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Weekly briefing: an exclusive hotel review in Dubai & full steam ahead for Marriott

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: an exclusive hotel review in Dubai & full steam ahead for Marriott

Kick your shoes off and get comfortable. Welcome to your weekly briefing with me editor Hamish Kilburn. This week’s round-up features an exclusive design review of Zaha Hadid’s ‘legacy project’ in Dubai, exclusive details behind the launch of a new lifestyle hotel brand and Marriott’s 2021 ambitious expansion plans for the Asia Pacific region…

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It’s not been the smoothest of starts to the year, with many of us still working from home, balancing work around disruptive lifestyles.

Meanwhile, the editorial team at Hotel Designs have been busy preparing for our next Hotel Designs LIVE and we are weeks away from launching our brand new podcast for the design and architecture community.

But enough about us… when it comes to keeping up to date with the latest headings that are shaping the future of our industry, we’ve got you covered with our weekly briefing! Here’s our round-up of the hottest the stories of the week.

Exclusive design review: ME Dubai, Zaha Hadid’s ‘legacy project’

An exterior shot of the Opus

Image caption: Set in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa district, the Opus is a mixed-use mirrored glass building, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, that shelters ME Hotel’s latest property. | Image credit: ME Dubai

Known as Hadid’s ‘legacy project’, ME Dubai is the only hotel in the world to have both its interiors and exteriors designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) – and its futuristic architecture, characterised by curves, sharp angles and bold materials epitomises the studio’s unique design style. We sent renowned furniture designer Rock Galpin to the vibrant metropolis to exclusively review the new Dubai hotel.

Keep your eyes peeled, as we are going live with our ‘In Conversation With’ Christos Passas, the architect behind this project, next week. 

Read more. 

Marriott International to open almost 100 hotels in Asia Pacific this year

Luxury pool at Domes Zeen, a Luxury Collection Resort, Chania

Image credit: Marriott International

Last year, despite the pandemic putting a halt on travel demand, Marriott International opened 75 new hotels in Asia Pacific, representing more than one opening per week across the region. This year, the hotel group is expected to continue this growth in the region. In a recent press statement, Marriott announced announced its ambitious plans to open nearly 100 new properties in the area in 2021.

Read more.

EXCLUSIVE: Wink Hotels has arrived in Vietnam with a fresh eye for design

Wink Hotels has arrived in Vietnam, here you can see quirky interiors in a render of the hotel's lobby

Wink Hotels has arrived in Vietnam, entering the hospitality arena by opening its debut hotel this March. Hotel Designs exclusively catches up with AW2, the Parisian based architecture firm, that designed the brand’s design scheme.

Read more.

Sandals remembers Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart (1941 – 2021)

Image credit: Sandals

It is with regret that we report on the passing of Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, Company Chairman and Founder of Sandals and Beaches Resort. The master marketer made Sandals a household name and brought opportunity to the Caribbean.

Read more.

Cutting through the noise // 7 innovative hotel hygiene solutions

Image credit: Unsplash

To kickstart Hotel Designs’ mission to put ‘Safe Design’ under the editorial spotlight – and following a lot of confusion when it comes to which hotel hygiene solutions are most appropriate for the hospitality industry – here are a handful of innovations that will help hospitality back on its feet.

Read more.

One month to go: Hotel Designs LIVE

Main image for Hotel Designs LIVE

Hotel Designs LIVE returns on February 23 to keep the industry connected and to serve our readers with relevant and engaging conversations that are unlike any other. With just over a month before the virtual event, here’s why you should attend.

Read more. | Participate.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

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Main image credit: ME Dubai

Collage of ME Dubai, including the exterior of the building, the sleek bedrooms and the luxury pool area

Checking in to ME Dubai, the ‘legacy project’ of Zaha Hadid

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in to ME Dubai, the ‘legacy project’ of Zaha Hadid

We set renowned furniture designer Rock Galpin a comfortable mission to kickstart the year: to write the exclusive design review of ME Dubai, the brainchild of the late Zaha Hadid, which has become the destination’s latest architectural marvel…

Collage of ME Dubai, including the exterior of the building, the sleek bedrooms and the luxury pool area

Being a designer myself, and familiar with the pioneering and expansive body of work of Zaha Hadid since her very first project, I was very much looking forward to reviewing the recently opened ME Dubai, which is sheltered inside The Opus.

Known as Hadid’s ‘legacy project’, ME Dubai is the only hotel in the world to have both its interiors and exteriors designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) – and its futuristic architecture, characterised by curves, sharp angles and bold materials epitomises the studio’s unique design style.

An exterior shot of the Opus

Image caption: Set in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa district, the Opus is a mixed-use mirrored glass building, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, that shelters ME Hotel’s latest property. | Image credit: ME Dubai

Inside the 93-key hotel you can find lighting, furniture, patterns, bespoke-shaped products, rugs and seamless features and detailing, all of which have been designed by the forward-thinking studio – it really is a celebration of Hadid’s full scope of work and will be remembered, no doubt, for this.

Following Hadid’s passing, Christos Passas, who recently won Architect of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2020, was responsible for the project that aimed to ‘leave its mark’ in the urban space of Dubai. “I think the idea of having a coherent approach, to both interior and exterior design, is very compelling and indeed it requires a whole lot of commitment by the designer,” he told Hotel Designs. “We were given the opportunity to transit intellectually and emotionally from an architectural, large scale project to the finer details of the building that have to do with the user interfaces and the experience of the visitor. Such a context can allow designers to develop more holistic experiences for the user and to express the clients vision in a much more consistent and eloquent way.”

First impressions count

Having recovered in awe from taking in the huge glass cube facade and amorphic structure of the building in person, the entrance into the hotel itself is subtle and aptly plays down your reaction to what is to follow, with its minimal led forecourt dot lights, at night, tracing a suggested route to the door for cars. The proceeding experience, as you head into the reception is simply quite special.

Approaching the lobby, I was not surprised to be suitably impressed by the vast and completely and utterly unique parametric design styling of the four-storey atrium.

An image to show the expansive atrium inside the ME Dubai

Image caption: The expansive atrium inside the ME Dubai, which is a strong first impression. | Image credit: ME Dubai

“Here, all the rules are broken and re-written with inspiring results.”

Sweeping and fluid mezzanine balconies flow in rhythm around all floors, traced by a light channel and a sloped-in continuous glass railing at an impossible angle. There are so many examples of bold innovation and experimentation which demonstrate very advanced design vision and engineering feats indeed. Hadid’s undulating, fluid and visually engaging design typology references, for me, a soft bio mimicry that clearly push the technological boundaries of materials, fabrication and build possibilities. Here the rules are not only being broken they are being re-written with inspiring results.

Whilst the atrium is an addictive dream for any photographer, myself included, it does somehow feel perhaps lacking a little something if it’s aiming to house a ‘warm’ hotel reception. Therefore, I question whether the design in this space is too hard – are softer acoustics and materials absent? Some would argue that as a hotel lobby, the space is too sparse (or too white perhaps).

Close up of furniture in the atrium at ME Dubai

Image caption: ME Dubai is the only hotel in the world only hotel in the world to have both its interiors and exteriors designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA). | Image credit: ME Dubai

The large oval-shaped seating zones carefully positioned around, which feature built-in sweeping curved sofas, provide neat social areas that create necessary micro enclaves of activity. These softer social spaces, within a vastly white atrium, work well but feel almost not enough to create warmth, softness and a welcoming feeling. In fact, it feels a little sterile – a tad cold – but nonetheless, no one can argue against this space being spectacular! When the hotel is up to speed, with a healthy occupancy and the vibrancy and colour of many guests, it may fill that void.

“If you love progressive architecture and interior design that pushes the boundaries, bringing interior typology and technology closer to us, then you will no doubt be impressed with ME Dubai.”

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hotel Designs: What will you remember most about the hotel?
Rock Galpin: The dynamic and compelling relationship between architecture and interior design and the emotive impact that this parametric based design has when experienced first hand.

HD: What should guests experience when checking in?
RG: DESEO Restaurant, bar and pool complete with Ibiza DJ, and the Wagu steak and Rum sponge. The 18:00 ‘lights on’ till 00:00 where the building’s facade comes to life with LEDs – most notable is the inner ‘hole’ which is more intensely lit.

HK: What could be improved?
RG: The extreme, experimental interior is impressive to say the least, however, there needs to be a further appraisal of how people feel in this space; how they react, how they interact and their needs in order to improve guest engagement. Despite the staff being lovely, the service throughout the hotel was, when I checked in at least, a little erratic.

HK: What was your favourite area of the hotel?
RG: DESEO restaurant and bar and of course the atrium.

HK: Can you describe the hotel in a sentence or two?
RG: This is a unique and inspiring hotel to be experienced first-hand. If you love progressive architecture and interior design that pushes the boundaries, bringing interior typology and technology closer to us, then you will no doubt be impressed with ME Dubai.

Between spaces, an often-forgotten part of the hotel experience

There’s a lovely journey to be had when walking from your room to most parts of the hotel, as you’re pleasurably forced to walk along the atrium mezzanines taking in beautiful elevated views of the upper floors. Aside from the DESEO restaurant and pool area, there is a distinctive lack of outdoor space in the hotel, so you do feel somewhat incubated with some light passing through the atrium roof.

Guestrooms and Suites

I had the opportunity to explore two category rooms; the standard Aura room at 47m squared and the much larger Personality Suite at 92m square. There are two colour schemes. Desert is much more subtle – think spiritual and cool. Meanwhile, the Midnight Blue scheme is deeper and more intimate that also packs a masculine punch. Both are equally as beautiful and any decision for either style will be down to personal preference.

Aura Room

The first impression of the generously sized Aura room was of light – there’s lots of it – from floor-to-ceiling windows which span the width of the whole room. The beds are quite something! Not only are they large, but they are super comfortable, with an angled cushioned Alcantara headrest at 45 degrees, which works really well.

The built-in cantilever bedside tables are a well-considered feature – there are no ugly plug sockets in sight. Instead, these are hidden under the table with a useful, minimal touchtronic operated black light arm sprouting upwards from the tables, with two useful USB ports at the base. The bed base also features flat areas to the frame that extend useful seats, which works well with the complementary, asymmetric matching rug underneath.

“No wall was perpendicular to another.”

As I started to look more at the interior, I was surprised to realised that no wall was perpendicular to another and that many materials are cut on the angle or applied in complex shapes. The full marble bathroom, for example, white in the Aura and black in the Personality Suites, runs on the diagonal in both directions, so the pieces are actually rhombus shaped. These features very much reflect the entire design approach, to experiment and push the limits of what has conventionally been done up until now.

Personality Suite

The Personality Suite, similar to the Passion Suite, is 92m square and is one of the hotels larger mid-level rooms. It’s differentiated by a separate lounge/dining area and two bathrooms, one with bath, double sinks and shower cubicle the other with toilet, bidet and another sink. The Midnight Blue suite felt special. The deep blues and darker colour scheme had more contrast to that of the Desert scheme. The black and white quartz streaked marble throughout the whole bathroom is beautiful, offset by the amorphic ZHA shaped double sink and mirrors, with parametric laser etched patination.

“The technology in the rooms match the design form in being progressive.”

All bathroom fittings are designed by ZHA and follow suit to studio’s typology. The technology in the rooms match the design form in being progressive, with touch plates on many walls for the double-skinned electric curtains and lighting throughout. In fact, download the ME Hotels App and you have full mobile electrical control of the entire suite, including the two large TVs.

The lounge area, complete with the boomerang shaped ZHA sofa and beautifully crafted dark wood desk blended in and, looks aesthetically harmonious. However, the comfort and desire to want to use this space was sorely missing. The sofas are extremely hard, no doubt to retain the sculpted form, but off-putting in terms of comfort and relaxation, where the lounge should be king.

Image caption: A ZHA designed sofa in one of the Midnight Blue themed suites in the hotel.

Image caption: A ZHA designed sofa in one of the Midnight Blue themed suites. | Image credit: ME Dubai

The F&B experience

The F&B journey within the luxury hotel starts on the ground floor. Botanica, described as a gin bar, features an Italian accent throughout and doubles as a lunchtime restaurant. It occupies part of the lobby, where the reception dominates with its music, reverberation and activity that is heard through the pale-slatted wooden walls of the bar. The space is soft, comfortable and pleasant, lending itself more to a relaxed lounge bar/restaurant.

Meanwhile, Central is the designated breakfast restaurant that seems quite lifeless outside of breakfast time, inward looking to the Atrium, which gives you the opportunity to take more of those lovely views in. This would seem a hard, austere place for a morning bite, however, despite the reverberation from lower down, the experience was actually very pleasant being relaxed and quite peaceful.

Where the Botanica, on the ground floor, is perhaps lacking some atmosphere, DESEO makes up for it ten-fold – in fact it is real contrast in most ways and a very welcome part of the hotel experience. This is where the up-tempo vibes lives.

The design of the restaurant uses Downtown skyscrapers as a backdrop and contrasts this with a leafy green design scheme that is simply lovely. With a raised freestanding bar and a wooden pergola adorned by a thousand wind cones, the impression was of movement and energy, mix that with a DJ on an Ibiza-style white podium – his back to a rectangular pool lined by sun loungers one side, slatted cabana’s the other – you realise DESEO has what it takes.

The gym is a generous in size and a pleasant space to work up a good sweat. there is also a sauna, which is an intimate small, pined welcome addition. On the fourth floor, a little bit out the way, but worth a trip just for the quirky space complete with high tech curved glass, as it’s on the cusp of the atrium’s ceiling curving into the vertical inner ‘void’ wall is a specialist massage treatment facility.

An industrial-styled gym in ME Dubai

Image caption: The hotel features a state-of-the-art industrial-style gym. | Image credit: ME Dubai

In addition, and not to be missed, there are two excellent restaurants, which are also part of The Opus building. The Maine is a big favourite of mine, from interior to food quality, and Roka restaurant is also a fantastic new asset to the local area.

Standing out in a city like Dubai, which is no shrinking violet, is one thing. But sheltering an interior design scheme that is equally as impressive as its architecture is an almost impossible task. The interior design scheme inside ME Dubai seamlessly compliments the buildings unique architectural form and meets, I would argue, the ever-changing demands of modern travellers and in-the-know locals alike.

Over and out,

Rock.

Main image credit: ME Dubai

Luxury pool at Domes Zeen, a Luxury Collection Resort, Chania

Marriott International to open almost 100 hotels in Asia Pacific this year

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott International to open almost 100 hotels in Asia Pacific this year

Following Marriott International announcing its 800th hotel opening in Asia Pacific, the group is expected to open almost 100 more properties in the region this year alone…

Luxury pool at Domes Zeen, a Luxury Collection Resort, Chania

Last year, despite the pandemic putting a halt on travel demand, Marriott International opened 75 new hotels in Asia Pacific, representing more than one opening per week across the region. This year, the hotel group is expected to continue this growth in the region. In a recent press statement, Marriott announced announced its ambitious plans to open nearly 100 new properties in the area in 2021.

“I am proud of the way we have continued to grow and have moved quickly to adapt to the challenges that arose from the pandemic. With the launch of new global industry hygiene standards in April 2020, innovative offerings such as work anywhere packages and hyper-localised marketing and sales strategies, our nimble and forward-thinking approach will continue to lead us through the recovery,” said Craig S. Smith, Group President, International, Marriott International. “We are grateful for the continued resilience and positivity demonstrated by our associates and for the confidence our guests, owners and franchisees continue to have in us. We remain well-positioned to meet the travel demands of our guests across Asia Pacific and the rest of the world.”

Greater China has led the global recovery to date, and the company expects to soon celebrate its 400th hotel in Greater China and its 50th hotel in Shanghai with the opening of JW Marriott Shanghai Fengxian in spring 2021. With this hotel opening, Shanghai has the distinction of reaching this important milestone for the company in Asia Pacific.

“Mainland China is on track to become the world’s largest personal luxury market by 2025.”

According to a joint report by consultancy Bain & Co. and Alibaba’s Tmall Luxury unit, Mainland China is on track to become the world’s largest personal luxury market by 2025 even seeing year-over-year domestic growth in 2020 despite the pandemic. To leverage this trend, Marriott International continues to strengthen its luxury portfolio with expected openings in 2021 such as W Changsha, W Xiamen, St. Regis Qingdao and The Ritz-Carlton Reserve Jiuzhaigou. With the anticipated opening of the Ritz-Carlton Reserve, China will be the first country in Asia Pacific to house all of Marriott International’s luxury hallmarks.

Pool at Ritz-Carlton Reserve, China

Image credit: Marriott International/Ritz-Carlton Reserve, China

Marriott’s leisure bookings in China have been particularly strong, up over 25 per cent year over year in the third quarter in Mainland China, demonstrating the resiliency of demand once consumers are comfortable that the virus is under control and restrictions can safely be lifted. The company is introducing more travel experiences across its brand portfolio, including at popular leisure destinations such as Mianyang in the Sichuan province with the expected opening of Sheraton Mianyang, as well in the culturally-rich destination of Nanjing with the anticipated opening of The Westin Nanjing Resort & Spa.

Beyond Greater China, Marriott International continues to strengthen its footprint, with several expected brand debuts across Asia Pacific in 2021. In Japan, W Hotels is expected to debut with the opening of W Osaka, while The Luxury Collection is also slated to debut in Australia with the opening of The Tasman in Hobart. The iconic Ritz-Carlton brand is expected to celebrate its debut in the leading resort destination of Maldives in early summer, bringing legendary service to the picture-perfect archipelago.

A render of the first Luxury Collection hotel in Australia

Image credit: Marriott International/The Luxury Collection

Further expanding Marriott’s presence in breathtaking resort destinations, the JW Marriott brand is slated to bring its warm luxury experience to Jeju Island in South Korea with the planned opening of JW Marriott Jeju in late 2021. The company’s signature wellness brand, Westin, is also highly anticipated to debut in one of India’s top beach destinations, Goa, this summer.

Since you’re here, why not read ‘The Hot List’, referencing the most significant hotels openings expected in Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4 of this year?

To support domestic travel in Japan, the company plans to open six additional Fairfield by Marriott hotels throughout 2021 along ‘Michi-no-Eki’ roadside stations aimed at revitalising the country’s local sightseeing spots. Japan expects to have more than 30 Fairfield by Marriott hotels by the end of 2023. Touted as one of the best cities in the world for art, culture, music and food, Australia’s Melbourne is expected to see the opening of the country’s second W Hotel with W Melbourne in spring and the opening of Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands in early 2021.

Pool area at Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands overlooking city

Image credit: Marriott International/Melboure Marriott Hotel Docklands

“The strength of our pipeline is testament to the long-term growth prospects in Asia Pacific,” said Paul Foskey, Chief Development Officer, Asia Pacific, Marriott International. “Despite a challenging environment in 2020, we are pleased with the signings we have achieved across the region during the year. We have full gratitude to our owners and franchisees for their belief in the resiliency of travel and the strength of Marriott’s portfolio of brands.”

Main image credit: Marriott International/Domes Zeen, a Luxury Collection Resort, Chania

7 innovative hotel hygiene solutions

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
7 innovative hotel hygiene solutions

To kickstart Hotel Designs’ mission to put ‘Safe Design’ under the editorial spotlight – and following a lot of confusion when it comes to which hotel hygiene solutions are most appropriate for the hospitality industry – here are a handful of innovations that will help hospitality back on its feet. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Despite modern hotels generally being clean and safe spaces, there is no doubt that hygiene will become of the many new demands from modern travellers in a post-pandemic world. In a recent panel discussion, hoteliers from around the world gathered to discuss how to reassure the post-corona consumer. One of the major conclusions was that the hospitality industry has become more interested in learning about new hotel hygiene solutions; methods and innovations when it comes to cleaning surfaces and killing bad bacteria that is airborne.

Covid-19 was the cruel catalyst that forced all industries to confront hygiene. With the pandemic forcing much of hospitality’s doors shut once more – and at the very least keeping guests at a distance – it was only ever going to be a matter of time before new products to emerge, all of which launched with claims of being  ‘unlike any other’ on the market.

To cut through the noise, here are seven effective hygiene products and services on the market that have caught our editorial attention in recent months.

Room To Breathe – for peace of mind

Man using hygiene friendly way to steam clean curtains

Image credit: Room To Breathe

What’s unique about Room To Breathe, aside from the technology, is the brand’s narrative. Before Covid-19 was even a headline, the team at Room To Breathe were planning on launching a service that would ‘transform indoor environments into hypoallergenic spaces’. The seven step process, which includes purging, deep cleaning, fogging, UV technology, protext, sanifying and testing, works to continuously maintain clean air and surfaces removing up to 99.999 per cent of coronoviruses including influenzas, bacteria, allergens, mould, germs & VOC’s.

KEUCO sanitisers – for the design-savvy

One of major concerns hotels will have when introducing new hygiene protocols – especially when this shift in attitude confronts guests’ behaviour – will be finding solutions that do not interfere with the design of the space. KEUCO’s sleek sanitiser dispensers are suitable for an extensive variety of areas, locations and situations: homes, hotels, supermarkets, shopping malls, offices and airports. These new dispensers meet the highest hygiene requirements, whilst combining functionality with a distinguished design.

Infra-red touchless taps – for the tech-savvy

GROHE Bau Cosmo infra-red hygiene tap – close up lifestyle shot

Image credit: GROHE

With hygiene being a ‘top priority’ for the brand, so much so that it is launching its first CPD module on the topic this February, The GROHE Bau Cosmo E, a strong robust design made using composite polymer, uses motion sensors to detect movement, which then activates the water flow. A mixing valve on the side of the spout can be used to adjust the temperature if required and a temperature limiter can also be installed if desired. Once the user removes their hands from the basin, the sensors will detect this and stop the water flow.

Blueair Blue Pure 411 – for the boutique guestroom

Compact, energy-efficient and decorated with awards, the Blueair Blue Pure 411 is an ideal air purifier for guestrooms and office spaces. The Simple ‘plug in and go’ product breathes clean air indoors. The Blue Pure 411, which was recently specified in all rooms at Page8 Hotel in London, uses Blueair’s proprietary HEPASlient™ technology to remove at least 99.97 per cent of airborne particles as small as 0.1 microns in size such as viruses, pollen, dust, pet dander, mould spores, smoke, and allergens.

Rimless DirectFlush WC – for seamless cleaning

The rimless DirectFlush toilet with the innovative CeramicPlus and AntiBac surface is a hygiene solution that has been launched by Villeroy & Boch. The brand’s new generation of rimless WCs offers particularly quick and thorough cleaning. A precise, splash-free water flow ensures the entire interior of the bowl is rinsed thoroughly to ensure cleanliness. The easy-to-clean DirectFlush WCs is ideal for both private households and commercial projects.

UNILIN Evola Collection – for robust surfaces

A grey stone like surface that is hygienic

Image credit: UNILIN

The need for a hygiene friendly finishes doesn’t mean that interior projects have to compromise on design, at least not when it comes to laminated boards and HPL materials from UNILIN panels. These surfaces can be cleaned several times a day by 70 per cent alcohol solutions without fear of damage, helping in the ongoing maintenance and daily hygiene of commercial environments.

With the UNILIN Evola Collection, specifiers can bring the feel and look of natural materials, brushed metals and terrazzo, explore the crisp ‘clean’ colours of pure white and bright fresh green, or embrace the soft-touch effect of Super Matt Black; creating surfaces that are at once beautiful and hygienic. What’s more, with more than 190 options, there’s really no limit to creativity.

Robot service… too soon? 

An image of a robot looking up

Image credit: Alex Knight/Unsplash

Ever since I have written about hotel design, I have had to confront rumours that robots will replace front-of-house hospitality. Despite the human touch being is irreplaceable when it comes to service, we cannot deny that Covid-19 has created new challenges for designers and hoteliers when creating public areas. In a recent debate, it was suggested that, to feed an on-demand society’s expectations, the hotel lobby will become more theatrical in the post-pandemic world, as practical elements like ‘check in’ will take place online prior to stepping inside the building. Therefore, there is a strong argument that the role of front-of-house staff will also change following this demand and, suddenly, the idea of robot butlers suddenly doesn’t sound so radical.

As I write this, we have a journalist on the ground in Las Vegas to explore all the latest tech trends emerging in hospitality at the annual CES. We cannot yet conclusively answer as to whether or not we predict robots having a new role in a post-pandemic world, but we can certainly suggest that, considering all of the solutions above have developed from research and development, technology will very much be front and centre of all hygiene solutions in 2021 and beyond.

If you have a hygiene products that you would like to put on the radar of our editorial team, please email press releases and images directly to our editor. The HD Edit on ‘Safe Design’ will go live on February 20. Between on and then, you can re-watch our latest HD Live session on Reassuring the Post Corona Consumer.

Main image credit: Jean Philippe/Unsplash

A render of an organic guestroom inside the Hilton hotel in Crete

Crete to welcome island’s first ever Hilton hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Crete to welcome island’s first ever Hilton hotel

This summer, Crete is set to welcome Royal Senses Resort Crete, Curio Collection by Hilton, one of the island’s few internationally branded properties…

Crete is about to welcome its first Hilton hotel. The 179-key Royal Senses Resort Crete, Curio Collection will boast some of the best views on the island – Hilton is describing its style as ‘timelessness of Cretan hospitality in a contemporary way’.

A render of an organic guestroom inside the Hilton hotel in Crete

“Crete is one of Greece’s most popular islands, thanks to its warm climate, rich history and picturesque villages,” said Patrick Fitzgibbon, Senior Vice President, Development for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Hilton. “Royal Senses Resort Crete will make a stunning addition to our rapidly growing Curio Collection of unique hotels, which includes upcoming properties in destinations including Lisbon, London and Reykjavik.”

The island’s unique landscape and rich cultural heritage make it ideal for curious travellers and anyone wanting to experience everything Greece has to offer by visiting one, very diverse, destination. The hotel will be located in the picturesque Rethymno region on the northern part of the island, which has the best weather and attractions that Crete has to offer, including the Melidoni Cave and Knossos Palace.

Eleni Troulis, President of Troulis Royal Collection added: “We are delighted that the Royal Senses Resort Crete, Curio Collection by Hilton will be the first in Greece to join this stunning selection of handpicked properties. Having successfully operated its sister property, the Royal Blue Resort, since 2009, we are now excited to be expanding our portfolio and partnering with Hilton. It’s the perfect collaboration for us, as it combines the resort’s contemporary appreciation of Crete’s multifaceted culture and our family’s hospitality values with Hilton’s strong international customer appeal.”

Since you’re here, why not read our feature that explores ‘Crete’s most stylish hotel’?

The Royal Senses Resort Crete, Curio Collection by Hilton will be a contemporary new build that connects seamlessly with the island’s rugged natural beauty. The hotel will feature state of the art facilities including a spa, indoor and outdoor pool, water park, tennis courts as well as a private beach and marina.

A render of private pool terrace overlooking sea

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

Last year Hilton announced that it had more than 100 hotels in the pipeline. Curio Collection by Hilton currently has more than 90 hotels and resorts worldwide, that have been handpicked for their distinct character and personality. Each hotel is a true reflection of its surroundings, meaning that every hotel is different, with a different story to tell. The Royal Senses Resort Crete will join the portfolio of unique Curio Collection by Hilton properties, including The Trafalgar St James London, Aleph Rome Hotel, The Britannique Naples and Grand Hotel des Sablettes Plage.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

3_Standard King Guest Room_Hotel Carmichael_credit-Coury Hospitality

Miniview: Hotel Carmichael, Autograph Collection strikes a chord

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Miniview: Hotel Carmichael, Autograph Collection strikes a chord

Timeless, neoclassical interiors and intricate details, designed by HBA, salute America’s rich musical legacy inside the recently completed Hotel Carmichael, Autograph Collection. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

3_Standard King Guest Room_Hotel Carmichael_credit-Coury Hospitality

Hospitality interior design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) has completed the design of Hotel Carmichael, Autograph Collection. Created to inspire an enduring journey through history and provoke continued revival, the 122-key, six-story hotel is an architectural masterpiece located adjacent to The Palladium—one of the greatest music halls of its time—which houses the Great American Songbook in downtown Carmel, Ind. along the Monon Trail.

Guided by the melody, harmony, rhythm and soul from the Golden Age of American Song, along with the neoclassical style of the great Scottish architect and interior designer Robert Adam, HBA Atlanta designers instilled the interiors of Hotel Carmichael with timeless furnishings, simplicity of form and thoughtful detailing that come together as a symphony of classic elegance with marked personality for a defining experience unlike any other.   

“By using a storyline-based approach, we sought to create a cohesive design concept with a level of attention to detail that invokes the spirited feeling of a time in history where grandeur, scaling, and decadent decoration were celebrated.” – Catherine Josey, Designer, HBA.

“We started with a neoclassical design and brought it forward in time. We integrated historic elements into each of the spaces to give guests a sense of nostalgia as they were transformed into the present,” said HBA Atlanta Senior Designer Catherine Josey. “By using a storyline-based approach, we sought to create a cohesive design concept with a level of attention to detail that invokes the spirited feeling of a time in history where grandeur, scaling, and decadent decoration were celebrated to encourage guests to be fully present and appreciate the moment they enter the lobby.”

Image caption: The elegant lobby balances grandeur design and decadent decoration sensitively. | Image credit: Coury Hospitality

Through the oversized black metal doors adorned with bronze hardware, guests walk into a stately lobby with black and white checkered flooring and Doric columns inspired by magnificent Great Hall designed by Adam at London’s Syon House. An oversized art piece flanked by theatrical drapes on each side sets a dramatic backdrop for a grand reception desk composed of white and black stone with gold gilded medallions. The lobby lounge library exudes the familiarity of an English pub with high wainscoting coated in a dark rich paint, coffered ceiling and comfortable seating. A dual-sided, wood-burning fireplace allows guests to relax with a book in the library or enjoy lively drinks with friends on the lobby side.

“Each space has its purpose in function and form, whether to ignite the imagination, engage or elevate, yet all fit together so perfectly to leave guests with memories they won’t soon forget,” continued Josey. “With purposeful design, Hotel Carmichael is a place where guests can write their own story and return time and again to fill the pages of their book.”

Moving into the meeting and event venues, Baroque-style mirrors line the hallway of the prefunction space outside the elegant Cole Porter Ballroom where patterned carpeting and a ceiling detailed with medallions, crowns and hanging crystal chandeliers create a light, airy space. HBA Atlanta designers created contrasting atmospheres for the two boardrooms, one with dark millwork walls and wood floors for a classic feel and the other, more playful with blue lacquered walls.

5_Cole Porter Ballroom_Hotel Carmichael_credit-Coury Hospitality

Image caption: The elegant Cole Porter Ballroom is where patterned carpeting and a ceiling detailed with medallions, crowns and hanging crystal chandeliers create a light, airy space. | Image credit: Coury Hospitality`

Teal lacquered doors open to Vivante, a culinary experience reminiscent of a French bistro where walls washed in white serve as a canvas for dark wood furniture to make a statement and a built-in dark wood wine cabinet to act as a focal point. Ceilings are simple while the details are thoughtful and impactful. Developed in partnership with legendary musician Michael Feinstein, a frequent performer at The Palladium, Feinstein’s is Hotel Carmichael’s signature cabaret dressed in dark carpeting and furniture with an elaborate bar formed of a mix of metals and mirrors. The refined ambiance encapsulates the music and magic of Carmel City Center.

Journey through the guest corridors and discover a softer palette of blues and greens for a serene moment, punctuated by art in reference to the Great American Songbook with a distinct experience on each floor.

4_Suite Bathroom_Hotel Carmichael_credit-Coury Hospitality

Image caption: Grand bathrooms filter through from the luxurious and comfortable guestrooms and suites. | Image credit: Coury Hospitality

HBA Atlanta designers outfitted guestrooms with blue leather headboards, oversized sectionals for lounging and chandeliers in every room. Bathrooms feature walk-in showers, freestanding tubs and back-lit mirrored vanities that provide ample lighting. In the suites, hardwood flooring upon entry leads to a small powder room, a dining room with hints of teal accents through the rug and dining chairs, and a bright living room with blue drapes and multicolored side chairs. Gilded touches and chandeliers are carried through the property into the suites. 

Main image credit: Coury Hospitality

Virtual roundtable: ‘sustainable does not mean natural’ in surface design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: ‘sustainable does not mean natural’ in surface design

With ‘greenwashing’ still an all-too-common term in the global ‘sustainable’ hotel design and hospitality arena, we gather a cluster of designers and architects to attend a virtual roundtable, sponsored by Architextural, to discuss sustainability solutions in surface design. Editor Hamish Kilburn leads the discussion… 

With rapid population growth, urbanisation and the ability to purchase goods at our fingertips, we in the western world have become overall a wasteful on-demand society that on the whole is unfortunately not sustainable in our thinking.

More specifically in hospitality, while initiatives such as putting a curb on single-use plastics have been celebrated, ‘greenwashing’ has become a commonly used term in order to expose those whose veneer of a sustainable establishment is actually doing more harm than good. In order to grasp sustainability’s role in the future of hotel design, and to put forward viable alternatives, we must look beyond the semi-sustainable methods of yesterday and instead research consciously with aim to find new methods that are not just kinder to the environment, but will also enhance local relationships and improve aesthetic qualities.

As ever, it falls upon the design community to put forward innovative methods that make sense for the future projects that will emerge on the international hotel design scene. In this exclusive virtual roundtable, sponsored by Architextural, we handpicked designers and architects in order to question sustainability in surface design, and learned that ‘sustainable does not always mean natural’.

On the panel:

Before we delve into materials and far-fetched, eco-driven initiatives in surface design, in order to establish misconceptions, we should look at architectural wrapping has become increasingly popular in recent years. On the surface of the debate, using PVC is contentious and, despite it being the world’s third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer, it is not particularly sustainable. However, used in the right way, surface manufacturer Architextural believes the process of wrapping can significantly help designers and their clients achieve a sustainable outcome when it comes to upcycling goods.

Hamish Kilburn: Lindsay, you’re the marketing manager for Architextural. Can you tell us a bit more about the brand’s sustainability credentials?

Lindsay Appleton: Architextural, is a new brand, part of William Smith Group, which was established back in 1832.  The concept of wrapping existing surfaces, instead of sending them to landfill, is contributing to a more sustainable future. In 2021, we have more than 1,000 patterns on the shelf, so as well as offering an environmentally friendly process, we also have a lot of variety in our ranges to suit most design applications in so many sectors – our products are incredibly versatile.

HK: Jack, you work for 3M, which manufactures Architextural’s product. Can you tell us more about this process?

Although the product is PVC it’s optimised to withstand wear and tear, UV, impact and it’s exceptionally conformable. Therefore, it can prolong the lifespan of products and eradicate the need for excess waste. 3M Architectural Finishes range is designed to meet aesthetic demand, while delivering functional benefits which can improve the sustainability of projects.

HK: What makes this process sustainable?

LA: The concept of wrapping using a PVC product, makes it a durable refurbishment solution. Rather than ripping out existing fixtures and fittings to be sent to landfill, upcycling what’s already there qualifies for all the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credits around reusing existing furniture and reusing existing materials. The process is therefore much more sustainable, and there is less disruptive over having a traditional refurbishment. By upcycling what was already there, it is a sustainable way to reduce cost.

image of sustainable wooden headboard in bedroom

Image credit: Architextural

“Anything that allows you to reinvent without throwing out has got to be a good thing.” – Harriet Forde, Founder, Hariet Forde Design

HK: What is driving the rise in upcycling surfaces – is this ‘trend’ purely linked to sustainability?

Harriet Forde: I think we are trying to address the natural desire of humans to evolve and change. We are always looking forward to the next thing that is happening. We are a visual animal and looking forward to see what is trending. However, we cannot expect revolutionise all the time. We have to be able to manage that in a way that is sustainable. Anything that allows you to reinvent without throwing out has got to be a good thing.

Una Barac: When I started in the industry some two decades ago, Wenge was a popular veneer. We, as designers, allowing for it to become so popular came very close to exterminating that entire species of a tree. This is why we will now use blackened oak as an alternative– so we will find sustainably sourced oak and we will treat to achieve that dark effect without having to travel the world to find exotic species of wood, cutting it down and flying it half way across the globe.

So, for me, there are sustainable ways to being true and authentic – and we are learning more all the time. We should be designing with location in mind.

HK: Before the pandemic, I believe clients were really starting to understand the value of sustainably sourced goods beyond them just being eco-friendly. How this attitude changed since the pandemic with hygiene creeping up on the agenda?

Ben Webb: It’s definitely come up in conversations, but it isn’t the driving factor behind us putting these spaces together. Clients, and in fact people in general, are so much more aware now than they were five years ago when it was just used to sound good. The awareness now – and the fact that it is written in a lot of these briefs from day one – is very important. You need to talk about it from the beginning of a project rather than at the end.

“The greenest, most sustainable products are the ones that already exist.” – Ben Webb, Co-Founder, 3 Stories.

It doesn’t have to be some crazy new material, but it could just be the fact that you reuse the furniture. The greenest, most sustainable products are the ones that already exist. Let’s not forget that there are a lot of products and materials that already exist. In the past, we have had that shift with warehouse-like interiors, but actually the larger discussion point is the products that have been produced and we could actually reuse them. Wrapping these products, for certain brands, is extremely important.

Hygiene is coming up in conversation but our lead times are around two years – sometime longer. Therefore, there is a bigger picture and we always have to look ahead.

HF: As a designer, you should set the parameter right at the beginning of the project with how much your intention is to be sustainable, because it ultimately impacts the budget, and clients often see you reusing as a way to save money.

Geoff Hull: A lot of reused materials such as plastics can achieve ergonomic and geometric forms in a slender and elegant way. Polymer products can also carry other non-porous and hygiene friendly surfaces particularly relevant in our current Covid conscious World.

Henry Reeve: One of the ways we try to be sustainable is to ensure that our designs stand the test of time, so that we are not ripping stuff out after a couple of year, because then by definition you are not creating waste.

“In the QO Hotel Amsterdam, for example, all the carpets are made from recycled fishing nets.” – Henry Reeve, Head of Interior Design, IHG (Kimpton/Hotel Indigo).

We have introduced some interesting initiatives in some of our hotels. In the QO Hotel Amsterdam, for example, all the carpets are made from recycled fishing nets. Plastic is obviously a very durable material so this works perfectly. Also, in our Voco hotels, all the duvets are made from recycled bottles – and we have received really positive feedback from our guests regarding how comfortable they are.

One of the initiatives with furniture, is when they come to end of life with the hotel, but still in good conditions, we have donated our FF&E to housing projects and youth facilities.

When it comes to wrapping, we did implement this with the case goods inside some of the meeting rooms in InterContinental Park Lane. This was a time-saving a cost-effective process that really worked.

HK: And Henry, how do you sensitively communicate these initiatives this to guests?

HR: You have to be careful when shouting about renewables. There’s information there should the guests want to read more.

“We have to, if we are creating new products, ensure they don’t end up in landfill 10, 20 even 100 years down the line.” – Jeremy Grove, founder, Sibley Grove.

Jeremy Grove: The way in which we try to work is that we see the problem being more of a design problem and not a material one. We need to understand what happens afterwards. Wrapping and giving a product a new lease of life. A product is only desirable when we are using it and once we throw it away it is then no desirable at all. So, we have to, if we are creating new products, ensure they don’t end up in landfill 10, 20 even 100 years down the line.

The Fox & Goose is a good example, because it was designed to be dissembled, using materials that could be taken back to source and regenerated into a better quality.

For us, it’s about doing what’s sustainable and what makes good business sense. It’s really important for us to work with clients who don’t always share our ethos so that we can teach them as the project develops. Working with owners, operators and developers, if we can help to change their mindset on sustainable even by just a little bit then we are contributing to our industry as a whole thinking more consciously.

Image caption: The sustainable Fox & Goose, designed by Sibley Grove, was created to be dissembled | Image credit: Fox & Goose

Image caption: The Fox & Goose, designed by Sibley Grove, was created to be dissembled | Image credit: Fox & Goose

“We found a company that will pick up all the materials that we’re stripping on the site.” – Maria Gutierrez, Project Architect at Holland Harvey Architects.

Maria Gutierrez: I find that we also develop as designers when we are able to work on two projects under the same brand. We are currently working on designing the second Inhabit in London and we have taken so many learnings from the first, which was a fully sustainable hotel sheltered inside a Grade II listed building. We found a company that will pick up all the materials that we’re stripping on the site. All the marbles, all the tiles. When you recycle, and upcycle, them they become beautiful statements of sustainability. We are upcycling all these materials and repurposing them to be the worktops in the new hotel. Learning from the first hotel, we are able to go even further with the next project.

And then we get to the process of Value Engineering (VE), in which sustainable initiatives always suffer.

Image caption: Inhabit London is grade II listed, designed by Holland Harvey Architects, is a fully sustainable hotel that confronts the ideology that heritage buildings cannot shelter sustainable spaces. | Image credit: Inhabit Hotels

Image caption: Inhabit London is grade II listed, designed by Holland Harvey Architects, is a fully sustainable hotel that confronts the ideology that heritage buildings cannot shelter sustainable spaces. | Image credit: Inhabit Hotels

BW: A lot of VE comes down to longevity. It may be a sharp cost now, but if something stands the test of time then its value increases.

 “I have recently seen recycled terrazzo with chunks of plastic in.” – Henry Reeve, Head of Interior Design, IHG (Kimpton/Hotel Indigo).

HK: What has caused the rise in demand for exposed concrete surfaces?

GH: We have had a few projects including Ace Hotel and Village Hotels where concrete was seen as an honest and robust material. Techniques with formwork and ingredients has enabled a menu of different textures, finishes and colours for new build projects (where re used concrete can be crushed and used as aggregate) or existing retained superstructure can also add character and historic reference to any project.

HK: How can using upcycled materials in surfaces add new layers to a design of a hotel?

HR: There’s definitely interesting materials that have caught our eye, especially around recycled plastic. Technology has moved on leaps and bounds and I have recently seen recycled terrazzo with chunks of plastic in. Chunks of marble and/or wood in a terrazzo material looks stunning and create a very luxurious feel. I am expecting to see more of that in the future.

“Even the largest brands can be very excited by ideas around upcycling and recycling.” – Una Barac, Founder and Executive Director of Atellior

UB: Everyone seems to have a broader awareness. Even the largest brands can be very excited by ideas around upcycling and recycling. Here are a few examples. Park Plaza purchased an existing property which had almost 400 chairs that were made from cherry wood and upholstered with paisley patterns. We literally stripped them down with a local workshop that sanded the wood, painted each chair and then reupholstered them with a modern fabric.

Another example is a Hilton property in Bournemouth. The owner had procured antique furniture. In the spa, we decided to use one of these items – a desk – and we upcycled it which we then encased in glass because there were concerns with splinters. This piece of furniture became a beautiful focal point within the hotel.

BW: We have found that materials can have a dual purpose, when they have a very practical use but also very aesthetically pleasing.

“Just because it is natural does not mean it is sustainable” – Jeremy Grove, founder, Sibley Grove.

HK: During R&D, what far-fetched materials have your teams discovered in new surfaces?

JG: For me, a lot of what we focus on is not really the far-fetched stuff at all! Our work we did with Selfridges is a great example, which allowed us to look at a material that is upcycled fishing nets and ropes.

However, just because it is natural does not mean it is sustainable. Take oak, for example. It takes between 75 – 150 years to mature. If we were using this in a shop fit-out intended to be used for just six months then it really isn’t sustainable at all. When designing, we as an industry sometimes neglect that a lot ecosystems rely on these natural materials. We have lost vast amounts of our oak and its solutions around these problems that I am interested in.

GH: Nothing ‘far-fetched’ comes to mind but quite often we get to use many recycled materials either through manufacturing and specification choices or through the use of existing on site materials. We have many listed building examples where we have dismantled (rather than demolish) parts of a building for re-use in its altered form (stone , timber flooring , mosaics , cornicework etc).

HF: Sometimes the product that does not have the best sustainably credentials, like PVC for example, can in fact be the most sustainable if it is long-lasting and by not changing it you are actually being more sustainable.

BW: We all have a collective responsibility and awareness when we are designing a new hotel because we are making a massive impact. As designers, we have to meet the brief and make these spaces look stunning, but we there is no harm to think a little deeper to try and design in a clever way to try and source the best, most sustainable products and materials.

MG: The world and customer is starting to become more interested in sustainability and is able to make informed decisions around travel, design and fashion. This widespread knowledge is making it easier for designers to discuss this with clients. It’s also a great opportunity for hotels to tell their narrative in a unique way.

UB: It’s about designers taking developers on a journey to set the brief and parameters and educating the client as you move forward.

HK: How has this movement change the way in which design and architecture is taught?

JG: In terms of how it’s taught academically, it has always been part of academia. The largest challenge is how we translate that into the commercial world and there is a disconnect between them. It takes real resolve to challenge some of these conventions. Design has to lead that journey.

GH: I believe the use of conventional and traditional materials and methods have developed and altered considerably over the last 25 years and there is a greater choice of materials which address form ,and  function as well as embrace recycling/upcycling credentials.

HF: At the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID), we run an annual student challenge. When I was on the judging panel two years ago, the students were very focused on sustainability. In a student scenario, it is very idealislised and in the line of work there are a lot trip hazards along the way. CPD, though, is a really positive way to continually educate yourself in what is a continually evolving industry anyway.

Architextural is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Contrasting green and light brown tiles

Colour & pattern trends for 2021 and beyond

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Colour & pattern trends for 2021 and beyond

In order to establish some positivity in what is otherwise a rather bleak hospitality landscape at the moment, we’re leaning on Parkside to lift the lid – and the mood – on colour and pattern trends that are shaping interiors over the next two years…

Contrasting green and light brown tiles

“There’s got to be more to colour in 2021 than PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating,” we hear you say. There’s nothing wrong with these two contrasting hues, but thanks to our relationship with tile specification brand Parkside, we can go beyond the surface to discover some rather exciting trends that are emerging.

With the Covid-19 pandemic causing the biggest disruption to modern life in many generations, our response looks to shield us from the economic uncertainty, social isolation and endangered health. A desire for interiors that can accommodate agility as well as provide retreat to make us feel calm and safe, will shape the colours, surfaces and patterns we see.

Encouraging a positive emotional response that helps to relieve feelings of anxiety and uncertainty, colour is playing a more influential role, with palettes that offer depth and richness. From saturated, digital tones to rich and authentic natural colours such as moss and deep forest green, colours are bolder and help users connect to the space in meaningful ways.

These colours can be grouped into clear themes that bring cohesion to a colour, texture and surface palette. Parkside has identified two key themes for 2021/2022 in Nature’s Purity and Retro Pop.

Nature’s Purity explores the positivity of nature’s influence on our interiors. As we seek a deeper connection to the natural world, it looks towards colours, surfaces and patterns that respond to this. Warmer, earthy ones are paired with natural materials that evoke a sense of purity and perfection. Lending itself well to creating an immersive hospitality experience through new neutrals and natural textures such as marble and wood, Nature’s Purity fosters a link to the outdoor world that helps to instil calmness and serenity in any commercial interior.

Selection of Parkside tiles

Image credit: Parkside

Retro Pop sees a return to nostalgia, with the bold, geometric patterns of the 70s resurging, this time with a sunnier palette rooted in citrus yellow. Sweet pastels add energy and help to build playful spaces that encourage wellness, collaboration, connection and socialisation. Bringing fun and joy to workplaces and retail, Retro Pop sees ceramics, satin finishes and terrazzo clash for fun combinations that retain a feeling of positiveness.

Through more than 1,500 tile designs, Parkside can provide designers with wall and floor tiles to bring these trends to commercial projects. Whether the faithful colours of the Matrix collection or marble, wood and textile effects; Parkside supports its solutions with a range of services including waterjet cutting, colour matching and bespoke digital print.

Parkside is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Parkside

Rosewood Hotels to arrive in Rome in 2023

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Rosewood Hotels to arrive in Rome in 2023

Rosewood Hotels has announced that it will open a 157-key luxury hotel in Rome in 2023, which will become the brand’s 11th property in Europe. Here’s what we know… 

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, a global leader in luxury travel and lifestyle experiences, has been appointed by real estate firm Antirion SGR to manage Rosewood Rome, which will open in 2023 in the heart of the capital city.

The latest news follows previous announcements referencing the brand’s expansion in Europe, including properties in Amsterdam, Sardinia and Madrid.

Located in the former headquarters of Italy’s Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL) overlooking the iconic Via Venet, the new hotel will Extend an entire block and will encompass three historic buildings, each of which were originally built in the early 1900s.  The crown jewel of the project will be the reimagination of the former BNL headquarters, the main unit of the development that was initially designed by renowned Italian architect and urban planner Marcello Piacentini.

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

“The design will take influence from the hotel’s location overlooking Via Veneto.”

The property’s transformation will be managed by Colliers International, led by global architecture and engineering firm, Jacobs, and Australian interior design firm, BAR Studio, to build upon Piacentini’s legacy and pay homage to the property’s roots as an exemplar of modernist Italian architecture. The design will take influence from the hotel’s location overlooking Via Veneto, one of Rome’s most elegant streets and a symbol of the celebrated Federico Fellini film, La Dolce Vita, with elegant interiors that blend timeless style with contemporary comforts. In keeping with Rosewood’s guiding A Sense of Place philosophy, Rome’s relaxed ambiance and devotion to dolce far niente, or the art of “doing nothing”, will influence the hotel’s design concept, which will mix traditional architectural elements with modern décor and detailing to create a sophisticated environment for the ultimate life of leisure.

“Over the last several years, we have been searching for the right opportunities to evolve our European footprint and bring the Rosewood brand to new corners of the continent,” said Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group. “As one of Italy’s most vibrant cities with an undoubtedly rich legacy and charming character, Rome has long been at the top of the list of priority destinations in which to set the Rosewood flag, and we’re thrilled to be working with our partners at Antirion SGR on this project that will surely set a new standard for luxury lifestyle experiences in Rome.”

Upon completion, Rosewood Rome will offer 157 accommodations, including 44 suites. Home to three dining outlets, including a contemporary Italian bistro, a lobby bar and café and a rooftop bar with a terrace with sweeping views of the city, the hotel will serve as a luxurious escape for locals and visitors alike. Additional amenities include a subterrain experience within the bank’s original vault featuring a modern Roman Bathhouse and Sense, A Rosewood Spa, located on the rooftop which will feature four dedicated treatment rooms and a wellness terrace with a reflecting pool and dynamic fitness centre. Dedicated event spaces will encompass three meeting rooms and a grand ballroom.

“We are honored to embark on this exciting project with Rosewood Hotels & Resorts,” said Ofer Arbib, CEO of Antirion SGR. “We could not think of more suited partner to create a new world-renowned destination that celebrates the heritage and rich offerings of Rome while simultaneously extending a sophisticated interpretation of ultra-luxury hospitality.”

Rosewood Rome will be the brand’s fourth Italian property, joining Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco in Tuscany and the upcoming Rosewood Porto Cervo and Rosewood Venice, set to open in 2022 and 2023, respectively. Rosewood’s existing European properties also include Rosewood London and Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel in Paris.

Main image credit: Unsplash/Caleb Miller

Image of guestroom inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Looking ahead: inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Looking ahead: inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Ace Hotel’s latest property will arrive in Downtown Brooklyn this Spring, designed from the ground up by renowned design firm Roman and Williams

Located on the cusp of Downtown Brooklyn and Boerum Hill, Ace Hotel Brooklyn will be the brand’s second property in New York City. The design of the 287-key hotel – one of the largest in the Ace portfolio – has been inspired by the “geographical and cultural history of Brooklyn” and is intended to harmonise with the borough’s ideals.

Image of guestroom inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

“We’ve been building toward Ace Brooklyn for years; the entire city has reimagined itself several times over since we started,” said Brad Wilson, President, Ace Hotel Group. “That’s exactly the spirit we’ve worked to mirror in every corner of our new home — the inexhaustible ingenuity that stands as the borough’s only constant. We’re lucky enough to have landed at the junction of so many rich and inspiring neighbourhoods, and hope to provide a new and inviting sense of place for our guests and neighbours to call home.” 

Image caption: An early sketch of Ace Hotel Brooklyn, designed by Roman and Williams.

Image caption: An early sketch of Ace Hotel Brooklyn, designed by Roman and Williams.

Open, spacious and welcoming, the hotel’s design, led by Roman and Williams, gives more than a nod to Brooklyn’s complex fabric of communal and creative spaces, with an animated public lobby and indoor-outdoor portals that ease into the city’s edges. The guestrooms pair floor-to-ceiling windows with original artwork by local fibre and textile artists — with some higher floors offering a 360º panorama of Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island and the Statue of Liberty.

Ace Hotel Brooklyn is the third design collaboration between Atelier Ace and Roman and Williams, following Ace Hotel New York and Ace Hotel New Orleans. Ace’s second-only ground-up build, the hotel’s facade and interiors are inspired by the sprawling egalitarian promise of the borough — from the industrial grit of its shipyards to the neo-expressionist complexity of Basquiat. Roman and Williams looked to traditions of studios and workspaces, embracing the purity of handcrafted expressions in every area — from massive timbers in the lobby, to the custom tile murals in the lavatories, the poured in place concrete structure of the building, plus a collection of furnishings created uniquely for this project.

“For our third collaboration with Ace Hotel, Roman and Williams created both the building and the interiors for Ace Brooklyn,” added Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, Roman and Williams. We chose to embrace a governing principle of purity and artistic spirit in our architecture and the spaces within. We employed a philosophy of primitive modernism holistically across the project. This highly artistic approach drove us to use construction methods and materials with honesty. This is evident in everything you touch and see. This undecorated and tactile spirit expresses a radical transparency in its approach to the design of Ace Brooklyn.”

With current locations in Seattle, Portland, New York, Palm Springs, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Chicago and Kyoto, Ace is expanding its portfolio. As well as another arrival in New York City, the brand as has plans to open properties in Toronto and Sydney this year.

Main image credit: Ace Hotels

Main image for Hotel Designs LIVE

5 reasons to attend Hotel Designs LIVE in February

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 reasons to attend Hotel Designs LIVE in February

Hotel Designs LIVE returns on February 23 to keep the industry connected and to serve our readers with relevant and engaging conversations that are unlike any other. With just over a month before the virtual event, editor Hamish Kilburn is here to explain to you why you should attend…

Main image for Hotel Designs LIVE

Back by popular demand, Hotel Designs LIVE launched in the chaotic realms of the Covid-19 outbreak last year. The one-day virtual conference is designed to keep the industry connected and the conversation flowing during and beyond the disruptive time we are currently in.

Following two successful events, the concept will return on February 23, 2021 with the aim to define the point on international hotel design’s most relevant topics with the help of leading figures from the world of design, architecture and hospitality as well as identifying the latest product innovations on the market.

So, here are five reasons why you do not want to miss out on attending our first Hotel Designs LIVE of the season:

1) It’s free to attend! 

If you qualify as a designer, architect, hotelier or developer, then attending Hotel Designs LIVE is completely free of charge. The reason for this is that we, on the editorial desk, believe it is simply our duty to provide our readers with engaging and relevant content that will help steer us all in the right direction for the post-pandemic world.

Click here to participate in Hotel Designs LIVE (booking form takes less than 2 minutes to complete).

2) The speaker line-up is insane!

We have gone above and beyond to secure yet another stellar line-up of speakers who can appropriately define the point on the topics we have chosen to put under this event’s spotlight. Speakers for Hotel Designs LIVE include:

3) Conversations unlike any other

With our aim to be as relevant as possible and to serve up new ideas that will influence meaningful change in hotel design and hospitality worldwide, we have decided centre the conversations around sustainability, sound in design, wellness and what the future of the industry looks like. Our speakers (see above) will identify and discuss the challenges that are attached to each topic and offer purposeful solutions that will help enhance the arena in which we all operate in.

4) A dynamic look at this season’s product launches

In addition to four seminar sessions – and to ensure Hotel Designs continues to bridge the gap between hospitality suppliers and buyers – the virtual conference will include structured ‘PRODUCT WATCH’ pitches around each session (Technology, Sustainability, Public Areas, Wellness & Wellbeing), allowing the audience the hear and see the latest products that have been launched. 

5) We’re supporting the industry while live events are on hold

There is nothing quite like a live event – we miss them too! But while we are unable to meet in person, Hotel Designs LIVE is a dynamic way to be part of conversations and debates that are happening now and which will, ultimately, shape the future. Each session will allow the audience to ask questions and engage in our ‘chat’ to ensure that we are not missing anything during our debates and conversations.

If you are a designer, architect, hotelier  or developer and would like to secure your complimentary seats in the audience, click here.

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

A render of a floating hotel in the sea

Hotel concept: designing a sustainable floating resort

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel concept: designing a sustainable floating resort

With the aim to design a hotel resort that offers guests an unparalleled at-one-with-nature experience, AMA Design has developed a hospitality concept called GAIA, a floating eco hotel that pushes boundaries to re-connect people with nature. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

A render of a floating hotel in the sea

Focusing on the positive possibilities of the future, boutique design studio AMA has proposed a new concept for hospitality experiences in the region. Floating on top the water with a lightweight prefabricated structure, the concept of GAIA takes sustainable architecture and design to new depths by using active and passive means to limited the hotel’s energy needs.

Render of floating hotel in Dubai

Image credit: AMA Design

The concept has been designed to fit into its context. Respecting its natural environment in a light and positive way whilst considering sustainable design and circular economy principles, the hotel fits into an emerging contemporary ‘Eco-Gothic’ style.

“We wanted to create a new type of hospitality experience, testing the potential of emerging construction technologies to make a sustainable and innovative building,” explained Andy Shaw, Managing Partner of AMA. “Our proposal aims to allow people to re-connect with nature whilst making a building with the minimal impact on nature itself. “Most resorts struggle to give true peace and connection to nature due to their location and scale. We designed ‘GAIA’ to be as natural and isolated as possible, whilst giving a calming, immersive experience for guests between the waters, sky and wildlife amongst them.”

Built from pre-fabricated lightweight composites from boat technology, finishes will be all natural such as bamboo and timber so that visitors are immersed in a natural environment framed with the sky and sea.

At the base of the building, in the water, the emerging technology of 3D printed coral will be used and act as a support structure for marine life to feed and flourish underneath. This would encourage diving and snorkelling off the building and encourage an interaction with nature whilst supporting biodiversity.

Sustainability features include:

  • The prefabricated modular design and construction system reduces wasted material and energy.
  • Marine grade durable lightweight materials used extends the lifespan.
  • Carbon is sunk in timber and bamboo materials uses above water, and In the 3D printed coral material (Calcium Carbonate).
  • Renewable clean energy is generated on site through solar panels on skin and water movement underneath.
  • Passive design measures in the shape and orientation of the pods allows for airflow cooling.
  • Marine life is stimulated on 3d printed coral underneath.
Render of the floating hotel at sunset

Image credit: AMA Design

The timely hotel concept, which was developed for the ‘Shape of Things to Come’ exhibition at Dubai Design Week, has helped to shape future possibilities in international hotel design. Shaw explains: “It was developed as a concept for the exhibition, but all the technology needed to build it is available now and in use. They just need to be scaled up and made more accessible. We are hoping an ambitious developer takes it forward, or an established resort adds it to an existing offering as extra rooms and features.”

Main image credit: AMA Design

Hottest hotel openings arriving in 2021 (Q3 & Q4)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hottest hotel openings arriving in 2021 (Q3 & Q4)

Dubbed ‘The Hot List’ by our readers, we start every year as mean to go on; with a positive mindset to get ahead of the curve to reveal what we believe will be the hottest hotel openings of 2021. Following on from part one, which was published last week, here are our Q3 & Q4 VIP arrivals. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

The hospitality industry continues to be tested to its limits as the UK, a major design and travel hotspot, has once again been plunged into a national lockdown. Despite the cause for concern among already established hotel businesses, the hotel construction industry continues to develop what will be the future hotels. To keep spirits high as the demand for travel will return in 2021, it is time to pick up from where we left off in the first article of this series that referenced the VIP hotel openings of Q1 and Q2. Going beneath the surface to unveil some true gems, here’s your guided tour of the hotels that will open in Q3 and Q4 that we expect will cause the most disruption on the international hotel design scene this year.

Rosewood São Paulo – opening Q3, 2021

Image of the exterior of Rosewood Sao Paulo hotel

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels

2020 was a pivotal year for the Rosewood Hotels brand, with announcements of new properties in the Caribbean, Sardinia, Spain and Amsterdam. 2021 will see little change of momentum as the brand prepares to open what is arguably it’s most interesting architectural project to date.

Mirroring the energy and heritage of Brazil, Rosewood São Paulo is said to be an “urban oasis” situated in Cidade Matarazzo, a complex of elegantly preserved buildings from the early 20th century. The 180-key luxury hotel – with rooms designed by none other than Philippe Starck – will anchor this stylish, mixed-use cultural destination, occupying one of the area’s few remaining historical landmarks and a striking new vertical garden tower designed by Jean Nouvel.

Reykjavik EDITION – opening Q3, 2021

Rendering of the EDITION hotel in Iceland

Image credit: EDITION Hotels

Narrowly missing its previously scheduled arrival date in 2020, the EDITION brand – which is the brainchild of designer Ian Schrager – is preparing to touch down in Reykjavik this summer! The hotel, which will become the brand’s fourth property in Europe is expected to shelter Schrager’s signature home-from-home luxury style with a curated taste of the locale, reflecting the best of the area’s cultural and social miliieu.

Cayo Exclusive Resort & Spa – opening Q3, 2021

With sustainability on the radar despite the pandemic’s best efforts, Cayo Exclusive Resort & Spa, which softly opened in 2020, will open fully this year as a modern, ecologically sensitive, luxurious resort born out of passionate love in the art of traveling. Cayo’s vibe and feel are the results of thoughtful consideration of the spiritual, cultural, and natural environment.

The accommodation’s striking architectural design uses Greece’s ample sunlight to heighten the beauty of the surrounding hills and the famous islet of Spinalonga, a candidate for the UNESCO List of World Heritage Site.

Known locally as ‘Crete’s most stylish hotel’, its eco-friendly design and bioclimatic architecture highlight the local climate’s beneficial features. The ground slope was put in use to achieve optimal air and light exposure to the resort’s indoors and outdoors areas.

Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Island – opening Q3, 2021

Arial view of Ritz Carlton hotel in Maldives

Image credit: Ritz-Carlton

Set within an integrated development that cleverly bridges together three islands, Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands takes a minimalist approach to luxury. Modern design highlights sea views and pristine beaches; simple ingredients are transformed by skilled chefs and mixologists; healing is guided by directional energy and nature is explored with respect and wonder.

Bvlgari Hotel Paris – opening Q3, 2021

Render of Bvlgari Hotel Paris

Image credit: Bvlgari Hotels

The seventh property to join the collection, Bvlgari Hotel Paris will offer 76 rooms, most of them suites, while the hotel will feature a full range of luxury facilities, including a spa with 25m pool, a Bvlgari restaurant and a bar looking out onto a charming courtyard garden. The new luxury hotel, which is positioned on Avenue George V (between the Champs Elysees and the Avenue Montaigne), is a collaboration between the Italian architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel, and the renowned Parisian architects Valode & Pistre. The design of the building has been conceived as a transition to modernity – in keeping with Parisian style with traditional limestone and honouring the building’s 19th century history, while also creating a contemporary look with a renewed façade. 

The Paris property is the next hotel opening for the brand with Rome, Miami, Moscow and Tokyo also on the horizon in the coming years.

Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo – opening Q4, 2021

A render of the eco architecturally structured hotel overlooking the ocean

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Following last year’s development demand in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, further south is a hidden gem that is about to become the stage for the arrival of Four Seasons’ next luxury property. The hidden eco reserve on Mexico’s Costa Alegre – the pristine coastline between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo – is where dense jungle rainforest meets the Pacific Ocean. Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo will feature modern, organic architecture that defines three distinct enclaves: a protected beachfront for families, a panoramic clifftop for adults, and a private hideaway immersed in greenery.

Nobu Hotel Marrakech – opening Q4, 2021

Image of Marrakech mosque

Image credit: Nobu Hotel Marrakech

Becoming the brand’s debut property in Africa, Nobu Hotel Marrakech will be situated in the Hivernage district, steps from the historic heart of the city, souks and vibrant Djemaa el-Fna. The 71-key hotel will house contemporary guestrooms and suites, a selection of dynamic dining venues and rooftop spaces, a 2,000 sq. ft luxurious spa and fitness centre, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and meeting and event space.

LXR Hotels & Resorts, Roku Kyoto – opening Q4, 2021

Render of LXR Hotels & Resorts, Roku Kyoto hotel in Tokyo

Image credit: LXR Hotels & Resorts

With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics rescheduled for this year and Kyoto sitting just two hours by bullet train from the capital, the cultural heart of Japan is gearing up to welcome international visitors. Situated in an area home to some of the region’s most idyllic Japanese gardens, historic architecture and authentic tea houses, Roku Kyoto will be the first property in Asia under Hilton’s luxury LXR brand. Opening in the second half of 2021, the resort is expected to offer “a luxurious and refreshing stay” with fine dining restaurants and spa treatments paired with natural hot springs.

Langham Gold Coast – Opening Q4, 2021

Sheltered inside the central and tallest of the three landmark towers of the Jewel development, which first and largest development with direct beach access to be built in the coastal city within the last 30 years, The Langham, Gold Coast will become the brand’s third luxury address in Australia.

The grand structure and shimmering exterior of the Jewel are reminiscent of three colossal quartz crystals, visible for miles from the Nerang River to the Gold Coast hinterland. The crystalline forms of the towers are inspired by the gemstone shards discovered in the region which dates back thousands of years.

“Combining the cosmopolitan vibrancy and relaxed lifestyle for which the Gold Coast is renowned will certainly position The Langham as the quintessential luxury urban resort,” explained Stefan Leser, Chief Executive Officer of Langham Hospitality Group. “We are very much looking forward to complementing our legendary service standards with the warmth of this beautiful city to make our all guests’ experiences celebratory and memorable.”

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Weekly briefing: international hotel arrivals – we have ‘lift-off’!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: international hotel arrivals – we have ‘lift-off’!

Editor Hamish Kilburn here to deliver your first weekly briefing of the year, featuring all the hottest hotel stories of the week. This round-up includes a look at this year’s VIP international arrivals, a rather ‘dandy’ hotel review and even a pre-flight check into what a hotel in space will look like…

If, by any chance, you needed reassuring about the state of the international hotel scene, then all you have to do is take a glance at the below; stories that we have published this week in order to inject some positivity into the industry we love the serve. From London’s latest hotel opening in Mayfair to Q1 and Q2’s hottest arrivals, we have started 2021 by looking into the future to capture how the international hotel design arena is preparing to welcome back modern travellers.

With even more juicy stories and exclusive features waiting in the wings (to be published next week), here are your top stories from the last few days…

The Hot list: most anticipated hotel for 2021 (Q1 & Q2)

Render of infinity pool in Maldives

Image credit: LXR

Concussed from 2020, we are kicking off the year with positivity; shining its editorial spotlight on the hotel openings that will take hospitality worldwide to new heights. In our first of two series we take a look at Q1 & Q2’s VIP arrivals.

Read more.

Sneak peek: inside SLS Cancun, a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel

Lounge inside SLS Hotels

Image credit: SLS Hotels

Having designed a myriad of hotels around the world, Piero Lissoni brought his iconic design magic to Cancun to bring to life sbe’s vision of a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel. SLS Cancun, which opens in early February, is a perfectly timed arrival as the SLS brand is one at the centre of the Ennismore and Accor merge to become the largest and fastest growing global player.

Read more.

Checking in to The Mayfair Townhouse, London’s ‘dandiest’ hotel

Mayfair Townhouse hotel peacock entrance

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Following what must have been the most dramatic build-up to any opening in 2020, The Mayfair Townhouse, which is made up of 15 Georgian townhouses (seven of which are Grade II listed buildings), has officially arrived in London.

Read more. 

Project watch: the ‘shimmering’ Dorsett Gold Coast takes shape

Render of sophisticated guestroom inside hotel

Credit: Destination Gold Coast Consortium

Currently on the boards, but preparing to take the Gold Coast to new heights of luxury, the golden-glazed windows of what will be Dorsett Gold Coast at The Star Gold Coast are being installed. And as construction of the building that will shelter the 313-key hotel has reached the 24th storey out of a total of 53 storeys, the new development is beginning to make a statement.

Read more.

“Ground control to Major Tom” – plans for a hotel in space on track for a 2024 launch

Collage of Axiom space station - hotel in space

250 miles above the earth in the wilderness of space, with cabins designed by the world-renowned Philippe Starck – think ‘nest-like comfort’ – the Axiom space station is the brainchild of former NASA chiefs.

Read more.

IHG to launch a landmark duel-branded hotel in Nottingham

Render of Hotel Indigo Nottingham

Hotel Indigo Nottingham/IHG

IHG has signed terms with development group Conygar to bring two of its world-renowned brands, Hotel Indigo and Staybridge Suites, to Nottingham. With both architecture and design led by Jestico + Whiles, we’re being told to expect something stunning as the building that will shelter the two brands becomes the city’s first of its size in nearly two decades.

Read more.

Main image credit: W Hotels/Marriott International

Gold structure of Main image credit: Destination Gold Coast Consortium

Project watch: the ‘shimmering’ Dorsett Gold Coast takes shape

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Project watch: the ‘shimmering’ Dorsett Gold Coast takes shape

As the project surpasses its two-year mark, construction on Dorsett Gold Coast at The Star Gold Coast, a 313-key hotel, is on the home straight for a 2022 opening. Editor Hamish Kilburn takes a look at what we can expect…

Gold structure of Main image credit: Destination Gold Coast Consortium

Currently on the boards, but preparing to take the Gold Coast to new heights of luxury, the golden-glazed windows of what will be Dorsett Gold Coast at The Star Gold Coast are being installed. And as construction of the building that will shelter the 313-key hotel has reached the 24th storey out of a total of 53 storeys, the new development is beginning to make a statement.

Developed by Destination Gold Coast Consortium (a joint venture between The Star Entertainment Group, Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and Far East Consortium), and designed by award-winning design firm HBA, the hotel is expected to add a sprinkle of drama onto the city’s skyline.

Inspired by the coastline views of Broadbeach Island – the lush vegetation of the hinterland and the calming ocean waves – the designers at HBA sought to achieve harmony between the hotel’s interiors and its surrounding environment through a fresh, sophisticated, and relaxing overall design aesthetic.

render of guestroom showing botanical carpets and luxury tones

Image credit: Destination Gold Coast Consortium

Expect soft nods to botanicals to be incorporated through custom carpet designs while subtle references to lapping ocean waves and abstracted underwater scenes will be woven into the design narrative of the lobby, guestroom artwork, and custom wallcoverings to establish a true sense of place. 

With wellness taking centre stage in modern traveller demands, the bathrooms will feature simple design – think marble surfaces with accents of gold.

Image credit: Destination Gold Coast Consortium

A custom chandelier installation composed of kinetic lighting and reflective materials will serve as a focal point in the main lobby, enhancing the concept of soothing tranquility and light dancing on the ocean’s surface. Guestrooms will be well-appointed with fully custom-designed furnishings and decorative lighting elements to provide guests with a one-of-a-kind, memorable stay. 

Dorsett Gold Coast is part of a wider, $2 billion+ approved masterplan for Broadbeach Island, which will feature four additional towers and associated resort facilities. The Star Gold Coast will continue to transform into a world-class integrated resort that brings a new level of sophistication, service and style to the Gold Coast.  

Main image credit: Destination Gold Coast Consortium

Sneak peek: inside SLS Cancun, a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sneak peek: inside SLS Cancun, a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel

The new beachfront sanctuary in Cancun, which officially opens on February 1, features 45 suites, ocean views and world class design led by famed architect and designer Piero Lissoni. Hotel Designs takes a look inside…

Having designed a myriad of hotels around the world, Piero Lissoni brought his iconic design magic to Cancun to bring to life sbe’s vision of a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel. SLS Cancun, which opens in early February, is a perfectly timed arrival as the SLS brand is one at the centre of the Ennismore and Accor merge to become the largest and fastest growing global player.

Complete with bright contemporary spaces intertwined with Italian décor, reminiscent of his hometown in Italy, the hotel shelters just 45 striking suites. From oceanside floor-to-ceiling windows with unobstructed views of the ocean and tones of deep ocean blue and vibrant turquoise to an open-floor concept lobby featuring soft, white-washed wood and light stones, Lissoni’s latest property evokes a feeling of calmness as the space connects the interior and exterior as one. 

“This hotel is like a cocktail,” Lissoni explains. “We’ve incorporated a few different ingredients: the local culture together with that of America and Europe. And we’ve bound the style of the latter to that of Mexico. So the light and the presence of art works, antiques and local craftsmanship dialogue with those of other worlds. And I think we’ve come up with a cocktail that’s particularly interesting.”

SLS Cancun guestroom render in Cancun hotel

Image credit: SLS Hotels

Guestrooms and suites are described by the hotel brand as “sparkling and shining” that promise to “take your breath away”. Each area is modern with sleek lines to compliment azure waters of the ocean that are effortlessly framed.

Meanwhile, the public areas feature a contemporary lobby bar, and to further stretch the theme of barefoot luxury, the hotel experience focus is steered towards a luxurious poolside scene, sandy beach and  the state-of-the-art fitness centre and spa.

Complimenting the overall design of the hotel, LEYNIA is an Argentinian grill, led by chef Jose Icardi, which is inspired by flavours from Japan, melding the rustic allure of open flame cooking.

The opening of SLS Cancun becomes the brand’s fifth property in North America, as the brand enters into an exciting era that will no-doubt promise thoughtful growth to further enhance the “new kind of luxury” that the brand has created.

Main image credit: SLS Hotels

The Mayfair Townhouse - Garden Suite

Checking in to The Mayfair Townhouse, London’s ‘dandiest’ hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in to The Mayfair Townhouse, London’s ‘dandiest’ hotel

“If only these walls could talk, my job would have been so much easier,” admits art curator Minda Dowling to editor Hamish Kilburn as he checks in to explore the design narrative, drawn up by Goddard Littlefair, that spectacularly and effortlessly unfolds inside The Mayfair Townhouse

The Mayfair Townhouse - Garden Suite

Following what must have been the most dramatic build-up to any hotel opening in 2020, The Mayfair Townhouse, which is made up of 15 Georgian townhouses (seven of which are Grade II listed buildings), has officially arrived in London.

Having myself teased our readers to expect a 172-key luxury lifestyle hotel unlike any other in the W1 postcode – think Oscar Wilde meets Alice in Wonderland – I was intrigued to explore how award-winning design firm Goddard Littlefair and the design team at Iconic Luxury Hotels had masterfully layered the flirtatious motif of being completely ‘dandy’ throughout the latest luxury lair to appear in Mayfair.

“One of the challenges with getting the tone of the styling right was to not overplay the themes.” – Jo Littlefair, co-founder, Goddard Littlefair.

“Determining the direction for the concept took some time as it was clear that the design could have developed into a couple of distinctly different routes,” Jo Littlefair, co-founder of Goddard Littlefair tells Hotel Designs. “We eventually reached the conclusion that we would pursue a contemporary rendering of the style of the ‘Dandy’ to befit the Georgian architecture while feeling bedded in present-day Mayfair. One of the challenges with getting the tone of the styling right was to not overplay the themes so that while the fabric of the design all serve to allude to extravagant dress sense and rich textures and colours we strove to do so in a way that the interior is still comfortable to be in, subtle in it’s story-telling and essentially doesn’t labour a concept to the extent that its charm is lost.”

Soon after walking through the main entrance to what will no-doubt be the warmest of welcomes from the front-of-house team, you have entered a different world; an adventure into the unknown where a 67-inches-tall peacock made out of no less than 25,000 Swarovski is the first indication that this hotel is going to anything but ordinary – and foot trails of a friendly fox will follow your experience from here on in, because why not?

Mayfair Townhouse peacock entrance

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Past the tasteful walkway towards the lift, where a delicate installation depicting gold leaves effortlessly grows on the ceiling, up five floors and along the rabbit-warren corridor, you will come to suite 519 – otherwise known as The Skyline Suite.

“The glass ceiling gives the suite a contemporary, almost James Bond moment.”

In true Goddard Littlefair style, the design and layout of the suite perfectly complements the original architecture of the rooms – it automatically feels like a home-from-home in Mayfair. “We wanted to bring an extra level to this suite,” explains Littlefair. “Put simply, we wanted to bring as much day or moonlight into the suite as possible.” 

To achieve this, the design team have installed a partially glass ceiling that sets it aside from others in the hotel. This gives the suite a contemporary, almost James Bond moment that Littlefair describes as “complementing the opulence of the suite.” This eye-catching feature encourages guests to do what few people in London are able to master: to look up! By night, to avoid distraction, the large window into the above sky can be covered by a ceiling blind, which is conveniently controlled remotely from the wall switches.

On closer inspection, one can’t help but notice the finer details: the leather handles on the drawers, sophisticated paneling throughout and brushed brass light switches, which together create a timeless and balanced feel – not pushing the themes to the point of exploitation, but instead caressing their true meanings.

In the bedroom, which is arguably the most important element within any hotel, the bed is gargantuan! Two chunky, marble-top bedside units sit beside an emperor king size, navy-blue, bed which commands the room and is complete with a plush, oversized headboard. Sleeping on a comfortable Harrison Spinks mattress, there is no compromise on luxury and guests are guaranteed a pleasant night’s sleep.

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Around the room, a juxtaposition is apparent in the art, which traditionally frames modern and fashionable prints of glamourous women with vibrant birds cleverly interrupting the mise en scené to present something unapologetically different. This seamless reference of nature is complimented also in the soft furnishings and, in my opinion, is further evidence of a meaningful working relationship between art curator and interior design team.

On the other side of the suite  – past the corridor which features a relaxing workstation and dressing area – is a large marble-tiled bathroom, which naturally evokes a sense of calm and features a deep freestanding bath and a separate shower enclosure. “The layout we could achieve meant we had a fabulous bathing experience with the roll top bath, double vanity and huge walk in shower,” adds Littlefair. With demands elevated around how wellness is offered within hospitality, it is reassuring to see that the design team specified high quality products, such as hansgrohe showers, AXOR fittings, Roca toilets, Geberit flush plates and Kohler his-and-hers vanity sinks.

Although the guestrooms and suites are impressive, in order to capture the full narrative of the hotel, guests need to spend time downstairs in the F&B areas. And nothing is what it first seems.

First of all, the Dandy Bar has all the ingredients to become an iconic destination bar – think Soho House but without the members’ fee (and friendlier staff). With a cocktail menu that amplifies the hotel’s brand, the area when full with guests and locals alike will very much become an extension of the design itself.

Behind the concierge desk in the lobby is a staircase that leads down to the basement, which weaves itself to more F&B areas, event spaces and the gym. Acting as a fitting backdrop for this staircase is large mural entitled: “Peacock Mural”. It displays two peacocks, feathers erect walking towards each other to embrace. The style of this piece, which is acrylic painted with faux gold leaf and varnished on canvas, embraces the Aesthetic Movement. This era, which lasted from 1860 – 1900, aimed to escape the ugliness and materialism of the Industrial Age, by focusing instead on producing art that was beautiful rather than having a deeper meaning – ‘Art for Art’s sake’.

In the basement, the Club Room is where breakfast is served. Impressively, despite being located on the lower ground, the design team have masterfully made this space light and bright with subtle nods to the hotel’s sense of place, such as a mural in the function room entitled ‘Green Park’, which through wedgewood, three-dimensional style reflects an idealised image of Green Park and includes characters from the hotel. It is here where the hotel’s art narrative really comes into its own.

With an endless stream of inspiration from all centuries that the design team could have captured, in a bid to challenge convention in a meaningful way, the decision was made to create their own narrative.“Usually the brief for hotel artwork is to appeal to as many people as possible, to be inoffensive as well as relating to relate to the location and the design concept,” adds Littlefair. “Luckily the developers and Iconic Luxury Hotels, as a hotel brand, were much more open to interesting suggestions and, through working with art consultant Minda Dowling, had the courage of their conviction to pursue a significant amount of portraiture.”

Meet the fictious Renard/Reynolds family, who were cloth and silk merchants in La Rochelle, France, and fled to London in 1688; they were amongst the wealthier Huguenot refugees as Jean Renard had sold all his stock for gold, prior to embarking for England.

In the Club Room, the complex characters of the family are referenced around the walls, such as the ‘Butterfly Hunter’ and ‘Twins’, among others.

Littlefair explains: “For me, I think the art demonstrates that the Mayfair Townhouse accepts that, as human beings, we’re all capable of being imperfect sometimes and this hotel celebrates those fabulous moments that transpire because of that very spirit of adventure.”

Quick-fire Q&A with the designer

Hamish Kilburn: If you could go for dinner with one of the Fictious Renard/Reynolds Family, who would it be with?

Jo Littlefair: I’d have to say the mother, Mum’s know everything don’t they?

HK: What is your favourite cocktail on the menu?

JL: Earl of Mayfair

HK: What will you remember most about this project?

JL: Guarding the Swarovski peacock from builders as we were deciding it’s final positioning in the hotel lobby.

HK: Describe the hotel in a sentence or less?

JL: This is a hotel brimming with personality and stories to tell, it has a glamorous beating heart in the Dandy bar with sumptuous, residential bedrooms that are a real sanctuary in the heart of Mayfair

HK: Favourite piece of art in the hotel?

JL: I love the hand painted mural of the gold peacock, it’s just exquisite.

Images of foxes in The Den at The Mayfair Townhouse

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Also in the basement are several break-off meeting and private dining booths, one of which is named the Oscar Wilde, Oscar’s Study, in which the design cleverly blends together two prominent themes of the hotel: the true definition of dandy and the fox. On the wall, an interpretation of a fragment of a well-known painting of Oscar Wilde reclined on a sofa, which focuses on his jacket, reflects luxury and the laid-back attitude of the smart dandy. Meanwhile, a chandelier by Moooi is (whether it is intentional or not, I do not know) references fox-proof, mesh fencing.

A mesh-like chandelier inside The Mayfair Townhouse

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

It’s one thing for a hotel to open in Oscar Wilde’s pre-Soho territory, but it is another thing entirely to focus a hotel’s theme, In Wilde’s old scandalous stomping ground, around Mayfair’s perhaps forgotten characters.

Checking out feeling, well, quite rather dandy, with a spring in my step, I feel as if I have discovered a completely unique London jewel – one that nods to all eras of this iconic neighbourhood. With its own quirky and bushy-tailed attitude, please join me in welcoming The Mayfair Townhouse to its new bachelor quarters.

Main image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Render of Infinity Pool at Mango House in The Seychelles

Hottest hotel openings anticipated for 2021 (Q1 & Q2)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hottest hotel openings anticipated for 2021 (Q1 & Q2)

Concussed from 2020, Hotel Designs is kicking off the year with positivity; shining its editorial spotlight on the hotel openings that will take hospitality worldwide to new heights. In our first of two series we take a look at Q1 & Q2’s VIP arrivals. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Render of Infinity Pool at Mango House in The Seychelles

Despite the pandemic, which temporarily brought hospitality to its knees last year, hotel construction remained strong following the prediction that the demand to travel will return in 2021. So, with that sprinkle of positivity, it’s time for us to address which hotels our editorial team believe will cause the most disruption on the international hotel design scene this year.

Moxy Austin – opening January, 2021

A clean modern guestroom

Image credit: Moxy Hotels

Following an announcement that referenced Moxy’s arrival in the Middle East, the Marriott International’s contemporary brand is slated to open a 158-key hotel in Austin, Texas, which has been designed by HKS.

The hotel is situated on the western edge of the University of Texas campus. Sited prominently on an abandoned corner lot along Guadalupe Street, referred to as “The Drag” by locals, the project is an important part of the area’s revitalisation. The massing takes its cues from the external arrival sequence – both vehicular and pedestrian – and echoes the efficient internal programming. Materials are selected based on the local Hill Country vernacular with a base of masonry and reclaimed wood at the ground floor dress the public zones, while metal panels of weathering steel wrap the guest room levels above. The masonry and wood provide a tactile experience down low, resist the abrasion and abuse expected with heavy traffic, and are representative of the community use at the ground level. The metal panels above provide a natural, ever-evolving quality. The weathering steel changes over time, symbolic of the travellers who come and go at the hotel, evolving in how they experience the building from the start of stay until the end.

Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Curio Collection by Hilton  – opening January 2021

A render of a hotel room inside the Virgin Hotels property with views of The Strip of Las Vegas

Image credit: Virgin Hotels

With casinos slowly reopening in the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas is about to become the home of Virgin Hotels’ latest hotel under the Hilton by Curio Collection brand. Sheltering a staggering 1,500 rooms with no less than 12 dining venues and a 60,000 square-foot casino, the hotel is is preparing to arrive in style to ‘sin city’.

There are whispers that the Virgin Hotels, which currently operates four hotels in the USA with a further 10 properties in the pipeline, is gearing up to enter new destinations with a purpose to expand with an international portfolio – watch this space!

Nobu Residences Toronto – opening January, 2021

Conceived by award-winning architect Stephen Teeple, Nobu Residences Toronto will embody the Nobu spirit in both design and attitude.

Designated as a heritage site, the base of Nobu Residences Toronto will retain the classic brick façade of the original Pilkington Glass Factory and Art Deco elements from the early 1900s. Rising above it will be two striking towers: distinctive, modern, unforgettable. Both towers will be home to exclusive residences anchored by Toronto’s flagship Nobu Restaurant, with a signature Nobu Hotel at the top of the West Tower.

NoMad London – opening February, 2021

Located metres from Covent Garden, NoMad London will take residence inside the historic, grade II-listed building famously known as The Bow Street Magistrates’ Court and Police Station. Designed by New York-based interior design studio Roman and Williams, the transformation of the storied 19th century building draws inspiration from its history and location in Covent Garden, as well as exploring the artistic and cultural connection between London and New York.

AC Hotel Maui Wailea (Hawaii) – opening February, 2021

AC Hotel in Maui render of pool bar

Image credit: AC Hotels/Marriott International

Perfectly placed and featuring two white sand beaches, AC by Marriott Maui Wailea offers scenic views of South Maui. 110-key hotel will shelter a ‘stylish comfort’ and will be complete with an infinity pool and a restaurant serving European cuisine, among other amenities.

W Nashville – opening in February, 2021

In true W style, ready to cause disruption to conventional hotel design and hospitality, W Nashville is set to take the stage in the heart of The Gulch. “Striking the music city chord,” the hotel is expected to open with curated local tunes, garden-to-glass cocktails and welcoming communal spaces. “Expect the unexpected” is how the brand is teasing this special 346-key arrival, with a high-energy urban experience paired with our Whatever / Whenever® approach to hospitality and Southern comfort you can expect in downtown Nashville.

Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley – opening in March, 2021

Located in the charming community of Calistoga, the next addition to the diverse Four Seasons California Collection will include wine country’s first Four Seasons resort with an on-site winery and vineyard, in partnership with Thomas Rivers Brown. Featuring 85 luxurious accommodations designed by Erin Martin, two outdoor pools, and a distinctive wellness-focused spa concept, Spa Talisa, the property will also introduce the highly anticipated TRUSS Restaurant and Bar led by Michelin starred Chef Erik Anderson.

NoCo London – opening Q1, 2021

The wait is over! Three years since plans were unveiled for the new budget lifestyle hotel arriving in London, NoCo London is about to makes it debut. NoCo hotels, established by Enismore, is described as “a collection created with clued up travellers and inquisitive locals in mind.” Promised to be “never overpriced, never underwhelming,” NoCo arrives in the capital to prove that budget doesn’t have to be boring. We can’t wait to check in!

Mango House, Seychelles, LXR Hotels and Resorts – opening in Q1, 2021

Render of infinity pool in LXR hotel in the Seychelles

Image credit: LXR

As travellers seek solitude in remote places away from the crowds, Indian Ocean destinations will remain firmly at the top of travel bucket-lists. Originally built as a family dwelling, Mango House Seychelles features 41 immaculately designed guest rooms in a remote and private location. Set to open early 2021, the exclusive resort will give guests breath-taking views of the Indian Ocean and is the perfect spot to explore Mahé’s white sandy beaches and kaleidoscope of flora and fauna. With sustainable travel now topping the agenda for large numbers of guests, the Seychelles offers a year-round holiday sanctuary for the world’s most discerning travellers.

NoCo hotels is a collection created with clued up travellers and inquisitive locals in mind. Never overpriced, never underwhelming, NoCo sets out to prove that budget doesn’t have to be boring.

Since you’re here, why not read more about how astronauts and designers are working to create a hotel in space?

Six Senses Ibiza – opening Q2, 2021

The Six Senses hotel Pool in Ibiza

Image credit: Six Senses

With the aim to “dance to the beat of a new mantra,” Six Senses Ibiza will shelter a transformative wellness experience designed to nourish the body, mind and soul. The tranquil northern tip of Ibiza on crystalline Cala Xarraca Bay, with unobstructed westerly sunset views, is the inspiring setting for the new hotel, which will feature. The 134 guest accommodations include townhouses, pool suites and beach cave units set on a 25-acre (10-hectare).

St. Regis Bermuda Resort & Residences – opening Q2, 2021

Establishing image of the St Regis hotel in Bermuda

Image credit: St. Regis

An exquisite Atlantic debut, the St. Regis brand is about the arrive in Bermuda. Once completed, St Regis Bermuda Resort, with has been developed by Hotelco and designed by OBMI Design, is said to become the most exclusive and luxurious development on the island.

Main image credit: LXR

Collage of Axiom space station

Plans for a hotel in space on track for a 2024 launch

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Plans for a hotel in space on track for a 2024 launch

250 miles above the earth in the wilderness of space, with cabins designed by the world-renowned Philippe Starck, the Axiom space station is the brainchild of former NASA chiefs. Editor Hamish Kilburn investigates as the plans get underway…

Collage of Axiom space station

There has been a lot of talk in recent years of taking hospitality to new heights, but as close we as we have got to a ‘space hotel’ so far has been the Space Suite inside the Kameha Grand Zürich, the ‘Lunar Loo’ designed by Duravit and Orion Span’s planned orbiting hotel, which was slated to welcome guests from as early as 2022 – we have no update on its progress.

However, in a recent article in The Times, the race to launch hospitality outside earth’s atmosphere has taken a bold leap forward with plans, led by former NASA chiefs and astronauts, now underway to build the first commercial space station. Free from the shackles of gravity, extensive research and manufacturing has to led to this moment; Axiom being one step closer to launching.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Axiom, which literally means “a statement or proposition which is regarded as being established”, is a company co-founded by the former programme chief of International Space Station (ISS) “Axiom was founded with the vision of a thriving home in space that benefits every human ever where,” Mike Suffredini, chief executive of Axiom Space and who previously led NASA’s second largest engineering contract, said. “We often hear that this is a very bold statement. it is.”

“Philippe Starck will have the honour of designing the cabins inside – think “nest-like comfort” – that will frame panoramic views of our home planet below.”

Costing a reported $2 million, which is a drop in the ocean when considering the cost of building a new-build hotel in today’s climate, the Axiom station is intended to become the first ever free-flying, globally available private space station, which is planning to launch in 2024. Although its manufacturing requires space engineers, the interiors have been handed over to French industrial architect and hotel design legend Philippe Starck who will have the honour of designing the cabins inside – think “nest-like comfort” – that will frame panoramic views of our home planet below.

The company promises to “help open a new chapter in human history” with this launch. On its website, it says: “20 years after astronauts first began to live and work aboard the ISS, Axiom offers the ability to traverse the sublime reach of space and fulfil personal goals of philosophical, philanthropic, scientific or commercial nature.”

Although we are somewhat sceptical when reading about a hotel in space, it is encouraging to see that Axiom has a fine pedigree who are ultimately making this dream a reality. As well as Suffredini, the team includes four retired astronauts, including Charlie Bolden, the former head of NASA.

To infinity, and beyond!

Main image credit: Axiom

Embracing nature – a 2021 trends forecast we can relate to

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Embracing nature – a 2021 trends forecast we can relate to

With the aim to inspire a deeper connection with nature, this 2021 trends forecast by Modieus consists of four key themes, which are grounded, green utopia, textured layers and crafted…

Developed post lockdown, each this trends forecast reflects our freedom from isolation; it embraces nature, craves the simplicity and inspires a meaningful sense of peace.

Grounded

A new appreciation of the truly important things in life make us feel grounded. To some extent this reflects the collective state of people who have experienced Covid-19 lockdowns. Down to earth colour palettes, warm natural hues, create a sense of stability, balance and a foundation stone for change.

A mustard armchair on a honey-mustard rug and brass light

Image credit: Modieus

Warm earthy tones, soft, natural and soothing to create a sense of calm and comfort. Natural and cool beige, neutral with a faint green undertone will calm the senses. Nature will be intensified with mossy, sage greens paired with turmeric and citrus yellow hues.

Reflecting on nature’s influence, we see a fresh take on yellow. To feel optimistic, we turn to yellow. Pale citrus yellow, soft creamy butter and stronger turmeric yellow.  Spring and yellow floral hues reflective of gardens reinvigorating our interest in colour that inspires feelings of much needed optimism.

Green utopia

Embracing sustainability and wellness. We have grown tired of social media and digital devices so are reconnecting with nature’s beauty. We will continue to seek solid interactions with loved ones, family and friends, and give greater focus to what is around us immediately.

A large modern sofa in a contemporary setting

Image credit: Modieus

Green foliage and dappled light revives us. This palette’s green hue also includes shades of brown within green hues, such as discoloured grasses or new foliage on old branches. Inspiration is drawn from plants and the foliage of leaves, vegetables, cacti and flowers.

Issues of sustainability have never been so important and the pandemic has allowed time to accelerate our thinking moving forward. The textile industry is changing rapidly. Using resources more responsibly is the unifying theme of this trend.

Textured layers 

The textured layers trend is all about looking to the unseen and the finer details. Stone will be simple, concrete, minimal and almost cool. Terracotta will return, in modern hues, softer and paler. Colour will feel monochromatic, to emphasise small details to shine like matt and gloss.

A green room with jungle-like carpets

Image credit: Modieus

Engaging with imperfections of authentic natural materials that have been used, worn or look tarnished. Rusted metals, dark woods with irregular grain patterns. Fabrics will feel unblemished or unprocessed like raffia, recycled denim, hemp and hessian.

There is a tactile and visual dryness to these colours, which reflects the wider Australian environment of the bush and desert. In line with embracing a natural aesthetic, colour palettes will begin to reflect more warm earth-fired colours such as metal ores, russet shades, soft terracotta and browns.

Colour palettes will be layered and monochromatic. Sun-kissed colours are paired beautifully, such as soft dusky pink, also a gentle optimistic colour.  With a blue undertone, dusky pink is ideal for injecting warmth into palettes of grey and blue.

Crafted

Recognising the provenance of goods and how they are made has fuelled the Crafted trend.  There is a shift in thinking as we look to shop locally to avoid lengthy shipping delays from overseas suppliers. We’re looking at craftsmen for special custom pieces that are unique to our needs and taste.

An image of a crafted lobby

Image credit: Modieus

Aesthetically, a bespoke crafted style, embraces artisan-made, ethically produced, imperfect-looking pieces that are robust and enduring. Designs are fluid and loosely drawn.

Fabrics and products have a rawness that shows the hand of the craftsperson in their creation. In Australia we expect to see more indigenous patterns and collaborations with respectful references to Indigenous art, land and country.

Main image credit: Modieus

A dramatic image of Múzsa bar inside Four Seasons Hotel Budapest

Richmond unveils new bar inside Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Richmond unveils new bar inside Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest

The new bar, Múzsa, inside Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest, is a masterclass in the evolution of the hotel lobby space, an area within the hotel that interior design firm Richmond International continue to set new design and hospitality standards in…

A dramatic image of Múzsa bar inside Four Seasons Hotel Budapest

Award-winning hospitality design specialists, Richmond International, unveil resplendent lobby-bar interiors for Múzsa at Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest. The completion of this project – following recent renovations of guest rooms and meeting spaces – marks Richmond’s latest collaboration with the hotel, having overseen its original design more than 16 years ago.

Occupying what was previously an open plan lobby area, Múzsa epitomises the evolution of the hotel lobby. An iconic design undertaking of its time by Richmond, the original lobby space at Gresham Palace was a true masterpiece, showcasing grand design and celebrating local craft. Originally built in 1906 as a residence for British aristocracy before undergoing a hotel restoration in 2004, it was restored during a period where public spaces in hotels aspired to be more reverential than multi-functional; extravagant passing spaces which provided little more than sights to behold.

Today, the hotel lobby is no longer a space that guests merely pass through. It assumes a more purposeful role, providing room to work, hold meetings, socialise or simply unwind. These once communal spaces have become highly sought-after, providing valuable services for guests and creating additional functionality and revenue for hotels, through thoughtfully-executed design.

“We’re really proud to be a part of the evolution of Gresham Palace.” – Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International.

Imbuing the glamour and elegance of Budapest’s golden age, Múzsa introduces a new lobby lounge concept to Four Seasons Gresham Palace, fusing the building’s rich past with the needs of today’s sophisticated clientele. This new offering reflects a bold departure from the historic trend of single use design, in favour of versatility and flexibility. The result is space that is convivial in nature and welcomes social interaction, offering a main reception, private concierge club, multiple meetings rooms, a tasting room and expansive bar areas.

“This was a project that was hugely important to the team,” said Fiona Thompson, Principal at Richmond International and winner of the Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry award at The Brit List Awards 2020. “When we first saw the hotel and then completed the restoration more than 16 years ago, we fell in love with the building. We’re really proud to be a part of the evolution of Gresham Palace and to see that it remains such a significant piece of architecture in Budapest today.”

A masculine design inside the Tasting Room

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

The journey through Múzsa was considered in meticulous detail, with each moment offering a distinctly different mise-en-scène which surprises and delights. A deep reverence for the heritage of the building sees Richmond adopt a modern, yet sympathetic take on Secessionist interior motifs and colour combinations, seamlessly blending past, present, and future to create one timeless experience.

Upon entering the building, guests are welcomed into the lobby lounge with banquette seating to create a social hub within the bar area, designed for guests to meet and relax throughout the day, and into the evening. It features peacock fabric with deep seaming and beautifully detailed screening sections. Large golden lampshades by Solinfo Lighting & Home hang over the banquette, showcasing a bass relief pattern which subtly replicates architectural tiling details on the walls.

A main concierge library area captures the splendour of the building, with two discreet meeting rooms and a tasting room creating additional intimate spaces for guests to use and enjoy. Warm-toned mosaic walls, statement lighting and striking artwork come together to create atmosphere and drama, whilst providing comfort for work and play.

In the bar area, which seats 130, a raised platform for live performances takes centre stage. Wrapped in bespoke artistic fabric by Rima and McRae, this hero feature is an ode to the luxury of traditional Budapest hotel bars of the 1910s and evokes a strong sense of theatre and dynamism to the space. Another key feature in this space is the bar fixture, adorned with a mirrored finish and intricate patterning. It’s circular shape and transparency allow guests to seamlessly walk around it, see through it and enjoy cocktails at the counter with an energetic ambiance. 

A voice of authority in hotel design, with more than 50 years of expertise working with the world’s leading luxury hotels, Richmond International was responsible for the original design of Four Seasons Gresham Palace. The award-winning team approached this project with profound insight and personal affection having been integral to its transformations over the years. 

Through the years, Gresham Palace has lived many lives. It was originally designed as a residence for British aristocracy before later being badly damaged during the war and Soviet era. Beyond this, the landmark building was also home to a shopping arcade before being converted to a Four Seasons Hotel in 1999. Ongoing renovations by Richmond International began in 2004 and continue today.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

A render of a shower in a bathroom that looks like a light

Gessi turns up the drama in the bathroom with Spotlight

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Gessi turns up the drama in the bathroom with Spotlight

Design-led bathroom brand Gessi has launched Spotwater, the perfect synthesis of advanced technology and high design…

Inspired by the same concept of the lighting technology, Spotwater stands out for its tubular design and the adjustable angle, offering a completely customized experience through four different waterjets: Rain, Multi-spray, Atomizer and Waterfall.

A render of a shower in a bathroom that looks like a light

These unique spotlights are enriched by the exclusive Gessi touch, resulting in five different finishings: Cesello, Intreccio, Trame, Ingranaggio and the smooth Flessa. Together with a rich and captivating range of finishes – from the shimmering glow of pure metal, to soft and warm tones. This wellness source opens the way to unprecedented stylistic interpretations and possibilities of personalisation of the shower space.  These innovative showerheads gratify those who love essentiality, but also want to give their bathroom a refined, high-tech yet warm and decorative touch.

With sculptural shapes and surfaces that invite to touch, Gessi Spotwater contributes, even scenically, to the environments and architectures of fascinating private habitats, as well as exclusive yachts, hotels and resorts. In fact, by fitting harmoniously into avant-garde architectures as in the most classic, the Gessi lines always add a contribution of personality and style, making these places catching and surprising. This makes Gessi the choice of the designers of the most fascinating environments in the world.

Gessi conceives its creations with the ambition that design, with its ability to infuse an art content in consumer products, and the technology incorporated in it, will enrich the living spaces, making everyday gestures special and unique. In fact, Gessi projects spring from creative freedom and a passion for objects liberated from prescribed and encoded functions and reinvented for new uses: empathetic, friendly and enjoyable bathroom furnishings. Objects that improve people’s live.

Gessi is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Gessi

The Brit List Designers of 2020 - profile images of the finalists

Meet The Brit List Designers of 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Meet The Brit List Designers of 2020

Each year, Hotel Designs unveils The Brit List, a publication that lists the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers who are operating in Britain. Following the official unveiling of The List at this year’s virtual award ceremony, please meet The Brit List Designers of 2020…

The Brit List Designers of 2020 - profile images of the finalists

For more than four years now, The Brit List Awards has shone the spotlight on the designers, architects and hoteliers who are proving to be trendsetters on the international hotel design scene. Earlier this year, Hotel Designs’ 2020 search began..

This year’s panel of judges– and of course our sponsors and partners – went above and beyond to support The Brit List Awards as the difficult yet responsible decision was made to organise the judging process and deliver the awards ceremony in virtual formats.

During the in-depth judging process, we all discovered a new meaning of hospitality as we read how designers, architects and hoteliers are continuing to push conventional boundaries.

To kickstart our editorial celebration of this year’s winners, please meet (in alphabetical order) The Brit List Designers of 2020…

Albin Berglund, Managing Director – Bergman Interiors

Albin Berglund is the co-founder of Bergman Interiors. He leads a team of designers with Marie Soliman that is unquestionably making ripples in London’s – and now the world’s – luxury interior and architectural design arena. With more than 25 years’ combined experience, Berglund and Soliman have built up an enviable portfolio of projects, spanning London to St. Petersburg, Qatar to New York.

The studio’s dynamic approach is to clearly define where design can have the maximum benefit and impact on our guests’ wellbeing and focus on these key wellness elements.

Currently, the firm is working on a seven-star spa hotel in Norway. It contains guest villas, a luxurious spa and common areas such as restaurants and bars. Berglund’s answer to the project has been to coherently formulate the spaces so that guests can read a continuous language throughout, drawing on nature to tell the story of both the hotel and its setting.

Carolynne Shenton, Founding Director – Studio Mica

Carolynne Shenton is the creative force at the core of the interior design team at Studio Mica, and has been the principal designer behind some of the most prestigious interior projects including the award-winning Nobu Hotel Shoreditch.

Her most recently completed project is a new build, two-storey hospitality villa in Ibiza. The studio was responsible for the interior design and furniture specification. The floor area of the villa is 1,000 sqm and the design features master and guest suites, internal and external bathrooms, dual-family and catering kitchens, bars, open-plan living with panoramic sea views, studio cinema, a gym, a spa with an infinity-edge lap pool, landscaped gardens, al fresco dining and roof terraces.

As well as this, Shenton is also currently working on the interiors and furniture fixtures and equipment for a new 85-key boutique hotel with a restaurant, members club, gym and spa in East London.

Charlie North, Design Director – Ennismore

The multifaceted approach to Charlie North’s design style has allowed him and his team to create award-winning interior schemes for Ennismore-owned brands such as Gleneagles and Hoxton Hotels.

Most recently, North led the team to complete Hoxton Southwark, a 192-key hotel, which features restaurants, bars, function rooms and 4,000 sqm of flexible co-working office space – all of which are stacked within and sheltered inside a slender 17-storey building.

The Hoxton Southwark places an emphasis on British-led design with antique and bespoke fixtures dotted throughout the hotel. The design scheme of the urban hotel, where possible, also brings the outdoors in, which gives each area a new depth entirely.

Clinton Freeman, Design Director – IHG

Former Design Director of David Collins Studio and former Senior Design Director of EU at Hilton, Clinton Freeman was appointment Design Director of IHG in September of 2019. The hotel group has been included in The Brit List for a number of years, with Henry Reeve being named highly commended in the Interior Designer of the Year category last year, and Emma King being shortlisted the year before.

The IHG Group is expanding at a rapid rate, with an emphasis on lifestyle hotels in new destinations, and is rapidly influencing a new breed of boutique hotels. Hotel Indigo, for example, currently has 104 hotel openings in the pipeline in the next three to five years*.

[*this was accurate at the time The Brit List 2020 went to print]

Dale Atkinson, Founding Director – Rosendale Design

Dale Atkinson has dedicated his life to his passion and takes pride in the design aesthetic he creates. Rich in tradition, and yet creatively contemporary, Atkinson utilises research as the bedrock of all projects, allowing each space to evoke a unique environment.

Next year will see the opening of the newly refurbished restaurant at the renowned Santa Marina Resort, Mykonos. The studio was commissioned to create spaces both internally and externally that celebrated Greek culture. Due to Covid-19, the project’s completion has been delayed until May 2021.

Damien Follone, Senior Associate & Senior Designer (F&B) – Wimberly Interiors

Damien Follone brings more than ten years of architectural and interiors knowledge to the Wimberly Interiors’ team as a Senior Associate and Senior Designer of Restaurants + Bars at the firm’s London studio.

His design approach and critical thinking ensure that each project is strategically positioned from inception through to delivery with emphasis on hotel food and beverage experiences. Follone is at the forefront of experiential design, exploring how F&B concepts and brands come together with products and personalities to create enjoyable and authentic guest experiences.

Having worked in architecture in Australia, he brings both high-level resort planning and humanscale design skills from a number of projects in Oceania and Asia.

More recently, his hotel experience in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia has allowed him to work with renowned luxury brands to analyse, position and design their F&B offerings to be successful and relevant in the local market.

David Mason, Director of Hospitality – Scott Brownrigg

Following four years as a Project Director in Interior Design for Scott Brownrigg, in 2019 David Mason was promoted to become Director of Hospitality at the firm, and made his debut in The Brit List as a result.

Mason has worked steadily to authentically grow Scott Brownrigg’s profile within the market place. As a global design leader, ranked 11 in the UK and within the global top 100 architectural practices, the firm’s interior design team have worked on projects for brands including Hilton, Hard Rock Hotels, Radisson Blu, Hyatt Regency & Assembly.

In the past four years, Mason’s team has created a budget hotel, Assembly London, behind the Odeon Cinema in Leicester Square. The project was praised by British GQ as one of its top 10 places to visit in London.

Last year, the studio completed its work on Hard Rock Hotel London in Marble Arch, which became the city’s new destination venue. Mason led a team, designing all the public spaces for the hotel.

Most recently, Mason and his team have been working on the re-development and re-branding of two existing hotels in East London, with its launch this year delayed due to Covid-19. The team are fortunately now heading back to site with the first phase launch anticipated for January 2021.

David T’Kint, Partner – Hirsch-Bedner Associates

As a Partner at Hirsch-Bedner Associates EMEA, David T’Kint is responsible for overseeing a team of designers and creatives. Driven by creativity and in response to the evolution of luxury design, his regional team brings together the talents and specialties of his global team to enhance the firm’s 360-degree service, creating a one-stop-shop for inspired hospitality design.

In December 2019, the studio completed on the interiors for Great Scotland Yard Hotel; a landmark development in London’s City of Westminster. Once the London’s Metropolitan Police headquarters, the listed building’s latest chapter is a 152-key luxury boutique hotel, in which the stories of the building’s past unfold through exquisitely sculpted interiors and eclectic decorative elements.

Transforming this historical space into a welcoming place for discerning travellers, T’Kint expressed the individuality of Great Scotland Yard through an unexpected play of Edwardian-inspired hues and patterns, conventional Whitehall, and colours that relive the timeless elegance and sophistication of the era with a flair of contemporary details.

Dennis Irvine, Founder / Creative Director – Dennis Irvine Studio

Dennis Irvine has consistently designed for world-renowned operators and high-end luxury private residences. As a voice and presence within the hospitality industry he remains respected for his ‘sense of place’ design aesthetic and relevant project design narration. Irvine continues to champion attention to detail and craftsmanship with local and international artisans, which often result in unique interiors both in the UK and globally.

A regular speaker, Irvine attends industry events and offers views on topics such as hospitality design evolution, advice to those starting their careers in the industry and sensitive historic restorations.

Irvine continues to be recognized in many publications including the Robb report, Forbes, Harper’s Bazaar and Architectural Digest amongst other well-known hospitality publications to ensure British design is recognised and respected globally.

Edward Davies, Managing Director & Principal – G.A Design London

 With more than 17 years’ experience working in the super luxury hospitality arena, Edward Davies has a meticulous eye for detail, and understands the high expectations of high-net worth individuals. Whether that is in the craftsmanship and detailed design of a hotel suite, or the personal service provided by the G.A Group.

Always pushing the boundaries of design and encouraging clients to take the leap into the unexplored, Davies isn’t afraid of dreaming big. An inspiring leader, Davies enables his team to take creative control and ownership of the luxury hospitality projects he oversees, whilst providing intuitive and inspiring direction. He manages to distil the client brief in a succinct way, with clarity. This combination of trust and creativity makes him a wonderful visionary of designers.

Working as the London Managing Director at G.A Group, Davies runs the day-to-day management of the 90-strong London-based studio, whilst also acting as Principal across a number of high-profile interior design and architecture projects worldwide.

Current projects overseen by Davies include a new luxury hotel brand in Southeast Asia, the latest new offerings from Corinthia Hotels in Rome and Moscow, and the 184-key 1 Hotel in Mayfair, London. Each a unique brief and challenge, Davies approaches them equally with the same verve and vigor.

Ed Warner, Founder & CEO – Motionspot

Hotel Brooklyn is regarded as the UK’s most accessible design-led hotel. Bringing New York flare to Manchester, the hotel provides 189 rooms that are set across 10 storeys with conference rooms, a restaurant and bar on the ground floor and mini cinema in the lobby.

But what really makes this hotel special is its commitment to design-led accessibility. Ed Warner is the founder of Motionspot, the design studio responsible for creating Hotel Brooklyn’s accessible solutions. This was central to the design and build of the hotel, which shelters nine wheelchair accessible bedrooms – including the first hotel in Manchester with ceiling track hoists – and nine ambulant accessible bedrooms.

Accessibility isn’t just limited to the bedrooms, as attention was paid to the communal spaces too, to ensure that guests with a range of physical, visual and cognitive access needs could enjoy all the hotel has to offer.

Elizabeth Lane, Partner – RPW Design

Highly accomplished designer Elizabeth Lane has been essential in many of RPW Design’s projects with her abundance of design expertise acquired from her work around the globe. A Partner at RPW Design, Lane is renowned for ensuring beautiful interiors and operational functionality work in complete harmony.

The designer’s 16-year tenure at the company has included welcoming current Managing Director Ariane Steinbeck and supporting a smooth transition as RPW founder Jan Wilson took a step back from the helm of RPW Design in late 2015 whereupon she became a Director and Partner in the firm.

One of her recent projects was spearheading the renovation of Four Seasons Hampshire. As well as being responsible for designing the guestrooms inside the hotel, Lane excelled in ensuring elegance and functionality throughout the renovation of the hotel’s conference and banqueting space and continually provides steady leadership in a complex project team of owners, operators and consultants. It was a project that Lane describes held true to their convictions as a firm. The results, she says, are a testament to RPW Design’s ability to deliver projects that will stand the test of time.

Emma Farren, Senior Designer – DesignLSM

Emma Farren is a strong, creative leader at DesignLSM and professionally manages her own projects, consistently working hard to push new ideas and active design solutions for clients. Farren’s conceptual approach and technical ability, combined with her passion for all things design related, provides her designs with a strong sense of refinement and flexibility. Since joining the team back in 2016, she has built up a vast portfolio of award-winning work that most recently includes the design evolution of Gaucho restaurants.

Farren worked in close collaboration with Gaucho CEO, Martin Williams, and his team helping them to evolve the Gaucho brand through a new creative direction that moves away from the cowhide of old and on to a more refined aesthetic that celebrates the modern-day Gaucho. Immersing herself into the brand story, she drew her inspiration from the visual narrative of Argentina and the Gaucho way of life, considering its spirit and stunning landscapes – from the dramatic mountain landscapes to the Pampas region through to the high-altitude vineyards.

The design results for the first site in Charlotte St London reflect the raw, majestic nature and cultural energy of Argentina through an elegant and sophisticated aesthetic that captivates guests as soon as they step through the door.

 Geraldine Dohogne, Founder – Beyond Design

Geraldine Dohogne does not fit the traditional mold of a designer since she, in her own admission, stumbled into this profession driven by passion. As a result, perhaps, there’s no such thing as copy and paste in Dohogne’s work. On the contrary, every project she touches offers a new story. The same core values are always respected, but each and every new project is thought through individually. This is the process that enables the former Head of Design a Zannier Hotels to grow personally as well as professionally.

Beyond Design is Dohogne’s recently launched studio. Much more than solely concentrating on the interior design, the designer prides herself to handpick every single object and source local craftspeople whom themselves form an integral part of the place in question. As a result, every project represents a marathon across flea markets and meeting with local artisans and artists in order for the result to tell a genuine narrative that makes people reflect and appreciate a place even more.

 Hamish Brown, Partner – 1508 London

 Having been involved since 1508 London’s inception, Hamish Brown has been pivotal to the growth of the company and has championed the studio’s expansion from private residential into multi-unit developments and hospitality. As a result, Brown has helped 1508 London become one the world’s most revered architecture and interior design studios.

As an interior architect, Brown’s ability to understand every facet of the design process ensures he is perfectly positioned to help support clients throughout their journey. His profound commitment to clients’ experiences has installed a dedication to the creation of timeless, elegant spaces of the highest quality, all of which are informed by a unique narrative, grounded in functionality with no one set style.

The studio was responsible for the interior design scheme that is sheltered in The Lanesborough Club & Spa, which is referred to as the world’s best hotel spa because of its innovative design.

Projects that are currently heading towards completion include The Carlton Tower Jumeirah and Rosewood Doha.

Henry Reeve, Director of Interior Design – IHG

Henry Reeve, last year’s Highly Commended in the Interior Designer of the Year category in The Brit List Awards 2020, continues to drive the boutique and lifestyle sector forward in what has been an incredibly difficult year for the industry.

Opening the luxury Kimpton ViviDora in early Q1 was a real highlight for the group in 2020, creating a hotel that felt both special and luxurious whilst fully integrating itself into the youthful, urban, raw and authentic Gothic quarter of Barcelona.

What’s more, during lockdown Reeve innovatively utilised his skills and craftsmanship to launch Made by Henry, designing handcrafted homewares and accessories for all. With the mantra, “Measure twice, cut once,” Reeve continues to lead a new wave of designers.

Lindsey Bean-Pierce, Partner, Head of Interiors – Dexter Moren Associates

Lindsey Bean-Pearce, Partner, is responsible for running the interior design team at Dexter Moren Associates, managing a talented group of ten designers across a diverse and varied portfolio of headline projects and ensuring a high level of design consistency throughout.

Currently she is working on the Autograph Abastumani Hotel & Spa in Georgia, the Westin Verdelago Resort Hotel & Village Club in Portugal, the conversion and refurbishment of the Malmaison York, Accor’s first Movenpick Hotel in Italy, the Pamphili Rome, as well as the refurbishment of a Victorian hotel in London’s Paddington and a new-build boutique hotel in Dubai.

Prior to this she most recently led the completion of the International Hotel & Property Award winning boutique Vintry & Mercer Hotel and the Clayton Hotel New Drum Street, London.

Boasting more than 15 years’ experience running projects in the UK and Europe, she brings considerable creative flair and strong conceptual and technical abilities to a role in which no two days are the same.

As head of a team of talented creatives from all sectors of expertise and experience, Bean-Pierce takes great pride in mentoring her more junior colleagues, watching them flourish into stand out designers, and ensuring that each is constantly growing and expanding their design knowledge.

Mark Bithrey, Founder & Creative Director – B3 Designers

Since founding B3 Designers in 2002, Mark Bithrey has worked on the interior design for iconic hospitality brands across the UK and Europe. B3 Designers has, under Bithrey’s creative direction, developed an impressive, diverse and award-winning portfolio. The most recently completed hotel project is The Prince Akatoki, London.

The hotel, part of the APAC hotel management group StayWell, launched in September 2019. The brief was to refurbish the 82-key former Arch Hotel in the heart of the West End, with a focus on bringing Japanese design and hospitality ideals to the West. The scope included the bedrooms, reception, sanctuary, communal workspace, corridors, lift lobby, TOKii (restaurant), and The Malt Lounge and Bar.

Marie Soliman, Co-Founder – Bergman Interiors

Marie Soliman is the co-founder of Bergman Interiors, and leads a team with Albin Berglund that is making ripples in London’s – and now the world’s – luxury interior and architectural design world. With more than 25 years’ combined experience, Soliman and Berglund have built up an enviable portfolio of projects, spanning London to St. Petersburg, to Qatar to New York.

The studio’s dynamic approach is to clearly define where design can have the maximum benefit and impact on our guests’ wellbeing and focus on these key wellness elements.

Currently the firm is working on a seven-star spa hotel in Norway, which contains guest villas, a luxurious spa and common areas such as restaurants and bars. Soliman’s approach has been to coherently formulate the spaces so that guests can read a continuous language throughout, drawing on nature to tell the story of both the hotel and its setting.

Martin Brudnizki, Founder – Martin Brudnizki Design Studio (MBDS)

Martin Brudnizki’s love for design started from a young age. His mother was a stylist and his father a mechanical engineer; the combination of these elements embedded a deep understanding of aesthetics alongside a grounding in functionality.

Following a number of successful positions at renowned interior design firms, Brudnizki established his eponymous Studio in London in 2000 and a New York Studio in 2012.

The designer has become a symbol – no, an icon – in F&B design because of his ability to sensitively uplift public areas and transform into becoming destinations within their own right for both travellers and locals alike. Statement examples include The Ivy, London; The Beekman in New York and Scarfes Bar inside The Rosewood London – he is currently working to complete new F&B spaces inside long-awaited Four Seasons Madrid.

Since winning Interior Designer of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2018, MBDS (a team of more than 70 talented members) has proven time and time again, through the projects it has completed, that the firm is leading the way in hospitality design on an international scale.

Martin Goddard, Co-Founder – Goddard Littlefair

As a designer, Martin Goddard is not afraid – in fact it’s one of his favourite parts of a project – to roll up his sleeves and relate directly with contractors on site. He overcomes the challenge of being perceived as the interior designer when contractors hear him slip seamlessly into their language and demonstrates that he understands the technicalities of their craft.

Most recently, Goddard and his team completed the interiors inside The Mayfair Townhouse, London. Curious, engaging and witty, the hotel is said to deliver the unexpected and redefines what it means to be a London hotel – think Oscar Wilde meets Alice in Wonderland.

Other projects that Goddard and his team have completed include Villa Copenhagen, Hilton Vienna, Chelsea Barracks, Belvedere Gardens and Spa, The Biltmore Mayfair, Sheraton Grand Warsaw, The Imperial Dubrovnik Restaurant, South Bank Place Spa and Corinthia Malta Spa.

Michael Bories, Design Director & Project Management – Marriott International

Michael Bories became Director Design & Project Management for Marriott International in 2017, following previous roles at Emaar Hospitality Group and Foster + Partners.

Matching last year’s ambitious growth strategy, Marriott International aimed to open 30 new luxury hotels in 2020. The global company currently encompasses a portfolio of more than 7,400 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 135 countries and territories.

Recent projects that have emerged this year from Marriott International include W Ibiza, Abu Dhabi’s debut The Luxury Collection, The Ritz Cartlon Nikko in Japan, Aloft Bali, Renaissance New York Chelsea Hotel and Aloft Tokyo.

Oliver Redfern, Interior Designer – Squid.Inc

Squid.inc is a leading interior design firm, which specialises in hotels, restaurants and clubs. Interior designer Oliver Redfern led the interior design project of Brooklyn Hotel in Manchester.

Strategically located for both convenience and luxury, right in the heart of Manchester, the hotel provides ample opportunity to experience the vibrant city in whichever direction you choose. Brooklyn’s public areas offer an atmosphere of irresistible familiarity. It’s the unplaceable yet undeniable sense of belonging, where outsiders become insiders, that defines Brooklyn as a destination of true Mancunian hospitality; everyone welcomed exactly as they are.

It’s a sanctuary of the urban explorers; a living room away from home, a workplace away from the office, a place where inspiration waits to be discovered and interpreted into an adventure of guests’ own making.

Simon Rawlings, Creative Director – David Collins Studio

As Creative Director of David Collins Studio, Simon Rawlings has overseen the realisation of some of the world’s most iconic hospitality, residential and retail spaces. In the course of two decades at The Studio, he has collaborated with clients such as Harrods, Alexander McQueen and Mandarin Oriental, both in reinventing prominent buildings and establishing important new landmarks.

His most recent headline-grabbing project is Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, which applies a contemporary approach to both aesthetics and hospitality, and has just opened. The hotel’s design takes cues from Japanese architectural disciplines and minimalist design, whilst utilising a refined colour palette influenced by heritage Japanese colour combinations.

Located in the heart of central London’s vibrant Marylebone area, the new luxury hotel features 249 guestrooms and suites, Nobu’s world-class restaurant, a ballroom and meeting spaces – all beautifully conceptualised by David Collins Studio with Make Architects.

Tina Norden, Partner – Conran and Partners

Tina Norden, Partner at Conran and Partners, led the interior design refurb of a building that was known locally as Prague’s most established boutique. Redesigning the 71-key Maximilian Hotel called upon experienced designers to sensitively reimagine and redesign the hotel’s interiors.

Norden’s design approach reflects the cultural and architectural heritage of its urban context, referencing Czech modernism and the progressive art movement influenced by famous avant-garde artist and architectural writer, Karel Teige.

The design team wanted to retain a strong element of Teige’s poetic modernism while creating a sense of place rooted in the city and the neighbourhood. This involved drawing upon the iconic pastel colour palette of Prague’s architecture and local crafts – including weaving and glass-making – for the materiality of the design.

The Brit List 2020 is Hotel Designs’ nationwide search to find the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers operating in Britain. This year’s campaign came to a close on November 13, when the virtual award ceremony unveiled The List as well as the individual winners

To attend The Brit List Winners’ Party, which takes place on April 29, 2021 at Minotti London, please click here. Applications and nominations for The Brit List Awards 2020 will open Summer 2021.

Profile image of Dereck and Beverly Joubert, founders of Great Plains in Africa

In Conversation With: the filmmakers who designed Great Plains

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: the filmmakers who designed Great Plains

Having spent more than 40 years exploring Africa as photographers and filmmakers, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, the founders of Great Plains, have new standards in sustainability, hospitality and humanity. Editor Hamish Kilburn catches up with the dynamic duo to understand authentic luxury hotel design through a wider lens, capturing a broader perspective when it comes to hospitality in the wild…

Profile image of Dereck and Beverly Joubert, founders of Great Plains in Africa

There is something about Africa – the woodlands, wetlands, and seemingly never-ending grasslands in-between – that gives life deeper meaning. I’ve noticed that the sun sets differently here, almost feeling like you’re closer to the sun than any other continent on earth is.

My experience in Africa is a millisecond, though, compared to the time that Dereck and Beverly Joubert have invested in order to learn about this great natural world. Having spent more than 40 years’ exploring these plains as filmmakers and photographers – the pair have produced more than 25 films for National Geographic – to call these two wildlife and conservation experts is an unruly understatement.

In 2006, to fund their wildlife conservation work, Beverly and Dereck channeled their wisdom and love of nature and started a new hospitality venture. Their inspirational journey – which went on to challenge the cookie-cutter approach in safari travel, architecture and design – began when they set up Great Plains, an authentic and iconic tourism conservation organisation.

Today, the brand shelters 16 safari properties, in Botswana, Kenya and Zimbabwe, each designed through the director’s lens to tell unique stories that enhance each camp’s very special sense of place and built to celebrate each destination’s individual character.

Despite being award-winning filmmakers, world-renowned hoteliers and selflessly good human beings through their ongoing charity work, there is not a shred of haughtiness about Beverly and Dereck, as I learn when I catch up with the husband-and-wife team to understand how they, through a purposeful and sustainable approach to luxury hospitality, are helping travellers to capture one-off experiences from a slightly different perspective.

Hamish Kilburn: What initially made you audition for the roles of ‘hotelier’?

Beverly Joubert: We’re explorers, conservationists and filmmakers. As we started the Big Cats Initiative at National Geographic, we soon realised that saving lions one at a time was futile and we needed to conserve large landscapes to save everything in them. To afford this, we decided on high-end tourism as opposed to philanthropy.

Dereck Joubert: To be honest hospitality runs deep in Africa; in our DNA where of course we were all born, so we were inspired by that spirit of coming home and being welcomed. As a result, as I design our camps, I do it with two ’stories’ in mind: the three act ‘ welcome home’ one and whatever story I want to tell through the design of that unique place.

Dereck and Beverly Joubert, filmmakers and wildlife photographers, in a 4x4 with an elephant in the background

Image caption: In 2006, to fund their wildlife conservation efforts, filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert launched Great Plains.

HK: What amendments have you made to the existing script of safari in Africa?

DJ: Oh, I don’t think we have amended the African safari – it transcends us! It may have been about the physical journey (safari being quite simply a journey in Swahili) but if anything I hope we expand it to an inner journey as much as a physical one. Our version of safari is one where you can explore your roots, from millions of years ago, and interrogate your relationship with the other creatures here, our history with them, our very profound and interwoven dependancy. For example there was an ancient cat called Dinofelis that stalked the caves we sheltered in 3.5 million years ago, and possibly forced us out into the grasslands more where we discovered fire and bone marrow that gave us strength, intelligence and the ability to no longer fear large spotted cats. Today we seek out leopards to marvel at their beauty rather than shy away in fear, but we’ve walked this journey of the safari together.

BJ: What does the resonance of meditating at a waterhole with elephants nearby as they rumble do to you? How can we each for that creative energy that the early philosophers and poets sought out in the wilderness, uncluttered and pure. In the style of our camps, we try to add detail and story telling like this in design, in service and as an experience.

HK: What is the current narrative in Africa?

BJ: The Covid-19 death rates in the USA is at about 800 per million people. In Botswana it is 2 per million, so the safety and risk are worlds apart. The outdoor experiences reduce the risk dramatically, but no matter what the rates are, the closed borders have obviously collapsed tourism.

What is evident is that we’re in a cycle of demise that can cause spiralling circles of pandemics. As a result of our nefarious relationship with wild animals placed in captivity in cages in wet markets (in this case), we have sparked an economic crisis, global shutdowns that will lead to a recession, closed borders, and tourism, that communities rely so heavily on in Africa and other places.

DJ: The loss of income has led to many turning to nature to feed themselves at a time when game wardens and anti poaching patrols have been cut back. This perfect storm has led to a second pandemic of destruction of wildlife and a renewed trade in illegal wildlife and bush meat, that find their ways into the wet markets again. So we are seeing a second and third wave of new unexpected viral pandemics as a result. We have to shut down wet markets and the trade in wildlife. We have to review and renew the ways we engage with all animals . We started Project Ranger to support rangers who have been furloughed and keep wildlife areas intact and protected. We have to ensure that there is actually something for travellers to want to seek out when this is all over.

HK: What makes your cast of 660 employees special and unique?

BJ: It is an ensemble cast isn’t it?! I think that the way we work at Great Plains is as a small family business, with a family of employees who do more than just show up. Hospitality in general requires skills that are more involved than that any way – much close to the work as performers – each day to smile and engage in a pleasant way no matter what is going on in your life. I recognise that, so we are sensitised to this and have a policy of support. If a guide is having a bad day, another is primed to reach out and ask him or her what is going on and to step in. Managers do the same to their staff and actually this starts at the top and someone who just joined our EXCO meetings pointed out that I start each session asking each Managing Director what we can do as a whole group to help each week. I know the names of all our staff and most of their families and I don’t want to grow it beyond that point where it becomes impersonal and corporate.

 

HK: Can you talk us through the filmmaker process of storyboarding each scene/camp?

DJ: Each hotel or in our case, camp, is a story. I start with an overall direction and message. In the Selinda camp, for example, I wanted us to re-evaluate our relationship with elephants. The camp is in the heart of the highest density of elephants in the world, but in the past, early explorers like Livingstone and Selous travelled through these areas with guns and a desire for ivory. Selinda was a hunting concession for decades and when we took it over we stopped all killing.

Our relationship with elephants is symbolic of our loss of harmony, so therefore harmony was the solution to ’the question’ the area and the elephants themselves impose on us.

Now I obviously didn’t want to simply populate the décor with elephant images – that would be too easy and cheap. Instead, I designed and cast two life-sized bronze skulls of elephants including bronze tusks but in the forehead of one I had the words “homo nosce the Ipsum” cut in, and in the other “homo nosce  pe Ipsum”, which is Latin for “man know thyself” and “man forgive thyself”. The sculptures are placed on either side of the main entrance with the intention to stimulate a real conversation that starts with us understand who we are and what we have done over the centuries to their peaceful animals, but then  to forgive ourselves (and our ancestors) for who we are.

But that is just the first act, and I wanted to design this with a longer and deeper path towards harmony which in Eastern teachings leans towards the laying out of five fundamental elements the first being the metal skulls, but then you enter a chamber with blue touch of furniture, to represent water and often our guests arrive by boat so I imagined them dragging that element with them, like a smoke trail from the river. Next, you enter for a welcome tea; an open space with a flowing white silk roof to represent air. Beyond that you pass through an open dining area with brown tables, where we serve fresh largely plant based food from the earth, and then to the fire and off to the third act and your resting place, in your room, presumable in perfect harmony and balance.

Only once we understand who we are, and forgive ourselves will we be able to cross a threshold, as one does in this camp, into a new unburdened relationship with both ourselves and elephants, like stepping through a vortex.

It’s not just a story though, I believe that most people arrive and feel that tranquility and settle because of the balance we have created, and so many arriving guest actually sign deeply as they enter this story, this camp. If I can I will briefly describe Mara Plains, that I felt should be an architectural and physical meeting place, also in harmony between three often opposing cultures: The Maasai, the Swahili, the colonials.

But as explorers for National Geographic, we wanted to be the glue as one is behind the lens. So I oriented the camp based on a single and lone tree five km away, drew a line through the camp, and angled it all around this tree. Then I drew a Fibonacci proportion in the ground and had the tent makers make the main tent exactly to those proportions, representing  the ideal gold rectangle one uses in a 35 mm picture frame.

Inside the camp, we imported 75-100 year old railway sleepers as recycled wood (teak) and brass from the original Blue Train 120 years ago. Reds from the Maasai culture represent this very visual association and it didn’t have be head handed because we are in Maasai world so it is everywhere anyway, but the coastal Swahili culture has in influence here so the large Swahili doors behind the showers are a not to them, associated with the sea and water. Each tent fits the Fibonacci proportions creating a film set styled ration that takes you back to the romance of the 1920’s adventures but hopefully without the embedded racism and in appropriate colonialism of that time.

“I added my own collection of campaign furniture as templates and samples for cabinet makes to replicate, which happened at the time of the Indonesian Tsunami where thousands of artisans were left without work.” – Beverly Joubert, co-founder, Great Plains.

HK: How and where do you source your props/artefacts?

BJ: In some cases, we design and make them ourselves, like in Zarafa, in Botswana, which is based on the story of the first giraffe to be seen by westerners as it went on a journey to Paris as a gift to KingCharles X.

Here, I added my own collection of campaign furniture as templates and samples for cabinet makes to replicate, which happened at the time of the Indonesian tsunami where thousands of artisans were left without work, and where tons of mahogany used for houses were smashed down from house scale to ideal furniture scale. So we used the reclaimed mahogany and hired the artisans to make this campaign furniture that is now unique to Zarafa camp. In other cases we just come across something in a market or antique store that we love and can’t live without, so we don’t!

HK: How has your approach on sustainability helped the local community?

BJ: Well, we have delivered something like 6,000 solar lanterns to families that have perviously been off grind, and an amazing addition to that was that the principal of the local school wrote to  thank us because school grades were going up because kids could do their homework after dark. I don’t think the kids liked having do that but… We send nine ladies with very little education from Botswana to India to learn solar circuit board manufacturing technology for six months and to return and develop local businesses from this. We’ve planted more than 5,000 trees and started tree growing initiatives. We have a Great Plains Academy to teach people about hospitality and who to bridge the gap from high school to university.

HK:  It’s clear that, as wildlife filmmakers, you allow nature to call the shots – can you explain more about how guests can give back to nature during their stay?

DJ: To nature, our guests and followers get involved in help fund a rhino calf by naming stand securing its protection on the wild, or supporting Project Ranger to keep front line conservationists at work to avoid this second pandemic. We have a need for $20 donations towards solar lanterns for kids learning at night, as well as $45,000 to move a rhino and indeed, we need an army of ambassadors who don’t donate but lobby against the extraction of wildlife (via hunting or poaching and trade) with their local representative. Everyone can do something.

HK: What major lesson has this journey in hospitality taught you so far?  

BJ: We can all learn from hospitality because it is all about kindness and care; paying attention to details and I find myself taking a lot more care just to find out how someone (even in my team) is doing, randomly, as if I am hosting the world.

HK: 2016 was a pivotal year for you both. Beverly you survived a fatel injury after being attacked by a buffalo while filming your latest materpiece. Dereck, did that event and your recovery change your relationship with nature?

DJ: You know the buffalo attack didn’t really change that relationship, as much as it changed our relationship with ourselves, in that I promised myself not to waste another moment, day or month not totally enjoying my life with Beverly (if I got her back, which I did four times).

HK: Has designing hotels changed your perception at all as wildlife filmmakers?

BJ: Interesting, probably in that it has made me (both of us, I think) understand story telling more, because if you base the entire design of a hotel on a story, as I do, and that is going to be its story for decades it had better be well researched and thought out. So our films have probably evolved into more layered and in depth stories and while I had not connected the two careers in many way, I can see yah prior to this, where I am designing spaces based on a deep philosophy like our relationship with elephants, or intersecting cultures there is more depth to our films.

“I think that all journeys are stories and we are all the heroes of our scripts.” – Dereck Joubert, co-founder, Great Plains.

DJ: A good example is the Okavango film/s where the story is about a river from end to end. But that wasn’t enough, so I re-read Dante’s Divine Comedy partly while Beverly was in hospital recovering from the buffalo attack. And in it, I found two parallels, one of our or my journey and Dante’s as he wove his way from purgatory to parade to find and be reconnected with his love (as I did, over nine months as Beverly slowly came back to life.) Regarding the journey of the river, I flipped the story in the theatrical release to start also in Purgatory (in the desert) and wind our story back to Paradise at the source. Those are the kinds of stories one tells around a campfire about the design of a hotel or camp, not always in a natural history documentary for National Geographic!

I think that all journeys are stories and we are all the heroes of our scripts, (why write yourself in as the bad guy) and we are the storytelling ape. But to us, as much as we love lions and elephants, there are opportunities as films to tell parables that hold up  the mirror to our lives, so we can advance in our relationships, and in our new and renewed contract with nature.

HK: In a sentence, can you explain the synopsis’ of your next masterpieces/camp openings?

BJ: As I walked the banks of the Zambezi River, under spreading pod mahogany trees, I saw a movement in the shade; a herd of elephants ambling towards me chasing their thirst, right passed me and out onto the plains, sliding into the water, leaving me with the name for the new camp on this exact site; Tembo Plains: (elephant in Shona.)

Main image credit: Great Plains

Profile image of Joel Butler, Co-founder of HIX

In the HIX seat: is London still a design & hospitality hub?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In the HIX seat: is London still a design & hospitality hub?

London is the theme of Joel Butler’s second column for Hotel Designs, as we ask the co-founder of HIX Event to use pedal power to explore the current hospitality and design scene in the big city…

“Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner, that I love London town!” The theme of this article takes me back to my roots, and should therefore, in theory at least, should be a relatively straight-forward piece to write about.

Profile image of Joel Butler, Co-founder of HIX

I was born in West London, and I have lived in the East End for 20 years. My work places have zig zagged across town throughout this time. And yet, I feel completely in the deep end writing about the capital at time when the city doesn’t feel like itself – but it is arguably more important to write about it now than it was pre-Covid.

“London is Europe’s beating heart of hospitality and design because…” A wave of hackneyed words envelope my mind: “diversity, history, innovation, fast-paced, energy and culture.” I realise that as valid as these words may be, they’re already very much accepted by everyone within our industry. I strike a line through these cliches as I think of the wonderfully quotable yet horribly over-used Samuel Pepys’ line: ‘A man who is bored of London…something something something” – I vow to not use this Pepys quote in the article.  

Following Lockdown 2.0, and as we drift into the uncharted territories of Tier 3, we are in an extended lockdown that doesn’t feel quite like the first one. There’s now light at the end of the tunnel yet the days seem colder and darker than the first time around. In short, there’s not much hospitality in London to write about so I get on my bike to look for it.

London is a collection of villages: lots of neighbourhoods connected – even the city’s square mile is a village. I set off from my East End village of Leyton and hit the canal, graffitied walls overlooking water make for a huge, damp art gallery that delights and challenges at once. Through Victoria Park and Bethnal Green and there’s no hospitality design to write about because it’s all essentially (or ‘non-essentially’) closed, independent cafes: closed, local pubs: closed. I speed into Old Street and hospitality offerings become lifestyle and boutique, but the doors are locked for now.

“It’s a Tour de Hospitality but I’m the only one racing.” – Joel Butler, Co-founder, HIX Event.

My route zooms past me at speed, Clerkenwell to Midtown, across the bridge to Waterloo, Southwark and into the city. I can’t help but notice the hotels that I pass. It’s a Tour de Hospitality but I’m the only one racing. The Zetter, The Hoxton Holborn, Rosewood London, ME London, crossing the bridge is like a low-budget zombie film where you might glimpse the odd bus or taxi ruining the idea of the apocalypse. Down into Lower Marsh and past the Ruby Lucy, The Hoxton Southwark, The Mondrian, Citizen M and Hilton London Bankside, and across the bridge back into the city to pedal past The Andaz, Mama Shelter, and back into the East End to pass the same closed pubs and cafes but in reverse.

This article, which is all about London being a major hot spot for hospitality and design, isn’t going too well and that hackneyed Pepys quote presents itself again as the easy option: ‘A man who is bored of London…’ I’ll google it when I get home. 

The sun is setting as I free-wheel home and at this point it’s my home of Leyton that single handedly writes the article…

“Londoners design, provide and demand hospitality that reminds us that we’re alive” – Joel Butler, Co-founder, HIX Event.

A restaurant that has been closed since March has suddenly metamorphosised into a pop up takeaway over night, serving really delicious Indonesian food. The queue is socially distanced and snakes 20 deep down the street. The beer and wine shop next-door is taking orders from those queuing and serving drinks, including mulled wine. Drinks are firmly categorised and consumed as takeaway. It smells like winter and the sky is turning orange and pink. People are talking through masks and across 1.5 metres gaps. A man sits on a bench and plays The Kinks’ Waterloo Sunset and it hits me: it’s Friday and I’m in London. The simplicity of this statement is joyous, so I join the queue and write these words on my phone: “Londoners design, provide and demand hospitality that reminds us that we’re alive, we’re in London and it can always feel like Friday.”

It’s a start, and those hotels, design studios and supplier showrooms that I cycled past today are literally bursting to re-open, and there’s no doubt that they’ll be back stronger than ever because of the enduring fact that London keeps going. Pepys’ quote comes to me in a flash as I order a signature lager, brewed just down the road: “A man who is bored of London clearly hasn’t cycled around town for his allocated daily exercise during lock-down.”

HIX Event is the Networking Partner for The Brit List Awards 2020, and Hotel Designs is with HIX every step of the way, as it prepares to launch in November 2021. Between now and then, we’ve scooped Joel Butler up as our resident columnist to inject our pages with a bit of fun and allow our readers to see the industry from a slightly wider perspective.

Main image credit: HIX Event

Render of luxury suite inside Hotell Reisen in Sweden

The Unbound Collection by Hyatt arrives in Sweden

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Unbound Collection by Hyatt arrives in Sweden

Celebrating its rich history, Hotell Reisen in Sweden will mark the first property under The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand in Scandinavia…

Hotell Reisen, which we first wrote about last month, is a 144-key hotel in Stockholm that has just opened as The Unbound Collection’s first property in Sweden.

Render of luxury suite inside Hotell Reisen in Sweden

The hotel has a proud history with origins from the 17th century, bringing the spirit of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt to life in the capital of Sweden. Located in the heart of Stockholm’s old town directly on the waterfront and next to the Royal Castle, Hotell Reisen is the first hotel in Scandinavia under The Unbound Collection by Hyatt  brand and will join the planned Grand Hansa Hotel in Helsinki, Finland and Hyatt Centric Reykjavík, Iceland.

Hotell Reisen pays homage to the building’s extraordinary past, beginning in the 1750s as one of the few places licensed to serve coffee. Dutchman Frederik Reiss ran the popular meeting place for sea captains, merchants and sailors, and soon his daughter started to rent rooms to travelers. True to its origin, Hotell Reisen has remained a destination for guests from all over the world. Decorated with ornaments from centuries past including a 350-year-old footprint in the bricks of the hotel lobby, the building offers guests the opportunity to discover the hotel’s rich history and experience a one-of-a-kind stay.

“We are truly proud to be opening our doors and unfolding a new chapter for Hotell Reisen in Stockholm,” said Tomas Tegfors, general manager, Hotell Reisen. “Celebrating the rich history of Hotell Reisen, we are excited to welcome travelers seeking experiences unlike any other and to deliver elevated service.”

Each of the 144 newly renovated, spacious guestrooms creates a sophisticated ambiance rooted in the culture of Scandinavia, with many featuring outstanding views of the sea and islands of Stockholm. Each also offer walk-in showers, while many also include private saunas. Commonly known as “bastu”, the sauna has a long tradition in Scandinavia and is a great way to relax after an eventful day in the city.

Classic Swedish cuisine with a modern twist and exceptional drinks are served at the hotel’s restaurant for guests who are looking to make memories and tell their tale afterwards.

Hotell Reisen will be the eighth property in Europe within The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand, joining The WellemHotel SOFIA BarcelonaPárisi Udvar Hotel BudapestHôtel du Palais BiarritzHôtel du LouvreHôtel MartinezGreat Scotland Yard Hotel, as well the planned Byblos Hotel and Grand Hansa Hotel, both expected to open in 2022.

Main image credit: Hyatt

Idle Rocks Hotel, St Mawes, Opening Day, June 24th 2013

Checking in: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes, Cornwall

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes, Cornwall

During the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, editor Hamish Kilburn managed to escape briefly to check in to The Idle Rocks, St Mawes in Cornwall – a hotel that knows a thing or two about battling adversity – which shelters an unmatched personality, character and style…

Idle Rocks Hotel, St Mawes, Opening Day, June 24th 2013

Being close to the water’s edge – so close you can hear shrunken waves break on the shoreline – does something to us, mentally. Not only does it send a reflux through our bodies to sharply loosen our shoulders to allow for a deeper exhale from a life that feels constantly left on fast-forward, but it also enables us to find a different perspective (something we could all benefit from, I’m sure, right now).

If like me you grew up by the coast before diving into the deep end of city life, then you would have also felt the magnetic pull, like gravity, that regularly drags me back to the edge of the land. My recent nostalgic fix came when I travelled down to Cornwall, to check in to The Idle Rocks, St Mawes.

Image of exterior of The Idle Rocks St Mawes

Image credit: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes

The hotel, which is the brainchild of husband and wife duo Karen Richards and David Richards, was originally opened in 2013. Two years prior, the pair fell in love with the building that now shelters the hotel. It’s position right at the water’s edge of the harbour, inspired the name of the hotel as well as its quirky, contemporary and stripped-back luxury style. “Our aim was to create a hotel that was young, fresh and relaxing,” explained Karen in an interview with Hotel Designs. “We wanted to make it a home-from-home, eliminating formalities and in this way, differentiate ourselves from our more traditional competitors.”

Image of door opening in St Mawes hotel to see the sea

Image credit: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes

Karen, who lives and breathes design, envisioned the boutique gem with its own identity, when she fell in love with the property. But for David, whose career within motor sport has led to great acclaim in a wide range of disciplines from F1 to Sports Car racing and rallying, hospitality was a new adventure, which (it turns out) shared similar traits to the motor sport industry, such as forming the ‘dream team’ – from housekeeping to chefs, front-of-house staff to savvy marketing – in order to find that sweet spot of personable luxury hospitality.

With the current Covid-19 crisis dominating headlines and sadly bringing hospitality to its knees, it would be easy to forget other storms that The Idle Rocks, St Mawes has weathered over the years – but we must not as it forms an integral chapter in the property’s history. Less than a year after first opening, a 90-mph winds hit St Mawes combined with an extremely high tide. The impact of the storm destroyed the ground floor of the hotel. “The following day, I was on site with the team and we did what we could to board up the smashed windows,” Karen painfully recalls. “Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, that evening another squall came in and caused even more damage.”

It took the team just two months to definitely repair the damage before reopening once more, with more soul and purpose than ever.

Seven years later, following the hotel being the subject of major broadsheets for its unparalleled hospitality offering, I arrive to check in to the boutique legend that is The Idle Rocks St Mawes.

Walking through the front door evokes the same effortless, refreshing coastal vibes as the destination itself has done for centuries, which has allured the likes of writers, artists and even royalty alike. No other hotel can match Karen’s home-from-home style, which in the lobby/lounge area is complete with deep, comfy sofas and furnishings that come in every shade of blue.

“In a coastal hotel, it is all too easy for the design to be predictable and something I worked hard to avoid.” – Karen Richards, co-owner, The Idle Rocks, St Mawes.

The art is a story in itself – framed traditional woollen swimsuits and abstract pieces that depict boats painted in primary colours. “We have very consciously focused on local Cornish Artists throughout the hotel,” explains Karen. “In a coastal hotel, it is all too easy for the design to be predictable and something I worked hard to avoid. I love visiting antique shops and fairs, which is where a lot of pieces within the property came from.”

Although the design inside the F&B areas is impressive, with wooden bucket-like chandeliers and vibrant art that hangs on a rustic wall, it is the view that stretches over the working harbour, seen from all perspectives in the restaurant, that is this hotel’s wildcard and offers guests a window into the community outside.

Colourful and vibrant restaurant

Image credit: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes

Acting as an ever-changing backdrop as storms come and go, the restaurant, which presents young chef Dorian Janmaat’s locally inspired menu, is the beating heart of the hotel.

Upstairs, each of the 19 guestrooms and suites have been individually designed to sensitively inject a meaningful sense of place. Naturally, the colour scheme is toned down with just a few flashes of colour to allow the view over the water to become part of the hotel experience, which it does very quickly.

Through a translucent sliding door, the bathrooms include a deep, freestanding Victoria + Albert bath that is positioned right next to the window. Quirky nods to the hotel’s coastal location, such as shells that act as soap dishes and distressed wooden framed mirrors above the sink. A Rainfinity shower from hansgrohe with Axor fittings takes this wellness scene to a new level, and is positioned in such as way at the back of the bathroom so that you can see outside through the window but people cannot see in. The bathroom is completed with a quality Villeroy & Boch toilet with Geberit push button panels.

Light and minimalist sea-themed bathroom

Image credit: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes

Considering Cornwall’s etched reputation in the history books for delivering quality hospitality time and time again, The Idle Rocks St Mawes stands out from the crowd as being something different on the luxury scene in the westcountry. It’s colourful and vibrant personality makes it hard for any guest to check out of what feels very much like a home away from home. And with my tastebuds teased, body rested and state of mind recovered I reluctantly check out of this boutique jewel, taking one last look at the postcard perfect view of St Mawes, a town I will no-doubt be returning to shortly.

Main image credit: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes

5 minutes with: Julie Ingham & Burlington on bespoke bathroom design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: Julie Ingham & Burlington on bespoke bathroom design

Following the spectacular launch of Burlington’s Bespoke Collection earlier this year – and to mark the start of our Year in Review series – editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with Burlington’s marketing manager, Faye Froy, and Julie Ingham who was the designer behind that colourful and eclectic range of bathroom products…

British designer Julie Ingham is known for creating patterns and illustrations for packaging, greeting cards, homewares, textiles and books. However, recently, she was asked by Burlington to take a leap into a new segment of the design industry, to help the bathroom brand create its most recent hero collection. 

Representing a new era of classic bathroom design, Bespoke by Burlington is a distinctive and unique collection of coloured and hand-decorated ceramics. Offering true customisation, the new products provide architects, specifiers and designers with an unsurpassed level of individuality, placing Burlington at the very forefront of modern-day bathroom design, whilst remaining true to its historic influences and style.

Image caption: Oriental Blossum from the Bespoke by Burlington collection

To understand more about the collection, I caught up with Ingham and Faye Froy, Marketing Manager at Burlington:

Hamish Kilburn: What are the challenges of designing a ‘bespoke’ range for a commercial market?

Faye Froy: The Bespoke collection was created to offer the customer alternatives to our normal white finish. Whilst white looks stunning and will still be the main choice, there is increasing demand for colour and for decoration. We developed the technology to make the wide range offered in the Bespoke collection and this gives Burlington the chance to offer colours, single colour decoration and multi-colour decoration. Now we have the process fine-tuned we can produce these with short lead times (6 weeks) on a made to order basis. Within the range is Bespoke lettering which allows Burlington to personalise with the name of the home such a “The Old Dairy” and we can also produce with hotel or business logos on.

There are no specific challenges in extending this to the commercial market, and for contracts we can produce bespoke designs if the project is looking for a unique design or unique colour.

HK: Why is 2020 the ideal year to launch the Bespoke Collection?

FF: It was always part of our strategy to launch the Bespoke collection this year. When the Covid-19 Pandemic hit we quickly agreed that we still wanted to launch the collection but in a different way. Instead of the launch event we originally planned on hosting in London, we moved the launch online, engaging various high-profile influencers to promote the brand and a two-week launch was created. It was such an exciting month where we created such a buzz and we gained so much coverage through our press and social channels.

It was important to Burlington that we still went ahead with the launch. Many businesses this year have delayed their new products to 2021 but that gave us more of a reason to push ahead and create something new and exciting for the brand.

HK: What was the thinking behind the colours you chose for the collection?

Julie Ingham: The colours came from an enormous amount of research into bathroom trends.  I looked at what colours people already had in their bathrooms and how they used them and what they were comfortable with. I also looked at colour historically in bathrooms both domestically and commercially. But probably most importantly how colour would sit on such an iconic bathroom shape.  We wanted to give the product a new edge and feel, whilst still retaining a balance and direction towards what the shape represents. I Photo-shopped about 200 colours onto basins to get the right feel. Colour is so individual and logistically we had to choose three for production. I think the colour choice was harder than the pattern choice!

HK: How would you describe the collection in three words?

JI: Stylish, inspired and iconic.

HK: If you were to design an extension to the Bespoke Collection, what themes would you explore?

JI: A children’s range, with boats and bunting perhaps in nursery style pastel shades. I adore the work on Eric Ravillious, and Midwinter’s Jessie Tait, so perhaps a nod in their direction, geometric and landscapes. Trees, forests, dark greens swaying movements. My personal favourites from the collection we designed are the Oriental Blossom and Spring Forest designs and I would like to continue the organic feel that I think these two have.

HK: How has the pandemic changed peoples’ perception of bathrooms in hotel design?

FF: The bathroom is a room that certainly should not be overlooked. Often heavily featured on Instagram, blogs and in magazines with the heading of ‘the best Instagrammable bathrooms to visit,’ consumers are looking for high design quality throughout every room in a hotel, and the bathroom will often heavily influence their decision on whether to book a stay. Whether the bathroom is bold and colourful, or is a spa-like haven to retreat to, consumers will wish to stay in hotels with Instagrammable bathrooms.

With the pandemic resulting is us all spending much more time in our homes, getting away to a hotel whether for a one-night stay or a week away is more important than ever. Consumers will want to feel like they are really escaping day to day life, so hotel design will become more important than ever to offer the guest that true feeling of relax, rest and rejuvenate. The bathroom will continue to play a big part of that theme.

Burlington is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Burlington

Sustainability in the bathroom – it’s all in the materials

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sustainability in the bathroom – it’s all in the materials

The Swiss bathroom specialist, Laufen, has set new sustainability trends in bathroom design. Editor Hamish Kilburn investigates…

With unprecedented performance properties, the revolutionary SaphirKeramik, found in all Laufen products, bestows possibilities and versatility never seen before, enabling exceptional shaping where finely-defined curves and tight edge radii of 1-2mm are created.

This unique ceramic is considerably thinner and has an improved bending strength, compared to traditional bathroom ceramics. Laufen is now able to produce wafer-thin, yet exceptionally robust ceramic bodies, which in turn makes it more sustainable by reducing weight with a lower consumption of raw materials and energy, required for the manufacturing process. SaphirKeramik is not a replacement for any existing materials; instead, it broadens the range of forms of expression of the natural base material.

Since its launch in 2013 SaphirKeramik has developed into a favourite material of many architects and bathroom planners, because it permits a whole new design language within bathroom ceramics, which could not have been realised in the same way with conventional ceramics. Designed under the creative leadership of superstar Dutch designer Marcel Wanders, the contemporary ‘The New Classic’ collection interprets classical styles using Laufen’s innovative SaphirKeramik to help create soft, gentle feminine curves, alongside angular, masculine elements.

Since you’re here, why not read Hotel Designs’ tour of Roca and Laufen UK headquarters?

Image caption: The New Classic, designed by Marcel Wanders for Laufen

Image caption: The New Classic, designed by Marcel Wanders for Laufen

Laufen is also taking responsibility for the its impact on the environment by developing ways to recycle wastewater. In collaboration with Austrian design studio EOOS and long-term research by Eawag, Laufen have developed a ground-breaking urine separation toilet that opens a new chapter in sustainable wastewater management: Save! Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Save! will revolutionise sanitation, reduce the environmental issue of wastewater pollution and provide a solution fit for the 21st century.

The key innovation in Save! is the “urine trap”, created by EOOS Design, which diverts urine to a concealed outlet using only surface tension. By trapping the urine – which contains a high number of nutrients – the device allows the liquid to be repurposed into a  fertiliser called Aurin.

"urine trap", created by EOOS Design for Laufen

Image caption: “urine trap”, created by EOOS Design for Laufen

The installation of urine separation toilets into hotels, public areas and residential developments will lead to sustainable and energy-saving wastewater management, seamlessly integrating the circular economy by efficiently treating the collected wastewater, recovering and recycling the preserved nutrients.

Laufen is committed to contributing towards the development of innovative technologies to solve this urgent problem, developing new, sustainable solutions that will help save lives and improve sanitation conditions in developing countries.

Laufen is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Laufen

In the factory with sustainable bed & mattress manufacturer Naturalmat

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In the factory with sustainable bed & mattress manufacturer Naturalmat

With its fascinating storyline stretching from luxury superyachts to international hotels, bed and mattress brand Naturalmat’s stamp of approval can be traced right back to the source, as editor Hamish Kilburn learns when he pays a visit to the brand’s HQ in Topsham, Devon…

The story behind the success of bed and mattress manufacturer Naturalmat, and its esteemed reputation for being a conscious brand, all started more than 20 years ago. The Tremlett family, boat builders at the time, were in their yard in Topsham, Devon, and realised that there was a void in the luxury marine industry.

Mark Tremlett and his father designed luxury superyachts for the super-rich, which were complete with high-end fittings and fixtures while flooded with innovative space-saving solutions. Each vessel that would come out of the yard was perfectly designed for its heavy pocketed owner.

And yet, the family realised that while the luxury marine industry had evolved into an exciting design-led arena, the pre-existing beds that were being specified within these floating abodes were not fit for purpose. “I saw that people were still sleeping on polyurethane foam mattresses underneath it all,” said Mark, who is the co-founder of Naturalmat, explained to Hotel Designs. “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.” It was during this lightbulb moment when Naturalmat was born.

Image caption: The Rosemoor Bed | Image credit: Naturalmat

Image caption: The Rosemoor Bed | Image credit: Naturalmat

Five interesting facts about Naturalmat

  • The company saves approximately 40,000 kw per year through its various eco initiatives
  • Naturalmat offers three 100 per cent natural fibre mattresses, and three natural fibre plus pocket spring mattresses
  • Naturalmat uses the husk of a coconut within its mattresses, which gives the user a fairly straight, robust fibre. But if you twist these very tightly and unravel them, they retain that curl which is then perfect to tease into a pad —in the absence of metal coils, it’s the natural ‘spring’ layer that provides the structure and bounce on each mattress
  • Naturalmat does not use fire retardant chemicals in any of its products
  • As of last year, Naturalmat done away with using plastic in packaging, and now the various packaging across the business is either from potato starch, corn starch, sugar cane, unbleached cotton, recycled kraft boxes, paper bags, or large, infinitely reusable mattress-sized duffle bags.

A few years after all but conquering the marine and nursery industry with locally and intuitively designed mattresses, in 2008 the company was approached by Simon Woodroffe, founder of Yo! Sushi, who had just launched a new hotel concept, YOTEL. Naturalmat soon landed its first major hotel project, when Woodroffe specified the brand for YOTEL New York. With smaller sized rooms, which the hotel brand refers to as cabins, the meaningful partnership was stitched together. It was this leap into the hospitality market that allowed the Devonshire-based family business to boom on the international hotel design scene.

Following the extensive project inside the 669-key lifestyle hotel, more relationships between the bed manufacturer and hotel brands such as Qbic, Six Senses Resorts, Z Hotels, Hoxton Hotels forged as Naturalmat’s unique and fully sustainable manufacturing process complimented brand, sustainability and quality standards.

A bedroom inside Hoxton Southwark

Image caption: Hoxton Hotels specifies Naturalmat mattreses | Image credit: Hoxton Hotels/Ennismore

Following the bed and mattress brand winning Best in British Product Design at The Brit List Awards 2019, I headed down south to understand how each mattress is made, by hand. But before we dive in, first let’s explore where the materials are sourced from. The organic lambswool, used to create comfortable products that are unmatched, comes from Soil Association certified farms in Devon, Dorset and Somerset. The company purchases direct from organic farmers, not just to ensure the highest quality but also to give the farmers a better return than taking the wool to market. As a result, the company is consciously supporting the local farming community.

Once the wool has been purchased, here is the step-by-step process behind each and every handmade Naturalmat mattress:

  • First the roll of wool and cotton herringbone ticking is cut to the size of the mattress that has been ordered.
  • The company’s precise sewing team then stitch the handles onto the edge panels, as well as the Naturalmat label onto the surface.
A women sewing a mattress

Image caption: Anne is one of Naturalmat’s precise sewing team | Image credit: Naturalmat

  • Downstairs in the mattress making section of the factory, a team of two layer the mattress ‘sandwich’ starting with coir (or a spring unit, if being used), layering with natural latex, mohair, cashmere, or whatever else the ‘mattress recipe’ calls for.
Two men in the factory designing and making Naturalmat mattresses

Image caption: A team of two layer the mattress ‘sandwich’ starting with coir | Image credit: Naturalmat

  • When this stage is complete, each mattress and topper that is manufactured gets a top layer of organic lambswool, and the covers are loosely stretched out onto either side. The side panel is then rolled around the edges and loosely pinned.
  • This ‘sandwich’ is then moved to a large table where the brand’s expert upholsterer (who’s been making mattresses for more than 20 years) runs a clever tape-edging machine around it, which seals the mattress sandwich with the brand’s signature grey wool and cotton piping. The mattress is then flipped (bit tricky for Emperor-sized units), then the team tape-edge the other side.
  • Once the ‘sandwich’ is sealed, it’s moved across to a jig which props it up on its side, allowing the team to tuft all the buttons through the mattress. The tufting is what keeps all the natural fibres in place, as well as offers that bit of ‘puff’ for comfort.
  • The finished mattress is then slid into one of the company’s large, recyclable, sugar-cane derived packaging bags, sealed, then loaded onto a Naturalmat van ready for delivery.

What’s as impressive as the quality behind each product is the company’s passion around sustainability. From the very beginning, the company took a different approach to the rest of the trade. The factory, for example, that shelters this innovative manufacturing process is on its own an eco-friendly machine, complete with solar paneling that powers the building and the operations inside.

A blue bed in a modern room

Image credit: Naturalmat

From a materials perspective, Naturalmat could not understand why the majority of mattresses were made using man-made synthetic materials that were neither biodegradable nor from a sustainable source.

Most recently, the bed and mattress brand’s eco credentials caught the attention of Geetie Singh-Watson, a self-proclaimed warrior against greenwashing in hospitality, as she was designing The Bull Inn in Totnes. Singh-Watson was only interested in sourcing all products and services locally and researched each brand thoroughly before specifying each and every product within the eight-key pub/hotel.

A close up of a bed inside The Bull Inn in Totnes

Image caption: Naturalmat supplied the beds for The Bull Inn, Totnes credit: Rachel Hoile Photography

With the brand catching the attention of authentic independents and large chains – it is currently processing an order for the first urban Six Senses hotel, which will open in New York – the brand’s modern attitude matched with traditional ethos is going from strength to strength, and in turn is educating the hotel design and hospitality arena on the values of conscious design.

Naturalmat is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Naturalmat

An image of a pool outside a villa

RAKxa, a revolutionary wellness retreat in Bangkok, opens its doors

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
RAKxa, a revolutionary wellness retreat in Bangkok, opens its doors

The new ‘integrative wellness and medical retreat, RAKxa, has opened its doors to guests in Bangkok’s ‘Green Lung’. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes… 

Set in Bangkok’s preserved ‘Green Lung’, a protected jungle-clad island on the Chao Phraya River, RAKxa is a 60-key retreat (27 villas are currently open), which shelters tailored wellness programmes designed by certified medical doctors.

An image of a pool outside a villa

These programmes combine advanced medical treatments with revered holistic therapies alongside renowned Thai hospitality, resulting in a world-class medical destination.

A mix of traditional materials and crafts have been used in a contemporary styling to create a medical wellness retreat that has avoided the ‘spa’ look whilst ensuring the crisp, neutral tones are not associated with a hospital. Traditional materials include rattan, bamboo, reclaimed wood, earth-wear, ceramics, brass, jute, mulberry paper and water hyacinth. Light colours of teal and gentle greens are used throughout the premises to soothe and restore an element of calm. Showcasing the serene location next to the river, traditional river boats decorate the gym area as well as elements such as old balers used to decorate the walls.

RAKxa uses objects throughout the premises that may not traditionally be considered art, such as teapots, chairs and stools. These all have a sense of place and are considered as traditional Thai decor, based on the countries’ history. One area proudly displays 72 teapots along a shelving unit, all made from a local southern Thai pottery maker and each unique to one another. Using local artisans to create the rugs and woven wall decor, RAKxa exemplifies traditional Thai styling, creating the ultimate wellness retreat where Thai hospitality oozes through the design.

This ground-breaking enhanced wellness retreat is the first of its kind in Thailand and promises a fully transformative experience through personalised three-to-fourteen day programmes with long-term health goals in mind.

Main image credit: RAKxa

Bvlgari render of Miani hotel

Bvlgari Hotels to open debut property in the US

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bvlgari Hotels to open debut property in the US

Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts has announced the agreement for a new hotel in Miami Beach, scheduled to open in 2024…

The luxury hotel brand, Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts, is on a roll, following announced projects in Paris, to open in 2021, Moscow and Rome in 2022 and Tokyo in 2023.

Bvlgari render of Miani hotel

Its latest announcement to arrive in Miami will bring the Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts Collection to eleven properties, including Milan, London, Dubai, Shanghai, Beijing and Bali.

The new hotel in Miami will be located at 100 21st street in Miami Beach, and will mark Bvlgari Hotel’s debut in the United States. Waterfront located with beautiful beaches while being a short walk from the city’s most vibrant attractions and South Beach’s trendy Ocean Drive, the Bvlgari Hotel Miami Beach will offer stunning ocean views just a few steps from the exciting Miami Art Deco district.  

The building hosting the Bvlgari Hotel Miami Beach was originally designed as hotel by Miami architect Albert Anis in the late 1950’s, as part of the Miami Modern movement in Miami Beach; it is a contributing building located in the National Register Architectural District and was well known as a centre of events and parties for the Hollywood Crowd descending on Miami Beach for the winter.  

Image credit: Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts

“We are particularly proud to have secured such an extraordinary location for the new Bvlgari Hotel in Miami Beach,” said Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bvlgari. “This will be our first property in the United States which is a key market for our Brand and we are delighted to add the vibrant and glamorous Miami Beach to our Collection. We are convinced that the Bvlgari Hotel Miami Beach, to be opened in 2024, will represent an irresistible Roman Jeweler Hospitality, a unique ultra luxury experience in the American upscale hotel market.”

The design project, which will be curated , like all the other Bvlgari Hotels, by the Milanese architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel, will contemplate around 100 rooms, most of them suites, and a full range of luxury facilities including an outdoor swimming pool, a large spa and fitness center, and a Bvlgari restaurant and bar both curated by Italian three Michelin-star chef Niko Romito. 

Main image credit: Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts

Image of Sonar bath from Laufen

How a rise in wellness & wellbeing is inspiring new evolutions in the bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How a rise in wellness & wellbeing is inspiring new evolutions in the bathroom

In light of recent events, people are increasingly open to the idea of ‘self-care’ and grasp the importance of wellness and with this bathrooms have become our modern sanctuaries. Bathroom brand Laufen explains…

Image of Sonar bath from Laufen

We now have the technology and products easily available to be able to cleanse, pamper, soak and relax.

Smart technology has become part of our everyday lives and the bathroom is no exception, with technological features coming into play. Shower toilets are an evolving market worldwide and we are seeing an increasing demand within the sector for innovative solutions.

Impressing with a compact design and simple functions, Laufen’s Cleanet Navia, designed exclusively by Peter Wirz, deliberately focusses on the core task of a shower toilet: washing without compromising on hygiene. Providing 3.5 litres of fresh water per minute in a high volume shower jet, allows for ultimate comfort whilst leaving users feeling thoroughly clean.  The WC can be easily operated with the intelligent and convenient rotary button on the side or via a smartphone app. With ergonomic controls and an intuitive design this is perfect for hospitality settings.

Navia toilet by Laufen

Image credit: Laufen

Freestanding baths are the epitome of  luxurious spa-inspired bathrooms. As well as creating an impressive focal point, freestanding baths add opulence and luxury into any bathroom space. A great example of this can be seen in Laufen’s designer collection Sonar. Now more than ever, we need a place to escape and the freestanding Sonar bath enables true relaxation. With a  lavish backrest and a compact bath tray, perfect for all your essentials, Laufen offers the ultimate comfort in bathing.

Laufen’s Marbond is also a great example of innovative use of material. Marbond is a unique material, consisting of two layers, which are firmly bonded to one another and refined with a high-quality gel coat surface finish. The result is a fine surface texture which has a pleasant and warm natural touch, excellent for spa-like environments.

Shower Tray - Marbond

Image credit: Laufen

Laufen has recently used this revolutionary material for the new Laufen Pro Marbond shower trays. Available in over 30 standard sizes, the shower trays are durable, hygienic, easy to clean and have the added benefit of anti-slip. Marbond is also customisable, making it ideal for wetrooms and custom bathroom spaces.

Laufen is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Laufen

 

Meliá Hotels International to open fourth hotel in Milan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Meliá Hotels International to open fourth hotel in Milan

The 70-key five-star hotel, which will be sheltered inside one of the most recognisable buildings in Piazza Cordusio, will become Meliá Hotels International’s fourth property in Milan when it opens in 2023…

Following the reopening of ME Dubai this week, Meliá Hotels International and Generali Real Estate have announced that they will be partnering together in a unique project in Milan: a new Gran Meliá hotel opening in the city centre in 2023. 

Significant buildings in the portfolio of Generali Real Estate in Europe (photo gallery updated at May 2020)

Image credit: Meliá Hotels International

The five-star hotel will be the result of the complete refurbishment and restoration of the historic Palazzo Venezia, one of the most recognisable buildings in Piazza Cordusio, just a few metres from Piazza del Duomo in the centre of Milan. The building owns its name to Generali’s Venetian roots: it was designed in the late XIX century by architect Luca Beltrami, built by the Generali Group as its headquarters in Milan, and hosted the Generali offices until the move of the Generali Tower in CityLife.

A render of a contemporary lobby

Image credit: Meliá Hotels International

The transformation of the building into a luxury hotel will be the perfect transition owing to its monumental architecture and innate elegance, coupled with state-of-the-art, world-class hospitality. After the renovation, the building will comply with the criteria required to obtain the LEED Gold certification, an international sustainability recognition that is particularly remarkable in the case of a historical building. Furthermore, as a hotel, the building will be accessible to the public for the first time in its history.

“Italy is one of the world’s greatest tourist destinations and it is a privilege for us to offer iconic hotels such as the Gran Meliá in Milan, which bring even greater recognition to our brands”, commented Gabriel Escarrer, Vice President and CEO of the hotel company, who also assures that “thanks to our efforts to raise the quality of our portfolio, we will be in the best possible condition to face the recovery and once again attract demand in the most competitive destinations in the world.” 

A render of a modern and contemporary bar/lounge within the hotel

Image credit: Meliá Hotels International

Thanks to its unique location, the new Gran Meliá hotel will set a new benchmark for luxury travel, providing the perfect base from which to explore Milan for leisure and business travellers alike. It is ideally situated to discover the city of fashion and design, the artistic and cultural monuments, whilst also being within easy access of the business and financial hubs. 

After an extensive renovation, the building – property of a fund managed by Generali Real Estate SGR – will preserve its majestic historical façade and will house 70 luxurious rooms designed to offer guests the most unforgettable stay. True to any Gran Melia experience, the hotel will offer unparalleled food and drink experiences, offering gourmet travellers a selection of the finest Italian and international cuisine. The building will also feature a rooftop bar and terrace, offering breath-taking 360° views of the city from a unique viewpoint, under the characteristic dome.  

“With this important investment, we confirm our confidence in the strength of Milan and its come-back among the most important business and travel destination, after the pandemic crisis”, commented Aldo Mazzocco, CEO of Generali Real Estate. “As a long-term investor, we selected a world-class and forward-looking partner such as Melia, which shares with us a ‘Mediterranean’ root and style, to both preserve and transform one of our most iconic buildings into a high-end hotel”.

Another of the brand’s hallmarks is its variety of “exceptional experiences”, a unique collection of experiences to help guests discover and enjoy the destination and designed for travellers who wish to explore the true essence of the city.  

This hotel will be a new addition to the exclusive Gran Meliá family, an exceptional collection of premium hotels located in the most desired destinations in the world and defined by elegance in every detail and rooted in Spanish style. The brand exudes sophistication and aesthetic refinement, values that fit naturally with the Milan ambience. 

The addition of the Gran Meliá hotel in Milan is a further example of Meliá Hotels International’s commitment to growth in Italy, and in particular, in Milan, where it already operates hotels under three of its brands: Meliá Milano, ME Milano Il Duca and INNSIDE Milano Torre Galfa. In addition, the company also has hotels in Rome and Genoa. 

Main image credit: Meliá Hotels International

Main image for Hotel Designs LIVE

Speakers announced for first Hotel Designs LIVE event in 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Speakers announced for first Hotel Designs LIVE event in 2021

Following two successful events, Hotel Designs LIVE will return on February 23, 2021, with a global line-up of speakers who will appear in a series of four engaging panel discussions. Editor Hamish Kilburn, who will host the event, reveals all…

Main image for Hotel Designs LIVE

It all started in June 2020. The temperatures in the UK soared to record-breaking highs, which helped the industry awaken from its forced hibernation with passion, energy and optimism. At the time, we were going live to our global audience for the very first time with the aim to keep the conversation flowing and the industry connected during the Covid-19 crisis.

Following a successful debut, Hotel Designs LIVE returned in October 2020 with a new production crew, a fresh panel of speakers and a slightly different tone. UK hospitality was slowly being patched up; hoteliers were polishing off their post-war opening strategies that would reassure the post-corona consumer and the focus for designers  and archtiects was around adding personality to eliminate hotels looking and feeling like sterile shells in a post-pandemic arena.

Since then, though, a second lockdown and a carefully monitored government-led tiered system has left yet more dents on UK hospitality, with other destinations around the globe suffering from similar restrictions; hotels were forced to close or at least part-close once more and the industry felt the sting of the pandemic’s tail with more distressed assets were being announced. Meanwhile, the editorial desk at Hotel Designs exposed the desperate methods that some designers are using in order to win business in turbulent times.

So, with discussions and debates far from over on how the pandemic will impact the global hotel design and hospitality landscape, Hotel Designs LIVE is back with purpose! While the industry is still somewhat socially distanced, the first of three scheduled Hotel Designs LIVE events to take place in 2021 will further amplify conversations unlike any other with the help of what might possibly be the brand’s most renowned speakership line-up to date.

Here are our confirmed speakers (so far) for the event, as well as the topics that we will explore:

Secure your place in the audience for the editor’s welcome.

Secure your place in the audience for session 1: Floor 20, Room 31 – Checking in 10 years from now.

Secure your place in the audience for session 2: Sustainability, beneath the surface.

Secure your place in the audience for session 3: Safe & sound hospitality & hotel design

Secure your place in the audience for session 4: A new era of wellness in hotel design.

“With three Hotel Designs LIVE series planned for 2021, our aim is to further challenge conventional views and opinions in global hotel design and hospitality.” – Hamish Kilburn, Editor, Hotel Designs.

In addition to the live interviews and panel discussions with handpicked industry experts – and to ensure that the event is bridging the gap between hospitality suppliers and designers, architects, hoteliers and developers – the conference also included structured ‘PRODUCT WATCH’ pitches around each session, allowing suppliers the opportunity to pitch their products and services in a ‘live’ environment to the hospitality buyers that are tuned in.

“While the industry’s Covid-19 restrictions continue to change lanes, Hotel Designs LIVE will continue to quickly adapt so that we can serve the design, architecture and hospitality industry with purpose,” said editor Hamish Kilburn who will host Hotel Designs LIVE for a third time in February. “With three Hotel Designs LIVE series planned for 2021, our aim is to further challenge conventional views and opinions in global hotel design and hospitality.”

If you are a designer, architect, hotelier  or developer and would like to secure your complimentary seats in the audience, click here. If you are a supplier to the hotel design industry and would like to promote your latest product or services to the Hotel Designs LIVE audience, please contact Katy Phillips via email or call +44 (0)1992 374050.

Main image credit: Oladimeji Odunsi/Unsplash

Render of what London Olympia will look like in 2023

cititzenM to land in Olympia London in 2023

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
cititzenM to land in Olympia London in 2023

The fifth citizenM hotel in London will be in the regenerated Olympia London exhibition centre, a £1.3bn mixed development in cooperation with Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance International; featuring a state-of-the art live music venue and conference centres set to open in 2023…

Render of what London Olympia will look like in 2023

citizenM London Olympia will be the brand’s fifth hotel in London, featuring, for the first time, a listed living area: the historic Apex room. The 145-key hotel will comprise the first floor with front-of-house and three guest room floors on top of the existing historic building. 

citizenM’s hybrid hotels offer travellers luxury accommodation at affordable prices in prime urban centres. This latest addition will be part of a major £1.3bn Olympia London redevelopment project, led by Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance International, that will create a new cultural hub in West London. The new neighbourhood will include a four-screen arthouse cinema, 80,000 sq ft performing arts space, 1,500-seat theatre, restaurants, shops, cafés, hotels and 550,000 sq ft of office and co-working space. The Heatherwick Studio and SPPARC-designed project will also see the redevelopment of the existing exhibition halls and 2.5 acres of new public space created. 

“We’re taking a strategic approach to expansion in London,” commented Klaas van Lookeren Campagne, CEO of citizenM hotels. “Despite the current challenges in both the hotel and conference industries, we are confident in the positive future outlook for citizenM, and therefore Olympia London fitted the brief perfectly. We believe our offer of affordable luxury accommodation will appeal to visitors of the conference centre, as well as the theatre and music venues, and confirms our commitment to expand in London’s most desirable neighbourhoods.”

Chairman of Yoo Capital, John Hitchcox, said: “Having citizenM as an anchor operator is a huge positive for the Olympia project. They are an ideal partner to have on board as we continue our work to transform this area into a destination for culture and creativity and today marks a major milestone towards the realisation of a new vision for Olympia London.”

The hotel interiors will be designed by citizenM’s Amsterdam-based partner Concrete and will feature furniture from long-term collaborator Vitra. The guest rooms 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. Since June, citizenM is also offering contactless stays powered by its new award-winning app.

citizenM London Olympia will be located at Hammersmith Road and will be the fifth standpost of citizenM in London, following openings in Bankside (2012), Shoreditch (2016), Tower of London (2016) and Victoria Station (2022). citizenM was advised by CMS during the drafting process of the agreement and closing of the transaction.

Since you’re here, why not read about the arrival of citizenM in USA’s west coast?

Main image credit:wearenarritiv

A trio of modern maroon dining chairs from Morgan

Morgan expands Rakino Collection designed by Tim Rundle

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Morgan expands Rakino Collection designed by Tim Rundle

Morgan, contract furniture designer and manufacturer, announces the launch of two dining chairs to the Rakino Collection, a series of lounge chairs and tables, designed by Tim Rundle…

A trio of modern maroon dining chairs from Morgan

Juxtaposing soft sculpted upholstery with a strong, low line frame, the new dining chairs in the Rakino Collection by Morgan feature crisp timber detailing, emphasised by a clean linear structure.

“It’s been a pleasure working with Tim, who brings an international perspective to Rakino,” said Katerina Zachariades, Design Director at Morgan. “We have enjoyed developing this chair and refining our production methods to achieve the light, simple structure that defines it.”

A close up of the maroon dining chair from Morgan

Image credit: Morgan

The original collection, which won Product of the Year at the 2019 FX Awards, was first unveiled at Clerkenwell Design Week. Rundle told Hotel Designs that the series of furniture items were inspired “in the best way”, following a trip to see the production. “In Hampshire I discovered a factory staffed by some serious experts in upholstery and timber joinery,” he said. “I really wanted to make the most of these capabilities, and maybe even push them a little to see what was possible. In terms of the chairs themselves I wanted to create something that felt quiet and inviting, that could feel right in your home, while obviously being appropriate for hard working contract environments.”

Since you’re here, why not read Hotel Designs’ Q&A with furniture designer Tim Rundle?

Morgan is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Morgan

ME Dubai re-emerges with award-winning architecture status

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
ME Dubai re-emerges with award-winning architecture status

The striking ME Dubai, which is sheltered inside Zaha Hadid Archtiects’ latest award-winning building, has reopened its doors as hospitality in the Middle East enters into a cautious era… 

ME Dubai inside The Opus by Omniyat, which considered an architectural masterpiece and was a winner at The Brit List Awards 2020, has reopened its contemporary doors. Home to world- class cultural programming, innovative culinary experiences and breath-taking design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), the hotel is the latest addition to Dubai’s iconic skyline located in the heart of the Burj Khalifa district.

Known as the late Zaha Hadid’s legacy project, ME Dubai is the only hotel in the world to have both its interiors and exteriors designed by ZHA, and its futuristic architecture, characterised by curves, sharp angles and bold materials, epitomises Hadid’s unique design style.

Exterior of The Opus

Image credit: ME Dubai/Zaha Hadid Archtiects

The hotel boasts 74 guestrooms and 19 suites, including the Passion Suite, Personality Suite, the Vibe Room and the ultra-luxurious ‘ME Suite’. All rooms are split into two themes: Midnight and Desert. Midnight rooms reflect the dynamic night skies of the Dubai skyline, whilst the Desert theme pays homage to the serene environment and soft hues of the UAE landscape.

View from inside ME Dubai overlooking Dubai skyline

Image credit: ME Dubai/Zaha Hadid Archtiects

“The reopening of ME Dubai marks a historic moment for The Opus Building project; a true legacy project for the firm,” said Patrik Schumacher of Zaha Hadid Architects. “We’re also extremely proud to present the exclusive Zaha Hadid Exhibition within the hotel; a project that we’ve worked closely with the hotel team on to showcase some never-before seen work by the late Zaha Hadid.”

Equally as impressive is the hotel’s wellness offering. Guests can take advantage of ME Dubai’s state-of-the- art gym, spanning 7,000 square feet and home to the region’s best fitness equipment and facilities, including the Middle East’s first ultramodern Technogym Biocircuit. Those keen to work up a sweat can then cool down with a refreshing dip in the hotel’s pool terrace. Wellness gurus can indulge at the hotel’s world- class spa, offering guests the ultimate refuge for relaxation and a variety of luxurious spa treatments for individuals or couples to unwind.

With properties located in cultural capitals around the world, ME by Meliá creates a unique link to the communities in which it operates. ME Dubai’s Culture Collective cultural programme acts as a platform for contemporary Middle Eastern culture, connecting music, art, design, fashion and gastronomy in curated events that bring the creative scene of the city into the hotel, tapping into the latest trends whilst shaping the local cultural landscape. Guests can look forward to insider advice on the best places to experience the most diverse cultural happenings in the vibrant city of Dubai.

Since you’re here, why not read about The Morpheus (another ZHA groundbreaking project)…

Main image credit: ME Dubai/Zaha Hadid Architects

Image of stand with contemporary furniture

BREAKING: Salone del Mobile.Milano delayed until September 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
BREAKING: Salone del Mobile.Milano delayed until September 2021

The show has released a statement announcing that the sixtieth edition of the Salone del Mobile.Milano will be held in 2021, not in April as is traditional, but from September 5 – 10…

Image of stand with contemporary furniture

Following lengthy and wide-ranging discussions between the management of the Salone del Mobile and Fiera Milano, the 2021 edition of Salone del Mobile.Milano will now take place in September.

President of the Salone del Mobile, Claudio Luti, had this to say: “Being able to hold the Salone next year is an absolute priority for all those of us whose lives revolve around design. We have tried very hard over the last few weeks not to make proclamations or announcements that might subsequently have to be denied or revised in view of the evolving situation. Moving the dates of the Salone del Mobile is not just a matter of rejigging the calendar, it also has to consider the many days needed to set up and dismantle the various pavilions, which in turn have to fit in with the demands of many other fairs held in the Fiera Milano spaces. Now that we have achieved the best possible all-round solution, thanks to the collaboration of Fiera Milano, we are in a position to confirm the new date.

“We also believe that moving the fair to September will leave enough time for the ongoing acute phase of the pandemic to subside and that this will provide a real chance to kickstart design at global level. We all need the Salone in Milan. Over the last few months, clients and designers from all over the world, and the press that follows us at international level, have been asking us constantly to confirm the dates for this edition. We’ll be there, and we’ll be even more attractive and more motivated, just as motivated as the companies working to design and manufacture the best possible products. After such a lengthy period of physical and social distancing in every sphere, we would like to be able to see the Salone as an opportunity for actual meeting and discussion, and a chance for us all to share our excitement with a city buzzing with new ideas.”

The 60th edition will bring together for the first time all the product categories, representing a special moment.

This is breaking news – more information to follow…

Main image credit: Salone del Mobile

The Residences DC Duplex 28

Sneak peek inside The Residences, Dorchester Collection, Dubai

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sneak peek inside The Residences, Dorchester Collection, Dubai

The opening of the 32-storey glass-facade building, which is being described as ‘a landmark of opulence’ in Dubai, will mark the Dorchester Collection’s entrance into the Middle East. Here’s a sneak peek inside the luxury address…

The Residences DC Duplex 28

Developed by OMNIYAT, which is one of the most recognised property developers in the Middle East, The Residences, Dorchester Collection, Dubai will be located in globally renowned Downtown Dubai, and will be sheltered inside an eye-catching, glass-facade building that has been designed by award-winning architecture firm Foster + Partners.

The Residences Dorchester Collection Dubai Exterior

Image credit: Foster + Partners/Dorchester Collection/OMNIYAT

Boasting two spectacular interconnected towers – one housing the 10th iconic Dorchester Collection hotel and the other a residential tower – the property, which is said to be 60 per cent complete, perfectly captures the essence of chic metropolitan dwelling and offers patrons of luxury around the world an unequalled lifestyle experience.

The Residences Dorchester Collection Dubai Terrace

Image credit: Foster + Partners/Dorchester Collection/OMNIYAT

The 32-storey residential tower includes just 39 fully furnished residences, ranging from 3,900sqft to 10,100sqft, with two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments. Additionally, situated on the 30th, 31st and 32nd floor, The Residences, Dorchester Collection, Dubai, offers six elegant four- and five-bedroom penthouses exclusively designed to create a private, high-quality and lavish lifestyle statement for the world’s luxury cognoscenti. Consisting of a staggering 17,700sqft with soaring ceilings and vast, uninterrupted views of the sea, each penthouse features its own swimming pool overlooking Dubai Canal and stunning Dubai cityscape.

The Residences DC Duplex 14

Image credit: Dorchester Collection/OMNIYAT

“At OMNIYAT we work with pioneers and leaders in their respective fields to provide audiences with a bespoke, luxury lifestyle, and The Residences, Dorchester Collection, Dubai, embodies this,” explained Mahdi Amjad, Founder and Executive Chairman of OMNIYAT. “We are delighted to be the first developer to collaborate with the legendary hospitality brand Dorchester Collection in launching the 10th iconic hotel and exclusive residences, therein bringing an unrivalled experience to Dubai.”

The Residences DC Duplex 46

Image credit: Dorchester Collection/OMNIYAT

Managed by legendary hospitality brand Dorchester Collection, synonymous with quality and known for its unparalleled standards of service – with The Dorchester in London arguably being the flagship of the brand – this development will be setting the benchmark for the ultimate city lifestyle. An inimitable blend of design, landmark architecture and exceptional service in the heart of Dubai, The Residences, Dorchester Collection, Dubai, is as unique as a fingerprint, set to meet the needs and expectations of connoisseurs of luxury around the world.

“We are immensely proud to partner with OMNIYAT, a pioneer renowned globally for its architectural landmarks,” said Christopher Cowdray, CEO of Dorchester Collection. “Set to become a significant new beacon on the Dubai skyline, The Residences, Dorchester Collection, Dubai, will offer one of the most exciting propositions seen in the Middle East, especially combined with our legendary award-winning service.”

> Since you’re here, why not watch our design tour of The Dorchester?