• Covid-19 – click here for the latest updates from Forum Events & Media Group Ltd

Posts Tagged :


Public areas inside Graduate hotel in Cambridge

Making an entrance: Can Graduate Hotels’ debut in the UK settle a legendary rivalry?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Making an entrance: Can Graduate Hotels’ debut in the UK settle a legendary rivalry?

Graduate Hotels has made a bold entrance in the UK with the opening of two hotels in Cambridge and Oxford. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores the tension, the design details and what this means for the two locations that have been at war since 1209…

Public areas inside Graduate hotel in Cambridge

Having just returned from Cambridge, I find it difficult to include ‘Cambridge’ and ‘Oxford’ within the same sentence. I say this because in one of the city’s, Oxford is referred to as ‘the O word’ – I can only imagine what Cambridge is known as in Oxford… That’s right, the two universities – both of which pride themselves to be the most prestigious academic institutions in the world – share one thing in common, aside from their ability to churn out Nobel Prize winners; they both share their mutual (un)healthy rivalry towards one another. Since 1209, when the the University of Cambridge was founded, the history books have painted the two establishments as enemies, which has in the past – many, many years ago – even resulted in murder.

Making what I am comfortable to describe as the boldest debuts in 2021 (so far), Graduate Hotels, a collection of handcrafted properties in university-anchored cities across America, has opened its first set of hotels in Europe in… yes, you guessed it… Cambridge and Oxford. Graduate Cambridge and The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels have officially opened their doors for overnight stays with food and beverage outlets to follow later this month.

Inspired by the world-famous academic reputation and unique traditions of the cities and universities, both Graduate Hotels properties offer design rooted in storytelling, distinct food and beverage experiences and a range of programming and events with local partners hosted year round. Crafted for local neighbours and students, regional alums and weekenders and international travellers alike, the hotels both seek to celebrate the dynamic communities they are positioned within.

“Our team is humbled to be launching the Graduate Hotels brand in two of the most historic and prestigious university communities in the world,” said Ben Weprin, Graduate Hotels founder and CEO. “The legacies that these iconic destinations represent drive the ethos of what inspires us to create memorable spaces to be enjoyed for generations to come. We look forward to welcoming global travellers for a uniquely Graduate experience in these centuries old, one-of-a-kind cities.”

Graduate Hotels has partnered with restaurant developer, White Rabbit Projects to launch all food and beverage outlets at Graduate Cambridge and The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels. White Rabbit Projects is behind some of the most exciting hospitality concepts in the U.K. including Kricket, Lina Stores and Island Poké. With input from local suppliers throughout the regions, the range of culinary offerings will encompass restaurant, bar and café concepts.

Inside Graduate Cambridge

Positioned along the idyllic banks of the River Cam, the 148-key Graduate Cambridge is surrounded by the University of Cambridge, within walking distance of several colleges, and a stone’s throw from the city’s best restaurants, bars and shops. The hotel has undergone a complete interior renovation that includes all rooms, common spaces, fitness club and pool. A ground floor conversion has seen the addition of a café and bar, as well as the renovation of the full-service restaurant, which opened on September 10.

Public areas inside Graduate Cambridge

Image credit: Graduate Hotels

Led by Graduate Hotels’ in-house interior design studio, the hotel’s design incorporates the history of the city, making the river the focal point with various accessible views, especially in the lobby bar. Colour palettes, patterns and textures in the public areas reflect the green surroundings of fields and the pastoral English countryside. With the punting boat rentals located just outside, the design brings local inspiration into the hotel, with life-size punting boats incorporated in the bookshelves in the lobby, a statement installation by local craftsmen.

The lobby is also home to a hanging DNA installation to celebrate Rosalind Franklin, a pioneer in the development of DNA at the University of Cambridge. The guest rooms see splashes of “Cambridge Blue.” Key design details include wallpaper depicting school gates, bedside built-ins reimagined as punting boats, whimsical lamps in the shape of a penny coin, as well as striking wood and leather desks to give the rooms a studious feel. Bathrooms feature scenic pastoral wallpaper and mirrors in the shape of the university crest.

The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels

Located in the city’s cultural epicentre, The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels is within close walking distance to the University of Oxford and its iconic colleges, including Trinity and St. John’s. The hotel is also close to St. Giles Street, as well as the world-famous Radcliffe Camera and Ashmolean Museum. The design of the 151-key hotel takes inspiration from the university’s history, paying homage to its storied innovators and alumni. The hotel has undergone a complete renovation across all of the common spaces, the lobby and guest rooms, which includes a spa featuring treatment rooms, a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi, all of which will open in autumn 2021.

The hotel has relaunched with comprehensive interior renovations throughout all of the guest rooms, the lobby and common spaces. Led by Graduate Hotels’ in-house interior design studio, the design details at The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels include bold hues and architectural elements inspired by the hotel’s heritage and locally inspired art which tells the narratives of Oxford’s past. In-room art includes paintings of Oxford alumni and well-known author and playwright, Oscar Wilde, and a painting of the famous ‘Steamboat Ladies’ (1904-1097), tells the story of a group of more than 700 women who travelled by a steamboat ferry to obtain degrees at a time when their own universities withheld graduation from female students.

Founded by CEO Ben Weprin in 2014, Graduate Hotels currently has 30 U.S. locations in addition to the two new U.K. properties. Owned by Adventurous Journeys (AJ) Capital Partners, Graduate Hotels’ properties in Oxford and Camdbridge join AJ Capital’s growing portfolio of hotels throughout the U.K. AJ Capital additionally owns and operates Marine & Lawn, a collection of bespoke hotels in the world’s most distinguished golfing destinations. The inaugural properties recently launched with Rusacks Hotel in St Andrews, Scotland and Marine North Berwick in North Berwick, Scotland, and will be followed by Marine Troon in Troon, Scotland.

Main image credit: Graduate Hotels

Beverly Hills Hotel Cabanas.Champalimaud Design (1)

LA dreams: The Beverly Hills Hotel unveils new design scheme

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
LA dreams: The Beverly Hills Hotel unveils new design scheme

The legend that is The Beverly Hills Hotel has unveiled its latest redesign. The hotel, known as the ‘Pink Palace’ that has been the star of many movie sets, now has 11 new poolside retreats, designed by the masterful team at Champalimaud Design. Editor Hamish Kilburn has more…

Beverly Hills Hotel Cabanas.Champalimaud Design (1)

Steeped in Hollywood history, the pool at The Beverly Hills Hotel has always been home to glamorous starlets, movie icons, and the location for many classic films.

Now, having just completed a restoration of its private cabanas by world renowned interior design firm, Champalimaud Design – the same team that was behind the redesign of the hotel’s sister hotel, The Dorchester – The beloved ‘Pink Palace’ moves gracefully into a new and contemporary era. It now provides a new generation of guests with modern day luxuries in a setting reflective of Hollywood’s golden age. The design studio has sensitively led the masterful redesign of all 11 poolside retreats.

“What distinguishes The Beverly Hills Hotel from all others is its magical history. Through time it has been the destination of movie stars and socialites, kings and queens,” says Alexandra Champalimaud, Founder & President – Champalimaud Design. “Vivacious and brimming with life, there is a particularly strong culture around the swimming pool and cabanas. The cabanas hold prime seats to a mesmerising show of beautiful people wading in clusters, chatting in groups as laughter permeates the air. You sit with your family, surrounded by beauty and laughter, and you watch as the amazing show goes on.”

Beverly Hills Hotel Cabana and Pool

Image credit: Dorchester Collection

The newly refreshed cabanas convey a welcoming residential feel while paying homage to the hotel’s iconic design elements. Admiring the storied history of the hotel and pool area in particular, each space is imbued with a nostalgic sense of Hollywood glamour. The design team have created a distinct atmosphere that builds up from the details: basket weave on the chairs, terrazzo on the coffee tables, and bright candy pink throughout the space. Establishing an even deeper sense of place, the design studio had sourced beautiful peach pink tables from a local Los Angeles designer, Bend. Adorned in pink and white interior striped awnings, guests in the cabanas find themselves immersed in all the fun and exclusivity that Beverly Hills has to offer.

The most notable design feature in the cabanas is the pink Martinique banana leaf wallpaper made by CW Stockwell. The pink is a new colourway, re-introduced from the company’s archives to complement the original green of the hotel’s interiors. This is the first time the hotel has installed this iconic wallpaper since the original installation in the 1940s. The wallpaper is featured in The Fountain Coffee Room and in all of the hallways of the hotel, 5½ miles to be exact. With its distinctive colours, large bright leaves, and waving banana palms, it remains internally and intrinsically connected to the hotel, and has developed a type of celebrity status amongst designers and guests alike.

Main image credit: Dorchester Collection

Virtual roundtable - ethical lighting solutions

Virtual roundtable: Ethical lighting solutions

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: Ethical lighting solutions

With the aim to put ethical lighting – and not just sustainability – under the spotlight, Hotel Designs’ latest virtual roundtable welcomes Chris Stimson, Founder of lighting brand Well-Lit, and a handful of leading designers and lighting experts to explore ethical product design. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Virtual roundtable - ethical lighting solutions

For years now, the buzzword that is ‘sustainability’ has been a constant tone; a consistent and unavoidable noise ringing in the ears of every designer, architect and hospitality professional – like tinnitus. Despite the topic remaining important and in its infancy regarding us seeing real change, in order to really clean up our act when it comes to designing consciously, it is not the only subject we need to consider and, if needs be, expose.

To really one day achieve a totally ethical arena for designers, architects and hotel professionals – we live in hope here on the editorial desk – we must also place product design under the spotlight. To do this, designers must not be afraid to question how raw materials are sourced as well as how each element of the product they are specifying is made. But how do we, as an industry, realistically achieve this when deadlines become tighter, briefs become narrower and so many other details need to be addressed on a project?

In addition to advising designers to specify responsibly, after moderating the below roundtable discussion, I no longer believe it is acceptable for brands to be ignorant on how their products are being made. The reason why I say this is because the consequences of such naivety, which emerge thousands of miles away from the first-world problems we face in the western world, can be (and are) unequivocally devastating.

Image caption: Susan Lake's lighting design, sheltered inside Yotel Edinburgh. | Image credit: Yotel Hotels

Image caption: Susan Lake’s lighting design, sheltered inside Yotel Edinburgh. | Image credit: Yotel Hotels

Many brands, both large and small, that currently manufacture their products in Asia are (knowingly or not) fuelling modern slavery. One man who has seen the human cost of unethical manufacturing is Chris Stimson, Founder of lighting brand Well-Lit, who inspired the topic of our Hotel Designs next roundtable.

To panoramically explore ethical lighting solutions with might and purpose, we invited Stimson, along with a handful of designers and lighting experts, to discuss just how bad the problem currently is.

On the panel:

Hamish Kilburn: Chris, why is ethical lighting so high up on your agenda? 

Chris Stimson: It’s based on my own experience. Previously I was based in China, and worked as a sourcing agent for western brands that were looking for manufacturers. Before LED bulbs for domestic homes were known, I was watching the research, travelling to trade shows and meeting the people who were developing the technology. I successfully connected the manufacturers with brands – and that went well for about two years.

Then in 2010, there was a dramatic shift in the market as mass production entered, and the price of LEDs and what manufacturers could achieve fell. I was literally told over night to halve my prices or I would be out of a job. It was during that time when I witnessed things that rocked me to my core; I saw things that could not be unseen. Over the period of just six months I realised I facilitated it. I was part of the problem, so I decided that I was in a position to do better. And this is how we started the lighting brand Well-Lit.

Well-lit light bulbs

Image caption: Well-Lit are one of the few lighting brands that is actively ensuring that the manufacturing process to make its products and components is ethical.

HK: As lighting experts and designers, how aware are you all about non-ethical practices when it comes to manufacturing?

Charlotte Flynn: I’ll be honest, before we had an introduction with Well-lit, we were not aware of the unethical side of lighting manufacturing. It really was new to us. At least knowing that brands, such as Well-Lit, were willing to bring this forward was comforting, but it was also pretty unnerving to think that, despite working with brands who claim to be ethical and sustainable, we actually had no idea just how bad the situation was. The reality is that many designers are unknowingly specifying products that have been made in barbaric conditions.

Metehan Apak: As designers, I think we have all noticed prices of products come down as demand rises. What cannot be ignored are the demands among modern travellers for sustainable design and hospitality. As a result, our clients are getting on board with our thinking to source sustainable and ethical products.

Arianne Ghezzi: We do pay close attention to the suppliers we are working with. There are a few items that we really care about when specifying and that’s usually around what happens in the background. Clients start coming on board when they realise that these ethical decisions often end up saving money when it comes to running costs. More and more, I have seen, that clients are also asking about the lifecycle of products and the recycling qualities of each product.

I also think that manufacturing tours are very usable for designers to understand how components are made and put together.

Image caption: Ennismore recently set new standards to only work with brands that can prove their ethical value. | Image credit: The Hoxton Paris

Image caption: Ennismore recently set new standards to only work with brands that can prove their ethical value. | Image credit: The Hoxton Paris

HK: I can imagine, though, it is very difficult for designers who are working towards a brief for a space to be aesthetically pleasing while also remaining on budget and for the materials to be sourced ethically. Realistically, can all three demands be met?

Susan Lake: It’s a very difficult tightrope that as designers we have to walk. We have to think about the larger picture but we also have to consider the budget, time and aesthetics. It’s reassuring to see that there are brands out there that do source and manufacture responsibly. Equally, it is our responsibility to really demand these credentials when we are specifying products. When it comes to ethics, though, to produce in an ethical way will naturally result in the prices going up.

HK: How do you qualify what is ethical – and what is the human and social cost of unethically made lighting?

CS: The situation around fast fashion really brought awareness to other industries. Even Apple – one of the world’s most recognised brands in the world – has huge problems with their manufacturing in Asia. For example, the brand launched a huge campaign about ethics and manufacturing. Well, on the day they released their press statement, a video emerged showing footage from inside a Chinese factory where the manager was throwing workers’ name badges on the floor for them to pick up at the start of their shifts. It’s incredibly difficult and if a brand like Apple is struggling then you can imagine how challenging it is for everyone else.

“It’s almost like ‘made in China’ is a dirty phrase. And it usually is, but it doesn’t have to be. – Chris Stimson, Founder, Well-Lit.

Image caption: Public areas inside Hotel Zeppelin, designed by Dawson Design Associates. | Image credit: Viceroy Hotels

Image caption: Public areas inside Hotel Zeppelin, designed by Dawson Design Associates. | Image credit: Viceroy Hotels

In terms of my own experience and what I have witnessed, the social and human cost of manufacturing [unethically] in my industry is devastating. I am seeing migrants working hundreds of miles away from their families for very low pay – sometimes even refused pay. The working and living conditions in and around these factories can be disgusting and dangerous. They are being made to work inhumane hours and their jobs are threatened on a daily basis because they can be easily replaced. I have seen what that can do so someone’s physical and mental health and it is disturbing. It destroys people, and yet it still doesn’t get spoken about.

For a lot of brands, it’s almost like ‘made in China’ is a dirty phrase. And it usually is, but it doesn’t have to be. My beliefs are that we all live on the same planet and we should be treated equally. It is as important to discuss ethical sourcing as it is to highlight sustainability and carbon emissions.

“Sustainability seems to be the key word in the briefs but trying to find out information on how the products are manufactured and the conditions of the factories is very difficult.” – Glenn Campion, Partner, LAPD

Image caption: LADP Lighting Design's simple yet dramatic lighting scheme inside The Loft Restaurant. | Image credit: The Loft Restaurant

Image caption: LADP Lighting Design’s simple yet dramatic lighting scheme inside The Loft Restaurant. | Image credit: The Loft Restaurant

HK: In your experiences, are you being told the truth when brands tell you about their ethical credentials?  

Glen Campion: Finding and measuring metrics and data on the ethical standards of manufacturers is nigh on impossible. It’s not something that is published. Sustainability seems to be the key word in the briefs but trying to find out information on how the products are manufactured and the conditions of the factories is very difficult. I think there is a lack of accreditations. The only one I am aware of is the Green Alliance but I know that doesn’t cover everything, so there is a long way to go.

CS: That’s really important because there are no accreditations out there that define exactly what an ethical brand is. I can set up a brand tomorrow and convince a lot of people that we are doing everything the right way and it would simply not be true. The only time in my career that an organisation has really challenged me on what we do was when The Observer  were considering us for ‘ethical product of the decade’ in their ethical awards. They asked deep questions and requested evidence.

For designers, it is almost impossible to know if you are purchasing sustainable or ethically made products, it really is!

“It is impossible to find out in certain regions. We have tried, for years, and we can source about 85 per cent of our raw materials and then there is just a hole. – Chris Stimson, Founder, Well-Lit.

HK: It seems that price is a pretty good indicator then. How much more expensive are ethically sourced lighting products?

CS: When we designed the business, we asked how we could create an ethical product. We had to be a profitable, sustainable and ethical enterprise. By truly doing this, it became clear that there was no way we could afford large-scale PR or a large offices and teams in London. In fact, in 12 years, we have spent about £12,000 on marketing because every penny we have has to go into the design of the product.

What’s more is that we need to present our products at competitive prices to our competitors otherwise we are out of the game. The challenges of running a business like ours is extraordinary when competing against the large brands with deep marketing pockets.

Two big bulbs in lighting scheme for a bar

Image credit: Well-Lit

Glen was talking about supply chains and where raw materials come from. The truth is that it is impossible to find out in certain regions. We have tried, for years, and we can source about 85 per cent of our raw materials and then there is just a hole. Therefore, we cannot promote ourselves as a completely sustainable business – but we try everything we can to be as ethical and sustainable as possible, while being ahead of the technology curve when it comes to lighting innovation.

I also don’t think you can be a sustainable business without being an ethical business. The real sustainability crime is the sheer amount of the low quality, often broken, bulbs that we shipped from China to the western world. If you think about the carbon footprint of these products that end up faulty and subsequently replaced with another bulb that has done the same journey, it’s not an ethical solution.

We make everything by hand, and that gives us such a low failure rate. Yes, we suffer on the cost of that but there really is no other way for us to produce those products ethically.

HK: Charlotte, how have your conversations changed with other brands since learning about what Well-Lit does?

CF: When it comes to the supply chain of products, we have an in-house sustainability focus group. We set up a schedule and there are questionnaires sent out to our recommended suppliers about their supply chain of materials. And yes, we have seen the same, we manage to trace back materials half way and then it descends into a black hole. With lighting, Chris was the first to put this on our radar. We actually only work with Well-Lit at the moment because of our shared ethos around ethical sourcing.

Obviously, we do have the benefit of being in-house so we are able to make those pledges and they are transparently communicated and understood among the whole team here. However, I believe we can set a tone for the industry to follow. It’s been really key to ensure that this, sustainability and conscious sourcing, is within our brand standards at Ennismore.

HK: Why is more lighting not manufactured in the UK?  

SL: It really does depend project by project. Some clients, depending on their clientele and demographic, are more focused on ethics and environment than others. Those clients are willing to pay more for the products. It is easier to trace back materials when the products have been made in the UK, but it is tough because all businesses need to think about their profitability.

HK: Please tell me that brands can ethically manufacturer products abroad as well…

CS: Yes, it can be done – our brand uses very good factories in China while also manufacturing in the UK. There are certain items that you simply cannot manufacture in the UK, such as bulbs, while also retaining a price point that anyone would touch. One of the things that gets missed out in topics like these is that there are brilliant crafts people in Asia who are doing brilliant things. In terms of both technology and the governmental support given to these creatives, they are some of the best people in the world and yet their reputation is being tainted by the result of greed and poor quality mass production of products.

In terms of being able to manufacture in China, there is a lot of trust that come into it. There are just two or three factories that I would use because of genuine shared values when it comes to the manufacturing process and human ethical standards. The most important element for us is that the workers are passionate and buy into the products they are producing. If they are benefiting from the products they are creating, then they will produce better quality products. This ultimately results in a product that has more longevity.

HK: How has this situation become so out of control?

CS: In my experience, most LED bulb brands do not know what is happening. It’s not always that these companies don’t want to know but it’s more that they just assume everything is happening the way they think it is. The sourcing process for most companies is to meet suppliers while travelling to trade shows, perhaps stay on to visit a factory where samples can be made and prices can be agreed. They might do a factory inspection but a lot can be hidden and this process, in my experience, can be highly manipulated and deceptive.

HK: What can designers do to make the industry more ethical?

CS: Ask difficult questions and demand hard evidence. For suppliers, these questions should be directed towards the factories they are working with. Suppliers should know about the living and working conditions of the workers who are in these factories.

GC: I’ll be honest, when it comes to specifying, over the last 10 years the decisions from clients have been driven by cost. The choices on the lighting projects I have been involved in are around supply costs. There are so many components in lighting schemes that need to be measured and presented, so weighing them up against another product that is ethically sourced is not often asked for. It would be great, however, to promote ethical sourcing and really help to educate the industry on the effects of unethical manufacturing.

HK: I think you’re right, the more companies that put forward good, solid evidence around ethical production of products, the more the industry will naturally demand this being an essential. Ultimately, if all suppliers looked deep into their supply chain and if all designers were more inquisitive about the products they are supplying then the healthier the industry will become on a global scale.

Main image credit: Hotel Designs

Accor hotel room on top of mountain

The sky is the limit: Germany’s highest hotel room

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The sky is the limit: Germany’s highest hotel room

Accor, in a bid to raise awareness of its ALL – Accor Live Limitless campaign, has installed a glass box that contains a fully-furnished hotel room on the top of Germany’s highest mountain. But you can’t stay here (not yet anyway)…

Accor hotel room on top of mountain

Calling all stargazers, Accor has recently unveiled an entire hotel room at the top of the Zugspitzplatt, the highest mountain in Germany. But not so fast, it’s not actually possible (yet) to spend the night here without trespassing. Instead, the installation has been created to highlight the brand’s ALL – Accor Live Limitless campaign. Still, it’s a pretty interesting hotel concept that the editorial team at Hotel Designs identified recently.

Travellers who who make their way up to the glass construction will, as a result, be rewarded as an ALL newcomer with 500 points on their personal ALL account, redeemable at their next stay in one of Accor’s hotels.

The interior design scheme inside the glass structure includes real hotel furniture that comes from the Accor brand Novotel, with which the hotel group started more than 50 years ago. 

Many are now calling for the hotel group to actually make this installation a real-life experience, but only time will tell whether or not sleeping under the stars at altitude will become the next unparalleled travel trend.

Main image credit: Accor

citizenM paris champs elysees

citizenM opens hotel on Champs-Élysées in Paris

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
citizenM opens hotel on Champs-Élysées in Paris

Talk about changing  up the narrative… the street of traditional luxury gets a french kiss from affordable luxury – citizenM Paris Champs-Élysées, designed by Concrete Amsterdam, becomes the brand’s fourth hotel in the City of Light…

The multi-award winning, Dutch hotel-and-lifestyle brand citizenM is returning to Paris to open its fourth hotel – on one of the world’s most famous avenues. 

citizenM paris champs elysees

From September 2021, citizenM Paris Champs-Élysées joins its three sister hotels in the French capital – making it the first city with a quartet of citizenM hotels . Overall, this is citizenM’s 15th hotel in Europe – and 23rd globally – since 2008.

citizenM Paris Champs-Élysées, the hotel brand’s 15th property to open in Europe, stays true to the brand’s promise of ‘affordable luxury for the people’ – serving it up, as usual, in a triple-A well-connected location. This one is centered almost precisely between Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde. On the doorstep: luxury shopping and dining on Avenue de Champs-Élysées, two metro stations, Galeries Lafayette, Grand Palais, Petit Palais, countless restaurants and boutiques, and much more. The location is ideal for tourists and business travellers visiting Paris for both short and long stays. 

a blue sofa and red furniture inside citizenm in Paris

Image credit: citizenM

Over approximately two years, the existing 1970s building on Rue la Boétie had been redesigned and converted into a modern 151-room citizenM hotel, with the help of long-time collaborators and architects Concrete Amsterdam, who took part in Hotel Designs LIVE this year. Approximately a quarter of the rooms on the front facade have a view of Rue la Boétie and a slice of Avenue de Champs-Élysées. The rest of the rooms are arranged in a U-shape around a peaceful ground-floor courtyard with greenery and comfortable outdoor seating. 

To get to the rooms, guests enter via a designer living room – citizenM’s signature space and everyone’s favourite hangout – passing a commissioned wall mural by Lucky Left Hand (French artist Steven Burke) on their way. In the living room itself, a spectacular Golden Age wallpaper by Ai Wei Wei will undoubtedly become one of the most photographed art pieces. It is best contemplated from one of the many cosy and colourful Vitra couches and chairs. Other notable art pieces in the living room include ‘Tauros’ by Sarah Morris, a lightbox by JR (Jean René), photo print by Frank Horvat, and Andy Warhol’s ‘Flowers’, as well as hand-picked pieces by Thomas Raat, Christophe Bucklow, David Salle and Jordan Wolfson, courtesy of the citizenM collection, which belongs to citizenM Executive Chairman Rattan Chadha.

For that ‘just like home’ feeling, the living room has space for working and relaxing, hundreds of books, interesting objects, and a 24/7 kitchen in the centre. Known as canteenM, it serves 24/7 food, drinks and snacks – nearly all locally sourced – hot à la carte meals, craft cocktails and delicious coffee. The indoor canteenM bar/dining area expands onto the aforementioned inner courtyard with Parisian-style furniture. 

When creating a new hotel, citizenM likes to include an element of surprise to keep all returning guests delighted. This way, the ‘affordable luxury’ experience is consistent around the world, but with a unique attraction at every location. citizenM Paris Champs-Élysées is the first-ever hotel with three outdoor spaces – the courtyard on ground level, the canteenM terrace, and an enchanting cloudM rooftop bar with a fresh, casual vibe. This spectacular park-style bar on top of the Champs-Élysées will serve a menu of delicious finger food, snacks, and bottled drinks (a variety of refreshing wine, beer, soda and spritzes). The cloudM bar – featuring views of the Eiffel Tower – will be open to the public, available for private hire, and stylishly furnished by Vitra.

Upstairs, 151 rooms are designed especially to fit the existing building – and for ultimate relaxation. The most important things – the XL king-size bed, jungle-like shower, and entertainment – are all optimised for comfort, luxury and ease of use. Superfast Wi-Fi is always free, and the entire room ambiance (from lights and blinds to the temperature and TV) is controlled by the free citizenM app, or the MoodPad tablet. 

For room art, citizenM hand-picked three French female artists – Marie Guillard, Elvire Caillon and Melodie Bachet – in collaboration with Starter, a creative agency run by Parisiennes Aurelie Dablanc and Anne-Marine Guiberteau. In every city it calls home, citizenM seeks out local artists to collaborate with and highlight their talent. 

White contemporary bedroom

Image credit: citizenM

For the final touch to the true citizenM experience, the hotel ambassadors make the whole world feel at home. Every one of them is empowered to do what’s right for the guests, and prepared to take on any role – barista, concierge, housekeeping or receptionist. At citizenM, guests who need attention are never sent to ‘speak to someone else’, but instead receive genuine warmth and attention – deservedly noted in the many positive online reviews. 

citizenM Paris Champs-Élysées hotel is open for bookings from September 2021. Together with the existing three locations – at Gare de Lyon, La Défense and Charles de Gaulle Airport – the quartet of Parisian citizenM hotels fulfills the needs of every visitor seeking affordable luxury in the City of Light.

Main image credit: citizenM

W Rome - Giardino Clandestino

W Rome – celebrating the past, present & future of the city

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
W Rome – celebrating the past, present & future of the city

Interior design studio Meyer Davis’ work is complete on W Rome, which opens in Italy’s capital as a contemporary hospitality experience that ‘oozes glamour’ throughout with traditional architecture melting into a modern design scheme… 

W Rome - Giardino Clandestino

It has been one of Europe’s most anticipated arrivals for quite some time, and now the time in approaching when we celebrate the opening of W Rome – a hotel that marries traditional architecture with cutting-edge interior design.

King Street Capital Management is the lead investor and owner of W Rome. “Presently, the market has a tight supply of internationally branded hotels so we saw an opportunity to convert this historic office building, nestled in the heart of the Ludovisi district, into a marquis, luxury lifestyle hotel that showcases Rome’s rich culture and pays homage the building’s distinctive history,” said Paul Brennan, Managing Director at King Street Capital Management. “We brought together a highly qualified international team of partners including Omnam, Marriot, L22, Meyer Davis, renowned architects, interior designers and hotel operators as well as local contractors, F&B operators, local artists and chefs to establish this into the first W Hotel in Italy that highlights the city’s heritage to a discerning clientele.”

Spanning two adjacent 19th-century buildings on Via Liguria with 162 guestrooms and suites, the hotel offers a prime location ideally situated near the famous Spanish Steps and fashionable boutiques of Via Condotti. It also boasts one of the city’s very few rooftop bars with panoramic views across the Eternal City. Meyer Davis has designed a portal where Rome’s past, present, and future effortlessly collide, and old contexts have unexpected pairings. From the juxtaposition of fabrics and surfaces to tempting textures, each detail of every space is intentional.

In a city marked by immense historical heritage, W Rome will see an unapologetically Italian colour palette and patterning meet a layered blurring of different eras of standout design. 1970’s Italian glamour oozes throughout the property with traditional architecture melting into colour blocking and bold graphic patterns in hues of burnt orange, dramatic red and foliage greens. An eclectic mix of colourful furniture meets stone walls representative of the building’s past, whilst reflective surfaces bring a contemporary feel to the property.   

Guests are welcomed into the hotel by the W Living Room, featuring a stunning skylight and a window of patterned glass allowing light to flood through the bright and airy open space. Eclectic seating areas are surrounded by elegant sculptural pieces of art, while black and grey marble flooring run throughout.  An intriguing, hand-painted mural wraps around walls that look onto chic reflective stainless steel welcome desk pods. The mural, painted by Italian artist Costanza Alvarez de Castro, is inspired by Roman gardens, and invites discovery by telling the story of the destination’s stunning geography. Transitional spaces are used as palate cleansers from room to room, while a digital gallery screen creates an immersive experience for guests, paying homage to Rome and its rich culture through images that unexpectedly change each time a guest passes through the area.  

Boundaries are blurred between public and private spaces throughout the hotel. Guests are invited to discover the unexpected with a hidden door in the public bathroom that leads to the intimate Parlapiano, a secret garden. Inspired by Borromini Church, a traditional Italian stone church complete with kissing benches, lush foliage, topiary and water fountains, this space provides a tranquil escape within the hotel.

With a bold yet calming colour palette, the 162 guestrooms and suites have been designed to make guests feel as though they have their own luxury city apartment. Open-plan living, and stylish design go hand-in-hand while materials naturally clash, with dark oak doors juxtaposed with highly polished brass decoration. 

Image credit: W Hotels

Local materials are used to tell the story of the hotel with traditional wooden herringbone patterned floors effortlessly blurring into modern marble as guests reach the bathroom, offering a thoughtful blend of both past and present throughout the space.  Wine red velvet curtains dress the guestroom windows from ceiling to floor creating a sense of bold luxury and a statement finish to the rooms. A selection of the guestrooms offer private balconies and terraces with iconic views of the city, some overlooking famous landmarks such as the Istituto Svizzero. 

Providing a next-level glamorous experience, the property offers Extreme WOW Suites offering unparalleled urban gardens and expansive terraces, adding rare and much-sought-after inside and outside living. The suites’ décor sees historical Roman architectural elements mixed with cutting-edge in-room technology and custom designed modern furniture.

Main image credit: W Hotels

Product watch: D-Neo Monochrome by Duravit

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: D-Neo Monochrome by Duravit

D-Neo by Duravit is extremely versatile with its clear-cut styling; each individual piece will always appear to be perfectly positioned within the range…

The new Oak Terra finish colour imbues the furniture with a subtle yet expressive effect. No matter what design trend is pursued for the bathroom as a whole, the holistic nature of the Monochrome world will always stand out.

D-Neo is available in numerous design options, offering furniture that perfectly complements any bathroom. Circular mirrors from the Light + Mirror range provide indirect light that guarantees pleasant, optimum illumination of the washing area.

The series is rounded off by the matching range of faucets, characterised by the unmistakable narrow, vertically positioned handle.

Duravit 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: Duravit

Hendricks Palace

Case study: Fitting out audio inside The Hendrick’s Gin Palace

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Case study: Fitting out audio inside The Hendrick’s Gin Palace

William Grant & Sons has unveiled a £13 million distillery expansion to create The Hendrick’s Gin Palace, designed to be a “playground for experimentation, invention and curiosity”. To really enhance the theme further, the brand called upon SONANCE when it came to creating an audio experience…

Hendricks Palace

The new facility boasts two still houses and features a walled garden that leads to a Victorian inspired palm house, which sits between two botanical hot houses planted with an array of unusual botanicals and flora from around the globe. The second floor hosts a new laboratory for Hendrick’s master distiller Lesley Gracie as well as a lecture theatre and a bar. Intended to “inspire curiosity, open minds and serve as a platform for invention,” according to Pamela Selby, the global brand director for Hendrick’s, The Gin Palace is located within the grounds of one of Scotland’s most prestigious grain whisky distilleries (Girvan) and distils every drop of Hendrick’s Gin consumed around the world. Visits to The Hendrick’s Gin Palace are by invitation only.

The Challenge

Working with William Grant & Sons and the Hendrick’s brand team, the challenge was to provide an ambience within The Gin Palace that would complement and enhance the ‘platform for invention’. It required the installation of a near invisible audio and entertainment system for the dedicated spaces without compromising the interior design elements but versatile enough to handle different functions throughout the building. The system extends to the bar area, lecture theatre, lab and specially designed restrooms, as well as the connecting hallways. Providing ambient sound and sleek design, the audio installation preserves The Gin Palace’s exclusive interior design quality. This building-wide solution enables high performance sound for presentations in the lecture theatre, ambient sound in the bar area and background music in the Lab, as well as distributed 4K video, wireless control of the system and BYOD facilities, allowing guests to present without the complications associated with certain technologies.

Project requirements:

  • Adjustable audio levels in zones
  • 4K video distribution throughout
  • Futureproof wired and wireless technology infrastructure
  • Aesthetically complementary
  • High audio performance and install quality
  • Hardware and network security with remote monitoring
  • Best application of technology for design consistency and reliability.

The solutions

Professional audio integration by Lairds of Troon means more than merely filling a room with sound. It prioritises design elements so that the audio system and environment coalesce to create the right atmosphere, which heightens the senses without distracting from the designer’s aesthetic vision for the space. For over 10 years, the technicians at Lairds have continually refined the art of achieving audio fidelity in tune with room design, and for The Gin Palace we created an excellent result, deploying a combination of award-winning Sonance in-wall and in-ceiling speakers and custom built, colour-coded speakers from Gallo Acoustics. For video The Hendrick’s Gin Palace installation uses a 43” Sony TV framed with Vitualton mirror glass in the Bar area, connected to a 4K Wyrestorm 4×4 matrix video distribution system providing seamless integration and flexibility when choosing video sources. Day-to day in the lecture theatre, a discreet short-throw Epson EB-670 projector and 220 x 165 cm Celexon manual screen do not intrude on the classic early 1900s room design.

“Lairds of Troon has worked with Sonance over a number of years to achieve excellent results for projects ranging from small residential to high end commercial builds,” explained Installer Mark Laird. “It provides a robust and reliable range that can accommodate any budget whilst still offering a quality that lasts for many years. Sonance amps and their architectural speakers make up the backbone of The Hendrick’s Gin Palace audio system.”


  • Bar Area: 8 x Sonance VP66R
  • Lesley Gracie’s Lab: 4 x Sonance VP66R
  • Lecture Theatre: 6 x Sonance VP66R
  • Corridors: 16 x Sonance VP66R
  • WCs: Sonance VP66R
  • Bar area, Lesley’s Lab, Lecture Theatre,
  • Glasshouse, Corridors, WCs: 8 x Yamaha
  • Music Cast WXA50 Amps
  • Bar Area, Lecture Theatre:
  • Wyrestorm MX-0404-HDBT-H2A-KIT 4K video distribution
  • Lecture Theatre: Epson short throw projector and Celexon manual screen 220 x165 cm

Sonance 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: Sonance/The Hendricks Gin Palace

W Changsha

W Hotels arrives in Changsha with futuristic design scheme

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
W Hotels arrives in Changsha with futuristic design scheme

Bright, bold and playfully fun, W Changsha has arrived sheltering a ‘uniquely eclectic’ design scheme that modern travellers expect from the W Hotels brand. The hotel opening marks the first W in central China – and the brand’s eighth property in the country…

W Changsha

The future is now, according to W Hotels, which has lit up the capital and largest city in Hunan province, China, with the opening of W Changsha. Owned by the Hunan Yunda Industry Group, the hotel is strategically located in the buzzing heart of the city and reflects the bright spirit of the futuristic and multi-dimensional city with a provocative and playful design inspired by space travel.

A red ceiling with tables and seats in public area of lobby

Image credit: W Chenghsa

“W Changsha marks the eighth W hotel to open in China, one of the most influential markets in both travel and business, and we’re excited to bring W Hotels to more destinations across the country,” said Tom Jarrold, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “Cities such as Changsha, with their future-focused residents and fast-growing millennial luxury market who crave the new and unexpected, are playgrounds of limitless possibilities for W.”

Designed by the acclaimed Cheng Chung Design (H.K.) Ltd, W Changsha takes imaginative risks with daring new design forms celebrating Changsha’s rich heritage and modernity. In China, Changsha is also known as “Star City” and its name inspires the hotel’s design narrative featuring bold geometric patterns mixed with contemporary avant-garde artwork. Exclusively commissioned by the hotel, whimsical artwork such as the Schrodinger’s Cat series and the Zeta art installations explore the mystery of the universe through the W lens, creating unexpected encounters throughout the hotel.

Upon arrival at W Changsha, guests are greeted by the iconic W logo, illuminated to resemble the surface of the moon. “Avenue of the Stars,” a mixed-media landscape combining digital, interactive, and sound art, transports guests to RUNWAY, a destination bar in the Living Room, the brand’s signature, socially driven spin on the traditional hotel lobby. Here, the “Pepper Man” sculpture invites guests to look up and marvel anew at the wonders of space within the context of Changsha’s local custom and culture.

The hotel’s 345 guestrooms and suites offers modern luxuries and new-tech conveniences, with walls depicting planets, constellations, and discovery of the nebulae through a “meow eye cabin” LED screen emulating space exploration. From 26th floor to the highest floor on 28th, the triple-story Extreme – WOW Suite (the brand’s take on the presidential suite) incorporates more than 1,000 square meters of living and leisure space, including a private garden and a swimming pool, to make for a brilliant venue for private events amplified by the hotel’s signature service.

After work or play, guests can kick-back by the reflection pool or make a splash at WET®, an expansive pool with a three-meter ‘Space Cat’ sculpture. The 24/7, fully-equipped FIT fitness centre offers weights and cardio as well as heart-pumping dance classes to burn calories before the celebration begins again. For guests who live by the brand’s ‘Detox.Retox.Repeat’ philosophy, AWAY SPA awaits to restore and revive their glow.

“We are thrilled to debut the W Hotels brand in central China and mark another symbolic step for us as we continue to expand our luxury portfolio into new markets across the country,” said Henry Lee, President, Greater China, Marriott International. “As domestic travel continues to pick up tremendous momentum, we are bringing new and exciting brands such as W to the country’s emerging leisure destinations.”

W Changsha is the latest W Hotel to arrive onto the global hospitality scene, which comes parallel to the brand marking its arrival in Rome. With now nearly 60 hotels, the W brand continues to defy design and hospitality expectations by breaking the boundaries and norms of traditional luxury wherever the iconic W sign lands.

Main image credit: W Hotels

Roca tap

Product watch: Roca introduces new colours to brassware collections

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Roca introduces new colours to brassware collections

Bathroom brand Roca continues to innovate with its brassware portfolio thanks to the introduction of two new finishes to its stunning Insignia and Naia ranges. Complete with Everlux finish, the two new additions are now available in on-trend rose gold and brushed titanium black – the perfect finishing touch for any bathroom in an era where colour is king (or queen)… 

Roca tap

The sleek, modern design of both the Insignia and Naia brassware by Roca already makes them a popular choice among designers, however with the introduction of two new colours, the possibilities are now pretty much endless. The addition of the rose gold adds a pop of subtlety – think chic colour – whereas the brushed titanium black adds a touch of sophistication and contemporary, industrial style.

With a square handle and a round body, Naia has a minimalist design, with a perfect combination of cylindrical and square geometric shapes to complement a variety of bathroom decors. It is available in a range of heights to suit a variety of basin styles including vanity, in-countertop and on-countertop.

With its soft profile and slim side handle, Insignia features gently curved lines and a sleek, elegant aesthetic. Insignia is a modern, single-lever brassware collection, that’s ideal for bathrooms with a clear urban design.

Both ranges feature Roca’s Cold Start technology to ensure the flow starts with cold water and hot water systems are only activated when the handle is turned to the left. This not only saves CO2, but also reduces consumers’ energy bills. Naia and Insignia are available in a variety of basin (different heights available), bidet and shower mixers, along with matching bath fillers.

David Bromell, Head of Marketing at Roca comments: “The extensive Roca brassware portfolio continues to evolve with innovative designs and contemporary finishes, providing a broad range of solutions, but with homogenised commitment to quality, functionality and environmental responsibility. The addition of these two new coloured finishes, further enhances our existing collections with an on-trend yet enduring design, that appeals to a wide market.”

The Insignia and Naia brassware collections also come with Roca’s innovative Everlux finish – a PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) coating which has excellent durability as well as being resistant to scratches and impacts.

The sophisticated Everlux finish is obtained by the innovative physical vapor deposition (PVD) process via the ionization of metals and noble gases, which are combined to create a fine metallic coating. This coating, based on extremely hard metals such as titanium or zirconium, is uniformly deposited over Roca’s high-quality galvanized chrome plating, resulting in a surface with extreme hardness and extraordinary resistance to scratches, impacts and cleaning agents. Through this process, Roca has been able to offer multiple combinations in the creation of sophisticated and highly resistant bathroom spaces.

Roca 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: Roca

Hotel Designs becomes media partner for Festival of Hospitality

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs becomes media partner for Festival of Hospitality

The inaugural Festival of Hospitality takes place this month across London with the aim to bring the hospitality industry together. Right on cue, Hotel Designs swoops in to help amplify the purposeful venture that will shelter many conversations, authentic networking experiences and forward-thinking initiatives – everything we believe in as a brand…

The Festival of Hospitality, which is quick to state that it is “not your usual industry conference,” launches this month, and everyone is welcome! The month-long programme of fun, free events have been developed and curated by the industry itself. Everyone is welcome to attend, with specific activities for the Next-Gen as well as senior professionals. “

“It has always been our goal to align ourselves with meaningful campaigns that help to elevate the hospitality industry and the people who work in it to make the arena creative and forward-thinking,” said editor Hamish Kilburn. “Karen Wiley and Katie Tobin, the duo from Always Thinking who are leading the Festival of Hospitality, are innovatively and seamlessly giving the industry what it needs (and wants) following a challenging few years and we are so delighted to help amplify their work.

“What’s more, I am delighted to be moderating a panel discussion on October 6 that will specifically highlight a handful of rising talents and discuss the challenges fresh designers and hospitality professional face in this already congested industry.”

As well as a great programme of headline events and tours, the festival wants you, the hospitality community, to get involved. Whether you’ve got a new project that you’d like to showcase or an interesting point up for discussion, the team can include your event in the schedule and help to share it with the right people.

“We’re really excited to have the support of Hotel Designs as media partner for the inaugural Festival of Hospitality,” added Katie Tobin, Director, Always Thinking. “We are big believers in collaboration, partnerships and sharing of knowledge, and we can’t wait to work with the Hotel Designs team to make this happen, reaching a wider audience and sharing the great content from the Festival wider.

“The exciting, month long programme includes future hospitality trend seminars, panel discussions with operators, developers, investors and designers, and an opportunity to get personal tours of some of the great new hotel openings from the last 18 months by the project teams themselves. Check out the full programme and keep updated as new events are being added daily.” 

Main image credit: The Londoner/Pan Pacific/NoMad London/Festival of Hospitality

Lobby/lounge inside Pan Pacific London

Pan Pacific London – a new luxury wellness hotel is born

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Pan Pacific London – a new luxury wellness hotel is born

There is no doubt that Pan Pacific London was one of the most hotly anticipated hotel openings in London in 2021. With the hotel now open, following a spectacular opening party, it’s time to experience what luxury and wellness at new heights really feels like… 

Lobby/lounge inside Pan Pacific London

Following what has been a hard-hitting few years for the hospitality and tourism industry, it’s refreshing to finally see new hotels – properties we have been drawling over since their concept phases were unveiled – are starting to emerge in the ever-so-congested London hotel arena. Pan Pacific London was one of those hotels. In an interview with its architect, Mark Kelly from PLP Architecture, we learned the need for flexibility in today’s era of design and hospitality. “Architecture is an inherently flexible process – always evolving while constantly questioning and reinventing itself,” he said when discussing architecture’s role post-pandemic. “As such, it is well placed to respond to the current and seemingly ever-changing Covid crisis and, for that matter, other current and future global concerns such as the climate emergency.”

Pan Pacific London is a fine example of a new hotel that was, prior to the Covid-19 crisis, already planning to take wellness in luxury into a new era. However, after hospitality’s months and months of forced hibernation, this hotel opens with a greater meaning and purpose for the wider luxury hotel landscape. This haven in the heart of the city fuses together architecture, contemporary design, boundary-pushing wellbeing, and leading destination restaurants and bars, with sincere Singaporean hospitality to create a lifestyle destination in London.

Located in Liverpool Street, Pan Pacific London is on the doorstep of world-renowned locations yet also home to its own inner world. Sitting proudly in the landmark tower at One Bishopsgate Plaza, the hotel is situated near many of the city’s finest attractions including high-end shopping in Spitalfields, the Barbican cultural hub, and the stylish Shoreditch neighbourhood.

What to expect inside

Setting the tone immediately upon arrival, the lobby is minimalist with earthy and warm tones creating a modern and paired back home-from-home scene. Accents of colour and personality, however, come from carefully placed plants that were provided by biophilic design experts at Leaflike. “This is one of the most rewarding projects we have worked on because of the alignment between our businesses regarding sustainability,” Brandon Abernethie, Head of Design at Leaflike told Hotel Designs.We cannot wait to help more hoteliers achieve their goals.”

A minimalist lobby with plants

Image credit: Jack Hardy

The hotel has been created by esteemed design duo Yabu Pushelberg, who bring their signature style to the hotel sparked by the fusion of south-east Asian vibrancy and the refined elegance of traditional British design. A unique sanctuary in the middle of The City of London, modern lines and artistic flair run throughout the hotel’s public spaces whilst guest rooms offer a sense of peace and calm with curved walls and neutral colour palettes.

Led by a team of seasoned industry veterans, Pan Pacific Hotels Group’s acclaimed attention to detail and a proactive approach to environmental sustainability and wellness can be seen in the 237 guestrooms and suites which offer some of London’s finest accommodation. The signature Pan Pacific Suite, for example, perched on the 19th floor, is the essence of luxury with spectacular views of city landmark, The Gherkin. 

The guestrooms have been designed as retreats from the bustling city and feature a lighter colour palette offering peace and tranquillity to the private spaces while the omission of 90-degree angles in bedrooms and washrooms creates a gentle embrace where guests can seek rest and comfort.

Custom headboards act as personalised art pieces, adding a layer of calm through the depiction of oak, elder, elm and maple trees while accessories introduce small bursts of colour and organic forms to reinforce the tonal and tranquil nature of each guestroom. 

A guestroom with neutral tones

Image credit: Jack Hardy

For ultimate wellbeing, an innovative ChiliSleep™ Ooler Sleep Cooling System to aid better sleep via temperature regulation is available upon request, and rooms come complete with yoga mats and on demand virtual yoga sessions, as well as health-benefiting botanical planting.

Integrating fitness, nutrition, treatments and mindfulness, the hotel is one of the first in London to include an impressive 1,083m² floor dedicated to holistic wellness, featuring an 18.5m infinity pool and the latest equipment from TecnoBody®, including the D-Wall and conditioning gym, making it one of the most technologically advanced facilities showcased by any hotel gym in the UK.

In addition to high-performance training, aqua fitness in the hotel’s infinity pool is a unique addition to the wellbeing floor, along with mindful workshops and sustainable nutrition. Spa treatments infuse Western science and clinical research with South East Asian tradition of clean beauty focusing on result-driven relaxation techniques, pregnancy treatments, and personal grooming rituals.

The F&B offering at Pan Pacific London is unparalleled, with each of its five venues incorporating unique elements of the flavour, diversity and elegance of modern Singapore. Led by multi award-winning Executive Chef Lorraine Sinclair and renowned Executive Pastry Chef Cherish Finden, the hotel’s Straits Kitchen restaurant, Ginger Lily bar and The Orchid Lounge drawing room delights guests with new and innovative flavours. The team are working closely with British producers, Nurtured in Norfolk, to grow their own high quality Asian ingredients as well as sourcing local produce to help minimise the carbon footprint whilst bringing authentic flavours to the table.

Pan Pacific London offers a serene haven away from the hustle and bustle, with every element carefully crafted and tailored to offer one of London’s most complete contemporary and luxury hotel experiences. The panelled wood screens which wrap the ground floor reception have been carried up and throughout the wellbeing floor to create continuity. Tall ceilings lend an inviting feel to the space whilst the spectacular poolside fireplace and sofas create a homely feeling making guests want to relax and linger.

Located at the top of the lobby’s spiral staircase, Straits Kitchen is an ode to Southeast Asia both through design and cuisine. Embracing a respectful approach to cooking inspired by heritage recipes, the menu at Straits Kitchen has been carefully crafted by the hotel’s Executive Chef Lorraine Sinclair working alongside Singaporean Group Executive Chef Tony Khoo and showcases the melting pot of cuisines represented in multicultural Singapore. Quirky, bold and bright, Straits Kitchen stands as a gem of the hotel, featuring two private dining spaces, custom dining tables and a custom wine-cabinet-as-art. Custom murals have been brought to life by En Viu which further enforce the restaurant’s Eastern influence, depicting Asian botanicals mirroring the unique flavours on the menu. The floor-to-ceiling glass windows offer guests unparalleled views of The City.

Located on the first floor, The Orchid Lounge offers a uniquely sumptuous and serene Afternoon Tea from award-winning Executive Pastry Chef Cherish Finden. Cherish brings her unique flair for Asian flavours to the traditional British tea with the Singaporean-inspired Kopi Tiam, celebrating bao, dim sum and choux. 

In addition to superb dining and dynamically designed guestrooms and suites, Pan Pacific London includes the most technologically advanced and largest ballroom in the area, accommodating up to 400 guests. The hotel also features an Event Emporium alongside a further nine innovative and flexible meeting and events venues, with a dedicated in-house events management team plus state-of-the-art technology, superfast WiFi and 5G receivers.

The extensive 464sqm smart Pacific Ballroom has direct access from Bishopsgate Plaza via a glass escalator and elevator as well as direct access via the hotel. A custom Lasvit chandelier designed by Yabu Pushelberg hangs sumptuously above the expansive ballroom and is composed of floating crystal orbs creating a starry night’s sky under which any occasion may be celebrated.

Main image credit: Jack Hardy

lodge in a hill

Case study: Szegzárd Lodge in the Hungarian wine region

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Case study: Szegzárd Lodge in the Hungarian wine region

Deep in the Hungarian countryside sit a series of structures, which shelter a stripped-back interior design scheme that allows the materials – and killer views of undulating hills – do the work. To ensure luxury was not compromised, the designers specified Focus to add drama and warmth with contemporary fireplaces…

lodge in a hill

Szegzárd Lodge is spread across nearly two hectares of hillside in the Hungarian countryside. The estate includes small private woods, a vineyard, and a hundred-tree orchard. Each building’s wooden exterior with juxtaposing angular architecture blends into the landscape while providing all the necessary luxury amenities – this modern nomad style is complete with all the extras, including a heated pool, jacuzzi, outdoor shower and sun loungers. A magnificent treehouse is located high up in the small woods attached to the estate, which offers an unmatched hospitality experience. Don’t let the simple structure and paired-back design fool you, though. The hospitality experience is modern in its tech, catering to all traveller – and there are even charging points available for electric cars.

The guest houses have been designed by Ep Studio architects: Tamás Fialovszky, Gergely Kenéz and  Katalin Varga and interior designer Péter Dudás.  The lodges are sunk into the hillside sitting on top of a solid concrete pedestal, which is combined with the light wooden roof structure. This combination of the two structures is quite common in agricultural architecture and allows the lodges to blend into the landscape.

Fireplace in lodge

Image credit: Focus

The interior layout is quite simple – minimalist with a natural feel – with only sleeping and bathing areas being separated from the living spaces. According to the architects, “it was important to extend the interior towards the garden with covered and open terraces.” High quality natural materials were used throughout the construction most prominent of which is the larch structure, windows and shades.

Inside, the compact Ergofocus fireplace is suspended adding drama, comfort and warmth (when required) to the space, complementing the natural interior. Made in France, by Focus, Ergofocus is one of its best selling fires and specified for hotel and hospitality projects.

For more than 50 years, and across all continents, Focus has been shaking up the codes of design convention. The brand was the first company to move the fireplace away from the wall to the middle of the room, putting the fireplace centre stage. With its genuinely iconic fireplace, the Gyrofocus, Focus has entered into the realm of international design legends.

Focus 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: Szegzard Lodge

Ed Warner

Ed Warner: “Accessibility is not a dirty word in design”

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Ed Warner: “Accessibility is not a dirty word in design”

In 2021, it is shocking that new design-led hotels are emerging in the global hospitality arena without the same level of consideration when it comes to the design of accessible, disabled-access guestrooms and spaces. In a purposeful interview with Ed Warner, the Founder and CEO of Motionspot, editor Hamish Kilburn only hopes to raise awareness for stylish accessible design…

Ed Warner

You may or may not know this, but before I was the editor of Hotel Designs, I was part of the British Paralympic Sailing Team, working proudly between the years of 2009 – 2016 as a shore and tuning crew member for the wonderful Hannah Stodel, Stephen Thomas and John Robertson – AKA, the performance team.

Looking back, it was an incredible experience for a 16-year-old who was driven by adventure – not much has changed really. There were so many moments that pivoted me into the lane that I am now in. For example, when I let slip that I wanted to be a journalist on a ferry from Harwich to Hook they helped me launch my first blog and called upon peers to help organise interviews with Paralympic legends in order to create a solid portfolio when it came to progressing further, which ultimately secured my place at university to study my passion and make it a career. I received a dreadful phone call once at the small hours in the morning, during a Paralympic qualifying event in Weymouth, about my beautiful cousin who tragically lost her life in a car accident. I was sharing a room with another athlete, Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas who was competing in the morning. Without any objection, she woke up and sat with me through the night. I felt terrible, and even worse knowing that Lucas could have really used those extra hours resting for her final race in the series. It’s not often as shore crew at an event you are the centre of attention. In short, though, that painful moment was when I realised that I was part of more than just a team; I was part of a family.

And strangely, when I tell people about my experience working with this perfectly able – no, formidable – team, I get asked how it was possible to train with the Paralympic team without myself being disabled. I’m not judging the ignorance, because transparency is best for us to progress, but it is surprising to me how segregated in society people who have disabilities can become. During my years sailing with the squad, I witnessed very capable athletes who happen to have disabilities being treated extremely differently. I noticed, among other things, hotel facilities not being adequate, and the views, at best, from the windows from the ‘disabled rooms’ would stretch out onto the concrete car park.

Five years after the team were forced to retire as sailing was, to much protest, taken out of the Paralympic programme for Tokyo 2020, my blood boiled recently when I noticed that the Team GB Instagram account, which has more than 491, 000 followers was not being used to promote the Paralympic Team GB athletes. Instead, the team were being amplified on the Paralympics GB account, which has just 46, 500 followers (more than 400,000 less than the Olympic Team GB account). Call me a modernist, but to really promote diversity and equality, isn’t Team GB just Team GB? What is the need for a second social media account if the aim is not to drive a wedge between the two events?

I digress, however these anecdotes can very seamlessly be linked to the design and hospitality industry’s attitudes towards creating spaces that are accessible for all – practically as well as stylishly. Until recently, I think it’s fair to say that designing such spaces was seen through very limited lenses. Instead of enhancing a design scheme, hotels wrongly ticked a box in order to offer disabled-access rooms that were usually on the ground floor of the hotel without even a hint of design consistency and – in some extreme cases – only ‘accessible’ via the back-0f-house areas of the building – classy.

Cue setting up my next interview, which is with a true pioneer and visionary (not terms I use lightly). Ed Warner, the Founder and CEO of design solutions studio Motionspot. In 2020, Warner and his team were an integral element in the design and completion of The Brooklyn in Manchester, which became the only UK luxury property that was truly accessible for all and has been named the most accessible hotel in Europe. The hotel’s unique design is leading the Gold Standard in accessible design, with 18 of the 189 rooms fully accessible offering both wheelchair access and ambulant accessibility and the first hotel in Manchester to offer ceiling track hoists for guests. 

Since then, Warner and his team worked on the recently opened The Londoner to design accessible and stylish guestrooms and he was recognised in 2020 as one of the leading British interior designer when he was profiled in The Brit List 2020. What’s more, Warner has been shortlisted for the second-year running for Interior Designer of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2021 for his continued efforts to promote better design for everyone.

Hamish Kilburn: Ed, it is a pleasure to see you again! Can you start with explaining to us what ‘accessible design’ is and why is it so important for the future of hotel design and hospitality?

Ed Warner: Accessible design is about creating meaningful spaces that everyone can use, removing the barriers that create undue effort, stress and separation of people. Accessible design is more than a tick box exercise to comply with local regulations. Truly inclusive buildings are only built by considering the needs of all guests and staff with physical, cognitive and sensory impairments, including design for neurodiversity.

“There are more than 14 million disabled people in the UK spending over £15.3bn on UK trips a year. Hoteliers who can make the right adaptations to their hotels will benefit.” – Ed Warner, CEO, Motionspot.

There is a misconception it is just about wheelchair accessibility. Disability is diverse. Just eight per cent of disabled people use a wheelchair. We help people to think about what they are doing for wheelchair users and the other 92 per cent with many other types of physical, sensory and cognitive access needs too.

Why is this important for the future of UK hospitality? It is a massive market! There are more than 14 million disabled people in the UK spending over £15.3bn on UK trips a year. Hoteliers who can make the right adaptations to their hotels will benefit from a significant boost in revenues and proven increases in RevPar and loyalty.

HK: Why isn’t stylish accessible design on designer and clients’ radars? 

EW: For many designers and clients, designing for access has traditionally been an exercise in covering ramps and wheelchair toilets. Some designers and operators have neglected it because they mistakenly believe  these rooms are not required (wrong, as 10 per cent of all new build rooms should be accessible). Previously the design options have not been aesthetically pleasing, so some designers have opted against making hotels more accessible.

Image credit: The Londoner/Edwardian Hotels London

In addition, many designers have steered away from the subject for a fear of getting it wrong. There is a misconception that access is complicated, but with the right advice at the right time it doesn’t need to be.

Motionspot can help designers to turn high-level building regulations into practical guidance on layouts and finishes on the ground. We work constructively with the design team to achieve a beautiful balance between access and aesthetics so the accessible rooms blend perfectly with the design intent.

As more great examples of accessible design become more prominent my belief is this will start to change.

HK: Why is it so important for you to amplify this message?

EW: We believe accessible rooms and hotel spaces should be inclusive for all guests and we feel it is important to prove to clients the social and financial benefit of getting access right. At Motionspot we give clients and their architects the right design advice and access to beautiful accessible products.

Once aware of what is possible, the benefits of positive change generally follow. Delivering a better guest experience is always the goal and our work can help provide solutions that are a great experience, more likely to be recommended and in our experience generate more revenue. Given we have an ageing society we think it is likely that the requirement for accessible rooms is going to increase steadily in the coming decade and beyond.

The inclusion and diversity agenda is becoming increasingly important for companies to address. It is a fast-paced and ever-evolving area and Motionspot can support businesses to not just meet minimum standards but surpass them and show themselves to be leaders in being an inclusive brand.

Hotels like Hotel Brooklyn in Manchester are leading the way and showing that improving access can look amazing and improve the guest experience for all. As more and more examples break through to the mainstream, I think accessible design will become a key part of design decisions. At Motionspot, we hope that one day it will become industry standard to design all spaces to be accessible to everyone.

HK: You were profiled last year as one of the top interior designers in Britain. This was due to your work on Brooklyn Manchester. Can you tell us more about this project?

EW: Of course! Bespoke Hotels engaged Motionspot as access designers for their Hotel Brooklyn in Manchester. Working alongside the interior designers Squid Inc, we advised on every aspect of the hotel’s accessibility credentials to fulfil the vision of a beautiful and accessible hotel.  We also specified and supplied accessible products that perfectly blended into this design  scheme.

The hotel features 18 wheelchair and ambulant accessible rooms, including two rooms with concealed ceiling track hoists which is a first-of-their-kind hotel accessibility feature (pic below). These devices are cleverly concealed within a lighting feature and are stored inside a specially designed compartment in the wardrobe when not in use.

The En-suite bathrooms feature fold-up shower seats and matt black removable support rails which allow a room to be adapted to each guest’s individual requirements. Also installed were easy to operate lever tap and shower controls, accessible flush buttons and carefully selected floor and wall tiles that minimised glare and provided fully slip-resistant surfaces.

Since opening, Hotel Brooklyn has won many plaudits, including recently The iNewspaper Staycation Hotel of the Year award.

HK: Is it expensive to design these spaces to be accessible and stylish?

EW: No, and if planned at an early stage, well designed access does not have to cost any more. This is a common misconception!

Where it does become expensive is if a retrospective adaptation like a level access shower, platform lift or accessible reception area has to be installed because of a problem a disabled guest experiences so please think of it at the start of a new build of refurbishment!

In our experience the commercial benefits of getting access right are significant. A great example of this is The White Horse Inn in Dorking.  When renovating this historic coaching inn, attention was paid to the design of the accessible bedrooms to ensure they would appeal to all. Subsequent room bookings have shown this investment to be very worthwhile: more than a 12-month period, the accessible rooms had a higher occupancy rate and RevPar and generated an additional £6,900 of revenue per year in comparison to a standard room.

HK: It feels strange to me that in 2021, ‘accessible design’ is probably considered as an afterthought in many studios. Why is this? 

EW: It is not taught as a compulsory module in interior design or architecture courses. This would radically change the industry if it were.  To try and change the tide, we provide CPD training to any architect or design studio wanting to learn more about inclusive design.

We need the industry to help shout about good examples of accessible design to raise awareness of what is possible and it is great to see high-profile hospitality awards like The Brit List recognising accessible design.

HK: What sets you aside from other design studios?

EW: Motionspot is more than an access auditor. We don’t just uncover access challenges with buildings, we propose creative design solutions that make spaces more inclusive.

We also design, manufacture and supply beautiful accessible products. Frustrated that there weren’t enough well-designed accessible products on the market that fitted our client’s design intent, we began designing and developing our own innovative solutions. Our range now includes hundreds of well-designed accessible fixtures and fittings for all environments. Every product is created in line with Motionspot’s ethos of design-led accessibility e.g. our removable grab rails and shower seats are ideal for the hospitality industry as they can be quickly added and removed between bookings depending on guest requirements.

Main image credit: Motionspot

hansgrohe FinishPlus

FinishPlus by hansgrohe – unique in every sense of the word

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FinishPlus by hansgrohe – unique in every sense of the word

Bathroom design is all about personal style, and thanks to FinishPlus by hansgrohe it is even easier for designers to create a unique bathroom design scheme. Offering more choice, these finishes allow for complete customisation in the bathroom, regardless of size…

hansgrohe FinishPlus

With five distinctive finishes to choose from, FinishPlus by hansgrohe enables a variety of design options which enhance the bathroom style. The range covers everything, from matt black to matt white, brushed bronze and even the elegance of polished gold.

All FinishPlus surfaces offer exceptional robustness, durability and scratch-resistance; the result of the exhaustive research and development of the wider Hansgrohe Group.

What’s more, having investing significantly into its manufacturing facilities, FinishPLus products are now available on a short lead time. Saving both money and time, this gives installers peace of mind form the inception of the project, working to tight deadlines and schedules.

FinishPlus is now available in several hansgrohe ranges, from the understated geometric design of Metropol to the softly tapered Talis E. Both ranges offer handles and spouts in numerous height options so that customers have maximum freedom to tailor their wash basin, shower and bathtub area. To create harmony throughout the bathroom, the effect of these vibrant shades is also available across the showering and accessories ranges. Many of these projects are also available as EcoSmart alternatives, which means they not only save water, but also save energy and running costs.

As well as being a Recommended Supplier, hansgrohe is an Event Partner for The Brit List Awards 2021. The winners will be announced on November 3 at PROUD Embankment.

Main image credit: hansgrohe

Image of a guestroom inside The Londoner

NOW OPEN: The Londoner – let’s take a look inside

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
NOW OPEN: The Londoner – let’s take a look inside

The much-anticipated, first-of-its-kind, “super boutique hotel”, The Londoner, has officially opened its doors in the heart of London’s iconic Leicester Square. Costing a whopping £500m, will the new luxury hotel take the tourist trap of a piazza into a new, more refined era? Editor Hamish Kilburn poked his head through the door to find out…

Image of a guestroom inside The Londoner

Following years of speculation and rumours around exactly what the hospitality experience would be like inside, The Londoner has opened – and with it, we hope, it will take the worn-down and tired Leicester Square into a new era of luxury, while also shining as a wonderful example that luxury is not an excuse not to be sustainable, from architecture to hospitality sheltered inside.

The Lobby at The Londoner hotel

Image credit: Andrew Beasley

From one of the UK’s largest family-owned hotel groups, Edwardian Hotels London, the hotel is the latest launch set to astound both Londoners and International guests with a staggering 350 guestrooms spread across 16 storeys and a subterranean series of spaces, creating one of the deepest habitable basements in the world. And yet, despite its size, the hotel, thanks to its intuitive design, still feels warmly intimate. 

Designed in collaboration with world-renowned architectural designers Yabu Pushelberg, the opening marks a bold and pivotal moment in the return and scale of global hospitality, and an exciting ‘re-birth for Leicester Square’.

Known as the ‘luxury urban resort’, The Londoner shelters a variety of rooms, suites, penthouses, two private screening rooms, an exclusive 24-hour residents’ space, an entire floor dedicated to wellness, expansive ballroom, private art gallery, wealth of meeting places, and a mix of several concept eateries. This includes the hotel’s signature Mediterranean restaurant, Whitcomb’s, plus a contemporary Japanese lounge bar with a rooftop terrace and fire pit named 8. To ensure there is something for everyone, the hotel even has its own neighbourhood bar, Joshua’s Tavern.

Whilst super in scale, the hotel’s boutique approach and commitment to hospitality offers the highest levels of luxury with an experience designed to make every guest feel at home. As a brand-new opening in London, it is also important to note that The Londoner has employed pioneering methods of sustainable luxury, which exceeds the BREEAM Excellent category in building environmental and sustainable performance.

Watch this space… full review coming soon.

Main image credit: Edwardian Hotels


Cove by edyn to arrive in The Hague in 2022

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Cove by edyn to arrive in The Hague in 2022

Hospitality group edyn continues the rapid expansion of its serviced apartment brand Cove into Europe with a new acquisition in The Hague. Here’s what we know…


Extended stay hospitality leaders edyn has announced the acquisition of a new asset in The Hague, which will become the first opening of its recently-launched serviced apartment brand, Cove, in mainland Europe.

The asset will be converted into 121 serviced apartments, which will open in March 2022. The project will comprise a combination of studio and open plan one-bedroom apartments with fully fitted kitchens and will benefit from an updated design scheme throughout, representative of Cove’s contemporary sophisticated aesthetic. The building will also include 250sqm of lobby, lounge, and co-working area, providing informal workspace for groups or individuals.

Located on Grote Marktstraat, one of The Hague’s most important shopping districts, ‘Cove – Centrum’ will serve a base of corporate clients, as well as leisure travellers and families seeking more spacious, comfortable accommodation. Set in the iconic ‘De Passage’ building, designed by architect Bernard Tschumi which opened in 2014, the serviced apartments will also benefit from extensive local shopping and dining options.

The acquisition of ‘Cove – Centrum’ follows the recently announced ‘Cove – Landmark Pinnacle’; a £62.5m acquisition in London’s Landmark Pinnacle development in Canary Wharf, which is scheduled to open in November this year.

“The signing of ‘Cove – Centrum’ marks a milestone in the growth trajectory of the brand, which we are excited to expand into mainland Europe just two months after launch,” said Steven Haag, Managing Director of Cove. “Not only does this signal our intent on the continent, but it also is our first conversion of an existing hotel to serviced apartments which we feel is an increasingly likely path for growth.

“Flexible, thoughtfully designed accommodation that caters to both long and short stays has never been more in-demand, and the brand’s rapid expansion into Europe signals its relevance and appeal to investors, owners and travellers alike.”

JLL acted as advisor to to seller in this transaction, and more information about the new property is expected to emerge soon.

Main image credit: edyn 

Hamilton Wide Rocker Switch

Product watch: Hamilton launches new ‘Gray’ plate finishes

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Hamilton launches new ‘Gray’ plate finishes

Hamilton Litestat, an event parter for The Brit List Awards 2021, will showcase the breadth of its decorative wiring solutions for the hotel sector at the Independent Hotel Show, on October 4 – 5,  2021 at Olympia London. This will include the new ‘Gray’ plate finishes and USB-A&C charging devices…

Hamilton Wide Rocker Switch

On Stand 1464, the British brand Hamilton Litestat will display its latest on-trend metallic finishes, its vast design and finish capabilities, as well as solutions that deliver the functionality guests are demanding in today’s highly connected world.

New standout finishes

Hamilton’s latest on-trend ‘Gray’ finishes will be showcased at the Independent Hotel Show – Basalt Gray and Anthra Gray.  Inspired by Italian design trends, Basalt provides a teasing refractive aesthetic – grey base with a neutral cast and subtle bronze hue provides a warm, nature-inspired finish. Meanwhile, Anthra Gray, with a subtle granular finish, oozes volcanic strength and natural sophistication. Visitors to the show can collect free samples of the new finishes at Hamilton’s Stand, No. 1464.

Hamilton's new Basalt Gray finish

Image caption: Hamilton’s new Basalt Gray finish

Additionally, a new insert finish has also been added to Hamilton’s popular Hartland range, which will also be on display. Alongside Black and White inserts, a new Quartz Grey finish has been added to Hamilton’s insert options.

USB-A and USB-C – rapidly recharge

Now a guestroom necessity, Hamilton’s latest solutions to rapidly recharge smart devices while your guests relax and recharge themselves will also be on show. Available in 11 finishes and four sleek and stylish designs, Hamilton’s combined 2.4A USB-A and USB-C dual switched sockets make them ideal for the latest devices as well as legacy smart phones and tablets. While USB-A offers charging of up to 2.5W, USB-C facilitates extremely fast data transfer of up to 10 Gbps and power transfer of 100W for speedy charging. This solution is perfectly placed either side of beds for guest convenience.

Hamilton also offers a 18W USB-A and 45W USB-C Euro Module that delivers a superior rate of charge for high-capacity devices including the new MacBook Pro and iPad Pro. Ideally suited to positions at the desk area of a suite, the Euro Module can be fitted within a single plate or combined with other functional solutions within a multi-part bespoke plate. Supporting both legacy and long-term charging requirements, the Euro Module is in high guest demand and is a standout strength in Hamilton’s vast portfolio of products.

Wide Rocker – classic with a twist

Inspired by design trends in the Asian market and making a big impact in the hotel sector to welcome international guests, Hamilton’s Wide Rocker Switches will again be on show. The on-trend design is available in five Linea CFX collections, as well as Hartland CFX and Sheer CFX, and can be supplied in a range of finishes, including popular bronze and brass finishes. With 1, 2 and 3-gang switch configurations available, as well as 1-gang Push-To-Make (PTM), Double Pole and Intermediate Wide Rockers, these switches provide a functional solution with a stylish contemporary design twist.

Made to order

As a British family-run company, Hamilton has its headquarters in Bristol and it’s from here that it offers its bespoke service. It has the capability to cost-effectively produce custom-made plates to support customer requirements, including low volume requests. Configurations particularly suited to the hotel sector could include a plate featuring a Euro Module, Schuko Socket, American Socket, and double switched socket.

As well as offering bespoke functionality, Hamilton offers bespoke plate finishes courtesy of its Paintable service. Switch plates and sockets can be powder coated to match RAL, British Standards or Natural Colour System references, ensuring that they perfectly match a wall design scheme, soft furnishings, or other design details. This hassle-free service is even offered on low volume orders, with Hamilton having increased its capacity due to the service’s popularity.

Perception CFX – distraction-free design

For hotels featuring bold statement wallpaper or mural walls, Hamilton’s Perception CFX is the ideal transparent wiring solution. The switch plates and sockets have concealed fixings and a clear snap-on front plate that houses an insert of a chosen wall covering, making them almost imperceptible. Seamlessly matching the wall covering pattern, they allow the room’s décor to sing and make an impact on the guest without distraction.

Hamilton Litestat, which will be on Stand 1464 at the Independent Hotel Show, 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: Hamilton Litestat (Wide Rocker Switches)

Hotel Designs LIVE: Social Spaces

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Social spaces in 2021 & beyond

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Social spaces in 2021 & beyond

The fifth edition of Hotel Designs LIVE was sponsored and broadcasted from the Minotti London showroom. The virtual event for the design, architecture and hospitality industry was rounded off with an engaging panel discussion with leading designers and developers that explored the future of social spaces – from arrival experiences to lobby lounges and F&B hospitality…

Hotel Designs LIVE: Social Spaces

With all the noise around ‘social distancing’ and regulations against human interaction, many of industry’s leaders believe that tomorrow’s hotel scene will be a celebration of human connection. While we are at the T-junction on the road out of Covid-19 lockdowns, editor Hamish Kilburn invited world-renowned designers and hospitality experts to understand challenges and considerations to bear in mind as we re- open the doors of hospitality, to be social, once more.

On the panel:

Making a nod to an early session, which explored sensory design, Kilburn kicked off the discussion by asking the panel how designers are utilising the senses in design to evolve social spaces. “The advantages of hotels is that you can offer different levels of stimulations through transition spaces as well as in social spaces,” explained Beth Campbell, CEO, Campbell House. “This helps to build the momentum and makes the experience even more meaningful.”

Charlie MacGregor, Founder, The Student Hotel (TSH), joined the panel as an example of a forward-thinking hotelier, who was among the first to push hospitality into the lifestyle lane. “By making the lobby the beating heart of a hotel, you immediately set the scene – and energy level – for guests and locals alike who are arriving,” he said. “With Covid, we have seen this new generation of corporate travellers, where people are digital nomads and want to work as well as play in spaces.”

The conversation logically went into the territory of creating subtle boundaries in public areas, which is a topic that has become high on the agenda since the Covid-19 pandemic, but also as public areas in lifestyle hotels are being designed to be multifunctional. “Lighting is becoming more and more important when it comes to curate these spaces,” He said. “As well as building spaces, you can separate them and change them as the day goes on. When designing these areas, understand the possible mise en scènes is paramount.”

Here’s the full video of the panel discussion (on demand), which was produced by CUBE and includes Product Watch Pitches by Vaughan, Leaflike and Luxiona:

The full recordings of all Hotel Designs LIVE sessions are available on-demand.

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!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Crosswater Artist

Crosswater introduces Artist – celebrating meaningful colour

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Crosswater introduces Artist – celebrating meaningful colour

Artist is the new high-end bathroom collection from Crosswater, which partners style with performance to offer luxury bathroom solutions for all spaces. Let’s take a peek…

Drawing inspiration from Scandinavian design, the modern Artist collection from contemporary bathroom brand Crosswater features curved silhouettes, softer styling, and natural wood elements to for a true hygge home.

Crosswater Artist

The centrepiece of the Artist collection, which cleverly injects meaningful colour into the bathroom, is the vanity unit, a contemporary storage solution that features a calming colour scheme, alongside a solid oak worktop. There are three different vanity unit sizes to choose from, each available in four finishes, Onyx Black, Cashmere Matt, Storm Grey, and Matt White. The soft-close, handle-free drawers can be fitted with two or four section dividers, allowing smart storage for the everyday bathroom essentials.

Crosswater Artist in bathroom

The vanity can either be installed as a wall-hung unit or assembled with coordinating height adjustable legs to create a more trend-focused feature in the bathroom. The legs are available in the same four finishes as the vanity unit – Onyx Black, Cashmere Matt, Storm Grey, and Matt White. For those that prefer more natural elements, the legs are also available in beech veneer.

The solid oak worktop and beech veneer legs are crafted from sustainable sources and are specially designed with an anti-UV matt varnish to protect the wood from discolouration and fading.

The Artist vanity unit is best pared with Crosswater’s new Nepi or Circus basins. Nepi, a clever inset basin that sits both above and below the worktop, is ideal for those that want the look of a minimalist countertop basin, without compromising on space. Alternatively, the Circus Countertop Basin in Brushed Brass is perfect for those wanting to make a statement. As for brassware, Crosswater’s new Glide II taps, available in Chrome, Brushed Brass, Brushed Stainless Steel, and Matt Black, provide additional elegance.

To complete the look, the Artist collection also offers a back-to-wall bath, back-lit mirror, and a towel warmer that can double as additional storage space, thanks to optional oak shelves.

Crosswater 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: Crosswater


GROHE wins Red Dot Award 2021 for GROHE X

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
GROHE wins Red Dot Award 2021 for GROHE X

Digital platform GROHE X, which has attracted around 222,000 visitors since it launched earlier this year, wins Red Dot Award…

Only a few months after its launch, which Hotel Designs was proud to be a part of, the digital experience hub GROHE X has been awarded the internationally renowned Red Dot Award Brands & Communication Design 2021 in the category “Digital Solutions“. Prof. Dr. Peter Zec, initiator, and CEO of Red Dot, emphasised the importance of digital solutions for the success of brands and companies, especially in today’s world.


“As an award winner, GROHE has proven that they think ‘outside the box’. The brand knows how to act quickly in times of crisis and use upheavals for new design approaches. In this way, they master important challenges and also make a valuable contribution to the further development of society.”

The brand experience of today and tomorrow

With GROHE X, LIXIL in the EMENA region has developed the first digital platform of its kind in the industry for its GROHE sanitary brand together with strong partners VOK DAMS, IBM and D’art. As a content hub tailored to the interests of industry target groups with zones dedicated to product, inspiration and know-how transfer alongside service-oriented offers such as tutorials and specialist events, and opportunities to connect with brand experts, GROHE X facilitates a unique user experience. Since its launch in mid-March this year, GROHE X has quickly proven to be a success. The current visitor numbers – currently 2,500 daily – prove that GROHE X is a successful creative solution that meets the communication challenges of both today and the future. GROHE X is thus seen as a driver of innovation in its own right, serving not as a replacement for traditional communication, but as a starting point for a new era of brand presentation and communication in the B2B world. GROHE X already presents itself as an alternative that is flexible enough to keep pace with the rapid developments in communication.

“GROHE X is much more than a digital trade show replacement and the 35,000 visitors and 70,000 views in the first week alone have proven us right,” commented Jonas Brennwald, Leader LIXIL EMENA and Co-CEO Grohe AG. “The platform is designed to perfectly position our communication for the future. We are delighted that with the Red Dot award we have now also received international confirmation that we have created something that is not only well designed, but also an extremely successful brand communication tool.”

Red Dot Award “Brands & Communication Design”

With around 20,000 entries, the annual Red Dot Award is one of the largest design competitions in the world. Its origins date back to 1955 and the famous Red Dot award has long since established itself as one of the most coveted seals of quality for good design. From products, brand communication and creative projects to design concepts and prototypes, the Red Dot Award documents the most important trends worldwide.

GROHE 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: GROHE

Product watch: Here’s what’s new from Arte

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Here’s what’s new from Arte

In order to kickstart this month’s editorial spotlight on wallcoverings, Hotel Designs is taking a closer look at Arte’s collections that have launched over the summer…

Arte is known for creating outrageously creative – and magnificent – wallcoverings. Since building its foundations in 1981, the brand can be found adorning the walls of both residential homes, as well as commercial interiors in more than 80 countries worldwide.

Each year, an in-house team of experienced designers work on developing new collections, striving for perfection and trendsetting design whilst simultaneously surprising the design industry with what’s possible to achieve with wallcoverings.

With the aim to continues to inspire and challenge, setting the bar for innovative design, Arte’s latest collections that were recently launched take ‘art outside the frame’ to a whole new level of detail.

Mimic Moth

Mimic Moth is an exclusive preview launching this autumn, ahead of the full collection (and third collaboration) from Arte x Moooi set to launch for SS22, inspired by new Extinct Animals. Like the current Moooi Wallcovering designs, this collection will be made from unexpected and luxurious materials. A collection in harmonious colours that brings joy and balance.

This 3D wallcovering with a soft suede look is inspired by the Mimic Moth’s shape and habitat. The wallcovering’s design is made up of embossed Mimic Moths surrounded by their favourite flowers.

Queen Cobra

Queen Cobra is the next family member of the new Moooi Wallcovering collection, which follows the launch of Mimic Moth. The collection depicts majestic looking snakes that were called so because of their long coiling hairs resembling the hairstyle of Queen Tanjii of Kemet. According to old scriptures, the snakes were gold coloured and didn’t have scales. Their skin seemed made of dried grass.

The wallcovering Queen Cobra is made from hand-woven sisal fibres, inspired by the Queen Cobra’s rhythmic curves and grassy habitat. The design comprises round overlapping shapes in a pattern with a hypnotic feel to it.


Icons is a versatile wallcoverings collection, featuring seven designs across a variety of heavier textures including shagreen leather and boucle fabric, as well as lighter options such as real rattan and silk imitation on non- woven backing. With a combination of geometric block patterns, floral motifs as well as plains in a palette of rich earthy colours, on matt and glossy finishes, designs can be easily combined in a single space to add depth to any scheme.

Arte 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: Arte


25hours to arrive in Italy this September

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
25hours to arrive in Italy this September

The first 25hours hotel in Italy will open in Florence this September, with anything-but-subtle interiors by Milan-based designer Paola Navone…

The 25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino occupies a central location in Florence, in the Santa Maria Novella district, which is among the most authentic and lesser-known neighbourhoods in the Italian city and a little off the beaten track.


The 171-key boutique hotel is situated in the former premises of Monte de ‘Pegni – the lending company of the Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze – and has its central core of 66 rooms in the original monastery next to the eponymous church of San Paolino. These hallowed halls are now imbued with fresh creative energy thanks to controlled demolitions, new building elements and restored areas. Enhancing the historic core is a new annexe boasting another 104 guest rooms with balconies, as well as the Casetta del Giardino, a small apartment with a private garden and pool. 

Created by Milan-based designer Paola Navone and her team, the hotel was inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy and is brimming with light-hearted allusions to this legendary work: scenes from Hell and Paradise are playfully interspersed, offering an illuminating tour through Dante’s world of virtues and vices. Situated beneath the vast glass dome, the Restaurant San Paolino is the centrepiece of the hotel in the historical palazzo. Round about are a green courtyard garden, a classic Negroni bar and a typical alimentari – a grocery store for the neighbourhood and lively piazza that serves a small selection of food and drinks to suit the time of day.

The San Paolino restaurant epitomises Italian cuisine, offering the best produce from all regions of the country, although Tuscany occupies a special place on the menu. Changing with the seasons, there are also a few dishes from designer Paola Navone’s personal recipe collection. Guests perusing the wine list will find exclusively curated recommendations from choice wineries in Tuscany. Dining beneath the glass dome at the centre of the impressive palazzo is meant to be fun – and the imaginative design merely adds to this experience. San Paolino is a great place to meet at any time of day, and the hospitality space expands into the playful courtyard garden during the warmer months.

The Companion Bar at 25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino appears both quintessentially Italian and strikingly international. Its signature products are bitter-sweet classics like Negroni, but include new interpretations that add a playfully seasonal touch to these flavours. The Companion Bar welcomes its guests from the aperitivo to the late-night drink and is establishing itself as a fixed star in the Florentine night life. The traditional ‘hole in the wall’, the buchetta del vino, allows guests to enjoy their glass of wine on the pavement in front of the establishment. Table bookings are not available, but personal advice from the bar crew certainly is.

Alimentari actually just means ‘food’ in Italian. But the word is also used to describe neighbourhood corner stores selling groceries and everyday items. The 25hours Hotel in Florence has its own alimentari on the small Piazza San Paolino. Besides paninis, sandwiches and salads, it also includes a traditional-style wine shop offering a selection of local products and specialities for gourmets – ideal for a culinary tour through the world of Italian delicacies. The range was curated by S. Forno, a legendary local bakery, and all of the freshly baked products come straight from their ovens, of course.

Main image credit: 25hours

The Other House Club Flat Kitchen in blue and mustard

Video exclusive: The making of The Other House (part 1)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Video exclusive: The making of The Other House (part 1)

The first video in our exclusive concept-to-completion series with The Other House takes a tour inside what will soon be its first hotel – AKA, residents’ club. Editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to the brand’s CEO and the design team, which including Bergman Design House and architecture firm Falconer Chester Hall, to understand more about the design narrative that will be sheltered inside…

The Other House Club Flat Kitchen in blue and mustard

A new era of hospitality is on the horizon. The Other House is an innovative concept that we first explored earlier this year, which, right on cue, has raised some eyebrows recently. Since joining a panel discussion on ‘a new era of lifestyle’ at Hotel Designs LIVE in May, CEO & founder Naomi Heaton – a self-confessed newcomer into the hospitality arena who aims to disrupt conventional approaches to hotel design and development – has invited our cameras in to capture the concept-to-completion story behind brand’s first property. Sheltered inside Harrington Hall, a heritage property, The Other House South Kensington will offer 200 Club Flats – all of which will feature signature, fully fitted and contemporary design – for leisure travellers and corporate visitors alike. 

With less than one year until the first residents’ club opens, here’s what we discovered when we took a sneak peek inside the building. During our access-all-areas visit, we spoke to Heaton about the pillars of the brand. In addition, we caught up with the architect at Falconer Chester Hall, Alastair Shepherd, who is responsible for carving out the body of the hospitality experience. And, to make things really interesting, we even made a visit to Bergman Design House to speak to Marie Soliman, the interior designer tasked to bring her sketches and renders to life, while sourcing as much as she possibly can locally and sustainably.

Who’s who? 

Elevating the traditional long stay and serviced apartment models, the new brand will combine beautifully designed apartments – complete with fully fitted kitchens, living and sleeping areas – with a private club exclusively for residents and members to relax and enjoy, complete with two bars, spa and fitness studio. For a local vibe, the bold public spaces will include a destination bar and all-day dining bistro (renders of these areas will be available shortly).

While targetting an audience that is conscious and cares deeply about the environmental impact hotel development can have on the planet, sustainability was one of the first pillars for The Other House. “We take a sustainable approach to renovating existing buildings and is committed to making a positive impact on the community, our employees and the environment,” explained Heaton in an earlier interview with Hotel Designs. “Our residents will be a part of our environmental journey so they can make a measurable, personal difference. There will be a focus on health and wellbeing at all the guest touchpoints and we will be using, for example, recyclable packaging, healthy, sustainably produced food and British-made furniture.”

With eight categories of Club Flats – Club Town, Club Garden, Club Courtyard, Club Mezz, Club Class, Club Vault, Club Turret and Club Access – the units range from 258 sqft (24sqm) to 581 sqft (54sqm), as well as two-, three- and four-bedroom options. The intelligent use of space revolves around the living area (rather than the bedroom) just as it does in the home, which was key for the brand to create a real sense of place and comfort.

What’s more, despite all the noise around the new era of luxury suggesting a paired back, even removed, stance on technology is the way forward, central to The Other House will be a downloadable app that offers personalisation and control through on-demand access to hotel-style services. The software, which, if seamless, meaningful, discreet and easy to use, will become a revolutionary element of the hospitality experience at The Other House. It will enable residents to manage their entire stay andexperience; tailoring their hospitality journey to their own specific needs and requirements. As a result, the software will certainly answer to modern demands that are calling for more personalised experiences.

For long-stay guests, The Other House will provide a new alternative to renting, offering any length stays, around the clock security, access to hotel style services and the very best of city living. The first of this type of accommodation that the UK has seen, it will also offer flexibility for residents to book in and out. With stays bookable from a day to a year, The Other House offers a stylish solution for those looking for a city base. And services such as clothes and luggage storage between trips makes it perfect for guests looking for a regular London pied-à-terre a few days each week.

Establishing itself as a ‘one to watch’ on the glabal hospitality scene, with a forward-thinking concept and immersive design scheme, The Other House South Kensington is the first residents’ club to be launched. The brand is on track to open in other ‘villages’ throughout central London, including Covent Garden by 2023, before rolling out internationally. 

In the next video in our exclusive concept-to-completion editorial series with The Other House, produced by CUBE, we will rejoin the development and design team ahead of the opening of the brand’s first residents’ club. In this video, we will explore more about the technology behind-the-scenes, as well as understand how the drawings, sketches and renderings have been brought to life. By then, we may also have more news and exclusive design details about the interior scheme behind the heavy doors of the brand’s second property in Covent Garden. 

Main image credit: The Other House | Video credit: CUBE

Hotel Designs LIVE: Surface Trends

Hotel Designs LIVE: Surface design trends

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs LIVE: Surface design trends

The fifth edition of Hotel Designs LIVE, sponsored by and filmed from Minotti London, invited world renowned designers, architects and hospitality experts to, once again, define the point of hotel design on an global scale while keeping the conversation flowing throughout. The third session of the day looked at interior design surface trends…

Hotel Designs LIVE: Surface Trends

Trends… not the most popular word used by interior designers in the hotel design arena, but ignore them at your peril as we enter uncharted waters following the largest global cultural and behavioural shift the industry has perhaps ever experienced. Challenging conventional trend forecasts, for the third session during Hotel Designs LIVE, which was broadcasted from the Minotti London showroom on August 10, editor Hamish Kilburn invited a handful of interior designers from all corners of the design arena to discuss meaningful surface trends.

Other sessions of the day included:

  • A design assault on the senses – watch now on-demand.
  • Designing the perfect nights’ sleep – watch now on-demand.
  • Social spaces in 2021 & beyond – this session will be available to watch shortly

The third session of the day, which followed the panel discussion on sleep performance, went beyond colour schemes to identify real trends and talking points in surface design. More than ever, as a direct result of the Covid-19 crisis, surfaces have come under question in the debate around hygiene. But, in the exclusive panel discussion with leading designers and hospitality experts, we went beyond the clinical to explore interesting and vibrant surfaces – from paint and tiles to textiles and worktops – that give all areas of the hotel more personality and meaning.

On the panel:

The conversation started by addressing the elephant in the room. Kilburn wanted to know if there were products and materials on the market at the moment that answered both to the demands around sustainability as well as hygiene. “It’s actually quite difficult to achieve both,” explained George Couyas. “Let’s use paint as an example. Usually, when products are man-made to be durable, wipeable and hygienic, there is usually a process that results in the eco credentials somewhat diminishing.” Through his research, and day-to-day managing residential clients whose demands for eco have somewhat evolved over the last few years, a few brands have recently made it onto Couyas’ radar for being both sustainable and robust.

Next, Kilburn introduced Beverly and Dereck Joubert, the founders of Great Plains. What sets this dynamic duo aside from other hoteliers is their pure involvement in all of their projects; they design and source everything – and having fulfilled a career filming wildlife for National Geographic, the pair have a unique stance when it comes to sustainable development and design. “Through 40 years of travel and understanding different cultures, we have been able to tell some really interesting stories through design,” explained Beverly Joubert. “What we also like to do is design using up-cycled materials. So, for example, near one of our camps we heard that wooden railway sleepers were replaced by concrete. It was a great opportunity for us and those sleepers have become the flooring in that camp.”

Continuing the conversation around sustainability, but moving into the urban luxury arena, Shalini Misra agreed that re-using materials and items adds value to the overall design as well as the eco credentials of the project. “Every material can be sustainable if it’s a reclaimed version of it,” she said. “When it comes to hygiene, some materials are better than others. Bamboo, for example, is one of my favourites at the moment as it is highly renewable, very quick to grow and extremely versatile.”

When it comes to extraordinary surfaces, Fameed Khalique who was described by the Financial Times as “the go-to supplier of exotic and experimental surfaces for walls, floors, ceilings and furniture,” has a library full of creative surface design solutions. “We have this reputation, and we do the odd exotic thing, but realistic the majority of the work we do is driven by the client and a problem we need to solve,” he said. “We are working with a designer in the middle east who wanted to use straw marquetry on a mass scale, which isn’t sustainable, nor realistic. So, we worked with the designer and found a solution that used sustainable wood to create a wood-veneer finishing that looked like straw marquetry but can be used on a large scale. Interestingly, that actually led to us launching a new collection utilising those materials and that design.”

Here’s the full video of the panel discussion (on demand), which was produced by CUBE and includes Product Watch Pitches by Hamilton Litestat, Schlüter Systems, Mosaico and Milliken:

The full recordings of the first session (A design assault on the senses) and the second session (Designing the perfect nights’ sleep) are now available to watch on-demand. The final session (Social spaces in 2021 & beyond) will be available to watch on-demand shortly.

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!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

The Brit List Awards 2021 shortlist

The Brit List Awards 2021: Shortlist announced

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Awards 2021: Shortlist announced

The shortlist for The Brit List Awards 2021 has been announced, with more than 130 individuals and projects – the most finalists in the campaign’s history – selected across nine categories. The winners will be unveiled in spectacular style at the awards ceremony, which takes place on November 3 inside London’s famous cabaret venue, PROUD Embankment…

The Brit List Awards 2021 shortlist

Regarded and respected globally as the industry’s most widespread campaign to identify the leading interior designers, architects, hoteliers and brands, The Brit List Awards 2021 has unveiled this year’s shortlist, which includes more than 130 individuals and projects.

The finalists, listed below, have been invited to attend The Brit List Awards’ annual award ceremony, which, following last year’s virtual affair, will take place live in the extravagant cabaret venue, PROUD Embankment. At the event, as well as the individual winners being announced, The Brit List 2021, a publication that will profile the top 25 designers, architects and hoteliers, will also be unveiled.

The Brit List Awards is Hotel Designs’ the nationwide search to find the most influential interior designers, architects, hoteliers and brands operating in Britain.

Now in its fifth year, The Brit List Awards is Hotel Designs’ the nationwide search to find the most influential interior designers, architects, hoteliers and brands operating in Britain. This year’s meticulous process began months ago when Hotel Designs opened up nominations and applications to its loyal readers. Since then, the expert judging panel have taken over to whittle down the shortlist as well as decide upon the individual winners.

“As I cast my eyes down this year’s shortlist, I am reminded once more that Britain is, and will no-doubt remain, a major pin on the design, architecture and hospitality map.” – Hamish Kilburn, editor, Hotel Designs.

“One only has to look at this year’s entries to be able to see that Britain is a melting pot for creative design and authentic hospitality,” explains editor Hamish Kilburn who will take the microphone on November 3 to host this year’s awards. “It’s sensational to see, despite obvious adversities, that the design, architecture and hospitality industry has risen to the challenge, once more, to present forward-thinking solutions in the global arena. As I cast my eyes down this year’s shortlist, I am reminded once more that Britain is, and will no-doubt remain, a major pin on the design, architecture and hospitality map. Here, on this tiny speck of land, we incubate innovation, nurture talent and amplify meaningful initiatives that challenge conventional approached to hotel design and hospitality.”

Adding more sparkle to this year’s live awards ceremony will be the sponsors and partners. They are: Crosswater (Headline Partner)Hamilton Litestat (Event Partner)Duravit (Event Partner), Schlüter Systems (Showcase Partner), Leaflike (Decorative Partner), GROHE (Broadcasting Partner), NEWH (Industry Partner) British Institute of Interior Design (Industry Partner) and CUBE (Videography Partner).

The shortlisted finalists for The Brit List Awards 2021 are: 

Interior Designer of the Year

Name Studio
Alex Kravetz Alex Kravetz Design
Beverley Bayes Sparcstudio
Clare McDonald Design Command
Clara Mason Dexter Moren Associates
Craig McKie Bell & Swift Ltd
Dale Atkinson Rosendale Design
David Mason Scott Brownrigg
Dennis Irvine Dennis Irvine Studio
Ed Warner Motionspot
Fiona Thompson Richmond International
Geraldine Dohogne Beyond Design
Hamish Brown 1508 London
Hayley Roy Harp Design
Henry Chebaane Blue Sky Hospitality
Hilary Lancaster Fusion Interiors Group
Ilse Crawford StudioIlse
Jeremy Grove Sibley Grove
Jouin Manku Jouin Manku
Kirsty Vance I Am London
Marie Soliman Bergman Interiors
Mark Bithrey B3 Designers
Neil Andrew Perkins&Will
Nicholas J Hickson THDP
Ravi Lakhaney Bailey London
Robert Angell Robert Angell Design International
Sally Proctor Majik House
Samantha McCulloch ICA
Sara Browett Sara Copeland Interiors Ltd
Scott Torrance 3DReid
Simon Kincaid Conran and Partners
Simon Rawlings David Collins Studio
Solomija Bogusz Interior Designer
Suzanne Garuda Garuda Design
Tina Norden Conran and Partners

Architect of the Year

Name Studio
Adam Hall Falconer Chester Hall
Alastair Shepherd Falconer Chester Hall Architects
Alexandra Birmpili Kappa planning Ltd
Ali Alammar Alamar Architects
Amrit Naru ADP Architects
Ben Adams Ben Adams Architects
Catarina Pina-Bartrum LDS Architects
Cathryn Crisp Randell Design Group
Christos Passas Zaha Hadid Architects
Doug Pearson 3DReid
Ed Murray Dexter Moren Associates
Gordon Ferrier 3D Reid
Graham Barr jmarchitects
Herbert Lui Dexter Moren Associates
James Dilley Jestico + Whiles
Jen Samuel 3DReid
Jonny Sin ReardonSmith Architects
Julie Humphryes Archer Humphryes Architects
Luke Fox Foster + Partners
Mark Bruce EPR Architects
Mark Kelly PLP Architecture
Matthew Salter HGP Architects
Metehan Apak Dawson Design Associates
Nicholas de Klerk Translation Architecture
Richard Coutts BACA Architects
Richard Holland Holland Harvey Architects
Sarah Murphy Jestico + Whiles
Simon Whittaker Orms
Tom Lindblom Principal, Architect
Tony Kho Trehearne Architects
Yasmine Mahmoudieh Yasmine Mahmoudieh Studio

Hotelier of the Year 

Name Hotel
Andrew Hollett Kettering Park Hotel and Spa
Charles Oak The Londoner
Conor O’Leary Gleneagles
David Connell South Lodge Hotel & Spa
Dominic Sauls Qbic London City Hotel
Edward Workman The Newt
Elli Jafari The Standard London
Federico Ciampi Mayfair Townhouse
Franck Arnold Savoy, London
Gareth Banner The Ned
Grace Leo The Relais Henley
Guillaume Marly Hotel Café Royal
Hector Ross The Mitre, Hampton Court
James Clarke Hilton Bankside London
John Scanlon 45 Park Lane
Julian Hudson Fellows House Cambridge – Curio by Hilton Collection
Marie-Paule Nowlis Sofitel London St James
Michael Bonsor Rosewood London
Michael Mason-Shaw Hyatt Place London City East
Murray Ward Soho Farmhouse
Olivia Richli Heckfield Place
Paul Bayliss Hotel Brooklyn, Manchester
Robin Hutson THE PIG Hotels
Sergio Leandro Sea Containers London
Simon Mahon The Grand York
Stuart Geddes The Lanesborough, London
Thomas Agius Ferrante The Grove of Narberth
Will Ashworth Watergate Bay Hotel

Best in Tech

Brand Product/project
Lutron Athena
SONANCE Peninsula London
Majik House Absoluxe Suites
Franklite L11 Tuneable

The Eco Award 

Brand Product/project
Harrison Spinks The Sprint Collection
Hypnos Contract Beds Various products
Leaflike Pan Pacific London
GROHE/LIXIL Cradle to Cradle certified products
Video Tree Re Charge
CTD Architectural Tiles The Global Collection
Yasmine Mahmoudieh Flow
Clarke & Clarke Eco Sustainable Weaves
Ozone Clean OC Range
Well-Lit Various products
Barber Osgerby AXOR One
Siminetti Seasons Collection
Silentnight Group Hosptiality Various products

Best in British Product Design

Brand Product/project
Newmor Wallcoverings Healthcare Collection
Franklite Perry Range
Franklite L11 Tuneable
Hypnos Contract Beds Various products
SMD Textiles, ILIV Exotic Garden
Edelweiss Pianos The Solis
The Monkey Puzzle Tree Metamorphosis
The Collective Agency Swell
Ziad Alonaizy Eileen Cabinet
Dernier & Hamlyn Bespoke lighitng for Nobu London Portman Square
Wandsworth The Baton (and other) switches
Morgan Rakino
Morgan Kaya

The Rising Star Award (new for 2021)

Name Brand/Studio/University
Adam Wardale Middletons Hotel, York
Aleksandra Tredez The Lost Poet (Cubic Studios)
Matthew Maganga University of Kent
Sophie Piggot Concorde BGW Group
Sarah Yuma Dexter Moren Associates

The International Award (new for 2021)

Name Brand
Wilderness Safaris Wilderness Safaris
Bill Bensley BENSLEY
DLR Group Madinah Gate
noa* network of architecture noa* network of architecture
YES.design.architecture YES.design.architecture
Royal Mansour Marrakech Royal Mansour Marrakech

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

How to attend The Brit List Awards 2021 – the awards ceremony 

All designers, architects and hoteliers that have been shortlisted will receive an email asking them to confirm their complimentary ticket to attend the awards ceremony on November 3 at PROUD Embankment. Outside of the shortlist, designers, architects, hoteliers and developers can purchase tickets here (£10 + VAT per ticket if purchased before September 10)*. Suppliers, and anyone else wishing to attend, can click here to purchase their tickets (£99 + VAT per ticket if purchased before September 10)*.

*After September 10, tickets for designers, architects and hoteliers will inflate to £20 + VAT per ticket. For suppliers, tickets will inflate to £150 +VAT per ticket. There are limited number of tickets on sale, which will be issued out on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Main image credit: The Brit List Awards 2021/Hotel Designs

Independent Hotel Show Awards GM of the Future 2019

Shortlist announced for Independent Hotel Show Awards 2021 

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Shortlist announced for Independent Hotel Show Awards 2021 

The shortlist has been revealed and public voting is now open for the 9th annual Independent Hotel Show Awards, which celebrate the highly skilled professionals working in the UK independent and boutique hotel sector…

Independent Hotel Show Awards GM of the Future 2019

The results of the Independent Hotel Show Awards, along with the winners of the Good Hotel Guide’s César Award, will be announced on October 4 on the Independent Hotel Show’s Innovation Stage.

Across two days of judging, a panel of industry experts whittled down the nominees across two key categories: Independent Hotelier and GM of the Future, in partnership with The Master Innholders.

The Independent Hotelier award recognises an excellent independent hotelier or hotelier partnership with a reputation for pushing boundaries and creating exceptional guest experiences.

Since the Awards launched in 2012, the independent hoteliers recognised in this category have continued to drive change and innovation in the sector.

Brenda Collin, EVP Europe, Preferred Hotels & Resorts and judge for the Independent Hotel Show Awards, said: “The caliber of entries this year was exceptionally high and therefore difficult choices had to be made.

“Congratulations should be offered to all the nominees who, without exception, had given back in some way to society in addition to their day jobs. Our industry is so well served by exceptional people and these awards showcase the great leaders who will inspire future nominees.”

The shortlisted hoteliers for the Independent Hotelier award are:  

  • Joanne Taylor- Stagg FIH, MI, General Manager, The Athenaeum Hotel and Residences
  • Charlie Luxton and Dan Brod, Co-Owners, The Talbot Inn, The Beckford Arms and The Lord Poulett Arms
  • Laurence Beere FIH, MI, Co-Owner, The Queensberry Hotel
  • Henrik Muehle, General Manager, Flemings Mayfair
  • James Thomson OBE, Owner, The Witchery and Prestonfield
  • Ross Grieve FIH, MI, Managing Director, Seaham Hall & Luxury Lodges

The shortlisted nominees for GM of the Future, in partnership with The Master Innholders, are:  

  • Penn Chai, Room Division Manager, Castle Hotel Windsor
  • Kostadin Dimitrov, Front of House Manager, Hotel Brooklyn MCR
  • Juris Dubrovskis, Executive Housekeeper, The Athenaeum Hotel and Residences
  • Rachel Henley, Hotel Manager, The Fife Arms
  • Nathan Parkin, Operations Manager, Lakeside Hotel and Spa
  • Anna Sirba, Operations Manager, Salcombe Harbour Hotel

Commenting on the GM of the Future award entries, The Master Innholders Chairman David Morgan-Hewitt FIH MI, said: “We received a large number of excellent applications, each showing great talent and passion for the hotel industry, which made it very difficult to select a shortlist of just six candidates. Each of those chosen displayed an exceptional level of involvement in the industry and the qualities of a good leader, and I would like to congratulate them on their well-deserved success.”

Elena Attanasio, Independent Hotel Show Event Director, added: “After a tough 18 months for the hotel industry we’re thrilled to be announcing the shortlist for the Independent Hotel Show Awards.

“Our shortlisted Independent Hoteliers have shown incredible strength and leadership in the face of adversity and our GM of the Future nominees should be celebrated for their enthusiasm, hard work and commitment over the past year. Now more than ever it’s important to recognise the exceptional hospitality professionals that make up the UK’s boutique and independent hotel sector.

“We can’t wait to announce the winners of the Independent Hotel Show Awards at the event on 4 October and to see the hotel community all together, in person, once more.”

For the Independent Hotelier award, the judges’ picks will be combined with a public industry vote to decide the ultimate winners. The judges were as follows:

  • Brenda Collin, Executive Vice President, Europe, Preferred Hotels & Resorts
  • Charlotte Evans, Group Publishing Director, Condé Nast Johansens
  • Christian Graf, General Manager, Middle Eight
  • David Noble, Director of Hospitality and Leisure, James Hallam
  • Fiona Duncan, Travel Writer, Sunday Telegraph
  • Juliet Kinsman, Sustainability Editor, Condé Nast Traveller
  • Peter Hancock FIH, MI, Chief Executive, Pride of Britain Hotels
  • Richard Fraiman, Chief Executive, The Good Hotel Guide
  • Simon Numphud FIH, Managing Director, AA Media
  • Sue Williams FIH, MI, General Manager, Whatley Manor Hotel
  • Susan d’Arcy, Hotels, Luxury Travel and Wellness Editor, The Times and The Sunday Times
  • Zoe Monk, Editor, Boutique Hotelier

The judging panel for GM of the Future, in partnership with The Master Innholders, was as follows:

  • David Morgan-Hewitt FIH, MI, Chairman, The Master Innholders and Managing Director, The Goring
  • Tamsyn Mann, Regional People Manager, Cirrus Inns and 2019 ‘One to Watch’ highly commended GM of the Future
  • Elena Attanasio, Event Director, Independent Hotel Show
  • Sal Gowili FIH MI, GM of The Ritz London
  • Dr Hilary Cooke FIH MI, Director, Merlin Consultancy
  • Robin Hutson FIH, MI, CEO, Home Grown Hotels and Lime Wood Group
  • Wallace Vincent FIH, Executive Secretary, The Master Innholders

Find out more about each of the shortlisted individuals and cast your vote at independenthotelshow.co.uk/awards.   

The Independent Hotel Show, presented by James Hallam, takes place on 4-5 October 2021 at Olympia London. Register for your complimentary pass at independenthotelshow.co.uk

Main image credit: Independent Hotel Show

A guestroom inside M Social

M Social arrives in Europe with hotel opening in Paris

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
M Social arrives in Europe with hotel opening in Paris

Millennium Hotels and Resorts is marking the first outpost for the M Social brand in Europe, with the opening of M Social Hotel Paris Opera on August 31. The new lifestyle offering will merge the ‘elegance of the historical Parisian lifestyle with contemporary design, vibrant art and inviting rooms’ to create an enchanting retreat for guests to gather, work and discover all that Paris has to offer. Let’s take a sneak peek inside…

A guestroom inside M Social

Following the opening of M Social in New York’s Times Square earlier this summer, lifestyle hospitality brand M Social is about to open a new hotel in Paris. M Social Hotel Paris Opera, which will shelter 163 rooms, will become the brand’s debut hotel in Europe when it opens later this month. Located at 12 Boulevard Haussmann, the hotel is in the heart of Opéra making it within walking distance to some of the city’s most famous landmarks including the Louvre, the Sacré-Cœur and the Moulin Rouge. To cater to a new diverse community of travellers, EUR 5.4 million was spent on refurbishing the former Millennium Paris Opera into more contemporary lodgings.

“People are in search of new and exciting experiences. M Social is all about creativity and passion. Combine this with the hotel’s central location and you have a winning formula to satiate travellers’ wanderlust,” said Mr Kwek Leng Beng, Executive Chairman of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Limited. “With Europe re-opening, this is an opportune time for us to introduce M Social to this key gateway city.”

A hub for explorers, M Social Hotel Paris Opera features spaces that are designed to be accessible, comfortable and practical to guests’ needs with rooms that offer sweeping views overlooking the famous Boulevard Haussmann. The hotel is conveniently located near major shopping, art and cultural attractions of the Paris Opera district. Guests are guaranteed to experience Paris like a true Parisian in the heart of the city of lights escaping the hustle and bustle in timelessly stylish surroundings.

Step back in time to 1920s elegance as soon as you walk through the revolving door into the hotel’s Art Deco foyer, made of marble surfaces, ornate chandeliers and a glass-roofed cupola. StudioCaid, the creative architects behind the newly renovated areas, describes the design concept as an exchange of styles that emphasises the contrast between classic and modern. They have incorporated into the design the artistic styles of the surrounding iconic infrastructures such as the Opera Garnier and the Louvre to create the “Hotel of Today”. Each room holds the history of Les Années Folles (in English “The Roaring Twenties”) and the future of M Social Paris. The newly renovated rooms allow guests to have an authentic Parisian experience within the comforts of today’s modern world. Accommodation choices range from cosy yet spacious Signature rooms that give views into the hotel’s peaceful inner courtyard to Grande Sweetie suites that offer separate living areas and breathtaking views of the Opera Garnier or the Sacré- Cœur.

The M Social brand was launched in Singapore in 2016. Millennium Hotels and Resorts plans to grow the brand in more cities with strong character, to capture diverse stories and build up a vibrant and creative community. M Social Hotel Paris Opera is the fourth location for the brand with other outposts in New York, Singapore and Auckland.

Main image credit: Millenium Hotels and Resorts

Hotel Designs LIVE - Session 2

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Designing the perfect night’s sleep

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Designing the perfect night’s sleep

The fifth edition of Hotel Designs LIVE, sponsored by and filmed from Minotti London, invited world renowned designers, architects and hospitality experts to, once again, define the point of hotel design on an global scale while keeping the conversation flowing throughout. The second session of the day, sponsored by Silentnight Group, looked at how to create the perfect nights’ sleep. Grab a coffee and let’s begin…

Hotel Designs LIVE - Session 2

On August 10, designers, architects, hoteliers and developers from around the globe tuned in to watch the latest edition of Hotel Designs LIVE. The event, which first launched in June 2020 to keep the industry connected while keeping the conversation flowing, took place virtually – broadcasted at Minotti London’s Fitzrovia showroom, and included four engaging panel discussions with world-renowned hospitality and design experts on the following topics:

  • A design assault on the senses
  • Designing the perfect nights’ sleep
  • Design, beneath the surface
  • Social spaces in 2021 & beyond

Following an engaging and energetic first session, which looked at sensory design and hospitality, the audience were invited in to find their inner zen as attention switched towards sleep performance. With new innovations and technology taking bold leaps as each day passes, the aim for this session was to explore the science behind getting the best nights’ sleep.

On the panel:

  • Hannah Shore, Sleep Expert, (Session Sponsor)
  • Nathan Hutchins, Founder, Muza Lab
  • Ananth Ramaswamy, Project Architect, The Doyle Collection

To introduce this meaningful session, it was integral for the audience to first understand the role of a sleep expert, which was highlighted in detail in a recent masterclass Hotel Designs hosted with Silentnight Group. “We obviously look into sleep and sleep research,” Shore said. “We also look at sleep personalisation, how sleep is affected in different scenarios – ultimately to establish how the mattress can help us to sleep better.”

One term Shore uses throughout the session is ‘TLC’, which is an acronym for temperature, light and comfort; three areas she and her team look at when monitoring sleep performance.

Also on the panel was Nathan Hutchins, a designer believes the team TLC is about the whole package. “TLC is about making people feeling good,” he said. “It’s about the entire environment of the hotel and the bedroom that we all create, from the bed to the architecture to the design, around leading guests into a sense of security and relaxation as they enter their hotel room.”

Ananth Ramaswamy joined the panel wearing the Doyle Collection hat, which allowed the audience to use the brand as somewhat of a case study. “We design our bedrooms around sleep performance,” he explained. “We have eight hotels [in the collection], and all are sheltered in different architectural buildings. Sleep is a very important touchpoint and everything that surrounds the bed is very considered.”

Here’s the full video of the panel discussion (on demand), which was produced by CUBE:

The full recordings of the first session, A design assault on the senses, is now available to watch on-demand.  The other two sessions (‘Design, beneath the surface and Social spaces in 2021 & beyond) will be available to watch on-demand shortly.

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!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

A distressed wall on the left and a cabinet on the right frame the enetrance into the restaurant in The Fellows House in Cambridge

Checking in to The Fellows House Cambridge – one for the history books

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in to The Fellows House Cambridge – one for the history books

Armed with a limited knowledge of Cambridge – but a deep connection to cycling and ingenious college pranks – editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to the city’s new hotel, The Fellows House – Curio Collection by Hilton. His time away from his desk to explore design firm Twenty2Degrees Design Partnership’ latest project sharply becomes a history, chemistry, literature and art lesson packaged up in one unforgettable hospitality experience…

A distressed wall on the left and a cabinet on the right frame the enetrance into the restaurant in The Fellows House in Cambridge

You don’t have to join a guided tour to know that the city of Cambridge is littered with history – and not all of it as pleasant as the innovative pranks from the ‘night climbers’. But I would thoroughly recommend that you go on one anyway (and ask for Tony Rodgers as your guide if you do). If nothing else, the entertainment value alone will etch the trip securely in your memory, while reminding you why Cambridge is a fascinating city. Alternatively, or in addition to, you could always give punting a go.

In a mini metropolis that is home to some 20,000 students all housed within 31 separate and competing collages that make up Cambridge University (See, Tony, I did listen), it baffles me somewhat that the hospitality scene here is not rupturing the seams of the city wall. With all its deep historic events, winding tales of mystery and scientific breakthroughs, Cambridge is a hotel designer’s dream! But for whatever reason – perhaps something to do with land value and hoteliers not wanting to get too close to the next college prank – the city, in my informed opinion, is home to just a handful of exceptional hotels. And perhaps, to preserve itself as a place somewhat lost in time, it is better off that way.

“We want everyone to experience Cambridge like a fellow and make the most of their time with us by feeling inspired and comfortably at home.” – Paavan Popat, Executive Chairman of The Fellows House.

The latest jewel to emerge shelters an unmatched history, chemistry, literature and art lesson in one module. After much anticipation, The Fellows House Cambridge has opened its doors – and in doing so has created its own legacy by marking the first Curio Collection by Hilton to arrive in the idyllic city. “We are extremely proud of the final product,” said Paavan Popat, Executive Chairman of The Fellows House. “We want everyone to experience Cambridge like a fellow and make the most of their time with us by feeling inspired and comfortably at home.” And following that official statement, my journey began.

Although the location is not slap-bang in the middle of Cambridge – however, the walk into the city centre takes less than 10 minutes and is a welcome way to find your bearings – the hotel design narrative is something of a treasure trove. Before guests have even stepped foot inside the hotel, the first nod to a Cambridge fellow can be seen. Two columns clad in patinated copper stand in Alan Turing’s legacy. On careful inspection – of course, any sculpture in the memory of Turing requires a great deal of thought – each of the columns are skilfully etched with mysterious text formatted like the Enigma code. However, this time, the codes hide famous quotes from Cambridge fellows for visitors to decipher at their leisure. The immersive experience begins, I thought as I went to check in.

Image caption: The enigma column outside the hotel, in homage to Alan Turing, is the first indication that The Fellows House in Cambridge will shelter a deep design narrative. | Image credit: The Fellows House Cambridge

Image caption: The enigma column outside the hotel, in homage to Alan Turing, is the first indication that The Fellows House in Cambridge will shelter a deep design narrative. | Image credit: The Fellows House Cambridge

From here, guests glide into the lobby lounge, which is a reclined area that smells magnificent, where the interior design, led by masterminds at Twenty2Degrees, responds to the location and academic heritage, which naturally includes countless clever references to the fellows of the university. “We very much wanted The Fellows House to be a neighbourhood amenity – an exclusive hotel but with an inclusive ambience,” Nick Stoupas, Director of interior design firm Twenty2Degrees tells Hotel Designs. “Clearly, The Sage Café at the front of the hotel [next to the lobby] and with its own street entrance is very much about drawing in the locals.”

Image caption: The Sage Cafe, with a separate entrance at the front of the hotel, is a light, bright and relaxing place where I sat for hours catching up on my emails. | Image credit: The Fellows House

Image caption: The Sage Cafe, with a separate entrance at the front of the hotel, is a light, bright and relaxing place where I sat for hours catching up on my emails, as I am sure many locals do also. | Image credit: The Fellows House

The power of art is extraordinary. No one knows this more than the art curators at Elegant Clutter, who were tasked to give a new layer to the interior design, which follows Twenty2degrees’ natural instinct to “design interiors that are original, yet true to brand, which are modern, infused with sense of place and a sense of fun, yet are seriously fit for purpose,” as Stoupas perfectly puts it. The body of art, therefore, is closely tied to the fellows that the name of the hotel marvellously celebrates. “When we were walking around the city on our first research trip, you could feel the history all around you,” explains Harry Pass, Creative Director at Elegant Clutter. “Cambridge is one of those locations which is overflowing with inspiration; it becomes more about what we have to consider ‘leaving out’ of the collection, as there is so much material!”


The portrait of Davidson Nicol, Cambridge’s first African fellow, is one of the first pieces of art that caught my attention, and I struggled to move past it. Hung on the opposite wall is a modern installation of bicycles. However, the celebration of the city’s affinity to two wheels is not quite as you would imagine. The bike frames have been deconstructed and placed together and repeated to create an impression of constant movement, which is kind of wonderful in a modern hotel lobby that is, in its own way, conducting a constant flow of traffic.

The Cipollino Ondulato Rosso marble to the reception desk is honed to striking effect and behind this a full-height pigeon hole cabinet of the kind once popular in the colleges. Each cabinet is labelled with a word in an old typewriter font, which on their own are nonsensical. Piece them together, however, and the form a poem by a Cambridge fellow.

The materiality in the public areas is vast and just as considered as the artwork. Upholstery fabrics are tactile, with the rouge pink tone of velvet offsets the dark marbles and timbers. To complete the design, the modern orb-like chandelier from Chelsom, finished in brushed brass, is a welcome touch to a hotel lobby that has timeless style and character.

Image caption: The colour pallete of the lobby/lounge and The Folio Bar is dark and rich to reflect that of a private memebers' bar. | Image credit: The Fellows House Cambridge

Image caption: The colour pallete of the lobby/lounge and The Folio Bar is dark and rich to reflect that of a private memebers’ bar. | Image credit: The Fellows House Cambridge

In truth, I spent the majority of my time in the public areas – and why wouldn’t you when an eclectic art collection and thoughtful design scene catches your eye and challenges your history knowledge from every perspective? That and I had a lot of emails to catch up on, which were comfortably answered while reclined in the leather chesterfield sofas next to large armchairs that have been playfully deconstructed as if to show the secrets of their inner craftsmanship.

Moving further into this space, the seductive coating of design yet again draws guests in and provides subtle reveals through partially glazed panels and free-standing walls of spaces beyond as well as new reflections captured in distressed mirrored columns – a proficient way to create barriers without halting flow. At the far end of the space, another art masterpiece in aged copper rounds off the journey. It is an etching inspired by fellow C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, which emulates the printing blocks used to create the original book by scaling-up and reversing the process to create a mirror image. And, not be left out, is a recording from Winnie the Pooh, written by another fellow, A.A Milne, which plays in the public restrooms.

Truly, every corner of the hotel’s public areas has been observed. Even the corridors, often forgotten spaces in hotels, have been utilised to keep the narrative of Cambridge and its fellows flowing. “Our references are very real but the way we have treated them is far from literal,” adds Stoupas. “We have layered these notes in a way that means returning guests and those who are staying for a long period of time will continue to discover new ideas and engaging stories.” They become an experience of Cambridge, if you like, putting the spotlight on brilliant minds interpreted through a design lens to encourage guests to look beyond what they already know.

Past a pool table in the middle of the room – my kind of hotel – in the far end of the hotel is The Folio Bar, but don’t let the warm ambiance fool you into a false sense of security, because the cocktails, made to look like the results of chemistry experiments, are lethal.

Image credit: The Folio Bar, where the design is strong and the cocktails are lethal. | Image credit: The Fellows House Cambridge

Image credit: The Folio Bar, where the design is strong and the cocktails are lethal. | Image credit: The Fellows House Cambridge

Designed to feel like a private members’ club – and it does so effectively with a warm and rich colour palatte with notes of deep reds and oranges – the lighting in this part of the hotel plays a major role. With little direct natural light available, the theatre of artificial lighting highlights feature elements, artwork and accessories, revealing luxurious finishes and creating a mood conducive to quiet conversations against the intermittent sounds of cocktail shakers.

Nearest to the bar, an elegant cocktail cabinet displays glass drippers used to curate local drinks in-house but which would look as if they should be in a scientist’s laboratory. At the other end, there is a full-height bookcase accessorised with scientific curiosities, games and a collection of books by or about the fellows.

The space is open and inviting. Where walls do exist, though, they have been designed to merge into artwork. For example, a free-standing wall alongside the bar hosts a “DNA Panel”, a celebration of the discovery of DNA by Cambridge fellows which, so the story goes, was modelled over a pint in the nearby Eagle pub. The double helix formation is carved and painted and the DNA profile of, I am told, the owner of the hotel itself is embedded into the piece as gold-painted strips. To the side of one of the lift lobbies, a faux aged brick wall has been created where the plaster has been made to look like it has “degraded in time” to disclose the college crests, painted as faded ghost signage.

Adjacent to The Folio Bar – but far enough away to lock in different atmospheres – The Folio Kitchen comprises a large indoor conservatory-style space which opens onto The Fellows Garden where a terrace and The Observatory snug give guests the opportunity to wine and dine al fresco. While flowing directly from The Folio Bar, the restaurant offers a step-change in ambience with a light-filled space thanks to a large roof lantern over the main dining area and a fully glazed wall at one end. In one direction, the restaurant looks towards a buzzing open kitchen, in the other towards the courtyard garden. “Since this area is hidden from the street, it feels a little like a secret gem for those in the know,” adds Stoupas.

Image caption: The Folio Kitchen has been designed in the Cambridge colours to be a light, bright and airy restaurant. | Image credit: The Fellows House

Image caption: The Folio Kitchen has been designed in the Cambridge colours to be a light, bright and airy restaurant. | Image credit: The Fellows House

The Folio Kitchen combines the contemporary and classic within a fresh and inviting colour palette. Walls and columns are clad in whitewashed brick and the accent colour is Cambridge Blue with punches of ochre orange in the leather upholstery. A Calacatta marble sharing table together with marble topped dining tables are elegant and sophisticated. They also provide a counterpoint to the traditional millwork of the roof lantern recess and the timber banquets as well as the geometric black and white tiling to the floor, all of which are a nod to historic Cambridge.

Certain elements are drawn through from the rest of the public areas. Antiqued mirror continues to play an important role in capturing design vignettes and adding drama to the space while original artworks are key to the storytelling. For example, a romantic poem written nearly 100 years ago by a Chinese student and a leader of China’s New Culture Movement becomes a collection of framed love notes to Cambridge abstracted into handwritten texts, modern re-workings of Chinese symbols and laser cut lettering.

The restaurant is refined, cosy and playful, aptly complementing the menu which features homely British classics served with a twist as well as a number of plant-based dishes, I couldn’t help by notice.

We’ve come all this way – travelled through time, it feels – and we have not yet even mentioned the guestrooms – or apartments, I should say.

The hotel houses 133 apartments, which are contemporary and pared-back – leaving room for guests to make their suite their own, which I think is a nice element. Pale timber floors and a monochrome colour palette are paired with marble topped tables and dark timber features and furniture. Accents of colour are introduced in the framed antique-style Cambridge maps which pay homage to alumni and fellows, Charles Darwin, Henry Cavendish, John Flamsteed and Siegfried Sassoon – but one can’t help but feel that the artwork in the rooms need to work harder to compliment the level of detail in the creative curated mix of art experienced elsewhere in the hotel. That’s not the say, by any means, that the rooms are not stylish, comfortable and extremely well specked, complete with Villeroy & Boch basins and WCs, Geberit flush plates and hansgrohe rainfinity showers.

Prior to checking in to this hotel, Cambridge to me felt like an exclusive zone; reserved for students and the alumni who passed the entry exam and the famous interview process. Well, now, I have a new perspective and deeper understanding of the city’s rousing past, thanks to the opening of this contemporary hotel that fills in all the history gaps. In fact, I feel like I need to return to in order to discover more.

Leaving Cambridge, less than 24 hours after I arrived, I feel as if I have somehow graduated from somewhere remarkable – and hotel that is both true to its roots while also being fully equipped to the new contemporary hospitality era that we are moving into – it even has a spa and gym. Until next time, The Fellows House Cambridge.

Main image credit: The Fellows House Cambridge

Two seats by hotel balcony

IHG launches new luxury & lifestyle brand, Vignette Collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IHG launches new luxury & lifestyle brand, Vignette Collection

Hotel group IHG has  announced Vignette Collection as its new Luxury & Lifestyle brand, with hotels in Australia and Thailand the first to join the collection…

Vignette Collection becomes the sixth addition to IHG’s brand portfolio in the past four years, taking it to 17 in total across nearly 6,000 hotels in more than 100 countries. The Collection further enriches IHG’s fast-growing Luxury & Lifestyle offer for both leisure and business travellers. 

Two seats by hotel balcony

IHG’s Vignette Collection will give owners of world-class independent hotels the opportunity to retain their distinctive identity, while benefitting from our global scale, Luxury & Lifestyle expertise, and powerful IHG Rewards loyalty programme. These exclusive properties in sought-after urban and resort locations will accelerate IHG’s growth and meet an increasing appetite from travellers for ‘one-of-a-kind’ stays. 

Keith Barr, CEO, IHG Hotels & Resorts, commented: “Our new Vignette Collection gives IHG a compelling way to welcome world-class independent hotels into our brand family, combining each property’s distinctive identity with the power of our global scale. As our first hotels in Australia and Thailand both showcase, each property is as unique as the next, and all will be endorsed by IHG’s trusted reputation for quality. 

“We’ve been strategic with the enhancements we’ve made to our luxury and lifestyle portfolio in recent years, which at more than 400 hotels and 100,000 rooms is the second largest in the industry. We’ve built on the heritage and global success of our InterContinental brand, with the rapid international expansion of Kimpton and Hotel Indigo, and acquisitions of Six Senses and Regent. We expect to attract more than 100 Vignette Collection hotels in 10 years, and the brand will be key to delivering our ambition of industry-leading net rooms growth.”

Among the first hotels to join IHG’s Vignette Collection will be Hotel X, a 5-star hotel, dining and lifestyle destination in the centre of Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, Australia. Hotel X’s distinctive design and luxurious facilities celebrate this iconic Brisbane neighbourhood through ultra-cool art, Avant Garde lighting and exceptional views of the cityscape

Thailand’s vibrant Pattaya Aquatique hotel will also be one of the first hotels to join the Vignette Collection. Working in collaboration with Thailand’s leading integrated lifestyle real estate group, Asset World Corporation Public Company Limited (AWC), the hotel is based in Pattaya’s Aquatique district, the city’s first iconic lifestyle destination. 

“AWC feels honoured to be the first partner in Asia and one of the first globally to launch a hotel under IHG Hotels & Resorts’ new Vignette Collection,” added Mrs Wallapa Traisorat, CEO and President, AWC. “With the backing of IHG’s global systems and support, we are confident that our unique hotel, located in the vibrant and lively beachfront destination of Pattaya, The Aquatique, will appeal to all travellers seeking inspirational and exceptional experiences.”

Whether it’s a city haven, sun-kissed resort, or beyond, IHG’s Vignette Collection will provide one-of-a-kind stays, with each hotel serving up a distinct service style and character.

Owners of independent hotels and small chains are increasingly attracted to the opportunity to benefit from the scale, expertise and investment of a global hotel brand leader, such as IHG. Those joining IHG’s Vignette Collection will gain rapid access to world class revenue delivery and guest reservation systems, Luxury & Lifestyle expertise, our powerful IHG Rewards loyalty programme, and procurement savings. All of this will come without high upfront costs and each hotel will retain its distinctive identity.

Alongside the significant owner benefits, Vignette Collection will meet the needs of travellers seeking exciting independent stay experiences, and provide a greater choice of outstanding destinations to earn and burn loyalty points. Nowhere is this more sought after than in Luxury & Lifestyle, where the desire for distinct experiences and unique service is permanent.

Seamless conversions of high-quality, unique independent luxury and lifestyle hotels and small portfolios will further fast-track IHG’s growth in a market worth more than $100 billion, and where more than 1.5 million rooms globally are currently independent. Over the next 10 years, IHG expects Vignette Collection to attract more than 100 properties globally.

Main image credit: IHG

Render of suite overlooking city skyline inside W Philadelphia

Now open: W Philadelphia – a racy love letter to the ‘City of Brotherly Love’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Now open: W Philadelphia – a racy love letter to the ‘City of Brotherly Love’

The highly anticipated wait for the arrival of W Hotels in the Philadelphia is over. The metropolis affectionately known as the ‘City of Brotherly Love’ has welcomed the opening of W Philadelphia to its glowing skyline…

Located in the heart of downtown, W Philadelphia is housed with a 51-storey skyscraper, and its arrival is already being described as a celebration of the city’s street art, musical legacy and historic embrace of originality – as seen through the provocative lens of the W brand. 

Render of suite overlooking city skyline inside W Philadelphia

W Philadelphia is the first W-branded hotel to open in North America since W Aspen in 2019, and follows the unveiling of W Osaka, which, earlier this year, marked the brand’s arrival in Japan.

“Philadelphia is the quintessential city for a W hotel – rebellious, unexpected and original.” – Tom Jarrold, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide.

Embracing the same drive, grit and irreverence that sparked our nation’s revolution, the new hotel liberates the city’s traditional rules of luxury through its design as well as a lineup of local creative partners who authenticate and elevate every stay. 

Render of lobby/lounge at W Philadelphia

Image credit: W Hotels

“Philadelphia is the quintessential city for a W hotel – rebellious, unexpected and original,” said Tom Jarrold, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “Its diverse neighbourhoods and rich history attract travellers from around the country and the world and we are excited to put our unique stamp on its luxury hotel scene.”

From The Sound of Philadelphia and the city’s legendary 1970s nightlife scene to its famed urban grid richly juxtaposed with vibrant green spaces, the design of W Philadelphia is as rich and diverse as the city itself. Punctuated throughout the hotel is an extensive artwork collection, much of it exclusively commissioned by the hotel using the talent of local artists. From abstract murals celebrating urban gardens to oil and digital print portraits of the city’s most famous musicians of the past and present, the art of W Philadelphia is as thoughtful as it is thought-provoking. 

W Philadelphia features 295 guestrooms including 39 suites, which feature floor-to-ceiling windows and breathtaking, panoramic city views. Nods to traditional Pennsylvania craftsmanship can be seen in entry way and bathroom tile patterns as well as Shaker-style chairs at each workspace. Illuminated in the guestrooms are the words of the Declaration of Independence, etched in graffiti font on a custom light fixture. The signature W Bed is made with a bespoke bedspread print – “Philly Toile” – featuring both modern and historical city icons. A throw pillow features the iconic Robert Indiana LOVE statue on one side and, for a playful twist, the word LUST on the opposite side. 

Guestroom over looking the city of Philadelphia


The hotel’s six suite categories feature oversized soaking tubs and ornate details including Danby marble and Chesterfield-style furnishings, as well as the only private guest balconies of any luxury hotel in the city. Local artwork imagined under the theme of “Collective Independence” is displayed in salon groupings inspired by the impressionist and modern art collections housed at the nearby Barnes Foundation. The WOW and Extreme WOW Suites push the unexpected even further with custom foosball and billiard tables as well as in-room DJ booths.

Wow Suite at W Philadelphia

Render credit: W Hotels

Equally important to the design of a W is each hotel’s sonic identity. Shaping the sounds of W Philadelphia’s music activations is Joshua Lang, a multi-faceted artist with a background in design and music. In addition to spinning regular sets on property as resident DJ, Lang will book DJ talent with his distinct approach to curating the sound and vibe specific to the hotel’s social outlets: think soulful and loungey in the Living Room with funk and soul and high-energy and vibrant house and global dance music on the WET Deck. 

The hotel features an eclectic selection of spaces for guests and locals to socialise as they unwind and indulge. First is the Living Room, with design inspired by the historic sunken gardens of Fairmount Park. By day, coffee from local artisan roaster Rival Bros. will be served in custom ceramics from Philadelphia-based houseware and design studio, Centerpeak, and, by night, craft cocktails curated by famed local mixologist Resa Mueller will flow. The focal point of the Living Room is a wall of hand-painted, custom ceramic skulls which draw inspiration from the Hyrtl Skull Collection at the nearby Mutter Museum and feature references to hip-hop, fashion and garden icons. 

Tucked away behind the skulls and a two-way mirror, guests will find “Stevens’ Prophecy,” a salon adorned with artwork celebrating Hollywood and Philadelphia royalty, Grace Kelly. The name is a reference to the story of Grace Kelly’s high school yearbook superlative in which it was predicted she would become “a famous star of stage and screen.” The salon will soon feature its own specialty menu including small-batch as well as limited-run spirits.  

On the 7th floor, the WET Deck features a heated, year-round pool with intricate, green and blue custom tile work inspired by French parterre pattern, while the WET Deck Bar is adorned with a large-scale, pixelated floral motif from floor to ceiling. All WET Deck Talent will wear custom uniforms from Philadelphia’s own Grant BLVD, a Black-owned sustainable fashion brand that upcycles vintage clothing.  Around the corner, guests will discover a lush green space known as the Secret Garden, where Illuminated busts of Benjamin Franklin and Marie Antoinette are tucked amongst the greenery for a modern twist on traditional garden design. The urban retreat will play host to local pop-ups and host live music performances where guests and locals can discover up-and-coming talent of the musically-driven city. 

Located on the same floor, the AWAY Spa embraces socialisation with a lounge, beauty bar and DJ set-up for private events. AWAY features five treatment rooms inspired by the colour palette and joie de vivre of Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette as well as two large-scale wallpaper prints of Marilyn Minter’s provocative take on beauty and pleasure – Kicksilver and Goldkicker. 

In addition to all of this, the hotel also has more than 45,000 square feet of event space inspired by the brand’s long-standing passion for music. It begins with pre-function space connected by a monumental grand staircase with a dramatic floating chandelier made of 10,000 gold coins as a nod to Philadelphia’s banking history. Alcove seating under the stairs shares space with a locally-produced skull sculpture, another reference to the famed Hyrtl Skull Collection and a signature iconography of rock n’ roll. Each of the 37 meeting rooms flow with natural light and high-design lighting concepts that create the feeling of private recording studios. Lastly, the sun-drenched-by-day Great Room features floor-to-ceiling windows, abstract floral carpeting as well as circular lighting fixtures and shimmering wall finishes that resemble the night sky during evening events. 

Main image credit: W Hotels

Richmond International reunites with P&O Cruises

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Richmond International reunites with P&O Cruises

London based hospitality design specialist Richmond International has revealed sophisticated and elegant interiors on board P&O Cruises newest ship Iona…

The design vision for P&O Cruises latest ship Iona was to make ‘the sea the star’. Design firm Richmond International was tasked with creating an environment that brings the outside in, spaces where guests can retreat in comfort and where they are delighted every time they visit.

The project includes the design of several spaces including the cabins and suites, Oasis Spa, The Limelight Club, The Club House, The Crow’s Nest, Ivory Suite, The Epicurean restaurant, and Ocean Studios cinema. Through carefully considered design, each space has its own distinct character and ambience that effortlessly blends into the next.

It was a pleasure to work with P&O Cruises again on this fantastic new project following the success of our work on Britannia,” explains Richmond International Director Terry McGillicuddy. “With Iona we have created an elevated guest experience through meaningful design touches that create a sense of luxury and sophistication.”  

Cabins, suites and corridors

Taking inspiration from the ocean, the cabins and suites reference the ship’s environment through subtle design touches. For example, the carpet pattern features nautical knotting and the circular mirroring and artwork playfully nod to traditional portholes. The use of light blue and sandy yellow tones throughout are a reflection of the sea and shore.

The Conservatory Mini-suites on board Iona, which are a first for P&O Cruises, continue the theme of bringing the outside in with the introduction of an additional conservatory space. This area can be closed off from the main cabin or opened up to create a direct connection with the balcony and sea. The L-shaped sofa seating area offers an ideal setting for a morning coffee or pre-dinner drinks with stunning seascape views. 

The premium suites, complete with a spacious lounge area and lavish marble-style bathroom, are characterised by their muted sandy tones and contemporary styling adopted to channel the spirt and elegance of luxury yacht design.

In the corridors a directional-lined pattern is used on the carpet and feature panels have been introduced outside each room with a letter box for invitations and menu cards, integral lighting, and cabin number 

The spa

Spanning two decks, the expansive spa is a sanctuary of relaxation with an understated and refined aesthetic.  A timber ceiling feature, designed to reflect the movement and rhythm of the ocean, overlooks the reception. The connection with the ocean is also highlighted with the use of soft corners and light materials as well as ocean inspired tiling on the walls. 

Timber panelling frames the treatment rooms. Most of these have comfortable window seats boasting ocean views through the large windows. In keeping with the nautical theme, the wooden screening and wall panelling also feature a flowing wave design.

Spa areas include the thermal suite, complete with a large central hydrotherapy pool with massage jets and air recliners, a therapeutic sauna, sensory steam rooms and experiential showers, a gym, and a fitness studio.

The Limelight Club

The backlit bar and central stage area are the focal points in this intimate dinner and entertainment venue. The surrounding furniture and carpet follow a deep purple colour scheme, further enhancing the space’s sultry, exclusive ambiance. At the rear of the room several booths have been created each with their own decorative chandeliers.

image credit: Richmond Internaitonal/P&O Cruises

image credit: Richmond International/P&O Cruises

The Club House

The Club House is a multifunctional space, effortlessly moving from day to night, from a morning coffee spot with views across the ocean to an evening entertainment hub hosting comedy nights and live bands.

A bright and inviting space, The Club House takes inspiration from spring colours with the use of botanical greens and yellows for the marble tables, furniture, and carpet. Around the upper seating area, a ceiling feature incorporates these colours into a pergola installation with a greenhouse feel.

 The Crow’s Nest and Ivory Suite

The Crow’s Nest takes its inspiration from the high seas featuring naval references throughout, for example the use of brass metalwork and mirroring. Deep navy blues and metallic gold finishing bring a sense of sophistication and exclusivity to this bar area. The introduction of soft lines in the circular screens and carpet pattern also represent a musical influence; a nod to the entertainment that take place in this space.

The multi-purpose Ivory Suite is adjacent to The Crow’s Nest and transitions seamlessly, using the same carpet pattern but with a cream base.

 The Epicurean restaurant

Iona’s fine dining restaurant The Epicurean features floor to ceiling windows offering uninterrupted views. Taking centre stage inside the restaurant is the undulating ceiling achieved through panel work and lighting that reflects the movement of the waves. The rise and fall of the ocean is subtly mirrored in the variation of teals, creams and whites that are used in the carpet and artwork. 

Ocean Studios

With rich scarlet hues and bare bulb Hollywood lighting, this four-screen cinema complex is a true celebration of the great cinema era. Guests are guided from the foyer to the screening rooms by a lane of patterned carpet and lighting that is surrounded by a series of film posters.

Main image credit: P&O/Richmond International

What you need to know about Mosaico’s two new collections

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
What you need to know about Mosaico’s two new collections

In the last 18 months, surface brand Mosaico has launched two new collections to its portfolio. Following the brand delivering an impressive Product Watch Pitch at our recent Hotel Designs LIVE event, we wanted to know more about the latest additions in the P-Saico and Cut Up ranges…

Mosaico has launched two new ranges – and as well as being beautiful to look at they are also answering to the demands of modern travellers, which are calling out for tactile and interesting surfaces in hotel design.

Firstly, let’s look at the new addition to the P-Saico range …. Melange! So named because the brand has mixed the existing P-Saico colourways to create four new dual toned options.

The range is through body porcelain and so for use indoor and outdoor, wall and floor. And the range has LEED accreditation too so perfect when considering sustainability criteria.

Image credit: Mosaico

Then you can see the variation in the further two images from the new Melange collection, both in Plaster Coal. However, they look quite different due to the use of different coloured grout and it is amazing how this can change the dynamics and look of the decoration.

You can see how the choice of grout colour highlights/outlines the patterns differently so it’s well worth considering how this can impact your scheme to create/add something quite individual.

Then, the surface brand has just launched Cut Up!

Image credit: Mosaico

This is different to anything else the brand has as it has used incisions and applied textures to a larger slab creating divisions that break up the larger piece, as with the original concept of the mosaic format.

The range is also through body porcelain and comes in four colourways. There are three modules with different detailing so Mosaico suggests fixing off bond to ensure no obvious repeat pattern and to mix the modules so the embedded textures appear more randomly across the installation, each installation can then be entirely unique. And of course, the choice of grout colour can dramatically change the finished look!

There is something about the randomness of the decoration and the imperfect nature of this range allowing you to interpret it’s use to suit many schemes.

As you can see, the brand is crafting new designs and diversifying from the regular mosaic format. With new shapes and materials, it hopes this inspires designers to integrate these new ranges as really interesting features, with a bit of a twist on mosaic, and with the help of your chosen grout colour, to fashion a really unique contribution.

Mosaico are introducing new shapes and material, different to the regular square format we all know.

Mosaico was a Product Watch Pitch Partner at Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on August 10, 2021.

Main image credit: Mosaico

Modieus collage

In conversation with the ‘rugtrepreneurs’ at Modieus

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In conversation with the ‘rugtrepreneurs’ at Modieus

Combining fashion with design to create some extraordinary carpet and rug patterns, Modieus is officially on the radar of our editorial team at Hotel Designs. Here, editor Hamish Kilburn catches up with the founders of the brand to understand more about the creative work that happens behind the scenes…

Modieus collage

Modieus is Dutch for fashionable, which makes sense when casting your eyes over the brands latest collection, Makers Mark. Established six years ago, the company is determined to be the most stylish commercial flooring brand in the southern hemisphere – we found there’s a lot more to them than just supplying beautiful carpets and rugs.

Founder Xander Okhuizen (previously APAC Director at Brintons Carpets) and General Manager Daren Griffin (previously Head of Project Management PTY at Brintons Carpets) shared what they’ve learnt in their long careers in flooring, and how they differentiate themselves from other contract flooring brands. 

Colour Blur - Modieus

Image credit: Modieus

Hamish Kilburn: What is the most important aspect of your business?

Xander Okhuizen: People are the most important – nothing else. If people don’t want to work with you, you have nothing. We offer our clients a total solution and take all the stress out of projects.

A lot of our competitors can get 90 per cent of a project right, but what really counts is getting the last 10 per cent delivered perfectly. That’s where Daren comes in because good project management matters.

Daren Griffin: The projects we work on can take anything from six months to four years to complete. Our success comes from having processes in place and making sure everyone in the team understands what is expected. I review each project and ensure we are offering a commercially viable solution for both our customer and for our business. We also review every completed project; the whole team has visibility of costs and profit – yes even the sales team!

HK: You must be the first management team that shares costs with their sales team, does that mean you discount a lot? 

XO: No – quality has a price, we don’t aim to be the cheapest, we aim to be the best. And sometimes that means we walk away from projects.

I tell my sales team not to “sell” – we don’t want lots of orders, we just want good orders. They must be brave enough to walk away from a project if it’s not good for our business. I don’t believe in giving empty promises – when we take an order, we keep our word. We have built excellent relationships with the Mills and have an amazing supply chain in place.

DG: Design, Sales and Project Management work as a team and with total transparency on the success of every job. Everyone in the team has a fixed salary and Xander has ensured there is no ceiling on the bonus people can earn. I’ve been at Modieus for more than four years and it’s a different way of working that gets the best out of people (we even get our birthdays as extra holiday).


Image credit: Hotel Indigo, Adelaide / Modieus

HK: Where does your expertise lie?

DG: Modieus is based in Australia, but we operate in more than 15 countries internationally – we’ve supplied carpets from Greece to Brazil. Our core sectors are hospitality, airports, aged care, and offices. We supply any construction and any configuration from broadloom and rugs to entrance mats (which can trap up to 90 per cent of dirt entering a building).

XO: Selecting the right flooring is vital – you never hear kids screaming in a carpeted airport. But smart design is also key – a well-designed carpet can last 20 years in heavy footfall areas. Our expertise is in supporting our clients to select the right specification and design for their project and managing the whole process from start to completion.

Collage Colour

Image credit: Modieus

HK: What design trends do you see emerging at the moment (or don’t see evolving further)?

DG: Tastes vary internationally, each country is different. Our designers have worked in multi-markets and have a limitless design capability. Even in Australia there are stark differences, for example Queensland is very bright and bold, compared to Victoria and New South Wales where palettes are much more muted.

XO: One trend I don’t understand is white carpets in guestrooms. First impressions count, so a white carpet in a guestroom may look great as a concept but it is a housekeeper’s nightmare. People buy carpet every 10 years, but we sell it every day so it’s our job to tell hotel owners what will work best. We will never take the order if we don’t believe the specification is right.

A green room with jungle-like carpets

Image credit: Modieus

HK: What’s the business outlook like?

XO: It’s been a tough year for hospitality internationally. In normal times Australians spend more on international tourism ($65bn) than they do domestically ($43-45bn), so this has been an opportunity for some sectors.

DG: You know you can physically fit the whole of Europe into Australia, right? Money isn’t leaving the country as many people are spending it on a domestic holiday or on home renovations. Business hotels are not doing as well, but we see country resorts, and pubs and clubs doing very well.

XO: Central Business Districts in cities will evolve to lifestyle living – we are seeing this in Sydney already, where offices are being converted to residential apartments.

Even though people are sick of zoom, I don’t see a full return to offices. People may work two or three days in the office, which will have an impact on office space. I don’t see companies needing 6 levels in a building when they can do with three, so these spaces will be repurposed for multi-use.

I have a very positive outlook on life and business. Work hard, treat people well, do the right thing – I have built a business that I always wanted to work for, and I am pleased to have a great team around me to deliver our potential.

Modieus 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: Modieus

We are Harrison Spinks, The True Bedmakers copy

A message from ‘true bedmakers’ from Yorkshire

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A message from ‘true bedmakers’ from Yorkshire

Designed and manufactured in the heart of Yorkshire, Harrison Spinks has been handcrafting the perfect night’s sleep since 1840. But that’s not all, as editor Hamish Kilburn finds out…

Harrison Spinks represents ‘the best in British manufacturing’, using only the finest in luxuriously natural and sustainable fillings, award-winning, 100 per cent recyclable pocket spring systems and in-house woven FR chemical treatment free mattress fabric. Each mattress is expertly handcrafted to order using time honoured skills, creating a sleeping experience for your guests which cannot be equalled.

We are Harrison Spinks, The True Bedmakers copy

World leaders in sustainable comfort innovation, the brand’s aim is to provide guests with not only the most comfortable and supportive but a healthy and environmentally sound night’s sleep. The team are the proud recipients of not one but two Queen’s Awards for Enterprise in Sustainable Development and in 2019 gained a Carbon Neural+ accreditation.

Harrison Spinks Handcrafting copy

Image credit: Harrison Spinks

From growing its own natural and sustainable fillings and rearing sheep for their woolly fleeces on its 300 acre North Yorkshire farm, to designing and manufacturing 100 per cent recyclable, glue free Cortec™ pocket springs and weaving 100 per cent FR chemical treatment free mattress fabric in-house, the brand’s team are described as ‘true bedmakers’.

Launched in autumn 2020, the Sprint rolled mattress collection allows hoteliers to offer their guests an environmentally sound, comfortable and supportive night’s sleep. Each of the three models within the collection marries blends of sustainable fillings and innovative spring systems, helping to achieve the ideal balance of comfort, support and body temperature management. Alongside this collection sits the luxurious Signature Collection with pocket spring counts ranging from 3400 – 19750, delicate blends of sumptuous sustainably sourced fillings such as cashmere, silk and mohair work in harmony with its unique and 100 per cent recyclable Cortec™ spring systems and highly flexible contouring Micro springs. A world first and a new dawn for comfort technology, the revolutionary Cortec™ pocket springs feature in every Harrison Spinks Hospitality bed. Unique and ground breaking, these smaller and finer springs are the team’s secret to superior comfort. Contouring to your body with accuracy and precision, with the absence of glue meaning that not only is every spring system 100% recyclable but also each spring is able to work individually for maximum efficiency. Whichever model you choose your guests will experience the perfect night’s sleep.

Since you’re here, why not read our review of The Cave Hotel, one of many hotels that shelters Harrison Spinks mattresses?

Each Harrison Spinks Hospitality mattress is zero to landfill and 10 per cent recyclable. As a business we’ve committed to going glue, foam and FR chemical treatment free and this ethos runs through the brand’s entire hospitality range.  Driving change we pledge to recycle every mattress we produce that contains Cortec™ springs, in 2021 opening its mattress recycling plant, ensuring all the components are recycled through the appropriate channels. So not only will the guests sleep well, the hoteliers will sleep soundly too.

Harrison Spinks 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: Harrison Spinks

A large suite in Lisbon that is airy and has breakfast on the side

Living like a local in Portugal – inside Lumiares, Lisbon

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Living like a local in Portugal – inside Lumiares, Lisbon

The Lumiares, Lisbon is a five-star boutique bombshell, where the style is personal, not “corporate”, relaxed not “stuffy”, gives an authentic nod to Lisbon’s colour, culture and patterns. Editor Hamish Kilburn falls in love with Portugal again when exploring the city’s latest destination hotel…

A large suite in Lisbon that is airy and has breakfast on the side

The fully renovated hotel, which is housed in a former XVII century Palace in the heart of the city, has all the key amenities and facilities for business and leisure travellers who want to feel at home when away from home.

The Lumiares’ philosophy is to highlight the authenticity and personality of Lisbon by collaborating with local Portuguese businesses to showcase ‘the best of Portugal’. Almost every item of furniture, artwork, textiles and room accessories has been conceived, designed and manufactured in Portugal, some within 500m from the hotel, which transcends a new take on ‘living like a local’.

Guestroom - Lumiares Lisbon

Image credit: Lumiares Lisbon

The starting place for design and artwork within the 47-key hotel was the location. Perched on the central edge of Bairro Alto, the hotel is situated in a Lisbon quarter home to a bohemian mish-mash of everyday residents, artists and merchants’ studios, restaurants, quirky shops, lively bars and cafes; a warren of asymmetrical buildings with mismatched facades of varying heights and hues, its narrow streets and pavements cobbled in Lisbon’s iconic square paving stones.

Rooftop of Lumiares Lisbon

Image credit: Lumiares Lisbon

Surveyed from above, the quarter forms a striking grid of patterns, light and dark; painted walls adorned with Lisbon’s beautiful hero colours – sky blue, rosy pink and warm ochre. These colours change and intensify throughout the day – creating yet more contrast as the unique, golden light of Lisbon turns to dusk. By day, the neighbourhood is sleepy and quiet, while at night it comes alive and becomes a place of contrasts. This is reflected in the bold black, white and brass-accented flooring in the lobby area, a bespoke collection of abstract and geometrical original artworks on display throughout the rooms, and a captivating sculptural brass chandelier dominating the building’s grand staircase.

A gold and black and white open lobby in Lisbon

Image credit: Lumieres Lisbon

In design terms, day-to-night, light-to-dark transformation was brought to life to capture Bairro Alto’s topography of pattern and grids – choosing boldly geometric prints in the materials, fabrics, artwork and flooring, accented with the colours and golden light we see all around us. From the lobby’s bold black and white and brass-accented flooring, the colourful abstract original artwork of Maser to designer Beau McClellan’s captivating sculptural and cubic brass lighting installation in the hotel’s central stairwell, the unique character of the Bairro Alto quarter was central to the design theme.

The hotel’s simple style, charm and character is described as a colourful love letter to Portugal – what a way to fall back in love with authentic travel again…

Main image credit: Lumiares Lisbon

3d illustration of modern hotel corridor .

Milliken’s role in this new era of wellness

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Milliken’s role in this new era of wellness

Following delivering a successful Product Watch Pitch at Hotel Designs LIVE, Milliken explain how its floor tiles can go beyond being just beautiful products in the new era of lifestyle and wellness…

Milliken floor tiles help to create the wow factor and that Insta perfect first impression on arrival at a hotel.

3d illustration of modern hotel corridor .

The floor tiles that Milliken produce also have many practical benefits that set them apart from other flooring choices, such as sound absorption, reduced impact sound and improved well-being for those who work and stay in hotels and hospitality settings.

They help reduce unwanted airborne noise and increase the sound absorption of the hotel space by using Milliken’s patented Comfort Plus cushion backing, along with high-performance fibre that reduces noise reverberation time and therefore softens echo. Milliken Comfort Plus cushion backing is particularly beneficial in reducing the nuisance of impact sound, such as the sound of passing footsteps down a hotel corridor.

“We are able to support those hotels having a very bold design in some spaces together with a very tonal scheme in other areas of the hotel.” – Karen Burt, EMEA Strategic Accounts Director, Milliken.

The brand’s clear focus on wellbeing and biophilic design are extremely beneficial in the design and specification of hotel interiors. Good, clean air quality is important to the guest experience and carpet can have a positive effect on improving indoor air quality. Gravity causes dust particles to fall to the floor and collect in the carpet fibre, reducing the circulation of dust in the air we breathe.

Milliken’s global design studios can produce custom design on a very small scale which is a result of the patterning techniques that they have. “We have been seeing a real uptake in creative flooring – take the 25hours brand for example,” explains Karen Burt, EMEA Strategic Accounts Director, Milliken. “We are able to support those hotels having a very bold design in some spaces together with a very tonal scheme in other areas of the hotel.”

close-up of colourful rug

Image credit: Milliken

Kate Collier, Marketing Communications Manager at Milliken, comments: “In terms of wellness, the acoustics come into play as well. We personally feel we fit really nicely into this new era of lifestyle because of the flexibility and the global nature of our brand. In the US, we are now seeing our hospitality team introducing more modular design in public areas. We’re also able to be more creative in our ‘vision lab’ so that designers can use our tools to establish the right look for the right project.”

The brand’s carpet is engineered to the highest levels of specification. Selection of raw materials, robust design, development and manufacturing processes ensure superior quality, comfort, aesthetics and durability. Comfort Plus cushion backing ensures guest comfort and safety as well as protecting the carpet face from wear and can significantly extend its life.

Milliken carpet is supplied in modular tile format. This offers many benefits over traditional broadloom carpet. Modular carpet creates less installation waste than broadloom carpet, as well as being quicker and easier to handle and install. This in turn reduces disruption and the possibility of hotel downtime. Maintenance is easier as is dealing with spills and damaged areas. With tiles, replacement of soiled, stained or damaged areas is fast and easy as one tile is simply picked up and another quickly swapped in.

The Creo collection, Milliken’s latest hospitality carpet collection, has been designed with hospitality environments in mind. It’s inspired by Brazilian street art, featuring three vibrant colourways – Sao Paulo, Rio and Brasilia, offered in three lively pattern families – Avenida, Beco and Rua. The specifier can select the preferred pattern and colour combination for field, runner or rug combinations providing a multitude of design options.

Milliken was a Product Pitch Partner at Hotel Designs LIVE recently, which took place on August 10, 2021.

Main image credit: Milliken

Sneak peek inside The St. Regis Longboat Key Resort and Residences

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sneak peek inside The St. Regis Longboat Key Resort and Residences

Designed by HBA Miami and Mac-Michaels Interior Design, with architecture by SB Architects, The St. Regis Longboat Key Resort and Residences is expected to open in spring 2024. Inside the elegant 166-room resort and 69 private luxury condominiums capture the natural beauty of the Gulf Coast and deliver a sense of relaxed comfort and barefoot luxury. Editor Hamish Kilburn gets a sneak peek inside…

SB Architects, an international architecture firm celebrated for creating spaces that capture the history, culture, and context of each location, has revealed the design for The St. Regis Longboat Key Resort and Residences, a new resort community nestled in the beautiful white sands of the Gulf of Mexico.

Arial view of site where The St Regis Longboat Key will be

Image credit: SB Architects

Situated on a barrier island outside of Sarasota, Florida, The St. Regis Longboat Key is scheduled to break ground this autumn and will deliver luxury seaside living with the amenities and service of a world-class, five-star resort upon opening in spring 2024.

Developed by Unicorp National Developments, the elegant 166-key resort and 69 private luxury condominiums will be distinguished both for the property’s architectural expression and the level of luxury that the St. Regis brand will bring to the locale. SB Architects is working alongside Hirsch Bedner Associates Miami (HBA), Marc-Michaels Interior Design, and Enea Landscape Design to bring the vision to life.

Render of bar in St Regis Longboat Key

Image credit: HBA Miami

Comprised mostly of glass, the buildings feature clean lines, fine detailing, and soaring floor-to-ceiling windows that draw in natural light and showcase stunning coastal views. “Our goal was to create a sense of relaxed comfort and elegance through contemporary design in both the resort and private residences,” said Pinar Harris, SB Architects’ Vice President and Principal. “Drawing inspiration from the existing landscape for materials and celebrating the pristine waters of the Gulf of Mexico through visual connections to the ocean, the design channels the spirit of the St. Regis brand through a timeless expression of barefoot luxury.” 

An immersive experience begins the moment guests and residents arrive, as they enter through a canopy of jacaranda trees. Inside, an entry corridor enhances the view to the ocean through an immersive, barrel-vaulted digital ceiling, where ambient lighting reflects the sky’s spectacular sunset colours daily. Projectors display graceful birds across the ceiling intermittently, capturing a sense of movement and bringing the outdoor environment inside. 

In addition to drawing inspiration from dance-like moments in nature, including the skillful flight of birds along the shore, the resort interiors by HBA honor Sarasota’s culture and history by gesturing toward the intersection of circus and dance. Sarasota is renowned for its performing arts – including The Sarasota Ballet – and for its circus heritage, owing to circus impresario John Ringling, who so loved Sarasota that he chose it for the winter quarters of Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey. Showcasing a clean and natural palette of colours, the contemporary interiors leverage these local insights in subtle touches, such as rope-like chandeliers suspended from the ceiling; an oval-shaped ballroom inspired by aerial rings; and in the St. Regis Bar, a centre feature latticed like a circus cage rising into the ceiling.

In the guestroom corridor, carpet patterns are reminiscent of local ocean currents while flowy drapes drawn over artworks and dramatic lighting add an element of theatrical surprise. Resort guestrooms and luxury residences offer unobstructed views of the ocean, with glass railings creating seamless connections between the outdoor living spaces and natural surroundings. Guestrooms feature wood paneling in the living area and subtle touches of color. Careful layering of materials, such as ceiling paneling with wood grain on the underside of the exterior balconies, complements the natural palette in the interiors and adds a sense of warmth to the architectural expression.

Sophisticated hotel corridor rendering

Image credit: HBA Miami

 The resort features a 20,000 square foot St. Regis Signature Spa, a salt-water lagoon with live fish and sea life, and an open-air Sunset Bar overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, in addition to a meandering drift stream, heated infinity edge pool, beachside event lawns, and business meeting facilities. The private condominiums – ranging from approximately 1,500 to nearly 6,000 square feet – comprise three six-story buildings and offer residents access to the amenities at St. Regis Resort & Spa, in addition to their own dedicated private amenities, including a waterfront pool and spa with a privacy sundeck and Resident’s Clubhouse featuring a world-class Wellness Center with meditation and yoga studios. Each residence will feature expansive terraces – some with infinity edge plunge pools – and a secured private access elevator opening directly into the residence.

Main image credit: SB Architects/HBA Miami

How Benholm Group created a ‘planted paradise’ inside a hotel room

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How Benholm Group created a ‘planted paradise’ inside a hotel room

‘La Chambre Verte’ is the name of the new biophilic, ‘planted paradise’ that was created inside Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel by Benholm Group. Following presenting an insightful pitch at Hotel Designs LIVE, Adrian Byne, the Group’s Marketing and HR manager, takes us inside…

At Benholm Group, we have pioneered the use of creative planting for interiors for more than 25 years; not only as eye-catching focal points, but also to promote the natural health benefits that being surrounded by plants can bring. We have long understood the value plants can bring to every environment.

Known to us all as ‘‘biophilic design’, the use of plants in providing cleaner air and connecting us with nature, when coupled with natural light, certain colours, acoustics, and fragrances has long been proven to have a positive effect on both mental and physical wellbeing.

This concept has now been brought to the forefront of luxury hotel design with our collaboration on ‘La Chambre Verte’ – a unique, immersive hotel room experience filled with lush planting and host of other delights. Located within Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel, our collaboration alongside other industry experts, including luxury skincare brand La Rue Verte and award-winning DJ Brian D’Souza, combined to create a multi-sensory, luxury bedroom spa experience incorporating biophilic plant design, CBD rituals, meditation and sound therapy.

Echoing the practice of forest-bathing, an ancient Japanese process of relaxation, La Chambre Verte encourages guests to unwind in the green space of their hotel room, while observing nature’s beauty; to feel stress levels reduced happiness increased, and importantly, have a better night’s sleep.

Our experienced design consultants were chosen to bring the room to life with lush greenery, to ensure that all plant species would thrive in the climactic conditions of the room and contribute to guests achieving the perfect night’s sleep.

A sketch of a chaise lounge surrounded by plants

Sketch credit: Benholm Group

As part of the design process, we worked closely with the hotel to ensure that the room felt spacious and light, with plenty of floor space for ease of movement around the room. Overcoming certain challenges was a key part of this process, such as ensuring the room was always fully functional, being careful that plant installations did not damage the expensive wall coverings and furnishings, even down to the maintaining good sightlines to the TV!

Hanging plants in a hotel room

Image credit: Naomi Vance Photography for Kimpton Blythswood Square

Our experienced design consultants carefully identified plants that have been proven to improve air quality effectively and combined these into an attractive jungle-like display that is both pleasing to the eye and creates a healthy, relaxing environment. Many of the plants have a useful information tag attached detailing its attributes in providing cleaner air – guests can even scan a QR code to order the plant for their own home or office.

Lady touching plant in her hotel room

Image credit: Naomi Vance Photography for Kimpton Blythswood Square

Inside the room, trailing Ivy cascades down from a living wall panel above the bed, Monstera leaves and Palm fronds frame every view, and lush clusters of hanging, exotic plants purify the air and boost the immune system. Plus, our specialist maintenance technicians are all part of the scheduled housekeeping inside the room to ensure plants are kept healthy and vibrant.

Man watering plants in hotel room

Image credit: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

To have the opportunity to work on a project which is designed to highlight the benefits of biophilia for mental as well as physical well-being has been a real joy, and we look forward to helping others in realising the potential of plants in their own spaces.

Why not get in touch and find out how Benholm Group, a Product Watch Pitch Partner at Hotel Designs LIVE, can incorporate our vibrant variety of plants into your interior space? From offices to restaurants to luxury hotel rooms, being surrounded by plants will delight and revitalise.

Main image credit: Naomi Vance Photography for Kimpton Blythswood Square

Hotel designs LIVE senses

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: A design assault on the senses

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: A design assault on the senses

Watch, on-demand, our exclusive panel discussion that was broadcasted recently on the Hotel Designs LIVE platform. To launch the virtual event, which took place on August 10 at the Minotti London showroom, editor Hamish Kilburn welcomed world-renowned designers and hospitality experts to explore sensory design in hospitality (scroll down for full video)…

Hotel designs LIVE senses

On August 10, designers, architects, hoteliers and developers from around the globe tuned in to watch the latest edition of Hotel Designs LIVE. The event, which first launched in June 2020 to keep the industry connected while keeping the conversation flowing, took place virtually – broadcasted at Minotti London’s Fitzrovia showroom, and included four engaging panel discussions with world-renowned hospitality and design experts on the following topics:

  • A design assault on the senses
  • Designing the perfect nights’ sleep
  • Design, beneath the surface
  • Social spaces in 2021 & beyond

During the editor’s welcome, editor Hamish Kilburn was joined with Anke Summerhill, Managing Director of Minotti London which was the event’s headline sponsor. The pair discussed what’s new in the Minotti 2021 Collection as well as exploring how recent cultural shifts will impact the social nature of hospitality while the panel for the first session of the day were preparing to go live in the virtual wings.

The first session of the day, sponsored by bathroom brand GROHE, was inspired by a previous session that was broadcasted on the Hotel Designs LIVE platform, which looked at sound in design. Taking what he learned during that hour-long conversation with designers and architects, Kilburn was keen widen his perspective to discuss all of the senses in hotel design and hospitality. “Following that insightful session on sound’s role in hotel design and after reading a mountain of press releases recently that all reference sound, touch and even smell to evoke a deeper meaning of wellness and wellbeing, it feels fitting to position the editorial spotlight on the sensory experience for our next event,” Kilburn said when introducing the subject. “It also comes as the industry, albeit slowly, is starting to reopen and reconnect.”

On the panel:

  • Damian Saint, Music Director – W Hotels Asia Pacific
  • Robbie Bargh, Founder, Gorgeous Group
  • Diana Espejo, Director of Technical Services (EMEA), Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas
  • Justin Wells, CEO, Wells International

The conversation began with Kilburn asking the panel why only now we as an industry were starting to look at the benefits of sensory design in hospitality experiences. “I might challenge that, becasue I think in design, we have always been striving to extend the positive outcome for the end user,” explained Justin Wells, CEO, Wells International. “Take the retail sector, for example, which has been exploring sensory design for many years. Currently, today, there is a heightened awareness around reconnecting and with a higher demand for wellness and wellbeing it has perhaps amplified our appetite for understanding technology. As a designer and architect, I have always researched how we can create a better, more holistic approach – and sensory design is most certainly a way to achieve this.”

To understand how a brand like Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas was utilising the technology around sensory design – and how the brand plans to inject their luxury wellness and wellbeing hospitality experience in an urban environment, Diana Espeja, Director of Technical Services (EMEA) for the brand explained: “The Six Senses brand is growing and the challenge was face is how we translate our core values into different environments. The beauty of this is that our pillars of wellness and sustainability are really universally applicable – so we are constantly challenging our consultants to think outside the box on how we can achieve this. We do use the sensory experience not only in our design, but we also like to create really unique moments for guests who are checking in. In Ibiza, for example, the energy was amazing – and we really wanted to inject this into the design and the hospitality. We are constantly evolving and there is not a formula that works across all of these destinations – you have to research the area.”

Moving the conversation on, Kilburn then engaged with Robbie Bargh, a F&B experience consultant and the founder of Gorgeous Group, to better understand how sensory design can be utilised effectively in F&B spaces. “Telling stories is a fully immersive experience and to do this you have to use all of the senses,” he said. “Everyone gets obsessed by the way something looks, but actually when you get into it, the sound, smell and touch are all equally important to consider. And now, this is even more important.”

Here’s the full video of the panel discussion (on demand), produced by CUBE, which includes Product Watch pitches from GROHE, Benholm Group, Utopia Projects and Franklite.

The full recordings of the other three sessions (‘Designing the perfect nights’ sleep; Design, beneath the surface and Social spaces in 2021 & beyond) will be available to watch on-demand shortly.

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!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

A reminder of the sponsors

Headline Sponsor: Minotti London

Collage of furniture and wallcoverings

What’s in the spotlight this September on Hotel Designs?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
What’s in the spotlight this September on Hotel Designs?

This September, Hotel Designs is serving up a plethora of stories that will be dedicated to furniture and wallcoverings… 

On the surface (excuse the pun) recently, due to the pandemic, there’s been a lack of activity happening the form of trade shows – and therefore, designers, architects and hoteliers have found it difficult to keep in the know of the latest products.

Collage of furniture and wallcoverings

This September, a month that we usually reserve for international design weeks and after parties, we are going to be bringing you our edit of the latest furniture pieces that should be on your radar as well as looking at this season’s wallcovering trends and hero collections.


Although Milan Design Week’s Salone Del Mobile is still going ahead this year – albeit under a very different veneer of protocols than usual – we have decided to wait until Spring 2022 to attend the international festival, when hopefully by then we will be able to see and experience furniture brands in their true vibrant settings. However, in order to keep our global readers in the loop, we will be sharing highlights from Milan as well as looking at what’s emerging elsewhere in the world.


To be honest, it’s difficult to tell which trend or pattern will emerge next as there is so much, thanks to technology, that wallcovering brands can achieve these days. In order to cut through the noise, we will be presenting our edit on the latest and most innovative wallcovering collections to ensure are on your radar.

If you are a supplier and would like to find out more about how you could feature in Hotel Designs, or know of a product that we should be talking about, please email Katy Phillips

Main image credit: Minotti London/Arte

The Brit List Awards 2021

The Brit List Awards is a cabaret – early bird tickets now on sale!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Awards is a cabaret – early bird tickets now on sale!

The Brit List Awards 2021 will arrive in unprecedented style this year, as we prepare to take over London’s most famous cabaret venue, PROUD Embankment, for one night only on November 3! What’s more, early bird tickets have just gone on sale (but hurry as there are limited spaces available)…

The Brit List Awards 2021

Have you heard? This year, the climax to The Brit List Awards 2021 – AKA the awards ceremony – is a cabaret (old chum), and we want you to, in true Liza (that’s Liza with a ‘Z’) Minnelli style, ‘come to the cabaret’!

On November 3, 2021, the design, architecture and hospitality community will gather at PROUD Embankment, London’s famous cabaret venue, for a night of frivolous celebration behind the red curtain to crown this year’s winners of The Brit List Awards 2021. 

Image credit: The glamorous Jestico + Whiles ladies, Vitalise Katine, Sarah Murphy and rosalynn youdan

Image caption: The glamorous Jestico + Whiles ladies, Vitalise Katine, Sarah Murphy and Rosalynn Youdan

How to attend

We have just released our ‘early bird’ tickets, which, if purchased by September 10, will allow designers, architects, hoteliers and developers to attend ‘the cabaret’ for just £10 + VAT per ticket – click here to secure. For suppliers and anyone else who does not qualify as a designer, architect, hotelier or developer, tickets purchased before September 10 are priced at £99 + VAT – click here to secure.

But hurry! We have limited tickets available for The Brit List Awards 2021. After September 10, tickets for designers, architects, hoteliers and developers will be £20 + VAT. For anyone else wishing to attend, tickets will be priced at £150 + VAT.

About the venue – PROUD Embankment

PROUD Embankment is a majestic two-storied venue that is designed to host a spectacular array of shows and events. Complete with sumptuous otherworldly interiors, the venue will transform on November 3 as a playground for respected designers, architects and hospitality experts as The Brit List Awards 2021 comes to a close with the awards ceremony.

Founded by the club owner and entrepreneur Alex Proud himself, the PROUD group started in 1998 with galleries. Since then, it has grown exponentially to become one of Europe’s leading photographic galleries and cabaret venues. From the historic and decadent feel, to its immersive interior design details such as a jungle-like photobooth gallery, PROUD Embankment is truly spectacular with a sense magic in the atmosphere, complimented soon with a sprinkle of Hotel Designs glamour.

About the Brit List Awards 2021

The Brit List Awards 2021 is Britain’s most meaningful design and hospitality awards ceremony. In addition to the individual awards up for grabs, the top 25 entries in the interior design, architecture and hospitality categories will be profiled in the prestigious The Brit ListHotel Designs’ annual publication that references the top 75 most influential individuals in British design, architecture and hospitality.

The shortlist for The Brit List Awards 2021 will be available shortly ahead of the winners being announced at the awards ceremony. We hope you can join us at the cabaret, old chum!

Main image credit: Hotel Designs

Pool at Four Seasons Lodge

Hotel concepts: 3 hotel pools that will blow your mind

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel concepts: 3 hotel pools that will blow your mind

Editor Hamish Kilburn continues to enjoy this month’s spotlight on ‘hotel concepts’ by sharing three hotel pools that he discovered recently…

Many would argue that the sign of a quality hotel can be measured by the quality of its pool – we’re talking more style over size.

Pool at Four Seasons Lodge

With my wellness hat on – in sync, I hasten to add, with modern traveller demands as we start to emerge from the pandemic with a hunger for wellbeing – I have been on a quest to find unconventional design pools – and here’s what I found.

Villa Vedas at The Luxe Nomad

It’s not strictly a hotel (forgive me) but Villa Vedas, which is exclusively managed by The Luxe Nomad, is a prime example of a property that decided to tear up the rulebook when designing its interiors. Villa Vedas is designed and engineered to feature a breathtaking 22-metre span without any supporting columns in order to provide an unobstructed view right through the property and out to sea. The villa itself represents approximately 1,800 square metres of construction, and is a modern architecturally designed home that is unique and unequalled, with many interesting design features, most of which have been meticulously fabricated on site. The property features a large living area, dining areas, a bar, a media or snooker room, and two bedrooms downstairs, and three bedrooms upstairs. The living area can be opened to benefit from the regular breeze off the ocean, or alternatively enclosed and air conditioned by deploying the Häfele glass sliding wall system, and turning on the Daikin VRV central air-conditioning system.

“I am the Robin Hood of building. Not only do I clean Indonesia and help solve the worlds plastic problem, I feed the poor doing it.” – Designer Stuart Bevan.

But that’s not all. The designer behind this wonderful project, Stuart Bevan, has recently taken a turn towards a sustainable future with an innovative approach to pool design and management. “I was also the builder and the local designer in collaboration with an Australian architect for Mrs Sippy Bali, Bali’s premier pool club that featured Bali’s biggest saltwater pool, Bali’s first and only high dive tower with 4m deep pool and the first pool in the world to to use my new newly developed 100 per cent recycled plastic pool finish. EcoLuxe is a beadcrete made from recycled water bottles. The average pool uses 150,000 water bottles. That’s 150,000 bottles off the beach, out of the rivers and landfill. I take plastic out of the system, not just recycle it. I swap rice with local villages, kilo for kilo to collect waste plastic for my product. It is taking Bali by storm! And  I am about to start international export. Indonesia only recycles two per cent of its plastic. I have an unlimited supply of raw material, only it needs to be hand collected. Hence my rice swap program. I am the Robin Hood of building. Not only do I clean Indonesia and help solve the worlds plastic problem, I feed the poor doing it.”

The Spa at 45 Park Lane

It’s impressive all on its own that 45 Park Lane, a luxury hotel that was once mistaken for sitting in The Dorchester’s illustrious shadow, has recently unveiled a new spa that now shelters the longest pool on Park Lane – the real estate alone in that leafy corner of London usually mean that spa facilities are limited in place for large revenue-generating F&B outlets. But against the odds, 45 Park Lane, which is part of The Dorchester Collection, can now boast itself as a place that nurtures both wellness and wellbeing in style. What makes this project even more extraordinary is the fact that the new spa is located underground, which created a challenge for designer  Jouin Manku and developer Clivedale London. The answer on how to bring the outdoors in was to adorn the walls with hand-placed mosaic tiles to inject a sensitive nod to biophilic design. The result is an enchanting space that feels far removed from the hustle and bustle of London.

Four Seasons Safari Lodge

It’s all in the location for our next property, which is strategically situated next to a watering hold in the Serengeti, Africa. Perched on a series of elevated platforms and walkways, the Lodge allows guests an unparalleled view of the local safari wildlife from the comfort of the pool.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Lobby inside Riad Elegancia

Riad Elegancia, Marrakech – a traditional yet contemporary hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Riad Elegancia, Marrakech – a traditional yet contemporary hotel

Riad Elegancia in Marrakech is the latest addition to the Cenizaro Hotels & Resorts group – the 10th hotel to open in the portfolio – and sister property to La Maison Arabe in Marrakech, Morocco’s first boutique riad hotel which opened in 1998…

Lobby inside Riad Elegancia

Behind Marrakech’s towering pink walls, hidden in one of the Medina’s unsuspecting alleys close to the Bab Doukkala mosque and vibrant Jemaa el-Fna square, you will find Riad Elegancia. Following a major refurbishment in 2020, this charming 11-key truly boutique property offers one of the most authentic riad experiences in the city, whilst providing all the modern luxury touches of a five-star, boutique hotel. 

Set over three levels and built around two patios, the building remains loyal to its Arab-Andalusian architectural roots. The riad’s interiors pay homage to true Moroccan craftsmanship, with traditional features running throughout the property including a magnificent chandelier hanging in the atrium. 

Tiled lobby inside Riad Elegancia

Image credit: Riad Elegancia

Each one of the 11 en-suite rooms features a hand-carved or painted cedarwood ceiling, with nickel silver and chiselled copper features, smooth and shiny tadelakt (plaster), and colourful zelliges (Moroccan tiles) in geometric patterns.

Painted with Morocco’s distinctive colour palette of Majorelle blue, yellow, pink and green, Riad Elegancia’s rooftop is a destination in itself. Up here you’ll find a sophisticated space to relax and soak up the panoramic views of the ancient Medina. 

Pool at Riad Elegancia

Image credit: Riad Elegancia

The rooftop pool is heated during winter months for guests’ comfort. There’s also a sundeck, a Jacuzzi and a restaurant and bar area, both great spots from which to enjoy the city’s unrivalled sunsets over a cocktail and home-cooked food. 

Dining at Riad Elegancia is an important part of the guest experience, with breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner served throughout the day. Meals are prepared by the riad’s resident female “Tabakha” (Moroccan chef) who combines Moroccan-inspired flavours with a hint of Mediterranean influences. Cooking classes are also available to guests wishing to bring a taste of the exotic back home.

Head down to the basement level to find the riad’s beautiful “Espace Raha” Oriental Hamman & Spa, a peaceful sanctuary dedicated to beauty and wellbeing, and a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The spa inside Riad Elegancia

Image credit: Riad Elegancia

Features include a traditional Moroccan hammam made from marble, one of the few riads in the city to offer this experience on site, plus two treatment rooms including one for couples, where therapists use natural, locally-sourced products. There’s also a relaxation area, a fitness room with the latest cardio and weight training equipment, and mats for rooftop Yoga.

Despite the hotel being designed to reflect the traditional architecture and interiors that are typically found and celebrated in the city, the hotel is equipped for tomorrow’s on-demand modern traveller. High-speed Wi-Fi, air-conditioning and underfloor heating, for example, are additional and convenient touches designed to enhance the guest experience at Riad Elegancia, making this a great home away from home whatever the season or reason for travel.

Riad Elegancia’s 24-hour concierge service delivers the same exceptional standards that guests can expect from all Cenizaro Hotels & Resorts and The Residence by Cenizaro properties across the world. From arranging airport transfers and Covid-19 PCR tests, to coordinating desert excursions and hot air balloon rides, the team is dedicated to making your stay in Marrakech as comfortable and hassle-free as possible.

Guests of Riad Elegancia are also welcome to use the facilities at La Maison Arabe, only a short walk away, including access to the hotel’s exclusive country club and pool, set amongst olive groves just outside the city in the Palmeraie suburb.

Main image credit: Cenizaro Hotels & Resorts

SVART in Norway - hotel concepts

Hotel concepts: Wild & wonderful hotel developments

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel concepts: Wild & wonderful hotel developments

To celebrate this month’s feature of ‘hotel concepts’, editor Hamish Kilburn puts some interesting hotel developments under the spotlight – some more realistic than others – that are currently on his radar…

As with any brief to source new and truly innovative ideas, to find hotel concepts that were really going against the tide I needed to look outside what I already knew leading designers, architects and hospitality experts were currently working on.

SVART in Norway - hotel concepts

Recently, I was lucky enough to sit on the judging panel for the Accor Design Awards, an initiative that was launched by the hotel group in order to celebrate and champion young student designers globally. In doing so, the panel of judges were able to see, from the unmatched perspective of bold, fearless young designers who have not yet made a name for themselves, an unedited landscape of ideas that naturally challenged the conventional approach to design, architecture and hospitality. From hovering hotels to floating vessels, each idea was supported by solutions for the industry moving forward.

Inspired by this year’s shortlist of finalists, I made it my mission to see what other hotel concepts are out there. From space hotels, to floating suites and a plethora of sustainable architecture concepts that will take hospitality into a new era, here’s what I found…

NOMADish – a conscious floating hotel

Our first hotel concept to look at in this feature was born out of that awards – and won not only the judges over but also the public. Manon Figuier, Victoire Datchary, Mathéo Maurel, Harold Loquillard from L’Ecole de Design Nantes Atlantique, whose project NOMADish provided an innovative solution that hit the three key goals: overall guest experience, element of surprise and delight, and consideration for social, economic, and environmental responsibility, won the first prize. They also won the Public Choice Award, voted for by the general public via our bespoke online award voting platform.

The concept drawn up by the team of students allowed guests to shelter themselves in their own floating pod, that would allow them also to explore the city and never wake up to the same view twice. In addition to showcasing a new hospitality experience, the team also confronted sustainability by utilsing the power of hydrogen to fuel this approach.

Tetra Hotel

Tetra Hotel

Image credit: Tetra Hotel

No, the aliens have not landed (not yet anyway). Tetra Hotel is a concept drawn up by David Ajasa-Adekunle who has reimagined the ‘pod’ hotel in such an innovative way. His idea to build Tetra Hotel combined the use of symmetrical rows of rhombus-like geometric ‘pods’ that sit lining the banks of a glacial river in Iceland. According to other reports, every room will feature a multi-storey configuration, starting with a work area on the ground floor, moving through an entertaining space on the middle, and finally a top-floor bedroom and shower situated beneath an enormous skylight.

SVART – the world’s first ‘energy-positive’ hotel 

Image credit: Snøhetta/Plompmozes/Miris

The 99-key Svart hotel, which we believe is still on track for opening in 2022, will incorporate stilted, circular design, and will be positioned atop of the Holandsfjorden Fjord, allowing guests to enjoying an unparalleled 360-degree view of the Svartisen Glacier. We have been privileged to follow this concept from very early development, to when it announced its interior design team – and more recently by inviting the team to speak on the Hotel Designs LIVE platform.

To reach hefty sustainability goals, several cutting-edge design choices have been made. Architects working on the project first conducted an extensive mapping-out of how solar radiation behaves in relation to mountainous context throughout the year, in order to optimise energy output. The findings influenced the design of the hotel, with hotel rooms, restaurants and terraces strategically placed within a circular design to exploit the sun’s energy no matter the time of day or season.

The hotel’s roof will be clad with Norwegian solar panels that were produced using clean, hydro-energy. This will further reduce overall carbon footprint, while energy-intensive building materials such as structural steel and concrete have been avoided as much as possible.

The space hotel – will it happen?

The Axiom space station hotel - interior design

Image credit: Philippe Starck

The space race is on, it seems. Following numerous rumours and ignored press releases, there seems to be a buzz in the air that space travel – and dare I say it hospitality – is not a question of ‘will it happen’ but more ‘when will it happen’. Sir Richard Branson recently flew to the edge of space on aboard a rocket-powered plane, 22 years after he created the Virgin Galactic brand that aims to fuel a brand-new tourism industry. Aside from moral questions regarding sustainability and whether or not there is a ‘need’ for space travel, it has undoubtedly floated the idea of space hotels on our radars.

While the headlines were publishing Branson’s achievements, 250 miles above the earth in the wilderness of space, with cabins designed by the world-renowned Philippe Starck, the idea of Axiom space station, which is the brainchild of former NASA chiefs, is coming together and has a ‘launch date of 2024. Costing a reported $2 million, 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.

GAIA hospitality concept

Render of floating hotel in Dubai

Image credit: AMA Design

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. 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. 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.

Al fresco guestrooms

a room in the middle of nowhere

Image credit: Zero Real Estate/Appenzellerland

We’re not over this trend, which we first highlighted this time last year following us identifying an undeniable demand for one-off travel experiences that allow travellers to be ‘at one’ with nature. Well, you can’t get more connected to the elements than this. New hotel concepts continue to emerge showing completely open-air rooms in the middle of nowhere. One of the developers that is leading the way is the aptly named Zero Real Estate. The theory behind the layout, with the bed being perched on a wooden platform, is that the natural landscape becomes the backdrop. Removing surfaces altogether to eliminate boundaries is a drastic strategy in the post-pandemic world, which will not work for everyone, but it certainly works to deepen one-off experiences for luxury modern travellers.

Main image credit: SVART

Exterior render of Tribe Budapest

Accor signs first TRIBE hotel in Hungary

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Accor signs first TRIBE hotel in Hungary

Hotel group Accor has announced the signing of the first TRIBE hotel in Hungary in partnership with Futureal, a leading real estate developer in CEE. The 250-key TRIBE hotel will open in Budapest, Hungary, at the end of 2023. The project is being described as a “major milestone” in Futureal’s operation as part of its new business line focusing on hotel developments…

Exterior render of Tribe Budapest

Accor is stepping up its ambition in the lifestyle market with the expansion of the TRIBE hotel brand in Europe. The Group has established a partnership with Futureal for the first TRIBE hotel not only in Hungary, but also in Eastern Europe. The new property will be located in the vibrant city centre in Kertész Street, one of the capital’s most frequented tourist areas. The construction work of the complex is expected to start at the end of 2021 with opening forecast for 2023.

“TRIBE is an alternative lifestyle hospitality brand with modern, unique and urban spaces designed in collaboration with local designer,” said Frank Reul, Vice President Development, Accor Northern Europe. “The TRIBE brand aims to surprise travellers with an original, exciting and carefully curated experience that focuses on style rather than price, making it a leader in the design-led affordable luxury lifestyle sector. The vibrant capital of Hungary, and the 7th district, is perfect destination for this sophisticated and contemporary brand, and is sure to win the hearts of guest and locals.”

The first TRIBE in Hungary will offer more than 250 rooms and spaces designed by the Puhl and Dajka Architects Studio to provide inspiring state-of-the-art technology and comfort. Guests and locals will benefit from a vibrant community experience including a sky bar with spectacular view and intimate atmosphere, bicycle rental, a fitness centre and a co-working office. Distinguished international design studios have contributed to the Hungarian hotel’s unique concept including DeSallesFlint Interior Design, as well as Nina Weinstein Lighting Design and Hilla Mayer Lighting Design. The investor of the hotel is Futureal Group, one of the leading real estate developers and investors in Central and Eastern Europe.

TRIBE is Futureal’s first hotel development, further expanding the company’s diverse portfolio. Building on its vast domestic and international real estate development experience, Futureal is going to enrich the centre of Budapest with a high-quality, unique and competitive hotel.

“Futureal is about to open a new chapter in its successful real estate operation of almost two decades as we are entering the hotel sector,” added Tibor Tatár, CEO of Futureal. “As a result of careful preparation, deep market research and planning, our latest business line can start with a remarkable project in Hungary. We believe that we have found the right partner in Accor to introduce an exciting brand to the local market, and to create a solid, long-term cooperation for realising further developments.”

The hotel is expected to welcome its first guests in 2023.

Main image credit: Accor

Leaflike collage of biophilia in design

First impressions: The importance of biophilia in social space

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
First impressions: The importance of biophilia in social space

Following presenting an engaging pitch at Hotel Designs LIVE last week, Leaflike’s Brandon Abernethie discusses the importance of biophilia in social spaces to create a lasting and vibrant first impression…

Leaflike collage of biophilia in design

Creating the perfect arrival experience is something Leaflike has been doing in hospitality for more than 20 years.

As specialists, we create a client proposal via a visualisation service, bringing the vision to life.

Working with the likes of SavoyHilton Park LaneLondon EDITIONShangri-La Hotel and The View from the Shard, Leaflike transforms venues and provides a new arrival experience.

Providing a connection to nature goes deeper than aesthetics. By injecting biophilic design into your interiors offers health, environmental and financial rewards in any space, especially at the entrance of a venue, the lobby, reception areas and entrance hall.

These indicators suggest:

  • Higher levels of social connectivity, improved wellbeing and reduced stress.
  • Increased footfall to the venue, enhanced worker productivity and increased spend.
  • Increased biodiversity providing better infiltration and reduction of carbon emissions.

Guests choose to visit and stay in hotels where they can rest and relax. Therefore, biophilia is such a key part of the design to achieve the right environment for guests to spend time, share their experience and ensure they return. Hotels can charge more per night for rooms with biophilia in the room, as well as a room with a view or greenery outside, green walls are used to hide unsightly features.

Its interesting to see how Terrapin’s 14 patterns of biophilic design explores a holistic view or biophilic design and the human connection to the natural environment.

Want to know more? Leaflike, which was a Product Pitch Partner at Hotel Designs LIVE recently, is hosting a webinar on September 9 with Guy Hilton, General Manager at Hilton Waldorf. To find out more, visit the website.

Main image credit: Leaflike

Independent Hotel Show 2019 Innovation Stage

Speakers announced for Independent Hotel Show London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Speakers announced for Independent Hotel Show London

Independent Hotel Show London, presented by James Hallam, is returning with a bang as it announces an impressive speaker line-up for its ninth edition, taking place at Olympia London on October 4 – 5 2021. Hotel Designs, a proud media partner for the show, will also be taking part…

Independent Hotel Show 2019 Innovation Stage

The packed two–day seminar programme at Independent Hotel Show London will see a wide range of insightful content across the Innovation Stage, in partnership with eviivo and dressed by sofa.com, and the Social Business Space, designed by Aorta, along with new feature the Tech Solutions Bar presented by Hospa, which will provide objective, expert tech advice for guests at the show.

Registration to attend Independent Hotel Show London is now open.

Shot from last year's Independent Hotel Show London

Image credit: Independent Hotel Show London 2019

A highlight of the two-day programme will be a no-holds-barred session on ‘The Future of Hospitality’ hosted by Robert Richardson FIH, CEO of Institute of Hospitality. Panellists Chris Gamm of Springboard, David Taylor MI FIH of Lore Group, Julia Sibley MBE of The Savoy Educational Trust, Kathy Dyball of Caterer.com and Sally Beck of Royal Lancaster London will be setting the hospitality world to rights as they discuss retaining staff, strengthening the reputation of the industry and where to direct future resources and investment.

“Editor Hamish Kilburn will be hosting the session entitled: Sensory Design: Imagining the Impossible.”

Elsewhere in the programme, Juliet Kinsman, Sustainability Editor at Condé Nast Traveller will host an all-star panel for ‘ESG: Building A Sustainable Business Strategy’. Philippa Hughes of The Bull Inn Totnes, Sue Williams MI FIH of Whatley Manor Hotel, Will Ashworth of Watergate Bay Hotel and Another Place Hotel Collection and Beach Retreats and James Ghaffari, Director of Growth and Product, B Lab UK, will take a close look at what it truly means for a hotel to be socially and environmentally responsible.

The Social Business Space designed by Aorta will once again be a hub of discussion, debate and learning, as hoteliers are invited to sit down and discuss topics such as rebuilding the urban city hotel, the rise of residences, creating a lifestyle brand and what it means to be an environmentally and socially conscious business.

Independent Hotel Show Event Director Elena Attanasio commented: “The Independent Hotel Show programme is packed with content aimed directly at our audience of boutique, luxury and independent hoteliers. We know the specific issues, trends and challenges that affect our audience and work hard to provide practical, implementable thought leadership alongside more wide-ranging analysis and insight.”

Other sessions on the Innovation Stage include:

  • City Kickstart: Reviving the Urban Hotel.While the entirety of the hotel and hospitality industry has been hugely impacted by the events of the past 18 months, city hotels have in many cases missed out on the benefits of the UK’s staycation boom. This session looks at how we can revive and revitalise the nation’s urban hotels.
  • Sensory Design: Imagining the Impossible. The smell, sound, taste and touch of a space have a huge influence on how it’s experienced. In this session, Hotel Designs’ editor Hamish Kilburn is joined by an expert panel to explore what’s possible in multisensory hotel design.
  • Through The Keyhole: How Well Do You Know Your Guests? Most independent hotels are gathering customer data in some form, but many don’t know how to effectively convert that raw information into insights, improvements and increased profits. This session will provide lessons and learnings from hoteliers who’ve made data work for them.
  • Blurred Lines: Changing the Hotel Framework.The hotel model is changing, and innovative hoteliers are exploring new ways of operating and new potential revenue streams. Join this session to hear how thinking outside the box can lead to countless possibilities.

Sue Williams, General Manager of Whatley Manor, commented: “Independent Hotel Show is an essential event to attend if you wish to keep moving your business forward. So many inspiring speakers on relevant subjects that challenge us all. It is one of our industry events that I always prioritise in the diary.”

Main image credit: Independent Hotel Show London

A green-toned bedroom, with cork walls from Granorte

Cork surfaces: An authentic way to welcome in nature

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Cork surfaces: An authentic way to welcome in nature

NATURALS is a collection of elegant natural cork floors by Granorte for use in high-end residential and commercial interiors…

A green-toned bedroom, with cork walls from Granorte

Using a natural cork veneer and underlay with a strong and stable HDF core, NATURALS brings the unique natural aesthetic of cork in a floor with a high-performance construction that’s suitable for commercial use.

“NATURALS is constructed with 80 per cent natural raw materials and contains no PVC.”

At the heart of NATURALS lie eight decorative agglomerated cork effects such as Standard and Champagner that echo mid-century cork tiles and the expressive natural linear patterns of Linea and Split. Each is available in a range of colours ranging from white through to dove blue, terracotta, mocha and slate grey. The result is a collection of 28 cork floors that can be used to bring a unique natural aesthetic to projects.

Paulo Rocha, Granorte, explains, “The calming influence of natural surfaces is well spoken about is being used to support wellbeing in all kinds of projects. From commercial offices to hotels, natural surfaces are a dominant theme, but not everyone wants a wood floor. NATURALS brings an organic aesthetic in a broad range of decorative effects that can lift natural palettes out of the ordinary.”

Every NATURALS look is protected with Granorte’s WEARTOP® finish, a water-based PU lacquer that provides a durable and easy to maintain finish. Beneath, a cork underlay with Microban® antibacterial protection provides additional support, improved acoustics and underfoot comfort.

The floor comes in 910 x 300mm planks featuring a commercially proven Uniclic® glue-free joint for floating installation. Made by Granorte in Portugal using waste cork from wine stopper production, NATURALS is constructed with 80 per cent natural raw materials and contains no PVC.

Granorte is a Recommended Supplier. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from being a Recommended Supplier, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Granorte

Render of new Hilton hotel in Bahrain

DoubleTree by Hilton to launch residences in Bahrain

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
DoubleTree by Hilton to launch residences in Bahrain

DoubleTree by Hilton Al Sayh Residences is expected to open as early as 2022, offering hotel residences to long-stay visitors…

Render of new Hilton hotel in Bahrain

Hotel group Hilton has announced plans to bring its DoubleTree by Hilton brand to the Kingdom of Bahrain. DoubleTree by Hilton Al Sayh Residences has been signed together with Al Sorouh Hospitality Development Real Estate and is due to open its doors in 2022.

Board Member of the Al Sorouh Hospitality Development Real Estate and CEO of Mabanee Kuwait Waleed Alsharian said: “We believe this is a great partnership that will add a valuable offering to the area.  We are very pleased to be working with Hilton and bringing DoubleTree by Hilton to the Kingdom of Bahrain and look forward to further partnerships with Hilton in the Kingdom and the region.”

Carlos Khneisser, vice president, development, Middle East & Africa, Hilton, added: “Following the recent opening of our first hotel in the country, Hilton Garden Inn Bahrain Bay, this signing brings us to four properties trading or in the pipeline in the market.  It sees us continue to expand our offering in the serviced apartment segment, which is an area of the market where we see growing demand from long-stay visitors.”

Featuring 113 serviced apartments, 61 one-bedroom and 52 two-bedroom apartments, DoubleTree by Hilton Al Sayh Residences will be located just a short drive from Bahrain International Airport.  Situated close to Bahrain Bay, a waterfront business district and mixed-use community with unique offerings of dining, and nearby several other attractions including The Avenues Bahrain mall which holds 120 stores and F&B outlets at its seafront location.

Guests will be able to enjoy uninterrupted ocean views in a number of apartments, an all-day dining restaurant and a sophisticated rooftop café and outdoor pool with views across Bahrain.  The hotel will be located at Al Sayh, Manama, walking distance to Al Sayh Island, National Heritage Site of Bahrain.  Its proximity to Sheikh Isa Bin Salman Causeway will provide guests with easy access to King Fahd Causeway to reach Saudi Arabia.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Weekly digest: Exclusive meet, Sin city design & an L.A. debut

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly digest: Exclusive meet, Sin city design & an L.A. debut

Hello and welcome to the weekly digest, with me editor Hamish Kilburn at the helm. In this round-up of stories from the last few days, we enter inside Virgin Hotels’ latest property in Las Vegas, take a deeper look at designer Tara Bernerd’s latest unveil and even find time (and the space) to introduce you to a brand-new architecture studio. Enjoy…

Can you believe it, I am writing this week’s digest while balancing my laptop on top of a vessel while punting – and why not? In order to feel truly creative, I need to get outside my comfort zones – and my pyjamas past 07:00 now that life is getting back on track – in order to experience new things. This week, that means I’m rolling up my sleeves in between reviewing a new hotel in Cambridge in order to ‘punt’ my way through a city tour (and this round-up).

So, without further a due, allow me to show to you the main sights of Hotel Designs this week.

FEATURE // Inside Virgin Hotels, Las Vegas

Image caption: The bar inside the Commons Club. | Image credit: Nikolas Koenig

And like all good experiences, we start our tour in Vegas (yee haar). Sin City has a new neighbour, and it comes in the form of a red-laced, rather swanky looking hotel. Leading New York-based hospitality design studio Rockwell Group has unveiled new images of its designs of the public areas inside Virgin Hotels’ new property in Las Vegas – and it’s everything and more we were expecting it to be…

Read more.

Bed trends: A post-pandemic insight into future guestrooms

Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve

Nap time! To celebrate our ‘beds’ feature for August, we ask Richard Naylor, Group Sustainable Development Director at Hypnos Contract Beds, to share his expertise on design and materials trends and offers insights into how hotel design could adapt as we begin to welcome guests back…

Read more. 

EXCLUSIVE: Meet the founders of Translation Architecture

Nicholas De Klerk (a former Director at Aukett Swanke) and Sze Wei Lee (a former Associate at Aukett Swanke) have teamed up to launch a new design and architecture studio. Based in London, Translation Architecture is on a mission to translate innovate ideas into extraordinary spaces on tomorrow’s hospitality scene. Hotel Designs exclusively speaks to the two founders to establish more…

Read more. 

A Tara Bernerd project: Thompson Hollywood makes its debut in Los Angeles

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Our tour leads us to Hollywood! The 190-key Thompson Hollywood, in the heart of Los Angeles, expands the brand’s west coast footprint. With interior design by British studio, Tara Bernerd & Partners, the hotel’s effortless style is something special. Let’s take a peek inside…

Read more.

It’s ‘show time’: Ruby Hotels arrives in Cologne, Germany

Image credit: Ruby Hotels

This week’s journey ends in style in Cologne. Ruby Hotels, which shelters the well-known ‘lean luxury’ hospitality concept, has opened a 186-key hotel in the city.“Ruby goes Late-Night” is now the motto at Ruby Ella – and becomes the brand’s 11th hotel property…

And that’s enough fun for one week – before my laptop falls into the River Cam…

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!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Exclusive: Meet the founders of Translation Architecture

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Exclusive: Meet the founders of Translation Architecture

Nicholas De Klerk (a former Director at Aukett Swanke) and Sze Wei Lee (a former Associate at Aukett Swanke) have teamed up to launch a new design and architecture studio. Based in London, Translation Architecture is on a mission to translate innovate ideas into extraordinary spaces on tomorrow’s hospitality scene. Editor Hamish Kilburn exclusively speaks to the two founders to establish more…

Hamish Kilburn: Where did the name Translation Architecture come from?

Nicholas De Klerk: The role that writing plays in translating abstract ideas into design concepts is a key part of our design process. Dialogue and conversation, often taking the form of writing, are important to our collaborative creative process. As the practice has taken shape, this notion has developed in interesting ways:

  • Translation in Outlook: We have an internationalist approach, but are rooted here in the UK, and find that an interesting creative tension to explore in our work.
  • Translation in Practice: Embracing collaboration is bedrock value of our practice. We see the design process as collaborative from start to finish, with the client, wider design team, builders and makers and ultimately with building users.
  • Translation in Design: We genuinely believe that design is enriched by making space for multiple voices and ideas.
  • Translation in Building: We know that 80% of the buildings that will exist in 2050 (The UK’s target for achieving Net Zero Carbon) have already been built. So, while designing new, low energy, sustainable hotels is a deeply exciting prospect, improving the energy efficiency of our existing hotel stock is an incredibly important task, and one which is a focus of our practice.
Image caption: A concept hospitality set that Nicholas De Klerk and Sze Wei Lee worked on in 2017.

Image caption: A concept hospitality set that Nicholas De Klerk and Sze Wei Lee worked on in 2017.

Sze Wei Lee: Our logo is a ligature of the two initials in the studio name designed for us by Alister Shapley. It can be seen as the two letters, a space, a building or a view out of one. Our design process, which is invested in the idea of translation – from concept to drawing, drawing to building, building to use – is embodied in this glyph.

HK: What are the big differences from working at Aukett Swanke to Translation Architecture?

SWL: There is no getting around the fact that it has been a big change! We both worked in the company for over a decade, often on projects together. We learned a great deal and made many friends over the years, as one often does in a large practice environment.

A smaller practice inevitably has less in the way of resources but compensates for that with the ability to be more flexible and responsive to the needs of clients and projects. We are also able to adapt readily to the challenges of constantly evolving technologies, environmental and supply chain issues.

HK: What would you say are the main benefits of setting up your own studio?

NDK: It’s been a very interesting time. We started out working remotely, as many people have been doing over the last year. This has its challenges but brings with it many freedoms. This has allowed us to define the ways in which we would like to work differently – we will keep the positive aspects of this as we build our studio and as we all come out of the pandemic.

There is also inevitably a more direct sense of personal responsibility. You are creating not just new spaces and places for people but also a personal legacy. We see this as both a responsibility and a privilege.

HK: What makes your working relationship unique?

SWL: Something we have forged over years of friendship and working together is a deep sense of trust and mutual respect. We believe this is essential for anyone looking to start a new creative partnership.

HK: Can you tell us a bit more about some of the projects you are working on?

NDK: We are currently working on two UK hotel projects. These are both for a new brand – The Relais Retreats which is a waterside hospitality concept developed by Grace Leo and Tim Hartnoll. One of these will complete its first phase within the next month. Both are complete refurbishments of existing buildings, one of which is Grade II Listed. The heritage and urban context of each building is fundamental to the hotel concepts that we are developing. Both also embrace changing attitudes to work by creating beautifully designed and well serviced, generous lounges with great F&B which nonetheless create a comfortable environment with a domestic feel to it – a work from home environment that doesn’t necessarily need to be at home.

SWL: We are also in discussions for a retail concept in the London’s west end which we are quite excited about.

HK: Both of these projects are on British soil. What makes Britain a major design hub?

SWL: London, like many other cities in the U.K., is one of those places where people from different parts of the world can meet and form professional and creative connections. We feel very fortunate to have benefitted from this.

NDK: The UK also has incredibly well-preserved built heritage and architecture in cities and market towns across the country. This heritage and sense of place is something that is a constant source of inspiration to us.

HK: What advice would you give to people who are in a similar situation to you when you decided to set up this studio?

SWL: It is important to have networks in whichever sector you want to work in. This is hard to do across the board, so it helps to have a focus. We have had a hugely positive response to our decision to join forces and there is no doubt in our minds that this goodwill is due in part to the relationships that we have built in the hospitality industry and architectural profession over time.

Also, be humble, stay open and keep learning!

HK: How important has collaboration been as you start this chapter?

SWL: Fundamental. As we said earlier, collaboration is hard-wired into our identity as a practice, our ethics and design process.

Main image credit: Translation Architecture

Virgin Hotels - collage of Las Vegas property

In pictures: Inside Virgin Hotels, Las Vegas

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In pictures: Inside Virgin Hotels, Las Vegas

Leading New York-based hospitality design studio Rockwell Group has unveiled new images of its designs of the public areas inside Virgin Hotels’ new property in Las Vegas – and it’s everything and more we were expecting it to be…

Virgin Hotels - collage of Las Vegas property

Leading New York based interdisciplinary architecture and design firm Rockwell Group, which recently completed the design scheme inside Moxy South Beachhas unveiled its design of the interiors of Virgin Hotel’s debut property in Las Vegas, which is a re-conceptualised and revitalised property in the former Hard Rock Hotel.

The design studio’s authentic ability to push boundaries to disrupt and challenge conventional hospitality and design in a meaningful way is probably the reason why it has been developing Virgin’s signature playful spirit since 2015, when the firm designed Richard Branson’s first Virgin Hotel in Chicago in 2015.

Naturally, therefore, Rockwell Group was appointed to design the ‘Virgin Spaces’ that surround the main casino, including a new porte cochère and entry experience – The Junction – as well as a check-in area for guests, the Commons Club and the Commons Club Restaurant and the Shag Room. The studio also designed two additional bars within the main casino and transformed the lobbies throughout the hotel. 

Image caption: Check-in lobby inside Virgin Las Vegas. | Image credit: Nikolas Koenig

Image caption: Check-in lobby inside Virgin Las Vegas. | Image credit: Nikolas Koenig

The hotel, which first entered our radar earlier this year, is situated a few miles away from the iconic Strip, and Rockwell Group chose to accentuate this separation by creating a luxury destination that taps into the wider context of the desert landscape with pure forms and sculptural moments. The public spaces within the hotel reference desert modernism and, wherever possible, blur the lines between indoors and out, with glazing and an outdoor terrace.

With limited creative inspiration in a city that was effectively built in the wilderness (a strong part of its allure, of course), the design team envisioned taking guests on an adventure along a desert highway, spotted with natural wonders and follies – a clear homage to the city of Las Vegas and its surrounding desert landscape. The neutral, natural material palette includes flagstone flooring and rammed earth walls with pops of Virgin’s signature red, agate stones, and greenery. The result is an inclusive series of lounge and dining spaces that invite guests to linger and explore.

A new entrance welcomes guests with monumental, rammed earth walls, a cactus garden planted in a dune-like setting, and a striking geometric breezeblock wall. The dramatic centerpiece of the porte-cochère is an angular canopy clad in reflective gold metal, while red tiles frame the entry portal, signifying the Virgin brand and contrasting with the neutral rammed earth that surrounds it.

The Junction – the main lobby, gathering, and lounge space – announces Virgin Las Vegas’s departure from the Vegas norm and helps guests orientate themselves. A plywood, coffered, hung ceiling undulates throughout the space creating an impressive sculptural setting with light wells that glow at night. 

Alongside the Junction, the design team have designed a more private space – the Harmony Lobby, which houses a VIP check-in and a bar. A long communal library table in front of a fluted wooden screen features a record player and earphones, inviting guests to linger, surrounded by a central mirror-clad ceiling cove that unites all the spaces and features acrylic chandeliers that seem to float above.

Image caption: The bar inside the Commons Club. | Image credit: Nikolas Koenig

Image caption: The bar inside the Commons Club. | Image credit: Nikolas Koenig

Extending from the lobby, the Commons Club features a bar surrounded by a casual dining area that spills out onto an expansive terrace. The circular bar sits under a sculptural dome that terminates in a 20-foot diameter skylight with a diffused pattern. The bar die is composed of crushed, coloured glass inspired by rammed earth, while the back bar features a circular, sculptural tower composed of angular, mirrored panels that surround a glowing crystal centre inspired by cracked earth. Curved metal screens embellished with agates surround the back bar and create a sense of intimacy.

Sitting next to the Commons Club, its namesake restaurant features central banquette seating framed in light-coloured wood that sits under a recessed cork ceiling and pendant lights. Dining tables are made of an unexpected wood chip terrazzo and the seating niches at the perimeter of the restaurant feature art and breezeblock detailing. 

Image caption: The Shag Room. | Image caption: The bar inside the Commons Club. | Image credit: Nikolas Koenig

The Shag Room, a casual yet sumptuous bar and lounge is accessed through a speakeasy photobooth entrance and features plush soft seating and banquettes in shades of purple and red upholstery with shag carpet surrounding a conversation pit. Swooping Persian carpets hang from the ceiling, and the main bar is hidden behind dramatic drapery. 

Elsewhere in the hotel, the team at Rockwell Group have made interventions to the floor and ceiling landscapes in the casino area, with a red carpet design that mimics curving tracks in the sand dunes and ensures design continuity throughout the hotel and the casino.  

Meanwhile, the guestrooms and suites were designed by Los Angeles-based Studio Collective, which has previously completed projects inside Hotel June, Hotel Figueroa and The Landsby Inn.

The rooms inside Virgin Las Vegas are spread over three distinctive towers – Opal, Canyon and the all-suite Ruby Tower. These spaces manage to balance the vibrancy of Las Vegas yet remain calm and inviting for guests checking in.

Main image credit: Nikolas Koenig

Industry insight: Sound solutions for hotel bathroom design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: Sound solutions for hotel bathroom design

Hotel guests today are increasingly expecting much more from their hotel stay. But, as Sophie Weston, channel marketing manager at Geberit explains, understanding the impact of unwanted noise on the guest experience can hold the key to a more positive outcome at what is a critical time for the hotel sector…

The impact of sound cannot be over-estimated. Our ears work even when we’re asleep, with the brain continuing to process the sounds it detects. And when we are awake, the impact that those everyday, seemingly mundane sounds can have a huge impact on our wellbeing. Consider the effect that a constantly dripping tap or flushing toilet, for example, can have on one’s mood.

Sound is something we’re particularly passionate about at Geberit, with acoustics one of our core research areas. When we first commissioned a YouGov poll in February 2020, we wanted to get a greater insight on the effect of unwanted internal noise and, in particular, bathroom noise. We also wanted to understand a little more about how these ‘unwanted noises’ affected wellbeing.

Noisier than ever?

Our survey found that almost a third (30 per cent) of respondents who had stayed in a hotel in the last 12 months (February 2019 – February 2020) had been disturbed by bathroom noise at night. What was clear, too, from our research was the impact of this; more than half (51%) of respondents cited unwanted internal noise as having a negative impact upon their wellbeing.

Fast forward from our 2020 poll to the aftermath of the pandemic, and the importance of guest experience has never been more keenly felt. With the hotel sector one of the most hard hit by lockdowns and restrictions, the so-called ‘stay-cation’ boom this summer and easing of restrictions has offered a timely boost to the industry. The sector now has a unique opportunity to encourage this year’s guests back. And this starts with a positive guest outcome.

Meeting challenges

It’s fair to say that the hotel washroom has a crucial role to play in defining one’s guest experience. And yet, looking at our YouGov research, bathroom noise is clearly an issue for many. So what solutions are available for architects and designers to meet these very obvious challenges?

 From acoustically optimised pipework with noise reducing properties, to decoupled pre-walls for added noise insulation, manufacturers are constantly innovating sound-proofing solutions that help to mitigate the age-old issue of sound from flushing toilets and other unwanted bathroom noise.

Wall-hung toilets with concealed cisterns and pre-wall frames decoupled from the construction, for example, are an effective way to prevent noise from travelling down the wall and through the floor. Opting for a toilet mounted using a frame such as Geberit Duofix can almost halve the decibels produced by a traditional floor standing toilet.

Likewise, sound optimised drainage piping can reduce noise transfer from flushing water, washbasins or showers. The Geberit Silent db-20 range, for instance, inherently uses more dense materials and, when combined with rubber and plastics where possible for decoupling and dampening, will prevent the transmission of sound more effectively than less dense materials.

Positive guest experience

The confidence is there. We carried out a YouGov poll in March 2021 of 2,000 adults across the UK which found that 43% of respondents planned to visit a hotel this year, compared to just 25% who had visited a hotel in the six months before the pandemic.

And, as the trend for selling ‘experiences’ and creating an escape for guests continues, so too does the value of creating a unique, positive experience to help build stronger memories and ensure customers keep coming back.  The hotel washroom could hold the key to this.

Geberit 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: Geberit

A Tara Bernerd project: Thompson Hollywood makes its debut in Los Angeles

819 565 Hamish Kilburn
A Tara Bernerd project: Thompson Hollywood makes its debut in Los Angeles

The 190-key property, in the heart of Los Angeles, expands Thompson Hotels’ west coast footprint with interior design by British studio, Tara Bernerd & Partners. Let’s take a peek inside…

Hyatt Hotels has announced the debut of Thompson Hollywood, a luxury lifestyle hotel situated on Wilcox Avenue near Hollywood and Vine. A dynamic mix of global sophistication, hyper-local immersion and intuitive service, the prime location embodies the Thompson Hotels brand’s promise to provide guests with the ultimate “in-the-know” experience at the refined edge of travel.

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

The new 11-story hotel features 190 mid-century-inspired guestrooms, including 16 suites, a sophisticated feature dining concept from acclaimed LA-based chef Lincoln Carson and Bar Lis, a destination rooftop lounge and pool with unparalleled city views. Sure to be a gathering spot for tasteful travellers and the eclectic Hollywood community alike, the much-anticipated project is owned by Relevant Group in collaboration with Steinberg Hart for architecture and interior design by Tara Bernerd & Partners, with Ten Five Hospitality overseeing food and beverage.

“Every touchpoint of the Thompson Hollywood experience has been concepted for the discerning traveler, particularly as pent-up travel demand has tourists and locals seeking memorable moments,” states Bruno Vergeynst, Managing Director of Thompson Hollywood. “Whether it’s the thoughtfully designed lobby and guestrooms by Tara Bernerd & Partners, chef Carson’s sophisticated dining concepts, the Bar Lis rooftop lounge or our intuitive guest programming, Thompson Hollywood invites guests to embrace a breezy Angeleno lifestyle.”

Render of luxury roomThe 11-storey hotel innovatively combines the hallmarks of timeless elegance with a raw industrial edge to create a unique atmosphere that is relaxing and inspiring, familiar and new.  The overall design is bold and confident, drawing upon the West Coast Modernist movement and a dash of Hollywood glamour as inspirations to seamlessly blend for a contemporary and elegant approach throughout.

Upon entry, a trellis-covered walkway beckons guests to a lobby adorned in mid-toned timber and teeming with verdant greenery, forming a tranquil and welcoming haven upon arrival. A spectacular custom terrazzo floor awaits guests underfoot, featuring an intricate metal inlay pattern that perfectly complements the elegant mid-century and contemporary furniture, bespoke Tara Bernerd & Partners rugs and inviting terrazzo reception desk. The convenient lobby bar – topped with a striking retro-green onyx – serves up coffee, cocktails or casual bites for those coming, going or staying to socialise, all with the laid-back hospitality and inclusive spirit emblematic of the Thompson Hotels brand’s desire to ensure everyone who walks through the doors feels more like a resident than a guest.    

Throughout the property and into the guestrooms, floor-to-ceiling windows flood rooms with natural sunlight, offering sweeping vantage points of the Hollywood Hills and beyond, and immersing guests directly in the city’s bustling energy. Guest bathrooms feature walls and vanities finished in rich terrazzo amidst contrasting pale-tiled floors, while exclusive D.S. & DURGA amenities add another touch of luxury to the experience. An honour bar containing various curated selections, lustrous Egyptian cotton linens, 55-inch smart televisions, and a state-of-the art 24-hour fitness studio round out the other exceptional amenities that elevate every stay. 

Through layers of inviting textures, timeless mid-century furniture and finishings, luxurious terrazzo details and a curated selection of modern art throughout, Thompson Hollywood redefines the notion of Hollywood glamour and is poised to become one of Los Angeles’ chicest destinations for culturally astute travellers and locals alike.

Thompson Hotels are known for featuring world-class culinary destinations on property. Thompson Hollywood features two exceptional food and beverage experiences created and operated by Ten Five Hospitality. They include the Martin Brudnizki-designed signature restaurant, Mes Amis, a modern French brasserie, and Bar Lis, a French Riviera-inspired rooftop lounge with spectacular wraparound views of Hollywood and Greater Los Angeles.

Helmed by celebrated chef Lincoln Carson, Mes Amis (French for “My Friends”) draws inspiration from bustling cafés and brasseries from Paris to Lyon while reflecting a decidedly Southern California sensibility. The menu reinterprets classic French dishes with an approachable bent, using the freshest produce and ingredients from local farms and markets, including the world-renowned Hollywood Farmers’ Market. Mes Amis is a new chapter for chef Carson following his nationally acclaimed Bon Temps, which received accolades from Food & Wine, Esquire and the Los Angeles Times. An industry leader and James Beard Foundation-nominated pastry chef, Carson’s background also includes stints at New York’s Le Bernardin, La Cote Basque, The Mina Group, Superba Food + Bread and more.

Designed by Bernadette Blanc, Bar Lis sits atop Thompson Hollywood, representing the crown jewel of the experience. Chic without pretention, the new rooftop lounge captures the iconic spirit and playfully sophisticated vibe of the Cote D’Azur. Serving inventive cocktails as well as fresh bites of locally sourced seafood, crudité and authentic bistro classics under the open sky, guests can enjoy Sunset Hour with unobstructed views of the Hollywood Hills, including the Hollywood sign. Bar Lis’ retractable roof ensures all-weather, all-year-round entertainment while a dedicated entrance with private elevator allows for more exclusive soirees. At night, Bar Lis comes alive with vintage and contemporary DJ sets, making it the perfect spot to top off the stay.     

“Introducing Thompson Hollywood in one of Los Angeles’ most sought-after real estate market is a groundbreaking move for the hospitality brand,” says Grant King, Managing Partner of Relevant Group. “This property not only perfectly sits at the storied intersection of the technology, media and entertainment realms, but will inevitably heighten Hollywood’s visibility as a coveted hospitality destination.”

 Located nearby to Sunset Strip, Runyon Canyon, the Hollywood Bowl, Griffith Observatory, Hollywood Boulevard, the Capitol Records Building and more, Thompson Hollywood sits at the very nexus of Los Angeles’ most appealing sites. The property joins other Thompson Hotels that are slated to debut in 2021, including Thompson Savannah, Thompson Denver, Thompson Buckhead and Thompson Austin.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Exterior of Ruby Ella

It’s ‘show time’: Ruby Hotels arrives in Cologne, Germany

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
It’s ‘show time’: Ruby Hotels arrives in Cologne, Germany

Ruby Hotels, which shelters the well-known ‘lean luxury’ hospitality concept, has opened a 186-key hotel in Cologne.“Ruby goes Late-Night” is now the motto at Ruby Ella – and becomes the brand’s 11th hotel property…

Exterior of Ruby Ella

Ruby Hotels, the Munich-based hotel brand that first launched in 2013 with the innovative ‘Lean Luxury’ philosophy, led by hospitality pioneer CEO and Founder Michael Struck, has opened its first hotel in the city of Cologne. Ruby Ella, the 11th hotel of the Ruby Group ,designed by Matthew Balon, is located in a prime downtown location: the former Capitol area, famous for its rich history in TV studios and entertainment.

Lobby inside Ruby Ella in Cologne

Image credit: Ruby Hotels

The hotel group already has a strong portfolio in Germany, with properties in Munich, Hamburg, Stuttgart and two hotels in Dusseldorf. In recent years, Struck and his team have been acquiring properties outside continental Europe, entering the UK hospitality arena with opening of Ruby Lucy on London’s Southbank. And the narrative continues to unfold… the brand is now expanding into Asia with the joint venture Ruby Asia, founded in 2018.

Inside Ruby Ella

The 186 rooms are spread over six floors and take guests into the legendary world of late-night shows, paying homage to Cologne’s status as the most important media location in Germany. The public areas with check-in, bar & café are located on the first floor of the impressive new building, which is ideally situated in the city centre on the Hohenzollernring and in the immediate vicinity of the trendy Belgischen Viertel. As in all Ruby Hotels, the Ruby Ella Bar is open 24 hours a day for Cologne locals and provides an enrichment on the Hohenzollernring nightlife mile. Where once iconic German hosts like Harald Schmidt and Stefan Raab offered late-night shows of the highest class, today the Ruby Ella Show presents itself. Large illuminated signs, a typical stage with talk show host desk & guest chair, a colourful mix of vintage furniture and quite a few props from the cult late-night show times of the 90s can be found in the public areas. Highlights include an original camera crane, the eight-meter-long “Show Time” vintage lettering on the ceiling and the show band instruments suspended in front of it. 

Bar at Ruby Ella

Image credit: Ruby Hotels

The centrepiece is the 24/7 bar with its quilted turquoise leather fronts that echo the typical look of old leather chairs and contrast excitingly with red marble and raw brass. Urban charm is provided by the open concrete walls that run throughout the hotel and rooms. These also show the typical Ruby signature: high open ceilings, fresh bright white, glass rain showers integrated into the room as well as wooden wall paneling and high-quality oak floors. The design highlight above each bed is the “Late-Night” moon lamp whose cable depicts the skyline of Cologne.          

The new building, set back in the quiet courtyard of the former Capitol, is located in the heart of Cologne. In addition to numerous restaurants and cafés, there are opportunities for shopping, as well as several cinemas and clubs, making the Hohenzollernring one of the most popular promenades, especially among young people. It takes five minutes by public transport from Friesenplatz to the main train station and 25 minutes to Cologne/Bonn Airport.            

The building, designed by architect Christoph Ingenhoven according to the highest sustainability standards, is impressive even at first glance. A particular eye-catcher are the almost 100 trees and shrubs planted in a staggered pattern on the hotel. The planting concept came from Swiss landscape designer Enzo Enea. Cologne-born Daniel Suré is taking over the management of Ruby Ella. The experienced hotel manager has already worked in renowned hotels in Switzerland and Germany. “The location of our Ruby Ella between the Belgischen Viertel and the Gerlingquartier is perfect for discovering the Cologne lifestyle on your own,” said Suré. Whether on a business trip or a city break, in just a few steps you’re right in the middle of the action.”

The hotel and rooms follow Ruby’s Lean Luxury philosophy: a location in the heart of the city, top design and high-quality amenities with the essentials, and remains an affordable option, by consistently dispensing with superfluous and non-essentials. This works because, following the example of modern luxury yachts, we accommodate our luxury in a relatively small area and simply leave out non-essentials,” explained Struck. “We also organise ourselves with the help of our own technical solutions in a completely different way than is usual in the industry. We plan and build more modularly, centralise more strongly and automate consistently behind the scenes. This helps us to make a luxurious and unique hotel experience affordable for our guests.”

Main image credit: Ruby Hotels

Headlands Hotel Aquacentre - Learner Pool & Wall 002

Balancing form and function with Schlüter-KERDI-BOARD

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Balancing form and function with Schlüter-KERDI-BOARD

Following joining Hotel Designs LIVE as a Product Watch Pitch Partner, Schlüter Systems’ David Villafuerte explains more about KERDI-BOARD, part of the brand’s full waterproofing wetroom system…

Headlands Hotel Aquacentre - Learner Pool & Wall 002

Design creativity within a hotel setting is often a big pull for guests looking for a unique and memorable experience. This is especially the case for bathrooms, wetrooms and spa facilities within the hospitality industry due to relaxation and wellness becoming even more of a priority since the start of the pandemic.

Image credit: Schlüter Systems

Creating something stand-out is not always straightforward to achieve though as there are several factors to consider. Firstly, the substrate used must be suitable for a tile or stone installation. Secondly is the decision of whether to go for a system from one or several manufacturers   and lastly, the products chosen need to be versatile enough to give you full creative control. Thanks to the BBA-certified tile backerboard Schlüter-KERDI-BOARD, the hard work has been done for you so all you need to do is get those creative juices flowing.

Behind the decorations showing the product

Image credit: Schlüter Systems

KERDI-BOARD is part of our full waterproofing system and aids in the creation of bonded waterproofing assemblies with tile or stone coverings. Using a system from a single manufacturer gives you peace of mind that the different components have been designed to work together so you can be safe in the knowledge that your design will stand the test of time.

Image credit: Schlüter Systems

There’s a choice of seven thicknesses of KERDI-BOARD from 5-50mm, which means it can be used to create various design features such as shelves, niches, partition walls and even seats within a bathroom area. Pre-formed shapes such as corners or curves allow you to create custom furniture and features whilst reducing installation time on site. Two recent hotel projects showcased the limitless possibilities on hand when using KERDI-BOARD within a specification.

The Newt in Somerset is a hotel and spa which underwent a major renovation and restoration, particularly within the newly built Barton Spa. KERDI-BOARD was depended on for many different focal points within the spa area, including the vanity units in the male and female changing rooms. The portico around one of the doors in the main spa was a particularly eye-catching element which added character to the space. The durability of the KERDI-BOARD allowed for 20mm Carrara Marble to be easily fixed over for a beautiful and luxurious finish.

Headland Hotel in Cornwall saw a beautiful serpentine wall created for one of the pools, constructed with the help of KERDI-BOARD, and clad with River Stone to give a stunning finish. Due to the versatility required, one of the key products used was KERDI-BOARD-V, the variant created specifically for curved areas. Installed with sealing components Schlüter-KERDI-KEBA and Schlüter-KERDI-COLL, a fully waterproof system was achieved effortlessly and created an eye-catching feature.

As you can see from the above examples of KERDI-BOARD in situ, there are plenty of ways that it can enhance a hotel spa experience at the specification stage. Using the reliable backerboard ensures that both function and form are covered, whilst leaving you plenty of room for creativity – and if you are finding this tricky, our design and technical support is on hand to assist where needed.

Schlüter Systems 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: Schlüter Systems

Illuminating the importance of customer service in lighting design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Illuminating the importance of customer service in lighting design

Designers and procurement specialists should consider customer service quality when making decisions around lighting design, argues Paul Smith, Head of Specification Sales, Häfele UK

Well-considered lighting designs and installations evoke different reactions in us; they can calm, motivate, inspire and even enliven our mood.

Lighting is also integral to helping us effectively achieve any number of functions from exercising and socialising, to working and relaxing.

When it comes to lighting in hotels, systems must be so advanced in their design that they can create the perfect conditions for all of our needs, on demand. As such, we must consider the practical elements of lighting design – where to position it and what type of lighting to use – as well as how the lighting system can complement a room’s aesthetics. For example, concealed switches can be installed into furniture, whether made out of wood, glass or stone, so they are hidden from view. Lighting can also combine with sound technology to give users an immersive experience.

Bedroom with lighted headboard

Image credit: Häfele

Although lighting alone serves to illuminate a space, as part of a wider design scheme, layering different lighting can achieve even more. Accent lighting highlights specific features within a room, while spotlights focus the eyes on a specific area, emphasising interesting objects or acting as pathfinders. Task lighting – often in strip form – helps us use work areas for their main purpose, while ambient lighting can achieve a specific mood and make a space feel bigger or cosier. Essentially, layering lighting can better balance room dimensions, improve spatial awareness and highlight a room’s most important assets, becoming critical to how a space operates, as well as how it looks and feels.

So intrinsic is lighting to the enjoyment of guests’ visits to hotels, that it is essential to consider it at the very earliest stages of crafting a room’s blueprint and theme, rather than seeing it as a bolt on. However, achieving such an effective outcome requires the support of lighting specialists and tailored services that put lighting central to hotel design.

Close-up of lighting in wall

Image credit: Häfele

Häfele’s team of specification experts work closely with architects, contractors and hotel operators, helping to bring their lighting ambitions to life with a variety of expert services. Whether it’s a refit of an outdated scheme which aims to make long term time and cost savings, or a new development that is set across multiple locations over several years, the Häfele team will embed themselves into a customer’s vision and recommend the best products and services for their needs and budget.

Through the Lighting Design Service, hotel designers can submit room plans to the team of designers, who will, in turn, create bespoke lighting layouts on their behalf using the Loox and Nimbus lighting ranges. The team will work in partnership to understand the requirements of a space, creating a design which strikes a perfect balance between furniture lighting and other lighting elements, so they truly complement one another and put lighting at the centre of the hotel’s aesthetic.

The Lighting Design Service comes into its own when used in combination with Häfele to Order. Created to support those working on either higher volume projects or in spaces that require made-to-measure components, Häfele to Order allows hotel designers, planners and fit out teams to specify products to the exact size, quantity and finish. These are then cut, assembled, packaged, labelled and delivered to the requirements. By only purchasing precise quantities, product isn’t wasted and precious time is saved on site.

Whether room lighting is static or built into fitted furniture, the right layout, layering and placement can make the all important difference to how a space works. Häfele’s lighting and ordering service provision is designed to support every level of the hotel design supply chain, from the architect at initial consultation phase, to the installer delivering the fit out and, ultimately, the hotel operator who benefits from their space being a functional, effective place to work and reside.

Häfele UK 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: Häfele

Bed trends: A post-pandemic insight into future guestrooms

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bed trends: A post-pandemic insight into future guestrooms

One of the hardest-hit trades during the pandemic has been the hotel industry, however things are looking up with bookings for UK staycations jumping by a record 300 per cent following the announcement of the lockdown roadmap in February[1]. To celebrate our ‘beds’ feature for August, we ask Richard Naylor, Group Sustainable Development Director at Hypnos Contract Beds, to share his expertise on design and materials trends and offers insights into how hotel design could adapt as we begin to welcome guests back…

As we begin to move to a ‘new normal’ it’s time to consider how the events of the last 12 months will have an effect on factors like design, as interior designers are encouraged to think outside the box to deal with the challenges posed by the post-pandemic hospitality industry.


Learning to adapt their designs according to post-pandemic lifestyles, interior designers may re-evaluate some of the more common items or materials traditionally used in their hospitality projects. Considerations such as replacing rugs and carpets with tiles and stone, will make open spaces easier to manage and clean during busy customer change-over times, whilst still retaining style thanks to the vast array of options on the market.

In addition, opting for antimicrobial textiles and bleach-cleanable fabrics on larger items like beds and upholstery will ensure peace of mind for visitors whilst choosing materials with natural antimicrobial properties like copper, brass, bronze, or copper-nickel for high-touch surfaces such as light switches, sockets and door handles, will safeguard them from germs, keeping both staff and hotel guests safe.

Hypnos Residence mattress

Image caption: Hypnos Residence mattress

Although the pandemic has made us hyper conscious of cleanliness and hygiene, the basics shouldn’t be overlooked as restrictions ease, especially when it comes to guest room beds. Fitting a mattress protector that encapsulates the top and sides of the mattress will help to prevent stains and odours and ensure the bed lasts longer.

The pandemic has also encouraged many of us to re-connect with nature, and this is something that should be a consideration for designers as they look to incorporate elements of Biophilic design into their hospitality design schemes. Opting for natural materials like the ethically and sustainably sourced wool used in Hypnos’ Beaumont and Ashbourne and Lansdowne Cashmere ranges is one way to bring elements of the natural world into guest bedrooms without compromising on the luxurious feel that guests seek from a hotel stay.

Utilising in-room tech

Smart technology is something that has emerged within the hospitality industry, but we could begin to see a rise in the use of these kinds of technologies in a post-pandemic world.

Reducing the need for contact with surfaces like upholstery or switches will be of increasing importance in room design. Technology like voice activation is ideal in this ‘new normal’ world as it would enable guests and housekeepers to control everything from blinds and curtains, to lights and electrical items, without needing to physically touch surfaces. All great for reducing the spread of potential germs.

Image caption: Hypnos Beds were specified inside Corinthia London. | Image credit: Corinthia London

Image caption: Hypnos Beds were specified inside Corinthia London. | Image credit: Corinthia London

Furthermore, single point controls whereby guests control all room features from a single tablet, or from an app on their phone, is another way to minimise contact. Similarly, infrared taps in bathrooms and self-cleaning sanitary ware offers a no-touch solution for guest bedrooms, empowering guests to feel reassured of their safety and comfortable in their environment.

Add to this the provision of technology to minimise contact during check-in, which is something that is already in place in some hotels, and it could really help guests to feel safe and at ease.

For hospitality establishments that don’t already have it, moving over to check-in apps and keyless door entry, which negate the need for larger, manned reception desks, will allow them to rethink existing spaces and re-work them for the needs of the modern, hygiene-conscious hotel guest.

Image caption: Hypnos Sanctuary mattress

Air quality & space

Something that shouldn’t be overlooked in the overall design and layout for a hotel or guest room is ventilation and space. Ventilation and air quality, whether that’s through natural ventilation and increased access to private outside areas like balconies, is of the utmost importance.

The addition of advanced air filtration systems to ensure clean, sanitised air in both public areas and private guest spaces is something that more hospitality establishments need to factor in to their design or consider investing in.

Whilst guest bedroom design and layout will always be important, communal hospitality areas, such as lobbies, could see some of the biggest changes, with designers opting for more open, spacious schemes, allowing greater room for social distancing and wider thoroughfares for guests.

Sustainable design

An undeniable benefit of the last year has been the reduced environmental impact that has resulted from people across the globe having to stay at home. With sustainability once again in the spotlight, it is clear that it will continue to be a key booking decision for guests and consequently should be front of mind for interior designers working on hospitality projects.

Whilst products and décor should be robust and hygienic, the provenance of where they come from or how they’re made shouldn’t be overlooked. By working with moral companies with a sustainability focus, hoteliers can ensure that they are doing their part in creating safe but also ethical interiors, something of increasing importance to consumers.

As the world’s first Carbon Neutral bed manufacturer and only bed manufacturer to have been certified for a decade, Hypnos has led industry change on carbon reduction and was recently awarded ‘The Planet Mark – Carbon Neutral Certification’ and a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development for its commitment to environmentally-friendly design, sourcing transparency and ethical bedmaking. The company was also awarded the Global Recycled Standard which is given to companies who use recycled materials from socially and environmentally responsible manufacturing processes.

By specifying products like Hypnos’ no-turn Beaumont mattress, designers can not only reinforce the significance of making sustainable choices, but design choices like this are also another way to maintain high hygiene standards. The low-maintenance design of the Beaumont means that housekeepers can limit contact with the hotel bed, ideal for post-Covid life where cleanliness, safety, and attention to detail will be of utmost importance. The mattress needs only seasonal rotation and has been manufactured to be 20% lighter than Hypnos’ other hotel mattresses meaning it can be turned with ease when required. The sewn-in topper guarantees a luxurious feel for hotel visitors, and when coupled with the versatile design of Hypnos’ Zip and Link beds which can be quickly and easily split from a king-size to two single beds, this will limit the need for room changes and allow for flexibility with room allocation.

Working with the right partner

Whether designing for a boutique hotel, or an up-scale international branded hotel, managing refurbishments and new furniture installations effortlessly and efficiently with cost, safety, timings and logistics in mind can be challenging, especially with the added pressures of the pandemic.

Understanding the complexity behind renovations and refurbishments, particularly for large scale developments Hypnos works closely with hospitality providers and designers to offer its unique Eight Step Sleep Plan – a thorough consultation and step-by-step process which supports hospitality provider’s or designers from their initial enquiry right through to completion.

These changes may be a departure from pre-pandemic hotel design but nevertheless, are important considerations for hoteliers and designers to ensure a safe and stylish environment for visitors and tourists to return to the hospitality sector.

Hypnos 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 caption: Hypnos was specified inside a wildlife reserve in Kent, England. | Image credit: Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve

Outdoor bathroom design: Allure shines brightly

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Outdoor bathroom design: Allure shines brightly

Gessi, through a luxurious proposal that reveals hi-tech aspects waiting to be discovered, once again becomes a trendsetter, bringing decorations and aesthetics to be integrated in outdoor bathroom design and nature…

With Outdoor, private wellness is dipped in nature, in the open air, without compromising on design and technology. Special moments of wellbeing in close contact with the outdoor environment, to fully experience the sensations that only an outdoor space can provide.