Interior Design

    bathroom with white freestanding bath and crosswater mirror and lights

    Part 88: shifting expectations and hotel bathroom design

    1024 640 Pauline Brettell

    Tom Burdon, Director of Specification Sales & Projects at Bathroom Brands Group throws the focus on the shifting shapes and expectations in the hotel bathroom, along with some Crosswater design solutions…

    As hotel bathroom expectations evolve, the impact of design enhancing guest experience is not to be underestimated. Bathroom Brands Group works closely with hotels to specify products, putting luxury at the forefront of every project. More than simply functional spaces, hotel bathrooms are increasingly expected to be sanctuaries where guests can enjoy a relaxing experience and elevated escapism, and both boutique and brand hotels are seamlessly merging wellness and practicality in these spaces.

    Tom Burdon Bathroom Brands Group

    Image credit: Bathroom Brands Group

    Blurring the boundaries between luxury design and functionality has become a feature of contemporary bathroom design and it’s important to strike a balance between creating a bathroom that is visually impactful yet practical. Guest expectations on both a design and experiential level are becoming more and more, so hotel designers are pushing the boundaries. Seamlessly blending luxurious materials, sophisticated fixtures, and innovative features, designers are striving to create spaces that inspire guests and encourage interaction, while serving practical needs. Achieving this delicate balance is crucial in ensuring that guests feel indulged from the moment they step into the bathroom. When we work on specifications for luxury hotels, as with recent Ennismore, Montcalm, Hilton and Gotham openings, we strive to meet practical requirements while offering inspiration, as hotel bathroom projects are open to design innovation and consideration.

    patterned floor tiles below double vanity with round mirrors and lights from Crosswater

    Image credit: Crosswater

    Should we be injecting more personality into hotel bathroom designs? Absolutely. Hotel bathrooms offer the perfect opportunity to inject character and personality and push the boundaries of design. Embracing bold colours, distinctive textures, and unique materials can transform a functional necessity into a memorable part of the guest experience. Furniture and basins in an extensive colour palette, from pastel tones to chic earthy hues, the options are endless, allowing each hotel to showcase its distinct style.

    Form and function find equal balance with bathroom lighting that significantly impacts the overall ambience, functionality, and aesthetics of a hotel bathroom and elevates a guest’s sensory experience. When creating a spa-like haven, soft warm lighting is essential to create the right atmosphere. Thoughtfully designed lighting is being used more and more to accentuate luxury design features in hotel bathrooms, such as textured furniture and brassware. It can be used to cleverly draw attention to the finer details that define the space, rather than simply being a practical solution.

    moss green mottled shower and bathroom floor with pebble shaped illuminated mirror

    Image credit: Crosswater

    Illuminated mirrors are useful but can also be used to make a design statement. New Crosswater mirrors are available in various shape and size options so designers can choose mirrors that complement warm and cool metallic tones to match brassware and other accessories.

    The wellness trend for creating a spa-like hotel bathroom aesthetic is continuing to gain momentum and it’s here to stay. Beyond providing basic amenities, hotels are increasingly incorporating elements that promote relaxation and well-being, such as spacious showers with rainfall heads, luxurious baths, and ambient lighting, all becoming staples of modern bathroom design, promising a sense of tranquillity and serenity.

    Hotel designers are often looking to maximise space without sacrificing aesthetic appeal. Crosswater designs offer clever storage solutions and space-saving fixtures, ensuring hotel bathroom space is utilised effectively. Smart storage solutions and modular furniture, clever design touches and space-saving bathroom fittings – think wall-hung basins, vanity units, and toilets – work well in hotel bathrooms as they enable additional floor space, giving the illusion of a bigger room.

    Exclusive luxury and democratising design are both key elements in hotel bathroom design moving forward. Crosswater’s distinctive style for the next generation of bathroom design is characterised by meticulous design, high-performance materials and premium details. Offering luxury finishes, full bathroom solutions and an extensive range of colours – from brassware to furniture – our commitment to design helps hotel designers elevate the guest experience to new heights, leaving a lasting impression of an unforgettable experience.

    Bathroom Brands Group 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: Bathroom Brands Group

    entrance to The Municipal with statement stretwork chandelier in the centre

    Part 87: harnessing the use of light for public areas

    1024 784 Pauline Brettell

    Public spaces are the first areas guests are exposed to, so expectations need to be met from the outset to craft the desired emotional responses. We caught up with hospitality lighting experts Northern Lights to uncover what goes in to creating a successful lighting scheme for public spaces…

    When it comes to lighting requirements, every hotel is different. The lighting scheme needs to be expertly tailored to suit the hotel’s unique demands and architecture.

    lobby at Oatlands Park hotel with statement chandelier by Northern Lights

    Image caption: Oatlands Park Hotel | Image credit: Northern Lights

    A unique experience
    The hotel foyer or lobby instantly symbolises the level of quality the hotel sets out to deliver. Bespoke lighting is commissioned to set the tone and deliver a unique experience, incorporating exquisite materials such as glass, crystal and alabaster and often complex structures and shapes. Lobby lighting plays an integral part in reinforcing the hotel brand’s concept and appeal, and making guests feel instantly welcomed and positive about their stay. Buildings that benefit from vaulted ceilings and large open spaces can accommodate dramatic, large-scale lighting solutions that set the tone for a luxurious and unique experience.

    A bespoke statement light developed by Northern Lights turns the central pillar into an experiential focal point at Hilton London Croydon

    Image caption: Hilton London Croydon | Image credit: Northern Lights

    Maintaining the concept
    “Statement lighting within public areas provides an opportunity for the operator and designer to originate and realise designs which can harmonise with the aesthetic of the space. We’re able to help our clients achieve a level of consistency within such unique pieces through a variety of techniques,” explained Michael Jackson, Head of Design at Northern Lights.

    “We have an extensive catalogue of finishes and often create custom finishes to match other elements in the scheme. From hand-applied artisan patinas to matching to project-specific RAL colours, we have the ability to replicate colours and finishes in various materials,” continued Jackson. ” This enables a homogenous coordination of design elements across the interior scheme, allowing hotels to achieve brand consistency. This can also be achieved through material and shade selection, shapes, detailing and trims. These techniques enable designers to develop uniqueness throughout the lighting scheme whilst retaining a design approach that connects the different public area spaces.”

    natural light in central atrium of Municipal Liverpool

    Image caption: Municipal Liverpool | Image credit: Northern Lights

    Incorporate natural light
    Incorporating natural light sources into the overall lighting scheme requires careful attention to detail. How and where light spills into the different areas at different times of the day impacts how the rest of the lighting needs to be approached. Considering colour temperature and even distribution of all lighting sources allows control over how the spaces are perceived and used by guests throughout their stay.

    Adapting to multi-function layouts
    Rigid, defined spaces separating lobby, reception, bar and relaxing areas are evolving into more open, multi-functional spaces. Lighting controls allow hotel staff to adjust or set lighting to fit with the different uses at different times of day. For example, using cooler lighting and maximising natural daylight from skylights and windows is ideal for breakfast, where more intimate, warmer lighting can be used along with dimming controls later in the day to encourage guests to relax in the bar, restaurant or lounge areas.

    Corridors leading to the spa at Sopwell House

    Image caption: Sopwell House | Image credit: Michael Franke

    Hallway lighting
    Creating illuminated pathways promotes spatial awareness of the hotel as guests navigate through corridors that connect each part of the building. Wall lighting and lamps in these areas create a sense of comfort and connection. These spaces need to balance, providing enough light in darker hallways where no natural light is present, with aesthetic and emotional layers to maintain the overall ambience and feel of the hotel.

    Invest in quality
    Functionality must go together with visual appeal in every area of the hotel. Material choices and design integrity are equally as important as aesthetics when designing lighting for high-demand hospitality settings. Using robust, durable materials selected specifically for hotels will ensure longevity. Designs can be approached in a way that makes them easy to clean, maintain, and parts to be repaired or replaced; an important factor for hotel operators that can sometimes be overlooked.

    suspended square lighting design by Northern Lights above a table in the entrance to The Municipal

    Image caption: the Municipal | Image credit: Northern Lights

    Balance lighting functions
    Task lighting is essential for hotel staff to carry out functional tasks, such as the reception area, or reading corners for guests to relax. Task lighting is often associated with spotlights and other minimal functional lighting solutions. However desk lamps and hanging pendants with considered brightness levels can provide functionality with additional visual appeal. Ambient lighting provides the primary source of light for public spaces through a mixture of chandeliers, pendants and wall lights, adding depth, warmth and the core visual appeal. Accent lighting is used to draw focus to architectural details, décor and art pieces, celebrating beauty within. Layering of these lighting types and incorporating both diffused and directional solutions creates balanced, harmonious lighting scheme.

    Northern Lights 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: Northern Lights

    A boho inspired interior design scheme

    Part 86: how to monetise hotel interior design

    1024 640 Hamish Kilburn
    Part 86: how to monetise hotel interior design

    Lee Chamberlain, Co-Founder of Reevela, explains how hotel interior design can become its own revenue channel…

    A boho inspired interior design scheme

    In a world where convenience reigns supreme, the hospitality industry is constantly evolving to meet the ever-changing demands of modern travellers.

    In this GTHD article, we explore an innovative approach that not only enhances the guest experience but also opens up new avenues for monetising interior design in hotels, restaurants and common workspaces. It’s called, Reevela.

    Reevela’s mission is clear; to transform the way people experience and interact with the world of interior design. Imagine you’re staying at a hotel, and you spot a beautifully designed lamp in your room, appreciate the comfort of your bed, or find the candle holders in the breakfast restaurant charming. With Reevela, which was ‘Highly Commended’ in the Best in Tech category at The Brit List Awards 2023, you can turn these moments of curiosity into opportunities for discovery and purchase.

    The brand’s vision is to redefine hospitality venues, such as hotels, restaurants, and common workspaces, as more than just places to stay, dine, or work. We aim to turn them into vibrant design showrooms and retail storefronts.

    A minimalist living room with floor to ceiling window overlooking greenery

    Image credit: Unsplash

    Here’s how it works. Guests use their mobile devices to scan objects that pique their interest. Our innovative visual lookup technology and machine learning algorithms ensure instant and accurate results. With the identity of an object unveiled, guests can take various paths—click to buy, browse to learn more, or delve deeper into the local culture associated with the venue. This approach supports craftspeople, designers, and artists linked to the property, fostering a sense of connection with the local community.

    At Reevela, we empower guests to rediscover the importance of tactile exploration—touch, feel, and use—before making purchasing decisions. Our solution allows your guests to uncover, learn about, and purchase everything they love about your venue, from furniture and decorations to textiles, accessories, art, fashion, lighting, and more.

    A revenue model that benefits all

    What sets Reevela apart is that it’s free to use for guests, and there are no sign-up fees or subscription charges for venues. We take care of the setup, and maintenance is minimal. In return, we offer a split revenue model that enables you to earn a share of the profits from any item sold as a result of a scan at your property.

    Unleash the value of your design inventory

    Consider this: How often do your fixed assets and design inventory appreciate in value and generate ancillary revenue? Reevela offers an exciting opportunity for hospitality venues to not only showcase their design choices but also monetise them.

    Monetising interior design in hospitality is not just a financial endeavour; it’s a transformative approach that enhances every aspect of the guest experience. By integrating Reevela into your venue, you’re not merely offering a place to stay, dine, or work; you’re creating an immersive journey into the world of design.

    A cluster of interior design elements in a bare room

    Image credit: Unsplash

    Reevela is designed with the guest experience in mind. It’s a seamless process that enhances the overall stay. When a guest spots a captivating item in their room, the process of exploration and potential purchase is intuitive. They can simply use their mobile device to scan the item and instantly revealing details, options, and even the story behind it.

    One of the remarkable aspects of Reevela is its ability to empower local artisans, craftsmen, designers, and artists. When guests explore and purchase locally sourced and crafted items, they’re not just acquiring beautiful objects; they’re also contributing to the livelihood of talented individuals in the community. This creates a sense of connection and authenticity that resonates with today’s conscious travellers.

    For hospitality venues, Reevela offers a unique revenue stream that complements traditional income sources. While room bookings, dining, and events are essential, the ability to monetize your interior design choices opens up new possibilities. It’s a way to leverage the aesthetic appeal of your venue and turn it into a profit centre.

    Your venue’s interior design is a reflection of your brand identity. Reevela allows you to not only showcase your design choices but also reinforce your brand narrative. Guests can explore the unique aspects of your design philosophy, and each item they purchase becomes a tangible reminder of their experience at your venue.

    Reevela’s impact extends beyond the duration of a guest’s stay. When guests take home a piece of your venue—a distinctive lamp, a piece of artwork, or a stylish accessory—they’re also taking with them a lasting memory. These items become cherished souvenirs that keep your venue in their hearts long after they’ve checked out. This emotional connection translates into loyalty and the potential for repeat visits or recommendations to friends and family.

    A large bedroom with dome-like bed frame

    Image credit: Unsplash

    Creating a win-win-win Scenario

    The beauty of Reevela’s approach to monetizing interior design is that it’s a win-win-win scenario. Guests win by discovering and acquiring unique items that enhance their lives and memories. Local artisans and designers win by gaining visibility and support. Hospitality venues win by diversifying their revenue streams, enhancing the guest experience, and reinforcing their brand identity.

    In conclusion, Reevela represents a groundbreaking approach to interior design monetization in the hospitality industry. It goes beyond aesthetics; it’s about enriching the guest experience, supporting local creativity, and generating sustainable revenue streams. By integrating Reevela into your venue, you’re not just offering a place to stay or dine; you’re creating an immersive journey that allows guests to connect with design on a profound level. It’s a transformation that aligns seamlessly with the evolving demands of modern travellers and unleashes the full potential of interior design in hospitality.

    The era of interior design as a passive element is over. With Reevela, it becomes an active, revenue-generating, and memory-making part of the guest experience. Embrace the future of interior design monetization and join us in revolutionizing the way guests interact with and cherish the spaces they visit.

    Reevela 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: Reevela

    swimming pool at Regent Phu Quoc with architectural poles and shade cloth installation by BLINK

    Part 84: conversion to placemaking – a designer’s road to Damascus

    1024 640 Pauline Brettell

    Clint Nagata is the Founder and Creative Partner behind BLINK Design Group, a studio which has made its mark on the luxury hospitality realm by focussing on creating a sense of place – a layered process which results in a depth of design that makes it stand out from the crowd. In this series of a Guide to Hotel Design, Nagata talks us through his process of placemaking when confronted with conversion…

    The tabula rasa is a beautiful thing. For the designer, nothing excites more than the terrifying thrill of the blank page, the clean slate that awaits your dreams and inspiration, creating something where nothing existed before, willing what you’ve seen in your mind’s eye to life. However, where the rubber often meets the road for today’s designer is a far more practical challenge: the conversion or reimagining of an existing property, bar or restaurant while managing owners’ expectations and working within the constraints of time, space, budgets and what already stands.

    Clint Nagata - Blink Design Group

    Image credit: BLINK Design Group

    For the perfectionist, the purist and the prima donna who brooks no compromise and demands to stamp their will on the landscape, it’s not ideal. But for the pragmatist of good heart and clear vision, who can take what has gone before and embrace what could be, the conversion is a field of design that can be every bit as rewarding as the utopia of the green field.

    “Understanding what is said in luxury hotel design is akin to listening to a beautifully composed piece of music, where the pauses between notes are as essential as the melody itself. It is as a silent dialogue that envelopes guests in a world of comfort, elegance and refinement, leaving an indelible impression that words alone could never convey” – Clint Nagata, Founder and Creative Partner, BLINK Design Group.

    The move towards conversion, refurbishment and re-envisioning has been growing over the past decade. City-dwellers often prefer seeing their neighbourhoods reimagined and reinvigorated rather than demolished and totally transformed. However, there can be cost implications and practical challenges in retrofitting 21st-century demands into 19th and 20th-century structures.

    central table and seating area in beamed wooden building at Roku Kyoto

    Image credit: Blink / Ben Richards

    Everything has its place – the more I travel the world, the more convinced I am that a sense of place is everything. A deep dive into the culture, people, customs and architectural and design vernacular of a place is pivotal to what we do at BLINK. We have a name for it: Placemaking.

    Just as with the conversion, you are working within the strictures of what already exists, so with placemaking we work within the ambit of what has gone before. The challenges with conversions are myriad but they always boil down, above all, to time and money. Clients want a Rolls-Royce, on a Hyundai budget.

    central wooden bar with asian design references in Regent Phu Quoc

    Image credit: BLINK Design Group

    There are also inherent pitfalls in Placemaking; there’s a fine line between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation. What may appear as the harmless dressing of a space could very easily offend locals, staff and guests; something well-intentioned but uninformed could be seen as trivialising and objectifying home-grown culture or, worse, come across as some kind of crass, condescending neo-colonialism.

    Research, knowledge and local connections are everything; it can’t be rushed or bought off a shelf. At BLINK, we invest in time and people, in Indigenous artisans and craftspeople, to make sure we get the details right; it pays dividends, fosters goodwill and feeds the local economy.

    seating and tea in Roku Kyoto designed by BLINK

    Image credit: BLINK Design Studio / Ben Richards

    Understanding the Unspoken Insight – when taking on a brief, it’s often what’s written between the lines that informs us of a client’s real requirements. Our job is to forensically interpret the unspoken wants and needs, the physical cues and the passing comments that can open a whole new field of discussion. We must never forget the power of the question mark; to always pursue lateral thinking, new ways of being and doing, presenting at all times as as a curious, prescient and empathic practice.

    colonnaded swimming pool at Regent Phu Quoc by Blink Design

    Image credit: BLINK Design Goup

    And we must not ignore the inexorable march of demographics; those born between 1981 and 2012, otherwise known as Millennials and Gen Z, will command 80 per cent of the global personal luxury goods market by 2030 (Bain & Company, 2023). The good news is that they value meaningful luxury experiences over the possession of luxury goods.

    double volume dining space with statement architectural lighting and trees for indoor planting

    Image credit: BLINK Design Group

    It starts with thinking of hotels and resorts not as places to sleep, but as environments that create memories; the wellsprings of experience. My journey as a designer began with the belief that the best buildings are designed from the inside out, which is a powerful concept when approaching a conversion. If your visions are powerful enough, the entire hotel or resort can live anew.

    Examples? Huvafen Fushi Maldives springs to mind. We’re breathing new life into an ageing resort in an incredible location with a minimalistic modern aesthetic that draws inspiration from the pristine natural surroundings. I’m very bullish on upcycling; recycling with a creative twist. Small details can make a big difference: when we converted Jumeirah Meradhoo into Raffles we made a critical decision to paint the mismatched stained millwork to a pale warm gray colour which helped to transform the resort into a colonial tropical resort aligned with the Raffles design DNA.

    louvred terrace with blue shutters under a wicker ceiling with fans at Raffles Maldives Meradhoo

    Image credit: BLINK Design Group / Raffles Hotels & Resorts

    We don’t shy away from being creative with making budgets stretch further and doing more with less, as budgets seem to shrink as each year goes by. And sustainability is so important, yet has become such an overused and abused buzzword that it pains me. We’ve seen small changes such as furniture suppliers who have invested in recycled materials in their furniture. This needs to become the norm and not the exception.

    I see a shift towards what I’d call purposeful travel. It’s the journey as much as the destination. People want to experience things rather than just stay at a particular resort or hotel. This has only fueled the need for hotels in and of themselves to become unique destinations deeply rooted in the environment that they exist in.

    view from above of thatched roof and bathing platfrom over the water at Raffles Maldives Meradhoo

    Image credit: BLINK Design Group / Raffles Hotels & Resorts

    But can the centre hold as things become more fragmented? A recent article by Travel Daily resonated in defining some of the diverse groups of people we must cater to in tomorrow’s hotels and resorts. They include the Walter Mitty-ish (Alter) Ego Enthusiasts, who feel compelled to elaborate on their lives and present an inflated and polished version of themself while travelling; Cool-cationers who seek relief from scorched urban heat islands; So-called Surrender Seekers, who want to be surprised and go with the flow, letting someone else’s fingers do the planning; Culinary Excavators, the modern day food archeologists who want to eat authentically and with a sense of history and place; Reboot Retreaters seeking relief and a restart from their frazzled and frenetic life; Mindful Aesthetes, for whom wellness is not just an occasional treat but a way of life, and A La Carte Affluencers, who will employ life hacks to save costs at home but are willing to splurge on their dream holidays.

    exterior view of evening lights lighting up the interior of Roku Kyoto

    Image credit: BLINK Design Group / Ben Richards

    When I graduated from college, the western architectural community frowned upon firms that did not design new and ‘modern’ buildings and instead created buildings that embodied their environments. Similarly, all the large international hotel chains practised uniformity across the globe and wanted their hotels in Asia to look like it was in America. I’m glad all of this has changed.

    Uniformity is dead and individuality is king. More than ever, designers must not be afraid to take risks and to fail, as it’s only in testing limits that you change and grow. Dive deep, immerse yourself, ask questions, push boundaries. Live by design.

    Main image credit: BLINK Design Group

    Chunky Upholstery Studio furniture

    Part 83: meeting upholstery fire regulations

    1024 640 Hamish Kilburn

    Hotel Designs and Edmund Bell discuss how hotel interior designers can meet the global challenges around fire regulations without sacrificing on style…

    In hotel interior design, choosing the right upholstery fabrics is nothing short of an art. Upholstery fabrics not only determine the overall style and comfort of a space but also need to adhere to fire regulations that vary across the globe. Edmund Bell, a venerable name in the textile industry for more than 150 years, stands out as a champion in this field, offering a diverse range of fabrics that combine aesthetic excellence with stringent safety standards.

    The company’s legacy of textile manufacturing spans more than a century and a half, and it’s this wealth of experience that underpins their commitment to quality and innovation. Edmund Bell has consistently been at the forefront of fabric design, and their range of upholstery fabrics covers an impressive spectrum of styles, textures, and colours. These fabrics are not just beautiful; they’re built to withstand the rigours of daily use, making them an ideal choice for the demanding hospitality industry.

    A render of a large luxury bed in grey, concrete room

    Image credit: Edmund Bell

    Meeting the global challenge of fire regulations

    Hotel interior design is a realm where safety can never be compromised. Yet, navigating the labyrinth of fire regulations, which differ from country to country and sometimes from region to region, can be perplexing for hoteliers. Fire-resistant fabrics are crucial to ensuring guest safety in the event of a fire, but the standards governing these fabrics are far from uniform around the world.

    Edmund Bell recognised the pressing need for a consistent, reliable, and globally applicable solution. In response, it has invested substantially in the development of an extensive line of fire-resistant upholstery fabrics and finishes. These fabrics have been meticulously crafted to meet, and often exceed, the strictest fire regulations worldwide.

    The company has its own fabric finishing mill dedicated to applying fire-resistant (FR) coatings to their upholstery fabrics. This in-house capability gives the team unparalleled control over the entire manufacturing process, from the selection of base fabrics to the final application of fire-resistant finishes.

    Inside the Edmund Bell factory

    Image credit: Edmund Bell

    This vertical integration not only allows for a high degree of quality assurance but also enables the company to maintain competitive pricing. It ensures that every yard of fabric leaving their mill is crafted to meet its rigorous safety and aesthetic standards.

    Edmund Bell’s upholstery fabrics are rigorously tested to ensure compliance with various international standards, such as the British Standard (BS), European Norm (EN), and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). These fabrics are designed to inhibit the spread of flames and the release of harmful smoke and toxic gases, a pivotal feature in upholding guest safety.

    Hotels that operate across borders and regions face a formidable challenge: adhering to different fire regulations in different locations. This is where Edmund Bell’s fire-resistant fabrics shine. Its products and fabric FR finishes are designed to be globally applicable, offering the peace of mind that comes from a consistent, high quality solution regardless of where your hotel is located.

    Edmund Bell’s fire-resistant upholstery fabrics have found their place in hotels across the globe, from the UK and Europe to North America, the Middle East, and Asia. This global presence is a testament to the brand’s dedication to providing a product that consistently meets the diverse regulatory requirements encountered in the hospitality industry.

    Bounce Upholstery sofa in calm room

    Image credit: Edmund Bell

    Customisation and aesthetics

    Edmund Bell understands that while safety is paramount, aesthetics remain central in hotel interior design. Its fire-resistant fabrics come in an array of colours, patterns, and textures, giving interior designers the creative freedom to align with the hotel’s unique style and ambiance without compromising safety.

    Moreover, the brand’s offers a high degree of customisation. Its team work closely with interior designers to craft solutions that seamlessly blend with the hotel’s design concept. This flexibility ensures that the fire-resistant upholstery fabrics do not just meet safety standards but also become an integral part of the overall design narrative.

    In the world of hotel design, choosing the right upholstery fabrics is no longer a matter of compromise. With Edmund Bell’s fire-resistant upholstery fabrics, safety and style harmoniously coexist, ensuring that hoteliers can prioritise guest safety while maintaining the individuality and creativity that defines their interior spaces.

    Edmund Bell 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: Edmund Bell

    A luxury, freestanding bath with half marble stone wall surface covered

    Part 81: 6 pitfalls to avoid when specifying stone

    1000 690 Hamish Kilburn
    Part 81: 6 pitfalls to avoid when specifying stone

    In part two of Hotel Designs’ exclusive editorial series with Stone Federation, we share some of the common mishaps designers and architects encounter when specifying stone… 

    A luxury, freestanding bath with half marble stone wall surface covered

    Natural stone is a truly versatile material with a rich history of being used to create memorable, durable and sustainable hotels, both inside and out. It is a material that delivers uniqueness by the bucket load as no two pieces of stone are ever exactly the same, thus enabling hotel designers to create truly one-of-a-kind spaces.

    As with any material, the necessary know-how around selection, design and maintenance is key to delivering a successful project. One of the advantages of using natural stone is that it is a material that has been used in hotels for centuries and is supported by a vast wealth of technical research as well as British & European Standards.

    The following pointers are designed to be steps on the journey to you delivering a beautiful, durable and sustainable natural stone project.

    1) Specifying the wrong type of stone

    There is a commonly used adage in the natural stone industry that there is no such thing as a bad stone, just a badly used one, and this holds true project after project. Natural stone is, as the name suggests, a natural material and, just like any other natural product, it will react and respond better in certain situations and less well in others. For example, some stones will work perfectly well as wall linings in lobbies or other dry areas, but would prove to be unsuitable if used in wet areas like shower enclosures.

    Engaging with a stone consultant early in the project, pulling on their material expertise, and matching your design vision with the right materials for that application, will help ensure that you specify the correct stone for that specific project.

    Spa – Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square – Arch

    Image credit: Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square

    2) Forgetting it’s a natural product

    This might seem obvious, but with the ever-increasing number of man-made, stone-effect products being pushed into the market, it could be easy to forget that natural stone is just that, a naturally occurring material that has not been ground up, mixed with resins and other ingredients and coloured with dyes.

    The unique and natural veining, tones and textures found in stone are what make it such a special material. No two blocks of stone will ever be exactly alike, and embracing this as opposed to specifying out any variation or difference in tone and vein pattern is the best way to work with, and not against the natural dynamic of stone. It is vitally important that the stone is viewed under appropriate lighting conditions that imitate the in-service conditions, and that a full range of the stone’s visual characteristics are captured in a range report used as part of the stone supply contract.

    Make every specification decision about natural stone through the lens of its natural characteristics, embrace its uniqueness and you will end up with a project that takes full advantage of the organic nature of the material.

    3) Trying to move away from movement joints

    Like all building materials, natural stone will be impacted by changes in environmental conditions (heat, impact and traffic), which is why it’s important to provide stress-relieving movement joints.

    When designing a natural stone floor, there a several questions that will help deliver a durable scheme and avoid failures in the floor.

    The first step is to ascertain whether you need a movement joint.  Simply put, where the distance between restraining surfaces including perimeter walls exceeds two metres, a perimeter movement joint must be installed. Intermediate movement joints are required where the distance exceeds 10 metres. With underfloor heating, the natural stone flooring should be divided into bays of up to 40 metres squared, with a maximum bay length of eight metres.

    It’s also important to consider whether the floor will be subject to light or heavy loading, and whether there’ll be underfloor heating. If the floor will be exposed to low loading, or in a low traffic and impact area, a sealant would provide a suitable movement joint. If the floor is in a higher traffic environment a pre-formed movement joint, typically comprising metal side plates with a flexible synthetic rubber core may be more suitable. If there is an underfloor heating system, the pipes or cables should be located to ensure that the system is contained within the pattern of the movement joints.

    Hotel interior designers should also take drying shrinkage into account because stone, like all finishing materials, reflects movements arising from supporting substrates. In the early period of a floor’s life cycle, movement occurs primarily from the drying shrinkage of the slab and screed. As a rule of thumb, a typical 10 metre span slab will experience drying shrinkage of three millimetres irrespective of design, depth or amount of reinforcement used.

    Close-up of stone on wall

    Image credit: Stone Federation

    4) Forgetting that slip resistance can affect material appearance

    When discussing slip resistance within hotel design, it’s important to have a basic understanding of a few of the fundamental points relating to the equipment used to establish slip resistance and the means of assessment of results generated.

    Most of the guidance and specified in-service performance criteria will quote values in Slip Resistance Value (SRV) or Pendulum Test Value (PTV) – these are the same.

    A material’s slip resistance is determined by several factors. The choice of stone, choice of finish and choice of sealant or impregnator will all have an effect on the slip resistance properties of the finished floor.

    When deciding on which material to specify it’s important to understand how the material’s appearance might change when the texture that enables that material to achieve the required slip resistance rating is applied. For example, a polished marble will look very different to a honed marble, as the polish will reflect light whereas a honed finish will absorb it, making the colours of the stone appear more muted.  Considering these factors early in the project will help avoid challenges further down the line.

    “This comes back to the point about there being no such thing as a bad stone, just a badly used one.”

    5) Aftercare treated as an afterthought

    Natural stone, like any other material, requires maintenance to keep it looking and performing at its best. Understanding the geology of the material specified, its porosity and absorption is important as different stone types will require differing levels of care and maintenance. It’s also worth noting that heavily trafficked areas will require more maintenance than those that are seldom used.

    One of the most common pitfalls made in the maintenance of natural stone is the use of incorrect products that damage the material. The use of acidic products should be avoided as they can remove any surface sealant or in extreme cases damage stone. It is best to use carefully considered ‘proprietary’ stone cleaning products that will typically be of neutral pH or mildly alkaline.

    Working with your stone supplier to develop an ongoing maintenance plan before project completion will help manage client expectations from the outset.

    A large, luxurious arrival experience inside the plush Adare Manor

    Image credit: Adare Manor

    6) Unexpected interactions

    Considering the environment in which the stone will be used is key to avoiding one of the most common pitfalls in the use of stone in hotels: staining or marking caused by products like wine, make-up or other acidic substances or staining caused by a repeatedly wetted stone without the required drainage. This comes back to the point about there being no such thing as a bad stone, just a badly used one.

    Taking into account the substances that the stone will interact with will help you specify the right stone for that environment.

    Natural stone is a truly unique material providing hotel designers with a whole host of unique tones and textures and the ability to deliver sustainable, long-lasting projects. By considering the points raised above, you can help avoid some of the most common pitfalls. Stone Federation also always recommends working with a stone consultant as early in the project as possible, and make sure that you choose a Stone Federation company at each stage of the process to ensure that you are working with the best companies and materials.

    > Since you’re here, why not read the first article in this series about ‘measuring sustainability in surface design‘, or Stone Federation’s collaboration with Squire & Partners, Stone Tapestry?

    Main image credit: The Wellesley Knightsbridge

    Miss match of furniture in lounge

    Part 79: redefining senior living with hospitality principles

    1024 640 Hamish Kilburn

    If design’s role in hospitality is to make spaces more user-friendly, experiential and answer to modern traveller demands, then breaking down the stigma around senior living using savvy design solutions is paramount. The Designers Group shares its approach to blurring the boundaries in this sector…

    At The Designers Group (TDG), our commitment to senior living design goes beyond aesthetics. Our vision is to seamlessly integrate the comforts and luxury of high-end hospitality with research-based concepts optimised for wellness.

    Our team understands the significance of creating welcoming environments and exceptional interior experiences. At TDG, we take a meticulous approach, conducting in-depth research to truly understand the needs and preferences of senior residents. Our design decisions are grounded in demographics, psycho-social factors, and trends in the senior living industry, ensuring we cater not just for today, but for the future evolution of the ageing population.

    Our research-driven approach shapes every aspect of our designs. Gone are the days of cold and institutional healthcare facilities. Our goal is to curate boutique-style communities where seniors can continue engaging with others, fostering connections with family, and finding purpose in their daily lives.

    In transforming dated and sterile spaces, we create the ambiance of a luxury resort. Calming neutral tones complement adjustable mood lighting, allowing us to create spaces that stimulate or relax based on the time of day. We bring the outside in through botanical prints, greenery, and garden views visible from room windows. Natural textures and materials provide organic warmth, but we customise our material palette based on each community’s unique vision. Our goal is harmonising with the local landscape while creating an oasis of comfort and renewal.

    A clean and minimalist living area

    Image credit: Unsplash

    In a recent skilled nursing facility redesign, we harnessed the power of hospitality to improve quality of life and change perceptions of the community. Outdated areas were reimagined with contemporary lounge areas for socialising, spa-like rooms, and neutral and muted tones for a sense of calm. Our lighting choices aligned with circadian rhythms, promoting better sleep and cognition. The transformation resulted in improved patient satisfaction, a 15 per cent increase in occupancy, and a significant revenue boost.

    However, beautiful design alone is not enough; it must also contribute to wellbeing. At TDG, we incorporate research-backed elements that support holistic health:

    •  Active noise-cancellation technology filters disruptive sounds, offering restful quiet without compromising community engagement.
    •  Expansive windows welcome abundant natural light and outdoor views, reducing anxiety and promoting connection with nature.
    •  Color palettes take into account how ageing eyes perceive contrast differently, using well-defined edges and warm hues to minimise visual confusion.
    • Community gardens provide opportunities for horticultural therapy and mindful movement to reduce stress and improve fine motor skills.
    A large bedroom with dome-like bed frame

    Image credit: Unsplash

    Additionally, we elevate our communities with hospitality-inspired amenities:

    •  Private dining rooms allow residents to host intimate gatherings for family and friends, complete with catering services. These spaces cultivate meaningful connections over shared meals.
    •  Cafes serve barista coffee and fresh pastries throughout the day for quick bites and socialisation in lounge areas.
    •  Fitness centres offer varied equipment adapted for seniors’ abilities to enable continued strength training and cardio.

    During the pandemic, social connection was compromised, and we responded with thoughtful design solutions. We created ample lounges and communal patios to promote safe socialisation through appropriate distancing, incorporating materials with antimicrobial properties for added safety. Cleanliness remains paramount, with discreet air purification systems and easily sanitised surfaces.

    Through surveys and focus groups, our team continually refines our approach based on feedback and evolving needs. We recognise that what enhances memory care, for example, may differ from the requirements of independent or assisted living. Our spaces are thoughtfully tailored to nurture the wellbeing of every resident.

    At TDG, our goal is to incorporate the comforts and luxury of high-end hospitality with meaningful design elements that support the holistic wellness of ageing populations. The result is communities crafted with care, where seniors can continue thriving and embracing the joys of life in their later years. Through our research-driven and purposeful approach, we redefine senior living, pioneering a future where comfort, care, and connection are at the heart of every community we design.

    Main image credit: Upsplash

    A cove-like desk in guestroom

    Part 78: how the WFHotel trend has evolved since 2020 in furniture

    1024 640 Hamish Kilburn
    Part 78: how the WFHotel trend has evolved since 2020 in furniture

    Following the pandemic in 2020, the demand for WFHotel spaces in hotel design has soared. But are co-working spaces, in hotels at least, here to stay? The team at Ligne Roset Contract explore…

    A cove-like desk in guestroom

    As hotels continue to offer more than just a place to sleep, the move to providing a more work focussed environment demonstrates the resilience and innovative nature of the hospitality sector.

    The ability to work on the move or as an overnight guest is vital in the world of today and hotels are perfectly placed to cater for this ever-increasing demand for comfortable and engaging working environments.

    Marechiaro by Ligne Roset Contract - a contemporary shelving unit

    Image credit: Ligne Roset Contract

    Ligne Roset Contract have provided furniture for hotels across the world since 1950 and a key focus has often been the workspace within a hotel lobby or bedroom.

    Our range of desks, cabinetry, seating and lighting can suit a number of design styes and budgets, and our bespoke manufacturing widens our reach even further. Our factories are aligned for ‘sur-measure’ (custom-made) furniture with more than 160 years of manufacturing know-how behind us.

    Our bespoke manufactured Novotel bedroom designed by RF Studio. The top is made from natural oak and the base from cork, in-keeping with the sustainable credentials behind this bedroom concept.

    Novotel design scheme - modern suite

    Image credit: Novotel / Ligne Roset Contract

    Interior designers continue to look for ways to incorporate solo and group working spaces within the guestrooms, private and communal areas of their hotel designs.

    For an impromptu meeting we have our bespoke manufactured banquette seating and Soufllot chair, designed by Jean Philipe Nuel for the lobby of the beautiful Hotel Dieu in Lyon.

    Hotel Dieu furniture inside luxury hotel

    Image credit: Hotel Dieu / Ligne Roset Contract

    If you feel the need to block out the sights and sounds around you we have our Rewrite desk, a little jewel of modernity and softness designed by Italian and Danish design duo GamFratesi.

    For that quick email that needs sending, nothing suits better than our Nubo desk, also designed by GamFratesi and a winner of an Interior Innovation award, perfect for when space is tight.

    Few designers can match the impact on furniture design as Pierre Paulin. His Curule chair and Tanis desk offer the perfect place from which to sit and work in style and comfort. Seen here in New Hotel Le Quai in Marseille.

    A modern work desk with contemporary seat

    Image credit: YanAudic / Ligne Roset Contract

    Continually prevalent in the Ligne Roset collection is French designer Philippe Nigro. His Hemicycle chair and Marechiaro shelving system/room divider offer a tranquil space to sit and read, study and contemplate.

    The variety and depth of the Ligne Roset collection as well as the bespoke manufacturing capabilities mean any type of ‘Working From Hotel’ can be achieved and we welcome any conversation so please do get in contact about your hotel project.

    Linge Roset Contact 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: Ligne Roset Contract

    Spa Pool – Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square – Architect Joseph Caspari with Mio Shibuya

    Part 76: how to measure sustainability in surface design

    1024 640 Hamish Kilburn
    Part 76: how to measure sustainability in surface design

    As Hotel Designs rolls into its largest feature around sustainability in the publication’s history, we asked Stone Federation to share its insight on sustainable surfaces. In part one of this three-part series, we learn how to measure conscious sourcing when it comes to surface design…

    Spa Pool – Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square – Architect Joseph Caspari with Mio Shibuya

    In this ‘material world‘, there is no avoiding it. Sustainability has never been as high on the agenda as it is now – and the delivery of sustainable interior projects is a must.

    The hotel sector, perhaps more than others, has an even greater drive to deliver as customers are looking to the items they consume and companies with whom they spend their money to be proving their own sustainability credentials. In an industry where everyone is looking for the factor of difference, their unique selling point, providing customers with truly sustainable spaces isn’t just good for the planet, but can also make a lot of business sense.

    Statuario Book-Matched Bathroom marble

    Image credit: Stone Federation

    It is no longer just enough to use carbon offsetting or sponsoring the planting of trees as a low-commitment route to demonstrating a sustainable approach to business. Companies must prove they understand the concepts of true sustainability and design their hotel in accordance with these.

    Before answering any question about sustainability, defining the term is important as there has been an unfortunate amount of greenwashing within the design sector.

    From Stone Federation’s viewpoint, when we talk about sustainability, we’re assessing the whole-life cycle of a project, which includes the raw material extraction, production, distribution, use and end of life. From our perspective, the fewer processes required to get from raw material to finished product the better for the environment and the more sustainable the material.

    Dramatic entrance into the lobby at Adare Manor

    Image caption: Dramatic entrance into the lobby at Adare Manor. | Image credit: Adare Manor

    For natural stone, the process is relatively simple: stone is quarried or mined from the ground, cut into slabs or tiles, transported to site and will often last for decades, and in many cases, centuries. Thanks to its durability, there is also the potential for the creative reuse of many stones delivering a truly circular project.

    What’s more, the quarries and mines themselves have a fantastic track record of reuse or repurposing. You only need to look at Honister Slate Mine in Cumbria which has been turned into a zip wire experience or the Tout Quarry on the island of Portland which has been restored as a sculpture park and nature reserve to see just how circular and sustainable the natural stone extraction process is.

    Albion Stone Quarry

    Image caption: Albion Stone Quarry. | Image credit: Stone Federation

    While some ‘stone alternative’ or ‘stone effect’ products require intense heat and pressure to bond the resins, pigments and other ingredients, natural stone comes out of the ground ready to be cut, finished and fixed.  While many of these alternative products are marketed as a ‘stone-effect’ option, they cannot emulate the natural beauty or sustainability credentials of natural stone. Natural stone is, by definition, a natural product, formed in the Earth over many millions of years, extracted, cut to size and transported to site without excessive human intervention and invention.

    So, in the first instance, measuring sustainability in surface design starts with assessing the number of processes that have gone into the creation of the materials being used.

    It’s not just the extraction process that makes natural stone such a sustainable choice for hotel designers, the durability of stone is also part of what gives it such impressive sustainability credentials.

    This dynamic of durability is another metric for assessing sustainability in surface design – how long will this material last?

    Close-up of stone on wall

    Image credit: Stone Federation

    So many of our nation’s historic hotels, churches and public buildings have natural stone floors that are hundreds of years old and still performing well. It is very rare to find the same with some of stone’s competitor materials. Much of this strength is thanks to the millions of years of compressive geological processes that go into the natural formation of stone. For a material that takes millions of years to form, providing a 100-year project lifespan is unsurprisingly commonplace for many stones.

    Another way to assess sustainability in surface design is to look at a material’s ability to be reused or recycled should there be renovations or change of use. Natural stone, thanks to its durability, can be reclaimed, reused or even repurposed as furniture or pieces of art.

    It’s not just these general principles of assessing extraction processes, material life span and reuse that help in measuring sustainability in surface design, there are also a number of detailed studies that have provided hotel designers with the facts to inform their material choices.

    A marble fireplace

    Image credit: Stone Federation

    When comparing natural stone with large-format ceramics, terrazzo, and other flooring products, stone’s global warming potential was found to be significantly lower. The GWP figures showed that, for example, large-format ceramic tiles have a 74 per cent higher Global Warming Potential than natural stone and terrazzo are 27 per cent higher.

    There are many other examples of studies that have demonstrated the sustainability credentials of natural stone. Moving slightly away from interiors, but still on the topic of sustainability there was also a project in London, 15 Clerkenwell Close, where the use of load-bearing natural stone instead of a concrete and steel structure reduced the whole-life carbon footprint of the building by 95 per cent and the cost by 75 per cent.

    Finally, the Green Guide to Specification, which is part of BREEAM, sets out an A+ to E ranking system for the environmental performance of materials. In a case study project by the BRE, almost half of the natural stone-related components achieved either A+ or A and the majority of the remainder scored a C or above.

    In summary, measuring sustainability in surface design boils down to first defining what makes a product sustainable and then comparing all materials against those same criteria. A low-impact material extraction or creation process, longevity of the material and ability to reuse, reclaim or recycle are all good first indicators, but when placed alongside the facts of comparative studies, it’s hard to ignore the fact that natural stone might just be the hotel designer’s ideal sustainable material.

    > Since you’re here, why not read about Stone Federation’s collaboration with Squire & Partners, Stone Tapestry?

    Main image caption: The pool in the spa at Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, designed by architect Joseph Caspari with Mio Shibuya. | Image credit: Four Seasons

    A large hotel suite, designed with exposed stone walls and modern interiors - low bed.

    Part 74: How technology trends are improving guest experience

    1024 640 Hamish Kilburn

    William Graham-Park, Hospitality Lead at ALE, and Hamish Kilburn, Editor of Hotel Designs, recently sat down to explore how technology trends are shaping the hotel and hospitality industries…

    Technology trends have gone a bit Black Mirror in recent, with AI and the Metaverse emerging as both disruptors and opportunities for brands operating in the hotel design and hospitality arenas.

    Driving these innovations and drastic tech-forward transformations is an increasingly impatient on-demand society that expects simple interfaces to react at lightning speed. Cue the arrival of Alcatel Lucent Enterprise (ALE), which will attend Tech in Hospitality Summit on September 18 – 19 in London. ALE claims that it is ‘reinventing’ how hospitality guests and staff communicate in safe and meaningful ways. This is done, simply, through the launch of efficient communication solutions.

    Pretty Asian female business executive calling from hotel room

    Image credit: ALE

    Driving the technology that ALE has launched is extensive research into consumer behaviour. To understand more about the emerging tech trends that are evolving the digital age in hospitality, we caught up with William Graham-Park, Hospitality Lead at ALE.

    Hamish Kilburn: So, William, what trends are you currently seeing in the hospitality sector?

    William Graham-Park: Well, there’s a lot going on, so for ease and clarity, let me distinguish between general trends we’re seeing, versus disruptive technology trends that are affecting the industry.

    In terms of the general trends in the hospitality industry currently: Environmental, Social and Governance – ESG – goals are a major driver now, with demand coming from the top down and the bottom up, and there are two major categories under this term that are particularly buzzing right now in the conversations I am having.

    First is sustainability, with hotels and restaurants increasingly adopting sustainable practices, such as reducing waste, using eco-friendly products, and sourcing local and organic ingredients. Hotels are increasingly incorporating sustainable technologies, such as energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems, into their operations. Technology that’s based in the cloud is another way to be more sustainable, as hardware is reduced, and the cloud services provider typically will run their systems as efficiently as possible. This not only helps to reduce the hotel’s carbon footprint but can also save on energy costs. Carbon footprint and energy cost saving can be tracked too. Also, diversity and inclusion is a growing focus, with hotels and restaurants working to create more welcoming environments for all guests and employees.

    The next trend I’d mention is wellness. This trend has gained momentum in recent years, with operators offering guests more health and wellness options. These might include in-room fitness equipment, yoga classes, and healthy menu options.

    Another one is Experiential Travel, which means going beyond offering just a place to stay or eat, with hotels and restaurants creating unique experiences for their guests. Examples could be curated local tours, cooking classes, or cultural experiences.

    The term ‘bleisure‘ describes the travel trend where individuals extend their business trips to include leisure activities, resulting in a new term combining ‘business’ and ‘leisure’.

    Overall, the key trends in hospitality are focused on creating personalised experiences, promoting sustainability, and embracing technology to improve operations and guest satisfaction.

    relaxed and happy young couple in modern hotel room

    Image credit: ALE

    HK: What exactly do you mean that ESG goals are being demanded top-down and bottom-up?

    WGP: In the sense that this is not just a corporate directive from the Boardroom. ESG goals are very important to today’s consumers as well, with many willing to pay more to make their travels more sustainable. So bottom-up in the sense that demand is coming from the customers, who are willing to use their towels for more than one day, as well as offset, and welcome other similar measures.

    HK: And what technology trends are affecting the industry?

    WGP: Right, I’ll mention several that we’re seeing, some of which many hospitality users may already be used to. As these are adopted, and when they are delivered well, the optimal guest experience becomes a possibility.

    Starting more generally, digital transformation means embracing technology to improve the guest experience and streamline operations, with automation being a major component of this, aiming to achieve greater efficiency. This could include mobile check-in, digital room keys, and online ordering systems. With staffing an ongoing challenge, it is essential to secure automation wins, both to do more with the resources available and to make the provide staff with the right tools to make their job easier and ultimately improve the guest experience.

    With the help of technology, greater levels of personalisation are possible. Hotels and restaurants can collect data about their guests, which can be used to offer personalised experiences. This includes personalised recommendations, customised menus, and tailored room amenities.

    Contactless Technology is obviously already widespread, but in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, contactless technology has become increasingly important. Many hotels are now offering mobile check-in and check-out, as well as contactless payment options to minimise physical interactions.

    Mobile Applications and mobile centricity are also widespread already, and that will continue. Hotel chains are developing mobile applications to offer guests more control over their stays. With the help of mobile apps, guests can book rooms, make reservations at restaurants, request services, and even control room temperature and lighting. There’s nothing worse than waiting to pay your restaurant bill, but with the provision of excellent Wi-Fi and an APP/QR Code, a guest can pay their bill when they are ready, giving a waiter/waitress one less job to do.

    Closely connected to this is Smart Room Technology. We’re all used to smart home apps and network-connected devices, from speakers to heating control, and this kind of technology will increasingly creep into various hospitality settings. In hotels, guests will be able to control various room features, such as lighting, temperature, and entertainment systems, using their mobile devices.

    We’ve heard a lot about AI recently, but in fact, it has been established in hospitality for quite some time already. This will grow over time, and expect to see AI-powered chatbots providing 24/7 customer service and support, answering frequently asked questions, providing recommendations, and even making reservations.

    Some innovative hotels are using virtual reality (VR) to create immersive experiences for their guests. VR can be used to showcase hotel amenities, allow guests to explore the local area, and even provide virtual tours of hotel rooms.

    HK: It seems like there are a lot of aspects to address to achieve a technology-enabled guest experience nirvana. Any tips on how to get there?

    WGP: First off, a solid infrastructure, with an internet of things-ready network, to facilitate all of the features of a great guest experience. This includes easily-accessed, robust Wi-Fi for visitors, so they can actually access all these services. And this is really where ALE comes into the equation, with wired and wireless networks, and telephony and unified communications with automation and workflow features included.

    Together with specialist hospitality technology partners, we’ve delivered so many projects in the hospitality and hotel arenas that we really have seen some of the best deployments in the field, and know how to deliver an outstanding project. ALE technology is in hospitality locations all across the UK and Ireland and beyond. Global customers include Okada Manila Hotels, Sanabel Al Khair Hotel 5 start in Mecca, Emirates-Palace Abu Dhabi, Le Palladia in Toulouse, to name but a few.

    I would invite any readers to connect with me on Linkedin. I can help them find demonstrations, proven system specialist, and help them consider their options to digitally transform and use technology to enhance their guest experience.

    ALE will be attending Tech in Hospitality Summit on September 18 – 19 in London, which is brought to you by Forum Events and supported by Hotel Designs. If you are an innovative and competitive solution provider and would like to attend, please contact Jennie Lane. If you are an industry professional searching for tech solutions and would like to attend as a delegate, please speak to Hayley Purrell to establish whether you qualify as a delegate.

    Main image credit: Unsplash / Roberto Nickson

    Decimo The Standard - dark-lit restaurant inside the hotel

    Part 69: the future of food and beverage design in hotels

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    We have come so far from the time when the choice is hotels was Italian or steakhouse. Today, destination restaurants and Michelin star chefs are sheltered inside some of the world’s most premium luxury hotels. But what’s next on the menu for Food and Beverage design in hotels? Alexandre Santamaria, Founder, Aware Hospitality, has a few thoughts…

    If we take a look back a few decades, the travelling experience was centered more on the destination rather than any experience you would have in a hotel, including the food and beverage offerings. With the wants and needs of consumer preferences changing, largely due to the pandemic, the future of food and beverage design in hotels is now championing locality, sustainability and on-property culinary experiences.

    In the past, hotels were almost complacent in the area of food and beverage, but we’re now seeing a steady rise in hotels partnering with local F&B operators to ensure higher levels of quality. For instance, Me London outsources all food and beverage to The ONE Group (a global hospitality company that develops and operates upscale and polished casual, high-energy restaurants and lounges), and The Hoxton Hotel outsources to Soho House, a brand which undeniably shares the same aesthetic and style. Soon-to-be-open Raffles London at The OWO will feature three signature dining experiences from Michelin-star Chef Mauro Colagreco alongside three destination bars.

    The lobby inside Hoxton Southwark

    Image credit: Hoxton Southwark

    Meanwhile, over in Dubai, newly open Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah, an expansive beachfront property, has outsourced several of its drinking and dining experiences to London-based bar, Trader Vic’s. The London institution, which first opened in the capital in 1963, has brought its tiki brand to the Middle East, while Irish pub McGettigan’s is also housed within the hotel. Under this model, the hotel pays for fit-outs and equipment and partners with a passionate and hard-working restaurateur with all the tools to realise their vision.

    As well as being financial savvy for hotels, it’s also in the company’s interests to completely outsource food and beverage outlets to independent restauranteurs as the market is becoming more and more competitive when it comes to dining options, and brings a uniqueness to the menu as well as offering guests a reliable food service from a brand they resonate with.

    A successful restaurant concept is based on building a family of regular customers; from frequent business travellers to members of the local community. Often, a hotel houses one all-day, middle-of-the-road concept for the hotel clientele to use for breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, when you have several F&B outlets all under one roof, as well as involving local ‘homegrown’ chefs, this goes a long way towards creating the buzz and excitement that restaurants need early on in their lifecycles to stay operational. Hotels are starting to put effort into developing a strong F&B offering where locals can work, relax, eat, and enjoy their city any time of year – making it a destination not just for tourists.

    Hotels have long been synonymous with the beloved buffet found in large-scale restaurants. While the treasured self-serve travel perk hasn’t received the same love since its decline due to Covid-19, hotels now understand that large, charmless restaurants with very little atmosphere don’t work. Instead, hotels are ripping up the rulebook and turning their lobbies into vibrant community workspaces aimed both at travellers and locals.

    London hotels in particular are becoming the new destinations for remote workers. With the pandemic changing the way businesses operate, remote working has seen a steady increase with no signs of stopping. Earlier this year, the Office of National Statistics revealed the proportion of workers utilising a hybrid model has risen from 13% in early February 2022 to 24 per cent in May 2022, while the percentage working exclusively from home has fallen from 22 per cent to 14 per cent in the same period.

    While co-working spaces such as WeWork have seen a decline (arguably due to high costs), hotels in the capital have transformed into accessible remote working spaces, offering special packages as well as access to fast wi-fi, tea and coffee on tap, meals, and amenities. In today’s digitally driven and globalised world, work is no longer confined to the cubicle or restricted to the hours between nine and five, and now, hotel lobbies are fast becoming ad hoc meeting rooms, full-time offices or just somewhere to quickly bash out an email.

    Vibrant interiors inside WeWork lounge

    Image credit: WeWork

    The Standard in King’s Cross boasts a meeting and events space on the eighth and ninth floors while the ground-floor lobby lounge offers a stylish co-working vibe. Over in Holborn, the Rosewood London hotel has a ‘Work From Hotel’ package where guests can book into suites that have been meticulously renovated into luxury office spaces. Mid-market hotels have also got in on the action, venues such as citizenM, which has four outposts in the capital, boasting super-fast free Wi-Fi, a contemporary living room, and iMacs for guests to use. And there’s no upfront cost to work there.

    the statement wavy red couch connects spaces in citizenM victoria, along with feature red bottles in the bar

    Image credit: citizenM

    With guests having higher standards than ever, efficiency is now preferred over the personal touch. One of the main reasons the human factor is being removed is largely due to staff shortages following the Brexit fallout. Recently Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures said the hospitality sector currently has a record 174,000 jobs available. The joint survey revealed that the highest shortages are for front-of-house roles, with 81 per cent of operators looking to fill vacancies. Chefs are the next most sought after, with 76 per cent of operators with recruitment issues, followed by kitchen porters (67 per cent), and assistant managers (53 per cent).

    If one thing is apparent, it’s that hotels are having to keep abreast of wider trends to stay ahead of the game. Adapting to the needs of the people – both locals and tourists – is vital, and is what keeps the best hotels at the top of their game. This naturally also extends into a hotel’s food and drink offerings, with pop-ups and regularly adapting kitchens taking away the stuffiness and clinical vibe and keeping things fresh and exciting. With so many changes happening in the last year alone, I’m excited to see what the future holds.

    Main image credit: Unsplash

    Hyperion Tiles Avenue Porcelain Rivoli garden tiles

    Part 63: designing garden tiles in luxury hotels

    1024 640 Hamish Kilburn

    As Hotel Designs discusses outdoor design solutions for wellbeing and wellness, this month Hyperion Tiles reveals why porcelain garden tiles could provide the best flooring solution underfoot…

    Hotel outdoor space should no longer be seen as an afterthought. In fact, these days, this area is ripe for development. Creating a garden retreat in which guests can relax and unwind to enhance their wellbeing, is now huge in hospitality. Often, the hotel exterior can be the first point of contact a guest has with a hotel. So, the surrounding environment needs to be aesthetically pleasing for every visitor.

    Hyperion Tiles Pierre Porcelain Textured in Gris

    Image credit: Hyperion Tiles

    Whether you’re considering a welcoming front entrance or striking outdoor pool area, porcelain garden tiles can instantly help to enhance these key areas with a stylish solution underfoot. So, consider the design of your outdoor spaces carefully and don’t forget to plan in your paving from the start. Then your guests can enjoy an indoor-outdoor sanctuary featuring plenty of style.

    Garden tiles for wellbeing

    Hyperion Tiles Blenheim Porcelain Textured Beige tiles

    Image credit: Hyperion Tiles

    Alfresco entertaining has become more popular than ever and there are key benefits for spending time in the great outdoors. This has already been proven to be a mental health and mood booster. In fact, being outside can help to lower stress levels, blood pressure and heart rate, too. So, the more creativity and personal touches you add to your hotel outdoor space for guests, the better. After all, visitors will be more likely to enjoy their stay and return for more. And, as a result, this will put you one step ahead of your competitors.

    Porcelain perfection

    Porcelain is not only ultra-durable and slip-resistant, but it looks good and will be easy to maintain, too. You’ll also find these garden tiles will accommodate all weathers. So, they can be used for a variety of outdoor design ideas, from a practical path and patio to a stylish balcony or pool area.

    If you’re considering high-performance poolside perfection, porcelain tiles are highly resistant to water and pool additives and chemicals. These garden tiles also don’t need to be sealed like stone. Other key benefits include their resistance to colour-change. Sunlight, for example, will not affect their original colour and they can easily withstand frost. As a result, your outdoor space will not only look welcoming but it will stand the test of time.

    Patterned over plain 


    Hyperion Tiles Solar Porcelain Star Blue garden tiles

    Image credit: Hyperion Tiles

    Patterned tiles can form some of the most exquisite flooring designs for exterior commercial projects. After all, this look has been inspired by luxury outdoor living. Patterned garden tiles also tend to be available in more colourful finishes, which will look good for years to come.

    Whether you’re looking for a more contemporary or rustic look, patterned tiles can also define a particular area, when it comes to garden landscaping. You can create instant patio appeal with an innovative patterned tile, for example. Or why not distinguish your walking areas with a particular tile style?

    If you’re looking for a more toned-down aesthetic poolside, a plain stone-effect paving tile could be ideal. These garden tiles still feature all the benefits you can expect from porcelain with a more natural effect. You can use them to create a classic or contemporary touch to your outdoor space. Think rooftop bars to terraces, with all the practicalities and aesthetics you can expect from a porcelain stone-effect tile.

    Indoor/outdoor garden tiles

    Hyperion Tiles Provence Porcelain Textured Cenere

    Image credit: Hyperion Tiles

    Another key trend in hotel design is to expand your indoor space outside with the same tiles. This will instantly create a more cohesive finish and look suitably stylish, whether you run your porcelain garden tiles from the entrance to the lobby or from the restaurant to the pool. Simply choose from a variety of sizes and colours, to create a bespoke, luxurious space that will last a lifetime.

    Hyperion Tiles 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: Hyperion Tiles