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Mondrian Shoreditch The Rooftop. Credit_ Goddard Littlefair copy

“Shoreditch’s hottest unveil of 2021.” What we know about Mondrian Shoreditch

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
“Shoreditch’s hottest unveil of 2021.” What we know about Mondrian Shoreditch

One of Shoreditch’s most bohemian and quirky hotels, the Curtain Hotel, will re-emerge from the pandemic in July under a new brand. Mondrian Shoreditch (owned by Accor and sbe) will open in July following a major overhaul by leading interior design firm Goddard Littlefair. Here’s what we know…

Mondrian Shoreditch The Rooftop. Credit_ Goddard Littlefair copy

Considering the building’s reputation for sheltering a vibrant, modern and contemporary hospitality space, the pressure was on for interior design firm Goddard Littelfair when they were asked by Accor to completely redesign the hotel for when it reopened as the Mondrian Shoreditch. But as always, following the deep design narrative that was unveiled in their latest project, The Mayfair Townhouse, the design firm has delivered and we are excited to share with you our sneak peek inside what we are calling Shoreditch’s hottest unveil of 2021.

Image caption: Exterior image of the hotel. | Image credit: Accor/sbe

The lifestyle hotel, owned by The Reuben Brothers, will open its doors July 2021. The news comes on the heels of Accor’s acquisition of sbe’s hotel brands in Q4 2020 and its planned joint venture with Ennismore, which will see the creation of one of the world’s largest and fastest growing lifestyle operators later this summer.

“We are very proud to collaborate with Jamie Reuben and his family in bringing the iconic Mondrian brand back to London,” sbe Chief Operating Officer Chadi Farhat said. “The city has been and will continue to be a thriving hub for our lifestyle offerings, and myself and my team are excited to re-establish Mondrian as one of London’s most innovative destinations for lifestyle, hospitality, culinary and mixology experiences for locals and travellers alike.”

“Mondrian Shoreditch will be a go-to luxury lifestyle brand for culinary and culture-seekers from all over the world.” – The Reuben Brothers.

Reuben Brothers added: “We are delighted to be partnering with Accor and sbe to open a European flagship Mondrian hotel which will enhance Shoreditch’s already thriving artistic contribution to our capital. Mondrian Shoreditch will be a go-to luxury lifestyle brand for culinary and culture-seekers from all over the world.”

The 120-key property – including 13 suites – will sit in the midst of Shoreditch, East London’s creative and cultural hub: an area that captivates the energy and playful DNA of the Mondrian brand. As a leading lifestyle brand, Mondrian recognises the cultural vibrancy of a place and elevates it – intertwining guest offerings with local highlights and bringing the essence of East London to the hotel and vice versa. Mondrian Shoreditch will collaborate with local personalities and brands to highlight their lifestyle approach to hospitality, via partnerships including artistic pop-ups and live performances in The Screening Room, a private room and bar. The property will also offer a premium co-working space, visionary dining and mixology concepts and boasts a rooftop pool and lounge by an award-winning team, just in time for the summer – a rarity for Londoners and always in high demand.

Mondrian Shoreditch presents a host of truly enriching and elevated experiences via its portfolio of diversely distinct luxury brands. On the lower ground, world-famous chef Dani García introduces BIBO, a Spanish kitchen serving tapas with courtyard seats and Garcia’s first outpost in London. Mondrian Shoreditch will also be host to a new all-day café and cocktail bar – Christina’s Shoreditch. Christina’s Shoreditch will only source products from local independent suppliers (farmers, growers and community bakeries), start-ups and brands with social impact. Guests will also have access to the exclusive Altitude Rooftop for breakfast. The space will otherwise be exclusively for members of The Curtain, the hotel’s private members club. Mondrian Shoreditch’s culinary venues are a testament to the hospitality hallmarks of the Mondrian brand.

“It is an honour to open our first UK based restaurant alongside our amazing partners Accor and the Reuben Brothers, and we are excited to establish the property as the heart of the Shoreditch food scene,” said García. “I have always been fascinated by the vibrant energy of London and look forward to welcoming guests to our restaurant in the Mondrian hotel which is sure to become a true icon in the district of Shoreditch.” 

The Curtain Members Club

The well-known Curtain Members’ Club will re-open at the hotel. A co-working space will also be available for members on the ground floor – The Design Studio – and will provide a world-class offering with a newly scheduled and diverse range of weekly events – from panel discussions, to live music and club nights with local talent. The Design Studio will be a prime location for corporates and local creatives looking for a luxury day-office away from home-working. Members also enjoy exclusive access to Altitude Rooftop, The Lounge, Rose Bar, and the event space.

Image caption: A render of the F&B area in the hotel. | Image credit: Goddard Littlefair

Image caption: A render of the F&B area in the hotel. | Image credit: Goddard Littlefair/FRAMED Visualisation

Goddard Littlefair led design for Mondrian’s guestrooms, public spaces and food and beverage venues. The hotel has been significantly refreshed in line with the upbeat and individual spirit of Mondrian hotels. The reception and lobby are playful and reflective with significant artwork installations for guests to discover, typical of the Mondrian design portfolio. The double height ground floor bar showcases large-scale artwork hand-painted onto concrete by Fred Coppin and the rooftop bar dressed with striped and festooned shade structures will appeal to the guest and locals alike. The new BIBO restaurant by chef Dani García was also designed by Goddard Littlefair who dovetailed the identity of Mondrian spirit with García’s culinary legacy. The guestroom refurbishment encapsulates a luxurious, theatrical aesthetic with fresh white brick walls and artwork selections that invite witty appreciation. Dakota Development, a subsidiary of sbe, led by President Joe Faust, provided technical service support for the entire development process.

Image caption: A model room inside Mondrian Shoreditch London. | Image credit: Goddard Littelfair/FRAMED Visualisation

The opening follows the company’s recent launch of Mondrian Seoul Itaewon, and announcement to open Mondrian Bordeaux and Mondrian Cannes in 2022. The return of the Mondrian brand to London reflects the continued strategic expansion of the brand’s international footprint, which will include soon-to-be announced Mondrian properties in Australia, the Dominican Republic, Germany, the Maldives, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Main image credit: Goddard Littlefair/FRAMED Visualisation

Image of guestroom in Mama Roma

Mama Shelter arrives in Rome

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Mama Shelter arrives in Rome

Mama Shelter will arrive in Rome this summer, bringing the brand’s playful and energetic spirit – not to mention colourful design – to the Eternal City, while at the same time launching the its first ever spa…

Scheduled to open in July 2021, Mama Roma will be located in the elegant Prati district, on the right bank of the Tiber river – where the 217-key hotel will welcome guests (local and travellers alike) to experience its eccentric, fun and accessible approach to hospitality.

Image of guestroom in Mama Roma

Mama Roma will be a vibrant urban refuge, a gastronomic address for those looking for authentic flavours and a space for business, relaxation and fun, where different lifestyles and environments influence one another. At Mama Roma, the brand will be launching its first ever spa, home to an indoor swimming pool, sauna, hammam and minimalistic fitness centre. Attentive and extremely friendly service will also characterise the first Italian hotel of the brand. 

“Rome is the ultimate magical city. Its history, miraculously and entirely preserved, seduces us at each corner of the street,” said Serge Trigano, Founder of Mama Shelter. “And at the same time, the Romans have manners and a certain elegance which give it all its charm and its modernity. Since the beginning of Mama’s adventure, we dreamed of settling here and this will become a reality in the near future. Mama Roma will be located next to the Vatican and only three metro stops from the historical city centre. All aspects of our identity will be found in this Mama: the restaurants, the rooftop, the designed bedrooms, the colourful lobby and in addition: a spa and its indoor swimming pool. We have added a library to offer our customers a sample of the most magical Italian literature and art.”

The bold and cutting-edge design will be enjoyed by Mama Roma’s guests from upon entry into the hotel and the common areas, where mosaic floors and column capitals depicted on the walls meet the ceilings adorned with artwork by graphic designer and artist Beniloys, as well as contemporary geometric shapes throughout.

Generous and exquisite recipes of the typical Roman cuisine make up the varied menu of the Mama Roma restaurants, including delicious wood oven pizzas and Mama’s international signature dishes. The dining outlets – with their giant communal tables – invite conviviality and sharing, and will also be open to external guests through a separate access. 

Redner of restaurant in Mama Shelter in Rome

Mama Roma will offer a magnificent rooftop, open from morning to late at night, for guests to relax, with an aperitif or simply share new memorable moments overlooking glorious views of the Eternal City and the St. Peter’s dome. The rooftop will be equipped with a solarium, and will offer an island bar with homemade cocktails, a beer corner and a hot kiosk for snacks, light meals and drinks.

Spread over six floors, Mama Roma’s 217 rooms have been conceived by the group’s in-house design team, Mama Design Studio. All rooms boast a King Size bed, five-star Bedding, a 55” smart TV that can be controlled from a mobile phone and featuring a large selection of complimentary movies (including adult only), free Wi-Fi and organic bath products in collaboration with Absolution, the award winning French organic cosmetic brand. Mama Shelter’s signature masks of cartoon characters such as Spiderman and Darth Vader will hang on bedside lampshades bringing the brand’s playful character to the guestrooms.

Two Ateliers – meeting spaces with a maximum capacity of 50 people – will be illuminated by natural light and equipped with the most advanced technology in terms of video conferencing, LED screens and BOSE speakers, as well as a minibar and coffee machine. In addition, the “Breakroom” will feature a giant table-football and an outdoor space to play ping pong and bocce – a ball game loosely related to British bowls and French pétanque, with a common ancestry from ancient games played in the Roman Empire.

Main image credit: Mama Roma

image of Dubai skyline

SLS announces first hotel in the Middle East

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SLS announces first hotel in the Middle East

SLS Dubai is the seventh SLS hotel – the first SLS property in the Middle East – with 11 additional properties to open internationally over the next five years…

image of Dubai skyline

Accor has announced the expansion of the international SLS Hotels & Residences brand to the Middle East with the opening of SLS Dubai. Developed in partnership with World of Wonders Real Estate – the new property is one of Dubai’s tallest buildings. The highly anticipated opening is a testament to the SLS brand’s longstanding reputation and experience in creating and delivering extraordinary, unforgettable and timeless experiences.

This news comes on the heels of Accor’s latest phase of expansion following its acquisition of sbe’s hotel brands and its planned joint venture with Ennismore, which will see the creation of one of the world’s largest and fastest growing lifestyle operators.

Using the SLS Hotels & Residences’ global perspective gained from its expanding network of hospitality properties, SLS Dubai presents a host of truly enriching and elevated experiences via its portfolio of diversely distinct luxury brands. From Fi’lia, the entirely female-run restaurant that celebrates food & identity, to Carna by the award-winning Italian butcher Dario Cecchini’s contemporary steakhouse, SLS Dubai’s culinary venues are a testament to the hospitality hallmarks of the SLS brand.

Chadi Farhat, Chief Operating Officer, sbe states: “We are happy to announce the official opening of SLS Dubai. We are excited to deliver culinary concepts like Fi’lia, our Italian concept, which will at this specific location focus on empowering the incredible leadership team of women, from our chefs to mixologists to managers. We truly believe that the property will be a highly sought-after destination for global travellers and locals alike.”

Located in the Downtown district, SLS Dubai offers incomparable 360-degree views over the city, with unobstructed views of the iconic Burj Khalifa, along with a clear overhead of the calming Dubai Creek. The impressive 75-storey tower makes SLS Dubai one of the tallest hotels and residences in the region. Developed in collaboration with international architecture firm Aedas, SLS Dubai features 254 expertly designed hotel rooms by acclaimed designer Paul Bishop, 371 residential units, 321 hotel apartments and in true SLS fashion, contemporary art, sleek accents & exceptional  fittings that are unique characteristics of the brand’s DNA. Bishop, along with his team at Bishop Design, are responsible for the design of the hotel in its entirety, including all of the F&B venues, public spaces as well as the rooms.

Dakota Development, a subsidiary of sbe, provided technical service support for the entire development process including partnering with Bishop Design on SLS’s public spaces and food and beverage venues.

Hotel guests will enter through the ground atrium, take an express elevator to the opulent Sky Lobby on the 71st floor, giving them panoramic views of the city’s skyline. Floor-to-ceiling windows and a grand marble bar highlight S Bar, a lounge area where the menu is playfully divided between healthy, angelic options and sinful, decadent ones. Take your pick.

On the 75th floor, sits Privilege, a lounge and nightlife venue, featuring the region’s highest two infinity pools offering coveted and unobstructed views of Dubai. Privilege is also home to the iconic SLS brand duck, placing it at the top of Dubai’s most Instagram-worthy destinations.

A modern yet sophisticated coffee brand, called EllaMia, greets guest on the ground floor. Promising a sensory and sensual experience, 12 Chairs is a caviar bar that showcases the very best of caviar exclusively reserved for only a few select guests.

SLS Dubai also includes sbe’s signature Ciel Spa, the epitome of luxury with treatment rooms, plunge pools, a hair and nail salon, a fully equipped gym and two outdoor terraces.

Ultimately, SLS Dubai Hotel & Residences is a locale that celebrates what it means to be part of a global community – one where likeminded individuals seek connection, inspiration, wellness, art and lively conversations – essentially, the pulse of the SLS experience. Residents of Dubai and travellers of the world, it’s time to let the magic begin.

Main image credit: Accor

Accor Announces First Mondrian

Accor’s Mondrian to arrive in Singapore in 2023

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Accor’s Mondrian to arrive in Singapore in 2023

The international hospitality group Accor has announced Singapore’s first Mondrian hotel will be built in the heart of the city’s prominent Duxton Hill neighbourhood and is set to open in early 2023, which will come after seven Mondrian hotel openings globally, which are slated for 2022…

Accor Announces First Mondrian

Singapore’s first Mondrian hotel is currently being developed by Craig Road Property Holdings. This news comes on the heels of Accor’s recent announcement regarding its planned venture with Ennismore, which will see the creation of one of the world’s largest and fastest growing lifestyle and entertainment operators set to include Mondrian hotels.

Mondrian Singapore, a luxury lifestyle hotel comprised of 300 guestrooms and suites, a restaurant, a lounge and a rooftop bar will combine historic architecture from Singapore’s centuries-old shophouses with a new build of modern, contemporary influences. 

Chadi Farhat, Chief Operating Officer of sbe, believes that the hotel will be an apt addition to the already thriving hospitality scene in Singapore. “We are thrilled to bring the iconic Mondrian brand to Singapore’s Duxton Hill neighbourhood. Mondrian is a natural fit for a global destination like Singapore, said Farhat. “The property will provide a cultural hub of food and beverage experiences for locals and travellers alike. Mondrian Singapore will be more than a hotel; it will be a destination.” 

Sun You Ning, Director, Craig Road Property Holdings, added: “We are excited to debut the Mondrian brand in South East Asia and Singapore with our partner Accor. Mondrian Singapore will provide guests an opportunity to stay in the heart of Duxton Hill, a vibrant heritage conservation area surrounded by Michelin-starred eateries, award winning bars, and iconic retail stores – all within walking distance to the Central Business District.”

A collaboration between DP Architects and Studio Carter, Mondrian Singapore will feature a lower three-story building in a contemporary take on the famous Singapore ‘shophouse’ building typology. This portion of the hotel features a terracotta roof and colonial-style window shutters and will include the hotel’s premier guest accommodations in loft suites. The hotel will then be expanded with a new, contemporary tower housing the majority of the hotel’s guestrooms as well as a rooftop pool and bar and signature restaurant.

The two buildings will be united by an urban oasis landscape deck to remind guests of their location, as Singapore is known as the “Garden City.” In addition to the rooftop pool, the hotel will also feature a speakeasy bar with a hidden entrance for travellers and locals to explore. sbe subsidiary Dakota Development, led by President Joe Faust, will provide design management services for the project.

Mondrian Singapore will be the first Mondrian hotel in Singapore, further expanding the brand’s luxury lifestyle experiences in South East Asia. The hotel’s location in the charming “day-to-night” Duxton Hill neighbourhood of Singapore’s bustling Downtown Core District positions itself as a prime location for travellers looking to immerse themselves in local cultural explorations.

Mondrian Singapore is one of the new Mondrian properties that Accor plans to open globally and will be one of the first to open in early 2023 in its next phase of expansion following Accor’s acquisition of sbe’s hotel brands.  It follows the company’s recent announcement of Mondrian Gold Coast opening in 2023 and the upcoming opening of Mondrian Shoreditch London in Q2 2021 and Mondrian Bordeaux and Mondrian Cannes in France in 2022.

The debut of the Mondrian brand to Singapore reflects the strategic expansion of the brand’s international footprint, which will include soon-to-be announced Mondrian properties in the Dominican Republic, Germany, the Maldives, Puerto Rico, Switzerland, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Main image credit: Accor

Image of lobby inside TRIBE hotel

Accor enters into exclusive negotiations with Ennismore

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Accor enters into exclusive negotiations with Ennismore

With the two brands working as one, the lifestyle entity is set to become the largest and fastest growing global player, with 12 world-class brands under their umbrella…

Accor and Ennismore, both award-winning hotel brands, have started exclusive negotiations to form the world’s leading lifestyle operator in the hospitality sector, with a clear focus on one of the fastest growing segments of the industry.

Image of lobby inside TRIBE hotel

Through this all-share merger, a new autonomous and fully asset light entity will bring together an unrivalled portfolio of world class brands, including The Hoxton, Gleneagles, Delano, SLS, Mondrian, SO/, Hyde, Mama Shelter, 25hours, 21c Museum Hotels, TRIBE, JO&JOE and Working From_. The new entity will be headquartered in London and will take the name Ennismore.

Image credit: Gleneagles

“The combined entity will comprise 12 brands with 73 hotels.”

Sharan Pasricha, Founder and CEO of Ennismore and Gaurav Bhushan, CEO of the Accor Lifestyle division will become Co-CEOs of the combined entity, alongside an experienced, highly skilled and international management team coming from the various brands and industries across the globe. Accor will be the majority shareholder of the new entity, with Sharan Pasricha holding a substantial minority position.

“Over the last nine years, our mission with Ennismore has always been creating hospitality brands that inspire discovery,” Pasricha explained. “I’m passionate about how brands make you feel, from the personalised digital experience to the design, and with an incredible team of operators and creatives around me, we have expanded The Hoxton across the globe; reimagined Gleneagles; and crafted unique restaurant and bar concepts. This exciting autonomous entity with Accor – one with culture and brand purpose at its heart – allows us to come together to build on our combined portfolio of unique lifestyle brands, accelerate our growth and explore new markets.”

Image credit: Hoxton Southwark

At its inception, the combined entity will comprise 12 brands with 73 hotels in operation with a committed pipeline of more than 110 hotels and another c. 70 hotels under active discussion, and more than 150 destination restaurant and bars. Based on the current network and pipeline the lifestyle platform should achieve an EBITDA of over c. €100m by midterm, the project resulting in significant cost synergies of approximately €15m per year.

In order to form this joint venture, Accor intends to buy out its partners in sbe (see dedicated release by Accor), Mama Shelter and 25hours. The planned combination also envisages the formation of a new company which will hold all the leased assets under the combined entity’s brands. The deconsolidation of the existing leases will have a €52m positive effect on Accor’s consolidated net debt in 2020.

A quirky twin bedroom inside Mama Shelter Lille

Image credit: Mama Shelter Lille

Gaurav Bhushan, CEO of Accor’s Lifestyle operations said: “Joining forces with Sharan and Ennismore’s talented teams will be a major step in Accor’s development strategy. With this combination, we are putting together an unrivalled portfolio of unique brands that appeals to owners, partners and guests, supported by the greatest set of talents in the industry, state of the art distribution and tools and a common ambition to continue to grow and innovate. I very much look forward to our journey together.

Sébastien Bazin, Chairman & CEO of Accor added: “Lifestyle, entertainment, places with a soul have been at the heart of our development and growth strategy over the last years. Partnering with Ennismore’s founder Sharan and his great teams will take our Lifestyle ambition to a new and exciting level. With this combination, we are leading the hospitality industry by creating the largest and fastest growing ecosystem of world class brands. Lifestyle is a sector fueled by passionate and daring entrepreneurs, constantly pushing the boundaries of a reinvented vision of travelling the world. I am proud Accor has been able to join forces with many of the most creative and talented ones. This new powerful combination is set to become the engine of our exciting future growth. “

Under the leadership of Pasricha and Bhushan, each brand will retain their unique culture and purpose, supported by dedicated teams and with the full support of their founders, including the Trigano family, founders of Mama Shelter; Christoph Hoffman, founder of 25 Hours; Sam Nazarian, founder of sbe; Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson for 21C, and Melissa and Mark Peters for TRIBE.

This new, unified and powerful venture will benefit from an in-house global creative studio, designing award-winning interiors and brand communication; an expert digital and technology team innovating the guest experience; and a team of restaurant and bar specialists crafting unique concepts rooted in their neighbourhoods.

Accor’s Lifestyle operations today represent c.5 per cent of Accor’s fees and more than 25 per cent of the pipeline fees. Growth will be accelerated, building on a strong footprint in Europe and the U.S., and a rapidly expanding presence in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and South America supported by Accor’s development teams.

Closing is expected to occur in the first semester of 2021 and is subject to the employee consultation process and customary regulatory authorisations for projects of this type.

Main image credit: Accor

Edge Architects completes 3 design-led Mercure hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Edge Architects completes 3 design-led Mercure hotels

The architecture and design firm has recently completed Mercure hotels in Cardiff, Birmingham and Bedford…

In the last few months, Edge Architects + interior designers has completed three Mercure-branded hotels in Cardiff, Birmingham and Bedford.

The lead designer on all three projects, Craig Parry, has an impressive portfolio including ibis Styles Southwark, Doubletree by Hilton Snowhill, a host of other Mercure hotels, Hampton by Hilton Manchester and Old Bishops Palace Chester.

Parry has sensitively designed the hotels, inside and out, with the aim to balance consumer demands for fresh interiors as well as the need for flexible public areas while also retaining character and style in the architecture and the motifs sheltered within each property.

For example, the 121-key Mercure Bedford Centre Hotel is located in a popular destination for canoeing and kayaking, with the property itself encompassing elements of the area’s cultural and historic past, including timber features from canoes, water graphics and rowing illustrations.

Meanwhile, the new Mercure Cardiff North Hotel draws inspiration from local landmarks such as the Millennium Centre façade in Cardiff Bay, with details such as copper aesthetic lining and curated display items that encompass elements of the area’s cultural and historic past.

The Mercure Birmingham West Hotel is an urban retreat that consists of 168 rooms, which feature locally inspired and sourced artwork and design elements.

White bed, with construction inspired wallcovering

Image credit: Mercure Cardiff North

“Each hotel has the Mercure service and features that guests expect but they offer local touches too.” – Michael Brag, Chairman of Proark

Having previously operated under the Park Inn brand, the hotel is one of six across the UK to have been signed by Danish based property group, Proark, and rebranded to Mercure.

We have worked closely with Accor since signing this portfolio of Mercure hotels and are extremely pleased with the result of the refurbishment. Each hotel has the Mercure service and features that guests expect but they offer local touches too, which we are confident will be well received by business and leisure travellers alike,” Michael Brag, Chairman of Proark told Hotel Designs. “For the design, we decided to work with Craig Parry, as he has vast practice experience in hospitality for Mercure, as well as independent boutiques, so we felt he was the right man for the job.”

Main image credit: Accor/Mercure/Proark

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: ZoomVP/Accor

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: ZoomVP/Accor

Main image credit: Accor/IKEA

A legend reborn: Raffles Singapore reopens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A legend reborn: Raffles Singapore reopens

Raffles Singapore has announced its highly anticipated reopening. With interiors by the acclaimed Alexandra Champalimaud, the hotel’s sensitive design heralds an exciting new chapter in the iconic property’s rich history and heritage…

The infamous Raffles Singapore is now open, following the iconic hotel’s careful and sensitive three-phased restoration, which first began in February 2017. The meticulous restoration project, led by acclaimed interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud, was also supported by Aedas.

“There are few hotels in the world whose names have become virtually synonymous with the cities in which they are located – and none more so than the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. The newly restored Raffles will provide an experience like no other,” said Christian Westbeld, General Manager, Raffles Singapore. “It is our wish and desire that our guests will continue to create treasured memories at the hotel, while rediscovering what makes it so special – the distinctive architecture, heritage and legendary service.”

Discerning travellers can expect new levels of unrivalled comfort and inimitable service with enhanced suite experience, brought to life by the fabled Raffles Butlers, while enjoying the new and reimagined spaces at Raffles Singapore.

“Raffles Singapore reinvents emotional luxury.” – Jeannette Ho, Vice President, Raffles Brand and Strategic Relationships, Raffles Hotels and Resorts

Striking chandeliers hang down in modern nd contemporary restaurant

Image caption: La Dame de Pic. Credit: Raffles Singapore

“We are very pleased to be part of the reopening of the iconic Raffles Singapore officially returning to the city, refreshed, reimagined and revitalised,” commented Jeannette Ho, Vice President, Raffles Brand and Strategic Relationships, Raffles Hotels and Resorts. “This is where it all started and faithful to its roots, Raffles Singapore reinvents emotional luxury. As the hotel concludes its restoration and embarks on the next chapter, the return of this flagship property to Raffles Hotels & Resorts paves the way for the expansion of the brand as we deliver this same level of unparalleled service and sublime experiences to new destinations in cities such as Udaipur, London and Boston.”

The revitalised hotel offers luxurious all-suite accommodations, across nine distinct suite categories: State Room Suites, Courtyard Suites, Palm Court Suites, Personality Suites, Residence Suites, Promenade Suites, Studio Suites, Grand Hotel Suites and Presidential Suites. Residence, Promenade and Studio suites, are the three latest additions to the hotel’s existing line-up. The total suite count increases from 103 suites to 115 suites.

The Raffles Arcade has been newly outfitted with a charming Raffles Boutique and various bespoke retail brands. Guests and locals will also delight in exploring the worldly restaurants and bars at Raffles Singapore, including restaurant collaborations with Chef Anne-Sophie Pic, of the three-Michelin star Maison Pic in Valence, France; venerable French Master Chef Alain Ducasse; and Chef Jereme Leung, known for his innovative Chinese cooking. At the refreshed Long Bar, travellers will continue to enjoy the hotel’s most famous cocktail, the original Singapore Sling, along with the timeless tradition of tossing peanut shells on the floor.

Westbeld further added, “Raffles Singapore is one of the few remaining great 19th century hotels in the world and its restoration has been carefully designed to preserve its unique historic charm, while creating extraordinary experiences for our esteemed guests – a dedicated commitment from all of us at Raffles Singapore and also from our owner, Katara Hospitality.”

First opened in 1887, and declared a National Monument a century later by the Singapore Government in 1987, Raffles Singapore has through the years, gained both local and international recognition as an oasis for the well-travelled. It is a national treasure among Singaporeans who deeply value its historical significance and unique heritage. The last restoration was conducted from 1989 to 1991 where the hotel closed for two and a half years.

Main image credit: Accor/Raffles Singapore

Mantra Accor

Accor in big Mantra bid to cash in on Australia tourist boom

415 251 Daniel Fountain

France’s Accor SA has bid Australian $1.18 billion (£696 million) for Mantra Group Ltd – a deal that would combine the two biggest hotel owners in Australia, both seeking to capitalise on surging tourism in the country, according to a Reuters report.

Accor, already the biggest hotelier in Australia, offered $3.96 (£2.34) a share, or a 23 percent premium to Mantra’s closing price on Friday. The total offer is worth $4.02 (£2.37) per share if a six-cent final dividend paid in 2017 is included, Mantra said in a statement.

Mantra said it was allowing Accor to conduct due diligence “to determine if a transaction can be agreed and recommended unanimously by the Mantra board.” An Accor spokeswoman had no immediate comment.

The Francis, Accor M Gallery - Bath

Accor’s M Gallery, The Francis, Bath (Patrick Goff)

1000 572 Daniel Fountain

Aquae Sulis was the Roman name for this spa. The British of course are more ‘lumpen’ than classical, so called it Bath. It has been a resort town for millennia. Fittingly the Francis was built speculatively as a group of refined townhouses by John Wood the Elder, who lived in one of the houses, no.9. The terrace now forms the Francis hotel, no.9 the entrance lobby.

This has always been a wealthy part of the country and property prices in and around Bath are spectacularly higher than in most other parts of the country, in part due to the proximity of Charlie’s country home, but also because we tax payers have indulgently provided the chief of the Westminster chattering classes with a home nearby too. Both these have increased demand amongst the wealthier to live close by, presumably in hope of sharing a sherry occasionally. Into this wealthy town comes Accor, perceptively opening one of its new branded boutique hotels, an M Gallery, known throughout the area as the Francis, to serve both residents and the busy tourist market. The Francis is the chains second M Gallery in the UK, one of a growing number globally as Accor seeks to rework its brands which range from the luxury Sofitel through to the budget Ibis.

The Francis was first used for hospitality in the 1870s. The first owner, a Mrs Francis, moved from another hotel nearby, brought the remarkable canopy over the front door with her when she made it into a proper hotel (an early boutique perhaps) in 1884, converting it from its previous existence as a boarding house. The hotel obviously upset some German guests as they made a couple of return flying visits in the early 1940’s, leaving parts in ruins behind them.

The Francis, Accor M Gallery - Bath
Reopened in the middle of the last century the hotel has now had a major makeover by Accor to the tune of some £6 million. Any refurbishment of a Grade 1 listed building in the UK has to battle a quagmire of regulation and supervision, frequently leaving the designers with conflicting instructions to resolve, energy conservation for example conflicting with a requirement to keep existing single glazed sash windows. Here the designers have acknowledged the history of the buildings throughout the project giving Accor a stunning property full of visual excitement. The theatre is strong whether the hotel is entered from the front door, or from the rear car park. The visual theatre is accentuated by the use of lighting and ornament, bespoke light fittings adding their drama to the rich chromatic palette the interior designer has chosen. This was a bold design strategy, using strong colour and pattern, but the designer has carried it off with consummate skill.

A rear lobby that might have been a dull entrance is lifted by skillfully lit niches echoing Rome with their busts. In the front the entrance drama comes from primary colour allied with a striking black and white floor patterning. The white concierge desk and red individual reception desks are discrete, allowing the space to flow well and providing guests with views into lounges either side. The one decision I would question here is the idea that the bar should be hidden. Already diners from the adjacent restaurant are getting drinks from the bar there rather than the hotel bar, and bringing them into the hotel lounge to drink. As the restaurant is an independent operation this is not good economics for the hotel. A large mirror on the end wall would preserve discretion in hiding the bar behind a wall, whilst still allowing its presence to be evident.

The Francis, Accor M Gallery - Bath
The bar lounge itself uses the history to effect with screens and wallpapers echoing period patterning. ‘Decadent’ light fittings drip crystal jewels and combine with colour to present the perfect sybaritic antidote to those bleak minimalist hotel interiors we have suffered from in recent years.
The main lounge on the opposite side of Reception continues the hotels’ tradition of afternoon tea as well as apparently operating as a lounge to the Raymond Blanc restaurant. The smaller bar lounge has a beautifully lit display of blue glass providing the man lighting drama. The slightly Georgian style wing chairs are upholstered in red and blue alternating fabric, which also provides some chromatic drama. Lighting is supplemented with wall sconces and table lamps. The enclosed nature of this space makes it less visible from the area anyway, but the glass mural screen completes its isolation from any sign of the demon drink.

There is a careful balancing act to listening to guests and measuring what they say about the commercial criteria for the operation. This is especially true when the guest profile is elderly but they often surprise by their acceptance of change, frequently being more open minded than the young. Whilst also often the elderly are perceived as resistant to change, here the contemporary take on the design has gone down well from my observation. I suspect the complaints about the bar were probably more to do with its previous style rather than anything else. I have never noticed the older generation generally having any particular resistance to alcohol consumption…

The entrance doors at the end of the lounge and the notice on the hotel’s website of the presence of Bistro Blanc generally suggests that there is a link between the two, but this is not the case. This leaves bookings for dinner for guests at the mercy of the manger of Blancs, and the hotel’s own restaurant just acting as a breakfast area, despite its size and position. It may be the kitchen is inadequate but I would have thought that if capable of providing breakfasts, the famous ‘full English’, then like any other operation it can provide guests with a basic bistro operation as an alternative should Raymond Blancs be fully booked. This is quite possible in Bath where some restaurants are apparently booked five months ahead. My experience of Mercures is that they do not provide a full meal service and perhaps Accor intends for this to continue with its ‘M’ Gallery operation?

The Francis, Accor M Gallery - Bath
Whatever the operational mismatch, the design sings. The architectural layout has been revised but the colour and pattern bring it together.
With the original hotel being the merger of a number of buildings, the architects and interior designer have honoured the pattern with each house warranting a different colour scheme in the corridors. Plaques mark each building internally. Whilst the ground floor schemes attempt quite successfully to evoke the era that saw the glories of colour and pattern in such interiors as those of Brighton Pavilion, the bedrooms and bathrooms strike a very modern note.

Bold carpets in solid colour with strong borders are complemented by black lacquer beds. The solid colour is a risky approach as pattern can hide a multitude of spills and splashes, whilst solid colour does not, but visually it is strong. The walls are painted but in some rooms there are line drawings depicting Bath – run off as digital wallpaper prints and showing the versatility now available to the designer. Colour combinations are bold and harmonious, an are used in some rooms to revamp the fitted wardrobes installed by the previous operator. Strong colour and careful detailing such as the use of chrome switch plates and black lacquer for the bedroom case-goods add to the drama. Yet the whole effect is quite restful. So much so the designer has added a picture to the ceiling for you to look at as you relax…

In keeping with many British hotels the sash windows open as there is no air conditioning. This is the case in many British hotels where the view is that it is only needed for 14 days of the year. Certainly in an historic building like this introducing a system is difficult, if not impossible. The rooms have good proportions and all are en-suite, despite the difficulties in running the services that must have been experienced in an earlier build. A word of warning to all designers; glass tops on work desks stop computer mice working as the glass refracts the light the mouse needs to track with. Frustrating for a business man trying to work out why his mouse cursor is not moving. A return to grubby mouse mats perhaps – I hope not. Here the desk is a good size with ample sockets. There is also a table and two easy chairs so it is easy to see how with full meal service this hotel could easily become a five star experience.

The Francis, Accor M Gallery - Bath
The bathrooms too are well designed and behind all the baths and showers is a large mural image of the Roman baths, located in their original form an easy walk from the hotel. Showers are both rain head and a hand unit. The powerful showers throw out a large volume of water. This in turn causes a problem in that the extract is unable to cope, leaving the room dripping as the steam condenses out on the walls and ceiling. Fortunately most bathrooms have opening windows, but either more powerful fans or an additional extract might be needed to provide a solution.

Baths are standard European baths boasted of in the US as being a ‘soaking tub’. The large wash stands give a sense of additional style as well as harking back in style to an earlier era. This is all a part of the designers consideration all the way through the project of reminding the guest subtly of the history of the building. This is, in my view, a glorious refurbishment only marred by some curious operational decisions. However, if an indicator of the general quality Accor are to achieve throughout their new ‘M’ Gallery brand, it will provide serious competition in the boutique hotel market.

All words and images are ©Patrick Goff. From a visit made in July 2012.