotel Sydney will feature 264 rooms, a ground floor lobby bar, restaurant and cafe, as well as a rooftop bar and restaurant. Inspired by the abundance of natural flora, the city’s rich history as a welcoming hub and its generous quality of life, the hotel stands as a unique intersection of culture, commerce, art and community gathering.

Main image credit: ACE Hotels

Knightsbridge poised and ready for 80th Birthday celebrations at Sleep + Eat 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Knightsbridge poised and ready for 80th Birthday celebrations at Sleep + Eat 2019

2019 marks the 80thanniversary of Knightsbridge, the award-winning British furniture manufacturer. In order to mark this landmark the company they will celebrates its extraordinary history on stand number E92 at Sleep & Eat, Olympia London (November 19 – 20, 2019)…

If you are planning on attending Sleep & Eat 2019, then make sure you head over to the Knightsbridge stand (E92) where the team will be celebrating 80 years strong as one of the leading British furniture design and manufacturing companies.

Committed to British market-led design, Knightsbridge is one of the very few British contract furniture companies to invest in an in-house design and development team – and new collections for 2019 pay homage to its history taking inspiration from archive pieces.  

Wellbeing has long been established as a benchmark in workplace design, with forward thinking companies providing biophilic, sustainable design that creates healthier environments for their employees. The properties of wellness and biophilic design are now being seen more and more in hospitality and hotel environments; indoor spaces are inspired by nature whilst furniture is designed to be ergonomic aswell as stylish. Knightsbridge will be reflecting this trend on its stand with furniture covered with beautiful fauna & flora designs.

As hotel, bar and restaurant suppliers, Knightsbridge’s hospitality collection contains furniture designed to suit a variety of styles, needs and tastes. Crafted using timber from renewable sources, the company’s portfolio embraces a collection of style-forward products that are ideal for a wide range of environments such as waiting rooms, foyers, dining rooms and lounges.

New to 2019, Knightsbridge will be exhibiting its Caravelle collection which was redeveloped to celebrate Knightsbridge’s 80thanniversary and its rich history, taking influence from a past mid-century piece of furniture. The Caravelle collection consists of an armchair, two-seater and three-seater settee that have the clean lines and organic curves that the period became renowned for. It’s deep seat cushion provides a luxurious seat whilst the beautiful clean styling allows it to be specified into workplace, hospitality and care sectors. The collection is covered with exquisite fabric featuring jungle creatures and foliage from visionary textile designers Timorous Beasties.

Hotel Designs is a long-standing proud media partner for Sleep + Eat, and will at this year’s show to identify key product launches, emerging trends while catching the engaging talks and discussions that will be sheltered in one of Europe’s leading hospitality events.

Main image credit: Knightsbridge

The Annual Hotel Conference kicks off in spectacular fashion

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Annual Hotel Conference kicks off in spectacular fashion

As proud media partners, Hotel Designs was on location in Manchester to witness the engaging opening sessions of The Annual Hotel Conference 2019…

Hosted by Questex Hospitality Group,the 16thAnnual Hotel Conference (AHC) opened yesterday at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate with 28 per cent more speakers than last year, following popular demand.  In addition, the outstanding conference programme features 65 per cent of speakers new to The AHC stage and one third of these are female.

New sessions to the programme, covering the most topical conversations include:

Claire King, Event Director of The AHC said: “Never has there been a more pressing time to come together as a community. The AHC is proud to provide a unique, nurturing and fun platform for the industry to gather and collectively, look to the future. This year’s event features more content, more networking and more speakers to deliver the highest quality conference to the gathered audience. We’ve always stayed fiercely true to our “Learn. Network. Be Inspired.” maxim and we’re looking forward to welcoming the industry to The AHC next week”.

The AHC is for UK hoteliers, owners, operators and managers as well as investors, developers, designers, architects, consultants, tourism leaders and regional tourist boards.

Day two of The AHC continues…

Image credit: Twitter/The AHC

In Conversation With: Outstanding Property Award London’s Jesper Thomsen

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Outstanding Property Award London’s Jesper Thomsen

Making its debut on the international design stage, Outstanding Property Award London (OPAL) has begun its global search to identify the most innovative design and architecture projects. As the exclusive media partner of the awards, Hotel Designs speaks to OPAL’s  co-founder to understand what sets the initiative aside from others. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

“What makes a building, a project, a person and/or a hotel’s design outstanding,” I ask myself as I weave between some of London’s architectural skyline statements while running embarrassingly late to meet with Jesper Thomsen. It feels like only yesterday we were both sitting down over coffee for the first time discussing the bones of what has now become the Outstanding Property Award London (OPAL).

Fast-forward to today, and I am on the jury –  as well as at the helm of a very special media partnership -imminently about to be asked to identify the ‘outstanding’ from the ‘extraordinary’ and ‘unique’ – all of which are buzzwords that are overused and I struggle at the best of times to define. Considering the vast amount of innovative architectural gems that have appeared in cityscapes around the world in recent years, I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel the entire weight of the industry’s judgement pressing down on my shoulders. It’s an interesting concept becoming a judge, and ironic that what follows is then the feeling – or apprehension at least – of judgement. But it’s reassuring to know that I’m not alone when casting my opinion, as the awards now has significant number of jury members, all of which have been hand-selected to offer different perspectives from all corners of the industry.

By the time I make it to meet Thomsen, I have decided that, for me, something unconventional will be my winner, which is a word that I feel would best describe Thompson’s ambitions for OPAL, along with ‘bold’, ‘courageous’ and ‘about time.’

Hamish Kilburn: What was the aim when setting up OPAL? 

Jesper Thomsen: The aim was created out of a passion for creativity in the property industry. We aim to highlight and celebrate the most exceptional design projects in the world, raising their awareness and honoring its creators. Buildings last for decades, sometimes centuries, they tell our history and legacy, where we come from and where we are now. They are fundamental to our existence, so it’s essential that they are well designed and serves humanity in the best way possible.

We seek to reveal projects that are not only highly creative but show useful function, provide better living experiences for its users, and meeting the clients’ expectation. Class-leading projects that demonstrate innovation and embracing new technologies, setting new trends, respecting and protecting the environment, and pushing boundaries of human ingenuity.

OPAL was established with my friend and business partner Hossein Farmani, founder of the Farmani Group of companies, who has vast experience in the design awards industry since 1985. Having worked together in the past, the award feels like a natural progression of our combined experiences.

HK: Can you tell more about your experience in the industry? What’s your story? 

JT: I always wanted to become an Architect. Since a young age, I’ve been fascinated by design, and for me, architecture was the ultimate expression of human creativity and design evolution. However, my father was the third-generation owner of a printing and design practice in my native Denmark and got me interested in graphic design. At the time of A-level graduation in Denmark, I wanted to apply for the School of Architecture, but the ministry of education regulating the free admissions had almost no openings for new students due to a slump in that industry.

Instead, after one year as an apprentice in an architectural firm in Paris, I moved to London and began a Masters degree at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, which related more to graphic design, I also supplemented my studies with photography. Following graduation, I was a creative director, designing websites for major companies during the dot com boom era. Here I gained considerable experience in digital marketing and branding. After a seven-year itch, I became tired of commercial design, and my love for the arts was calling.

I launched a private art gallery in Londons’ Knightsbridge, including spending one year developing and designing the gallery space. In this process, it felt like all creative aspects came together, and after completion, I would subsequently spend another seven years running the gallery exhibiting artworks by artists such as Damian Hirst and Bill Brandt.

I decided to move on from the gallery business, and fate got me involved in developing a few properties in Londons Knightsbridge, I spent nearly 3 years responsible for all operations, learning hands-on all the disciplines from interiors to architecture, planning, research, 3D modeling, materials, procuring and team management. It was a very creative period but also learning the hard way how complex the creation of properties really is. So my past really covers hugely varied types of creative practices. I’ve learned that creativity, in all its forms, is about ‘seeing’, sensing, letting your imagination unfold, and this can be applied to all its disciplines.

HK: Why is London such a significant destination to base these awards? 

JT: London has always been incredibly important for creativity and design in the built environment, spanning from historical landmarks up to today’s groundbreaking contemporary designs. Some of the most famous developers, architectural firms, and interior designers, have a base here and continue to inspire and influence the global property industry. The OPAL Award is open to entries from around the world, and we want to bring outstanding projects to London and celebrate them in our fantastic capital we are so proud of.

“OPAL offers a three-way synergy between our three main entry categories; Property Development, Architecture and Interior Design.” – Jesper Thomsen

HK: What sets OPAL aside from other design awards? 

JT: Many awards are confined to a single industry within the property sector; An Architecture Award, is for Architects, by Architects. An interior design award, is for interior designers, by interior designers and so on. OPAL reaches fully across the property sector. It offers a three-way synergy between our three main entry categories; Property Development, Architecture and Interior Design. These industries continuously collaborate to create exciting projects, each bringing their expertise, and combined, they deliver outstanding designs. We are also very proud of our talented jury panel who will evaluate the global entries, they are our backbone and aspiration to those who enter our award.

HK: What other destinations around the globe would you are design hotspots? 

JT: It’s incredible how major cities in Asia have become design hotspots. Shanghai for example, really pushes boundaries fuelled by a concentration of industrial partners and strong government support. As the countdown to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games draws closer, the Japanese capital is in the middle of a hotel gold rush. Anything from boutique design hotels to glittering skyscrapers, a raft of new establishments are opening or are in the pipeline. Mexico City is also one to watch after being nominated for World Design Capital last year. I love their particular design language, elegantly fusing original colonial architecture with contemporary.

HK: What’s the number one thing you cannot travel without?

JT: This is an obvious one; my laptop. It’s glued to my fingertips at all times. I travel extensively, and this enables me to run operations and be connected at all times. Oh, and an online back-up of it too.

HK: What is your favourite hotel you have ever stayed in and why?

JT: There are so many. I recently visited Extremadura, a remote and less traveled part of Spain. Here, in the historic town of Cáceres, inside its UNSECO walled city and housed in a beautifully restored 16th-century palace is the stunning hotel Atrio. Striking white minimalist architectural features blends lovingly with the old stone walls and shiny black wooden floors. The surrounding streets have no tourist shops, nor huge crowds with selfie sticks you’d typically find in places of such beauty, just quaint, peaceful alleys defined by sandstone and ivy leaf clad palaces. The rooms and amenities are styled in a fashionable 60s Scandinavian design, Miles Davies’ Blue Note years playing softly in the background, a pleasing opposition to the striking view onto the empty medieval square below. Atrio is also home to a fabulous two-starred Michelin restaurant boasting one of the finest wine cellars in the world. I thoroughly recommend a visit here.

HK: What do you look for in an outstanding property?

JT: What really excites me about a great project is when the original vision of a completed building shines like a star, its purpose is evident to the eyes and the senses. Those projects are likely to be those who have seen mostly green lights during the creation process.

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

JT: My sights are on Mongolia, away from civilisation and buildings. When I take time off, I grab my camera bag and go shooting landscapes, happy to be off-grid. No place is better for me to clear my mind than to connect with solitary, vast open expanses or wild roaring oceans.

HK: What is your favourite restaurant/bar in London at the moment?

JT: I like Aquavit in St. James. Maybe I’m a bit impartial due to my Scandinavian roots, here you can eat classic dishes such as gravid lax in a beautiful, sumptuous setting. I also like the buzz of The Ned, the physical scale of it is bars, and restaurants area is incredible. I just had a sneak peek of the yet to be launched upstairs bar and restaurant of the Standard Hotel, a funky design offering fantastic views over Londons’ city to one side and the clock tower of St. Pancras to the other, so close it feels glued onto their windows.

HK: What trend do you hope never returns?

JT: Brutalist 60s’ architecture. Its primitive obsession with concrete made an austere generation of buildings where function superseded design, creating discouraging living conditions for its users. I don’t think architects and developers of that time really understood or considered the human factor as part of a design concept, that a building serves to improve peoples lives and its environment, not just a structure to keep you dry from the rain. They are genuine eyesores and should be demolished, and only the best examples should be preserved for the record. I doubt this trend will return anytime soon due to a much better understanding of peoples needs along with technological advancements in the building industry, 3D printing, new materials and simulation methods give designers today far more freedom, flexibility, and individuality to create exciting designs.

Main image credit: OPAL

St. Regis Hotels debuts on the Grand Canal in Venice

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
St. Regis Hotels debuts on the Grand Canal in Venice

The 169-key St. Regis Venice has opened following a two-year, full-scale renovation on the building with the interior design project led by London-based interior design studio Sagrada… 

St. Regis Hotels & Resorts has announced the debut of The St. Regis Venice, which is located steps away from Piazza San Marco and boasting the largest waterfrontage in Venice. The opening follows an extensive project to restore the grandeur of the former Grand Hotel Britannia, which originally opened in 1895 – the same year as the inaugural Venice Biennale.

Many of the guestrooms and suites boast private terraces or Juliet balconies for sweeping views of Venice’s iconic landmarks. Situated across the Grand Canal from Punta della Dogana, the hotel marries its celebrated heritage with the St. Regis brand’s modern design and bespoke service throughout a unique collection of five Venetian palaces, with the oldest dating back to the 17th century. The hotel’s spacious secluded garden sets the hotel apart, making it a lifestyle destination where guests and locals alike can enjoy remarkable views of the Grand Canal. The St. Regis Venice marks the brand’s third location in Italy, joining The St. Regis Florence and The St. Regis Rome.

“Venice is one of the world’s most inimitable cities; one which has inspired royalty, artists, merchants and jet setters alike for more than fifteen centuries,” said Jenni Benzaquen, Vice President of Luxury Brands – Europe, Marriott International. “The St. Regis Venice unites the captivating spirit of the city with the timeless sophistication and service of the brand, re-interpreting Venice’s rich history through a modern lens.”

Throughout its storied history, The St. Regis Venice, in its various guises, has played host to a roster of illustrious guests, global influencers and tastemakers. The five ‘palazzi’ that make up the hotel enjoy a position of privilege overlooking the Grand Canal, with Badoer Tiepolo being the oldest palazzo, which dates back to the 17th century. By the 19th century, palazzi Tiepolo, Barozzi and Regina were converted into the Grand Hotel Britannia, more recently known as Hotel Europa & Regina.

The Grand Hotel Britannia attracted notable intellectuals and socialites as well as renowned painters J.M.W. Turner, John Singer Sargent and Claude Monet, who in the autumn of 1908 was inspired by the hotel’s spectacular views during his stay as a guest and worked to capture the passage of light in his artwork. It is recorded in the book “Monet in Venice” by Philippe Piguet that Claude Monet’s wife, Alice, remarked in her daily letters to her daughter during their stay, “the views from our hotel room are the most magnificent of all Venice, and it’s all for Monet!” The hotel was also the first in Venice to have electricity in every room.

“The St. Regis Venice unites the captivating spirit of the city with the timeless sophistication and service of the brand.” – Jenni Benzaquen, Vice President of Luxury Brands – Europe, Marriott International.

Each room has been reverently furnished to cherish the artistic and cultural heritage of the building, while also embracing the evolution of La Serenissima and the St. Regis brand’s spirit of modern glamour. The exquisitely-designed suites include a two-bedroom, art-inspired Presidential Suite – a true contemporary artist’s residence overlooking the Grand Canal – and a three-bedroom Penthouse Suite with a wraparound furnished terrace showcasing extraordinary views over Venice from three separate viewpoints.

The five Roof Garden Suites spectacularly combine garden-inspired interiors with uninterrupted vistas and contemporary touches while furnished terraces offer a quietly seductive atmosphere. Set against twilight tones, the Venetian Suites showcase crafted details of modern design, influenced by the artistic heritage of the city, while the colour palette of the Monet Suites pay homage to the reflection of light across the Grand Canal. As a hallmark of the St. Regis experience, all guests have access to the signature St. Regis Butler service. Honoured to maintain a long-standing tradition of making guests feel at home, the St. Regis Butler is poised to provide an ever-present, yet unobtrusive, serviceattending to guests’ every need.

Inspired by the Venetian masterpieces of former guest and Impressionist painter Claude Monet, the interiors of the refined guestrooms showcase a distinctive colour palette that represents how light changes throughout the day from dawn to dusk. The design of the public spaces pays homage to Carlo Scarpa, one of Venice’s greatest artists and architects. Venetian styling is seen throughout the hotel in tailored fabrics and custom, handcrafted furnishings inspired by the gentle curves of gondolas, the patterns of the Doge’s Palace, the pavements of St. George’s churchyard and the water flow of the canal.

An eclectic collection of artwork and sculptures will also be curated, bringing ancient Venice to today’s luxury travellers in a modern way. Paying homage to the hotel’s tradition of welcoming famed artists, The St. Regis Venice will host artists from around the world to take residence and create unique pieces inspired by the hotel and its beloved locale. The hotel’s first resident artist, Parisian Olivier Masmonteil, has been commissioned to create original artworks for the Grand Salon and the Monet Suites. The Venetian tradition of glassmaking also lives on, celebrated through a partnership with Glasstress. This unique partnership marries contemporary art and historical glass blowing techniques, inviting world class artists of various disciplines to collaborate with Murano Maestros (masters) to create one-of-a-kind glass works of art.

The hotel opens as part of Marriott International’s strategy to expand its luxury portfolio with the addition of 30 new hotels in 2019. St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, part of Marriott International, Inc., has properties in more than 40 destinations around the world.

Main image credit: Marriott International/St Regis

INTERACTIVE HOTEL REVIEW: Monkey Island Estate, Bray-on-Thames

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INTERACTIVE HOTEL REVIEW: Monkey Island Estate, Bray-on-Thames

Unearthing eight centuries of history, editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to Bray-on-Thames’ Monkey Island Estate to interactively review a new kind of private countryside luxury…

Travel upstream from London and you eventually arrive in the quintessentially British surroundings of Bray-on-Thames, a quiet suburban village that is arguably most for harbouring two of the UK’s five restaurants that hold three Michelin stars.

But before the existence of award-winning gourmet F&B establishment, some 800 years prior, there quietly sat an empty island, which went on to soak up interesting eras. It was firstly an ideal setting for monks seeking peace on the banks of the river. It is said that after the Great Fire of London in 1666, materials from Oxfordshire, such as stone and brick, were transported down the river for rebuilding the city. On the vessels’ return, rubble would be spread around some of the Thames islands, which greatly reduced erosion and helped to strengthen the foundations.

A few decades later, in 1738, the land was purchased by Charles Spencer, 3rdDuke of Marlborough, who was rumoured to have paid palladian architect Robert Morris £2,277 to erect the first two buildings on the island in order to indulge his hobby of fishing. It took Morri three years to complete, but his work marks an important milestone in the property and island’s history – and it is arguably here where the narrative of what is now known as Monkey Island Estate really begins. But it was only recently when the story took on a new narrative, complete with the introduction of new characters, to become a completely unique boutique hotel.

In 2016, YTL Hotels acquired the land, and work began to restore the property into a modern and relaxed countryside abode. Inspired by the haunts of monks, monarchs, aristocrats and writers alike, New York-based Champalimaud Design was responsible to sensitively orchestrate the interior design of the hotel. Having completed the interior design of YTL’s debut UK property, The Gainsborough Bath and Spa, and more recently The Academy in London, the studio, while also sensitively restoring Raffles Singapore, was well-poised to develop the relationship further.

Unlike any hotel project that lead designer Jon Kastl has faced before, the geography of Monkey Island Estate presented its own unique set of challenges. “You have no idea how difficult it is to work on a island that has no direct car access,” he explains. “Everything had to be carried over the footbridge onto the island. And then, the other challenge was the age of the buildings, and dealing with the neglect of the building. They were in pretty rough shape, almost falling into disrepair.”

Guests’ first impression of the hotel is an understated – almost camouflaged – lobby area in a cosy ‘boathouse’ – the feeling of being taken away from the daily grind does not get much stronger than this so close to the centre of London. “The hotel is relatively small,” adds “

The short walk over the footbridge from the unassuming lobby to the public areas is one of wonder. Architectural landscape designer AV Design has created a majestic garden that compliments the various buildings.

Framing what should be in my opinion the postcard picturesque views of the River Thames, the pavilion building, which shelters the majority of the public areas, sets a relaxing setting – and echoes, on a balmy summer afternoon at least, the same peaceful scene that I imagine was once enjoyed by monks centuries ago.

Caption: The Restaurant | Image credit: ACT Studios

Although the bar and restaurant is, on the surface, seemingly conventional, the building has a few hidden gems. The Monkey Room, for example, stands true to its original form and structure – and even design. “The only thing we changed was the purple paint colours on the ceiling and add the furnishings,” says Kastl. The eye-catching murals on the panelling is all original which has been there from since when the building was first built.

Caption: The Monkey Room | Image credit: ACT Studios

Up the spiral staircase, The Whiskey Room is the latest area that has opened. Designed with the winter months in mind, the cosy and home-from-home atmosphere, complete with tactile wallcoverings, is an expected treat.

It is because of the fact that the 41 guestrooms and one originally restored suite are sheltered in a grade I-listed building that makes the design story even more fascinating. The design of each and every one of the guestrooms utilises the entire space, with some stretching out onto terraces which look over the river, while carefully blending in a modern style that becomes timeless.  “We just had to accept the smallness of the rooms when designing them,” Kastl explains. “We did things like designing miniature shelves and additional service space. We designed rails that lined the rolls for guests to hang items from. Because there is such a limited closet space, we had to rely on these rails.” The furniture is scaled appropriately so that it fits in the limited space neatly. Meanwhile, the blinds and curtains, supplied by Concept Contract Furnishings are deliberately not heavy, and instead naturally flood the rooms with light to make them look and feel more expansive.

INTERACTIVE tour of The Wedgwood Suite | Image credit: ACT Studios

Despite the guestrooms being impressive – and adding to the overall interior design story (and challenges) – the masterpiece of the hotel is perhaps sheltered upstairs in the Wedgewood Suite. “The room, from the panelling to the ceiling, was very much intact,” explains Kastl. “One of the challenges was that it has windows on three sides, so from a layout point of view it created a few headaches.” The ensuite bathroom has been re-gutted and given a fresh and modern look. “ The suite is the coming together of old heritage design and the new.

Moored on the river bank, the hotel’s spa is unlike any other in or around London. The facilities have been curated by Melissa Mettler who took inspiration from its riverine surrounds, past inhabitants in the form of royalty, liturgy and literary stars, as well as elegant architecture. The floating spa, which features two treatment rooms that are uniquely sheltered within a renovated barge, is a celebration of the power of water blended together with natural wellbeing and wellness.

Image credit: ACT Studios

I’m sure, for the designers as much as the operators, that the thought of completing Monkey Island Estate and opening again to the public was a distant day dream. But, considering the drastic rise in demand for wellbeing as well as wellness, the timing of YTL hotel’s countryside retreat could not have been more perfect. Checking out of Monkey Island feeling fully restored in mind, body and spirit myself, following a short by sweet trip to the floating spa before departure, the hotel locks in so many unique and thoughtful moments – and exceeds expectations to become one of the UK’s premium countryside retreats.

Main image credit: ACT Studios

EXCLUSIVE ROUNDTABLE: Adding personality in hotel public areas

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EXCLUSIVE ROUNDTABLE: Adding personality in hotel public areas

In partnership with Arte Wallcoverings, editor Hamish Kilburn invited some of the leading hotel designers and architects to Design Centre Chelsea Harbour for a live debate on how to add sustainable personality in the ever-evolving arena of public areas. In addition to being involved in the engaging conversation, the designers, directors and principals were also the first to see Arte’s five new collections, which were officially launched a few days later at Focus19 during London Design Festival… 

Design experts around the table:

Regardless of style, size or star-rating, recent hotel openings suggest that public areas are evolving, and fast. No longer an empty air pocket in the building’s structure, the lobbies that are being created or renovated today are unconventional active spaces, designed to flexibly accommodate all guests whether they are checking in for business, for leisure or in many instances, for both.

Hamish Kilburn: How have the ways in which consumers use public areas changed?

Fiona Thompson (FT), Principal, Richmond InternationalGenerally, how guests behave in hotels has changed. The demographic is completely different. At one point, hotels were quite intimidating places, and not very accessible. That’s been one of the most significant changes I have seen. Hotels have become much more outward-looking and much more accessible to everyone. People now use spaces how they want to use them. Therefore, public areas, in general, have a greater sense of informality.

Vitalija Katine (VK), architect, Jestico + WhilesOne of the largest changes I have noticed is the accent of activation points in lobbies. The activation point of, for example, pop-up bars and pop-up receptions can be positioned and adapted easily in the lobby. I think the public space of a hotel has been the highlight of the last four years, because people are lounging in the lobby as opposed to using it simply as transitional space.

David Mason (DM), Director of Hospitality, Scott BrownriggThere’s a lot more awareness now about the ecological message that hotels are trying to amplify. Also, with the appeal to millennials, there’s much more awareness on the public areas. I imagine there will be a lot more focus on some kind of hotel standard where we really start to look into what is going into hotels, and that will come from hotels aiming to achieve an environmental space. Although hotels are already acting to be more eco-friendly, I think it will become even more of a focus.

Caroline Cundall (CC), Director of Interior Design IHG – Europe: How people work and specifically how people hold meetings has changed massively. That has had a large affect on our lobby spaces. More and more people are roaming around with small laptops and lobbies are much less formal than they used to be. Hotels are recognising the value in attracting more than just the guests staying at the hotel, and the current boutique influence is a catalyst in all of this.

Sam Hall (SH), Global Head of FF&E, GA GroupI have seen more awareness in hotel operators in understanding how space is used. There are many examples of hotels that use every inch of the space as a revenue generator. CitizenM, for example, feels very intimate because the space is broken down. The grand volume of entering a hotel is behind us, perhaps not in Asia or the Middle East, but in Europe and elsewhere for sure. Space is at a premium and every inch of it has to make money. Designers are using the materiality to make spaces feel softer and warmer. These grand areas full of marble are not really where it’s at anymore. Instead, designers are trying to make these soft and reduced acoustics, so it feels more comfortable.

“It doesn’t matter what word you throw on it, what people want is a well-designed space.” – Arianne Steinbeck, Managing Director, RPW Design

Arianne Steinbeck (AS), Managing Director, RPW DesignThe launch of W New York on Lexington Avenue in 1998, designed by David Rockwell, was a pivotal moment. Before that, it was unheard of to serve drinks in the hotel [public areas] and play music. And now everyone is doing it. That was the start of this boutique look and feel that we see today. It doesn’t matter what word you throw on it, what people want is a well-designed space. I think that everyone in the industry has upped their game across all brands, which is a result of consumer demands. To be honest, I’m surprised it took so long.

HK: Are you saying that there is less of a space for grand and open lobbies on the international hotel design scene?

AS: I think there will always be a space for this style of hotel. Personally, I love hotels that remind you that they are a hotel, where the service element absolutely completes the overall experience.

SH: I agree with you, and it’s about the coming together of quality and luxury, working as one.

FT: But even some of the smaller luxury resorts capture that feeling of grand luxury. It all comes down to that amazing sense of service, but it is perhaps delivered in a more modern way.

“All these hotels that feature over decoration to differentiate from others will disappear.” – Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International

HK: Trends is a sensitive term in hotel design. But do what extent do emerging trends come into your decisions when selecting wallcoverings on a project?

AS: It’s come full circle. When I started in the ‘80s there were a lot of patterns on the wall. And then it washed out to a symphony of beiges. Now we seem to be coming back to a little bit more colour and pop. In a few years’ time we might perhaps look at this ‘greyeige’ situation again. That’s why we have all these different brands, because there is room in this industry for individuality.

FT: There is going to be a move away, for sure, of this extraneous design for the sake of it. All these hotels that feature over decoration to differentiate from others will disappear. The young generation want something that is a bit more meaningful. All these words get thrown around: timeless, authentic, and I’m not really sure what they all mean. There is going to be this move away and everything will have more of a purpose.

Hotels are typically big environmentally bad beasts that use power and electricity and decimate environments. Therefore, I predict there will be a call for them to be more responsible, and this filters down to the materials being used to design them.

HK: From a product point of view, how does Arte select trends?

Siobhan Kannenberg, Commercial Manager UK & EIRE, Arte Wallcoverings: As a brand, we don’t really have a specific style. You can always recognise Arte by the quality, but we try to cover all basis. Trend-wise, sustainability is becoming more and more important for our customers, so we are using more natural materials and that is certainly what is called for. Also, I am really excited to see tactile patterns are coming back around.

CC: The fashion industry has always had a huge influence on design. There’s so much talk about recycling in the fashion industry at the moment. Like for example reusing materials, and this is already something that hotels are looking at.

FT: The fashion industry is always half a season ahead. However, things are going to change because they are being challenged. It will be interesting to see how this will filter down into the design sector.

SH: Where brands could go wrong is using sustainability as a selling point, whereas I believe it should be the foundation of the brand and not the feature. I’m hoping that everyone will end up speaking the same language in design to use for purpose and just naturally recycle materials. One of the key benefits of wallcoverings is that it is so easy – and much more affordable – to change and update interiors.

AS: I have no problem reusing something from a previous renovation that still looks good. You don’t always have to throw everything out. Sometimes the casegoods, for example, are on par or better than what you could buy new. And with the right wallcovering, the space will look fresh and retouched.

SK: When we are designing our Arte collections, we like to think of wallcoverings as our showstopper. Is that accurate?

FT: I think it hasn’t been in the past, but actually bright colours and patterns are becoming the centre stage.

HK: In all honesty, how much of the budget, time and consideration goes on the wallcovering decisions – and can you talk me through that process?

CC: You can never estimate these things. The fact that Arte has many wallcoverings that are quite distinctly statement pieces is interesting. If an interior designer would put that into specifications there’s no way that would be changed. It’s the one thing that would be a focal element to a scheme. And if that’s an initiative that everyone agrees on then it will go ahead.

DM: Designs are moving massively forward. From what I remember 20 years ago, the range and difference is incredible. There are so many interesting things you can do now with the wallcoverings, and I have been introduced to such a vast range of materials.

AS: It’s also worth mentioning how much more you get in a product these days. Digital printing changed the pace of innovation. You can have so many awesome effects with digital printing, and I expect to see more of that.

HK: What would you say is the biggest misconception from a client’s point of view?

ALL: That the client can do it better!

SH: In all seriousness, all of these interior designer programmes make it look so easy.

HK: How has the evolution of social media changed the ways in which your briefs from clients are coming in?

FT: I don’t think it’s any different from years ago when we were asked to create ‘wow factors’. It’s just a different terminology. I ban Pinterest. It is too easy to find information these days. I really encourage our designers to go out and see hotels in person, because I don’t want them to lose that discovery process.

AS: I always have to ask which page on Pinterest a look came from, because if it’s from the first page, I don’t want to know.

DM: You’re right, and when they see hotels, I encourage them to find something new than what they have seen online. Too often people are looking for the same shot, the same framing that they have already seen on social media, and it is stripping creativity from the process.

We were actually given a brief for an independent hotel which was solely to create an instagrammable hotel, which would never have happened only a few years ago.

We were challenged quite a lot by Hard Rock International when designing the London property. The brand is American and very bold. To be fair to the client, although we did go backwards and forwards, we did manage to convince them to tone down the ‘instagram moments’ for an audience in London.

VK: We are asked quite often by clients what we consider to be ‘our moments’ in the design. The attention that the ‘Instagram moment’ is getting is much larger and much more exposed to the general public. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. What works in one region does not necessarily work in others.

HK: With the rise in demand for hotels to feel more boutique and independent, how are the materials you are using in the public areas changing?

SK: From Arte’s point of view, there seems to be a lot of misconception that vinyl is what is asked for from the big brands. Actually, with the influence of independent and boutique hotels, hotel groups are more willing to use range of products and materials. As manufacturers, we see vinyl an essential material for corridors for obvious reasons, but it’s a different story in the lobby. People don’t really touch the walls, so there is the ability you can have more fun with a variety of materials.

CC: Fire regulations is key for the country you are in. As long as a material and product has passed its certification, I totally agree.

HK: How do you predict public areas further changing in the next 10 years?

CC: More people will start to work remotely. Working in London, there isn’t anywhere comfortable to sit and have a meeting with a few people. I think that should be the next focus, to have more discreet places to have a meeting – and hotels could harness this well.

SH: I think that there is more that can be done around connectivity. Public areas can still further become even more accessible.

FT: It will be totally connected to how we work and live. People don’t have the formality so much of going to an office anymore. The behaviour of ‘hotdesking’ is interesting and public spaces in hotels can really respond to that.

Following the exclusive panel discussion, the leading designers and architects were the first to browse Arte Wallcoverings’ five new collections (Expedition, Wildwalk, Essentials – Les Nuances, Velveteen and Sketch (HookedOnWalls)) before they were officially launched a few days later at Focus19.

The Standard Hotels brand arrives in the Maldives

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Standard Hotels brand arrives in the Maldives

The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives opens as the brand’s second hotel outside America and its debut hotel in Asia… 

Following the brand’s first venture outside The States to open in London, The Standard brand has spilled into Asia with the arrival of The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives. With 115 stunning private pool villas, The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives is a short sea plane ride away from Male, nestled between the Raa and Baa Atolls, on a naturally protected island.

The goal of every Standard project — be it a hotel, a rooftop discothèque, or a magazine — is to defy conventions, up the aesthetic stakes, and deliver an experience that can only be had at The Standard. While the Maldives has traditionally been seen as a ‘couple’s destination’, the famed hotel brand has approached the development with a fresh set of eyes. The resort offers an unmatched combination of relaxation, dynamic social life and vibrant cultural programming that also welcomes groups of friends or singles looking to meet others or just reset and recharge in Paradise.

Each of the 115 villas features its own private lounge deck and plunge pool, and guests can choose from one of six unique culinary offerings. The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives presents culinary options that are inspired by the bounty and beauty of the Indian Ocean and guided by the brand’s commitment to authenticity. Both local and global cuisines are offered, and special, local ingredients – some grown on its very own island farm – are woven throughout the menu.

The Standard Spa is a haven for recovery or reboot, offering a communal hammam, aroma cypress steam room, chromotherapy and contrast shower, and ten private treatment rooms. Guests are able to drop in to a daily yoga or personal training session, or chill out at the Spa Deck and Tonic Bar plunge pool.

Of course, no Standard experience would be complete without nightlife, from tribal beats at a beach bonfire to a glass bottom nightclub. And a disco ball above your bath tub, for guests to enjoy their own private party.

The hotel brand, which was created in 1999, now has six hotels within its portfolio, which includes properties in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London and now the Maldives.

Main image credit: The Standard Hotels

THROWBACK: Duravit looks back on 2019’s top bathroom trends

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
THROWBACK: Duravit looks back on 2019’s top bathroom trends

As we hurtle into Q4 of 2019, Bathroom manufacturer Duravit is taking a look back at some of this year’s top bathroom trends that are still holding strong. From organic shapes to matte finishes, these are the looks to add a high-end touch to any designer bathroom into the coming season and year…

Organic elegance

Frank Lloyd Wright, an early pioneer of organic architecture, took his inspiration from nature.

The legendary architect integrated organic forms into his works, seeking to harmonise the object with the environment.

Duravit’s latest additions to its product ranges perpetuate this idea: sweeping lines and dynamic curves characterize new products like Viu/XViu and Starck T.

The Viu/XViu series by sieger design boasts a post-industrial elegance with a combination of organic forms and precise geometry. The highlight is a washbasin with Duravit’s patented c-bonded technology: the clear rectangular definition on the outside contrasts with gentle organic curves within, reminiscent of the softness of water.

The fluid transition from the round base to the geometric “T” shape is the defining design feature of the Starck T series, the first accessory line by Duravit and longtime collaborator Philippe Starck. It is reminiscent of an organic, branching tree structure. This simple yet chic design element runs through every part of the series as a subtle, recurring signature.

Colours, Materials, and Surfaces

Matte colors are reigning strong in interior design. In the bathroom silky, matte surfaces and wood create a soothing, warming atmosphere. Duravit’s new light and dark matt glazes for washbasins and toilets open up an even greater variety of combination options. Their velvety finish exudes a sophisticated elegance and creates contrasts with glossy individual pieces or zones with other pops of color.

The Happy D.2 Plus bathroom furniture, created by sieger design, is available in a total of 11 finishes for an individual look in the bathroom, featuring quality wood or fashionable matte surfaces in light and dark shades. Even greater customization options are afforded by the choice of six finishes for the console panel, enabling a whole range of creative combinations: monochrome, harmonious tone-on-tone, or contrasting.

These can be further enhanced with the expressive Starck T accessories in stylish Matt Black or Chrome to create a cohesive aesthetic. Ranging from toothbrush holders to towel hooks and soap dispensers, the range encompasses 16 high-quality accessories.

Smart Technology

Duravit’s tech-forward mirrors provide a bevy of features and intuitive ease of use that make them optimal for any bathroom setting. The features of the round Happy D.2 Plus mirrors in particular offer added comfort. Mirror heating and the ambient light and colored light switching function can be operated via icon control. The series also provides the opportunity for a perfectly matching double washing area: two mirrors can be paired at the factory for additional convenience.

Main image credit: Duravit

100% not-for-profit luxury safari, Lepogo Lodges, opens in South Africa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
100% not-for-profit luxury safari, Lepogo Lodges, opens in South Africa

The safari Lepogo Lodges, joins the ‘Not-for-Profit Conservation Tourism’ Movement and pledges to offset each and every guest’s carbon footprint…

Lepogo Lodges, one of Africa’s few entirely not-for-profit high-end safari lodges, has opened its very first lodge in South Africa’s Limpopo Province, Noka Camp, which is set within the 50,000-hectare, malaria-free Lapalala Wilderness Reserve.

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

Image credit: Lepogo Lodges

Noka Camp consists of five stilted villas, including one villa especially designed for families. The villas are joined by a main lodge comprised of dining room, bar, lounge area and sprawling outdoor terrace, all perched atop a 100ft cliff overlooking the winding Palala River below and the endless bush ahead. The camp is entirely off-grid, with all energy self-generated by a bespoke, 250msolar walkway.

Lepogo Lodges have worked with award-winning Japanese Architect Yuji Yamazakion Noka Camp and its five stilted villas, designed to offer the highest level of luxury while bearing the lightest footprint on the surrounding environment. A glass-fronted design for the main lodge and villas maximises the incredible panoramic views seen at every turn, while the entire property has been built on small concrete pads, which ensure that no scars are left on the land.  Each villa is complete with heated plunge pool, unique ‘sky bed’ with glass floor over the ravine, sunken bathtub and underfloor heating.

Lepogo Lodges have collaborated with Sarah Ord Interiors on the interior design of Noka Camp. Reputed for her use of colour and eclectic designs, Sarah’s vision was to enhance and reflect the natural colours of the reserve. Noka’s light-filled interiors were inspired by the vast horizon of turning leaves on the terracotta-coloured cliffs, where the sky meets Africa. Walls disappear through the use of expansive glass panes, with each vista becoming a framed work of art on a grand scale. Sarah has made use of sustainable and South-African products, crafts and textiles wherever possible.

Lepogo Lodges will consist of two lodges, with a second property, Melote House, set to open in 2021. Ideal for multi-generational travel, Melote House will be an exclusive-use property sleeping up to 16 guests.

Entirely energy self-sufficient thanks to the property’s very own solar walkway, Lepogo Lodges will be the first luxury lodge in Africa to offset the carbon emissions from all guests’ travel, from the time they leave their home to the moment they return. Guests can also participate in conservation efforts, community outreach, school visits and more.

The owning family of Lepogo Lodges is committed to supporting community projects. For example, the Montebello Design Centre in Cape Town was founded by a close relative as a centre to support the disadvantaged, where students can learn valuable crafting skills and generate income to support their livelihoods. It flourishes today and has produced some remarkable talent, some of which Lepogo is proud to be able to showcase. Lepogo Lodges are also working closely with local communities, who have created bespoke soft accessories for the lodges, toys and clothing for the on-site curio shop and custom amenities including hydrating hair oil made from the fabled Baobab and Moringa trees.

The family is particularly passionate about the conservation of cheetah, pangolin and rhino, having been attracted to Lapalala as one of the leading private rhino sanctuaries in Africa. Lepogo Lodges have funded research and are working with Lapalala to establish the reserve as a centre of excellence for the release of wild captured cheetah in conjunction with The Endangered Wildlife Trust. A pangolin re-introduction programme will also begin in the coming months and the family look forward to supporting and working with the world renowned Lapalala Wilderness School.

 Main image credit: Lepogo Lodges

The Standard London, Camden’s new kid on the block

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Standard London, Camden’s new kid on the block

In search of a new standard in design, creativity and urban hotels, editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to London’s most talked-about hotels this year to explore another world. The Standard London has opened, making a bold statement on the capital’s new hospitality scene… 

Something significant is happening in London’s King’s Cross area. It’s been brewing for some time now, but it has only recently erupted.

During London Design Festival and London Fashion Week, the area was the backdrop of a scene of celebrities, models and the odd design editor or two falling out of parties and onto pavements. Soho and Shoreditch were desolate deserts in comparison. It’s the power of real estate like you have never seen before. Selecting its opening date carefully, The Standard has disrupted everything – and it’s about time too!

Although, for years, the district has evolved with the time, it was the expansions to King’s Cross and the new St Pancras International stations adjacent to each other that started the catalyst for change. Strangely enough, my father worked on the construction of both. I remember the odd non-official ‘bring your son to work’ day, the oversized hard hat specifically, as we meandered around the expansive building site unable to imagine the finished picture. “Soon, you will be able to travel from London to Paris in just two hours, imagine that” I remember my father saying overexcitedly. “Right here, where you are standing, is going to become London’s major international train station!”

Whether or not my pops really was one of the first to envision the area’s potential is irrelevant. The station opened and almost instantly the cool, quirky neighbourhood of Camden became even more of a hotspot for the mainstream, without much – if any – loss of its bold and bohemian personality. As a result, the capital’s hotel scene – quick to follow major travel trends – moved outward to put a roof over the raw and rustic scenes that its locals had created.

And here we are, welcoming the city’s new arrival, The Standard, which has been patiently waiting in the wings for some time now. And while all hotels have a story (some more worth sharing than others), The Standards’ narrative is as unique as the interior design scheme locked within; a perfect meeting of American soul and London’s ostentatious quirk.

Housed in the former Camden Town Hall Annex in London’s thriving King’s Cross neighbourhood, the 1974 Brutalist building has been meticulously restored by the legendary ORMS Architects in collaboration, in part, with Archer Humphryes Architects.

The 266-key hotel, which shelters 42 suites, sets the perfect stage for the brand’s first arrival outside America. Uniquely overlooking the iconic St Pancras Station, from street level it’s juxtaposition of architecture that shouldn’t but does work. On the north side is the traditional 19th-century iconic neo-gothic architecture, which has stood the test of time, and two world wars for that matter, unscathed. On the south side is the ultra-modern non-conventional structure, symbolising loudly that times are changing.

“Three new storeys have been added to the top of the building,” explains Simon Whitaker from ORMS Architects. “The form of which has been derived from the host building below, and clad in new stainless steel and glass panels. Two of these floors provide hotel bedrooms, whilst the top floor is dedicated to the new restaurant and bar, with a roof terrace above.”

Image credit: The Standard Hotels

Upon entering, the lobby lounge sets the scene, with a carefully curated library that pays homage to the building’s original use. Further in, sound studio booths host weekly live music and talks. Executive Chef Adam Rawson’s street facing bar, Double Standard, designed by Shawn Hausman, the neighbourhood’s street-facing anchor for lunch, casual drinking and dining throughout the evening.

Although the colour scheme in the guestrooms and suites may not be to everyone’s taste, it is very much so mine. Not so much because of the tones used, but more so because they have been intertwined together with purpose – and unapologetically so for that matter. Complete with bespoke curved sofas and the King’s rooms featuring outdoor terrace bathtubs, the idiosyncratic charm of the hotel is certainly not limited to the public areas.

Image credit: The Standard Hotels

Before it opened, the hotel’s street level, red exterior lift was the ultimate teaser campaign. Now fully open, it shoots guests up directly to the 10th-floor where Chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias’ restaurant showcases his live-fire cooking and where guests and visitors alike can enjoy the building’s 360-degree views of the city below all-year round thanks to the retractable awning.

No longer do party-hard followers of the brand have to travel stateside to experience The Standard’s retro maximalism. First launched in the late 90s with its debut hotel in Hollywood, which for the record remains to this day a go-to destination on the Sunset Strip, the hotel’s urban cool influence is London’s answer to keeping the Camden’s hospitality scene fresh, authentic and designed with purpose.

It’s next stop? The Maldives, next month in fact, which will be an interesting page to turn in what is an unmistakably climatic chapter for the now international hotel brand.

Main image credit: The Standard Hotels

In Conversation With: Mark Tremlett, co-founder of Naturalmat

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Mark Tremlett, co-founder of Naturalmat

With ‘the bed’ continuing to be the first and arguably most important furniture element to get right when designing any hotel experience, editor Hamish Kilburn sits down with Mark Tremlett, co-founder of Naturalmat, to understand how it has uniquely become one of the world’s leading bed and mattress manufacturers for the hotel industry…

20 years ago, when Britney Spears, Steps and Ricky Martin were dominating the UK pop charts, Naturalmat’s interesting narrative began in rural Devon, where its headquarters remains to this day.

And like all great manufacturing stories, it started with a family business. Mark Tremlett and his father were boat builders, working to design luxury superyachts at their base in Topsham, on the picturesque banks of the River Exe.

Despite consumers investing a lot of money in high-quality interiors, using bespoke fixtures and fittings, let alone the cost of each vessel, the father-and-son duo saw a fundamental issue with the conventional beds that were being specified in the marine industry. “I saw that people were still sleeping on poor quality polyurethane foam mattresses underneath it all,” explains Tremlett, the co-founder of Naturalmat. “This is not a great material to use on a boat (or any bed) as it’s not breathable, leading to issues of damp and mould, and doesn’t give the most comfortable experience.”

Fine-tuning his entrepreneurial skills, Tremlett teamed up with Peter Tindall to develop a mattress that made full use of the organic sheeps’ wool that was naturally in thick supply in the West Country, combined with coconut fibre and natural latex. “This made for a superior night’s sleep, greater longevity and an all-round more comfortable experience for the owner,” he adds.

Following success in the marine industry with the innovative and practical bed solution, Tremlett settled down and began a new journey, fatherhood, which inspired the next branch of Naturalmat’s portfolio to grow.

In 2001, after noticing the lack of sustainable, durable and functional materials on offer when searching for an appropriate cot for his new-born baby, Naturalmat Nursery was formed. “Materials wise,” Tremlett explains, “we have not changed that much for the mattresses. The core organic and natural fibres that you find in our marine mattresses will also be found in our nursery, domestic and hotel mattresses.” The result was a breathable, organic and comfortable mattress for a market that was, prior to Naturalmat’s entrance, screaming out for innovation.

The next turn in the story came in 2008 when Tremlett was approached by Simon Woodroffe who was developing the YOTEL concept. With smaller sized rooms, which the hotel brand refers to as cabins, the stars aligned, which led to Naturalmat further expanding globally and entering what is now its largest market; the international hotel industry. “Simon was looking for a sustainable, organic sleep solution that worked in his compact spaces, but didn’t cut corners on comfort,” explains Tremlett. “We worked together and became the bed consultants for his business.” Following the milestone partnership, more opportunities emerged, such as working with Qbic, Six Senses Resorts, Z Hotels, Hoxton Hotels and more.

Image credit: Naturalmat

Each and every Naturalmat mattress and bed is made by hand in the company’s purpose- built factory in the same site where Tremlett began his venture in 1999. “We believe that people, not machines, make a superior, longer lasting product,” he adds. “Our team ensure every stitch, every fibre, every tufting button and every cover is painstakingly created, teased and checked.”

“When we started, I was making mattresses on my old table tennis table in a small corner of our boatyard.” – Mark Tremlett, co-founder of Naturalmat.

With demand at an all-time high, the company’s British infrastructure also had to grow. “What has changed is the size and space that we need to make all our ranges,” says Tremlett. “When we started, I was making mattresses on my old table tennis table in a small corner of our boatyard. We now have almost 40,000 sq/ft of dedicated space and are

building another new 25,000 sq/ft. We also now design and make a full range bed bases and headboards so our upholstery skill set and our knowledge of fabrics has had to develop to achieve this.

Another unique strand to the fabrics of the company is the method of sourcing its materials. “Our organic lambswool comes from Soil Association certified farms in Devon, Dorset and Somerset,” says Tremlett. “We buy direct from organic farmers, to ensure the highest quality. Buying direct also gives the farmers a better return than taking it to market, so we are supporting our local farming community.”

By keeping a close eye on its supply chain and manufacturing, all the way to delivery, Naturalmat is able to guarantee a great quality product every time, and also meet the needs of hoteliers who have specific requirements. “When a mattress leaves our factory, we are confident it will give years of long lasting comfort,” adds Tremlett.

While the industry is slowly starting to design more consciously and responsibly around the environment, with thanks to a number of catalysts – the obvious being the David Attenborough effect – Naturalmat’s core DNA is, and has always been, to create sustainable and comfortable products. Largely, if not wholly, as result of the company remaining firm in its eco and quality ethos, Naturalmat has become a market-leader in several sectors. “I think that everybody is very conservative at heart and changes just take time to come about,” adds Tremlett. “Also the price initially would have put people off, but now the value of making a sustainable product is much more important in the buying decision than it ever used to be.”

QUICK-FIRE ROUND:

Hamish Kilburn: On a scale of one to 10, how eco-friendly do you consider your lifestyle to be?
Mark Tremlett: A solid 8/10

HK: Where do your product development ideas usually come from?
MT: Our products are created in answer to two big problems that are universal issues. 1) How do we live more sustainably? 2) And how do I get better sleep?

HK: What other eco products on the market are you impressed by at the moment?
MT: We are always keeping an eye on the latest eco technologies and considering how they could be applied to our products. I have been very impressed with some of the emerging fibres and fabrics that we have seen at design and trade shows. We have been playing around with Pinatex, a sustainable alternative to leather that’s made from pineapples. I could see that upholstering a stylish bed!

HK: Can you name one trend you wish never returns?
MT: Supermarket fruit and vegetable plastic packaging – please can we make this an endangered species.

HK: Becoming a parent inspired a new direction in your business. What do you hope your child/children learn from you?
MT: Try hard, work hard, have fun and it will all be ok in the end.

HK: Is the bed still the most important element of a hotel experience?
MT: If I said anything other than yes, I would by lying.

Image credit: Naturalmat

Through conversations that are happening at the moment on the international hotel design scene, the industry seems to be surfing on the crest of the wave when it comes actively designing eco-friendly hotels, but is the future landscape of international hotel design one that is layered with eco hotels? Tremlett seems to believe so. “Whereas for many years eco travel appealed to a niche consumer, it is now very much in the mainstream,” he explains. “The environment is a universal concern and increasing numbers of people are making positive changes to their everyday lives with this in mind, from choosing a reusable cup, to organic furnishings, to locally sourced restaurants, to an eco- friendly trip. It makes sense that the demand for eco hotels will only continue to grow, and that existing hotels will feel a pressure to make more environmentally friendly choices.

In regards to the future, as well as being specified for the Conscious Bedroom concept that Harris & Harris will be unveiling next month at the Independent Hotel Show London, Naturalmat continues to innovate its products to cater for growing and evolving demand. “Our customers have been asking us for better bedding, so we are about to launch our new range of 500 thread count GOTS certified organic cotton bedding,” Tremlett explains. “We are buying direct from source and have been very fussy about the level of what we want, it has taken ages but we will be launching this in the Autumn.”

Naturalmat 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: Naturalmat

Ruby Hotels to open second hotel in London in 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Ruby Hotels to open second hotel in London in 2021

The 154-key Ruby Stella will open in London’s Clerkenwell district and is the latest instalment in the ‘Lean Luxury’ hotel brand’s ambitious expansion plan…

Following a theatrical launch in Dusseldorf, Ruby Hotels, the Munich-based hotel brand and pioneer of the ‘Lean Luxury’ philosophy, today announces plans for a second UK property, in London’s Clerkenwell, to open in the first quarter of 2021. The new hotel, Ruby Stella, will follow the launch of Southbank’s Ruby Lucy in January 2020 and will form part of Ruby Hotels’ plan to unveil a total of 12 new hotels by 2022.

Set within a modern purpose-built space which will reflect the historic facades of the surrounding buildings, Ruby Stella will be constructed on Clerkenwell’s Eyre Street Hill in collaboration with real estate partners Geneva Management Group and UDevelopments.

The hotel will shelter 154 rooms, ranging in size from cosy ‘Nest’ rooms (13-15m²) to expansive ‘Loft’ rooms (23-38m²), a stylish bar area, a communal work station and a library. All guest rooms will showcase Ruby Hotels’ sleep-scientist-approved formula for the perfect night’s sleep, with full soundproofing, blackout curtains, high-quality linen and extra-long and wide custom mattresses.

A laid-back, contemporary design will see quirky touches such as the inclusion of a Marshall guitar amp in each room, which guests can use both with their own guitar or one borrowed from reception, and ‘Ruby Radio’, the hotel group’s own internet radio station.

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

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

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

Main image: Ruby Hotels

Tivoli Hotels & Resorts to debut in China

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Tivoli Hotels & Resorts to debut in China

The Portuguese hospitality brand Tivoli Hotels & Resorts has announced plans to diversify its portfolio by introducing the brand into the Chinese market in the capital of Sichuan Province, Chengdu…

Chengdu serves as the economic, commercial, financial, transportation and communication centre of Southwest China. Renowned for its pleasant climate and popular food, Chengdu is home to the world-renowned breeding and research base for giant pandas which attracts almost 3.5 million visitors annually, along with a wealth of historical attractions.

The new project is being developed in partnership with Chengdu Qingyang Urban and Rural Construction Development Company Limited.  Sitting on the south-west edge of the commercial and convention hub of Chengdu International Intangible Cultural Heritage Exhibition Park, the site is located in the western part of Chengdu in close proximity to Nancaoping Ecology Park and the 18-hole Tianfu Golf Club.

Chengdu International Intangible Cultural Heritage Exhibition Park was established to promote cultural exchange, showcasing world cultures in purpose-built exhibition halls. Interactive experiences for visitors include arts and crafts activities such as paper cutting and wood painting. Throughout the year the park also hosts a number of recreational and entertainment activities celebrating cultural diversity.

Expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2019, Tivoli Chengdu at Cultural Heritage Park is located together with Oaks Chengdu at Cultural Heritage Park adding 400 keys in categories ranging from deluxe rooms to suites to serviced apartments.

The dual properties will provide eight dynamic food and beverage options, including all-day dining, Chinese cuisine, specialty dining, coffee shops, as well as a lounge and bar area. In addition to quality stay and dining experiences, guests can also enjoy luxury spa and fitness facilities, a children’s club and state of the art banqueting and meeting facilities.

With a journey that dates back to 1933 in Lisbon, the brand expanded from Portugal to Brazil and more recently to Qatar. 2019 is the year that opens a new chapter with the first opening in Asia, bringing some of the brand’s cosmopolitan atmosphere and lifestyle approach to China.

Main image credit: Tivoli Hotels & Resorts

Editor Checks In: Everyone’s gone eco!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor Checks In: Everyone’s gone eco!

This September, editor Hamish Kilburn has seen a rise in biophilic and eco design at London Design Festival as he prepares to go on stage at next month’s Independent Hotel Show (October 15) to put the topic firmly under the magnifying glass…

I’ve got a confession to make. I’m not a naturally born eco warrior – and I don’t believe anyone who was born pre-Millennium is either. That’s not to be confused by someone who doesn’t care about the environment. It just means that I, like others, have had to learn – and learn quickly – about the many strands attached to this very real issue before being comfortable speaking about it publicly.

“Reading the latest statistics on global warming sends physical shivers down my spine, like a glacier is melting down by back vertebrae by vertebrae.”

Last year I was privileged to be among the first to interview Martin Pease as the Managing Director of architecture and design firm WATG London. While the interview was memorable, it was his response to one particular question that stayed with me. When asked what the number-one tool for success is, he said: “We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.” Since then, I have made it an editor’s prerogative to listen to many, not just one or a few, before finally being prepared to make sense of chaotic and stigmatised issues. And here I am preparing to dissect what is the most chaotic and complex matters our industry has perhaps ever faced: climate change and finding sustainable, ecological and realistic solutions to create harmony between design and nature.

Reading the latest statistics on global warming sends physical shivers down my spine, like a glacier melting down my back vertebrae by vertebrae. According to NASA, most of the warming has occurred in the last 35 years, with the five warmest years on record taking place since 2010. Meanwhile, The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass, having lost an average of 286 billion tons of ice per year between 1993 and 2016.

Designers, architects and suppliers have traditionally been good listeners when it comes to reacting to meeting the needs – and in this case requirements – of consumers. This month has been no exception. London Design Festival 2019 once again attracted the attention of the design world. Firstly, it awarded Dame Vivienne Westwood with the Lifetime Achievement Medal.

Despite my initial concerns, it was not Brexit that was dominating the theme of every conversation in and between the many social events. Instead, it was the boundless possibilities of biophilic design; discussing, at length, who was using nature innovatively for good to create warm and thoughtful interiors. I have my favourites, as do we all, but it feels like it’s creating a free-flowing movement of ideas.

I would argue that we are not quite yet surfing on the crest of the sustainability wave. Although we have the resources to hand when we catch it, we are reliant on each other – developers, owners, operators and investors – in order for it to finally, one day, become common practice to receive a brief to design a fully eco hotel.

Cue next month’s Independent Hotel Show, where I will have the heavy responsibility to lead the discussion on how our global industry can work together to build more conscious and considered hotels. While I can’t promise miracles, I can guarantee that my expert panel and I have turned over every stone to ensure that we offer realistic visions of a sustainable future on the international hotel design scene.

It’s already started, with hotels such as The Pig pledging publically that almost all food that can’t be supplied by the gardens is then impressively sourced within a 25-mile radius. And Monkey Island Estate in Bray-on-Thames, which features its own smoke house among many other intriguing elements in the garden, with still plenty of space for further expansion.

My conclusion (for the purpose of this Editor’s Letter if nothing else) is that it is not rocket science. It’s simply about the industry collectively using creative thinking to offer new and functional solutions. Call it, if you like, the true art of modern hospitality.

Main image credit: Act Studios

Accor announces six new Mercure hotels by end of 2019 in the UK

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Accor announces six new Mercure hotels by end of 2019 in the UK

The Mercure Hotels properties are being refurbished to a high standard and combine international standards of quality and service with a locally inspired look and feel…

Accor has announced that six UK hotels signed by Danish based real estate property group Proark will be opening under the Mercure brand by the end of 2019. The hotels are located in key locations in Birmingham, Nottingham, Cardiff, Bedford, Telford and Harlow.

Previously operating under the Park Inn brand, these six hotels are in the process of being extensively refurbished by Proark and rebranded to Mercure.

The first three; Mercure Bedford Centre Hotel, Mercure Telford Centre Hotel and Mercure Nottingham Sherwood Hotel, have this month opened under the Mercure brand, with the extensive redesign and refurbishment of each hotel due to fully complete by the end of October 2019. The remaining three hotels; Mercure Cardiff North Hotel, Mercure Birmingham West Hotel and Mercure Harlow Hotel are set to be branded as Mercure by the end of this year.

Every Mercure hotel takes its inspiration from the features, traditions and history of its individual location while sharing the consistent quality of an international brand. Each hotel features locally inspired artwork, design, décor and even textures encompassing elements of its area’s cultural and historic past.

For example, Mercure Birmingham West Hotel is inspired by the industrial and automotive heritage of the West Midlands. The hotel features black powder-coated metal designs fixed to the wall with industrial exposed fixings, alongside pieces of artwork which reflect the region’s automotive history. The hotel offers 168 guestrooms, and provides a convivial eating and drinking experience, alongside full on-site leisure facilities and extensive meeting and banqueting space.

The theme of Mercure Nottingham Sherwood Hotel meanwhile draws on the city’s historic lace making heritage, having been the world centre for the industry for more than 100 years. This is reflected in the artwork styles throughout the reception and lounge areas, featuring lacemaking artefacts. The hotel has 172 guestrooms, a 42-cover restaurant, bar and meeting lounge spaces.

Mercure Cardiff North Hotel is based in the docklands district, Tiger Bay, which was key to the export of coal, iron and tin from South Wales during the industrial revolution. The design of the hotel features copper aesthetic lining inspired by the Millennium Centre façade in Cardiff Bay, while curated display items include Welsh love spoons, miners’ hats and Welsh textiles. The hotel offers 132 guestrooms, a 32-cover restaurant and a café and bar lounge area.

Mercure Bedford Centre Hotel takes the Great Ouse River as its inspiration, which is seen as the jewel in the crown of Bedford and is popular for canoeing and kayaking. The design of the hotel features lots of timber features from canoes, water graphics and rowing illustrations. The hotel has 121 guestrooms available and provides a 20-cover restaurant, bar and café area as well as lounge and meeting spaces.

Ironbridge, the home of the world’s first iron bridge and a turning point in construction around the globe, provides the focus for the Mercure Telford Centre Hotel. The hotel takes its inspiration from this rich industrial and pioneering heritage and features metallic designs and artwork styles to convey wrought iron manufacturing. The hotel offers 153 guest rooms, a locally inspired eating and drinking experience, plus extensive meeting rooms.

The New Town of Harlow was built in 1947 as a hub for manufacturing and the technological industry and is where fibre-optic telecommunication was born. Mercure Harlow Hotel takes its inspiration from this pioneering spirit and the development of new technology is reflected in details throughout the hotel. The hotel offers 119 guest rooms and provides 7 meeting rooms, and ample on site car parking.

We are delighted to be partnering with Proark on these hotels and are proud to brand them as Mercure hotels,” said Jean-Marc Vendioux, Senior Vice President Managed hotels UKI. “ Guests can expect a hotel which provides an incredibly high level of personalised service and the quality they expect from a Mercure, elevated by the look and feel of a hotel rooted in its local community.”

Michael Brag, Chairman of Proark commented: “We have worked closely with Accor since signing this portfolio of hotels and are extremely pleased with the result of the refurbishments. Each hotel has the Mercure service and features guests expect but they offer local touches too, which we are confident will be well received by business and leisure travellers alike.”

Main image credit: Accor

Leading designers, architects and hoteliers to attend The Brit List Awards 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Leading designers, architects and hoteliers to attend The Brit List Awards 2019

Here are some of the leading names that have confirmed to attend Hotel Designs annual award ceremony, The Brit List Awards 2019…

It’s been just seven days since Hotel Designs officially unveiled the shortlisted finalists for The Brit List 2019, and already design directors, principals and hoteliers from the UK’s leading firms and hotels have confirmed to attend the exclusive award ceremony, which will take place at Patch East London on November 21.

Among the leading designers who have already confirmed are design directors and principals from Richmond International, Project Orange, Harriet Forde Design, Harris + Harris, RPW Design, Scott Brownrigg and IHG.

In regards to architects attending The Brit List Awards 2019, Hotel Designs will welcome associates and directors from the likes of Zaha Hadid Architects, WATG, Jestico + Whiles and Dexter Moren Associates.

Hoteliers confirmed to attend the annual awards ceremony include, among others, Good Hotel London, Limewood Group and Homegrown Hotels, Rosewood London, Cliveden House, The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences London, The Dixon, Bespoke Hotels, Eccleston Square, Inhabit London and Hotel Gotham.

The nationwide search to find the most influential designers, architects and hoteliers operating in Britain began months ago when Hotel Designs opened up nominations and applications to readers.

Since then, an independent panel of expert judges have gathered to select this year’s individual award winners and also to confirm the 75 individuals who have made it into The Brit List 2019.

Head of Interior Design at IHG, Emma King, attended last year’s event and was one of the 75 names in The Brit List 2018. “The Brit List recognises the UK’s best hotel design talent,” she said at the time. “We at IHG are proud to be recognised for the hard work we have done to the interior design of our brands in recent years.”

The shortlist is available to read here.

“The Brit List is an unparalleled networking opportunity for all,” said editor Hamish Kilburn. “Bridging the gap between designers, architects, suppliers, hoteliers, developers, owners and operators has always been – and continues to be – the aim of every decision made by the team at Hotel Designs.”

How to attend

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

If you would like to discuss various sponsorship packages available, please contact Katy Phillips via email, or call 01992 374050.

#TheBritListAwards2019

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat

2019 Industry Partner: BIID

MINIVIEW: The Pig at Bridge Place

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: The Pig at Bridge Place

Following its hotly anticipated opening in April, The Pig at Bridge Place marks the hotel brand’s sixth authentic boutique hotel within its portfolio. Editor Hamish Kilburn heads back to his home county in Kent to explore the countryside gem… 

With its welcoming red brick façade and ornate Jacobean interior, Bridge Place is an intriguing old building with an usual rock-n-roll vibe. Over the past four decades, this musical honeypot in Bridge, Kent, has been home to some renowned parties and gigs playing host in the ‘70s to Led Zeppelin and The Kinks.

The property houses a wealth of period features, which are most noticeable in the public areas, including large fireplaces, secret stairways, panelled walls and endless nooks and crannies. In the refurbishment, all of these structural nuances have been respected and enhanced to create seven bedrooms along with numerous cosy bars and sitting areas.

But now, the building has turned the page to a new chapter, The Pig at Bridge Place is a 31-key boutique hotel that oozes effortless style thanks to the acclaimed designer Judy Hutson, whose signature style has given The Pig its unique brand of laid-back chic, which has been beloved by guests to date.

The Pig, Bridge Place, Canterbury, Kent, hotel, boutique hotel, gardens, restaurant, bar

Attached to the main building a new, carefully detailed Coach House contains a restaurant with open kitchen. Within The Coach House are 12 bedrooms; four on the ground floor and eight on the first floor. Over the brook via a hand crafted wooden bridge are seven fitting Hop Pickers’ Huts created from reclaimed materials all dotted along a meandering wooden walkway. Each hut houses a double bedroom with cosy bathroom and wood-burning stove. Next to the kitchen garden is The Barn; a large upstairs/downstairs room with vast bathroom and bedroom views across the garden.

Worlds away from the building’s former existence of being an illustrious party scene in the ’70s, the rooms inside The Pig at Bridge Place are a calming oasis reflecting countryside bliss. Overflowing with character and style, each key unlocks its own personality. Original details can be found in each room, which are finished effortlessly with carefully curated artwork and an array of personally chosen vintage features.

“We’ve had a great couple of years, with customers seeming to love what we do. Occupancy is in the mid 90 per cent in our rural locations and we know from our guests and their invaluable feedback that they want more PIGs,” said CEO of Home Grown Hotels Robin Hutson. “After searching far and wide for truly unique properties, we really are over the moon about our new hotel in Kent.”

If the design wasn’t impressive enough, as with every other PIG, the kitchen garden and restaurant sit at the beating heart of this property; anything that can’t be supplied by the gardens are impressively sourced from Kent’s best producers within a 25-mile radius of Bridge.

Main image credit: The Pig at Bridge Place

Top furniture looks to come out of London Design Festival

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Top furniture looks to come out of London Design Festival

Are you sitting comfortably? Here is Hamish Kilburn’s editor’s pick of the most innovative furniture pieces that were exhibited at London Design Festival 2019…

With the design world watching, London Design Festival (LDF) once again delivered a spectacular performance full of colour, shapes and thoughtful design. Full of twists and turns – and too many highlights to mention – the nine-day festival included events, talks and installations that all explored how product design is changing to cater to the evolving behaviours and demands of modern consumers.

For the purpose of this article, I have selected my top picks from four of LDF’s leading exhibitions that made the most noise – and they were: Focus19, 100% Design, designjunction and London Design Fair.

Winch Design’s Arc Collection for Summit Furniture – weaving new design directions 

Winch Design and Summit Furniture introduced Arc, their debut collaboration, at Focus19. The two companies collaborated to create “the ultimate exterior furniture range”, which is inspired by the sea and the sky.

A signature feature of the range is laminated teak, which is woven between maritime-grade brushed stainless steel rods, alternatively undulating, they arc around the back of the seats in gentle rows. The final result is reminiscent of the woven rope traditionally used on sailing yachts. Winch Design is inspired by the patterns, colours and textures of the natural world, and every design that leaves the studio is imbued with its own unique spirit, identity and story. With dedication to storytelling underpinning their fastidious attention to detail and commitment to design perfection, Arc was brought to life. The name ‘Arc’ is visually evocative and brings to mind the long arcing lines of latitude and longitude, the curve of the horizon, of a full sail, and of the shapes in the sky made by sailors when navigating by the stars using the arc of the marine sextant.

Each piece in the collection complements the other, enabling the client to enjoy a unified, contemporary exterior look. Arc by Winch Design features a lounge chair, dining chair, bar chair, low coffee style table, sun lounger, bar cart, dining table and occasional table.

The low, deep seating style encourages a laid back and relaxed atmosphere, creating the perfect environment to enjoy a drink at sunset. The curve of the woven teak contrasts with the straight, smooth edges and clean lines of the cushions, keeping the overall impression fresh and contemporary. The fabric on any of the soft furnishings is completely customisable.

Ligne Roset – adaptable by nature

Creative and pioneering by nature, Ligne Roset’s bold and contemporary stamp was imprinted on Focus19 and left a lasting impression. The brand presented its iconic ‘Prado’ settle, which adjusts freely with weighted cushions that can easily be moved from sofa to floor. The result is a comfortable, non-conformist piece of furniture that can adapt as quickly as the travel trends and guest behaviours within modern, design-led hotels around the globe.

Andrew Martin – taking a walk on the wild side

Unveiling a multi-layered theatrical approach design, Andrew Martin – in try Andrew Martin style – let the leash off his new collections in his own jungle-covered installation, which was entitled: The Lost City of Ozymandias.

The new collections that were hidden in an enclave of treasure and travel included the Evans side table and Retrospective, in collaboration with Kelly Hoppen, which is a statement collection of more than 40 designs, which includes everything from furniture to lighting.

Benchmark – architecture meets biophilic furniture design

Image credit: Benchmark

Benchmark presented a new collection of furniture by award-winning American architect David Rockwell at 100% Design. The Sage Collection, designed for office and commercial environments as well as the home, has a specific focus on human health and well-being within the built environment and meets the standards required for WELL certified buildings. The tenets of biophilic design inspired the collection, with its natural materials, colours and textures, rounded profiles and inviting ergonomic shapes. These elements are intrinsic in the work of both Benchmark and David Rockwell, which, together with an interest in transformation and mobility, have resulted in a collection that offers moments of both refuge and prospect.

sixteen3 – recycled quality

 

Image credit: sixteen3

Exhibiting at designjunction, sixteen3 unveiled a number of contract furniture pieces that stood out for their eco qualities. Claiming that the product is made from 92 per cent recycled material and is 100 per cent recyclable, the Pop stools has been designed with purpose and is ideal for contemporary urban public areas. Another product launched at the show was Reece are armchairs that have been made from 83 per cent recycled materials and are 100 per cent recyclable.

Inspired by the evolution of the workplace to a more relaxed, social and mobile interior, the brand’s product portfolio offers a softer approach to working, with an extensive collection of seating ranges, stylish cafe chairs and modular space division systems.

Kolho Series by Matthew Day Jackson

Image credit: Made by Choice

As hotel public areas become less defined by hotel branding, and more attuned with the behaviour of guests, there is a opening for suppliers to become more daring with their designs; to take a practical item, like a piece of furniture for example, and bring it to life to make a bold statement. Cue the launch of Kolho Series by designer Matthew Day Jackson. Sheltered at London Design Fair, the new range of tables and chairs take their inspiration from the Apollo landing and a small town called Kolho in Finland.

“The serpent represents temptation and chaos which supports the flat plane of reason,” said Day Jackson. “The space between reason chaos is that of play. This is the space where our human animal truly shows its greatest self.

Hotel Designs’ official LDF round-up will be published shortly.

Main image credit: Made by Choice

The Brit List 2019: Shortlist unveiled

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List 2019: Shortlist unveiled

The shortlisted finalists for The Brit List 2019, who are considered to be the leading interior designers, architects and hoteliers operating in Britain today, have been announced. The annual award ceremony will take place on November 21 at Patch East London (tickets available here)…

The wait is over. Hotel Designs has exclusively published the shortlist for The Brit List 2019. The finalists listed below will be invited to the annual award ceremony at Patch East London on November 21 where the The Brit List 2019 and the individual awards will be announced.

It is here where 2019 edition of The List, which is made up of the top 25 interior designers, top 25 hoteliers and the top 25 architects in Britain today, will be unveiled as well as the individual winners crowned.

The nationwide search to find the most influential designers, architects and hoteliers operating in Britain began months ago when Hotel Designs opened up nominations and applications to readers.

Since then, an independent panel of expert judges have gathered to select this year’s individual award winners and also to confirm the 75 individuals who have made it into The Brit List 2019. “Yet again, I am overwhelmed by the number and quality of this year’s candidates who have either applied or have been nominated for The Brit List 2019,” said Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs. “Despite Britain sailing into some of what I can only describe as ‘uncharted waters’ with Brexit dominating the headlines and conversations, the creative industry – and hotel development in general – continues to be booming in the UK.

The Brit List was launched three years ago and continues to celebrate the leading figures operating in Britain today. This year’s chosen venue, Patch East London, is the perfect stage for the occasion. Adding an extra layer to the evening will be the currently confirmed 2019 sponsors: Crosswater (headline partner), Hamilton Litestat (event partner) and the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID – industry partner). “I am excited that Hotel Designs will once again provide an unparalleled networking opportunity,” added Kilburn, “further bridging the gap between designers, architects, hoteliers, owners, developers and key-industry suppliers.”

Britlist_28-800x602

The shortlisted finalists for The Brit List 2019 are: 

Interior Designers

Studio Designer
Wimberly Interiors Rachel Johnson
GA Group Edward Davies
Scott Brownrigg David Mason
Dexter Moren Associates Neil Andrew
RPW Design Ariane Steinbeck
DesignLSM Lisa Robertson
Cocovara Rebecca Blow
Nicky Dobree Design Nicky Dobree
Bright Space Design Sarah Antoniou
Philip Watts Philip Watts
Ana Engelhorn Interior Design Ana Engelhorn
IHG Henry Reeve
Sibley Grove Jeremy Grove
WISH London Caroline Smith
Scott Brownrigg Kate Jarrett
David Collins Studio Simon Rawlings
Russell Sage Studio Russell Sage
GA Group Terry McGinnity
Ennismore Charlie North
MBDS Martin Brudnizki
HBA London Constantina Tsoutikou
1508 London Akram Fahmi
MKV Design Maria Vafiadis
Rocco Forte Olga Polizzi
Amanda Rosa Amanda Rosa
Harris & Harris Alex Harris
Space Invader Katie Edgar
Twenty2 Degrees Joe Stella
Twenty2 Degrees Nick Stoupas
Goddard Littlefair Jo Littlefair
Project Orange Christopher Ash
Project Orange James Soane
Shawn Hausman Design Shawn Hausman
Muza Lab Inge Moore
Richmond International Terry McGillicuddy
Soho House Design Marcus Barwell
Soho House Design Scarlett Supple
B3 Designers Stephanie Reidl
Jack Irving Studio Jack Irving
studioisle Ilse Crawford

Architects

Studio Architect
Emil Eve Architects Ross Perkin
Falconer Chester Hall Architects Adam Hall
East Architecture Julian Lewis
Ben Adams Architects Ben Adams
EPR Architects Geoff Hull
Orms Architects Simon Whittaker
Jestico + Whiles James Dilley
WATG Gina Langridge
Foster + Partners Luke Fox
Zaha Hadid Architects Michele Salvi
Gensler Tom Lindblom
Conran + Partners Simon Kincaid
Hawkins/Brown Darryl Chen
Yasmine Mahmoudieh Yasmine Mahmoudieh
jmarchitects Laura Turner
Holland Harvey Architects Richard Holland
RPP Architects Simon Robinson
Tate Harmer Lawrence Pinn
Moxon Architects Scott Gibb
EPR Architects Mark Bruce
Goddard Littlefair David Lee-Hood
LDS Architects Catarina Pina-Bartrum
Simpson Haugh Sarah Matheou
Jane Duncan Architects + Interiors Jane Duncan
3D Reid Gordon Ferrier
Consarc Architects Liz Pickard
Dexter Moren Associates John Harding
Aukett Swanke Nicholas De Klerk
Divercity Architects Dimitris Travasaros
Allison Pike Partnership Paul Dunlop
HOK London Femi Oresanya
ReardonSmith Architects Jonny Sin
ITOLab Barbara Bochnak

Hoteliers

Hotel Hotelier
The Grand Robert Richardson
Cliveden House Francisco Macedo
Bespoke Hotels Robin Sheppard
Hotel Gotham Mario Ovsenjek
Hard Rock Hotel London Ian Fletcher
The Lanesborough Marco Novella
Rosewood London Michael Bonsor
Nadler Hotels Robert Alam
Cuckooz Charlie Rosier
Cuckooz Fabienne O’Neill
Doyle Collection Pat King
Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate Stephen Baker
Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate Jose Baker
Starwood Capital Group Barry Sternlicht
The Standard Bruce Robertson
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Dimitris Manikis
Café Royal Guillaume Marly
Corinthia London Thomas Kochs
Eccleston Square Hotel Olivia Byrne
Gleneagles Conor O’Leary
The Connaught Sandeep Bhalla
LaLiT Keshav Suri
Great Scotland Yard Hotel Sholto Smith
The Dixon Hasham Soliman
Heckfield Place Olivia Richli
Whatley Manor Sue Williams
Inhabit Nadira Lalji
Ham Yard Hotel London Laura Sharpe
Cottage In The Wood Nick Davies
The London Bridge Hotel Julio Marques
Limewood Group & Home Grown Hotels (The Pig) Robin Hutson
Milsom Hotels Paul Milsom
Sway Manor Tim Holloway
Watergate Bay Hotel Will Ashworth
Exclusive Hotels danny Pecorelli
The Gallivant Harry Cragoe
The Good Hotel Group Marten Dresen
The Athenaeum Joanne Taylor-Stagg
Hotel: Georgian House Hotel Serena von der Heyde
Hotel Indigo Stratford Upon Avon Carl Davies Phillips

The Eco Award

Carole Collet
Harris & Harris
Heckfield Place
Inhabit London
Naturalmat
Sibley Grove
Zuri Zanzibar

Best In Tech

Criton
Eccleston Square
Electric Mirror
FUTURE Designs
Hamilton Litestat
Laufen
Ruark
STAAH

Best in British Product Design

Anthology
Bisque
Chelsom
FUTURE Designs
Harlequin
Knightsbridge
Panaz
The Monkey Puzzletree
Vaughan
Naturalmat

 

There is no shortlist for the award for Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry, which will be the final award presented at the exclusive ceremony.

To purchase tickets to The Brit List 2019 Awards, click here. If you would like to discuss various sponsorship packages available, please contact Katy Phillips via email, or call 01992 374050.

#TheBritListAwards2019

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat

2019 Industry Partner: BIID

London Design Festival medal winners announced

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
London Design Festival medal winners announced

London Design Festival has announced the four winners of the 2019 London Design Medals…

Launched with the aim to recognise the contribution made by the leading design figures and emerging talents in London and the industry, London Design Festival historically kicks-off the week-long design event by presenting four London Design Medals awarded.

The 2019 medals were presented yesterday at The House of Commons, Westminster, while the capital came to life for the start of this year’s design spectacular.

And the winners are…

London Design Medal: Tom Dixon OBE
Design Innovation Medal: Daniel Charny
Emerging Design Medal: Ross Atkin
Lifetime Achievement Medal: Dame Vivienne Westwood

A panel of established designers, industry commentators and previous winners met to debate and judge the possible recipients of the four medals. This year’s jury members were: Ozwald Boateng OBE, Ian Callum CBE, Sheridan Coakley, Njusja de Gier, Es Devlin OBE, Sarah Douglas, Ben Evans CBE, Dr Tristram Hunt, Domenic Lippa, Jay Osgerby OBE, Raoul Shah, Joff Sharpe, Justine Simons OBE, Sir John Sorrell CBE, Dr Paul Thompson and Jane Withers.

“Each year the jury selects four eminent people who have made a major contribution to design in the UK,” said Ben Evans CBE, London Design Festival Director. “This year the winners are as interesting and deserving as ever.”

Tom Dixon OBE

The London Design Medal, supported by British Airways London City, is the highest accolade bestowed upon an individual who has distinguished themselves within the industry and demonstrated consistent design excellence.

This year’s winner, Tom Dixon, rose to prominence in the mid 1980s as a self-taught British designer. He set up the creative think-tank space, which acted as a shop front for himself and other young designers. By the late 1980s, he was working for Cappellini, for which he designed the iconic S chair. In the late 1990s, Dixon became Creative Director at Habitat and was responsible for rejuvenating the brand while maintaining Terence Conran’s vision of enriching everyday life through simple, modern design.

His works have been acquired by museums across the globe, including the V&A, MoMA and the Pompidou Centre. In 2002 Dixon established his own eponymous brand with own stores in New York, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Milan and Tokyo. More than 600 products are created by the company, ranging from lighting to furniture, from tableware through to fragrance, and are distributed to over 90 countries.

In 2007 Dixon launched Design Research Studio, an interior and architectural design studio. High‑profile projects include the Restaurant at the Royal Academy, Shoreditch House, le Drugstore in Paris and Alto in Hong Kong. In 2018, Dixon opened the Coal Office, his new London Headquarters, in King’s Cross. Created by Design Research Studio, the Coal Office functions as a multi-displinary hub, including an office, restaurant, design studio and shop all under one roof.

“I’m still confused as to why I won’t be getting the ‘Emerging Design Medal’,” said Dixon on the news of his win, “as it still feels very much like I have only just started – I’ve so much left to design! But I’m very touched to be noticed by this super Jury, thank you very much.”

Daniel Charny

Design Innovation Medal, supported by SAP, celebrates entrepreneurship in all its forms, both locally and internationally. It honours an individual for whom design lies at the core of their development and success.

Daniel Charny is a creative director, curator and educator with an inquiring mind and an entrepreneurial streak. He is co-founder of the creative consultancy From Now On, where clients include Dartington Hall, the Design Museum, Google, Heatherwick Studio, Nesta and U+I. His most recent initiative is the creative education think-and-do-tank FixEd.

Charny is best known as curator of the influential exhibition Power of Making at the V&A, which drove him to found the award-winning learning programme Fixperts, now taught in universities and schools worldwide. Other projects include the Aram Gallery, the British Council’s Maker Library Network and the Central Research Laboratory accelerator. As Professor of Design at Kingston University he is interested in the roles of design and making for social benefit.

Charny is active internationally as a speaker and expert advisor, advocating his vision of design, creativity and making as essential tools to unlock a better future.

“Engagement, education and access to design are all critical to assuring the creative responses to a changing world that we all need,” said Daniel Charny. “I’m proud to represent this idea and delighted to be recognised for it in London, a city of unparalleled creativity.”

Ross Atkin

Emerging Design Medal supported by Storey, recognises an impact made on the design scene within five or so years of graduation.

Ross Atkin is a designer and engineer based in east London. His work focuses on two areas: helping disabled people to live more independently, and introducing design and engineering to children.

He maintains his own design and development practice, creating assistive technology and accessibility-focused products that span the digital-physical divide. These include: Sight Line, a system for improving the accessibility of roadworks developed in partnership with The Royal Society for Blind Children and Transport for London; MSE Genie, an app and connected hardware that allows a sensory room to be tailored around the needs and capabilities of the person using it; Responsive Street Furniture, a system created in partnership with Marshalls that enables pieces of urban infrastructure to provide assistance automatically, such as by making street lighting brighter, or by lengthening the duration of road-crossing signals; Smartibot, the world’s first A.I. enabled carboard robot; and LiftCheck, a system that allows lift users to see if the lifts they need to complete their journey are operational before they set off.

Atkin’s design practice is heavily informed by observational research. He regularly conducts participatory shadowing of disabled people as they make journeys around cities.

“I never thought the kind of work that I do would be recognised, so I feel doubly honoured,” said Ross Atkin. “It’s beyond my imagination to be in the company of true legends of design, and it also is an amazing privilege to be representing the world of inclusive design on such a prominent platform as London Design Festival. I look forward to more designers from that world being recognised in the future”.

Dame Vivienne Westwood

Lifetime Achievement Medal Winner supported by Fortnum & Mason, honours a significant and fundamental contribution to the design industry over the course of a career.

Vivienne Westwood was born in 1941 and moved to London 17 years later. She began designing in 1971 along with her then partner, Malcolm McLaren. In 1984, she launched her own fashion line and in 2004 the V&A hosted a Vivienne Westwood retrospective to celebrate her 34 years in fashion – the largest exhibition ever devoted to a living British fashion designer.

Westwood has always used her collections and catwalk shows as a platform for activism. She has personally spent many years speaking out about the effects of climate change and over‑consumption – and inaugurated the ‘Climate Revolution’ at the 2012 London Paralympics closing ceremony.

Along with husband and design partner Andreas Kronthaler, Westwood actively supports the charity Cool Earth in its efforts to halt rainforest destruction. She has also campaigned for a number of NGOs and charities including the Environmental Justice Foundation and Friends of the Earth, and is an ambassador for Greenpeace: in 2013 she designed their official ‘Save the Arctic’ logo.

Since 2011 Westwood has worked with the International Trade Centre – a joint body of the UN – to produce accessories through their Ethical Fashion Initiative. The programme currently supports the work of thousands of women from marginalised African communities. Westwood has written her ideas in a manifesto called ‘Active Resistance to Propaganda’, rooted in culture as a stimulus to save the planet, and more recently designed a set of playing cards to set out a global economic strategy to stop climate change.

Main image credit: LDF 2019

Mkira exhibiting at 100% Design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Mkira exhibiting at 100% Design

Mkira has been selected as one of the UK’s emerging brands and will be showcasing its beautiful and unique collection of fabrics and furniture at Olympia from the September 18 -21…

Mkira products have been inspired by nature’s canvas and crafted using age old traditions. The collection includes; daybeds, headboards, cushions, throws, fabrics, lampshades, footstools and shelving.

All the pieces are created using raw, natural materials such as British linens and tweed from Donegal and have been sustainably sourced from around the British Isles the perfect counterbalance to the modern ‘throwaway’ culture.

Charlotte England is the designer behind Mkira, she spent time travelling around the globe, during the early part of her career, which enabled her to try her hand at a wide variety of alternative arts and crafts.

This included studying pottery in Japan with a renowned sensei; traditional paper-making in the Japanese mountains; basket weaving among the Tepuis in the Amazonian basin and life-drawing in Miami.

These wide ranges of inspiring experiences shaped her personal style and design objectives and led her to create Mkira. As part of the creative process, England teamed up with a number of small, authentic, family-run businesses all using traditional methods to expertly craft these beautiful enduring pieces.

Mkira will be exhibiting on stand number E20C.

London Design Festival opens 17th edition in the capital

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
London Design Festival opens 17th edition in the capital

London Design Festival launches its annual celebration of design with an inspiring programme of more than 300 events, including Landmark Projects, Festival Commissions, Projects at the V&A and Special Projects. The highly anticipated festival comprises 11 Design Districts, four Design Destinations and one Design Route

London’s most iconic locations have transformed by a series of commissions and installations by internationally-renowned designers, as London Design Festival 2019 opens once more.

London’s most iconic locations have transformed by a series of commissions and installations by internationally-renowned designers, as London Design Festival 2019 opens. Each intervention will add an exciting new dimension to the city’s streets, exploring the power of design to shape our world and demonstrating the role it plays in how we live, feel and solve problems.

The V&A will once again be the official Festival hub and play host to a series of specially-commissioned projects and curated collection of displays. The Museum will also play host to London Design Festival’s thought leadership programme, Global Design Forum, which celebrates design with an inspirational line-up of talks, debates, daily tours and workshops.

“Over the past 17 years, the London Design Festival has continued to evolve and we are excited to launch this year programme, which will be our most ambitious to date,” said London Design Festival Director, Ben Evans CBE. “We hope audiences from the UK and further afield will discover something thought provoking and inspiring and celebrate our city’s diverse creative talent.”

The festival was established in 2003 by Evans and Sir John Sorrell CBE. 17 years later, London Design Festival has arrived to celebrate and promote London as the design capital of the world – an ethos shared by Hotel Designs with the upcoming The Brit List.

London Design Festival has since earned the reputation as a key calendar moment of London’s autumn creative season, alongside London Fashion Week, Frieze Art Fair and the London Film Festival, attracting the greatest thinkers, practitioners, retailers and educators to the capital, in a citywide celebration.

Main image credit: Please Be Seated/Paul Cocksedge

SNEAK PEEK: Kimpton Hotel Palomar South Beach

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SNEAK PEEK: Kimpton Hotel Palomar South Beach

The new chic boutique hotel, which is located in the heart of Miami’s South Beach, is slated to open later this year – and will be Kimpton’s Fifth Property in Florida…

Kimpton Hotel Palomar South Beach is waiting in the wings to open as the boutique hotel company’s fifth in the Sunshine State, complementing its existing hotels in Miami Beach, Downtown Miami and Vero Beach. Featuring striking design by legendary Miami architect and designer Kobi Karp, the 96-key hotel is set to become an iconic addition to the South Beach scene.

Karp’s design takes its cues from the waterfront. Spanning over five stories, the hotel’s guestrooms surround a spacious central atrium. Meant to resemble the hull of a private luxury yacht lilted on its side, the lobby excites the senses with its custom-built light installations and is peppered with art displays, including light panels, abstracted shapes, and large format fabrics meant to resemble the ripples of the Atlantic Ocean. Guestrooms feature private balconies available for nearly every guest and design that is inspired by the oceanic environs.

Sitting atop of the sixth floor, the rooftop pool and two-tier roof deck features stylish décor and lounge area seating, utilising panoramic views of the ocean.

“In addition to what the Altamarea Group will bring in terms of an elevated culinary experience, we are excited to assemble a stellar on-property team for this project,” said Ronny Finvarb, Principal of Finvarb Group,  the property’s developer and owner. “We’re confident that through Kimpton’s collaboration with the Osteria Morini team and our collective expertise in the South Florida market, we’ll be able to create an amazing experience for our hotel guests and Miami locals alike.”

Osteria Morini, from Chef Michael White, will debut shortly following the opening of the hotel. Right off the lobby of the hotel, the restaurant will feature rustic Northern Italian fare in a light and breezy space, drawing inspiration from the area in which it is located off the canal, with both indoor and outdoor seating. It will be open all day, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Main image credit: Kimpton Hotels

Exhibitions to visit during London Design Festival 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Exhibitions to visit during London Design Festival 2019

While the capital of creatives – AKA London – prepares to once again display its colourful feathers for London Design Festival, editor Hamish Kilburn attempts to cut through the noise to share the key exhibitions and events taking place over week-long celebration of design…

There’s a faint yet noticeable nip in the air as London’s summer haze softens over the cityscape. Emails and invitations have been flooding in for weeks, and it all comes down to this: London Design Festival 2019 has arrived.

With events, installations, exhibitions and parties happening all over the capital, what to see – and where to be seen – is very much down to interpretation and preference. But ahead of the week-long festival, which can feel like running multiple marathons at times, here is an insight into what Hotel Designs is bookmarking with the aim to unlock emerging trends, new products and celebrate London’s creative heroes.

Focus/19  (September 18 – 20)

For six days, Focus/19 at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour will once again be the design event for excellence. Welcoming trade professionals and design enthusiasts from around the globe, the programme is dedicated to inspiring, informing and delivering the best in world-class talent.

This year, expect more product launches and showroom openings than you can shake a stick at, alongside an array of talks, demonstrations, workshops, discovery tours and guest pop-ups. Sheltered all under one ever-evolving space, guests will be able to see firsthand the latest collections from 120 showrooms and 600-plus international brands. What’s more, entrance is free.

Speakers this year include David Mlinaric, Anthony Collett, Andrzej Zarzycki, Andrew Winch, Paolo Moschino, Staffan Tollg.rd, Luke Edward Hall, Flora Soames, Bryan O’Sullivan, Anna Beeber, Nick Ashley-Cooper and Charu Gandhi.

#Focus19atDCCH

Hotel 360 (September 18 – 19)

One of the UK’s leading hospitality events dedicated to improving hotel profitability is back at ExCel London. This year, as well as showcasing some of the leading brands while connecting the industry’s most ambitious professionals, Hotel 360 will also feature the Innovation Awards, of which I am thrilled to be on the judging panel for. The awards are a celebration of the innovations, services and solutions that have made an outstanding impact on the world of hospitality over the past 12 months.

Each finalist will showcase their product or service the panel in front of a live audience, making for an entertaining and educational break from the hustle and bustle of the show floor – and the city centre.

#Hotel360

100% Design (September 18 – 21)

Returning to Olympia London, 100% Design is billed to be the destination for architects and designers to discover contemporary interior design trends and emerging talent during London Design Festival. This year, the show celebrates its 25th anniversary and features a carefully curated selection of world-class brands within Design London.

The show is free to attend for trade professionals and press, please register to attend [link here] by completing the form below. Public tickets are available for £15 and student tickets are available for £10.

#100Design25

designjunction

Arriving fashionably late to the week is designjunction, which will take place in what I believe to be the most exciting design hub in the city this year, Coal Drops Yard.

Showcasing breakthrough brands shaping the international hotel design scene, the exhibition is the interior design show you don’t want to miss! As part of the newest Design District of London Design Festival, this year’s designjunction, is packed full; from discovering the latest furniture and lighting trends in Cubitt House through to immersing yourself in design debates at the Talks Programme in the Everyman Cinema.

#designjunction

London Design Fair (September 19 – 22)

Located in the creative heart of East London, a thriving design hotspot that is the first to present new and daring trends, the London Design Fair is a four-day event that brings together 550 Exhibitors from more than 40 countries.

As one of the most international destinations of London Design Festival, more than 29,000 influential retail buyers, architects, interior designers, press, designers and design-conscious members of the public attend to see and specify the very latest furniture, lighting, textiles, materials and conceptual installations from around the world.

A global journey in collectable design, Crossovers by Adorno presents 11 countries, 11 curators and 11 collections. Norway returns to the line-up alongside new countries Mexico, Belgium and Iceland.

The Bathroom Gallery, in partnership with Elle Decoration, will be a bespoke, highly curated exhibition of leading bathroom brands, including Roca and Armani among others – and is the only dedicated bathroom showcase during LDF, so certainly not one to miss.

#LDNDesignFair

Hotel Designs will be on the ground for all of London Design Festival. To arrange a meeting with our editorial team, tweet us: @hoteldesigns.

ibis Styles launches hotel design challenge in search for emerging creatives

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
ibis Styles launches hotel design challenge in search for emerging creatives

ibis Styles and Glug have launched a nationwide competition, giving designers the chance of winning £1,000 for the best hotel design concept…

Known as one of the UK’s leading eco hotel brands, ibis Styles has announced a new design challenges, asking designers to create a moodboard for their dream hotel concept, giving the creative candidates the chance to showcase their skills and unlock a possible £1,000 prize.

Aiming to uncover creative potential in dormant designers, they are hosting a mood-boarding workshop on 18th September at ibis Styles London Southwarkto share inspiration with those entering. Run by two award-winning designers, Clare Morton and Emma Fisher, the hands-on event will equip budding creatives with the know-how to create an eye-catching mood board surrounded by the vibrant West End themed design touches at the hotel.

To launch the ‘ibis Styles By Us’ competition, which closes at midnight on September 25, both Morton and Fisher have crafted and released mood boards for their own hotel design concepts. Emma’s pops with a myriad of eye-catching colours, patterns and geometric forms, and Clare has channelled her passion for Punk culture in hers with magazine cuttings and famous iconography.

Judged by Arun Rana, Design Manager for Accor Northern Europe, the creator of the winning mood board design will be awarded a cash prize of £1,000 and £500 worth of stays at ibis Styles.

“Every one of our ibis Styles properties in the UK is unique,” said Arun Rana, Design Manager for Accor Northern Europe, “bringing to life pop culture through fun themes, eye-catching aesthetics, so it’s really exciting to celebrate this through our challenge with Glug. We’re looking to discover new design talent and seeing how people express themselves through their mood board creations.”

Tickets to the ibis Styles By Us x Glug mood boarding event cost £5 and are available to book via Eventbrite here. To enter the ibis Styles By Us design challenge before the September 25, 2019 by visiting @glugevents on Instagram.

Main image credit: ibis Styles

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Preparing your business to import from the EU in a no-deal Brexit

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Preparing your business to import from the EU in a no-deal Brexit

The United Kingdom (UK) will leave the European Union (EU) on October 31. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, there may be changes that will almost certainly affect the design industry – the most obvious of which will be the shift in rules and regulations in regards to importing goods. In an attempt to cut through the noise, Hotel Designs has highlighted what businesses need to do in order to be ready… 

Let’s face it, none of us want to be here discussing how things will change come October 31. However, despite the conflicting opinions, Government statements and sensational news stories, things are about to change – and we are, unfortunately, required to confront the changes that are imminently on the horizon, whether we agree with the politics behind them or not.

So, here is a guide, published on the Government website, highlighting what you need to do if your business imports goods from the EU.

1) Make sure your business has an EORI number that starts with GB

You’ll need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number starting with GB to continue importing goods. You this to move goods into or out of the EU (including the UK). Not having one may result in increased costs and delays. For example, if HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) cannot clear your goods you may have to pay storage fees.

Click here to get an EORI number (the process takes five minutes).

2) Decide who will make the import declarations

You can hire someone to deal with customs for you, or you can do it yourself. If you do hire a person or a business, they and/or the business will need to be established in the EU.

For more information about this, click here.

3) Apply to make importing easier

You can apply to use ‘transitional simplified procedures’ to reduce the amount of information you need to give at the border.

You may also be able to use the Common Transit Convention (CTC) to simplify how your goods pass through customs and when you pay customs duties. Find out if you are eligible to use CTC.

4) Set up duty deferment account if you import regularly

Set up a duty deferment account if you want to be able to make one payment of customs duties a month instead of paying for individual shipments.

You must set one up if you plan to use transitional simplified procedures.

5) Check the rate of tax and duty you’ll need to pay

You’ll need to pay customs duties and VAT on all imports.

You’ll also need to pay excise duties if you’re importing alcohol, tobacco or biofuels. Find out the rate of excise duty on imports.

6) Check what you need to do, and which regulations you need to follow, for the type of goods you import?

Depending on what you’re importing, there might be other things you’ll need to do to get your business ready.

For example, you might need to change the labelling on your goods, apply for licences, or find and approved UK border inspection post where your goods can enter the UK. Check what you need to do for the type of goods you import.

Main image credit: publicdomainpictures.net/CC0 Public Domain

Michaelis Boyd unveils plans for ‘Social FlexAbility’ bar scene at Sleep & Eat

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Michaelis Boyd unveils plans for ‘Social FlexAbility’ bar scene at Sleep & Eat

Award-winning architecture and design studio, Michaelis Boyd, has revealed a glimpse into its vision for this year’s pop-up bar at Sleep & Eat 2019…

Sleep & Eat has unveiled the first teaser of Michaelis Boyd’s Sleeper Bar, which will be unveiled at this year’s event that takes place on November 19 – 20 at Olympia London. With the area at the show designed anew each year to embody the show’s theme, this year the challenge for Michaelis Boyd is to interpret ‘Social FlexAbility’.

“Our Sleeper Bar has drawn inspiration from The Man Who Planted Trees, a short story by Jean Giono which celebrates the power of the natural environment,” said Tim Boyd and Alex Michaelis ahead of the show. “The tale describes a shepherd’s long and successful effort to single-handedly reforest a desolate valley in the foothills of the Alps in the first half of the 20th Century. Working primarily in timber, our bar is a study in sustainability; investigating the afterlife of the materials through scale, layering, adaptability and recycling. This has led us to create a space that will cater to all walks of life, adjusting to the needs of each individual, and making the bar a rich experience for each visitor.”

This year’s bar follows in the memorable footsteps of Sleeper Bars which have explored such diverse topics as tales of wonder, social tribes and guest loyalty. The theme for 2019 is intended to explore hospitality’s unique place in balancing our desire for human interaction with our need for privacy, an issue made all-the-more pressing by our digital age. Visitors to Sleep & Eat can expect to find a bar buzzing with people doing business, catching up with friends, quietly checking emails, or simply resting weary feet, especially during the late evening networking on day one.

As you might expect of an event recognised worldwide for nudging the hospitality design and development conversation forward, The Sleeper Bar will not be the only space at Sleep & Eat to be specially designed by an international design firm. Plans for this year also include the introduction of a Social Hub together with a new-look VIP Lounge.

Hotel Designs is a proud media partner of the show. This year, the exhibition will be open from 10am on November 19 with an evening drinks reception until 20:30pm, and from 10:00am-18:00pm on November 20.  To register for a complimentary pass, visit registration.

Main image credit: Michaelis Boyd

Aman announces its debut in Bangkok

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Aman announces its debut in Bangkok

Slated to open in 2022, the luxury hotel will be Aman’s debut hotel in Bangkok, and second property in Thailand, further proving that the region is a design and hotel development hotspot… 

Luxury hotel brand Aman, which has grown to encompass 38 hotels in 22 destinations around the world, has signed a long-term partnership with Nai Lert Group to manage a hotel and branded residences offered under a long-term leasehold ownership, which will mark the brand’s entrance in Bangkok.

Under the terms of the agreement, Aman and Nai Lert Group will develop a luxury hotel and residences project, with construction works scheduled to commence in the coming months. The project is expected to welcome its first hotel guests and residents in 2022.

“Aman Nai Lert Bangkok will offer a unique connection to the rich heritage and history of Bangkok” – Vladislav Doronin, Chairman and CEO of Aman

“Thailand holds a special place in our hearts ever since the conception of Amanpuri, and our brand, in Phuket over 30 years ago,” said Vladislav Doronin, Chairman and CEO of Aman. “Aman Nai Lert Bangkok will be situated in its namesake iconic central city parkland and will further cement our vision to bring the Aman ethos to global cities. Nestled in the century-old tropical gardens of Nai Lert Park, Aman Nai Lert Bangkok will offer a unique connection to the rich heritage and history of Bangkok enhanced by the gracious traditions of Thailand.”

Pursuing its long-lasting legacy in real estate and hospitality, Nai Lert Group is making its entry into the ultra- luxury segment with the upcoming mixed-use project, Aman Nai Lert Bangkok. Nai Lert Group Managing Director Naphaporn Bodiratnangkura commented: “We are very pleased to be working with world renowned hotel and resort brand Aman, which shares our values of delivering exquisite customer experiences.”

Aman is the latest group to announce hotel openings in Bangkok. According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), in 2016 more than 32.59 million tourists visited Thailand, which was an almost 20 per cent increase over the year before, and a record number for the country. With recent openings from Rosewood and Avani Hotels, the region is proving to be a hotel development hotspot in the making.

Main image credit: Amanpuri (Aman’s current hotel offering in Thailand)

Hotel Summit shortlisted for the EN Indy Awards

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Summit shortlisted for the EN Indy Awards

Hotel Summit, the original and leading meet-the-buyer networking event for hotel operators and key-industry suppliers, has been announced as a shortlisted finalists for the EN Indy Awards 2019 under the category of Best Brand Expansion…

As the result of more than 20 years’ serving the industry with its highly targeted and successful meet-the-buyer concept, Forum Events’ Hotel Summit has been shortlisted among just seven other applications in the Best Brand Expansion category for the 2019 edition of the EN Indy Awards 2019.

The announcement follows this year’s successful two-day event taking place in Heythrop Park in June, which included live on-stage interviews, moderated by editor Hamish Kilburn, with Marco Novella (Managing Director of The Lanesborough) and Pedro Colaco (CEO of Great Hotels Of The World), among others.

More than 60 procurement professionals from leading hotels around the UK such as The Beaumont Hotel, The Gainsborough Bath Spa and Cliveden House and 30 supplier partners attended The Summit that was sheltered within the 18thcentury hotel, which combines both elegant heritage design with contemporary areas.

“The event was amazing. I met some really great people and it’s always good to network and discover hidden secrets of the industries, and you only find them through events such as this. So, thank you for the invite and I am already looking forward to the next one!” – The Beaumont.

“Hotel Summit is an interesting event, delivering a mix of supplier meetings, seminars and networking opportunities in various areas of hospitality.” – Great Hotels of the World

“All staff were incredibly polite, friendly and helpful. The hotel was comfortable and very welcoming and I would be delighted to attend again” – Grasmere House

For more than 20 years, Hotel Summit has delivered tailor-made, unique events to meet both supplier and delegates’ individual requirements. Complete with carefully planned out itineraries for all attendees, The Summit is designed to bridge together relevant business relationships and opportunities between hotel operators/procurement managers and key-industry suppliers.

The next Hotel Summit takes place on April 27 – 28, 2020, at Five Lakes Resort, Colchester. If you are a supplier and are interested in exhibiting at next year’s event, please contact Jennie Lane by calling 01992 374098 or by emailing j.lane@forumevents.co.uk. If you are hotel operator or procurement manager and are interested in attending next year’s event, please contact Kerry Naumburger by calling 01992 374099 or by emailing k.naumburger@forumevents.co.uk.

Parkside opens new Design Studio in the Cotswolds

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Parkside opens new Design Studio in the Cotswolds

Hotel Designs headed up to the Cotswolds to attend the official opening party of Parkside’s latest studio opening…

Design-led tile specification company Parkside has formally opened its Cotswolds Design Studio. Surrounding by the quintessentially British surroundings of the undisturbed region of the Cotswolds, Parkside welcomes designers, architects, contractors, developers and select members of the press to attend the official opening party, which also marked launch of a new collaboration with Barneby Gates.

The new Design Studio is the fourth in the Parkside portfolio and again demonstrates the company’s dedication to provide inspirational spaces for the architecture and design communities. The ability to see the tile collections displayed and to have in-house support has been an invaluable element in Parkside’s existing Design Studios in Clerkenwell, Chelsea and Leicester.

The Barneby Gates tile collection sees the design duo’s stunning wallpaper patterns on extra-large format porcelain tiles. The bold and courageous collection focuses on colourful and playful patterns and represents Parkside’s mission to offer distinctive tile collections.

“Many of the intricacies of modern tile surfaces need to be seen up close to be truly appreciated and we have seen a continued demand from our clients to engage with our products first hand,” said Sarah Holey, marketing manager, Parkside. “Our Cotswolds Design Studio was an obvious progression in providing an invaluable hub for those looking for professional support from our Parkside team. There’s a wide choice of inspirational displays which will show visitors how tiles can provide impact and spark creativity for inventive interior projects.”

The newly unveiled Design Studio provides an impressive 300m² of space. Continuing the theme from its Clerkenwell Design Studio of treating tiles like pieces of art, Parkside have framed extra-large format porcelain slabs (measuring 3200 x 1600mm) around the edge of the space to provide a dramatic impact upon entering. Display boards of varying sizes sit in front and are grouped by style for easier browsing. A free-standing island unit in the centre of the space houses a meeting room for up to 14 as well as an informal meeting space on top with impressive views out over the rolling Cotswolds hills. The intention is for the space to be used as a hub for the design community with free wi-fi, great coffee and plenty of working space in a relaxed, creative environment.

Parkside 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: Parkside

Goa is about to welcome a 17-key luxury hotel designed to shelter holistic wellbeing

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Goa is about to welcome a 17-key luxury hotel designed to shelter holistic wellbeing

Slated to open in early 2020, Kings Mansion, Goa will combine heritage, architecture, design, Ayurvedic philosophies, state-of-the-art medical aesthetics and a global approach to holistic wellbeing…

Located in northern Goa, an area rich in tropical forests, historic Portuguese architecture, avenues of Banyan Trees, and vast, unpopulated sandy beaches, King’s Mansion will open early next year.

Recognising that today, wellness refers to a holistic state of being, where one’s mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health are in balance, the defining experience of King’s Mansion will be one of mindfulness, transformation, recovery and wellbeing.

Modern yet sympathetic architecture and interior design are key elements at the boutique hotel that not only honour Goa’s legacy and culture, but also serve as a welcoming nod to the growing international interest in India as an exciting and evolving luxury and wellness destination.

Image credit: Red Architects

The Indian entrepreneur and Bollywood star, Sachiin Joshi, bought the property in 2017. He is also the Chairman of corporate company, Viiking Ventures, a multi-faceted business working across various industries including film production, fin-tech and charter aviation; Moss Wellness, a leading spa consultancy with experience developing international five-star brands including Aman resorts and Four Seasons. Responsible for the overall design is Indian film producer and interior designer Gauri Khan and Rajiv Parekh, founder of Red Architects, who is bringing a new energy to a modern day India with his past and future projects on the boards.

The 17 luxury suites, which are set over 2,800m2, are being designed as private retreats. Each room will utilise the natural light with floor to ceiling windows, which will stretch out to views of private lush gardens. The large ensuite bathrooms will continue to balance a timeless and luxurious look and feel with the renderings showing a strong use of marble as well as statement matt-black fittings.

Covered pavilions and thickets of Frangipani Trees create pockets of rest and shade in the landscaped gardens, which are set against 50 metres of unspoiled golden coastline and the Arabian Sea.

Five dining and social areas offer guests the chance to explore India’s Ayurvedic culinary culture and international fusions. The hotel’s chefs will create daily menu plans for internal health and harmony, but with an understanding that food and satisfaction are not mutually exclusive. Continuing the theme, food will be cooked using fresh, locally sourced produce.

At the heart of the wellbeing experience will be the spa, which will open as a hidden oasis within the property. With five luxury spa suites, a large hydrotherapy pool, and indoor and outdoor relaxation areas, guests will discover a safe space to surrender, gain awareness and achieve conscious rest and peace.

Image credit: King’s Mansion

Designed to offer personalised, results-focused wellness programmes, the hotel will aim to further help travellers rejuvenate, reset and recover.

Main image credit: King’s Mansion

The Luxury Collection announces opening of eighth hotel in China

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Luxury Collection announces opening of eighth hotel in China

With a design narrative that celebrates Chinese culture, the 290-key Na Lotus Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, has opened… 

Following Marriott International’s plans to open more than 30 luxury hotels in 2019, the hotel group, which has recently debuted the W Hotels brand in Oman, has announced the opening of Na Lotus Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Nanning. Strategically located in the business district of the Guangxi Province, the opening marks the global brand’s eighth property in China.

The contemporary setting merges the rich heritage of the Zhuang Minority Group and showcases their history through beautiful décor, evocative catering and magnificent surroundings.

“The hotel’s interiors echo strong elements of the Zhuang culture.”

“We are excited to introduce Nanning to our Global Explorers, allowing them to discover the destination, also known as the Green City and it’s abundance of lush foliage,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, The Luxury Collection. “As a culturally rich ethnic minority area in Guangxi Province, the destination is a perfect gateway for travellers to experience through the lens of The Luxury Collection.”

Each of the 290 guestrooms, including 26 suites, takes inspiration from the lotus flower, and feature floor-to-ceiling windows offering panoramic views of the city as well as the Yong River and Qingxiu mountain. The hotel’s interiors echo strong elements of the Zhuang culture such as farmlands, symbolizing happiness and prosperity. Na Lotus Hotel also features a 1,100 square metre Ballroom, state-of-the-art fitness centre, and an indoor pool overlooking the skyline.

Indigenous and international cuisines are celebrated at Na Lotus Hotel’s four signature dining venues, including Na Lian, a Chinese restaurant offering a journey of flavors with an emphasis on fresh Guangxi and Cantonese cuisines. Sky Lounge is a popular social hub serves exclusive cocktails, wines and spirits accompanied by distinctive sweet treats. Elsewhere, The Clouds features an all-day dining experience showcasing international delights, while Yun Yue, a Thai and Vietnamese fusion restaurant,  focuses on signature seafood and meat dishes prepared with local and seasonal produce.

Image credit: Marriott International

“As the first Marriott International luxury hotel in Guangxi Province Na Lotus hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel invites the guests to explore the charm of Nanning,” said Henry Lee, Chief Operations Officer and Managing Director, Greater China, Marriott International. “Na Lotus Hotel is a rare gem of the Zhuang Minority, and we are thrilled to uncover this hidden treasure for our global travelers who are sure to develop a deep connection with this fascinating destination.”

The opening of the hotel follows the hotel group unveiling its three year plan in March of this year. The strategy included adding 1,700 hotels, which would result in between 275,000 and 295,000 more rooms by 2021, supported by the strength of its record 478,000-room pipeline, including roughly 214,000 rooms that were already under construction when the press release was published.

Main image credit: Marriott International

TUI Blue to expand in Asia with debut hotel in Vietnam to open in Spring 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
TUI Blue to expand in Asia with debut hotel in Vietnam to open in Spring 2020

TUI’s flagship hotel group, TUI Blu, has announced plans to expand its portfolio in Asia, debuting in Vietnam next year with TUI Blue Nam Hoi An hotel…

With the opening of TUI Blue Nam Hoi An hotel slated to take place in March 2020, the hotel brand is set to become the world’s largest leisure hotel brand, slated to expand its portfolio to more than 100 hotels by 2020:

TUI Group’s existing portfolio of own hotels in Asia includes three Robinson Clubs in the Maldives and in Thailand and three Riu hotels in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. In addition, TUI operates three concept hotels in the region. TUI Blue Nam Hoi An is the first hotel of the world’s leading tourism group in Vietnam. The resort, to be converted and extended in the style of the flagship brand, will expand TUI Group’s portfolio of long-haul destinations for European travellers.

“We see great potential for TUI Blue in Asia and have already started to pursue further growth plans. South East Asian destinations enable us to operate our hotels all year round, reducing our seasonal swing, and to tap into new target groups,” said Sebastian Ebel, TUI Group Executive Board member is charge of Hotels & Resorts. “We also work with local partners”, said Thomas Pietzka, Managing Director TUI Hotels & Resorts. “We are investing in our first hotel in Vietnam in cooperation with our new joint venture partner TMG, a company with many years of experience in the tourism and hospitality sector in Asia. They ideally complement the expertise held by TUI Blue, which will be in charge operating the new hotel.”

The TUI Blue Nam Hoi An hotel features 318 rooms and is situated in a beachfront location on the fine sandy Tam Tien beach on the Central Vietnamese coast. Holidaymakers can combine their stay with a visit to the coastal town Hoi An. Its well-preserved old town with numerous canals and diverse architecture is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. “Vietnam is a perfect hotel location for travellers interested in culture”, said Artur Gerber, Managing Director TUI Blue. “The country offers ideal conditions for guests wishing to combine their stay with authentic experiences in the region. From 2020, we will label corresponding hotel offerings as ‘TUI Blue For All‘.”

Main image credit: TUI Group

Orchard Hotel Singapore opens 360-degree experience in 1950s shell

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Orchard Hotel Singapore opens 360-degree experience in 1950s shell

Following a multimillion-dollar nine-month refurbishment across the hotel, Orchard Hotel Singapore has unveiled an enhanced 360-degree guest experience with reimagined dining, events and accommodation offerings…

Orchard Hotel Singapore has reopened with upgraded areas include the hotel’s 260 grand deluxe rooms, a grand ballroom, conference centre, lobby and F&B areas.

The history of Orchard Hotel Singapore dates back to late 1950s, where it began as a humble four-storey, 34-key hotel, complete with The Golden Venus home to popular tea dances and emerging musicians of the 1960s. Redeveloped in the 1970s to cater to the tourist boom, the original building was demolished in 1978, and the first inkling of the 656-key, twin-tower Orchard Hotel Singapore as it exists today, took its shape.

Guests are greeted with a new experience from the moment they step through the door and into the bright and enlivened lobby. The hotel’s iconic clock tower has been updated for the modern age with a contemporary chandelier-inspired art sculpture, bordered by two upgraded dining and drinking destinations. The Orchard Cafe renews itslegacy as a local dining icon with a vibrant new style and Signature Class buffet showcasing heritage-inspiredcreations and chef-curated classics. Bar Intermezzo has an air of sophistication with new and inviting interiors andcontemporary botanical-influenced cocktails that toast to Orchard Road’s past. Overlooking the lobby from thesecond floor is Cantonese restaurant Hua Ting Restaurant, which was also given its own extensive makeover in 2018. 

Modern cafe in the lobby

Image caption/credit: The Orchard Cafe | Millennium Hotels/Orchard Hotel Singapore

The 260 Grand Deluxe guestrooms in the hotel’s Orchard Wing have also been updated. Each well- appointed roomhas been elegantly designed to provide maximum comfort and easy living. With today’s sophisticated traveller in mind, the newly refurbished rooms are equipped with upgraded amenities including; six USB ports, both wired andwireless high-speed internet to ensure 24/7 connectivity and a Smart TV loaded with a variety of channels to keepthem plugged into current affairs. Unwind after a long day of shopping along the famed Orchard Road with a relaxingbath in the luxurious Japanese soaking tub (select room configurations) or call for one of 12 signature spice-based cocktails from Bar Intermezzo to be delivered right to the room.

Trends and technology favoured by the modern hotelier are now also included in the enhanced Orchard Hotel Singapore. Step into the future of hospitality with AURA and AUSCA – the hotel’s resident room service and chefassociate robots. While AURA (front-of-house Autonomous Service Delivery Robot) are in charge of delivering roomamenities, as well as the occasional mingling with guests in the lobby, AUSCA (the world’s first Autonomous ServiceChef Associate) is responsible for whipping up perfect eggs during breakfast service at The Orchard Cafe. Responding to the needs of today’s connected travellers, Bar Intermezzo transforms into a coffee bar during the day,providing a tropical co-working oasis for those seeking new connections, fresh ideas or simply a great cup of coffee.

New and improved event spaces for every occasion – the 11 refurbished conference and function rooms andspaces are now more versatile than ever. A key highlight includes one of Singapore’s largest pillar-free grandballrooms, occupying more than 10,000 square feet and six metres high, refitted with a luxurious fresh new look, two floor-to-ceiling LED walls (a first in Singapore), statement lighting, state-of-the-art audio-visual capabilities, an impressive foyer lined with floating orchid-inspired chandeliers and exclusive spaces divided for various uses. The conference centre has also been redesigned with five intimate meeting rooms and upgraded meeting facilities.Event planners will now have the luxury of choice with creative catering options from the hotel’s four award-winningculinary concepts – Hua Ting Restaurant, The Orchard Cafe, Mon Bijou and Bar Intermezzoas well as a Halal-certified kitchen, ensuring that all tastes and diets are catered for.

Main image credit: Millenium Hotels/Orchard Hotel Singapore

Curio Collection by Hilton debuts in South East Asia with hotel in the Maldives

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Curio Collection by Hilton debuts in South East Asia with hotel in the Maldives

The new 198-key property will form part of the first integrated resort in the Maldives…

Hilton has announced the opening of SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, a free-spirited tropical escape that offers sun, sea, style and sustainability, creating a playful getaway for groups of fun-seeking friends, couples and families. Nestled within the idyllic Emboodhoo Lagoon, SAii Lagoon Maldives forms part of CROSSROADS Maldives, the country’s first and only integrated resort and game-changing retreat.

The opening of SAii Lagoon Maldives also marks the debut of Curio Collection by Hilton in South East Asia, and the fifth Curio Collection by Hilton property in Asia Pacific. With a total of 198 guestrooms and villas, the resort will be Hilton’s third property in the Maldives, making the global hospitality company the largest and longest-running international hotel operator in the Maldives. Hilton opened the country’s first internationally branded resort in 1997, and today, it operates Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, which features 151 villas, suites and THE MURAKA Residence, as well as the 122-villa Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, which was recently unveiled in July 2019.

“For more than 20 years, through the many firsts that Hilton has introduced in the Maldives, we have been sparking travellers’ imagination of waking up right above the Indian Ocean, or dining and even sleeping beneath the crystal-blue sea,” said Alan Watts, president, Asia Pacific, Hilton. “In addition to putting the Maldives on the global map, we have brought meaningful opportunities for employment and we continue to make positive contributions to the livelihood and well-being of local communities. With the launch of SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, we are looking to further deepen ‘The Hilton Effect’ in the Maldives and continue to set new benchmarks for hospitality through innovation.”

“We are excited to welcome the world to SAii Lagoon Maldives,” said Martin van der Reijden, General Manager of SAii Lagoon Maldives and Vice President of Operations of CROSSROADS Maldives. “Guests will be able to experience the exquisite beauty of this destination, with plenty of places to stay and play. The architecture is quirky, and the interiors are daring. And yet, the resort also has a wonderfully inspiring ambience. We want everyone to walk into the resort and instantly feel a sense of excitement and exploration.”

“Every room at SAii Lagoon Maldives is adorned with a bright, contemporarily eclectic design that reflects the archipelago’s maritime heritage.”

“The Maldives is a dream destination for global travelers and we are thrilled to pair its tropical charm with Curio Collection’s spirit of discovery,” said Mark Nogal, global head, Curio Collection by Hilton. “SAii Lagoon Maldives is a breathtaking resort with distinct character and direct access to the fantastic facilities at CROSSROADS Maldives. Supported by Hilton’s 100 years of hospitality, guests of this resort are guaranteed memorable experiences in one of the most beautiful destinations in the world.”

Every room at SAii Lagoon Maldives is adorned with a bright, contemporarily eclectic design that reflects the archipelago’s maritime heritage, complete with natural textures, driftwood décor and marine-inspired hues and views. Guests can choose from a series of rooms and villas, including overwater pool villas.

The resort’s innovation is also showcased at its restaurants and bars. Miss Olive Oyl is a vibrant poolside Mediterranean seafood grill and bar, while Mr. Tomyam is an exciting Thai fusion eatery with an open kitchen and alfresco dining areas.

The resort’s ocean-view infinity pool and fitness centre will allow guests to refresh and recharge in paradise. A wide range of water sports and recreational facilities will also be available at The Marina @ CROSSROADS, a 30-berth marina and vibrant lifestyle district.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Boom in UK hotel sector drives supply growth

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Boom in UK hotel sector drives supply growth

Recent data shows that Edinburgh, London, Brighton, York and Birmingham are the five most attractive cities for hotel investment and development…

The UK hotel industry saw the opening of 15,500 new hotel rooms in 2018, representing a 2.4 per cent increase in UK hotel supply, with 2019 expected to continue this uplift in development, with 19,300 new rooms forecast to open, an increase of 2.9 per cent, according to the latest research by global property adviser Knight Frank.

The annual UK Hotel Development Opportunities 2019 report, which was published after it was reported that the UK had the third most hotels in the pipeline in Europe, reveals that the composition of new supply is altering. Whilst the development of new build hotel rooms constitutes the greatest proportion of new supply, during 2018 there was a significant rise in hotel conversion, with a 42 per cent year-on-year uplift.

Hotel conversion constituted 34 per cent of new bedroom stock, as developers capitalised on increased vacancy rates from other asset classes, resulting in the greater availability of assets deemed suitable for hotel conversion. Nevertheless, for the full year 2019, hotel conversions are set to constitute only 20 per cent of new supply, whilst programmes of asset management, in the form of hotel extensions and refurbishments, will constitute a further 17 per cent of the UK’s new hotel supply, and new build hotel rooms expected to continue to form the majority of construction projects, making up 63 per cent of the new supply.

The budget hotel sector continues to dominate the market, with 7,500 new rooms expected to open by the end of 2019, which equates to a five per cent increase on the previous year. However, the continued rise of both branded and independent mid and upscale hotels, partially as a result of the growing trend for lifestyle hotels, has led to a continued decline in the market share of new budget hotel rooms. As such, the market share for new hotel rooms opening in the budget sector accounted for 49 per cent of total new supply in 2016, which is set to decline to 39 per cent for the full year forecast 2019.

There was over £1.1 billion of investment in hotel development projects in 2018 owing to increased investor confidence and the desire for long-term secure income. London attracted 60 per cent of investment volumes, which is fuelling its future pipeline, with supply set to increase by 4.2 per cent in 2019, constituting 38 per cent of the total UK pipeline.

“The hotel sector is undergoing robust levels of development activity, despite the continued uncertainty that Brexit brings,” said Shaun Roy, Head of Hotels at Knight Frank. “This is occurring both in London and the UK more generally and is particularly evident in those markets which have a diverse business mix, with a thriving leisure market such as Edinburgh, Birmingham and Brighton.

“There are clear opportunities for investors in the hotel sector nationwide at the development stage, which presents a long-term strategy providing a guaranteed stream of secure income.”

The Knight Frank UK Hotel Development Index identifies which major UK towns and cities pose the best prospects for hotel investment and development and has named Edinburgh, London, Brighton, York and Birmingham as the UK’s top five most attractive cities.

Unsurprisingly, Edinburgh topped the rankings whilst London leapfrogged the index, climbing ten places up the rankings to second, owing to its solid fundamentals and long-term market strength. Brighton retained its place in the top three whilst York represents this year’s rising star, jumping up 15 positions to enter the top five, as a result of its growth of supply and high occupancy rates of 80 per cent, followed by Birmingham, ranked in fifth place, which is set to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

Main image credit: Pixabay

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The changing colour of hotel bathrooms – going greener

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The changing colour of hotel bathrooms – going greener

In the second part of our colour series (click here for part one), Recommended Supplier UKBathrooms explain how and why designers should opt for greener designs in bathrooms…

Bathrooms make up a huge proportion of a hotel’s water and energy usage, which on average is 84 to 173 gallons per room per day, far higher than the average daily household usage of 66 gallons per day.

This explains why they’ve become the focus for many hoteliers looking not only to save money, but also to minimise their impact on the environment.

However, any environmental worries have to be balanced with the needs of guests. The seamless blend of sustainability and luxury, with little compromise to guest experience is the aim for hotel owners and trends show that this will be the case in the years to come. And ‘green’ considerations go way beyond the bathroom space, with materials used in bathroom products, transportation, waste produced during manufacture and subsequent biodegradable components all being important.

UK Bathrooms, is the leading, independent supplier of designer bathroom products and as such is seeing a change in trends of sales to hoteliers in the UK and internationally. “We’re seeing a trend to natural materials, as well as reclaimed and recycled, such as timber from sustainable forests and stone,” said Graeme Borchard, director of UKBathrooms. “We’re a leading supplier of premium brands. As a company they are ‘a champion of the value of water’, pioneers in environmentally friendly, luxury, bathroom products. Their ongoing research, and development in technology and design, means that hansgrohe produces superb products which are beautifully designed, highly efficient and sustainable.”

A great example of this is EcoSmart. Hansgrohe showers and taps equipped with EcoSmart technology use up to 60 per cent less water than traditional products, not only using less water, but also needing less energy to heat the water.  The Hansgrohe Raindance EcoSmart overhead shower provides guests with a relaxing and therapeutic experience whilst being eco-friendly.

By implementing greener practices, and ensuring guests are aware of these, hotels can make being eco-friendly even more attractive. Hotel bathrooms have a certain ‘luxury’ which people then like to emulate in their own homes, the choices that hotels make end up being reflected in homes around the world.

UKBathrooms 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.

Katy Perry’s stylist co-creates hotel suite to appease arguing couples

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Katy Perry’s stylist co-creates hotel suite to appease arguing couples

Katy Perry’s stylist has co-created a luxury hotel suite – to appease bickering couples who can’t agree when booking a room…

Taking the personalised hotel experience to a new level, Johnny Wujek, who is behind some of the singer Katy Perry’s most memorable looks, has teamed-up with fellow fashionista Kaitlyn Ham, to create a room to please all tastes.

The suite has been described as the ‘perfect compromise’ for couples with drastically different preferences, who crucially can’t agree on what they want from a hotel.

Hotels.com recruited the world-renowned fashion influencers to style the room in London’s The Curtain – in TWO completely opposing styles.

The ‘So Extra So Chic’ suite is split right down the middle and features Wujek’s maximalist décor on one side and the minimalist style of Ham on the other.

“It’s a touch of overgrown Great Expectations with a dash of California casual.” – Johnny Wujek.

Wujek’s extravagant ‘So Extra’ half of the suite features golden ornaments, monkey lamps and a luminescent mini bar.

The stylist to the stars’ side has also been accessorised with clashing prints, colourful rugs and dazzling wallpaper.

“I wanted my side of the room to feel exciting and ‘extra’ but also comfy and cosy,” explains Wujek. “It’s a touch of overgrown Great Expectations with a dash of California casual. Style is all about self-expression and, clearly, I have a lot to express.”

In contrast, Kaitlyn Ham’s ‘So Chic’ half includes a statement white leather lounge chair, bespoke line-drawing art, décor pieces in muted tones and a plush wool throw.

She said: “I took inspiration from modern mid-century design to create a space that feels open and calming. All the pieces were chosen for their style and functionality with a focus on quality. The space should feel modern and light, yet have an inviting warmth that makes it feel like home.”

The creation of the one of a kind room follows international research also commissioned by Hotels.com into different tastes when it comes to planning a holiday. One fifth of the 300 Brits polled in a 7,200 person study would choose a luxury hotel styled with gold, marble and velvet – if money was no object.

In contrast, just eight per cent would opt for a simple ‘shabby chic’ according to the research carried out through OnePoll.

It also emerged those polled would like see their hotel rooms include a free-standing bath (35 per cent), a walk-in wardrobe (26 per cent) and ‘incredible’ lighting (21 per cent).

Liz Oakman, senior director and general manager EMEA, from Hotels.com said: “No matter if it’s shades of grey or an explosion of patterns, we love that people want to stand out with their unique style even when they travel.

“At Hotels.com, we’re all about trying new things, so with the So Extra So Chic suite, style-loving travellers out there can experience both ends of the minimal, maximal spectrum. Now all that’s left is picking which side of the bed you’re on.”

This is not the first time fashion designers and stylists to the stars have filtered on to the hotel design scene. Earlier this year, the iconic fashion designer Jack Irving unveiled his first ever hotel design project, which is now sheltered in W London Leicester Square.

Main image credit: SWNS

HOTEL DEVELOPMENT: Palm Springs is heating up for 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
HOTEL DEVELOPMENT: Palm Springs is heating up for 2020

The desert oasis of Palm Springs is slated to welcome a series of exciting openings in 2020, including two new hotels and a cultural plaza, alongside celebrating the 15th anniversary of its iconic Modernism Week event, offering even more to see for visitors to the sun-soaked city and further boosting the destination as a hotel development hotspot…

Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza – Set to open in 2020
Set to open in 2020, the Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza in downtown Palm Springs will feature a cultural museum, art gallery, gathering plaza, landscaped gardens and a walkable outdoor Oasis Trail complete with meditation labyrinth. The site will also be home to the Agua Caliente Spa and Bathhouse, which will offer treatment rooms, outdoor mineral pools, men’s and women’s bathhouses, a tranquillity garden, fitness centre and salon.

Encompassing a wide-range of experiences and learning opportunities, which will convey the values and legacy ofthe Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the new cultural plaza will build on the traditions of the Agua Caliente people, as well as the renowned natural features of the ancestral lands.

For more information about the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, visit www.aguacaliente-nsn.gov.

Modernism Week – 15-year anniversary
2020 marks the 15th anniversary of the city’s world-renowned Modernism Week festival, which showcases Palm Springs’ design heritage and modernist culture with a series of impressive events. Highlights of the festival, which will run from February 13 – 23, 2020, are expected to include the Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tour, the Frey House II Tour, Frank Sinatra’s “Twin Palms” Estate Tour and The Best of Mod with a Twist series.

The full schedule for February’s 11-day festival will be announced on the 25th October 2019, with tickets available from the 1st November 2019.

Those looking to get a taste of what the 2020 Modernism Week event has in store, can attend the annual four-day Modernism Week Fall Preview, this October (17-20). Tickets for Modernism Week Fall Preview are on sale now.

For more information on Modernism Week, visit www.modernismweek.com.

Andaz Palm Springs – 2020 hotel opening
Expected to open in early 2020 the Andaz Palm Springs, which will boast panoramic views of the city and the San Jacinto Mountains, will be located in the heart of the city’s downtown. On the doorstep of the Palm Springs’ vibrant uptown design district, the hotel will serve as a perfect option for those wanting to explore the city’s trendy boutiques, award-winning restaurants and renowned galleries.

The 150-key, 13-suite hotel will be built as a collection of small buildings and guestroom bungalows featuring two outdoor pools, garden areas on an elevated patio terrace, full-service spa and signature restaurant.
For more information, visit https://palmsprings.andaz.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html.

Welwood Hotel – 2020 hotel opening
Paying homage to the city’s first hotelier, Dr Welwood Murray, the Welwood Hotel in Palm Springs is set to open its doors to guests in 2020. Previously known as the Ivy Palm Resort, the hotel is currently undergoing a full renovation under the new ownership of Oxygen Hospitality.

Inspired by the mid-twentieth century modernist architecture that Palm Springs is renowned for, the hotel’s redesign is described as angular and artistic, featuring colourful motifs. Renovations of the 100-room, three-acre property will include new guest rooms and suites, featuring clean palettes of neutral and aqua shades, complemented with sleek, rich, modern furnishings. Completing the property’s enhanced offering will be a new restaurant / bar concept and two remodelled pools with cabanas.
For more information on the Welwood Hotel, visit welwoodhotel.com.

Main image credit: Agua Caliente Cultural Centre (Image Credit – Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians)

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The psychology between colour in interior design and wellbeing

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The psychology between colour in interior design and wellbeing

Colour has the power to raise or lower our heartbeat, impact our sleep and influence our overall wellbeing. There’s a tremendous amount of research that’s gone into the psychology of colour and the impact it has on our health. Kicking off our colour series, brand strategist Emma Potter explores how conscious consumers are of their relationship with colour, especially when checking in to a hotel…

Depending on our upbringing, gender, values, geography, and other influencing factors – colour can have very different meanings. For example, orange is often considered friendly, confident and cheerful (think Amazon and Orange); red is excitement, youthful and bold (think Coca-Cola and Lego); blue is trustworthy, dependable and strong (think Unilever and PayPal).  Colour evokes feelings and emotion, and choosing the right colours can make the difference between success of failure of a brand, business, and hotel environment – the colours that adorn and decorate these spaces will evoke feeling that make us connect.

Colour with purpose

Colour has the power to silently influence how consumers think and behave in an environment. Interior designers and hoteliers put a huge amount of effort into the hues they choose to decorate a spaced, be that a lobby, restaurant, bedroom or lounge area, as they appreciate the effect colour has on their consumers emotions. In order to create an appropriate scene for a certain target audience, it’s worth understanding the science of colour psychology and the tremendous ability it has to change entire moods.

A welcoming hotel reception and lobby has the ability to make or break a first impression when a customer walks through the doors. All sorts of creative elements are utilised to deliver the ‘Wow’ factor – this may include impressive sweeping stair cases (Plaza 18), bold curvaceous sculptures, wood-burning fire places that house a Italian marble mantel, sculptural sofas and alternative seating to make customers feel welcome and relaxed, and bold artwork – in some instances they may even look like a gallery.

Exploring colours that are timeless and evoke healthy wellbeing

Some may argue that using neutral colours (beige, cream, grey) will appeal to a broader market. While white may be a natural choice for a Greek Mediterranean style hotel (Mykonos Riviera Hotel & Spa), some people may associate white with cleanliness, whilst others may associate it with hospitals. Either way, white will significantly brighten up a room and will help to reflect light and colour.

Green typically symbolises growth and harmony, which is extremely grounding and brings us back to nature – think rolling countryside surrounded by lush leafy trees or blossoming flowers and open spaces. It is often associated with evoking a feeling of peace, trust and tranquillity, and it helps to reduce feelings of anxiety, whilst stimulating love, balance and harmony in the body. The ideal choice for rural hotels, some would argue. But it can also be injected into urban hotels, such as Nhow London, to add flair, vibrancy and electricity.

Image credit: Project Orange/Nhow

Blue symbolises trust and tranquillity, is often considered a calming colour, and goes well with grey and white to create a Scandinavian style. It’s reminiscent of flowing rivers, the ocean and the sky. The blue blossom of forget-me-nots help to stimulate mental clarity and creative expression, so floral arrangements also need to be considered from a design perspective. Perhaps the ideal choice for hotels by the sea or near water.

Oranges and reds symbolise energy, fire and passion, they resemble a sunset which represents creativity and emotion wellbeing. Mixing these colours with black would create a dramatic, mysterious ambience, perhaps lending themselves to Moroccan or Arabian interiors. However, where natural light is not in abundance, it may best to keep black to a minimum.

From the outset, a designer must work with the hotelier to decide upon the right colour palette to suit not only the style of the hotel, but the environment, ambience and setting they’re aiming to create, and the type of guest they’re aiming to attract.

Colour and the design process

There is no doubt about it, hotels are becoming more personalised – the recent renovation inside W London Leicester Square is a perfect example of this. As the saying in creative development goes: “Structure has integrity”, but designers – and guests checking in for that matter – are multi-faceted people, with multiple interests, so why just present one version ourselves? The core of our personality – or brand DNA / identity – will remain, but we give ourselves the permission to personalise aspects to make every room and space special and stand out in its own right. Be that through an aspect of design, a feature that’s maximised, lighting to create a mood, music to evoke a rhythm, technology to take us into the next millennia, temperature control to make it feel like a fresh spring morning or a hot summers day, it all plays its part in the personalisation process. I liken it to a menu in a restaurant – everything on the menu will reflect the chef behind the brand, but the choice each customer makes creates a unique, individual, memorable experience. Ideally one that each guest wants to talk about. In addition, lighting will change the atmosphere of a room or space, and this continues to be an ever-evolving trend.

Image credit: W Hotels

Design trends through the decades

I’m sure, like many of us, we’re more influenced subconsciously by colour than we realise. Thankfully 2019 has represented a year where bright new colours have returned to the trending palette.

A new word for me this year is ‘Biophilia’ meaning ‘an innate and genetically determined affinity of human beings and the natural world’. To quote Angie Lee: “Biophilia is a design driver that engages the end user by connecting them to primal instincts about the relationship between humans and nature.” As the quest with technology continues to push the boundaries to supposedly make our lives better, more efficient, smarter and more connected – in reality what we crave as ‘human beings’ is connection, and being in nature, hearing the rhythm of waves, being able to touch natural surfaces like stone are wood, is what brings us to a state of consciousness where real life flows. No longer a place to pass through whilst checking in, I love the idea that the hotel lobby has become a place to connect and congregate. Moreover, now we often see artists being commissioned to create bespoke pieces for lobby areas, which ties the concept of ‘art and wallcoverings’ much closer together.

The return of bold colours in 2019

I appreciate that multiple shades and tones of grey have been in fashion for some time now and are timeless and therefore appropriate for the international hotel design scene, but consumers are beginning to become more drawn to bold, warm, vibrate colours such as pink and orange. So, it was heart-warming to see Pantone name ‘Living Coral’ as the colour of the year, described as follows ‘an animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energises and enlivens with a softer edge’. It certainly adds vibrancy and a natural injection of warmth that has perhaps been missing in recent years.

“Rooms should not be put together for show, but to nourish one’s own wellbeing.” – Albert Hadley

Global growth of the wellness industry

Spanning multiple sectors including personal care, beauty and anti-aging; wellness tourism; traditional and complimentary medicine; wellness real estate; and workplace wellness, global growth has sky rocketed in recent years, and at the end of 2018 the wellness economy was dubbed to be worth $4.2 trillion.

Moreover, the projected average annual growth rate for 2017-2022 has been noted at eight per cent for wellness real estate, 6.7 per cent for workplace wellness, and a staggering 6.4 per cent for spa facilities. Perhaps this is due to the human race living longer, poor health as we age, and the increased stress levels this induces? One thing is for sure, the wellness industry is a driving dynamic force that’s converging to create a more connected experience in all areas of our lives – personal, home, work, travel.

Whilst ‘Mindfulness’ may have grown in popularity in recent years, it seems 2019 is fast becoming the year of wellbeing and consciousness – in all areas and aspects of our lives. To quote Albert Hadley: “Rooms should not be put together for show, but to nourish one’s own wellbeing.” Interior design is deeper than simply decorating, colour schemes have the ability to cleverly transform and/or evoke emotions and designing with purpose as a whole will result in space that is more functional, more inviting and more appropriate to the guests checking in.

Main image credit: Hilton Doubletree

Hard Rock Hotels arrives in the Maldives

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hard Rock Hotels arrives in the Maldives

The iconic music and lifestyle brand hits the high note with Hard Rock Hotel Maldives, which marks the brand’s 30th property… 

Following the opening of its first London hotel, Hard Rock International has announced its arrival in the Maldives, which marks the brand’s 30th property worldwide. Opening as part of CROSSROADS Maldives, the 178-key hotel is the country’s first and only integrated resort and is situated across the Emboodhoo lagoon.

“Hard Rock Hotel Maldives offers the beauty and serenity of the destination perfectly paired with the lifestyle and energy that only the Hard Rock brand can deliver,” said Dale Hipsh, senior vice president of Hard Rock Hotels. “We’re excited to showcase the property’s unique experience and signature brand amenities to locals and visitors from around the world.”

Image credit: Hard Rock Hotels

Offering a variety of dining options, Hard Rock Hotel Maldives appeals to all appetites with a variety of food and beverage offerings, including the brand signature Sessions, where diners are treated to a world of contemporary flavors with indoor and outdoor seating, while The Elephant and The Butterfly presents Latin American-inspired cuisine in a picturesque oceanfront setting. Just steps away, the Hard Rock Cafe at the Marina CROSSROADS offers world-famous, all-American cuisine, live music, events and music memorabilia.

“Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world’s most valuable collection of music memorabilia.”

Inspired by local Maldivian culture, Hard Rock Hotel Maldives infuses contemporary design features with tropical architecture throughout the property, alongside regionally-inspired, authentic music memorabilia, including items from regional sensations Chun Xioa and Khun Asanee Chotikul, as well as international superstars like Shakira and Justin Timberlake. Unique to this hotel, the two-bedroom Silver Family Suite allows parents and kids to stay together in style with bunk beds and direct beach access, while the 4,950 square foot Rock Star Villa features spacious outdoor living areas, an infinity pool, a tuk-tuk bar on the terrace, panoramic ocean views and even a private boat jetty.

Image credit: Hard Rock Hotels

With venues in 75 countries, including 188 Hard Rock Cafes, 241 Rock Shops, 30 hotels and 11 casinos, Hard Rock International (HRI) is one of the most globally recognised companies. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world’s most valuable collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe.

Vibrant lobby design

7 unconventional hotel lobby designs

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
7 unconventional hotel lobby designs

To launch this month’s spotlight on Lobby Design, Hotel Designs’ editorial team has scoured the globe to identify some of the world’s most unconventional – and most fascinating – hotel lobbies… 

A first impression is a lasting impression, especially when it comes to checking in to the modern-day hotel. And considering it takes the average person just seven seconds for their opinion to be anchored, ultimately right up until they cast their feedback after checking out, designing a hotel lobby is a balancing act worth getting right.

Vibrant lobby design

Regardless of a hotel’s theme, style and to a certain extent target audience, a well-designed lobby is an effortlessly functioning space – and in most cases considered to be the most vital working organ in the hotel’s body that is most relied.

Today’s modern traveller demands for the lobby to be an all-encompassing flexible portal; a home-from-home meeting place, which shelters a social atmosphere. And yet it must also include private break-out areas and accents of personality and sense of place in its design – just enough for something to catch their eye and be included in their first impression. While it is important to ensure that the lobby is multifunctional, ensuring that its design stays in its lane regarding its style is fundamental.

Here are some hotels that have gone further to challenge the conventional lobby design – and as a result designed their own lane.

1) Rosewood Bangkok

Earlier this year, Hotel Designs exclusively unveiled the design story of Rosewood Bangkok. Designed by Celia Chu, her task to design the 159-key hotel was made that much more daunting when having to create a hotel lobby that creates as large of an impression as the exterior does. Instead of competing with the architecture to be bold, Chu looked inwards to sensitively tell the story of Thailand in the words of locals. “The reception space is relatively small,” explains Chu, “but in this area we layer different eras from a timeline that represents Thai culture, with antique craftsmanship, modern polished luxury and artistic contemporary elements all piled up into one cohesive and welcoming space.”

2) Hard Rock Hotel London

Hotel lobby with memorabilia hanging on the wall

Image credit: Philip Durrant

Designed by Scott Brownrigg, The hotel lobby’s walls are plastered with memorabilia that reference the legacy of legends who stayed in Hard Rock Hotels in decades past, including Jimi Hendrix, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Diana Ross and Madonna. Balancing the history and heritage of the brand in a timeless style to avoid cliché moments was the first task for the design firm when confronting the motifs that will be sheltered in the new hotel. “We knew we had to represent the Hard Rock brand in an innovative way for the contemporary London market,” Senior Designer Kate Jarrett explains. “The hotel scene here is competitive so we knew we had to create something that tied into London and Hard Rock’s music heritage, while still being completely contemporary.”

3) Matetsi Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

soft lobby area, which is open to the elements - and full of natural materials

Image credit: Matetsi Victoria Falls

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

4) Plaza 18, Vejer, Spain

Almost one year after Hotel Designs started following designer Nicky Dobree’s journey to complete her first ever hotel design, Plaza 18 is now open. With a distinct residential style, the lobby sheltered inside the six-key boutique hotel is unlike any other in the world. “This entrance challenges the conventional ‘hotel lobby’ because there is no check-in at Plaza 18,” Dobree explains. “Instead, check in is done at the adjoining Hotel Casa del Califa enabling guests at Plaza 18 to enjoy the space as if it were their own home, which was my aim.”

5) 1K Paris

Strong vibrant colours and plants in modern and quirky hotel lobby

Image credit: 1K Paris

Bringing the lush forests of South America’s Andes Mountains to Paris, 1K Paris has a hotel lobby that will take guests into a new world. Complete with vibrant walls, ceilings, floors and furniture – and finished with tropical plants and timeless Peruvian artefacts – the area is cleverly also flooded with natural light. The lobby’s strong blue backdrop sets the ultimate tone for the abundance of colours that await guest’s unique journey ahead.

6) Raffles Singapore

Light and bright grand lobby

Image credit: Raffles Singapore

Reminiscent of extravagant parties that were once held there, The Grand Lobby inside Raffles Singapore, which has been sensitively designed by the New York-based Champalimaud Design, is a truly a legend reborn. The lobby includes floor-to-ceiling Victorian pillars and is bathed in soft daylight streaming through the skylight.

7) Ruby Leni, Dusseldorf

Darkly lit modern public areas

Image credit: Ruby Hotels

Taking inspiration from the theatre that With large, expansive public spaces that filter into plush private break-out areas, the hotel is designed for both locals and guests checking in. The character and soul has been channelled into the lobby/lounge, where the real story of the iconic 1900s building, which sheltered the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus theatre, comes to life. “We looked at the materials, shapes and forms that you would associate to a theatre of that era,” says Lead Designer Matthew Balon. “We then separated that into front-of-house and back-of-house. We wanted to challenge that idea by merging those areas. For example, we have included stage cases in the lobby to really create an authentic feeling of being part of the production, behind the scenes.”

Hotel Designs is spending this month with Lobby Design and Furniture in the spotlight. If you have a story, or would like to submit a comment, please contact the editorial team. 

Main image credit: 1K Paris

Four Seasons opens in Philadelphia’s tallest building

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Four Seasons opens in Philadelphia’s tallest building

Foster + Partners’ Norman Foster is responsible for the architecture and interior design of Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Centre, which is sheltered in the 48th and 60th floors of the city’s tallest building…

The newly opened Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center is located on the uppermost floors of what is now the city’s tallest building and 10th highest in the United States.

The entire building and the interiors and furnishings of the hotel have been designed by world-renowned architect Norman Foster of Foster + Partners, while artistic director Jeff Leatham has created stunning floral art in his signature style. His designs are found throughout the property from the ground floor entry to the 60th floor hotel lobby. In addition, Tokyo-based teamLab has envisioned a giant digital floral experience as a modern expression of traditional Japanese painting techniques in the hotel’s arrival lobby.

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

“This exceptional new property represents the very best of Four Seasons,” said Christian Clerc, President, Worldwide Hotel Operations, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “From architecture to design, artistry and innovation, culinary mastery and wellness expertise, we have worked closely with our visionary partners at Comcast and Liberty Property Trust to assemble an all-star team of virtuosos who are elevating Four Seasons service, quality and artistry to new heights.”

Framing what are arguably the best vistas over the city, the 180 guestrooms and 39 suites have been designed to reflect a timeless and relaxed style, while also to adding thoughtful and hidden technology throughout. For example, in partnership with Comcast, all guestrooms and suites also offer the award winning X1 Video Experience.

The hotel’s dining scene is on the 59th floor inside the Jean-Georges Philadelphia restaurant and the 60th floor inside JG SkyHigh cocktail bar. Norman Foster’s soaring space showcases the internationally acclaimed French-American chef’s signature cuisine within an atrium featuring 40 foot (12 metre) glass walls and a cleverly mirrored ceiling that reflects both diners and the city below.

Taking wellness and wellbeing to new height, the hotel’s 57th floor is a haven of health and wellness that includes an enormous indoor pool that “spills” into the sky; a state-of-the-art fitness centre.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Accor’s JO&JOE brand moves in with IKEA in Vienna

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Accor’s JO&JOE brand moves in with IKEA in Vienna

Construction work will commence in January 2020 on the seven-storey IKEA in Vienna, which will shelter a 345-key hotel…

Accor’s JO&JOE lifestyle brand is partnering with IKEA to open an innovative hospitality concept: the two upper floors of the building will contain an Open House by JO&JOE. After openings in Paris and Hossegor and with seven signed projects, this is the first JO&JOE in the German-speaking region and is slated to open in 2021.

“The JO&JOE brand is characterised by a combination of hostel and traditional hotel elements.”

“The modern architecture and the unique location of the new City IKEA harmonise perfectly with the exciting new world offered by JO&JOE,” said Volkmar Pfaff, Managing Director of Accor Austria. “We are working together to create an inviting, well-connected environment that reflects the lifestyle trends of a young, urban clientele. We are delighted with this strategic partnership with IKEA and welcome further cooperation in the future.”

The JO&JOE brand is characterised by a combination of hostel and traditional hotel elements, impressing guests with its novel accommodation experience, modern design and attractive array of restaurants and services. The Open House concept is equally suited to business and leisure guests who appreciate both a central location and a platform for interaction with the local community.

Image credit: ZoomVP/Accor

“Our first JO&JOE Open Houses have already proven to be wildly popular, as the concept blends the best of private-rental, hostel and hotel formats,” said Francois Leclerc, VP Brand & Operations, JO&JOE. “We are very enthusiastic about our partnership with IKEA and our newest location in Vienna, where we feel our commitment to freedom, autonomy and brilliant design will fit right in with the city’s aesthetic and the guests who travel here.”  

With its modern architecture and the innovative ideas for the interiors, the furniture store on Äussere Mariahilferstrasse will offer customers a unique shopping experience. The shopping concept specifically responds to current megatrends and takes into account changing shopping patterns and new forms of mobility that do not involve cars. For example, customers can have major purchases delivered to their homes within 24 hours. Living facades of greenery and a publicly accessible park on the roof terrace also provide an inviting ambience and a pleasant microclimate.

“By collaborating with JO&JOE, we have found a partner who is an ideal match for our urban target group and who, like us, offers customers unique, new experiences and innovative concepts”, says IKEA Austria Managing Director Viera Juzova.

JO&JOE’s entry into Austria underpins the brand’s international expansion plan. The brand was launched by Accor in September 2016 to cater to millennials and all who value a culture of sharing, spontaneity and individual experiences. JO&JOE is part of Accor’s lifestyle division and rounds out the Group’s portfolio of economy brands.

Main image credit: ZoomVP/Accor

Main image credit: Accor/IKEA

W Hotels debuts first luxury hotel in Aspen in 25 years

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
W Hotels debuts first luxury hotel in Aspen in 25 years

The 88-key luxury W Aspen, designed by interior design firm NEMAWORKSHOP and architects Rowland + Broughton, is the town’s only year-round mountainside rooftop venue…

Following the opening of W Hotels first hotel in Oman, Marriott International Inc. has announced the much-anticipated opening of W Aspen & The Sky Residences at W Aspen, located at the base of the world-renowned, eponymous mountain.

With ski-in/ski-out access to some of the world’s most coveted slopes, 360° mountain views and striking architectural and interior design, W Aspen is the second W Mountain Escape globally, following W Verbier in the Swiss Alps. Poised to carve out a new era of luxury in Aspen, the brand is bringing its bold point of view to the iconic mountain town for year-round access to alpine adventure.

“Aspen’s people, vibrancy and natural beauty make this year-round mountain town the perfect place for the W lifestyle,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “W Aspen reimagines the traditional ski chalet and allows people to experience the town in a way they never have before, through evocative design, inclusive programming and a social scene that is sure to become an essential stop on the global jet-setting calendar. The first new build W Escape in the USA for 10 years, W Aspen marks a milestone in the brand’s reinvigorated focus on North America.”

W Aspen & The Sky Residences at W Aspen are owned by Northridge Capital of Washington, DC, the owner for 16 years of the former Sky Hotel situated on the same site, and co-developed by Northridge and local partner Sarpa Development. “After more than five years of hard work,” commented Northridge’s owner and president Dave Jackson, “we are thrilled to finally be opening the W Aspen for the enjoyment of its guests and the local community, and grateful to our partners at W Hotels, Haselden Construction, and too many other team members to name for their tireless efforts to reach this goal.”

“W Aspen centres on the natural beauty and bounty of the mountains and the historical context of the city it surrounds.”

W Aspen brings a luxurious, playful style to the historically-rich town of Aspen. Designed by global interior design firm NEMAWORKSHOP and Aspen-based architects Rowland + Broughton, alongside the W Brand’s award-winning design team, W Aspen centres on the natural beauty and bounty of the mountains and the historical context of the city it surrounds.

It begins with the exterior: a modern mountain chalet with long, sloping roof lines that draw inspiration from the Rocky Mountain landscape. The essence of the outdoors continues throughout the interior, where the Welcome Desk wood formations echo the Rocky Mountains and intricately-detailed terrariums represent seasonal Aspen activities from hiking and biking to skiing and snowboarding.

On the second floor is The Living Room, which serves as the central point of the Escape experience and showcases a grid-pattern display on the bar – a nod to traditional millwork structures used to create mine tunnels in Aspen during the silver boom. Seating in The Living Room features brass and polished rods that surround plush, velvety cushions synonymous with Aspen’s bohemian counterculture of the early ’70s. Along the side, stadium seating leads to an iconic suspended DJ booth that takes its cue from the largest silver nugget discovered in Aspen at the turn of the century. Continuing to honor Aspen’s role in the Colorado Silver Boom, light fixtures are informed by the look of a miner’s headlamp and floors are swept with curving patterns that echo the soil found at the bottom of a smuggler’s cove. At sundown, The Living Room’s outdoor fire pit acts as a beacon at the base of the mountain – signaling to the skiers above it is time to après.

Art reminiscent of iconic Americana paintings of the Rocky Mountains layer the walls of W Aspen. Commissioned artists impart a more modern vision through the lens of classic landscape paintings like those done by Albert Bierstad and other greats. Longtime W collaborator Gaia showcases a series of works throughout the Escape that tease an infatuation with American landscape paintings but are superimposed with local millennial fragmented culture spirit guides – adding a contemporary veil to the traditional. Accent pillows in the Living Room and guestrooms are inspired by artists Herbert Bayer and Thomas Benton and pay homage to the historical residents of Durant Street, named the ‘Soiled Doves of Durant’.

“Selected rooms feature a W design first, quad-queen bunk beds, which can sleep up to eight to cater to a younger adult clientele.”

W Aspen features 88 guestrooms and 11 W-branded residences, along with four WOW suites and one Extreme WOW suite that can be a one, two or three bedroom, all of which offer modern takes on Ute patterns and furniture inspired by the decadence of ‘70s Aspen “pleasure palaces.” All guestrooms and suites are playfully marked with room plates in a style reminiscent of the pop culture icon Bob Ross, while interiors reference the cozy warmth of Swiss chalet architecture through the use of rustic wood finishes, sloped rooflines and a fireplace-inspired W MixBar. Each guestroom features pit and platform lounge seating that nods to the plasticity of mile-high bohemia and is complete with Ute-inspired accent pillows. Selected rooms feature a W design first, quad-queen bunk beds, which can sleep up to eight to cater to a younger adult clientele, as well as offer a wink to the more hedonistic qualities of Aspen’s past.

The two-bedroom Extreme WOW Suite is inspired by Aspen’s mountain culture and is the quintessential location to play and stay. The suite features modern industrial touches, rich ski-wear fabrics, a central fire pit surrounded by curved pit seating, a hot tub open to the living area, a crystal and glass barrier embracing a circular bed on a pivoting platform, and a DJ booth with a mini LP vinyl player and curated music library – all playing on vintage luxury. The plush reds, blues and oranges in addition to psychedelic detailing add extra electricity to this warm mountain escape.

39 Degrees, a legendary après ski bar in the former Sky Hotel, returns as an underground ultra-lounge cocktail bar and grotto inspired by the famed Red-Light District of Aspen. Outfitted with platform and pit seating, crushed velvet touches, cheeky Gonzo-style posters and pillows and a W-commissioned, Gabriel Alcala mural that portrays an Aspen landscape through the lens of ‘excess,’ this hidden spot will keep the energy going late into the night.

“The buzz and excitement for the debut of W Aspen has been building for some time and we could not be readier to bring the infectious energy, spirit and programming of W to this iconic American town,” says Greg Durrer, General Manager, W Aspen. “We know that W Aspen will not only serve as a year-round destination for travellers but that it will bring a bold new point of view to the local social scene and become the latest player in the legacy of this incredible cultural mecca.”

Image credit: Marriott International

The Sky Residences at W Aspen offer an exclusive shared ownership opportunity with 11 W-branded Residences located slope-side on Aspen Mountain. With a limited collection of only six three-bedroom and five two-bedroom Residences, owners have access to a private, owners-only roof deck with a spa, lounge seating, BBQ grills, outdoor kitchen and fire pit. In addition, owners can enjoy all of the Escape’s amenities and services at W Aspen, including Welcome Ambassadors and round the clock security; in-residence dining and STYLE housekeeping services; WHEELS valet service; FIT® state-of-art fitness facilities; two WET® Deck pools; and W’s signature Whatever/Whenever® service promise, providing residents and hotel guests alike with whatever they want, whenever they want it! The Sky Residences at W Aspen are currently offered for sale by Forte Aspen. “The Sky Residences at W Aspen feature compelling statements of space and design that defy expectations,” said R.J. Gallagher, Jr. of Forte Aspen. “It’s where an owner can get away from it all, while having it all. Effortless ownership, where quality time with family and friends is the only order of the day. And night.”

The hotel’s opening further marks W Hotels and Marriot International’s commitment to add more than 30 luxury properties to its portfolio this year. W, a significant element to the planned expansion, is defying expectations and breaking the norms of traditional luxury wherever the iconic W sign lands. With a mission to fuel guests’ lust for life, W ignites an obsessive desire to soak it in, live it up and hit repeat. The brand’s provocative design, iconic Whatever/Whenever service and buzzing Living Rooms create an experience that is often copied but never matched.

Main image credit: Marriott International

Chelsom creates bespoke lighting scheme for chic Miami hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Chelsom creates bespoke lighting scheme for chic Miami hotel

Chelsom worked with Martin Brudnizki Design Studio (MBDS) to create a bespoke lighting scheme for the guestrooms and public areas of one of Miami’s coolest hotels, Mr.C Coconut Grove

The overall design scheme of Mr. C Coconut Grove was completely individual in its entirety as to be expected from MBDS and the lighting pieces designed for the project were no exception.

A selection of Art Deco inspired fittings were created for the public areas including the reception and lobby and Bellini’s, the main restaurant and bar area. Channelling Miami chic at its finest, fittings for the restaurant include delicate glass wall lights with Brass detailing, decorative Art Deco table lamps with domed glass shades and Brass metalwork adorn the banquet seating teamed with classic Brass picture lights to frame the artwork. Toadstool shaped Art Deco lights with perforated Brass shades adorn the main bar area with a statement pendant above the bar making a dramatic visual impact. The custom designed fitting is an oversized shade style pendant in cream with Brass trim detail suspended from a Brass canopy. Oversized floor lamps adorn the lobby area with Brushed Brass and walnut table lamps with delicately concaved domed shades specified for the reception desk.

Key pieces for the guestrooms and suites includestatement bespoke ceiling pendants in Antique Brass with six opalglass globes branching from a central stem with larger double tiered versions specified for the suites. Bespoke floor lamps in Brushed Brass with a curved arm and decorative locking key joint are teamed with tapered cylindrical shades in cream linen supplemented by Art Decotable lampsand wall lights perfectly in-keeping with both the flawless interior scheme created by the team at MBDS and the historic building itself.

Chelsom 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: Mr C Coconut Grove/James McDonald

1 Hotels to debut in Canada

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
1 Hotels to debut in Canada

1 Hotel Toronto, which is being designed using reclaimed materials, will be unveiled next year as a design-led, sustainable urban retreat…

Barry Sternlicht, 1 Hotels Founder and CEO & Chairman of Starwood Capital Group, who earlier this year announced a new lifestyle hotel brand, has confirmed plans for 1 Hotel Toronto. The hotel, which is slated to open next year, is inspired by Canada’s natural beauty, the vibrant character of King Street West and the Toronto marketplace.

The hotel is being developed in partnership with Mohari Hospitality, a global real estate investment company and owner of the building which is currently operated as the Thompson Toronto. The downtown property will undergo an extensive transformation into a relaxing luxury sustainable 1 retreat.

“The hotel group purposefully reuses existing structural and reclaimed materials gathered from the local community, including timber, driftwood and local limestone.”

1 Hotels brings its sustainable vision to life by incorporating nature in its design and culinary collaborations, connecting with the local community to make a meaningful impact in the way people travel, eat, live and work. The hotel group purposefully reuses existing structural and reclaimed materials gathered from the local community, including timber, driftwood and local limestone. The hotel’s design balances refined elements with a comfortably curated atmosphere, inspired by the creativity and craftsmanship of local artists, builders, chefs, and others. Its operating philosophy reflects our commitment to sustainability. 1 Toronto is not just a place to stay; it’s a place to get inspired, focus, grow, connect and recharge.

“1 Hotel Toronto will introduce the city to a new standard for an eco-conscious luxury experience, and is the first of its kind in Canada,” said Sternlicht. We look forward to sharing our mission to inspire conscious consumption with guests from across the globe as well as the local community. Our partnership with Mohari is key to the re-development of the project, and we are pleased to be collaborating with them.”

“1 Toronto is not just a place to stay; it’s a place to get inspired, focus, grow, connect and recharge.”

Mark Scheinberg, founder of Mohari Hospitality, said: “We’re excited to be partnering with 1 Hotels to open this luxury hotel and brand in the heart of Toronto. At Mohari, we look for innovative projects that are changing the hospitality market and 1 Hotel Toronto perfectly fits that mould.”

1 Toronto will be enhanced by a level of luxury and personalisation that puts guests in an urban oasis. It’s expected to become a place to unwind, connect, eat well, and discover warmth and community in an environment which embraces nature, making it a luxurious and welcome respite for business travellers and world wanderers alike.

Main image credit: 1 Hotels

Germany, France and the UK lead European hotel project development

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Germany, France and the UK lead European hotel project development

Latest hotel development statistics from the TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION database show the three nations account for 50 per cent of the 1,514 projects that are currently in the pipeline for the region…

Germany, the UK, and France are currently dominating a “booming European hospitality market”, as stated in a report by TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION. The latest data to be published indicates that the three nations account for 50 per cent of the 1,514 projects currently in the pipeline in Europe.

Germany currently has 382 projects in its own pipeline, which means that it alone is accounting for around one quarter of the upcoming hotels in Europe. The UK, meanwhile, is hot on its heels, with 287 projects in its own pipeline. Meanwhile, there is a significant dropoff between the U.K. and third place France, which has 91 projects in its own pipeline.

Other destinations in the top 10 include Spain (72 projects in the pipeline) and Russia, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, and Ireland, all of which have less than 70 hotels each in their project pipeline.

The report concludes that Europe’s strong performance is due to Germany being a significant driving force in the hospitality space, as well as globally dominant tourist destinations such as France, Spain, and the UK.

According to TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION, the 1,541 hotels currently in the pipeline for Europe will ultimately yield as many as 251,730 new guestrooms.

Main image credit: Pixabay

MINIVIEW: Zafiro Palace Alcudia

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MINIVIEW: Zafiro Palace Alcudia

Zafiro Palace Alcudia is a family friendly hotel with a luxury edge. Chantal Borciani checks in to review…

Framed by the majestic landscape of mountains in northern Mallorca, Zafiro Palace Hotel Alcudia occupies an enviable position just five minutes’ walk from the pretty harbour of Alcudia and just 15 minutes from the Medieval Old Town. Surrounded by sea and rolling countryside, it’s easy to see why nature plays a key role in Zafiro’s aesthetic.

From the stylish marble lobby, the eye is immediately drawn outside to the vast gardens that form the focal point of the property. The immaculate tiered lawns are sown with native Mallorcan plants and flowers and feature 11 glittering pools. Despite the impressive aquatic offering, Zafiro Palace Alcudia retains the intimacy of a much smaller hotel with a boutique vibe that sets it apart from other family hotels on the island.

“Antonia Plomer personally selects everything every material and piece of artwork used in the hotel.”

Mature gardens are dotted with shaded hideaways and quiet corners while alongside some of the larger pools, billowing white draped cabana beds are available for all guests to use on a complimentary basis. Raised up a level above the swim-up pool bar and trendy poolside restaurant, the adult-only pool area is another cabana-lined oasis.

Designed with small footprints in mind, kids are well catered for as well, of course with a fantastic pirate ship pool, slides and play area occupying a quadrant of the gardens. ‘Run for families, by families’ is the spirit behind the Zafiro brand, which was set up by father Tomeu Plomer and still rings true today. The hotel has recently had a refresh under daughters Antonia and Maria Plomer who now run the business and have deftly anticipated new trends.

“Lines are clean, minimalist and chic; the white angular buildings emphasising the contemporary feel of the property.”

Antonia Plomer personally selects every material and piece of artwork used in the hotel, sourcing the majority of elements from Mallorcan and Spanish suppliers to great effect. Décor is sophisticated and the neutral palette is calming and light, save small dashes of colour from soft furnishings and modern lighting and framed prints.

While being resolutely family friendly, the all-suite hotel retains a luxury edge in design and feel. Lines are clean, minimalist and chic; the white angular buildings emphasising the contemporary feel of the property. Suites are spacious, elegant and flooded with light thanks to large balconies. Each suite features an open-plan bathroom, while sliding doors in the family rooms mean parents can easily ‘zone off’ sleeping areas for kids.

All 369 suites can be configured to accommodate children while bespoke family suites feature two bedrooms. Handy touches such as microwaves in all rooms, high-end coffee machines and ample storage and wardrobe space add to the thoughtful design.

Image credit: Zafiro Palace Hotels

On the ground level, the aforementioned swim-up suites boast a private garden and direct pool access ideal for families who love to be in and out of the water all day. On the top floor, the penthouse suites are blessed with a rooftop terrace complete with Jacuzzi and Bali beds. With mesmeric views out across the Mallorcan mountains and coast, these sumptuous suites should be top pick for those looking for luxury escapism.

The Presidential Owner’s Suite, usually the reserve of Mallorcan elite and celebrities, occupies 180 square metres and features a vast terrace with Jacuzzi, shower and Bali bed. The decadent interior is accented by design-led furniture and contemporary chandeliers selected from Barcelona-based procurer Santa e Cole, while alongside the master bed sits a decadent marble emerado and white makael bathtub.

In the public areas, Antonia Plomer’s astute eye for design makes great impact. The four á la carterestaurants reflect a different aesthetic and cuisine without becoming overly thematic and each dining area is blessed with stunning views of the gardens and pools thanks to terraces and floor to ceiling windows.

Image credit: Zafiro Palace Hotels

Off season, the hotel is a magnet for cyclists and active travellers keen to make the most of Mallorca’s long season and enviable hiking and cycling routes. In fact, the hotel hosts many of the participants in Alcudia’s annual Ironman and is a fantastic base from which to explore the island. The Old Town of Alcudia is steeped in history and sprinkled with lovely wine bars, while at the harbour guests can hire a classic Mallorcan launch and cruise along the magical coastline.

It’s no mean feat to cater to children while also affording the adults a slice of luxury and relaxation yet Zafiro Palace Hotel Alcudia has done so with ease. Small touches, so often only found in owner-run hotels such as this, make all the difference here alongside the sophisticated family accommodation which feels a world away from the large carbon copy, faceless all inclusives of old.

Main image credit: Zafiro Palace Hotels

InterContinental Hotels debuts first luxury hotel in renowned hot spring destination

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
InterContinental Hotels debuts first luxury hotel in renowned hot spring destination

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts continues to pioneer new luxury destinations with the opening of ANA InterContinental Beppu Resort & Spa, which is injected with local design and architecture references throughout… 

Located in the Oita Prefecture in Southwestern Japan, ANA InterContinental Beppu Resort & Spa has opened as the region’s first international luxury resort.

The opening strengthens the long-term venture with ANA and IHG in Japan and joins more than 200 InterContinental Hotels & Resorts worldwide. Leading the way in luxury, the resort isone of four immersive resorts to open in 2019, with InterContinental Hayman Island Resort opened on 1 July and InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort and InterContinental Phuket Resort opening in September.

“On behalf of IHG and IHG/ANA Japan, we are extremely proud to open the first international luxury hot spring resort and spa in Beppu,” said Hans Heijligers, Head of Japan, IHG, and IHG ANA Hotels Group Japan. “InterContinental has been pioneers in luxury travel for more than 70 years, delivering the allure of the InterContinental Life in all corners of the world. We are delighted to continue bringing the brand’s iconic hospitality, combining international know-how and local wisdom to new destinations as IHG continues to grow its luxury presence across the globe and in Japan.”

Image credit: IHG

Renowned for its rich culture and distinguished local craftsmanship, Beppu lends itself to offering guests rare access into authentic Japanese experiences. As the world’s second largest volume of hot spring water, the onsen tradition is a synonymous part of the guest experience in Beppu. The resort offers two large outdoor onsens, each meticulously designed with the selection and arrangement of Beppu stones selected by skilled masons, and placed to create a waterfall effect as if the hot spring water is overflowing from the mountain.

The private onsen rooms offer a modern onsen experience within an exclusive space complete with a luxurious day bed, bathroom and minimalist design. The heart of the resort is the iconic infinity pool, designed to unite the sky with the view overlooking Beppu’s hot springs below.

“Featured across the resort is work from local artists and craftsmen.”

Elevating the cleansing and healing powers of myobanwater is the resort spa. In partnership with luxury Thai spa brand HARNN, the spa offers a selection of tailor-made treatments and therapies using materials derived from nature, along with rich aroma scent to rejuvenate the mind and body. The spa offers five treatment rooms with private en suites and outdoor garden, and two double massage rooms featuring a jacuzzi made from Japanese cypress.

Imagined by the in-house design team at IHG, the resort shelters a distinct design philosophy, steeped in tradition and inspired by the elements. Featured across the resort is work from local artists and craftsmen, using traditional materials from various parts of Kyushu and local Oita prefecture. Beginning in the resort’s lobby, the soaring space is reminiscent of an art gallery with its high-quality bamboo art work, ancient pottery and wooden furniture with bold designs.

Traditionally designed Japanese guest room, with low-level bed

Image credit: IHG

Elsewhere, the 89 guestrooms, including 10 suites, range from a luxurious 62-212 square meters, including large onsen or hot baths, spacious design and an abundance of natural materials for a sense of relaxation. All Suites and Club InterContinental rooms feature private open-air baths on the terrace with views sweeping the Beppu Bay.

Continuing the philosophy of harmonious nature and design, the resort features five restaurants and bars inspired by Japan’s five elements: earth, water, fire, wind and void.

The latest addition to the IHG portfolio proves further its continues its legacy of pioneering luxury travel in emerging destinations. 

Main image credit: IHG

Modern, fresh and vibrant interiors of a guest room

W Hotels Debuts in Oman

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
W Hotels Debuts in Oman

The “lavish playground” of W Muscat is set to shake up the coastal haven with bold design, eclectic programming and Oman’s First Siddharta Lounge By Buddha-Bar…

W Hotels Worldwide, part of Marriott International Inc., has announced the opening of W Muscat, the brand’s newest beachfront W Escape and the second to open in the Middle East this year. Set against the backdrop of the rugged Al Hajar Mountains, which form a stark contrast to the historic capital city’s lively waterfront, W Muscat sits at the intersection of the bustling Shatti Al Qurum area.

Modern, fresh and vibrant interiors of a guest room

The hotel opens as part of Marriott International’s plans add more than 30 luxury hotels to its portfolio this year, furthering the company’s global perspective on luxury travel with its ensemble of eight distinct luxury brands.

“Muscat is a fascinating and exciting city. Its cultural DNA honors millennia of tradition while looking to what’s new and next – an ideal match for the W brand,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “The arrival of W in Muscat marks a new chapter for both the brand and this buzzing metropolis. The hotel reinterprets Omani design and cultural traditions to create a modern, energetic and stylish Escape unlike anything the sultanate has seen before.”

“Its striking design is inspired by the diverse and vibrant natural locale – from the rugged mountain range to the vast Omani desert, the sparkling bay to the azure waters of the Arabian Sea.”

The architectural narrative of W Muscat immerses guests in the concept of exploration and the illustrious storytelling tradition of the nomadic Bedouin traveller. Its striking design is inspired by the diverse and vibrant natural locale – from the rugged mountain range to the vast Omani desert, the sparkling bay to the azure waters of the Arabian Sea. Colorful hints of Muscat’s vibrant culture are interspersed throughout the spaces to evoke the mystery and adventure of the city’s rich heritage and storied past. W Muscat is a bold remix of traditional charm, natural beauty and the disruptive W DNA.

Bold design with Arabian themed interiors in the lobby lounge

Image credit: W Hotels

Welcoming guests upon arrival is a striking, nine-ton frankincense tree sculpture designed by renowned artist Pongsatat Uaiklang that pays tribute to Omani culture. Standing at an impressive 10 meters tall, the piece is made of solid stainless steel, welded from 28 winding pieces. In traditional Omani culture, frankincense was used to bless and welcome weary travelers after their long journeys. In that same tradition, guests are then ushered into the inviting Living Room (W’s signature take on the lobby) where they can relax and unwind in an Arabic Majlis, beneath an oversized installation of the Omani Kummas, chic headgears that are unmistakable marks of the Omani attire. Whether looking for a re-energizing iced tea or a cocktail, The Living Room is the perfect venue to see and be seen.

“Asymmetrical corridors across the floors depict an artistic theme of ‘every girl has a story’ through locally commissioned holographic artworks.”

All of the 279 guestrooms and suites at W Muscat provide uninterrupted views of the glistening blue water, with their design drawing inspiration from the ocean as well as the asymmetrical lines of the nearby mountains, caves and desert. These are contrasted with art deco detailing, reminiscent of traditional Omani charm. Asymmetrical corridors across the floors depict an artistic theme of ‘every girl has a story’ through locally commissioned holographic artworks depicting a female perspective of power, love, peace and beauty. Designed for an extra spacious and edgy stay is the EWOW suite (the brand’s take on the traditional Presidential Suite) which features subtle Arabic characteristics with a distinctive W edge. The corner Majlis seating showcases a Zanzibar-inspired print, a nod to the Omani Kumma or headgear, set against an inviting coffee table in celebration of Arabic coffee or Qahwa. The ceiling features tilted white paneling, evoking the intimacy of relaxing inside a tent. A saddle-like leather chair, bold mustard yellow stool, and faux fur wall are inspired by horse or camelback travel. Stacked luggage trunks comprise the MIXBAR (the W spin on the minibar) while a trunk closet lined with exotic silk links back to the narrative of the nomad.

An 1800 sqm beachfront pool offers unparalleled views of the Gulf of Oman and forms part of the W brand’s iconic WET experience. Here, guests can swim, soak up the sun and enjoy signature beverages while listening to live DJ performances. WET is the hottest place to cool off, take a dip, make a splash, and get your glow on. W Muscat will be hosting a FUEL Weekend in October – the W brand’s signature fitness and wellness retreat – where WET will take center stage. FUEL guests can expect next level, energy-soaked celebrity workouts, killer parties and delicious beverage and food offerings all celebrating the brand’s DETOX. RETOX. REPEAT. philosophy.

Elsewhere, the Escape’s AWAY® Spa offers 10 treatment rooms, a steam room, a hammam and a couples’ treatment room. The design is inspired by the ancient ritual of stargazing where guests are enveloped under a bejeweled night sky with the intimacy of cave-like comfort.

The highly anticipated Siddharta Lounge By Buddha-Bar makes an Oman debut at W Muscat, bringing its signature flair for culinary prowess and inventive mixology to the rooftop restaurant and lounge. Overlooking the sweeping coastline of Shatti Al Qurum, the space interlocks both indoor and outdoor venues and celebrates the story of Bedouin travellers through innovative design and artistic representation. Ocean vistas are framed by an extraordinary rooftop infinity pool that invites guests to literally dive into the action and order a cocktail at the swim up bar. Siddharta Lounge By Buddha-Bar transforms from a daytime respite for lounging and relaxing amongst gorgeous views to a scene-setting hotspot when the sun goes down and the music turns up.

Trailblazing its way around the globe, with more than 50 hotels, W is defying expectations and breaking the norms of traditional luxury wherever the iconic W sign lands. With a mission to fuel guests’ lust for life, W ignites an obsessive desire to soak it in, live it up and hit repeat. The brand’s provocative design, iconic Whatever/Whenever service and buzzing Living Rooms create an experience that is often copied but never matched.

Main image credit: W Hotels

4 reasons why hotels should consider 3D photography

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
4 reasons why hotels should consider 3D photography

In a response to the industry insight on styling a hotel for design press article, Hotel Designs’ official hotel review photographer, ACT Studios, argues that 3D photography is where the future of hotel marketing is heading…

Predictions for trends over the next couple of years in the hotel and hospitality sector abound. But there is general consensus that technology will continue to play a greater role in both the stay of a guest as well as the booking process itself.

Virtual tour photography has an essential part to play here, enhancing the anticipatory experience of the traveller in advance of their stay, as well quickly and easily answering guest’s questions and concerns about location, layout and facilities.

So just how exactly can virtual tour photography enhance the guest experience? And what value can it add to your website?

What is virtual tour photography?

Virtual tour photography is essentially an immersive, three dimensional digital means of bringing a room to life for the viewer. 3d tours are created using a special type of Matterport camera, which produces a 360 degree image of a room, which users can then browse online at their leisure.

Users simply click on the image itself to then ‘step in’ to the picture, with the option to turn in any direction to explore a feature in more detail. Want to view the room from the other side of the bed? It’s Easy. Using your mouse (or a touch screen) you can simply click (or tap) on the picture and spin the view in a direction to suit you. Fancy a peek in the bathroom? Maybe to check if it has a walk in shower? Again, just click or tap on the direction you would like to take.

3D photography even lets you leave the room to explore different rooms on another floor. And essentially look round the whole property, which can be really helpful if you need to check if the bedroom is on the ground floor. Or see if the bathroom has a shower over it. Or where your nearest fire exit is.

The real beauty of 3D virtual tours is that they are incredibly simple to use. And extremely intuitive.

4 ways in which 3D photography can help your hotel business

1) 3D photography can improve your guest experience and ratings

Image credit: Hotel Designs’ interactive hotel review of Oddfellows On The Park. Read full review here.

Positive feedback and ratings count and anything that helps improve the customer journey for a guest deserves serious thought. And when it comes to the hotel guest’s customer journey, 3D photography can play a pivotal role in the consideration phase.

Once a customer is aware that you exist – perhaps via a touch point such as a post on social media or an article in a third party publication – the next phase in the customer journey is consideration. This is when they arrive at your website and look through it in detail before deciding to make a purchase.

It is well known how financially competitive the hospitality industry is and not every accommodation provider wishes to differentiate on price. Therefore, having the ability to see a building in all its dimensions – from a floor plan, to a dollhouse view to stepping into any of the key rooms – can positively influence their decision to buy in your favour. And most importantly, take them away from your competitors.

2) 360 photography can refresh your brand image

Image credit: Hotel Designs’ interactive hotel review of University Arms, Cambridge. Read full review here.

“The quality of the imagery is second to none.” – Mario Ovsenjak, General Manager, Hotel Gotham.

Guests have long come to expect well composed, professionally taken, high resolution photography when it comes to browsing both on and offline.

Which is why the supply of high quality hospitality photography remains a core service for ACT Studios, taking us throughout the UK and Europe to photograph some of the most incredible accommodation providers.

But brands that already have great photography are rightly asking “what’s next?” when it comes to updating their brand image, differentiating their offering and setting themselves apart from the competition.

The answer is 3d photography. Offering guests the ability to virtually ‘step into’ a hotel bedroom, dining room or lounge. To explore an area in minute detail. Or just get an overall feel for what they are about to book.

“Adding a fully immersive experience by adding virtual tour photography can increase occupancy by 14 per cent.”

3) 360 virtual tour photography can help improve your occupancy rates

Image credit: Hotel Designs’ interactive hotel review of Hotel Gotham. Read the full review here.

Recent research by TripAdviser shows that having at least one photo of your property on a property page actually increases the likelihood of a booking enquiry by 225 per cent. And that for properties with at least 100 photos, engagement levels rise to 151 per cent and likelihood of a booking inquiry rises to 238 per cent compared to properties with no photos

In addition, a study by Matterport concluded that adding a fully immersive experience by adding virtual tour photography can increase occupancy by 14 per cent and yield a 15 per cent increase in online engagement.

4) Virtual tours are an honest complement to photography that encourages trust

By offering guests the option of seeing and freely exploring a given room or area in its entirety before they buy, guests can more easily and more quickly judge for themselves how suitable (or not) a hotel is for them. There is therefore genuine honestly in a 3d virtual tour. And as marketers know, honesty breeds trust, which then sees guests returning time after time.

If you would like to find out more about how 3D photography can work alongside your existing photography – or perhaps how you can refresh both your still photography and your virtual tours, to produce a more consistent brand image – then contact ACT Studios here.

Main image credit: ACT Studios

Editor Checks In: Home comforts in hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor Checks In: Home comforts in hotel design

In August 2019, editor Hamish Kilburn concludes that trends are overrated when a project close to his heart reaches its highly anticipated conclusion…

I can’t quite believe it has been almost one year since we first started following the award-winning designer Nicky Dobree on her journey to complete her debut hotel design project. Before now, her undisputed talent was recognised for designing the interiors of 007-esqe luxury mountain retreats (Kevin McCloud’s words, not mine unfortunately).

But this year, she has injected her effortless style to restore a 19thcentury building in Vejer, Spain, which is known as Plaza 18 – and Hotel Designs has been there every step of the way.

Now that the season has ramped up to reach its peak, there’s no better time to put down the measuring tape, take a step back and reward Dobree’s “labour of love” as we cut the ribbon. More than 1,300 miles from Andalucia, the team in the London office are gathered around my computer screen as they impatiently wait for the folder to download, of which contains the final images of the new boutique hotel. Until now, you see, we have had to settle for shakey behind-the-scenes, unquestionably raw, photographs taken on location, as well as renders and sketches, which merely tease the luxury home-from-home concept in the making.

You’d be wrong to assume it’s an easy task working on a project of this scale. What the hotel lacks in the number of guestrooms (six to be precise) it makes up for in personality. And if anyone could sensitively re-establish the heritage property in order to give it a new lease of life, it would be Dobree.

“All that is missing is a luxury design-led hotel,” I think to myself as I run past the colourful beach huts (place your bids).

‘Home comforts’ feels like an appropriate theme for this month’s column. Four years after capturing my first solo metropolis memory, which then drove me to chase my career in a number of cities in the UK, I’ve hit a crossroads and have decided to take the right-hand turn, which has result in me hurtling back towards my hometown of Whitstable in Kent. Nestled on the north-east tip of the Garden of England, where home comforts – think sea views that stretch over the horizon and unparalleled sunsets – are never in short supply, this feels like ‘home’ to me. “All that is missing is a luxury design-led hotel,” I think to myself as I run past the colourful beach huts (place your bids).

It seems I am not alone in chasing home comfort. Last year, a study published by Forbes showed that in the 10 cities with the largest Airbnb market share in the US, the entry of Airbnb resulted in 1.3 per cent fewer hotel nights booked and a 1.5 per cent loss in hotel revenue. But as damning as this statistic may seem, hotels are fighting back to offer more home-from-home comforts married together with one-off experiences to capture travellers’ attention.

Examples of this can be found all over the Hotel Designs website this month, from our Miniview of room2’s ‘hometel’ concept in Southampton to a new ‘private members’ bar’-styled hotel that will open in London next year – and not forgetting the exceptional Plaza 18. Perhaps subconsciously, my year-long project with Dobree has led me to positively seek comfort in timeless style as opposed to chasing the short-term thrills of seasonal trends.

Main image credit: ACT Studios

Hilton Munich City completes $50 million renovation

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hilton Munich City completes $50 million renovation

Hilton Munich City is placing the finishing touches on a $50 million hotel transformation project, which includes a full refurbishment of the hotel, including all public areas, guestrooms, fitness centre and F&B areas…

Hilton Munich City, which opened a new F&B area called Juliet Rose earlier this year, has now been completed a full $50 million renovation. “We are thrilled to present this amazing, refreshed hotel to all our guests and clients,” said Dagmar Muhle, the general manager of Hilton Munich City.

“This way we are able to continue to innovate in the way we deliver our signature hospitality and provide our guests with an enhanced experience here at Hilton Munich City. We are also very excited to have been recognized as ‘Germany’s Leading City Hotel 2019’ at the World Travel Awards Europe 2019, a great achievement and confirmation of the services our team delivers on a daily basis.”

Juliet Rose is made up of four different seating zones, each with different stand-out features, plus two bars. The main ‘ceremony bar’ is a stunning, monolithic U-shaped design that guests coming from the hotel entrance see as soon as they enter the space, at the far end of a central approach. A second, smaller-scale coffee bar is made of the same dramatic moss-green and highly-polished granite, with the choice of material referencing the earthiness of botanical ingredients. The granite for the main bar has been book-matched to ensure dramatic textural veining from the front. Above and behind the main bar, the gantry structure is made up of brass sections, with an industrial/lab feel, underscored by an apothecary-style bottle display. The barman prepares cocktails at its centre, making full use of dry ice, bell jars and a sense of reveal.

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

“The overall design approach for the space was based on form and order, with drama, freedom and an opposing sense of randomness created by the furniture and accessorising’, architect David Lee Hood, Associate at Goddard Littlefair, explained. ‘When it came to structure, we added a number of new elements to the space to give a feeling of overall order and symmetry, whilst also ensuring playful visibility between zones via glazed screens offering varying privacy levels.”

The hotel provides a complement of services and brand amenities, including 483 guestrooms, nine meeting rooms, MONA restaurant, Juliet Rose Bar and a fitness centre.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Meet the design team behind Monkey Island Estate and Raffles Singapore

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Meet the design team behind Monkey Island Estate and Raffles Singapore

Following the opening of both Monkey Island Estate (review coming soon) and Raffles Singapore, Hotel Designs spends time to get to know the world-renowned design team who led both visions into reality…

Based in New York City, Champalimaud Design is an award-winning multi-disciplinary firm recognised for its visionary concepts, which span both hospitality and residential projects.

Founded almost 30 years ago by Lisbon-born Alexandra Champalimaud, the studio is now run by five Partners who are all specialists in their respective fields. In addition to Alexandra Champalimaud, Partners include CEO Ed Bakos, Jon Kastl, Winston Kong, and most recently, Anna Beeber.

Celebrated for creating luxury environments for a global client list which includes the likes of The Plaza New York, the legendary Troutbeck hotel in Upstate New York and The Gainsborough Bath Spa, Champalimaud Design was approached in 2013 by Raffles Singapore and tasked with the monumental goal of a complete redesign of Singapore’s oldest and most iconic hotel. The studio was presented with a unique challenge of maintaining an ambience intrinsically tied to the hotel’s unique 130 year long history, whilst at the same time taking the hotel in a renewed design direction through a meticulous update and refresh.

The newly restored property offers a reinvigorated and charming environment familiar to the original Raffles Singapore hotel, but which now introduces renovated dining options, updated accommodations, and a new suite category. By incorporating local influences throughout and remaining true to its heritage, Champalimaud Design thoughtfully layers a memory of old Singapore with a contemporary and artful approach.

As a national monument, special attention was paid to the preservation of the original colonial architecture throughout the renovation. All of the public areas are re-planned to increase social engagement and create an ease of flow between spaces. With a sensibility that is much more contemporary than its previous design iterations, there’s an emphasis on maximising scale through the careful curation of custom furniture in sumptuous shapes, ornate screens, locally sourced heritage antiques, and impactful lighting. The new reception and lobby lounge – once iconic places frequently visited by dignitaries and diplomats – is transformed into an elegant reception with a curated dining menu and now serves as the gateway to the hotel’s alluring spaces for dining and imbibing: Tiffin Room, Writer’s Bar, La Dame de Pic, Long Bar, and Butcher’s Block. The palate is composed of the original black and white contrasts juxtaposed with caramel, shades of green, and creamy neutrals. Light floral references and gilded trimming along with a bejewelled chandelier add a layer of refinement to the overall vision.

The coming year will see Champalimaud Design take on a number of high profile openings. In addition to Raffles Singapore, the studio has recently unveiled its highly-anticipated design for Halekulani in Okinawa, Japan; a hotel that fuses luxury with the island’s energy, as well as the Monkey Island, a picturesque retreat with a charming history in Bray-On-Thames, England. Other projects include One Waterline Square, a luxury high-rise development on the Hudson River in Manhattan which represents an unprecedented approach to urban living, as well as Su Casa, a private retreat nestled in Puerto Rico’s most exclusive resort which has undergone a complete renovation by Champalimaud Design following Hurricane Maria which ravaged the island in 2017.

Main image credit: Champalimaud Design

LDF 2019 announces further festival commissions, projects and speakers

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
LDF 2019 announces further festival commissions, projects and speakers

With weeks to go until the city comes alive for London Design Festival, new details have emerged of even more commissions, projects and speakers…

The hotly anticipated London Design Festival (LDF) has revealed the finer details around a number of holistic design experiences, installations and insightful talks in order to make this year’s event an international destination of all things design.

The week-long festival will welcome two new Special Projects: Idiosyncratic by Martino Gamper at Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, coinciding with Festival commission Disco Carbonara; and a playful immersive installation, Take the Plunge, by Volume Creative at OXO Tower Wharf; as well as new keynote speakers Dame Vivienne Westwood, Claire Bergkamp, Fabio Novembre and Astrid Stavro for Global Design Forum, the Festival’s thought leadership programme.

Idiosyncratic by Martino Gamper (supported by Samsung) at Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross

To coincide with Martino Gamper’s London Design Festival Commission– Disco Carbonara at Coal Drops Yard – Samsung presents Idiosincratico: an exposition of the designer’s creative practice.

The Samsung space will offer a unique vantage point on Gamper’s installation below. As well as viewing the exhibit, visitors can also interact with the latest technology, and take part in an ongoing series of events, workshops and performances.

Image credit: Idiosyncratic by Martino Gamper at Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross

Presenting three significant projects, Idiosincratico gives insight into Gamper’s creative process – exploring his distinctive and playful approach to dissembling and reinventing familiar domestic objects. At the heart of each of Gamper’s projects is the notion of thinking through making and examining how process informs the physical outcome.

For Hookaloti, Gamper takes a single typology – the wall hook – and riffs on it, improvising with the form, material and expressive possibilities of a simple everyday object. In Metamorfosi, a project to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Italian furniture company Moroso, Gamper takes pieces from their catalogue and cuts and splices them to create a design mash-up. By contrast, Arnold Circus Stool is a project for the public realm initiated to support the regeneration of the landmark site on Shoreditch’s Boundary Estate, London’s first social housing project.

Take The Plunge by Volume Creative (in collaboration with Virgin Voyages The Bargehouse) at OXO Tower Wharf

Volume Creative, in collaboration with Virgin Voyages, invites visitors to Take the Plunge: a playful installation at The Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf. The interactive project shows the power of design to evoke curiosity, in a stand-alone immersive experience created for London Design Festival.

Image credit: Take The Plunge by Volume Creative at OXO Tower Wharf

Visitors are invited on a journey of discovery and asked to dive into a new experience. The minimalist exterior juxtaposes with the warmth that awaits within. Visitors step into an endless horizon, giving way to an extraordinary secondary space that depicts a sunset under the sea.

The concept is inspired by a love of the sea – the great unknown with the promise of epic discoveries. Take the Plunge hints at this spirit of adventure and celebrates the endless possibilities of great design, using multi-sensory techniques to capture the joyful elements of an oceanic journey.

Global Design Forum

Global Design Forum is the Festival’s curated thought leadership programme, celebrating design and the minds shaping its future. The full 2019 programme has been announced and will explore the issues affecting the design industry itself but more importantly, how design can pave the way for workable solutions to some of the modern world’s most demanding challenges.

The keynote sessions will include, British fashion designer and activist Dame Vivienne Westwood, discussing the role of activism in designing a sustainable future and how to take action; Claire Bergkamp, Worldwide Director of Sustainability and Innovation at Stella McCartney, on engineering a balance between innovation and sustainability in luxury fashion; and Astrid Stavro graphic designer and partner at Pentagram, speaking about the dynamic world of typography. They will join previously announced keynote speakers; Kengo Kuma, Yves Behar and Deborah Riley.

Global Design Forum takes place at the V&A, the official London Design Festival hub, from Saturday 14 – Sunday 22 September 2019. Further information about the full programme and tickets can be found here.

This year, there will also be an offsite keynote in Stratford at the future site of the new V&A East. Supported by INTERNATIONAL QUARTER LONDON and hosted at new shared workspace, Workable, Fabio Novembre, Director, Fabio Novembre Studio and Scientific Director, Domus Academy, will speak from his own experience followed by a panel discussion with industry experts on the importance of nurturing new talent in design.

Main image credit: Disco Carbonara by Martino Gamper at Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross

Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana to open in the ‘Beverly Hills’ of Dominican Republic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana to open in the ‘Beverly Hills’ of Dominican Republic

Architect Ken Shannon has completed the project the design Hyatt Ziva/Zilara’s latest flagship, which will open this November in what is commonly referred to as the ‘Beverly Hills’ of the Dominican Republic…

Nestled in Punta Cana’s sought-after, exclusive gated community of Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic, the twin Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana and Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana will be the sixth addition to Hyatt’s Ziva and Zilara all-inclusive portfolio.

While Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana features an immersive thematic atmosphere that includes suites with local flora motifs, a tailor shop inspired Italian restaurant, and a waterpark for guests of all ages, the neighbouring Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana will feature refined ocean view rooms, condo-inspired swim-up suites with fully furnished living and dining spaces, exclusive access to quiet infinity pools, and an original concept martini bar and coffee shop.

The distinct double U-Shaped Infrastructure, designed by Ken Shannon, optimises ocean views in suites across the resort, maximizing ocean-facing offerings and a sense of arrival that is unparalleled.

Harnessing dual design, the hotels interiors infuse unique personalities into the twin resorts, Zilara’s design has been described as “sexier and more sophisticated with a bold and edgy design for adults”, while Ziva is meandering and playful with softer lines and vibrant colors making it a family-friendly oasis. Shared design features include moveable wall elements, swim up suites, and a connecting, elevated vista lobby overlooking the pools and ocean below.

“The Caribbean’s most popular tourism destination had a total of 6,200 rooms in construction in April of this year.”

In more than a nod to the rise in wellness and wellbeing, a cenote-inspired underground spa will feature a larimar stone infused sky-lit lagoon and the DR’s first Himalayan Salt Lounge. In addition, an elevated Fitness Centre, modeled to look like an old rum distillery, to add further sense-of-place, is set to be Playa’s most extravagant to date, donning a brick warehouse vibe and outfitted with hanging punching bags to pay homage to the DR’s love of boxing.

The hotel opens as the Dominican Republic is continuing a full-fledged hotel development boom, according to new data from hotel analytics firm STR. The Caribbean’s most popular tourism destination had a total of 6,200 rooms in construction in April of this year.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

dark and sulty tones in one of the hotel's design-led suites

Is this the most fashion-forward lifestyle hotel in Bangkok?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Is this the most fashion-forward lifestyle hotel in Bangkok?

SO Sofitel Bangkok, designed by Monsieur Christian Lacroix, claims to be the country’s most fashionable lifestyle hotel, and here’s why… 

An urban luxury, design-led hotel, SO Sofitel Bangkok is a modern fusion of East meets West, and is the ideal spot for style-conscious travellers in Thailand. Designed in a unique collaboration with world-renowned fashion designer, Monsieur Christian Lacroix, and five of Thailand’s top designers.

dark and sulty tones in one of the hotel's design-led suites

Touches of Monsieur Christian Lacroix are peppered throughout the property, from the playful staff uniforms, to the hotel’s logo and executive lounge, adorned with modernist artwork, colourful furniture and unrivalled views over the skyline. The elegant rooms are divided into the five elements of Chinese culture, with each designed by a different local artist. While metal rooms are washed in brilliant whites, those in water are rich, dark and intimate, to reflect the sensation of being underwater. Perhaps the most unusual are the earth suites, modelled on ancient grottos with deep blue walls decorated with sketches of mammoths and other exotic animals.

With a variety of restaurants and bars, including a traditional street market style food hall with live cooking stations, a sleek rooftop restaurant and a boutique chocolate café, SO Sofitel Bangkok’s dining offering is second-to-none. The award-winning Park Society offers culinary creativity with unparalleled views of Lumpinki Park, whilst the innovative Chocolab serves-up chocolates from Bonnat, the world’s oldest chocolatier in France.

Home to the hottest rooftop pool in Bangkok with panoramic views over Lumpinki Park. Style and elegance collide beautifully at SO Sofitel Bangkok, the Luxury five-star Hotel that’s setting a new standard for leisure hotels in Bangkok.

Main image credit: So Sofitel Bangkok

CitizenM has announced fourth arrival in London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CitizenM has announced fourth arrival in London

Global hotel group, citizenM, announces the acquisition of a Victoria property for its fourth London hotel, opening in 2021…

citizenM has announced that construction will commence in May 2020 for a new hotel in London, following the demolition of the existing Denison House. The 226-room hotel, designed by concrete with architecture by ICA, will comprise basement and ground floor levels, with ten upper floors and will be built using citizenM’s innovative modular construction method.

Each of the rooms will be built and furnished one-by-one in an offsite factory and then moved to the site where they will be assembled to make up the hotel. Prefabrication enables faster construction and easier quality control, and also guides the architectural aesthetic of all citizenM locations. No matter how they’re assembled, citizenM buildings are recognisable in their surroundings for their identifiably square units, clean lines, and artwork on the facades.

citizenM’s hybrid hotels offer travellers luxury accommodation at affordable prices in hyper-busy urban centres. This latest addition, situated in the heart of London, will be close to major London tourist attractions such as Buckingham Palace and Tate Britain, and offer great transport links within Greater London and Gatwick Airport – perfect for all mobile citizens.

“We are excited to have completed this transaction after securing planning consent in a prime location in Westminster. With three hotels already operating successfully in London, this new property will offer a fantastic addition to our existing portfolio and confirms our commitment to expand further in London’s most desirable neighbourhoods,” said Klaas van Lookeren Campagne, CEO of citizenM hotels.

The hotel’s interiors will be designed by citizenM’s Amsterdam-based partner Concrete, and will feature furniture from long-term collaborator Vitra. The guestrooms will include citizenM’s famous XL king-sized beds, powerful rain showers and large flat screen TVs. Guests will be able to enjoy the same creative technology that has marked citizenM as an innovative force in hospitality, from online check in to in-room mood pads.

The new Victoria-based hotel will be located at 292 Vauxhall Bridge Road and will be the fourth stand post of citizenM in London, following openings in Bankside (2012), Tower of London (2016) and Shoreditch (2016).

In Europe, the key target cities for new sites are London, Paris, Milan, Rome, Dublin, Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Zurich, Geneva, and Barcelona.

Main image credit: citizenM

Empty room with various styles of seating

In Conversation With: Matthew Balon at Ruby Leni’s first showing

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Matthew Balon at Ruby Leni’s first showing

Ruby Hotels has re-entered the stage to take a second bow in Dusseldorf, Germany. The 170-key Ruby Leni, which takes shelter in a former 1950s theatre, is the hotel group’s seventh hotel to harness ‘lean luxury’. Editor Hamish Kilburn travels just south of the city’s fashion district to meet the group’s lead designer, Matthew Balon, the morning after the night before’s launch party to discuss design details, the significance of paper puppets and the brand’s highly anticipated 2020 arrival in London…

Empty room with various styles of seating

They say that to make any act truly memorable, the performer must enter the stage armed with a spectacular encore up his or her sleeve. In the case of Ruby Hotels in Dusseldorf, the main performance took place last year with the arrival Ruby Coco. The dynamic property is a contemporary urban hub that is nestled within the city’s main shopping district, just off Königsallee – AKA a fashionista’s heaven. The interiors inside are sharp, considered and give more than an apt nod to the fashion quarters that surround it.

[CURTAIN UP]

If Coco was used in the opening scene, engaging its captivated audience with the allure of couture costumes, then the encore is Ruby Leni, which is situated a mere 10 minutes down the road. Although the neighbourhood may feel quieter, its entrance certainly isn’t: a large marquee sign with the words ‘make it your own stay’ frames an appropriate first impression.

Exterior shot of the hotel, showing a colourful courtyard

Image credit: Ruby Leni

[PUBLIC AREAS ENTER FROM STAGE RIGHT]

With large, expansive public spaces that filter into plush private break-out areas, the hotel is designed for both locals and guests checking in. The character and soul has been channelled into the lobby/lounge, where the real story of the iconic 1900s building, which sheltered the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus theatre, comes to life. “We looked at the materials, shapes and forms that you would associate to a theatre of that era,” says Lead Designer Matthew Balon. “We then separated that into front-of-house and back-of-house. We wanted to challenge that idea by merging those areas. For example, we have included stage cases in the lobby to really create an authentic feeling of being part of the production, behind the scenes.”

[GUESTROOMS ENTER FROM STAGE LEFT]

Upstairs, the sharp and stylish guestrooms have been designed around the original peculiar structure of the building, creating an interesting layout in each. The design and general make-up of the room, though, is a reflection of the others in the entire hotel group’s portfolio: crisp white beds, refillable toiletries and eco-friendly rain showers to match. The brand calls it ‘lean luxury’, which is posh for ‘uncomplicated, laid-back comfort’ – and it works, especially for bleisure travellers.

White, bright and contemporary guestroom

Image credit: Ruby Leni

Although you would recognise the rooms as ‘Ruby Rooms’ guests with eagle eyes will notice subtle differences, like the wood panelling for example.  “It’s been designed to also reference the story of the hotel,” explains Balon. “I looked into how sets were built and was inspired by the fact that guests in the theatre only ever see the pretty side. I wanted to show the back of the sets, the flats. I was interested to know how these things stood up and how they were constructed. That provided the inspiration for the wall panelling and the reinforced corner detailing.

Another quirky touch that sensitively helps set the theatrical scene is the art above the beds. Bolan initially wanted to do something with shadow puppets, which evolved into creating an immersive and playful paper puppet stage. “I really love introducing interior design elements that are fun and interactive,” says Balon. “We like to have fun with it and make an interesting element to guests’ stay.”

[APPLAUSE]

Image caption: Editor Hamish Kilburn (left) dragged the Lead Designer for Ruby Hotels, Michael Bolan (right), out on ‘stage’ the morning after the launch party before…

Quick-fire round:

Hamish Kilburn: What can you not travel without?
Matthew Bolan: My Darth Vader suitcase. I just love it!

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

HK: What’s your biggest bugbear when checking in to a hotel?
MB: Queuing!

HK: What is the number-one tool for success?
MB: You have to create an emotional connection.

HK: What is the last thing that showed up on your credit card transactions?
MB: A round of drinks I bought last night. It’s your round at the next launch, I’m told…

Most hotel designers are working with many several brands and brand standards, and so it is interesting how Bolan, within his creative realms, can piece together many different stories with the same Ruby strand running through each. “It is all-encompassing,” he says. “What the brand stands for in regards to design is something I can really get behind. When I think about Ruby, I think of all the people who bring the brand to life.”

[CURTAIN CALL]

The brand’s design is spilling out of the seams and leaving a permanent stain on new destinations. The next hotel design hotspot to welcome the arrival of Ruby Hotels is London – to the Southbank to be more specific. “We have done a lot of research into the location, which is a really interesting corner of London,” Balon explains. “I can tell you that Ruby Lucy is going to be fun, colourful, unexpected and I am really looking forward to the opening party!”

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

[CURTAIN CLOSED]

Hyatt Regency arrives in East Shenzhen

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Regency arrives in East Shenzhen

The 298-room hotel, Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Yantian, aims to bring the Hyatt Regency brand’s signature intuitive service and energizing experiences to business and leisure guests alike…

Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Yantian in the east Guangdong Province, China. The new hotel aims to bring the Hyatt Regency brand’s signature intuitive service and energising experiences to business and leisure guests alike.

As part of a newly concepted Recreational Business District, the property is located in the heart of Yantian District, neighboring Dameisha Beach and Overseas Chinese Town East along a 12 mile (19.5 kilometer) golden coast.

“We sincerely appreciate the support from our owner Shenzhen Vanke Binhai Real Estate Ltd. and are excited to see the Hyatt Regency brand footprint grow in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA),” said Stephen Ho, president, Greater China, global operations at Hyatt. “We look forward to welcoming our guests to Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Yantian with confidence for a world-class hospitality experience.”

Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Yantian was designed by the renowned HEITZ PARSONS SADEK and features 298 contemporary guestrooms with varied dimensions ranging from 462 square feet to more than 2,300 square feet (43 square meters to 215 square meters). There are 20 suites, four Regency Executive Suites and one Presidential Suite, all of which are spacious and located on the 41st to the 50th floor. Select rooms offer gorgeous ocean views and all rooms feature high-quality amenities and panoramic French windows. Guests staying in Club Access Rooms and Suites can enjoy the exclusive Regency Club benefits on the 49th floor.

Modern and clean hotel guest room

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

The hotel offers several fine dining restaurants that cater to varying tastes and group sizes, including XIANGYUE, a comfortable experience that is said to feel like dining in a country village and Market Café is a stylish all-day dining restaurant.

The hotel offers nearly 25,000 square feet (2,321 square meters) of meeting and event space in total, including a 12,916 square foot (1,200-square meter) pillar-free grand ballroom and five salons equipped with high-tech audio and video systems. Additionally, the ballroom foyer provides more than 6,500 square feet (612 square meters) of flexible pre-functional space to perfectly showcase the creativity of any event.

Guests can relax in the hotel’s refreshing outdoor pool or work out anytime at the hotel’s fully equipped fitness center featuring state-of-the-art equipment.

“Inspired by the hotel’s surroundings, the hotel was built with the concept of bringing the forest into the city, offering guests a place to take a deep breath of fresh air and bask in the beautiful scenery,” said Mary Liu, general manager of Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Yantian. “As a bridge between GBA and the Pearl River Delta area, Shenzhen is at the core of this booming region. We are delighted to deliver Hyatt’s well-known expertise in food and beverage and full range of services and amenities for a productive stay.”

More than 190 conveniently located Hyatt Regency urban and resort locations in more than 30 countries around the world serve as the go-to gathering space for every occasion – from efficient personalised, high-touch business meetings to energizing family vacations.

Main image: Hyatt Hotels

Eco bed to be unveiled inside The Conscious Bedroom at IHS London 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Eco bed to be unveiled inside The Conscious Bedroom at IHS London 2019

To launch its Spotlight On ‘beds’, Hotel Designs learns more about Naturalmat’s eco partnership with Harris & Harris for The Conscious Bedroom, which will be unveiled at Independent Hotel Show London 2019… 

Naturalmat, which is the leading supplier of eco, organic beds and mattresses to the hotel trade, is partnering with Harris & Harris on an eco showcase at the upcoming Independent Hotel Show London 2019.

The design firm was invited by the organisers of Independent Hotel Show to curate ‘The Conscious Bedroom’, a mock hotel room pieced together using products and suppliers with strong eco credentials. The centrepiece of the room will be a bespoke Superking Prideaux bed, handmade by the craftsmen at Naturalmat from sustainable materials and upholstered in teal fabric, colour matched to other elements of Harris & Harris’s room scheme. The bed will stand on cylindrical tapering feet made of FSC approved wood with a walnut stain.

“The eco sleep experience will be completed with Naturalmat’s own organic wool duvet and pillows.”

The bed will be topped with Naturalmat’s signature Lambswool mattress, made from entirely natural materials from sustainable sources. Thick coconut fibre is layered with a slightly thinner slice of natural latex, finished off with lambswool sourced from organic sheep farms in Devon and the surrounding areas. The eco sleep experience will be completed with Naturalmat’s own organic wool duvet and pillows.

“We have been attendees of the Independent Hotel Show since its inception, and have found it to be a lively and valuable place to build business relationships and introduce our organic, sustainable hotel product range to new contacts in the industry,” said  Mark Tremlett, Co-owner of Naturalmat. “When Alex Harris approached us to invite Naturalmat to contribute to The Conscious Hotel Room it seemed a natural fit! Our ethos has always been about using organic and natural materials from sustainable sources to create luxurious and long lasting beds and mattresses, so we are delighted to create the centrepiece of the room in collaboration with Harris & Harris, and bring their vision to life in a way that is completely eco friendly.”

Organic mattresses and beds, made from sustainable materials in Britain, have been Naturalmat’s business for over 20 years.

Everything is made by hand in Naturalmat’s purpose-built factory in Topsham, on the banks of the River Exe, Devon. They believe that people, not machines, make a superior, longer lasting product. The team of craftspeople ensure every stitch, every fibre, every tufting button and every cover is painstakingly created, teased and checked.

Naturalmat’s hotel clients include Six Senses Resorts, Hoxton Hotels, River Cottage, Chewton Glen, Z Hotel Group and over 50 more iconic hotels globally.

Naturalmat  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: Naturalmat

Large and expansive public area that is designed to look very residential

MINIVIEW: Discreet luxury unveiled by Nicky Dobree in the heart of Vejer

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: Discreet luxury unveiled by Nicky Dobree in the heart of Vejer

To complete the Concept to Completion series with Nicky Dobree, Hotel Designs is given the keys to finally unlock the majestic heavy doors of pure luxury inside Plaza 18… 

Up until now, the designer Nicky Dobree has been synonymous with luxury Alpine chalet design and most recently very high end residential design. Most recently she has turned her attention to Plaza 18, her debut hotel design project in collaboration with Vejer’s Hotel La Casa del Califa.

Large and expansive public area that is designed to look very residential

Set in the former 19th C merchant’s house Nicky Dobree has taken inspiration from this elegant building and brought new life back into this Grand Dame by respecting its history, but also lifting its character to provide an enriched experience for the modern traveller. Working with local trades and craftsmen, the building, which dates back to 1896 and stands on the foundations of an ancient 13th C Arab house, has been entirely restored using authentic organic building materials where ever possible.

“Meticulous care and attention to detail has been maintained throughout the refurbishment of this important historic property.”

Exterior of the hotel

Image credit: Plaza 18/Philip Vile

Dobree was determined to restore and re-use as many of its existing features as possible. The original black and white floor tiles were therefore lifted and re-laid on newly levelled floors. The Montera (large glazed roof lantern over the entrance patio) was carefully dismantled and repaired to its former glory, which now floods the entrance foyer with light. The stone staircase and balustrade were also completely restored, as was all the metal work around the entrance gate. Many of the original shutters and windows were restored along with the front door. Meticulous care and attention to detail has been maintained throughout the refurbishment of this important historic property.

Extremely reclined interiors with personal interiors

Image credit: Plaza 18/Philip Vile

The designer felt that her role was to curate this elegant old building and to bring it a new lease of life, enhancing its beauty with style and a subtle creative twist.

Plaza 18 has been a true labour of love with the inevitable obstacles of planning, working abroad and within a listed building. The trials and tribulations of restoring an old building and the rules and regulations that needed to be adhered to, to convert it into a commercial venture, has meant that the project took two years to get through planning and a further two years to compete.

The hotel is now the secret second home that one has always dreamed of, warm and welcoming with a strong sense of place, an oasis within an oasis.

Whilst the details adhere to the classical principles of the house, there is comfort and elegance through every door. Every room has a story to tell and contains pieces that have been lovingly curated by Dobree from around the world. This is evident from the moment you enter with the oversized black and white mirror by a South African artist which makes a dramatic statement in the entrance.  Dobree designed the bespoke console to sit beneath the mirror that complements the monochromatic entrance scheme.

In the patio whilst your eye is drawn up to the montera and the wonderful central staircase you cannot miss the large scale butterfly painting sourced from an antiques fair.

Stepping into the sitting room, there is nothing more welcoming than a well stocked drinks trolley, an honesty bar, that can be enjoyed by guests at Plaza 18. Standing proud above it is a painting of Admiral Lord de Saumarez who fought at the Battle of Trafalgar (a short drive from the hotel) alongside Admiral Lord Nelson.

“On a clear day the North African coast is visible.”

Leading off the sitting room is the main terrace with views across the old town, sierras and coast line. On a clear day the North African coast is visible. It is here that guests can enjoy breakfast, sitting on olive wicker chairs with outdoor fabrics that complement the vintage printed crockery. No detail has been missed.

Tall black bespoke doors with circular brass handles designed by Dobree create drama and continuity throughout. Behind each of these doors are interiors that are intensely layered and so inviting that everywhere you turn is a visual delight.   Here you will discover more of Dobree’s curated pieces such as a Japanese Boro Kimono or collage painting by Peter Clarke.

All the bathrooms have been beautifully designed using Spanish floor tiles and bespoke marble vanities with Lefroy Brooks deco style fittings echoing the elegance of the house.

The attention to detail is reflected in every aspect of one’s experience here. Dobree worked with a renowned perfumer to provide bespoke toiletries that have been specially formulated to create a signature scent for Plaza 18 and that are soft and subtle on the skin. The scent is inspired by the aromas that perfume Vejer, orange, bergamot, lavender and geranium. The base of olive oil and almond that nourishes the skin is local too.

Plaza 18 has a true home from home feeling that brings Dobree’s collective chic and timeless elegant style to Vejer. It is a place to feel at home, a place to disconnect and re-discover.

Hotel Designs has followed the construction of Plaza 18, Dobree’s first hotel project, from concept to competition. Click here to read part one. Click here to read part two. Click here to read part three

Main image credit: Plaza 18/Philip Vile

“Alexa, send up my coffee”: It’s here, it’s real and you need to take it seriously

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
“Alexa, send up my coffee”: It’s here, it’s real and you need to take it seriously

Amazon’s Alexa took up the job of hotel concierge with Marriott in mid-2018. It’s done well and is now ready for consideration by your property. STAAH writes…

At first, everyone felt it would be a bit much to expect guests to use Alexa to call housekeeping. But with 65 per cent of 25 – 49-year-olds using voice search at least once a day and 55 per cent of the households expected to own a smart speaker device by 2022, voice is become part of consumer routine. Even when they travel, it seems.

What is Alexa for Hospitality?

For guests staying at Marriott, many rooms have had a minimum occupancy of two since June 2018 when the hotel chain adopted to put Amazon Echo inside to enhance guest experience.

Amazon for Hospitality offers hotels and vacation rentals the opportunity to set up customised versions of Echo products that work like a digital concierge right in your room. These Echos are specialised to answer questions about your reservations, facilities such as pool or spa hours and local amenities. You can order room service or housekeeping too. Basically, anything that might lead you to dial for help on that in-room phone sounds like it will be a job that Alexa can tackle instead.

Guests can benefit from Alexa’s growing skill set. And if they have their own Amazon account they’d like to use during their stay, soon they can actually log in to the device to make the experience more customised.

Having done a good job at impressing guests at the Marriott, Alexa for Hospitality was invited into hotel chains such as Westin, Regis Hotels & Resorts, Autograph Collection Hotels or Aloft hotels.

How it works?

Alexa is powered by the Internet of Things (IoT), using machine learning to deliver an experience that is personalised. In hospitality, this means a seamless integration to a hotel’s back-office systems, housekeeping, the concierge and front desk.

The Alexa for Hospitality system isn’t just the Echo devices in the room, however – it’s a suite of tools for configuring the Echo devices, available via a dashboard where hotels can update their information, enable skills, adjust settings and track usage. Hoteliers can also measure guest engagement through Alexa’s reporting and analytics platform.

The system is easy to install and activate. The device is muted and activates only when a guest’s check-in and activates it for use. It automatically disconnects after every checkout. Alexa for Hospitality is customisable and with its real-time reporting enables you to take actions that will leave your guest happy.

What’s the future?

The concept of smart speakers in hotel rooms is still in its infancy, but early adopters are gaining when it comes to the best measure of a hotel’s success – guest experience.

Alexa for Hospitality is now being trialled by vacation rentals such as Properly. It’s ready for the next phase in its growth, and founded on technology (voice search) that will be the next big thing in the world of internet. Are you ready for it?

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

Main image caption/credit: Alexa for Hospitality/Amazon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 19 September

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Title: Dyslexia and Design
Time: 14.00 – 14.45

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

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

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

Friday 20 September

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

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

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

Title: New Voices in Design
Time: 11.00 – 11.45

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: designjunction

INSIDE THE FACTORY WITH: Hamilton Litestat

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INSIDE THE FACTORY WITH: Hamilton Litestat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hamilton Litestat

Checking In: Wyndham Grand Athens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking In: Wyndham Grand Athens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Marcelo Barbosa

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

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

Main image credit: Marcelo Barbosa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image caption: Independent Hotel Show Conscious Hotel Room sketch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

25Hours Hotels to debut in Italy in 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Studio OTTO

Independent Hotel Show 2019 announces this year’s talks

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

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

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

October 15

Innovation Stage

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

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

Three men on the Hotel Vision stage

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

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

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

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

Hotel Vision Stage 

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

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

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

October 16

Innovation Stage

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

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

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

Hotel Vision Stage

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

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

Main image credit: Independent Hotel Show 2018

Hotel Indigo arrives in Italy’s fashion capital – Milan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: IHG

Sensitively carpeting Grade-I listed Hawkstone Hall Hotel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Aubadecreative

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HK: What is your motto?

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

HK: What is the process behind your designs?

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

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

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

HK: What was your most recent project?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

London-based hospitality interior design specialist