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Interior visualisation of ADP's new hotel in Kyiv

Should hotels do a better job of reflecting their communities?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Should hotels do a better job of reflecting their communities?

To conclude our editorial series with ADP Architecture, Studio Director Amrit Naru looks at how a hotels and their design can sensitively reflect a locations local culture…

Interior visualisation of ADP's new hotel in Kyiv

Ask someone to name a place they’re looking forward to visiting once lockdown eases, and there’s a wide range of answers you might hear. They might mention a local pub or café. They might be looking forward to getting back to the gym, seeing a sports team play, or popping in to see a friend. They’re unlikely to mention a hotel.

And there’s a perfectly good reason for that: hotels aren’t typically designed for their local community. They’re arguably designed for everyone but the local community: tourists, business travellers, visitors for one reason or another. In contrast with the back-and-forth of a transport hub, we look at hotels as a one-directional interface between a specific locale and the wider world, where the wider world touches down for a few days before returning home. The only transport hub that seems to bear comparison here is a docking station for UFOs.

This kind of view fits the traditional way of looking at hotels – but of course, it neglects the wide range of purposes that hotels can actually serve. Very few hotels are simply places to stay: they can include bars, restaurants, conference centres, spas, and plenty more. It’s easy to look at these facilities simply as added value for guests, but they’re just as likely to be used by locals.

Explore these opportunities further, and you open up a whole new way of thinking about what a hotel can be. Far from a semi-private site with clearly defined boundaries – like a house or an office building – it becomes permeable, integrated with its community, with spaces which are as much defined by their surroundings and local flavour as by the people who travel to them. This kind of approach can reverse the (un)popular image of a hotel, making it the beating heart of a neighbourhood that benefits everyone.

Take, for example, a recent ADP project on a former industrial site in Scotland. When several plants closed in the 70s and 80s, hundreds of local workers lost their jobs, and the area lost key places that had given it purpose. It’s the sort of post-industrial community that’s been crying out for regeneration of the genuinely beneficial kind, providing spaces that benefit and support an existing community rather than driving them out. So when we were appointed to design a new hotel there, we saw an opportunity to create real value for local residents and businesses.

Our public consultations confirmed this: many locals voiced their worries that a hotel of the traditional sort could detract from the area, and that a radically different approach was needed. We took these concerns on board, asking consultees what sorts of facilities would be useful to them, and designing a scheme which is as much a community hub as a hotel. The proposals include a range of spaces open to the community, such as a gym, restaurant and bar. Public realm was also key to our designs, and we explored various ways to bring local residents onto the grounds, giving the landscape an open, accessible feel that interacts sensitively with the riverbank bordering the site.

The very flexibility of this approach means that it can work for any community, in any location. We’re currently delivering a hotel for Radisson in Kyiv, Ukraine, which includes a hybrid lounge/coffee/restaurant space with an open design – reflecting a wider openness to the surrounding neighbourhood. By breaking down the boundaries between types of spaces – and using the ground floor of a hotel as a fuzzy threshold – it’s possible to encourage the kind of unplanned interactions and sharing of spaces on which communities thrive.

Of course, embedding a hotel in its locale isn’t just down to the architects and engineers who design it. Marketing teams have to strike a careful balance between promoting the hotel’s brand and responding to the spirit of a place, the unique “vibe” that defines a district. The most effective way to do this is to make flexibility central to your brand: Hotel Indigo, an IHG brand that I’ve worked with in the past, does this particularly well by using the sights and sounds of their urban locations to inform every detail of the hotel’s design, from public spaces to private rooms. IHG is certainly not the only client I’ve worked with to take this approach, with companies such as Radisson and Hilton offering similar “lifestyle” brands.

The risk here is that a design can simply mimic its environment, becoming a pastiche rather than a reflection. Again, engagement with the community is key. It’s impossible to tap into what makes a city like Newcastle or Marrakech, Sydney or New York special without taking cues from the people who call those cities home – especially when clichés about “the typical New Yorker” are so widespread. Our redevelopment of Oxford Castle – including a Malmaison hotel converted from a Victorian prison – is a classic example of this, reflecting a part of the city’s culture and history which has very little connection to the more famous university, and integrating hospitality with bars, restaurants, shops and a visitors’ centre.

Getting this right means paying attention to the details, and taking a holistic approach. Employees aren’t just brand ambassadors: they’re community ambassadors too, trained in the kind of local knowledge that adds serious value for guests looking for hidden gems nearby. A local hiring policy takes this a step further, ensuring that your staff have a genuine connection to the hotel’s surroundings while creating jobs that support the area’s economy. Bookable spaces for businesses and a local supply chain complete the picture – transforming an out-of-place visitor from out of town into a place in its own right, with the town’s blood running through its veins.

“Staying local” has taken on a whole new meaning in the last year, and it’s sure to be a phrase that resonates with us for many years to come. By bringing hotels into a deeper, richer conversation with their surroundings, we can help give a much needed boost to communities which have suffered through lockdown. It’s also a surefire way to protect our industry from relying too greatly on travel – making it stronger, more adaptable, and better equipped to deal with an uncertain future.

ADP Architecture is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here.

Image caption: Interior visualisation of ADP’s new hotel in Kyiv. | Image credit: ADP Architecture

VIP arrivals: Hottest April hotel openings

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP arrivals: Hottest April hotel openings

The industry is gearing up for a summer of hospitality, is the feeling the editorial desk at Hotel Designs has as it selects the most exciting hotel openings expected in April 2021. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Blink and you will miss it! With vaccine updates, hotel re-opening strategies being across social media and conversations moving towards re-engaging with the post-corona consumer, all signs on the editorial desk lead to a summer of hospitality – whether that be abroad or enjoyed domestically.

This prediction follows a flood of press releases, together referencing hope, optimism and prosperity for international hotel design and hospitality. Regardless on whether we will be allowed to travel ahead of the summer boom, hotels are being developed in preparation for the travel demand that is shortly inevitable as we reach the one-year anniversary since many nations closed their boarders in order to fight against the spread of Covid-19.

We have been sharing our VIP arrivals now for four months, but it seems as if many brands have waited until now when it comes to unveiling new arrivals. Following an in-depth look at the landscape, here are our VIP arrivals for April.

Iniala Harbour House & Residences

Image of bar in curved tunnel-like structure

Image credit: Iniala Harbour House & Residences

Spread across four exquisite Maltese townhouses and their ancient vaults, dating back to the 1600s, Iniala Harbour House & Residences has 22 uniquely designed rooms and suites, and will be the latest opening from philanthropist Mark Weingard. The hotel, which overlooks the famous Grand Harbour, will set new standards for eye-catching urban design.

Iniala Harbour House & Residences, which is slated to open its doors in April, mixes tradition with more contemporary touches offering an eclectic mix of design concepts that subtly reflect Valletta’s unique heritage and charm. Created by three world-class design studios – Autoban from Turkey, A-Cero from Spain, and Malta’s DAAA HAUS – the hotel’s historical details will be beautifully preserved, with each townhouse having a distinctive identity. Using three different designers offers a true variation of interiors for all guests’ tastes.

Kalesma Mykonos

An image of infinity pool in Mykonos hotel that is opening this April

Image credit: Kalesma Mykonos

Set to elevate the desirable island of Mykonos to new heights, Kalesma is a 25-suite and two-villa luxury hotel, which is expected to open in late April. ‘Kalesma’, meaning ‘inviting’ in Greek, is perfectly suited to the ethos of this boutique, privately-owned property. The whitewashed collection of houses have been created to resemble a charming Mykonian village, tumbling down a slope to Ornos Bay, just a short walk from the beach. The look and feel of a traditional village is deliberate, as Kalesma is all about making guests feel at home and encouraging a neighbourhood vibe, enhanced by laid-back weekly supper clubs. Inspired by Cycladic architecture, combining tradition with contemporary elements, Kalesma is a design aficionados dream – offering sleek and minimalist interiors using locally-sourced materials, evident at every turn.

Ca’ di Dio, Venice

Ca’ di Dio, which is expected to open in April, is located in a unparalleled position, at the entrance to the Arsenale area, known as the Contemporary Art District of Venice, a place linked to the prestigious Biennale. The fascinating history of the building dates back to 1272, and the project has been curated by the studio of the internationally renowned architect Patricia Urquiola, with the aim of creating an original and distinctive concept: a Venetian “house”, linked to the history of the city. 

Although contemporary in style, which is unusual for Venice, when strolling through the common areas, guests will be able to admire the bright travertine and perfectly preserved frescoes. The hotel features many places for guests to relax whilst staying in Venice; an ‘altana’ – covered roof-terrace, common in medieval Venice, which is the perfect place from which to admire the sights of the city, two internal courtyards, which will be home to one restaurant serving light and quick snacks throughout the day, and a spacious reading room. There will be a second, outdoor restaurant overlooking the lagoon, towards the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. 

Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

Sophisticated deluxe room inside Mandarin Oriental Madrid

Image credit: Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

Following the most ambitious and extensive renovation to take place in its 110-year history – it took three years for Spanish architect Rafael de La-Hoz and the French designer duo Gilles & Boissier to complete their collaborated masterpiece – Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid is ready to serve its guests. The 153-key luxury hotel is expected to appeal to both local and international guests, while preserving the striking Belle Époque character of the original building in keeping with the original spirit conceived by Cesar Ritz.

In addition to the Spanish arrival, Mandarin Oriental will also be opening properties in Luzern, Switzerland and on the Bosphorus in Istanbul in 2021.

W Algarve – look out, Portugal!

Render of private pool overlooking Algarve in hotel that opens in April

Image credit: W Hotels

W Hotels is about to land in the Algarve, which marks the brand’s debut in Portugal. Located just outside of Albufeira and perched on the iconic cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the hotel is a combination of urban glam meets beach life in a region famous for its beautiful, secluded coves, year-round sunshine and enticing cuisine. Guests can expect pulsating beats, vibrant flavours, and bright contemporary design.

The hotel will shelter 134 guestrooms and suites plus 83 residences, all ocean facing and boasting spacious balconies. Atlantic colours and asymmetrical forms that mimic the nearby cliffs define the design; it is the Algarve reinterpreted by W. 

Facilities will include a state-of-the-art fitness centre ‘FIT’ and an ‘Away’ Spa with seven treatment rooms, plus outdoor pools. To refuel and replenish there will be an authentic Portuguese Algarve-inspired dining restaurant, plus a classic and modern Italian restaurant.

Taking the luxury up an additional notch are the ‘Extreme WOW Suites’ with a rooftop terrace where luscious gardens surround an elevated lounge seating spot, DJ booth, dining and bar area, and an infinity pool from which guests can soak up the incredible sunset views over the Atlantic Ocean. The bedroom design is inspired by the beautiful Benagil cave and the picturesque Algarve fishing villages.

Berkeley Park Hotel, Miami 

On April 1, 2021, Berkeley Park Hotel will rise as the newest member of the MGallery Hotel Collection, and the first MGallery property in Florida. A highly anticipated four-star boutique hotel, the 80-key property sits along one of Miami Beach’s most coveted sectors known by locals as the Collins Park “Arts Corridor” for its direct access to world-renowned art institutions, and just steps from white sand beaches. With a timeless Mediterranean façade from 1936, the hotel pays homage to the city’s architectural roots with all the modern amenities that discerning travellers expect.

“We are thrilled to continue expanding our North American portfolio with the addition of the Berkeley Park Hotel – MGallery,” said Heather McCrory, CEO, Accor North & Central America. “With its ideal location, striking architecture, and vibrant spirit, the hotel is a tremendous addition to Accor’s Miami portfolio, which also includes Faena Hotel Miami Beach, SLS South Beach, SLS Brickell, SLS LUX Brickell, Hyde Midtown Miami, Mondrian South Beach, Novotel Miami Brickell, and Pullman Miami Airport.”

Main image credit: Iniala Harbour House & Residences

*Some dates as listed above may be subject to change due to travel restrictions following Covid-19 and national lockdown developments.

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.

Image of bedroom at Great Plains Mara Plains

Great Plains to open two new design-led camps

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Great Plains to open two new design-led camps

Leading conservation brand Great Plains, led by photographers and filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert, has announce new ‘sensational safari accommodations’ in two different design-led camps, which both open this summer…

Image of bedroom at Great Plains Mara Plains

Great Plains has unveiled that it will open two new design-led safari camps, Mara Toto Camp and Mara Plains Camp, this summer in Kenya.

The brand-new Mara Toto Camp, which is perfectly suited for families and intimate groups traveling together, will open its doors to guests on May 25, 2021. Meaning “baby” in Swahili, Mara Toto Camp will be located just two kilometres away from big sister Mara Plains Camp, which is also scheduled to re-open on June 1, 2021, after a full camp refurbishment, including introducing an exquisite new private honeymoon suite. The eagerly anticipated Mara Jahazi Suite is scheduled to open at Mara Plains Camp at the same time. The exclusive use villa will include a private game drive vehicle, guide, butler and chef. It will be ideal for groups and multi-generational travel looking for an exceptional private safari experience.

Situated along the Ntiakitiak River banks on the border of the Maasai Mara Reserve, the new Mara Toto Camp is hidden in the forest, offering guests privacy and wonderful game-viewing opportunities with access to both the Maasai Mara Reserve and the adjacent Mara North Private Conservancy. Accommodating up to eight guests, the intimate Mara Toto Camp is perfectly suited to be hired out exclusively for intimate groups, couples, and families. Designed by co-founder Beverly Joubert, the new camp will boast tranquil blue coloured interiors with leather and canvas touches harmoniously blending a feeling of comfort and adventure. Mara Toto Camp will consist of four canvas tents with spacious brass baths, along with a communal relaxation area, and indoor and outdoor dining options.

Situated in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy – one of the most iconic wildlife destinations on the planet with unrivalled access to more than 100,000 acres of exclusive land as well as access to the 375,000 Maasai Mara Reserve – Mara Plains Camp, will re-open to guests at the beginning of June after undergoing a full camp refurbishment. Located upriver from little sister Mara Toto Camp, the refreshed camp is completely elevated on high-rise decks and will now offer couples a brand-new honeymoon suite on a peninsula island. The new Honeymoon Suite can only be accessed via suspension bridge offering couples their own oasis of exclusivity and privacy. Designed by Great Plains CEO and co-founder Dereck Joubert, the new honeymoon suite at Mara Plains will have large wooden Swahili doors, paying homage to East Africa’s essence. The spacious open-plan design and décor of the honeymoon suite, also designed by Beverly, will have a colonial influence with wooden floors, big antique brass chandeliers from the original South African Blue Train, red-hued interiors and fine brass furnishings, offering an elegant yet comfortable atmosphere that complements the abundant surrounding wilderness.

Mara Plains will also be introducing the eagerly anticipated Mara Plains Jahazi Suite, an impressive new private two-bedroom villa, which will open at the same time as Mara Plains. Featuring big wooden Zanzibar doors, large teak Mahogany desks and exquisite luxurious red coloured interiors, the spacious open plan exclusive villa residence consists of a two-bedroom suite, shared lounge and dining area including the services of a private game drive vehicle, guide and chef.

“Our new camps will encapsulate that period and yet encourage living in the moment and being present. I know you will fall in love here. I do each time.” – Dereck Joubert, CEO of Great Plains.

“That allure of safari started in East Africa, and our plans this year are to expand our offering in Kenya, but to do it with an eye to that original East African safari with a greatly improved standard,” said Dereck. “I’ve always felt that our guests want to come to Africa to see wildlife, and experience that spirit of the continent- to be seduced by its romance and warmth of our communities. Guests stay with us to have their hearts, and their minds stimulated. At Great Plains, they come to step into a movie script where everything is perfect, stylish and breath-taking. Our new camps will encapsulate that period and yet encourage living in the moment and being present. I know you will fall in love here. I do each time.”

As well as sheltering stylish accommodations and public areas that effortless reflect sense of place, Great Plains inherently in its hospitality nature. For example, all of its properties are solar-powered. In addition, a local sapling is planted for every guest that stays at a Great Plains Kenya camp as part of the Great Plains Foundation’s Replacement of Shade Programme; a sustainable travel initiative that aims to restore indigenous trees to Kenya’s vast landscape.

Main image credit: Great Plains

Image of luxury Marriott f&b arae

Marriott signs agreement to bring three new hotels to Saudi Arabia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott signs agreement to bring three new hotels to Saudi Arabia

Among the anticipated new hotels that Marriott International will be opening include the debut of Renaissance Hotels in the Kingdom, the world’s largest Aloft Hotel, and a Courtyard by Marriott in Makkah…

Image of luxury Marriott f&b arae

Marriott International, which recently celebrated the opening of one of its brand’s 100th property as well as opening its 800th hotel in the Asia Pacific region, has signed an agreement with leading real estate company Al Saedan Group, to open three hotels by 2025 across Saudi Arabia. The multi-project agreement includes the country and territory’s first Renaissance Hotel, the world’s largest Aloft Hotel and a Courtyard by Marriott in the Holy City of Makkah.

“We are pleased to build on our fantastic relationship with Al Saedan Group and further expand our portfolio across Saudi Arabia with these milestone signings,” said Satya Anand, President for Europe, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International. “These agreements underscore Marriott International’s commitment to supporting the growth of the Kingdom’s tourism sector and reinforces the continued demand we are seeing for our portfolio of brands across the country.”

“As a company, we are focused on developing projects that support the growth and development of the Kingdom,” said Sultan Al Khudair, CEO of Al Saedan Group. “We are excited to collaborate with Marriott International to open two new properties in the Holy City which will be ideal destinations for those visiting for Umrah and Haj, and to debut Renaissance Hotels in the country. These three new agreements were signed in line with our commitment to bring the highest standards of quality and design to our assets and to provide a premium experience to our guests.”

Marriott International is one of the largest hotel groups in the world, encompassing a portfolio of more than 7,600 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 133 countries and territories.

Main image credit: Marriott International (no images or renders of the three new properties have yet been released)

Gif of top stories of the week

Weekly briefing: Hyatt milestones, a D.C. check-in & HD Live returns

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Hyatt milestones, a D.C. check-in & HD Live returns

Editor Hamish Kilburn here with your weekly briefing, a safe place where you can catch up on all the hottest hotel design and hospitality stories from the last couple of days. This week’s round-up includes our latest hotel review and your chance to join us for free at Hotel Designs LIVE in May…

Gif of top stories of the week

As we accelerate past the anniversary when the UK was placed under its first national lockdown following the Covid-19 outbreak, I am reminded of how unpredictable events can impact the way in which hospitality and hotel design is perceived.

This week, when hosting our latest roundtable (to be published next month) the conversation turned towards how, despite the hospitality industry being inherently hygienic and clean, the perception around cleanliness is the new challenge designers and hospitality professionals are managing.

Although we don’t have all the answers just yet, one way to reassure the post-corona consumer is by highlighting exceptional design and examples of innovative hospitality – something that the editorial team at Hotel Designs feels strongly about. In addition to shining the spotlight on leading hotel design examples, we also need to amplify the raw conversations the industry is having right now in order to reopen for the post-pandemic world. Cue the return of Hotel Designs LIVE in May, which will welcome world-renowned designers, architects, hoteliers and developers to speak about the real challenges our industry is facing in 2021.

Until May, the editorial team is here to serve you the latest news and features in international hotel design and hospitality – starting with this round-up of the top stories published this week.

Hyatt opens 1,000th hotel worldwide

Image caption: Rendering of Hyatt Centric Jumeirah Dubai | Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Image caption: Rendering of Hyatt Centric Jumeirah Dubai | Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

We love a milestone at Hotel Designs! For any brand to claim that they have opened 1,000 hotels is an enormous feat, but considering we are in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis – and the hospitality industry is climbing its most challenging mountain to date in order to thrive once more – the news that Hyatt has opened its 1,000th hotel worldwide is nothing short of extra ordinary.

Read more.

Hotel review: Checking in to Riggs Washington D.C.

Sheltered in a former bank in the capital city, Riggs Washington D.C.is emerging from the pandemic as a statement hotel that offers a new kind of luxury on the east coast. Writer and cine​matic storyteller Ollie Wiggins checks in to the Caroline Harrison suite and interviews interior design legend Jacu Strauss in order to understand the hotel design narrative that is not what it first seems.

Read more.

Registration now open for Hotel Designs LIVE in May

Hot off the heels of the success of Hotel Designs LIVE in February – and following being shortlisted in the ‘Best Webinar Series’ category at the Digital Event Awards – Hotel Designs’ one-day online conference will return on May 11, with world-renowned designers, architects and hospitality specialists confirmed in the speakership line-up.

Read more. | Participate.

In Conversation With: Atlas Concorde on surface design

Atlas Concorde interview image

In the wake of Hotel Designs’ spotlight on surfaces throughout the month of February, Hotel Designs gets a behind-the-scenes perspective of one of the leading ceramic surface brands in the industry. Matteo Martini, UK & Northern Europe Sales Director at Atlas Concordejoins us to explore surface trends, creative materials and sustainability.

Read more.

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

This April, Hotel Designs is serving up a multiple stories that will be dedicated to public areas and architecture & construction; two areas in hotel design that go hand-in-hand when looking at meaningful solutions for tomorrow’s hotel design scene.

Read more.

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.

Image of Riggs Wet bar

Hotel review: Checking in to Riggs Washington D.C.

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel review: Checking in to Riggs Washington D.C.

Sheltered in a former bank in the capital city, Riggs Washington D.C. is emerging from the pandemic as a statement hotel that offers a new kind of luxury on the east coast. Writer and cine​matic storyteller Ollie Wiggins checks in to the Caroline Harrison suite and interviews interior design legend Jacu Strauss in order to understand the hotel design narrative that is not what it first seems…

Image of Riggs Wet bar

The highly anticipated Riggs Washington D.C. opened its doors in early 2020, but considering the unforeseen circumstances around the pandemic that shortly followed, the hotel’s grand opening period was cut short as hospitality worldwide hunkered down for a turbulent year. So, for the sake of this review, I am prepared to erase 2020 from our memories in order to instead celebrate the arrival of what has already become one of Washington’s most exciting hotel openings of the decade. This 181-key hotel aims to offer unparalleled luxury and a breath of fresh air to the thriving and modern metropolis. 

Sitting down with Jacu Strauss, the Creative Director of Lore Group and the brainchild behind Sea Containers London and Pulitzer Amsterdam, it becomes immediately apparent how important the setting was and is to him – he is clearly passionate about DC. “It’s just a really beautiful city,” he says. “Great architecture, and noticeably lacking skyscrapers, it has a certain rhythm to it.” With Jacu’s projects across the world, he’s famous for putting time, energy and resources in to research an area and its needs. Keen to avoid what he describes as a “cookie cutter approach”, it is about the neighbourhoods, the greater contexts of the city and its people. With D.C., he felt he’d found a real gap in the hospitality market. “You have lifestyle brands as well as more traditional, institutional luxury hotels that are really established here and do what they do perfectly,” Strauss explains. “But we wanted to bridge that gap between lifestyle and luxury and become an institution that sits alone.”

It would have been all too easy to make this imposing gothic building into another institutional hotel. And there is no escaping the fact that it is sheltered in what used to be a bank – the ceilings are enormous for starters. The name of the hotel is synonymous with banking throughout DC; many presidents banked with the brand and it even provided the bank loan the US government needed to buy Alaska. Strauss freely admits that he is not the first to turn a bank into a luxury hotel, citing The Ned in London as a prime example. It is perhaps for this reason that he is keen to make sure the building is not tied to its former use. “We really wanted to depart from banking and make it about other things as well,” Strauss explains. “We wanted to celebrate both the legacy of the building and history of the city through unexpected details and a thoughtful approach to guest experience.” So it is perhaps no surprise then that he says he wants to evoke the spirit of the bank, preserving and restoring much of the beautiful old building with playful nod’s to it’s rich and storied past. It is in this way he hopes that the building will reflect a sense of timelessness, which he hopes will give the hotel longevity. 

Upon entering the hotel on F street, I am immediately struck by how authentically period the building feels. Whilst Strauss said he was keen to avoid the sense that the building was stuck in the past, it is hard to imagine the entrance hall has changed at all in the 130 years since it was built. The original marble floors and columns, for example, have not lost their shine or luster. The intricate recessed carvings on the arches of the barrelled ceiling have been meticulously restored and the gold trim on the American eagle that presides over the entryway is as bright and splendid as one would hope.

Image caption: The lobby/reception area has been designed to give a sensitive nod to the building's past. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: The lobby/reception area has been designed to give a sensitive nod to the building’s past. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

To the right, the commanding entrance hall is replaced with a warm and welcoming check-in area. There is still the impressive sense of space and grandeur from the high-vaulted ceilings and federalist columns, but the marble floor has been replaced by a luxurious blue carpet. Comfortable arm chairs and soft furnishings help temper the building’s stark gothic feel without taking away from the majestic first impression. On the wall hangs an enormous medallion of Juno Moneta, the Roman goddess of money, modelled on an insignia Strauss discovered when first exploring the building. It gives the impression of inventing without betraying that the designer was keen to create; whilst a new addition to the building, the medallion feels timeless and totally in keeping with the property’s past. Behind a desk and a gold trimmed screen are the friendly reception staff. Whilst a new safety feature for the current pandemic, the gilt edged dividers feel true to the former use of the building and one can imagine the bank’s customers standing in front of them as they discussed the handling of their finances.

“The wooden parquet flooring gives the air of a stately home, where marble would have felt too austere and carpet too subaltern.”

Upon checking in, I am taken first to the Riggs suite, once the boardroom of the bank, now an impressive function room with enviable views of the city. Here, a room that could have felt stark with its hard lines and gothic arches has been made to feel luxurious and comfortable. The wooden parquet flooring gives the air of a stately home, where marble would have felt too austere and carpet too subaltern. Upholstered chairs around a long dining table reinforce this feeling of luxury and recall the room’s former use. On the walls of this room, no doubt once occupied exclusively by men, now hang the portraits of inspirational looking women in a variety of styles and from different cultures. In fact, the room is full of feminine touches including the soft green carpet, delicate oak furniture, copious plants and plush velvety sofas and cushions. It is part of Strauss’ efforts to neutralise what he sees as the overly masculine world of banking with feminine touches.

“Riggs is the only hotel in the area that has chosen to name its suites them after first ladies.”

I am fortunate enough to be staying in the Caroline Harrison Suite. The general manager proudly explains that whilst many hotels in the city have suites named after presidents, Riggs is the only hotel in the area that has chosen to name its suites them after first ladies – yet another example of the way Strauss has injected elements of femininity into all aspects of the hotel’s design. The room is a rich blue with sumptuous, heavy-velvet curtains, a sofa and pillows with a design that calls to mind the ornate patterns of the dividers that separated customers from tellers. The carpet, whilst pristine, has been made to look distressed as though it is itself part of the building’s history.

Image caption: The living room inside the Caroline Harrison Suite. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: The living room inside the Caroline Harrison Suite. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Throughout the room are an eclectic collection of objets; lampshades in the form of dogs, contemporary takes on classical urns, a porcelain lantern with an Asian feel. Strangely, they help anchor the building in its Washington location by creating the sense that these pieces may have been gifted to the first lady by visiting dignitaries on some state visit from long ago. This feeling is complemented by the Jasperware plates and medallions hanging on the wall that celebrate significant events in the nation’s history; the signing of the declaration of independence and the start of JFK’s ill-fated presidency. Behind the luxurious four-poster bed is a feature wall with fun and quirky wallpaper that calls to mind the illustrations in a children’s book or the work of Ken Done. It contrasts aptly with the block colours and bold design choices in the rest of the space. 

The other three first lady suites, named after Ida McKinley, Louisa Adams and Angelica Van Buren have their own distinct styles and decor. The Van Buren is particularly striking with its rich red walls and velvet curtains complimented by ornate gold furniture. Of particular interest, too, are the classical busts that adorn the shelves, all of classical female deities, as well as contemporary artwork inspired once again by the profile of Juno Moneta. 

Each of the hotel’s other rooms are designed to offer something personal and unexpected. Whether it’s the colour of the wall or the shape of the space, each one feels different and offers something unique to the guest so that no two stays are ever quite the same. 

Image caption: Jacu Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create the unique headboards in the guestrooms. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: Jacu Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create the unique headboards in the guestrooms. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Perhaps most striking in each room are the custom made headboards, the shape suggestive of the ripples of theatrical curtains. To achieve this unique style, Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create these stunning pieces. The abstract swirling pattern used on both the headboards and wallpaper is inspired by a detail on a painting Jacu saw whilst at the Met Gallery in New York and was created by Benson’s company Voutsa specifically for the hotel. It adds a fun and cheeky dimension as well as a sense of movement to what were once the bank’s offices. Eagle eyed guests may spot that the pattern is also used on the inside of the bespoke umbrellas that are provided in each room. 

Next to the bed are small oak bedside tables with green leather inlay designed to feel like the writing desks that would once have been used in this building. To achieve a strong and timeless lighting scheme, Strauss collaborated with bespoke lighting brand Chelsom in order to ensure that each space was effortlessly lit in order to radiate the hotel’s luxe style and distinct personality. For example, gilt desk lamps sit on top of the bedside tables to reinforce the writing desk association and invite you to imagine the bank clerks hunched over their work in the previous century. Each room also contains a replica bank safe complete with the insignia of Juno on the outside and housing the minibar and room’s safe inside. It is the most overt reminder of the building’s former life as well as a fun talking point for guests. 

Since you’re here, why not read about Chelsom’s Edition 27 lighting collection

“I can’t help wondering if the powerful rain shower head is a nod to Obama’s request that one be added to The White House for the duration of his incumbency.”

Inside the bathrooms, the Italian Carrara marble tiles on the floor and walls create a sense of grandeur and security. Even the shape of the shiny metallic taps is reminiscent of the handle of a safe and reinforces the idea that one has walked into the bank’s impregnable strong room. The deep free-standing bath makes for a luxurious bathing experience and I can’t help wondering if the powerful rain shower head is a nod to Obama’s request that one be added to The White House for the duration of his incumbency. 

Image credit: Luxurious bathrooms inside the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image credit: Luxurious bathrooms inside the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Strauss said that he wanted each of the rooms to feel like a safety deposit box, with the contents of each being unique and valuable. This certainly comes across and is particularly evident from the door to each room. Every door features the front of a safety deposit box, complete with a non-working keyhole and golden circular medallion bearing the likeness of Juno Moneta. On the walls and floor, the sumptuous, rich, red carpets evoke a feeling of warmth. They contrast directly with the imposing lobby of the building and give the sense that you are exploring a more intimate and sequestered part of the hotel. On the walls of the corridors are a collection of paintings, some depicting classical figures and others in a more contemporary style as if these pieces have been placed here by customers trusting the bank to protect their artistic investments. The lifts too are worthy of note, featuring marble floors and mirrors covered in silver leaf, which gives them an opulent antiquarian aspect. 

In the bar and restaurant it is clear that Strauss has attempted to bring something new to the city. “There may have been a certain standard of food and beverage outlets here that became quite institutionalised, and not necessarily in a good way,” he admits to me.  “So, it didn’t have much diversity, and going against that convention – especially in an area of the hotel that is typically most criticised – was really changing. DC is becoming a real foodie city.” Strauss’ aim was to provide something “bright and elegant, inspired by the grand cafes of Europe,” and that is certainly case here at Riggs. The high-vaulted ceilings provide a massive sense of space and the circular marble tables together with the trendy wooden and velvet chairs would not feel out of place in a continental eatery. It is no coincidence that the chairs themselves are the colour of money, in America at least. It would have been easy to use an overabundance of green throughout the hotel for its pecuniary associations and the decision not to do this in the rest of the development feels remarkably restrained. 

The luxury of space in the bar area has provided one of the largest  challenges in converting this part of the building. With the huge height of the room, Strauss and his team were keen to make sure the scope of the space was being fully utilised. To that end, Strauss installed massive velvet curtains, so weighty that their use necessitated reinforcing the wall. He also commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine – its bright colours and whimsical design are suggestive of the works of Lewis Carroll or Edward Lear. Yet despite their sheer scale (they come in at an eye-watering two storeys high) everything in the room feels perfectly in proportion. Even the six foot four inch gilt chandeliers that Strauss designed himself help to make the space feel intimate without taking away from the sense of grandeur. 

Image caption: Jacu Strauss commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine, which has become a statement piece in the public area of the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: Jacu Strauss commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine, which has become a statement piece in the public area of the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

I journey downwards to the subterranean Silver Lyan bar, described by the hotel manager as an adult playground. It’s not hard to see why, the theming is fun without being gimmicky and the low ceilings, dark lighting and deep red chairs give the air of that most uniquely American thing: a speakeasy. There are also an array of fun little touches around the bar; secret messages hidden as optical illusions in the wall panelling, lighting inspired by classical Asian designs and hundreds of sporting trophies in cases across the walls, which Strauss is quick to tell me were all won by female athletes. 

Across the hall is the gym and fitness area, which perhaps rather tauntingly has an oversized gumball machine outside, which feels uniquely American and once again helps to play with the sense of scale and disrupt the sense of solemnity in the building. Despite the restrictions currently in place due to Covid-19, I can’t resist sampling one or two. The gym itself has enough equipment to ensure that even the most ardent of fitness fanatics can ensure they get a good workout and the marble pillars hardwood floors provide a sense of decadence as you sweat your way towards your fitness goals. There are also fun touches around the room, like the leather punching bag, that invites one to imagine a circus strongman with a handlebar moustache hard in training. There is also the door to what once would have been the bank’s strongroom, with its intricate mechanism, bolts and rivets on display.

As I check out, I am reminded of something Strauss said to me, that a hotel should provide an elevated experience rather than simply being “a home away from home” and Riggs Washington D.C. is certainly not that. It is a building that has always been about showmanship that has left lasting impression of strength and security.

Strauss’ next project, the Lyle in D.C., will be much more about calm and comfort – think mattresses like marshmallows that he describes as the “most comfortable” he has ever slept on. Yet here, the way The Lore Group has managed to turn what could have been a stark and austere building into something welcoming without losing any of the sense of grandeur is impressive. To summarise, Riggs DC embraces its past whilst remaining pitch perfect for its current use, ensuring its future place in the city for years to come. 

Main image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Hotel Designs LIVE: Wellness panel

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: The new era of wellness

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: The new era of wellness

The final session at Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on February 23, focused the lens on wellness. Armed with the knowledge shared in the previous sessions, editor Hamish Kilburn invited world-renowned designers and architects to discuss how wellbeing should be sheltered in hotel design…

Hotel Designs LIVE: Wellness panel

The third Hotel Designs LIVE came to a fitting close on February 23 with a panel discussion to ultimately explore how designers and architects will create moments of bliss inside the luxury and lifestyle hotels of tomorrow. Maintaining a two-metre distance from conversations around hygiene and Covid-19, instead, the session was inspired by modern travellers’ demands for authentic, personalised and non-curated travel experiences.

To kickstart the session, editor Hamish Kilburn explained how he selected the panel. “Each and every person on the virtual sofa is challenging conventional wellness design,” he said,  “as well as opening up new opportunities in regards to hotel and hospitality experiences.”

On the panel: 

Wellness panel at Hotel Designs LIVE

Following introductions, Kilburn asked the panel about challenges and pitfalls to avoid when injecting wellness into urban environments and landscapes before he and the designers and architects scrutinised and made sense out of architecture and hospitality trends that will ultimately evolve the way in which wellness is perceived in hotel design. Within this discussion, as in previous sessions throughout the day, technology was arguably at the heart of each and every point and example that was made – whether that be stripping tech back to its bones or considering meaningful and intuitive lighting to enhance the guests’ experiences.

Here’s the full recording of the panel discussion, which has been edited by CUBE and includes Product Watch pitches from Franklite, Utopia Projects, Geberit, Atlas Concorde and Inspired By Design.

We have now published all highlights and recordings from Hotel Designs LIVE. These include: 

SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a fourth edition on May 11, 2021, putting topics such as lifestyle, bathrooms, art and workspace under the spotlight. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused Product Watch pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

Since you’re here…

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

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

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

This April, Hotel Designs is serving up a multiple stories that will be dedicated to public areas and architecture & construction; two areas in hotel design that go hand-in-hand when looking at meaningful solutions for tomorrow’s hotel design scene…

Throughout April, Hotel Designs will be putting both public areas and architecture & construction under its editorial spotlight in order to continue to define the point on international hotel design.

Public areas 

There has been a seismic shift in attitudes towards public areas in the last year. The pandemic, and as a result of hygiene creeping up on the modern traveller’s agenda, designers and architects are now being presented with a challenge to make public areas safe without looking and feeling too clinical. With some brands merging into one – while others do everything they can to stand alone – boundaries in design and architecture being stretched further than ever before and modern traveller demands now meaning that experience is key. But what will that look like? We will spend the month speaking to the designers, architects and heavy hitters in hospitality to find out.

Architecture & construction

2020 thought us on the editorial desk that there is no situation too extreme for modern architects and designers. Through the uncertain times of lockdown, the creative forces of leading studios around the world took their work home. One year since the Covid-19 outbreak forced us to change our approach to life as we knew it, the team at Hotel Designs are starting to see, through the renders that are being unveiled, how the cultural shift changed our designs (for the better). To celebrate the boundless possibilities in architecture, we will spend the month crediting the internationally acclaimed pioneers.

Main image credits: ZHA/Jestico + Whiles/AMA Design/Dorchester Collection

Main image for virtual roundtable on bespoke possibilities in luxury design

Virtual roundtable: Bespoke possibilities in luxury design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: Bespoke possibilities in luxury design

To specify or not to specify, that was the initial question that editor Hamish Kilburn put forward to our expert panel of designers and lighting masterminds for our latest roundtable, in association with bespoke lighting brand Dernier & Hamlyn, on bespoke possibilities in luxury design…

Main image for virtual roundtable on bespoke possibilities in luxury design

There are a plethora of well-documented benefits linked to selecting bespoke products in a luxury brief – it eliminates the need to flex or drastically change the interior design scheme, for starters. Bespoke is therefore, in many if not all scenarios, the best and most preferred solution among leading designers where budget is no barrier. Or is it? In association with the bespoke lighting experts at Dernier & Hamlyn, we recently invited a cluster of leading interior designers and world-renowned lighting experts in order to explore the bespoke possibilities in luxury design. As well as understanding today’s perception of ‘luxury’ among clients and guests alike, we were intrigued to also understand the pitfalls designers should avoid when deciding to go bespoke.

Meet the panel: 

Hamish Kilburn: How have hotel operators’ perception of luxury design changed over the past few years? Is what used to be considered luxury now standard? And what does this mean for designers in ensuring their schemes exude luxury?

Justin Wells: We pontificate over luxury so much – it’s just like defining colour! Firstly, it’s very important to know your audience – and that includes understanding cultures and demographics. In our experience, luxury in North America has been around legacy brands. In more perhaps progressive markets, such as South East Asia, for example, they are certainly trying to reposition luxury to be more lifestyle. In the region of the Middle East, which is where I am now, the perception of luxury is to make up for lost time. Elsewhere, in more mature markets, such as Europe, there’s certainly a reinvention happening at the moment, which is very exciting.

HK: You talk about perception, which makes me want to bring in social media and this demand for ‘accessible luxury’ into the conversation. Has that damaged the integrity of luxury hospitality?

Simon Rawlings: It’s interesting, we’re finding that luxury is becoming more standardised, certainly when it comes to peoples’ expectations of luxury. With many brands and experiences that are global, we’re really seeing that each region’s differences are disappearing, which is actually quite boring when you want to emphasise differences.

 “Authentic luxury has to be very particular to that project, and to standardise luxury is dangerous.” – Simon Rawlings, Creative Director, David Collins Studio.

Luxury is a difficult thing to pinpoint and it can be as simple as beautiful service in an ordinary space. Authentic luxury has to be very particular to that project, and to standardise luxury is dangerous.

Also, we will never get a brief that says ‘we want to be a luxury hotel’. Instead, it will be the ideas and thoughts around sustainability, aims to stand out from the crowd that, combined, lead spaces and projects to look and feel more luxurious. The idea that luxury is lavish and excessive is an outdated mindset. For us, it’s been an interesting and exciting time recently because a lot of the briefs we have received in the last few months show that people are really willing to invest in good design.

“The luxury element 10 – 20 years ago would have been more around the materials and finishes, but it’s less and less about that now.” – Kirsten King, Design Director, Bergman Interiors.

Image caption: Interiors inside Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, designed by David Collins Studio, which features bespoke lighting from Dernier & Hamlyn | Image credit: Jack Hardy

Image caption: Interiors inside Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, designed by David Collins Studio, which features bespoke lighting from Dernier & Hamlyn | Image credit: Jack Hardy

Kirstin King: For us, the luxury element 10 – 20 years ago would have been more around the materials and finishes, but it’s less and less about that now. Instead, it has become much more about lifestyle. We have to think more intelligently to really understand the local craftsmen, and in doing so we need to pair things back to allow the ambiance to naturally reflect luxury.

Paul Nulty: For us, luxury lighting design is something that fires all the senses. Whether it’s visual or a composition. If it’s heightening the senses and the emotional connection with that space, then it feels luxurious.

HK: Similarly, how have guests’ perceptions of luxury design changed over the past few years?

Hamish Brown: We have always worked with private clients, and our understanding on what luxury guests need and demand stems from experience in residential. The key difference that consumers are expecting now is that sense of place. Across all brands, the industry went through a brief moment of standardisation, but now we are seeing brands really understand and celebrate cultural difference. For example, if you take two Four Seasons properties in two locations within one country. By both capturing the local flavours of their unique destination, it sets them aside from each other. That in itself becomes luxurious, bespoke and individual. And then, what happens is that the brand’s DNA gets threaded into the design scheme through consistent service – it’s no longer a look or an aesthetic but much more a feeling.

HK: With the sheer number of options that suppliers offer in their standard ranges these days, why is the demand for bespoke design in luxury projects still growing?

Jo Littlefair: I think that bespoke design, both in hospitality and high-end residential, gives you the flexibility to respond to a project individually – it’s a great way to bring in local vernacular. It’s really important for us to give a strong identity. In our studio, nothing is a cookie-cutter approach. Instead, we respond to everything individually – and I think bespoke design gives you that ability to scale and size things perfectly. It allows us to really craft interiors as opposed to just select them.

Mayfair Townhouse peacock entrance

Image caption: a 67-inch peacock sculpture adorned in 25,000 Swarovski crystals sits inside the Mayfair Townhouse, designed by Goddard Littlefair | Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

SR: We’ve started specifying more than we have ever done. Yes, of course, there’s still the demand for bespoke, but there are so many incredible designers who are creating some really awesome things that we love to embrace and collaborate with them on. With the Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, for example, one of our goals was to specify as many statement pieces as we could. As someone who has always championed bespoke everything, I don’t think by specifying you get a lesser product, and I don’t think the clients think anything less of it either. It’s changing, and there are a lot of us who have our own collections so we will specify our own products for certain projects.

“The quality of the end bespoke product is not necessary as high as something that has been crafted over many years.” – Tina Norden, Partner, Conran and Partners.

Tina Norden: I would say that there are regional differences. Particularly in Asia, clients may believe you can get the product cheaper but sometimes the quality of the end product is not necessary as high as something that has been crafted over many years. Therefore, you have to be extremely careful as an interior designer. You need the right manufacturer you can trust that allows you to see the prototypes – we have all been there when that simply isn’t an option.

With the late Sir Terence Conran traditionally being a furniture designer, we have always had – and shown huge respect for – the work that furniture designers do. I guess that sometimes people don’t appreciate how much time specifiers take to get products just right.

HK: You’re right, Tina! Trust is vital – and the relationship now between quality suppliers and designers is stronger than it has ever been, is it not?

Mark Harper: We are seeing and contributing to more artisan people who are being specified. For us, as a bespoke lighting manufacturer, we do what we do to the highest level of quality.

HK: At what point in the design process do you decide bespoke is the best option?

PN: Designers go bespoke when they cannot find a product on the market that achieves the look, feel and quality that they are looking for. Perhaps the bespoke product will give a slightly different glow, but for me it comes back to the senses. It’s relevantly simple, and yet extremely complex at the same time.

Shayne Brady: At the end of the day, it is a case-by-case basis – and it depends on different factors. We often have clients come to us with a specific vision. In Bob Bob Cite, for example, the client wanted to create a full suite of bespoke wall and ceiling lights. Bespoke is great when you are working in a space that has high volume because you can customise each product to fit the space.

Image caption: Bob Citi Citi diner, designed by Brady Williams Studio, which includes bespoke lighting from Dernier & Hamlyn | Image credit: Bob Citi Citi

Image caption: Bob Bob Citi diner, designed by Brady Williams Studio, which includes bespoke lighting from Dernier & Hamlyn | Image credit: Bob Bob Citi

HK: Do bespoke projects always have to be the statement design pieces?

TN: In lighting terms, quite often it is. Ultimately, it is really coming down to the client and the location. Quite often in Europe, making something bespoke can actually feel a lot more special. Whereas in Asia, it feels more luxurious to select something from a high-end brand as a feature piece.

HK: And surely if you have a really ambitious idea that is pretty unconventional, bespoke becomes your best and sometimes only option – and Kirstin I am thinking about your project, The Engine Room…

KK: It was a really interesting project for the team here. The idea was an indoor rowing club that was sheltered in a converted church. The budget was low and therefore we recycled a lot. For example, the juice bar was made out of church pews. I would say 60 per cent of that project was lighting. As the guests were working out, the lighting would move and react in order to enhance performance. We worked very closely with the lighting designers to create that effect.

Image caption: The Engine Room, designed by Bergman Interiors | Image credit: The Engine Room

Image caption: The Engine Room, designed by Bergman Interiors | Image credit: The Engine Room

HK: That is a great example of using the demographic of where you are and thinking outside the box, and elevating the five senses. Are designers now approaching projects more holistically with sound and smell in mind?

“For me, sound and lighting are very closely linked – maybe that’s me going back to my clubbing days.” – Tina Norden, Partner, Conran and Partners.

TN: Yes, very much so. A few weeks ago, at Hotel Designs LIVE, we discussed how sound was being used in experience. For me, sound and lighting are very closely linked – maybe that’s me going back to my clubbing days. It’s all enhancing the overall ambiance.

PN: Multi-sensory lighting and design is the future! We started offering sound design in some projects. Going beyond acoustics, we are very interested to understand how sound can help enhance the consumer journey and we are seeing this now in hospitality. The third element of that is smell, which is becoming really important. Lighting, sound and smell work together, almost as a set of sub-consultants in design and architecture.

A bespoke lighting scheme by Nulty Lighting for the Earth Hotels concept at Downtown Dubai | Image credit: Nulty Lighting

A bespoke lighting scheme by Nulty Lighting for the Earth Hotels concept at Downtown Dubai | Image credit: Nulty Lighting

HK:  That’s extremely difficult to get right when all of those elements are very personal.

PN: Absolutely, and that’s why you have to really understand the brand from the outset of the project and what you want that user experience to be.

TN: That’s the key, it’s about being specific and designing for the demographic. You are not trying to please everyone.

“There will be dialogue about creating separation – which removes barriers and planning. In many ways, that’s allowing brands to reinvent themselves.” – Justin Wells, CEO, Wells International.

Blue co

Image caption: The Maximilian Hotel in Prague, designed by Conran and Partners

SR: I was doing an interview recently where I was asked when we come out of this pandemic whether or not people are going to struggle with noisy areas, and it’s an interesting point. At the same time, I met a sound identity designer. There are so many people listening in on podcasts these days. Ultimately, it made me realise that you can close your eyes but you cannot close your ears.

JW: We are trying to create thriving spaces and there were a lot of social collisions in these areas before the pandemic. However, now there will be dialogue about creating separation – which removes barriers and planning. In many ways, that’s allowing brands to reinvent themselves.

“Our clients reported that spend was greater on the tables that had more space.” – Shayne Brady, Director, Brady Williams.

SB: In between the second and third lockdown here in the UK, the guests were really appreciative and enjoyed the restaurants that had more space – not from a Covid perspective, but more from a luxury point of view. Actually, our clients reported that spend was greater on the tables that had more space. Perhaps we don’t need as many covers as we used to have.

HK: Do you therefore think that F&B spaces will be larger and take up more space?

SB: It will be more of a dialogue, for sure. There are more questions around capacity and what the sense of luxury means. Not being confined is luxury to me because that makes the experience far better.

“When we come out of this, there will be a need to decompress even more.” – Jo Littlefair, Co-Founder and Director, Goddard Littlefair.

JL: Pre-pandemic we were thinking about de-compression. We are very aware that people need that disconnect. The pandemic has definitely amplified that. When we come out of this, there will be a need to decompress even more.

Image caption: W Abu Dhabi Yas Island, designed by Wells International | Image credit: W Hotels

Image caption: W Abu Dhabi Yas Island, designed by Justin Wells | Image credit: W Hotels

HK: And now for a word that brings shivers down our spines: trends… what are the topics and movements that are dominating your conversations at the moment?

MH: We have seen an increase in enquires and requests for natural materials and clean lines with a traditional twist. What we are going to see now is the bigger picture; it’s about longevity and sustainability. Also, you cannot ignore the fact that LED technology has come on leaps and bounds and I expect that to evolve further and faster than perhaps ever before.

SR: LEDs are a nightmare, though, because the colour temperature on every single LED is different. So, trying to marry the interior design is very difficult. We still end up using filament bulbs because you just can’t rectify it.

PN: One big trend we are seeing is towards wellness – certainly towards business hotels and using lighting to mitigate jetlag. Lighting using circadian rhythm has a huge role to play in that. There’s a hotel in Reykjavik where the lighting is tied in to the alarm clock, and it illuminates before the sound of the alarm clock goes off in order to wake the guest up gently.

HK: Is that extremely expensive? For me, the benefits of circadian rhythm in lighting is so obvious, so why is it therefore not in more hotel design schemes?

PN: It’s more expensive and of course if you’ve got a 300-key hotel then it adds up. However, the benefits of that technology are being more and more proven.

HK: Do you worry about suppliers copying a bespoke design after seeing it in your projects? Does anyone have any examples of this they can/would like to share?

HB: Yes, you see that in parts of Asia and it’s not ideal, but it’s unfortunately part of our work that is always there.

 TN: I think there’s an opportunity there. If we work together with the manufacturer on a product going forward then it beats them at their own game.

HK: The ‘Norden’ chandelier, you heard it here first! Other than the ‘Norden’ collection, what’s lacking in lighting at the moment?

HB: Being able to visual prototypes in lighting is very important and be able to adapt and mold them in that creative process allows us to do more things.

SR: I agree. The first thing we want to know is what type of light the product will give off. If there was a tool to establish that, it would help us understand which light a fixture will give. For me that comes before what the product looks like. Some way of understanding the type of light the fixtures give off would be so invaluable.

“The issue is that designers love the materiality of stuff. It’s trying to engage with the intangible stuff.” – Paul Nulty, Founder, Nulty Lighting.

SB: That is interesting. We are working on a project at the moment where they have that already for furniture, but something similar in lighting would be very helpful.

PN: I agree with you. The issue is that designers love the materiality of stuff. It’s trying to engage with the intangible stuff. So many people disregard the quality of light. Quality of light and quantity of light are independent and are, I believe, misunderstood.

KK: From my experience, this should happen before we get fully into a project. Maybe it should happen even earlier!

striking bar with marble surfaces featuring distressed mirrors

Image caption: Worlds away from the hustle and bustle of London life above, The Spa at The Lanesborough was sensitively designed by 1508 London | Image credit: 1508 London/The Lanesborough

HK: Let’s finish by talking tech. The advancement of render software is incredible; it has given designers a tool to be more accurate and as a result allowed them to make informed decisions ahead of purchasing. However, it does also mean that clients now expect to see sharp renders in pitches. Does this ever narrow the window for new ideas to come into the project once it has been won?

HB: It’s such a hot topic at the moment within our studio and we have invested in a lot of technology at the moment to really confront this. You are correct in terms of narrowing down the window – and there is always a debate in our minds as to how far you go in the pitch. Right now, I think renders should happen later in the process and there has to be a visualisation tool that is a half-way house. That journey has to be a process – and that’s how you get a perfect space.

HK: And you are all competing against each other to win projects… Does it require across the board, designers stating that they will only present sketches?

HB: It would be amazing to have a conversation with designers to establish how far we should all be going in a pitch.

HK: It’s catch 22. As tech improves and the clients and consumers’ knowledge of design expands then so too does the demand for wanting to see more in a pitch.

KK: I agree totally. Sometimes the client demands a minimum of three renders in the pitch and it is a huge cost. You want to win the project and you know that everyone else will be producing renders.

SB: It depends on the client. Some clients do not understand the concept of your pitch unless it is a perfect CGI. More and more, these days, the client is very involved and there is a collaboration from start to finish. If you can hook a client with a great idea that is where it should be won.

JW: We always go quite analogue in our pitches. We use vignettes to highlight certain areas. We then, during the pitch, talk about these spaces and elements, which become frameworks. The aim of the pitch is for the client to establish how we think and how we work. If we win a pitch, we will then produce more emotive non-photo realistic renderings. The next set of renders will be marketing quality.

Dernier & Hamlyn, the sponsor of this roundtable, is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Promo image of Ep 2 of DESIGN POD

DESIGN POD episode 2, with Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, has landed

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
DESIGN POD episode 2, with Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, has landed

LISTEN NOW: For episode of two of DESIGN POD, in association with Bathrooms Brands Group, editor Hamish Kilburn and co-host Harriet Forde invite Christos Passas, Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, to discuss architecture beyond boundaries…

Promo image of Ep 2 of DESIGN POD

Hosted by editor Hamish Kilburn and co-hosted by designer Harriet Forde, DESIGN POD’s latest episode, entitled ‘Architecture Beyond Boundaries’, is now available to listen to all major podcast platforms such as SpotifyAmazon Music and Acast – and welcomes Christos Passas, Director of Zaha Hadid Architect (ZHA), as the guest professional for the episode.

As well as discussing how ZHA stretches what is possible in design and architecture, the episode also dives deep into the legacy that the late Zaha Hadid left behind, whose outstanding contribution to the architectural profession has been acknowledged by professional, academic and civic institutions around the world, including (but not limited to) the Forbes List of the ‘World’s Most Powerful Women. “It is no coincidence that this episode has been released in the wake of International Women’s Day,” explains Kilburn. “Hadid’s vision was one that captured the imagination of more than industry professionals; her unapologetic, pioneering mindset continues, to this day, to resonate with every individual on the planet who believes in and strives for equality in all sectors.”

“When it comes to younger generations, I always look for people who are not afraid to work hard.” – Christos Passas, Director, Zaha Hadid Architects.

Passas, who first joined the international architecture and design studio 23 years ago and recently won Architect of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2020, agreed to be interviewed by Kilburn who was keen to understand more about how the studio has changed since the passing of Hadid as well as getting the low-down on the studio’s latest project, The Opus in Dubai, which Hotel Designs exclusively reviewed the design of last month. In addition to this, Passas describes what he looks for in  the young talent that walks through the ZHA doors. “The collaborative nature within our team is something to be learned from,” explains Passas in the interview. “We have always found a certain amount of pride and encouragement to be a company that is very much proactive on an individual level. When it comes to younger generations, I always look for people who are not afraid to work hard and for those who are able to test their ideas with others while working for the good of others.”

Listen to DESIGN POD on SpotifyAmazon MusicAcast, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

Hotel Designs LIVE sound panel discussion main image

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Sense of sound in hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Sense of sound in hotel design

The third session at Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on February 23, turned the audience’s attention towards sound. Going deeper than simply discussing acoustics, editor Hamish Kilburn invited a leading designer, architect and sound architect to explore sound’s role in hotel design and hospitality…

Hotel Designs LIVE sound panel discussion main image

Designers, architects and the leading hoteliers have always been celebrated for thinking holistically. This statement can be measured by the industry’s proactive reaction to the Covid-19 crisis and the innovative solutions that have emerged since the world went into survival mode this time last year.

With the aim to explore meaningful ways to stretch the interior design schemes of tomorrow – and to simply offer something different on the palette for the audience of designers, architects, hoteliers and developers around the globe who tuned in to Hotel Designs LIVE – the third panel discussion of the day served up an engaging conversation around the possibilities of sound in hotel design and hospitality.

On the panel: 

Panel discussion line-up: sound in hotel design

The exclusive session, which followed debates on the future of hotel design and sustainability, was powered by both science and experience. The topic, meanwhile, around the sensory experience in hotel design and hospitality, is one that has arguably been amplified in recent product launches in the wellness arena.

The discussion began with Kilburn asking the panel whether or not they believed the industry currently understood the potential of sound in hotel design, which soon steer the conversation towards how sound can be explored, beyond acoustics, to enhance the hotel guests’ experience.

Here’s the full recording of the panel discussion, which has been edited by CUBE and includes a Product Watch pitch from Panespol:

As well as recently publishing our highlights from the first session of Hotel Designs LIVE and Sustainability beneath the surface, the full recording of the final session (‘A new era of wellness’) will be available on-demand next week.

SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a fourth edition on May 11, 2021. Session titles and speakers will be announced shortly. Once these have been announced, tickets for Hotel Designs LIVE will be available. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused Product Watch pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

Miniview: Inside Italy’s natural wellness hotel, Terme di Saturnia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Miniview: Inside Italy’s natural wellness hotel, Terme di Saturnia

Design firm THDP’s recently completed project is situated in Tuscany, Italy. As a natural wellness hotel and retreat, Terme di Saturnia has been part-inspired by the elements of earth, air, and water. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Surrounded by beautiful Tuscan countryside, Hotel Terme di Saturina is a luxury golf and spa resort, which is located 3km from both Le Cascate del Mulino waterfall and the village of Saturnia in Tuscany, Italy.

Design firm THDP was responsible for refurbishing both the guestrooms and the public area. The inspiration behind the concept is formed around a ‘super natural’ condition; how elements such as the earth, air, water transform as well as the light and temperature. THDP used terms such as reflection, corrosion, erosion, layering, ripples to create the visual and emotional language of the interior design.

Image credit: Terme di Saturnia/Giorgio Baroni

Light installations with glass spheres were created by Gomiero, who had the intuition to ripple the spheres to create the same reflection of water on the walls.

Botanical wallcoverings and lights that look like waterfalls in the lobby

Image credit: Terme di Saturnia/Giorgio Baroni

The waterfalls of the Mill were the inspiration behind the design of the lobby/lounge area, created together with local artisans such as the Ragnini workshops of Pitigliano who have created oxidised tables and bronzed handles and with experienced craftsmen such as Ramiro Contract and design such as Materica who work metals in a contemporary way, using them liquid to transform them into corroded metals, as well as sulphur dense water.

The selection of four colour palettes resulted from the observation of the resort’s surroundings. The colours have been declined in diverse shades in line with the different areas, from the reception with the ethereal hues of the waterfalls of the Mill, to the patio with the central olive tree embodying the Tuscan countryside, up to the bright tones of turquoise and petrol blue of the handmade glazed terracotta tiles of the bar counter coating, found after a long search, in the colour ‘The Fondale’, from Pecchioli Fierenze.

In order to maintain an ideal continuity with the classic and elegant original style, but more importantly with the conscious intention to adhere to a sustainable approach to renovations, some wooden furnishings have been preserved both in rooms and common spaces.

The hotel, which sits above Italy’s most famous thermal spring dating back 3,000 years, is naturally a safe and quiet place – think home-away-from-home – that is conducive to wellbeing as we enter a new era of wellness.

Main image credit: Terme di Saturnia/Test Srls

Image of Lucienne Walpole

In Conversation With: Lucienne Walpole, Vice President, SB Architects

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Lucienne Walpole, Vice President, SB Architects

SB Architects recently appointed Lucienne Walpole as the firm’s new Vice President. Following Walpole’s participation in Hotel Designs LIVE conference, editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with the architect to learn more…

Image of Lucienne Walpole

Since joining SB Architects in 2007, Lucienne Walpole has played a valuable role on the design team for a number of the firm’s most exciting hospitality projects. Combining her dual backgrounds in interior design and architecture, Walpole brings to the firm strengths in space planning as well as architectural design. She lends a unique perspective while contributing a strong sense of creative vision and attention to detail and has played a crucial role in many high-profile hotel, resort, and multi-family projects.

So when it was revealed that Walpole had been appointed as a new Vice President of the firm, we at Hotel Designs were not surprised. I caught up with Walpole to understand her passion for design and architect, her position on wellness post-pandemic – following the panel discussion the architect took part in during Hotel Designs LIVE last week – while also learning what a typical day looks like in Walpole’s shoes.

Image credit: Conrad Punta de Mita/SB Architects

Image credit: Conrad Punta de Mita/SB Architects

Hamish Kilburn: What attracted you to work in architecture?

Lucienne Walpole: I always knew I wanted to have a career rooted in creativity, but I didn’t seriously set my sights on architecture until the end of college. I initially studied Interior Design but then went straight on to pursue a Masters in Architecture. I think the seed was always there though. I was born, raised, and currently reside in Coral Gables, Florida where we have a wealth of beautiful Old Spanish homes, one of which I grew up in. I watched as my parents transformed the run-down 1920s house into a home full of detail and beauty. They taught me about vision and being able to see past a neglected exterior or a blank page.

Hamish Kilburn: What has been the highlight of your career so far?

LW: Working at Baha Mar in the Bahamas in conjunction with SB Architects has afforded me the opportunity to lead the design of two amazing restaurants. Since Baha Mar is known for its spectacular, out of the box ideas, the client was keen to pursue ideas that might have otherwise been disregarded initially for budgetary or feasibility reasons. Not only did I get to lead the design, but I was able to be a part of the construction administration process. The sweet finale was being able to finally enjoy a meal and a margarita in one of the over-water dining pavilions we designed.

Image caption: The Sky Bar at Baha Mar, designed by SB Architects

Image caption: The Sky Bar at Baha Mar, designed by SB Architects

HK: How do you keep your designs fresh from one project to another?

LW: I’m inspired by the site and local history of each project I work on. Every location has different opportunities and every market demands a different experience. I love looking at imagery for inspiration and revisiting my initial sketches and thoughts.

HK: How has your voice as a designer evolved since joining SB Architects?

LW: I started at SB Architects straight out of graduate school at the age of 24 and I’ve been here ever since. I’ve been lucky to work under great mentors who taught me the ins-and-outs of the hospitality design world, as well as the qualities needed to be a good leader. As I’ve stretched my wings, I’ve learned not to be afraid to throw out ideas in meetings even if they seem a little crazy. I strive to always think outside of the box and not let go of the original design intent too easily.

HK: Describe a typical working day for you…

LW: I wake up before anyone else in the house in order to squeeze in a quick workout before jumping in the shower, making lunches, and getting myself ready. After I’ve dropped off our two young boys at school, I rush off to the office to start my day. These days I’m doing a mixture of working from home as well as working in the office. Once in front of my computer, I dig right in since time without the distraction of two little ones is limited these days. I’m usually designing in AutoCad and sketching, completing image research, and taking Zoom calls with clients and my team. A good podcast, audio book, or music is a must.

HK: What advice do you have for younger generations of women wanting to get into design leadership positions?

LW: As women, and often mothers, we are great multi-taskers and time managers. Don’t wait for the opportunity but instead speak up about what your goals are. Also, know that it’s ok to offer up ideas and speak up in every setting. Most of the senior leadership I work with are so busy that I think they appreciate it when someone else is willing to take the reigns on a new initiative.

Image credit: Conrad Punta de Mita/SB Architects

Image credit: Conrad Punta de Mita/SB Architects

HK: Where do you see hotel design 10 years from now?

LW: I think hotel design will evolve into a space where wellness isn’t just a line item in the program, but instead infused into each space touching all five senses, wellness will become as commonplace, and as considered as lighting. I think operations and hotel design will begin to be more closely tied, especially considering all the last 12 months has taught us. Not just from how the back-of-house spaces work, but how an operator can customise an experience for the guest and how the design can support that.

HK: You joined us on the virtual sofa at Hotel Designs LIVE a few weeks ago for a session on wellness. What will wellness’ role be post-pandemic?

LW: I feel wellness will not only be about the physical but the mental too. We need to move our bodies, but we also need to rest our minds. The wellness experience should also extend from adults, all the way to the youngest of children. I think this theme of inclusivity will push travel to become more meaningful and provide more teaching opportunities.

HK: Are you working on any upcoming projects that you can tell us about?

LW: I’m working on an urban retreat, Al Yosr Clubhouse, located just outside of Cairo, Egypt. We’re designing the space to be an urban sanctuary for the surrounding community and those looking for a wellness experience. The clubhouse will have a large spa component, a few F&B venues, as well as a sunken garden that stretches the length of the site providing different pockets of space to relax, meet, and play.

HK: What design/architecture trends are you seeing for 2021?

LW: Meaningful travel, intention, less public spaces, more outdoor spaces. Providing more spaces for those working remotely. More local travel. Curated experiences and personalisation. Sustainability and wellness will move away from being a buzz word, but an expected feature… at least within the luxury market space.

Main image credit: SB Architects

Render of the new London Rosewood

The Chancery Rosewood, arriving in London in 2024

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The Chancery Rosewood, arriving in London in 2024

Renowned developer Qatari Diar Europe has revealed that the former US Embassy, 30 Grosvenor Square in London, will be named The Chancery Rosewood. Here’s what we know…

Render of the new London Rosewood

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, which currently manages 27 luxury properties in 16 countries with a further 21 hotels under development, has announced that its second hotel in London will be sheltered in the former US Embassy and will be named The Chancery Rosewood.

Recognised for delivering some of London’s most celebrated landmark schemes, the development is the latest example of Qatari Diar’s continued investment into the UK. The Grade II listed building is currently being reimagined by British architect Sir David Chipperfield as a new retail destination and a Rosewood Hotels & Resorts’ luxury hotel.

Qatari Diar’s plan for The Chancery Rosewood will form part of a new-look Grosvenor Square. Multiplex has been awarded the contract, with the main construction works commencing in 2021. Once open, a new landmark to the Mayfair neighbourhood and the square will emerge as a vibrant hospitality and retail destination.

The ambitious project, which will no-doubt be compared to the timeless Rosewood London that was famously designed by Tony Chi and opened in 2013, will include a variety of retail spaces within the building, opening onto a newly created public realm to support the future plans for the enhancements to the Square. These units will face the square and create a permeable and accessible ground level as the hotel opens up and connects with its surrounding public realm. The Chancery Rosewood will deliver a significantly revitalised public realm and the creation of a world-class destination.

As with their other landmark schemes such as Chelsea Barracks and Southbank Place, Qatari Diar are committed to ensuring the historic location is given a new lease of life for future generations. With nearly £4bn invested to date in UK real estate projects, once The Chancery Rosewood and all other UK projects are completed, they will have a combined value of £7bn.

Render of Rosewood London in former US Embassy

Image credit: DBOX for Qatari Diar

Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, CEO of Qatari Diar, said: “The announcement of The Chancery Rosewood name and the award of the contractor appointment to Multiplex marks a significant milestone in the transformation of Grosvenor Square, and is a project that we are extremely proud to be delivering as part of our ongoing investment into UK real estate.

“Our vision at Qatari Diar is to revitalise this public space through the creation of a world-class hotel destination, and in turn inspire the wider regeneration of central Mayfair. Alongside the development of The Chancery Rosewood, our investment will create significant enhancements to the area to help reconnect it to the Mayfair neighbourhood. We’re looking forward to seeing this and the hotel development take shape with Rosewood Hotels & Resorts in the near future.”

The Chancery Rosewood provides the luxury hotel brand the unique opportunity to create an ultra-luxe residential atmosphere, with the aim to establish a new benchmark for modern luxury and attract a global and local clientele to set the new benchmark in luxury hotels.

The Chancery Rosewood destination will include 139 spacious guestrooms and suites designed by Joseph Dirand, publicly accessible spaces including a variety of formal and casual dining and entertainment spaces, a Yabu Pushelberg designed Asaya integrative wellness facility, five flagship retail spaces and a grand ballroom with space for up to 750 guests. The designers behind additional F&B outlets will include Tristan Auer and Bar Studio.

“It is an honour to work with such a talented team of architects and designers.” – Radha Arora, President of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts.

The Chancery Rosewood name was ultimately chosen for its relation to the building’s history and original purpose. Invoking a sense of grandeur and importance, the name celebrates its origins as the first purpose-built chancery in London. Architect Eero Saarinen’s mid-20th century Mayfair landmark previously housed the U.S. Embassy before its relocation in 2018 and Qatari Diar’s acquisition in 2009. The US commissioned Saarinen to design the original building which opened in 1960. His listed grand facade dominated the western border of Grosvenor Square, with the building and its surroundings becoming synonymous with the UK’s diplomatic relationship with the US.

“At Rosewood, each element of our properties are informed by the unique nuances of the destinations in which they reside,” said Radha Arora, President of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts. “The Chancery Rosewood will realise this Sense of Place philosophy in new and innovative ways, as evidenced by the hotel’s new name, which pays homage to the Mayfair landmark’s storied past. It is an honour to work with such a talented team of architects and designers who share our mission of bringing an unparalleled, ultra-luxury lifestyle experience to one of London’s most iconic neighbourhoods, and we thank our partners at Qatari Diar for the opportunity to be a part of this incredible project.”

David Chipperfield Architects’ scheme aims to restore Saarinen’s vision of creating a ‘palace on the park’. The grand piano nobile level will be opened up again to welcome both hotel guests and the public, extending the hotel and retail experience beyond the building and into the redeveloped garden square. The building’s original features and mid-century characteristics have been retained, including its Grade II listed façade and unique diagrid ceiling which have been restored and repurposed. In addition to the retained fabric on site, more than 4000 individual elements have been carefully disassembled for cleaning and refurbishment before being reinstalled into the building during the final construction phase. These elements include original details such as stone cladding for the interior, mullions, window handles and most prominently the golden eagle sculpture crowning the building.

David Chipperfield, principal of David Chipperfield Architects, explained: “Through this project we are seeking to remain true to Eero Saarinen’s original vision for this building, converting it for a new role that maintains much of its original architectural character and civic presence. It is a great responsibility to work with this piece of young heritage, mediating with the past in order to ensure its future. We look forward to continuing the work on site and bringing this remarkable building back to the city.”

The Chancery Rosewood’s interior scheme is led by globally renowned French architect Joseph Dirand. As a longtime admirer of Eero Saarinen’s modernist style, working on the project was a thrilling opportunity to transform the space into something welcoming. His designs for the ultra-luxe guest rooms and public spaces are both intimate and glamourous. The scheme utilises a warm palette which will largely feature walnut panelling, marble and brass. The perfect counterpoint to Chipperfield’s renovation, Dirand has incorporated the warmth and intimacy of a British member’s club with the shapes and textures of Art Deco. His signature style of art de vivre will be felt in every corner of the building.

“What would be a better dream for an architect than to be able to reinvent the future of such an iconic mid-century building in the middle of Mayfair by Eero Saarinen,” added Joseph Dirand of Joseph Dirand Architects. “This modernist landmark has been the headquarters of the US Embassy for more than 60 years. Originally conceived as a fortress and inspired by the Palais des Doges in Venice, it will now become the New British palace of hospitality and lifestyle.

“In respect to Saarinen’s original creation, I have tried to imagine a modern interpretation of the traditional British gentlemen’s club; full of warmth and intimacy, and inspired by the sophistication of the Art Deco of the Roaring Twenties combined with the creativity and glamour of the swinging sixties.

“To respond to this impressive architectural monolith, the interior will be dressed like a modern dandy. Bringing softness and warmth through the different spaces, we used a warm palette of material largely covered with walnut wood paneling along with marble and brass.

“The idea was to translate the soul of this sophisticated city and its classical architecture into a new ornamental vocabulary specific to this singular building and project. We are bringing this iconic place into the future for its second life, where it will be more generous and playful.”

Main image credit: Qatari Diar

Image of large containers

Saving energy: Utility Team launches ‘game-changing’ software

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Saving energy: Utility Team launches ‘game-changing’ software

Utility Team has officially launched its new ARC (Automated Response Command) energy efficiency software. The energy-saving solution was designed and built to optimise the cooling loads of commercial and industrial chiller plant…

Image of large containers

Utility Team has launched its new ARC energy efficiency software following live field tests of the new ARC software from across a range of sectors revealed impressive reductions in energy usage of between eight and 20 per cent. As cooling loads often account for some 60 per cent of the total energy site consumption, the savings ARC delivers profoundly benefit a business’s commercial and environmental performance.

How it works

ARC is a self-learning software that constantly monitors and logs plant output, total energy consumption, and common header temperatures. ARC then uses this data to predict what is going to happen within the plant, based on historic events under the same ambient conditions and then recommends optimal adjustments accordingly. The software constantly monitors its own performance to account for seasonal demand changes and adiabatic conditions. It is important to note that ARC does not replace the existing controls on the plant but rather uses them to optimise performance.

What’s its purpose?

For more than a year now, Hotel Designs has been working with Utility Team and amplifying the brand’s passion about helping businesses use less energy and create a net zero world. The brand is uniquely positioned to help customers realise the benefits of achieving their net zero goals.

“Sustainability is a core pillar of the business and why we invested in the idea of ARC,” explained Delvin Lane, CEO, Utility Team. “Having identified that commercial and industrial chiller plants are often inefficient and waste both energy and money, we set about finding a solution to this challenge. The potential energy savings ARC could deliver was clear from the outset, as was the positive impact on reducing carbon emissions globally.”

Who’s it for?

ARC will deliver savings wherever an organisation is using commercial or industrial chiller plant delivering a positive impact both commercially and environmentally. Installing the software solution could be a game-changer for many sectors, including manufacturing, healthcare, commercial buildings and data centres. In addition to this, as the world returns to a more normal way of life throughout the remainder of 2021, ARC can deliver significant savings to businesses operating exhibition space or sporting stadia. The installation of ARC at the Ricoh Arena for Wasps Rugby has already delivered a 14% reduction in energy consumption.

“The ease and speed of installation was impressive,” said Sarah Roberts, Operations Director at Wasps. “The solution was fitted with little impact on our day-to-day maintenance operation, which was especially important during the current COVID pandemic and the associated security protocols we have in place.

“The really exciting thing about the ARC solution is that while we have already seen a reduction in energy usage, we are not yet at a point in the year when its performance will be most beneficial. As we head into the summer months and our air conditioning systems are running at their optimum, we are really looking forward to seeing the energy usage and financial savings that ARC delivers.”

Adam Benson, Chief Commercial Officer at Wasps, added: “The introduction of ARC to the Ricoh Arena has not only helped decrease our energy consumption but also delivered a meaningful commercial saving. At a time when we need to find ways to minimise expenditure, the 14% reduction in energy consumption has been a welcome boost. This has been delivered with no impact on the quality of comfort levels and helped us lessen our impact on the environment.”

ARC delivers savings immediately

Often with new energy efficiency solutions, there is a requirement for upfront investment on the customer’s part. ARC is a Software as a Service (SaaS) licence and delivery model. This means that there is no upfront investment required by the customer, and they see a financial saving from day one. With so many businesses hit hard by the pandemic, especially in the hospitality sector, the ARC SaaS model allows businesses to access the solution easily and benefit from the savings immediately.

Christopher Toze, Managing Director of ARC and Head of Energy Services at Utility Team, said: “During the development process, we were excited about the anticipated energy savings ARC could deliver. Having undertaken months of real-world testing, the efficacy of ARC has exceeded all expectations.

ARC is a fully packaged solution that is simple to install, is backed with performance guarantees and robust measurement and verification and, with an innovative Software as a Solution (SaaS) model that removes barriers to investment.

Whilst initially launching in the UK, the ARC team has global ambitions as we believe ARC will have a significant positive impact in the fight to combat climate change by reducing the energy usage of commercial and industrial chiller plant as demand for cooling increases.”

Utility Team is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Utility Team

Birdseye view of Private Pool Residences Collection residence

In pictures: Inside the largest overwater residences in the world

640 426 Hamish Kilburn
In pictures: Inside the largest overwater residences in the world

Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas, located on the Baa Atoll, has launched the largest overwater residences in the world with a major renovation of the resort’s two-bedroom over water pool residences…

Birdseye view of Private Pool Residences Collection residence

Setting a new precedent in naturally inspired design and luxury living, the renovation of the seven residences at Anantara Kihavah sees a careful preservation of the element of space while marrying a light and airy interior refit with smart technology home comforts.

Each overwater residence is generously spaced at 1,500 sq. m. and comes with the addition of a new fully equipped gym, a couples’ spa treatment room, a fully equipped professional kitchen with wine fridge, expanded outdoor decks and larger swimming pools. This follows a multi-million-dollar redesign of the two-, three- and four- bedroom beach pool residences in 2020 just before lockdown, with the four-bedroom residence at a commanding 2,000 sq. m. 

Anantara Kihavah Two-bedroom Over Water Pool Residence Spa Treatment Room View

Image credit: Anantara Kihavah

Two-bedroom overwater pool residences

The two newly completed two-bedroom overwater pool residences feature floor-to-ceiling windows across its entirety, guaranteeing vast views of the ocean. Fitted with a professional working kitchen in the living and dining room, each en-suite bedroom at either end features ample individual outdoor living space, whilst the extended infinity pool tiled in natural Sukabumhi stone and shaded outdoor dining sala is the ideal hangout for shared leisure activities.

Anantara Kihavah Two-bedroom Over Water Pool Residence Exterior Aerial

Image credit: Anantara Kihavah

With fitness and wellness being a bigger focus than ever in the modern-day traveller’s needs, the redesign of these residences sees the addition of a gym, fully equipped with the latest in TechnoGym machinery, and a couple’s spa treatment room. Both rooms are fitted with retractable blinds, allowing for natural sunlight by day and unfiltered stargazing at night. Whilst relaxing with a signature Anantara Spa massage, a view of the marine life just beneath the residence, is made possible with the strategic placement of glass panels underneath the spa treatment beds. Glass-bottomed whirlpool bathtubs have also been fitted in each bathroom, providing therapeutic massages even during bath time.

Staying true to the heritage of the Maldives, each residence features Kajan thatched palm roofs and Balau hardwood flooring spanning the entire length of its expansive outdoor deck, accompanied by netted hammocks suspended over water.

Two-, three-, and four-bedroom beach pool residences

Anantara Kihavah’s beach pool residences start from 1,330 sq. m for the two-bedroom option to 1,770 sq. m for the three-bedroom residence and 2,000 sq. m. for the four-bedroom pool sanctuary.

Surrounded by foliage and bright bougainvillea accents, occasional sights of coconut trees jutting through floors or ceilings is testament to the resort’s commitment toward preserving the natural beauty of the island, whilst optimising each residence’s space.

Anantara Kihavah - Guest Room Three Bedroom Beach Pool Residence Exterior View

Image credit: Anantara Kihavah

Like the over water pool residences, the architecture of each beachfront residence reflects Kajan palm roofs and Balau decks. The newly extended swimming pools are now fitted with massage jets, whilst an outdoor Sala Thai provides shaded relief for lounging and dining.

A light neutral palette uplifts a previously dark wood scheme, presenting an atmosphere that is at once comfortable and relaxed, yet modern and luxurious. Rattan details, woven straw carpets, Maldivian motifs and teak wood furniture further accent the distinctively tropical vibe of each room. Floor-to-ceiling doors of the main living and dining area effortlessly slide open for views of the tropics.

Further embodying island living at its most luxurious, a water feature wall designed to mimic that of a real waterfall, is the highlight in each revamped bathroom newly fitted with intelligent toilet technology. Wellbeing and fitness are also not forgotten – with each residence fitted with its own private double-bed spa treatment room and gym featuring a complete range of fitness equipment.

Anantara is a luxury hospitality brand for modern travellers, connecting them to genuine places, people and stories through personal experiences, and providing heartfelt hospitality in the world’s most exciting destinations. The collection of distinct, thoughtfully designed luxury hotels and resorts provides a window through which to journey into invigorating new territory, curating personal travel experiences.

 

Main image credit: Anantara Kihavah

Render of lounge inside Soho Beach House in the Caribbean

Soho House: A sneak peek of upcoming openings

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Soho House: A sneak peek of upcoming openings

Soho House, which shelters members-only Houses targeted towards ‘creative souls, has unveiled renders and details of projects that are expected to open this year. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

Render of lounge inside Soho Beach House in the Caribbean

Following a challenging year for all sectors in hospitality, Soho House, which was founded in 1995 by Nick Jones, has emerged from the pandemic with a teaser that showcases an optimistic year – with six new Houses that will soon become part of the members-only brand’s ever-growing footprint.

Aside from opening its first property in 1995, key milestones include the brand’s first countryside property (Babbington House in 1998), its arrival in the US (with the opening of its first property in New York in 2003), the brand’s venture into Europe (with the opening of its Berlin property in 2010) and the brand’s first opening in Asia (both in Mumbai and Hong Kong in 2019).

Fast-forward to the present day, and as the brand’s 27 Houses are awaiting the return of modern travellers, we take a look at the new destinations and Houses that are expected to open this year.

The Strand, London – coming soon

Just down the road from the original House – 40 Greek Street, Soho, London – 180 House, which will be located on The Strand, will become the brand’s 10th property in London. Just a short walk from Somerset House, the property will shelter a club, three floors of co-working space, and a rooftop pool with views of Westminster and St Paul’s Cathedral.

Canouan – opening Q1, 2021

The opening of the brand’s property in Canouan will mark its arrival in the Caribbean region and will be located on the secluded island of Canouan, which is part of St Vincent and the Grenadines. The renders of the 40 bedrooms and a gym show a paired back design that celebrates barefoot luxury and the authentic charm of the Caribbean.

Tel Aviv – opening spring, 2021

Located in a former convent in the historic Jaffa neighbourhood, the property will feature a pool, terrace, and 24 stylish bedrooms expected to reflect the life and soul of the destination.

Rome – opening summer, 2021

In recent months, there has been a lot of development interest in Rome – with brands such as Rosewood and Bvlgari Hotels also announcing debut arrivals excepted in the next few years. Located in the San Lorenzo district, the debut Soho House property in Rome – the brand’s seventh property in Europe – will shelter 49 bedrooms and 20 apartments, with unparalleled views stretching across the Eternal City from its rooftop, terrace and pool.

Paris – opening summer, 2021

For a brand that is known for amplifying creatives (connecting travellers and locals alike) in thriving neighbourhoods, it makes a lot of a business sense for the members-only lifestyle brand to expand its portfolio with a property in Paris. In the former red-light district of Pigalle – steps from the 19th-century cabaret Moulin Rouge – the brand’s property in Paris will shelter 35 bedrooms, a gym, and a courtyard garden overlooked by a pool terrace.

Austin – opening summer, 2021

On South Congress Avenue, Soho House Austin will become the brand’s first property in Texas and the 10th Soho House territory in North America, and will feature a rooftop pool, 46 bedrooms, and a members screening room.

Since you’re here…

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

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Main image credit: Soho House

Image of panelists for first session of Hotel Designs LIVE

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: The hotel experience 10 years from now

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: The hotel experience 10 years from now

To kickstart Hotel Designs LIVE on February 23, editor Hamish Kilburn hosted a panel discussion with leading designers and architects entitled: Floor 20, room 31, which virtually checked in to the hotel experience 10 years from now…

Image of panelists for first session of Hotel Designs LIVE

On February 23, 2021, Hotel Designs‘ editor Hamish Kilburn returned to host the third instalment of Hotel Designs LIVE, which launched last year with the aim to keep the industry connected and the conversation flowing during and after the Covid-19 crisis.

The one-day conference welcomed world-renowned interior designers, architects and hoteliers to discuss the future of our industry in four engaging panel discussions, which were:

  • Floor 20, room 31, checking in 10 years from now
  • Sustainability, beneath the surface
  • Safe & sound hospitality & hotel design
  • A new era of wellness

The production of Hotel Designs LIVE took place while adhering to the current lockdown regulations and kickstarted with an editor’s welcome from Kilburn who explained the need for the virtual event. “The industry’s new swear word, Covid-19, has temporarily brought hospitality and tourism to its knees, but in these challenging times we have seen the real power of designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers all working together to invent and implement meaningful solutions,” he said. “Hotel Designs LIVE was born in those confusing times, and our aim is simple: to create conversations unlike any other and keep the industry connected.”

The first session of the day, which was sponsored by Hamilton Litestat, was designed to look ahead towards what hospitality and hotel design will look and feel like one decade on from today, and was curated to confront recent cultural shifts that have smudged the sketches, so to speak, as to what the hotel of the future will look like.

On the panel: 

The conversation began with Kilburn asking the panel how accurate previous predictions were regarding the ‘hotel room of the future’. It was concluded that the word ‘experience’, in all sectors of hotel design, was used 10 years ago in order to meet the then new demand among modern travellers who were expecting a deeper and more purposefully driven hospitality journey. Related to this, a new era of luxury lifestyle brands started to emerge to blur the lines in luxury travel, which, following the most testing year the hospitality arena has experienced in modern times, takes us to where we are now.

When the conversation turned to technology, interior designer Martin Goddard led the discussion to argue that moving forward, he expects modern travellers will be burnt out by technology and hotel design in many areas will encourage human connection once more as well as injecting meaningful sense of location, which was evident in Hotel Designs’ recent hotel review of The Mayfair Townhouse, which Goddard Littlefair recently completed steering clear to reference obvious clichés in the design. “One of the best pieces of feedback I’ve received from that hotel is that it always felt like a cosy winter’s day,” Goddard said.

Interior designer Albin Burglund was able to offer a unique perspective when it came to predicting the future of hotel design from both a luxury design as well as a wellness perspective. “I agree with Martin that the industry will be cautious to inject technology,” he explained, “and this will largely follow consumers putting more of a focus on their own personal wellness and wellbeing.”

Chris Lee injected qualitative research into the discussion following a campaign he and his team completed last year for Sleep & Eat, which involved collaboration with Chalk ArchitectureHotel Hussy and students from the University of West London, presenting an interactive render for a ‘2035 guestroom of the future’ based on the groups prestigious upscale Wyndham brand. As well as the project “capturing the imagination” of the modern traveller, the guestroom design and layout challenged conventional hotel rooms – and despite the focus being largely on the ‘Gen-Z traveller’, the product was actually carefully designed for all generations as it allowed guests to select their own scene settings to reflect their mood or preferred environment. Following research into understanding the DNA of the hotel guestroom experience, technology had to be seamlessly blended in to the design scheme.

The discussion soon veered towards Covid-19 and specifically the pandemic’s impact on future design and hospitality. Rob Steul, with more than 20 years’ experience in architecture and design, used the upcoming luxury hotel in Leicester Square, The Londoner, as a prime example of how the industry’s already high standards put hospitality design in good stead for when hospitality and travel returns in the post-pandemic world. “Long before Covid-19, we had already considered elements such as air flow,” he explained. Burglund agreed while also questioning the short-term purposes of event spaces and questioned how these could be utilised and used during what has no-doubt been a testing time for hospitality worldwide.

Here’s a highlights video of the panel discussion, which includes Product Watch pitches from Hamilton Litestat, Chelsom, PENT Fitness, Blueair and Yeames Hospitality.

The full recordings of the other three sessions (‘Sustainability, beneath the surface’; ‘Safe & sound hotel design’ and ‘A new era of wellness’) will be available on-demand shortly.

SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a fourth edition on May 11, 2021. Session titles and speakers will be announced shortly. Once these have been announced, tickets for Hotel Designs LIVE will be available. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused Product Watch pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

Render of vibrant interiors in a boutique hotel in Milan

VIP arrivals: Hottest March hotel openings

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP arrivals: Hottest March hotel openings

Back by popular demand after publishing our two-part series on hotel openings in 2021, Hotel Designs is serving up the hottest, most spectacular March hotel openings. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Render of vibrant interiors in a boutique hotel in Milan

Despite uncertainty around travel in the near-distant future, Hotel Designs’ editorial team has detected optimism on the international hotel design scene. And with this positivity comes hotel openings, which are coming in thick and fast as travel demands surge following the Covid-19 crisis.

From where we are sitting, still, most hotel openings are expected for later on in the year, but there a handful of gems are expected to arrive early to the party. Hot off the heals on February’s openings, ere are some of the hottest hotels that are opening this month:

The Rally Hotel

March hotel openings: The Rally Hotel guestroom render

Image credit: The Rally Hotel

Denver’s newest independent lifestyle hotel, The Rally Hotel, is set to open its doors to guests in early Spring 2021. The Rally Hotel pays homage to its baseball roots and takes its name from an age-old baseball superstition – the rally cap – in which fans wear their caps backwards or inside out as a talisman for their team to pull off a come-from-behind victory. The hotel’s 176 guestrooms, including 29 suites, are thoughtfully designed to maximise comfort and evoke the feeling of approachable luxury. The hotel will feature a rooftop pool and deck on the Bridge-Way overlooking Coors Field with stunning views of the Rocky Mountains.

Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley

Image render of outdoor pool of Four Seasons hotel opening in March

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

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

Vico Milano 

Image of render of courtyard in hotel in Milan- hotel opening in March

Image credit: Vico Milano

Neri Baccheschi-Berti, whose family is behind the beautiful Castello di Vicarello, a restored 12th Century castle in the rolling Tuscan hills, is expanding his vision across Italy with the launch of Vico Milano in March 2021 – a seven-bedroom guesthouse in the country’s most design and fashion-forward city, Milan. The family’s connection with Milan is deep-rooted, having lived and worked there for many years. The site of Vico Milano was previously the mother’s showroom from her days as a fashion designer for her brand Bungai, prior to which it was a factory designing and producing legendary Legnano racing bikes. Positioned in one of the city’s most sought-after locations, Corso Genova 11, the boutique property is just a short walk to the Duomo and the fashionable district of Via Tortona, home to designer showrooms and a Milan Fashion Week hotspot.

Wyndham Grand Algarve

Image of lounge of hotel that is opening in March overlooking garden in Algarve

Image credit: Wyndham Grand Algarve

Following a €5million transformation, the Wyndham Grand Algarve will relaunch in March to shelter a sophisticated interior design scheme. The all-suite resort has been reimagined to provide premium amenities, stylish interiors and the most attentive service. The 132 suites are the largest in Quinta do Lago, with one-, two- and three-bedroom suites offering a relaxed lounge area with kitchen facilities. A sun-drenched balcony or terrace provide extensive views across the lush gardens.

Azumi Setoda

Azumi Setoda_Bedroom_Credit Tomohiro Sakashita

Image credit: Azumi Setoda/Tomohiro Sakashita

Azumi Setoda, which will open in early March, is located on Ikuchijima, a small island of about 8,000 people in the Seto Inland Sea. With this debut property, the brand will take the cultural framework of the traditional ryokan and infuse it with a quality offering that appeals to the modern, global traveller. The balance between tradition and innovation is integral to all parts of Azumi; demonstrated through everything from the design, service, food and beverage, to wellness and cultural programming. The main structure of Azumi Setoda is Horiuchi-tei, a 140-year old Japanese compound, formerly the headquarters and private residence of one of the most dynamic salt farming and shipping families in Setouchi, after whom it is named. The family would also use the space to host and entertain important guests. 

Keep an eye on the Hotel Designs website for all the latest hotel opening news. On the editorial desk, we are hopeful and anticipate the lockdown regulations to relax somewhat. With this in mind, we expect more noise on the hotel design scene from March onwards. In the meantime, you can read all about this year’s hottest hotel openings in part one and part two of our editorial series on hotel openings. 

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.

Main image credit: Vico Milano

A lounge area inside The Upper House in Hong Kong

André Fu Suite to open inside The Upper House

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
André Fu Suite to open inside The Upper House

The world-renowned Hong Kong architect André Fu, has been given the ultimate compliment by the owners of The Upper House who have named a suite in his honour. Hotel Designs learns more about what to expect in the suite when it opens this spring…

A lounge area inside The Upper House in Hong Kong

A brand new and soon-to-be ‘sought-after’ experience awaits guests at The Upper House with the arrival of the André Fu Suite this Spring. Although we are still eagerly awaiting the professional images of the suite, we have in the meantime managed to find out more details of what to expect inside, which is a space that gives a sensitive nod to Fu’s style that has effortlessly evolved in tandam with modern traveller demands and the brands expansion in new locations.

The 1,960-square-foot suite combines the understated luxury of the 117-key luxury hotel with the André Fu philosophy for living as realised through Fu’s own collection of furniture, homeware and decorative accessories. The suite is a tribute to the world-renowned Hong Kong designer and his enduring relationship as the architect of The House.

Perched above the metropolis that is known as ‘Asia’s World City’, on Level 48, the André Fu Suite presents a completely new experience from The Upper House brand and acts as an aspirational space that is a testament to what a suite can offer. As guests explore and interact with the surroundings during their stay, they enter and discover the world of André Fu Living and his collaboration with The House that has spanned over a decade.

“Framed sketches of the architect’s original concept designs of the hotel from 15 years ago adorn the walls.”

Giving a nod to both the architect and the hotel’s journey, framed sketches of Fu’s original concept designs of the hotel, from 15 years ago, adorn the walls. More than 100 pieces of homeware are curated from the André Fu Living Collection, including the Spring Summer 2021 collection while hand-selected books from the visionary’s personal library each translate the shared vision and history of Fu and The House into an immersive living experience.

The space draws on the philosophy shared by both brands that true luxury is in the experience and not just the aesthetics. As such, the suite is designed to act as a conduit for experiential and authentic connections to people and place.

A dining table, set for 20, is the perfect background for entertaining, whether for dinner parties, celebrations or more formal business lunches. The intimate and inviting space is intended to give visitors the sense of walking into somebody’s home, and enables hosts to embrace their personal expression of living.

A contemporary bed in a modern guestroom

Image credit: The Upper House

A place for rejuvenation, the suite’s integrated spa is a dedicated and transformative space featuring twin massage beds. Guests can embark on a completely immersive experience to cultivate inner peace and rejuvenation, or simply escape the urbanity of the city and their everyday lives.

The suite’s design is a testament to the sensibilities of its designer and his ability to bring a calm simplicity into interior spaces. Using a palette of mineral blue, dusty mink and pale ivory, the space will feature pieces from the existing André Fu Living collection, which first made its debut in Milan during Salone del Mobile 2019, as well as presenting brand new unseen pieces. These will include a collaboration with British heritage wallcovering specialist, de Gournay, and lounge seating upholstered in Lora Piano’s finest wools.

From the sculptural ottoman to the fluidity and linear structure of the Mid-Century inspired furniture, and the refined porcelain tableware delicately garnished with artisan brush gilding, each piece within the suite is an expression of Fu’s signature understated sophistication and fascination with craftsmanship, focusing not simply on how beautiful things look but how they make guests feel.

In addition to the arrival of the suite, Fu has turned his hand to transform level four from a place to check-in and out to a space that feels more akin to a living room. Replacing traditional check-in desks with a more open high table removes the barrier between guest and the guest experience team.

A fire in a modern lounge

Image credit: The Upper House

An adjoining lounge space, featuring pieces from André Fu Living, is also created for guests to conjure. The result is an increased sense of intimacy, interaction and relaxation in an area that combines form and function for an enhanced guest experience.

Fu reflects on his long relationship with The Upper House and how his and the brand’s style has adapted over the years. “When the Upper House first opened 11 years ago, it was considered the antithesis of what typically defines an Asian luxury hotel,” he says. “At the time, I attempted to infuse how I saw hospitality going forward into this property. Fifteen years later, I am still excited to evolve with the House as it has remained a key relationship for me throughout my career. I’m thrilled to be able to bring my own André Fu Living brand to the hotel as part of this new suite and once again, I’m eager to see how guests will respond to it, whether it’s through entertaining or indulging in an urban escape.”

After much anticipation, the André Fu Suite opens this spring, which champions his motto of design not being about ‘imposing a lifestyle’ and instead being ‘a personal expression of living’.

Main image credit: The Upper House/André Fu

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

Product watch: Ceiling light collection from Chelsom

834 788 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Ceiling light collection from Chelsom

From the looks of things in the Edition 27 collection, which launched last year, Chelsom likes to give designers plenty to play with. With this in mind, Hotel Designs takes a sneak peek at the diverse range of ceiling light options the brand offers…

Every hotel or cruise ship needs a statement chandelier and this eclectic collection has been carefully created to cater for all budgets and applications, taking design aesthetics to the next level without compromising on function and efficiency.

Hello VETRO: a seamless fusion of design and function

Slender disks in brushed brass and sculptured glass create a timeless, elegant design that makes the range extremely versatile for any application in hospitality and marine environments.

This statement pendant dramatically illuminates the surrounding area with each facet of the sculpted glass catching the light creating a striking light effect that is a statement in itself.

Chelsom is one of our recommended suppliers and regularly feature 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: Chelsom

OPAL collage

Outstanding Property Award London: Winners announced

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Outstanding Property Award London: Winners announced

The annual OPAL Award celebrates and give exposure to the most exceptional projects in architectural design, interior design, and property development from all over the world. Editor Hamish Kilburn, who joined the judging panel for a second year, is here to unveil the winners…

OPAL collage

From a shortlist of more than 600 global projects, the OPAL jury panel selected three “Designs of the Year” winners in Architectural Design, Interior Design, and Property Development along with Platinum Winners, Winners and Honourable Mentions.

Platinum Winners include a commercial development in Hong Kong by Zaha Hadid Architects, a museum by Ooki Architects & Associates, Stylt Trampoli’s Pater Noster and Hotel Indigo Venice Sant’Elena designed by THDP among many others. Meanwhile winners included a hotel project by Yasmine Mahmoudieh, a marina tower by Buwog Group and a quirky F&B scene created at BOHO Social.

You can view the full list of winners on the OPAL website, but here are some of the major wins from this year’s event.

Architectural Design of the Year

White Deer Plain. Mountain Land Resort Hotel

Image credit: WuLicheng (lead architect) and Huiyimingcheng (collaborating firm)

Sharp contrasts and a tin box-like structure, the White Deer Plain. Mountain Land Resort Hotel offers a strong vision of different material usage and highlights the perpetual battle between light and shadows through its shapes and framework. The space and dimensions of the building remind the viewer of the ratios and relationship between human and architecture.

Interior Design of the Year

Technopolis Auditorium: An acoustic device

Image credit: ahylo architects

The Auditorium was a renovation project designed for the Municipality Of Athens, completed recently in the cylindrical Historic Industrial Gas Park building. Keeping with the concept of a gasholder tank, the forms of the inner design fold and flow, transforming the auditorium into an “acoustic device.” The roof enhances passive acoustics through geometric sound reflectors and absorbers and oak surfaces that form prismatic clusters. In total, the structure consists of 564 elements coming together into an alluring, jubilant meeting spot for art lovers.

Property Development of the Year

Park Silom

Image credit: NYE & RPG Development Co. Ltd.

“Silom” translates to “Windmill” in Thai. Historically, the area was a humble rural location that, with the evolution of Bangkok, became the financial district. At Silom, the windmill symbolises new beginnings, which is reflected by the intention of breathing new life into the community right from the heart of the building. The o ice complex is a38 storeys with two basement levels and 56,000 square metres in total area.

Main image credit: OPAL entries

Colourful and quirky lobby/lounge in hotel with blue furniture and industrial stairs

Colour trends: A return to nature is calling

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Colour trends: A return to nature is calling

A year after hospitality lost its colour due to the outbreak of Covid-19, we’ve asked brand strategist Emma Potter to inject our pages with some vibrancy. Here, she explores colour’s role in post-pandemic hospitality and hotel design…

Colourful and quirky lobby/lounge in hotel with blue furniture and industrial stairs

The pandemic has created a seismic shift in human behaviour. We have adapted well to new ways of working and new ways of communicating with our friends, family and colleagues, but how will the hospitality industry connect with the post-corona consumer? Through colour and savvy design is how.

I think it’s fair to say that the last year has been a rollercoaster of emotions from worry and anxiety with the announcement of the first lockdown in March 2020 to frustration and confusion with the ongoing uncertainty as we enter a new year. Arguably it is in times like these where we are able to see just how powerful a tool colour is – used correctly and purposefully, it has the ability to control the emotional noise that surrounds us.

Image of pink colour on walls and black outdoor furniture indoors

Image credit: Stefen Tan/Unsplash

Like many other sectors, the hospitality industry has been hit exceptionally hard all over the world but I’m sure the appetite that many have to travel, see and experience new destinations remains pretty solid. Having been cooped up in our homes and restricted to our local areas (in some cases only a 5km radius from our front door) as human beings, we are craving a change of scene; to get away from our daily routine, and to have shared experiences with loved ones that help us reset, recharge and refocus.

As we continue to move through 2021 – a year of optimism and solutions – I believe colour will play an increasingly significant part in hotel design. Whilst the world is undergoing one of the largest global ‘resets’ in decades – with many people re-evaluating their lives, how they use their homes, where they want to live, their choice of career, right down to the way they wish to show-up and be present in the world – this is also a tremendous opportunity for hotels to ‘reset’ and re-open refreshed and reinvented.

In some instances, that may be a guest that’s looking for a high-end, luxury and high-tech experience that gives them the power to control and operate everything contactless. For others, who crave environmentally values, they will want to immerse themselves in nature and find a destination that has focused on bring the outdoors in, adopting a more biophilic style to their architecture and design. Moreover, perhaps hoteliers have taken this time to become more conscious to source all their products locally and from sustainable sources. In all cases, the two types of customers are very different and demand a different colour schemes and design style – and yet, they are often sheltered in the same hotel, which creates somewhat of a challenge for the design team. But it’s not impossible. One hotel that manages to perfectly balance both sustainable approaches and extreme luxury is Jade Mountain in Saint Lucia, which was reviewed in 2019 by Hotel Designs.

Image of Jade Mountain and the Pitons

Image credit: Jade Mountain

Given the fact we’ve had so much screen time in the past 12 months, post-pandemic it’s likely we will see a surge of the environmentally values based consumer – and the hoteliers and designers who inject this feeling with purpose will the ones who come out on top.

“Choosing a colour scheme for a hotel is an expensive decision to get wrong.” – Emma Potter.

In addition, just as colour has the ability to create an effective and productive workplace, it also has the authority to evoke an emotion and a positive memorable experience during a guest’s stay. Remember, guests are making decisions based on their emotions and therefore colour can often influence our emotions and change our behaviour – so it’s imperative for a hotel to get their colour scheme right to establish true, meaningful connections with their guests.

Common pitfalls to avoid when choosing colour

Choosing a colour scheme for a hotel is hugely complex and an expensive decision to get wrong. It’s important to think about what the hotel brand stands for; who their ideal guest is (who do they want to appeal to), what do they want their hotel to offer that others don’t, what behaviours do they want to elicit, what feeling’s do they want to evoke, what memories do they want their guests to take away with them – all of these elements and more need a huge amount of consideration.

“Choosing a colour scheme because it’s ‘on trend’ means you’re following someone else’s version of ‘good’ or ‘great’.” – Emma Potter.

So, when choosing a colour scheme, consider this:

  • Brilliant white – I would recommend that you avoid choosing brilliant white to paint a space, whether it’s big or small. From a psychological standpoint, white may be perceived as perfection to bring a sense of calm and quite; yet on the flip side it makes a space feel sterile, cold and lifeless. It reminds me of stark, clinical hospitals. Instead, check out the brands, such as Arte, that celebrate imperfection in nature.
  • Over saturation – Just as it’s important not to saturate a space with brilliant white, it’s equally not advisable to saturate a space with any ‘one’ colour. All colours, with the exception of pure greys, have positive and negative psychological aspects. Of course, grey may make us feel safe because it has the capacity to help us blend in with the background but for me it’s quite non-descript and when surrounded by it for too long depletes my energy levels, resulting in me feeling drained and lethargic. Equally if I was immersed in a red space initially, I may feel energised and excited but if I remain in a red room for a long period of time, I’m likely to become agitated and annoyed because I’ve been over stimulated by the colour.
  • Think about the space as a whole – When designing for a space it’s easy to get carried away with the colour scheme on the walls, but it’s important to think about the space as a whole. There are many elements to consider, from the walls, carpets, and cabinetry, to soft furnishings (including fabric type and textures as well as the construction of and / or print pattern), to lighting, glassware and the many accessories that adorn and embellish an environment. Think about the design journey and space as ‘one’ and the experience you with so take your guests on will flow.
  • Tonal harmony – A colour scheme will always come together and be a success when the colours chosen relate and come from the same tonal group. When colours don’t harmonise it generally creates a sense of confusion or disharmony which guests will pick up on innately, but what they won’t always be able to identify or articulate is ‘why’ they feel this sense of discomfort. In essence it all comes down to selecting a colour palette that has tonal harmony.
  • Trends are not timeless – I imagine that, certainly when it comes to residential design, opting for a colour scheme because it’s ‘on trend’ is more common than we realise – perhaps a client has picked out the colour because they have seen it in a magazine. Yet to help us choose the right colour scheme it would be good to understand how, as humans, we relate to colour – be that psychologically, personally and symbolically. Additionally, it makes senses to understand the influence of both the positive and negative traits, plus the application and proportion of colour used to create the desired results. Choosing a colour scheme because it’s ‘on trend’ means you’re following someone else’s version of ‘good’ or ‘great’, and not tuning into your intuition to discover your own. There are many well-respected paint-manufactures who make trend predictions at the beginning of every year like Pantone, Dulux, Farrow and Ball or Benjamin Moore – these are great places to go for inspiration, but in the end, make sure you select a colour palette and design style that’s right for your brand and the experience you wish to create – in the end it’s all about creating an immersive and memorable customer journey.
  • Create sense of place – Achieving a strong sense of place in hotel design without straying into cliché territory is often a major challenge in any project. Colour can be a subtle way to reflect the natural landscapes as well as the personality of the destination. Take the newly opened Moxy Miami South Beach, for example. Gregg Keffer, Partner and Studio Leader at Rockwell Group delibrately chose a vibrant colour and design scheme that broke boundaries while capturing the “bright, carefree sophistication” of South Beach.
Image of ensuite in stylish Moxy room

Image credit: Moxy Hotels

Clever ways of injecting colour to enhance wellbeing  

The idea of connecting hotel design and hospitality with nature is not new, yet in response to the pandemic there has been some discussion of the re-emergence and rise of biophilic design – it’s become mainstream! This builds on the idea that as humans we have an innate attraction to, and love of, the nature world. This would possibly explain why people will happily pay more for a room with a view of never-ending, undulating mountain ranges or the expansive horizon of the sea because these vistas will most likely deliver an incredible glowing sunrise to start your day whilst sipping on a delicious cup of freshly brewed coffee or tea, or to end your day with a mesmerising sunset whilst enjoying a chilled glass of rose or perhaps a gin and tonic as a sundowner.

Jungle-inspired interiors showcasing various tones of surfaces

Image credit: CTD Architectural Tiles

In essence, ‘biophilia’ means ‘love of life’, however, when it comes to biophilic design this does not mean putting in a few plants as a token gesture. It means embracing all elements of biophilic design, a true engagement of all our senses – sight, taste, hearing, touch and smell – to help us understand and absorb what’s going on around us. Take art outside the frame, using tiles from the likes of CTD Architectural Tiles. Use natural materials such as wood, maximising natural light, making organic shapes a priority, and using a range of plants to create a sense of the great outdoors – all of which helps to balance our emotions and support our emotional wellbeing whilst introducing a natural range of tones, shapes and colours.

Blue colour on walls with rattan bed

Image credit: Conran and Partners

In this way, not only do we create a space where guests feel safe and secure, we enable them to better connect with themselves by creating a peaceful, tranquil environment, making it a memorable meaningful experience that they’ll want to come back for, time and time again, year in, year out. After all, that is the end goal, right?

Main image Upsplash

birdseye view of pool from above

IN PICTURES: Inside Moxy South Beach

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN PICTURES: Inside Moxy South Beach

Moxy South Beach has arrived in Miami’s Art Deco District. Lightstone, the developers behind three award-winning Moxy hotels in New York City, worked with design firm Rockwell Group and architect Kobi Karp to create a stylish, playful open-air concept celebrating Miami’s cosmopolitan culture…

birdseye view of pool from above

Moxy South Beach has opened with a design that blends the glamour of midcentury Havana, the artistry of contemporary Mexico City, and a tropical vibrancy that’s unmistakably Miami. 

The 202-key, eight-story hotel, featuring two pools and the nearby Moxy Beach Club, will be the first resort-style property under Marriott International’s Moxy Hotels brand, marking a new chapter for hospitality in Miami Beach. Moxy South Beach is upending the way travellers experience hotels in the new year, from contactless check-in to indoor-outdoor lounging, meeting, fitness, and dining spaces.

Birdseye image of pool from above Moxy Miami South Beach

Image credit: Moxy Hotels

The highly anticipated opening of Moxy South Beach comes at a pivotal time for Miami Beach, which is repositioning its traditional entertainment district as the new “Art Deco District” — a reimagination of the historic neighbourhood with Moxy South Beach at the forefront. 

“In a way, the design anticipated the needs of the current environment, so we’re able to accommodate what people are looking for right now.” Mitchell Hochberg, President, Lightstone.

 “Opening the hotel during this unprecedented time presented Lightstone with a unique challenge,“ says Mitchell Hochberg, President, Lightstone. “Moxy South Beach isn’t a response to the pandemic, even if it feels like an antidote to it. In a way, the design anticipated the needs of the current environment, so we’re able to accommodate what people are looking for right now: contactless check-in, outdoor spaces, and a do-it-yourself ethos. But we always stayed true to the roots of the Moxy brand, letting guests curate their own experience while they escape reality for a few days in South Beach – and the icing on the cake is that it’s all at an attractive price point. That’s an idea with timeless appeal.”

Moxy South Beach’s interiors are designed by Rockwell Group (public spaces and bedrooms) and Saladino Design Studios (Serena, Como Como, and Mezcalista), while exteriors are by Kobi Karp Architecture in collaboration with Rockwell Group. Guests can customise their level of interaction as they move from the sanctuary of their bedroom to public spaces designed for socialising on demand. The majority of spaces are open-air and blend seamlessly with indoor areas. Public areas are peppered with private and semi-private enclaves — including poolside cabanas, open-air meeting studios, and sequestered dining tables — that let guests be in the mix and on their own all at once. 

 Guests enter the hotel through the main walkway on Washington Avenue or the modern porte-cochère at the east entrance. The sun-drenched lobby features several relaxed seating areas with amusements such as a foosball table whose players are vintage pinup dolls brought into the modern era as a women’s soccer team as well as a carnivalesque, Zoltar inspired, pay phone that provides complimentary horoscope readings from resident astrologer Bassfunkdaddy. The lobby’s three flexible meeting studios and restaurant all converge around a large, open-air courtyard. The space is surrounded by glass walls that can open or close as the weather allows.

The indoor-outdoor spaces continue with a fitness centre inspired by nearby Muscle Beach; an outdoor movie screening room on the rooftop; and the Moxy Beach Club on Miami’s famous South Beach. The 72-foot, cabana-lined pool on the second-floor terrace maximises see-and-be-seen sightlines with tiered lounge seating, benches in the water, and luxury private cabanas. A circular communal shower invites flirtatious interaction, with flamingoes peeking through the surrounding hedge.

Image of pool at Moxy Miami Beach

Image credit: Moxy Hotels

Swimmers in the pool can peek down directly into the lobby through an eight-foot, see-through cutout at the bottom of the pool, adding up to an exhibitionistic vibe that embodies South Beach. The hotel’s eighth floor rooftop features a shallow lounging pool with chaises submerged in the water and daybeds shaped like lily pads. 

The 202 thoughtfully-designed guestrooms include King, Double Queen, or Quad Bunk options, as well as residentially styled suites. All rooms are dressed in vivid Miami hues and bathed in sunlight thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows.

Image of lifestyle guestroom in Moxy Miami

Image credit: Moxy Hotels

Inspired in part by the Clyde Mallory Line, an overnight ferry service between Miami and Havana that operated in the 1940s and ‘50s, the rooms resemble ocean liner staterooms with ingenious, space-maximising storage solutions. Oceanview rooms on higher floors offer unobstructed vistas of the Atlantic, while other rooms feature expansive views of South Beach’s pastel-hued architecture. Bedrooms feature custom art by Miami artist Aquarela Sabol depicting iconic artists — Frida Kahlo, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Pablo Picasso, and Salvador Dalí — visiting South Beach.

“To capture the bright, carefree sophistication of South Beach, we blurred the boundaries between indoor and outdoor amenities.” – Greg Keffer, Partner and Studio Leader at Rockwell Group.

“Our design concept for Moxy South Beach celebrates Miami’s uniquely multicultural style, from eclectic Art Deco motifs and Miami Modernism, to Cuban and other Latin American influences,” says Greg Keffer, Partner and Studio Leader at Rockwell Group. “To capture the bright, carefree sophistication of South Beach, we blurred the boundaries between indoor and outdoor amenities, and created light-filled guestrooms that have a feeling of openness.”

For the dining and drinking venues, Lightstone tapped the Miami restaurateurs behind the uber-popular Coyo Taco and 1-800-Lucky to create six new exclusive concepts, drawing on Mexican, Caribbean, and local flavours. 

Starting at the signature Bar Moxy, guests can simultaneously check-in contact-free and order a handcrafted cocktail. Retro-style swivel barstools surround the oval-shaped bar, while an infinity mirror installation above contains the phone number of El Floridita, the legendary Havana watering hole, paying tribute to Miami’s Cuban heritage.

Image of bar at Moxy Miami South Beach

Image credit: Moxy Hotels

Facing Bar Moxy is Los Buenos, the all-day bodega and taco stand, which will dish up tacos on hand-pressed tortillas and burrito bowls, as well as breakfast items and a variety of specialty coffee drinks by La Colombe.

On the second floor, an open-air rooftop restaurant and bar, Serena, channels the enchanting rooftop and patio restaurants of Oaxaca and Mexico City. Located on a vibrant, lushly planted terrace, Serena has a laid-back yet sophisticated vibe that’s like none other in Miami. Lounge and table seating — plus an enticing menu of shareable dishes and hand-crafted cocktails — create an inviting atmosphere for sunset cocktails and nibbles, leisurely lunches and dinners, or buzzy brunches accompanied by live music.

The hotel’s eighth-floor rooftop bar, aptly named The Upside, has a shallow lounging pool, alfresco movie screening area, whimsical seating options, and 360-degree panoramic views of the ocean and Miami Beach. Available exclusively to hotel guests and for private events, The Upside will become a coveted space for parties, film screenings, and pop-ups. A sinuous canopy on the rooftop provides shade during the day, while showcasing a brilliant, geometric mural by New York artist Edward Granger when illuminated at night. The piece is a nod to the thriving street art scene in nearby Wynwood and acts as a colorful beacon for the hotel.

Opening April 2021 is Como Como, a marisqueria (seafood restaurant) and raw bar centred around the “fuego,” a wood- and charcoal-fired grill utilising ancient Mexican techniques. The open-cooking concept allows diners to watch the culinary process firsthand, while a “tequila tree” sculpture theatrically dispenses the agave spirit from hand-blown glass spheres. The restaurant also serves diners in its outdoor courtyard, a lush space layered with coloured tilework, hanging plants, and a sign reading “Besos De Mezcal,” hinting at the night to come. 

Also opening in April is a sexy and mysterious mezcal lounge, Mezcalista, accessed either from the back of the marisquería or through a discreet entrance on Washington Avenue. 

 

“We’re creating concepts that give people a lot of choice,” says Sven Vogtland, co-founder of Coyo Taco Group. “You can head up to Serena for a sunset drink and a bite, sit down for an elegant meal at Como Como, or enjoy the intimate energy of Mezcalista while the DJ spins. Or you can have all three in one night. We’re providing a variety of vibes and environments, which in turn will attract a real intermingling of different types of guests.”

An energetic mix of cultural and lifestyle programming will roll out at Moxy South Beach, including several exclusive partnerships. Adapting the notable #SWEATatMoxy program from its sister properties in New York, Moxy South Beach will have guests working up a sweat with “Glutes Check” classes from local fitness guru Starr Hawkins, taking part in restorative sessions from NYC-based BeRevolutionarie, or joining a Surfing Bootcamp from Surfrider Foundation, an organisation dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean waves and beaches. The Surfrider Foundation collaboration continues with Silent Disco beach cleanups and surf-inspired movie screenings on the rooftop. The rooftop will also host biannual screenings in partnership with the Miami Film Festival.

Exterior image of Moxy Miami South Beach

Image credit: Moxy Hotels

On the rhythm front, Prism Creative and Tigre Sounds are curating a weekly live music series with emerging musicians. The hotel is also partnering with heralded genre-bending Miami orchestra Nu Deco Ensemble to share frequent live streams of their sold-out concerts. These partnerships continue on the small screen via Moxy South Beach’s in-room TV channels, including Nu Deco Ensemble’s “Orchestra Reimagined” performances. Hotel guests will also receive special perks at cultural institutions like the Bass Museum, Rubell Museum, Superblue Miami, and the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM).

Main image credit: Moxy Hotels

Render of two isolated pod-like buildings made of wood

Architecture trends for 2021 & beyond

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Architecture trends for 2021 & beyond

To cut through the noise of emerging architecture trends, we hear from architecture firm SB Architect’s President and Principal, Scott Lee, and Senior Vice President and Principal, Bruce Wright…

Render of two isolated pod-like buildings made of wood

Last week, we published our close look at surface trends, where it was concluded that strict pre-pandemic industry standards mean that hospitality design is “well-placed to weather the storm” without a major supply-side rethink.

Following this feature, SB Architects, an award-winning international architecture firm focusing on designing soulful and inspiring destinations across hospitality, residential and mixed-use, has stepped up to release what its team believe are the top architecture trends that are emerging in 2021.

“One positive thing to come out of this pandemic is that design and architecture will be more responsive and intuitive to the needs of humanity unlike ever before.” – Scott Lee, President and Principal, SB Architects.

Undoubtably, the Covid-19 pandemic has left an indelible mark across every industry, shifting priorities, and dramatically impacting how the firm – and industry as a whole – approaches design as well as how architecture trends are defined. “2021 will be a year of transformational growth for society – and how we design our world in response to the recent events will create lasting change for years to come,” said Scott Lee, President and Principal, SB Architects. “The architecture community must shift our way of thinking about how society will function moving forward, with a focus on designing spaces for our physical and mental wellbeing. I believe one positive thing to come out of this pandemic is that design and architecture will be more responsive and intuitive to the needs of humanity unlike ever before.”

Experience-driven design

SB Architects sees experience-driven design continuing to thrive in the years ahead. Our lives are filled with experiences that are all fulfilled virtually – from ordering food online to work and school. To make an impact, spaces must be adaptable and designed to enhance our wellbeing and offer a physical experience that elevates the offering from the virtual – a moment of ‘wow’ so to speak. Spaces will be designed to entice occupants to feel energised and experience the natural surroundings of a space to reconnect with nature.

Arches at Miami Design District by SB Architects.

Image credit: Miami Design District by SB Architects

The firm sees this architecture trend extending into the retail space, too. Retail development can no longer just be basic, cookie-cutter boxes in an open space; it needs to be a multi-faceted community and cultural experience. Retailers have and will continue to get creative with strategically curated facades to inspire and arouse curiosity – the idea that retail is entertainment.

Going private in public

People want to feel connected and be able to socialise in a way that feels safe. Guests are going to be socialising outside for the foreseeable future, and the coming year will showcase innovative design solutions that speak to this pressing need. This will lead to a rise in zoned dining in hotel spaces including pavilions and landscape barriers to create safe spaces for eating in public.

Hotel Villagio, restaurant

Image credit: SB Architects/Hotel Villagio

A street well-known for restaurants may close on Friday night so that it is walkable with seating outdoors, and food trucks, dining al fresco, and micro-restaurants with takeout windows will likely become more popular. Hyper-personalisation has always been a luxury signifier, but the current climate is pushing for innovation, SB Architects anticipates a rise in interesting private dining options and chef-to-table experiences.

 Hybrid hotels: the rise of ‘bleisure’ travel

A trend at the intersection between hospitality and residential is the aparthotel – hotel rooms that function like an apartment, reducing the amount of guest to staff interaction.

Render of outdoor pool surrounded by mountains

Image credit: SB Archtiects/Pendry Park City Residences

This trend is experiencing a comeback and gaining traction for a number of reasons; the locations are desirable, guests can stay for extended periods of time to experience ‘living like a local’, and a huge majority of the population is working from home, meaning that ‘staycations’ and localised travel, for ‘bleisure’ (business and leisure) are rapidly growing in popularity.

render of ground-level f&b area, open to nature

Image caption/credit: Render of Speciality Restaurant | SB Architects/Conrad Hotels & Resorts

In a similar vein, SB Architects anticipates branded private residences will continue to grow in popularity. Buyers will gravitate to luxury hotel brands that they trust from the hospitality space, with residences that offer a suite of unique and boutique offerings the most in-demand with buyers, given the increased focus on customising residential spaces and spending more time at home.

“This focus on intentional wellness translates into adopting more empathetic design.”

Intentional wellness

Human beings have an innate biological affinity to nature. Biophilia, spending time immersed in natural environments, is proven to reduce stress and improve a person’s well-being. In terms of the built environment, the crisis has reinforced the belief in the positive power of nature, placing it front and centre of the hospitality experience through outdoor facilities, natural light, and fresh airflow.

Presidential Bathroom_St. Regis Los Cabos_HBA

Image credit: HBA San Francisco/SB Architects/St Regis Los Cabos

It also reinforces a broader trend for intimately scaled environments that emphasise privacy and personal space. People are taking a slower and more considerate approach to travel and are looking to bring that same sense of peace and tranquility into their personal space.

Over the next few years, SB Architects anticipates an upsurge of people prioritising exercise and wellness into their homes. This focus on intentional wellness translates into adopting more empathetic design – or design that acts as a conduit of an experience and not an architectural statement.

 The science of feeling good

The current global pandemic has instilled a sense of uncertainty and unease, and hotels are going to be relied upon to provide a space to escape, disconnect and retreat in comfort. Today’s traveller is looking to check-in to a hotel and find the same level of comfort, if not more, than they have at home. Most people are now living a relatively ‘smart’ life, using AI daily, with smart assistants managing and automating a lot of day-to-day tasks – from waking them up and turning on the heaters, to ordering their groceries – so, a ‘smart’ hotel room is almost expected.

“Once the pandemic eases, SB Architects predicts a rise in ‘tech-free’ packages to allow guests to detox from being consistently connected.”

 Tackling tech-burnout

Technology was already evolving at an incredible rate but has gained momentum and taken on a lightning pace in reaction to the Covid-19 crisis. The global pandemic has proven to be a catalyst for acceleration and change.

Working remotely has created the expectation that one is always available, creating a ‘tech burnout’. Luxury hospitality is defined by choice, and guests want the choice of how they interact with technology during their hotel stay, whether that is being connected, offline, or somewhere in-between. Once the pandemic eases, SB Architects predicts a rise in ‘tech-free’ packages to allow guests to detox from being consistently connected, providing a chance to unplug and enjoy a no-tech experience without smartphones and computers. 

bar designed in natural wood overlooking the sea

Image credit: Kimpton Hotels/SB Architects

“The past year has given us a clearer focus of the ideal function of shared spaces and how architecture and design must be sensitive to the needs of occupants,” said Bruce Wright, senior vice president and principal of SB Architects. “Simply put, 2020 has underscored the fact that we need our spaces to do more for us – more flexibility in form and function and to inspire creativity and promote wellness. We are looking forward to meeting these new challenges.”

Main image credit: SB Architects/ascaya

New architectural wrap patterns now available from William Smith

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
New architectural wrap patterns now available from William Smith

William Smith Group leads the way in architectural wrap solutions with 500 3M DI-NOC patterns now in stock…

A major investment in 3M DI-NOC stock now places a choice of 500 patterns (half the entire 1000 pattern collection) at the fingertips of William Smith Architextural division’s customers.

All stock is available off the shelf, and by the metre, giving installers the advantage of more choice for their clients, readily available samples, and shorter lead times.

The new DI-NOC finishes available include an even greater choice in wood, colours, metallic, stone, and fabric, as well as 3M’s recently launched suede collection. More specialist finishes include abrasion resistant, matt, and exterior, to meet even more design requirements to create innovative solutions.

Since you’re here, why not read our exclusive roundtable on sustainability in surface design?

The investment of almost £300,000 in the addition of 350 patterns is a clear demonstration of the William Smith’s commitment to the UK market and to further enhancing support for its installers.

“This investment in additional stock represents our dedication to supporting our installers more than ever,” explains Architextural Marketing Manager, Lindsay Appleton. “Stock availability means we can offer greater access to material by the metre, and help our customers to win more projects by enabling them to offer sampling and prototypes to their customers.”

An open catalogue

Image credit: William Smith

Williams Smith Group 1832 Head of Marketing, Chris Bradley comments: “Our Architextural Division was created to drive awareness with architects, designers and specifiers about the concept of architectural wrapping as an alternative surface in redesigns. Recognition of the sustainability and cost saving benefits of wrapping existing fixtures and fittings, instead of replacing them, is growing in momentum in the UK and we are seeing rapid growth in demand for these products.”

“Architextural is leading the market, and is now the largest UK stockist of architectural films, from the two leading brands, 3M DI-NOC and Cover Styl,” concludes Chris Bradley.

Working in partnership with 3M, William Smith is the lead supplier of DI-NOC stock in the UK. To view the full 3M DI-NOC stock range or request samples visit the William Smith Group or Architextural websites. To request the new Architextural brochure email lindsay@williamsmith.co.uk. To book a training course and become part of the growing installation network, click here.

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

Main image credit: William Smith Group

A modern interior design of a kitchen

How surface design can elevate guest experience

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How surface design can elevate guest experience

With public healthcare in the spotlight like never before, the Covid-19 pandemic is challenging hoteliers to rethink the entire guest experience. Here we hear from Harris Jackson on the role of surface design…

A modern interior design of a kitchen

From bringing the outside in to focusing on building a sense of community, wellness is high on the agenda for many brands as they look for new ways to connect with their customers and rebuild trust. And for good reason – according to a variety of data, consumer trust is at an all-time low.

Last year a study by End of Tenancy Cleaning Company, which surveyed almost 2,000 British travellers, found that 50 per cent of people do not trust hotel hygiene and over a third would avoid international travel for the next 12 months. Almost half of the people surveyed also said they would clean a hotel room themselves before using it. Research like this demonstrates the lack of confidence guests currently have and just how important safety and security is as a key message.

There are many ways hoteliers can respond to this and instil a sense of trust far beyond placing hand sanitisers in lobbies and installing perspex screens in the reception area. One way to elevate the customer experience and improve health and safety is through the design of surfaces.

Form and function

Beautiful design is about more than aesthetics, it’s about responding to customer needs and the current climate. There are a number of surface trends to look out for in 2021 (and beyond) that explore both form and function; sustainability, ventilation, flexibility and connecting to nature are all taking centre stage alongside technology that can improve public health.

Wellbeing is at the top of the agenda when it comes to design and we have seen this impact design trends before. In 1918, influenza impacted design by throwing more emphasis on light and air, and more minimal interiors (with heavier more cluttered interiors thought to be unhygienic). And now due to Covid-19 we are going to see another shift. It’s long been known that the surfaces we interact with can be transmitters for bacteria and some, such as E.Coli, can last for months on surfaces.

So how can hoteliers invest in surface technology to improve public health and the overall guest experience?

It can purify air

Some technologies are focusing on purifying air, such as Pureti’s photocatalytic applications. It utilises the natural process of plants. As well as purifying air it can also be applied to surfaces to help them stay cleaner for longer. Apparently this treatment has even been used by NASA! We know that air quality is so important for guest comfort and with many people seeking out less urban environments and a stronger connection to nature, technology like this could have far reaching benefits.

Pureti air purifying in a modern kitchen

Image credit: Pureti

Texture can limit transmission

The texture of surfaces can play a key role in not only the aesthetics of a room but in helping to eliminate viral transmission of bacteria. The Imperial College London looked at different textures and coatings and found that copper surfaces provide antibacterial protection, killing 99.9 per cent of bacteria within two hours. This raises some interesting ideas around materials used throughout the hotel environment, especially within heavy traffic areas such as lobbies and doorways.

Fabrics for more than comfort

New technology extends past hard surfaces and covers soft furnishings too; Aguaguard365 is an example of an antibacterial protection system for fabrics that helps keep textiles free of bacteria. From bed linens to towels, technology is constantly evolving.

A lounge that has been annotated to show furniture

Image credit: Aguaguard365

So as travel restrictions begin to lift and consumers consider staying away from home again, it’s clear that surface technology can do more than just elevate appearance – it can help to instil trust and boost confidence, something that’s crucial in the current climate.

Since you’re here, why not read Harris Jackson’s article on bringing the outside in & reconnecting with nature?

Harris Jackson is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here.

Main image credit: Harris Jackson

A guestroom inside Six Senses Botanique showing nature through floor to ceiling windows

In pictures: Inside Six Senses Botanique, Brazil

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In pictures: Inside Six Senses Botanique, Brazil

The latest hotel to open in the Six Senses portfolio lies at the confluence of three river valleys in the heart of the Mantiqueira Mountains in Brazil. Hotel Designs takes a sneaky look inside… 

A guestroom inside Six Senses Botanique showing nature through floor to ceiling windows

Bookmarked by our editorial team as one of 2021’s hottest hotel openings, Six Senses Botanique, Brazil, which has been built from indigenous materials such as jacaranda and chocolate slate, has opened in the heart of the Mantiqueira Mountains, which is known as the “mountains that weep” due to the abundance of springs and rivers.

Image of the main building at the Six Senses Botanique hotel in Brazil

Image credit: Six Senses

There was never any question that the merge in 2019 between Six Senses and IHG wouldn’t distort the integrity and much-loved personality of the leading wellness hospitality brand. And Six Senses’ latest luxury hotel is no exception. In fact, guests checking in are being told to expect “out-of-the-ordinary experiences and emotional hospitality”, with the Six Senses integrated pillars of sustainability and wellness at the heart of the operation.

A private garden inside the hotel in the wilderness

Image credit: Six Senses

The first phase of the resort evolution are most notably gastronomy and wellness – with new menus at Restaurant Mina, a new Fire Side lounge menu, an exclusive eight-course gastronomic journey paired with wines from the resort’s select Adega, a reconnection experience with an artisanal outdoor picnic, and pioneering therapies at Six Senses Spa.

The property currently offers seven suites in the main hotel and 11 private villas dotted in the hills around it. A further 16 villas are planned, constructed off-site in a modular manner using local materials and sited to minimise their impact on the surrounding flora and fauna. There will also be 37 branded residences, again constructed using an eco-friendly modular approach, available for purchase off-plan.

Through the ‘Eat With Six Senses’ philosophy, Six Senses Botanique will bring out the best of the region’s cuisine and seasonal produce, starting with “Farm to Table” herbs, fruit and vegetables grown in the resort’s own organic gardens and farm.

Mina, the resort’s signature restaurant, offers modern, contemporary Brazilian dishes and 180-degree views of the mountains and valleys, with the suspended fireplace warming the dining room and rich wood floors underfoot.

The new Fire Side lounge meanwhile features a variety of drinks prepared with home-grown probiotics and a tonic with ingredients harvested from the surrounding vegetable gardens. 

The Adega (Wine Cellar) journey begins in the fireplace lounge, starting with a toast of bubbles with Chef Gabriel Broide as he himself explains the custom eight-course menu for the evening.

Reconnection Experiences offer guests the chance to reconnect with themselves and loved ones while exploring the local flora, fauna and timeless ways of living in tune with the natural world.

A luxury villa that shows a indoor private pool with stone surfaces

Image credit: Six Senses

Nowhere is the local influence more evident than in the spa, which currently features four treatment rooms, a beauty salon, floatation pool, isotonic pool, sauna and steam room with rainforest mist.  New treatment rooms, relaxation and wellness areas, as well as a fitness centre will be added later this year.

Six Senses Botanique will appeal to guests seeking an eco-retreat in nature along with authentic Brazilian design, culture and cuisine. The property is blessed with seven water springs providing guests with their own mineral water. There is a water treatment station to return clean water back to nature. Mindful of making responsible decisions, the resort team also works with community members to see how they can contribute to a better quality of life for everyone, while preserving and celebrating local traditions and culture and the beautiful natural environment surrounding the property.

Image credit: Six Senses

Six Senses, which is clearly leading the way in innovative wellness travel, now manages 18 hotels and resorts and 29 spas in 21 countries under the brand names Six Senses, Evason and Six Senses Spas, and has signed a further 27 properties into the development pipeline, including the highly anticipated Six Senses Ibiza which should arrive this Spring.

Main image credit: Six Senses

A large bar inside an airport

Introducing Atlas Plan by Atlas Concorde

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Introducing Atlas Plan by Atlas Concorde

Atlas Plan is the latest brand of Atlas Concorde, the first Italian ceramic group in the world, and produces large sized porcelain slabs ideal for interior design projects addressed to the Ho.Re.Ca. world…

A large bar inside an airport

The wide range of effects, finishes, colours, textures and veining allows architects and designers to satisfy every new design concept and to create unique and exclusive settings: luxurious marble-look hotel lobbies, industrial-chic concrete-look restaurants, elegant and essential stone-look outdoor areas, modern and hi-tech metal-look lounge bars.

The outstanding aesthetic quality of the ceramic material blends with its extremely high technical performance: strength and resistance to chemical agents and thermal shocks make porcelain tiles the ideal material for designing bars, restaurants and hotels with indoor and outdoor settings. Moreover, porcelain ensures the surfaces of counters, tables and worktops are resistant to everyday wear and highly hygienic for direct contact with foodstuffs.

Image credit: Atlas Concorde

The perfect coordination of Atlas Plan surfaces with the Atlas Concorde range of floor and wall tiles opens up a multitude of compositions for entirely covering and furnishing a room, to obtain a comprehensive look of great scenic impact or suggestive style combinations in tune with other materials.

The range of Atlas Concorde and Atlas Plan products also offers solutions that comply with anti-slip requirements (PTV 36+ under dry and wet conditions) and are therefore particularly suitable for the design of indoor and outdoor common areas.

Spazio Gourmet Sarajevo 350-m² restaurant in Sarajevo, designed by Studio Kon2re. The product used in this project is Bianco Dolomite by Atlas Plan: an intense and luminous marble look, characterised by delicate dark veins, which perfectly matches the light wood with natural shades.

Spazio Gourmet Sarajevo
350-m² restaurant in Sarajevo, designed by Studio Kon2re. The product used in this project is Bianco Dolomite by Atlas Plan: an intense and luminous marble look, characterised by delicate dark veins, which perfectly matches the light wood with natural shades.

Atlas Plan constantly invests in product innovation: two technologies that are an absolute novelty in the world of furniture and architecture have been recently introduced.

The Natura-Vein™ Tech technology offers the possibility of industrially recreating the typical veining of a natural material such as marble. Through-body vein technology thus increases the freedom of design for designers because it makes the marble look even more realistic, lending each project continuity of surface, edge and corners.

 

The Natura-Body™ Tech technology, on the other hand, reproduces the aesthetics of natural stones both on the surface and in the body of the slab. Material continuity between the surface and edges of full-body porcelain slabs is an aesthetic advantage that meets the highest design standards, both indoors and outdoors.

Image caption: Natura-Body | Image credit: Atlas Concorde

Image caption: Natura-Body | Image credit: Atlas Concorde

Atlas Plan is available in the UK market with a wide range of products and an extensive network of certified and approved fabricators for the slab processing.

The Atlas Plan team is also available to organise certified CPD (Continuous Professional Development) presentations both digitally and face-to-face at interested architecture and design firms in London and across the UK.

Atlas Concorde 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: Atlas Concorde

For further technical and commercial information you can contact the Key Account Manager Alberto Pagani, based in London, who will assist and support architects and designers in every request.

A render of an open air suite in Seychelles

Seychelles debut for Waldorf Astoria and Canopy by Hilton

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Seychelles debut for Waldorf Astoria and Canopy by Hilton

Hilton has announced to bring its iconic luxury brand, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, as well as lifestyle brand, Canopy by Hilton, to the Seychelles in 2023…

A render of an open air suite in Seychelles

Things are heating up in the development team at Hilton Hotels after the company has signed for two hotel brand debuts in the Seychelles. The properties – a Waldorf Astoria and a Canopy by Hilton – are scheduled to open in 2023 and will build upon an already impressive Hilton portfolio on the archipelago, in addition to the soon-to-be-opened Mango House Seychelles, LXR Hotels & Resorts.

Carlos Khneisser, Vice President, development, Middle East & Africa, Hilton believes that these properties mark a sigificant milestone in both brand’s expansion.“The Seychelles remains unquestionably one of the world’s most desirable destinations for the discerning traveller, ” he said. “We are proud of the role our teams have played in the sustainable development of the Seychelles, and these new additions, coupled with Mango House Seychelles, LXR Hotels & Resorts, will give our guests an unprecedented range of world-class experiential options to choose from when planning what is sure to be an unforgettable visit.”

Waldorf Astoria Platte Island

A truly exclusive luxury experience, the resort will offer a collection of 59 seafront villas all equipped with private pools. Guests will have access to six restaurants and bars, a spa, kids’ club, outdoor observatory, tennis courts and a marine conservation discovery center – all within the sanctuary of Platte Island. The island itself lies just more than 130 km south of Mahé and is renowned as a nature lover’s paradise, covered with palm forest and surrounded by a coral reef and lagoon. A small airstrip allows for access to the island from the main airport of Mahé. In an effort to create and use renewable energy as part of the resort’s operation, many buildings throughout the grounds will be equipped with solar-paneled roofing.

Canopy by Hilton Mahé

Located on Mahé’s Anse à la Mouche beach, famed for its calm and shallow waters, this resort is set to bring a new sense of vibrancy to the oceanfront community.  Significant investment is going into developing the facilities of the surrounding beach, including a boutique shopping village. The resort will offer 120 locally inspired guestrooms and space to accommodate more intimate meetings and events.

Hilton operates six brands in Africa and the Indian Ocean and recently reached the milestone of 100 hotels trading or in the pipeline across the continent. Hilton remains steadfastly committed to the sustainable development of travel and tourism across the region and has implemented several award-winning sustainability measures at its three operating Seychelles properties. These range from the removal of plastic straws and bottles to the use of locally sourced produce through to wildlife conservation and community engagement projects.

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.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Inside the F&B areas of W Melbourne

Inside W Melbourne, the brand’s second opening in Australia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside W Melbourne, the brand’s second opening in Australia

In the heart of an eclectic dining and edgy fashion district, W Melbourne arrives, with design by Hachem, to shake things up a bit. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

Inside the F&B areas of W Melbourne

W Hotels, part of Marriott International, is on a roll and has officially opened the doors to Melbourne’s first W Hotel. Situated in the heart of the city’s eclectic dining and edgy fashion district, W Melbourne brings the community’s iconic laneway culture and emerging music scene to life. Inspired by the contrasts of the city, the hotel slowly reveals itself to visitors as guests peel back layers to unearth the unique personality of each space.

For W Hotels, the synergy between the brand and its new home in Melbourne is one that makes a lot of business sense. “Melbourne is the perfect locale for the playfully luxe spirit of the W brand and we could not be more excited to unveil this highly anticipated hotel to the world,” said Jennie Toh, Vice President of brand marketing and brand management, Asia Pacific, Marriott International. “From its unique, locally inspired design to its eclectic lineup of restaurants and bars, W Melbourne is destined to redefine the luxury hotel scene here and become a must-go destination for travellers and local scene-stealers alike.”

Igniting endless possibilities

Australian architecture and interior design firm Hachem brings innovation and brand storytelling to life through their evocative approach to W Melbourne. Drawing on the city’s diverse and contrasting character, W Melbourne’s design inspiration is translated into vignettes of Melbourne’s streetscapes, letting guests uncover the dynamic city’s past from behind the scenes.

Upon arrival at W Melbourne, guests are introduced to the neighbourhood’s iconic laneways, famous for their graffiti street art and offbeat, eclectic characters. Victorian bluestone tiles connect the Living Room to the laneway, blurring the line between the exterior and interior, where the Welcome Desk stands ready to greet guests. A vast lenticular art installation by local painter and digital artist Rus Kitchin immerses viewers into a canopy of Australian flora and fauna growing above the famed Hosier Lane. The illuminated glass and wood of the Flinders Lane entrance is juxtaposed against the shadows of the hotel’s foyer.

W Melbourne has 294 luxuriously stylish guestrooms and 29 suites, with design details curated to reflect Melbourne’s fascinating history and culture. The hotel’s Wonderful, Fabulous and Mega category rooms are inspired by the neighbouring street-level newspaper kiosks that back to the 1960s.

Fabulous King suite inside W Melbourne

Image credit: W Hotels/Marriott International

Each room features floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning skyline views. The Marvellous rooms feature a vibrant wall graphic of a fairy wren, a bird native to Australia, pulling back a layer of fabric to reveal a colourful Melbourne scene. The graphic pays homage to the city’s roots as a fashion hub, with Flinders Lane at the centre of its textile trade. The 175-square-meter Extreme Wow Suite (W Hotels’ modern interpretation of the traditional presidential suite), is on the hotel’s highest floor at Level 15, and features a large balcony with expansive views of the Yarra River and an interactive music station – a fresh take on an old-school jukebox.

Celebrating the city’s eclectic F&B scene

W Melbourne’s distinctive restaurants and bars are all set to amplify Melbourne’s dining landscape with innovative, original takes on the city’s multicultural cuisines. All-day dining restaurant Lollo, under the culinary creative direction of celebrated chef Adam D’Sylva, offers a menu that’s designed to be shared and celebrates the chef’s mixed heritage. At the centre of the action and pulse of the hotel is cocktail bar Curious, with its design as impressive as the evocative cocktail list. The bar welcomes guests into a cocoon-inspired space formed by its overhead timber beams in a parametric sequence with low lighting and muted colour palettes. Signature Japanese restaurant WARABI focuses on the freshest seasonal produce with seating for only 30 diners and a private dining room for ten. Culprit channels Melbourne’s café culture into an original bar concept that adds a new twist to the dining experience with a sophisticated floor-to-ceiling charcuterie display and a Vermouth tasting tray.

Mixing work with play, guests will be captivated by 830 square metres of ultra-modern conference, meeting and event space at W Melbourne, setting the stage for spectacular events with fully adaptable conference equipment, world-class audio-visual facilities and contemporary cuisine from the expert in-house catering team. The jewel in the crown, the Great Room, is a 426 square-metre pillarless ballroom with an abundance of natural light and 4×5-metre LED wall. To celebrate the region’s diverse seasons and autumn as a popular time to visit, Melbourne-born visual artist, Ash Keating utilised soft pinks and violets to light up the Great Room ceiling for an enchanting experience for guests.

Meanwhile, FIT and WET on Level 14 will inspire the W ‘Detox. Retox. Repeat’ brand signature wellness philosophy, offering spectacular views alongside an ultramodern fitness facility, gold-roofed indoor pool, poolside bar and DJ booth.

It’s an exciting time for the W Hotels brand. Having already established itself as a leading disrupter to the conventional hospitality scene, its latest openings in both Melbourne, Ibiza and Nashville are statement examples of the luxury lifestyle brand marking their territory in new and exciting travel hotspots.

Main image credit: W Hotels/Marriott International

Outside luxury pool and spa

Weekly briefing: Tech talk, art escapes & beyond the surface of trends

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Tech talk, art escapes & beyond the surface of trends

‘Ey-up’, Hamish Kilburn here to deliver your weekly briefing. Over the last couple of days, we have showered our readers with exclusives, the latest news and insightful features. For those of you on-the-go, here are this week’s hottest stories in one easy-to-consume story…

Outside luxury pool and spa

If you only read one of our stories this week, make sure it’s this one! This week’s stories that have dominated the Hotel Designs website include an exclusive sneak peek of a major hospitality project in Silverstone (UK), a feature that tackles how the pandemic will affect hotel development, an inspiring interview about a hotel in Italy that will simply take your breath away and two – yes two – trend forecasts around surfaces and technology. Oh, and we also take a glance at some of this month’s hottest hotel openings. Are you sitting comfortably? Let’s begin.

FEATURE // How will the pandemic affect hotel design and development?

Modern and clean interiors inside Ruby Lucy

Image credit: Ruby Lucy

Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room: the pandemic. To help us separate fact from fiction, Tom Bishop, Director of Project Management at Concert, is here to offer some clarity and perspective on the current Covid-19 situation. We wanted him to answer the fundamental question to understand once and for all how the pandemic will impact the hotel design community. Here’s what he had to say…

Read more.

INTERVIEW // Meet the visionaries behind Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Pascale Lauber & Ulrike Bauschke on steps

Image credit: Katja Brinkmann

This feature was a strange one for me because, if Covid-19 hadn’t entered on its wrecking ball last year, it would have followed my review of the hotel under the spotlight.  Almost a year after my flight was cancelled, plans to review the luxury lair are unsurprisingly still on hold. While we wait patiently, though, it felt fitting to catch up with Pascale Lauber & Ulrike Bauschke in order to understand the context and challenges that come with such a magnificent project…

Read more.

TECH MAD // CES 2021: Best hotel design tech trends

Image credit: Samsung/TOTO/Kholer/Care OS

Technology’s role in hotel design has arguably never been so relied upon. If you happened to miss CES 2021, fear not as myself and wellbeing expert Ari Peralta – together, an editorial dream team – are here to share the best hotel design tech trends that emerged from the show…

Read more.

EXCLUSIVE // Inside flagship hospitality development at Silverstone

Villas overlooking the Silverstone Racecourse

Image credit: Escapade Living

When we were told that we were going to be the first to publish about Bergman Interiors – the design firm that cleaned up at The Brit List Awards 2020 – teaming up with Twelve Architects and Escapade Living on a new hospitality development in Silverstone, we were so excited. And then we saw the renderings of the luxury villas overlooking the iconic racetrack and that took the anticipation up a level. Take a look for yourself in our exclusive feature that takes a glance at what this hospitality project will look like…

Read more.

HOTEL OPENINGS // VIP arrivals in February 2021

Render of NoMad London

From where we are sitting, most new hotels that are expected to open this year are holding off until later in the season, but there a handful of gems are expected to arrive early to the party. Without further a due, here are some of the hottest hotels that are opening this month.

Read more.

FEATURE // Virtually escape into the world of art in hotel design

A blue abstract art installation

Image credit: Melia Rhodes/Elegant Clutter

Are you swooning over staycations or dreaming of distant lands? We are all feeling the desire to escape from it all. I started the week in search for that holiday away from my thoughts by catching up with Elegant Clutter’s Creative Director Harry Pass to find out how art in hotel design can be a wonderful way of elevating a sense of escapism…

Read more.

TRENDING // Surface trends for 2021 & beyond

Image credit: Lindsay Lauckner

And finally, here’s a meaningful and relevant trends forecast that goes way beyond the surface… “Strict pre-pandemic industry standards mean that hospitality design is well-placed to weather the storm without a major supply-side rethink,” says Meghann Day, partner, HBA San Francisco. In this exclusive feature, the designer walks journalist Oriana Lerner through what’s ahead for surface design trends in 2021 and beyond…

Read more.

That’s your lot! Join us next week when we will take a look at W Hotels’ latest opening in Australia and we share our in conversation with Amsterdam-based designer Saar Zafrir. Also, keep one eye open for our podcast DESIGN POD, which will drop with episode one 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.

Main image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Presidential Bedroom_St. Regis Los Cabos_HBA

Renders unveiled for St Regis Los Cabos

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Renders unveiled for St Regis Los Cabos

SB Architects and The San Francisco branch of design firm HBA has unveiled interior renders of The St. Regis Los Cabos, which will open in 2022 as the debut St. Regis hotel in Los Cabos, Mexico…

Presidential Bedroom_St. Regis Los Cabos_HBA

The first St. Regis in Los Cabos, Mexico, the exclusive property is being designed by interior design firm HBA and architecture studio SB Architects. Early renders of the project show how it will become a bespoke sanctuary of beauty and calm for the modern wanderer, situated within the award-winning luxury resort community of Quivira at the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula.

Slated to open fall 2022, the hotel will shelter 120 rooms and suites, 74 residences, and an expansive collection of amenities across a 33-acre site along 12,000 feet of pristine beachfront.

King Bedroom_St. Regis Los Cabos_HBA

Image credit: HBA San Francisco

HBA San Francisco designers – the same brand that recently completed the design for the Hotel Carmichael, Autograph Collection – aspired to evoke a sense of paradise found and a journey of discovery through a temporal design rooted in a modern yet authentic Mexican aesthetic, using traditional materials that honour the area’s diverse surroundings and culture, layered with exquisite details. Colours, patterns, and textures inspired by the sea, along with the windswept rocks and rugged granite cliffs of the coast, will promote a seamless connection to the landscape while the use of greenery will further bring the outside in.

Specialty Restaurant_St. Regis Los Cabos HBA

Image credit: HBA San Francisco

An architectural beacon framed by walls of sculptural ironwork in a filigree pattern and a wood-beamed trellis, The St. Regis Bar will push the envelope of artistic expression and set the stage to catch a surreal sunset. The specialty restaurant will be composed of a series of intimate rooms for a truly transformative dining experience, whether perched at the intimate bar or the show kitchen counter, enveloped by the lounge-like living seating, or at the heart of the action at the chef’s table. Decorative and artisanal in every detail, the simple plaster and beam expression of the architecture creates the feeling of a luminary or well-travelled wanderer’s curated home.

Presidential Bathroom_St. Regis Los Cabos_HBA

Image credit: HBA San Francisco

Guestrooms will feature a special macramé canopy bed facing the sea beyond, encouraging graceful rest while awakening one’s instinct to be truly present. On the terrace, hammocks and a day bed for two will be modern Mexican in character with a nest of pillows encased in custom-crafted fabrics. Bathrooms will be well-appointed with a double vanity, dry vanity, custom interior tub and pass-through shower. Spanning the length of the bathroom space will be a wall of modern-patterned tiles realised in an ancient medium and cool hues, punctuated by walls of glass that draw the eye out to the spectacular views.

Main image credit: HBA San Francisco

Render of Dolce Sitges

How will the pandemic affect hotel design and development?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How will the pandemic affect hotel design and development?

Tom Bishop, Director of Project Management at Concert, is here to offer some clarity and perspective on the current Covid-19 situation and answer how the pandemic will impact the hotel design community…

Render of Dolce Sitges

Using the word ‘post’ in the title seems very optimistic when we consider the current situation. Covid-19 has had a huge impact and the challenges ahead will require innovative solutions, and the design and build sector has a big role to play in this new landscape.

Wings may have been clipped by the travel ban during this pandemic but the desire to travel and see new horizons hasn’t gone away, so building confidence around health and safety will be paramount to getting customers back. In the short term, there is likely to be renewed interest in staycations, getting away from it all but without getting on a plane – with the added attraction of supporting UK-based businesses.

Marrying safety and socialising successfully is going to take invention and those hotels that will come out of this crisis stronger will be the ones that rise to the challenge. Terraces, balconies and outdoor space are already prime assets and will continue to be so.

Sustainability has risen up the agenda. While greener buildings became a ‘nice to have’ rather than a ‘must-have’ after the 2008 financial crash, the world has moved on since then. During the lockdown, health and well-being have become intrinsically linked with the environment – the dramatic improvement in air quality from travel being limited has been plain to see.

Modern and clean interiors inside Ruby Lucy

Image credit: Ruby Lucy

So what does all this mean for the design and development of hotels?

There will inevitably be a drive towards value and efficiency to reduce costs whether that is in the operation of the hotel or in how it is built.

Space and design will need to reflect new concerns about safety and sustainability and will be paramount in attracting and building a customer base. Health and wellbeing will become the new currency, not just for hotels but the entire hospitality and entertainment sector.

Cleanliness will need to be more visible as customer and client expectations will be different – could we see the return of staff in white gloves calling a lift, even temporarily? Simpler design with easy to clean surfaces will help reduce the time and cost of extra cleaning and services. And there will be a move to minimise visits to and from rooms such as more in-room dining, which may require a re-configuration of space to accommodate a suitable table.

Self-contained space such as that offered by apart-hotels will inevitably become more desirable while hotel restaurants will need to accommodate at-seat service rather than a buffet-style food offer.

The use of technology for guest and staff functions will accelerate. Already some hotels allow you to check-in online and download an electronic room key to your phone so that you can go straight to your room. Such applications can help to reduce crowding and queues in reception areas. Similarly, heating and lighting in rooms can be controlled by a phone app to reduce the need to touch switches.

Image of the interiors of the lobby inside the Marriott Hotel Park Lane

Image credit: Marriott Hotel Park Lane

Less will be more, for a time at least…

Communal areas will need to allow space for social distancing and places that can introduce discreet, well-designed safety measures such as shielding screens and hand sanitisers will no doubt be winners, particularly for higher-end hotels.

The drive to increase energy efficiency and reduce waste will make environmental concerns and the need to reduce costs in the longer-term good bedfellows.

Modern methods of construction (MMC) will no doubt prove pivotal for new builds. The construction industry has long been a creature of habit, slow to evolve, but this is the most convincing catalyst for change in more than a century and hotels will benefit.

Swift construction of a hotel is necessary so that operators can start getting a return on their investment and also respond to demand. Imagine cities with a ‘creaking’ hotel infrastructure who have won a bid to host a major event e.g. summer or winter Olympics that will attract people from all over the world, with only a few years to prepare. Over that time period, only a few conventionally constructed hotels would be completed, but with an offsite construction plan, many more will be built, leading to a far more successful build schedule and event for all involved.

“Social distancing will relax in time, but lessons will be learned and businesses will be better prepared” – Tom Bishop, Director of Project Management at Concert.

The goal is to save time and money and, of course, time translates into money. This saving also allows operators to offer customers a product of excellence at a lower price. Thanks to the factory production of rooms, operators are able to offer up to a four-star hotel at a much more reasonable price. This method saves a lot of time when building a hotel. Development time can be reduced by 35 per cent – this will off-set the increased time in traditional construction methods, which contractors are reporting are +35 per cent due to social distancing measures.

You could argue that much that is changing during this period will be temporary – how long will reception staff need to be behind Perspex? Social distancing will relax in time, but lessons will be learned and businesses will be better prepared should there be another pandemic in the future.

What this period will do is accelerate changes that were already starting to happen and this is a prime opportunity for both hotel design and construction to adapt, become more efficient and resilient.

About Concert

Concert and Bishop have worked on and delivered more than 3,000 hotel keys (three star to five star) in the UK and Europe. Concert and Bishop’s previous project experience has included Four Season’s Park Lane, The Marriott Park Lane, Canopy by Hilton (Aldgate), Staycity Aparthotels, Holiday Inn & Expresses, Hilton Green Park (refurbishment to an Iconic Luxury), ibis styles (various for Accor), Ruby Lucy on Lower Marsh Street (Waterloo), Dolce Sitges refurbishment and the re-brand of the former Ace Hotel Shoreditch. 

Concert acts as development, project and cost managers, forming the link between funder, planners, developers, its professional team and the contractors. The company manages the construction and or refurbishment of Hotels where the requirements of the developer, freeholder, funder, design team, contractor, brand and operator must be managed.

The firm understands that construction projects are complex; having the requirement to finish within a defined timeframe, with budgetary targets and involve the integration of multiple stakeholders and participants throughout the lifecycle.

Concert’s approach to Project Management is to work collaboratively with all members of the project team to minimise risk, maximise opportunity and ultimately give delivery and cost certainty throughout the project. Concert looks to provide a focal point for the project team and proactively lead and oversee all project activities ranging from planning, coordination, scheduling and cost control, to design, construction to final commissioning and handover. The firm’s approach to cost management is to undertake feasibility studies, budget appraisals, cost planning and reporting, procurement, tendering, forecasting cost to complete and project closure.

Concert is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Concert

Pascale Lauber & Ulrike Bauschke on steps

5 minutes with: The hotel designers behind Ostuni’s new boutique jewel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: The hotel designers behind Ostuni’s new boutique jewel

Pascale Lauber & Ulrike Bauschke, owners and hotel designers of Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa, have not had the smoothest ride to open their labour of love. Hotel Designs’ Hamish Kilburn catches up with the duo as they prepare to welcome the world to their dream boutique hotel…

Pascale Lauber & Ulrike Bauschke on steps

Back in early 2020, before Covid-19 had become the distraction of the year, Hotel Designs was packing its bags ready to check in to a new boutique hotel that had made it onto the editorial team’s radar. Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa is situated in the heart of Puglia’s White City of Ostuni – on the heel of Italy – and is elegantly sheltered inside a restored red palace.

Arial view of Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Image credit: 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

The team were particularly impressed by the story of Pascale Lauber and Ulrike Bauschke, owners of the property, who painstakingly restored every inch of the former Italian palace using traditional handcrafted techniques, while injecting a splash of modern flair.

Unfortunately, days before our scheduled trip to review the new 11-key hotel that stands in stark contrast to the whitewashed buildings of the city around it, the spread of Covid-19 put a major halt on plans to visit the naturally stunning destination.

Almost one year later, plans to review the luxury lair are unsurprisingly still on hold. While we wait patiently, though, it felt fitting to catch up with Lauber and Bauschke in order to understand the context and challenges that come with such a magnificent project.

A vintage looking room inside 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Hamish Kilburn: How did you come to take on the restoration project?

Pascale Lauber: It was in 2016. We were actually in Puglia to recharge and had no intention of taking on a new project at all. An Ostunian friend invited us to visit the Palazzo Rosso and we agreed, simply to admire the architecture of such a historic building. However, as soon as the red carriage door opened it was love at first sight and we knew instantly that we would not be able to resist. We were immediately drawn to the potential of the centuries-old gem. The height of its ceilings, its vaults, its frescoes, its red-stone.

HK: Did you always know that you wanted the building to be transformed into a hotel?

Ulrike Bauschke: For us, it was unthinkable not to make the building a hotel and accessible to the public, it really is just too beautiful to stay hidden! We have shaken up the rules of real estate and interior design in projects all over the world, from Romont, Lausanne and Verbier, Switzerland; to Paris, New York and Cape Town and knew instantly that we could do the same here.

“Several smaller details and treasures were also discovered, such as a wooden door with peepholes typical of 17th century cloisters” – Ulrike Bauschke.

A artefact of a monkey on a bar

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

HK: What discoveries did you make during the restoration?

UK: We worked with conservator Maria Buongiorno to uncover the mysteries of the multi-secular Palazzo, which has so many stories to tell from the 17th Century to present day. The most ancient parts of the building from the 1700s including fireplaces, stone vaults and also frescoes, like the magnificent “Jesus and the Samaritan” were significant discoveries. Several smaller details and treasures were also discovered, such as a wooden door with peepholes typical of 17th century cloisters that suggests that the Palazzo once housed a convent.

PL: Equally, the beautiful original majolica tiles, which have been brought to new life in Bar 700. On the back of some of those tiles, we found an M stamp, the brand of a famous workshop owned by the three Massa brothers, ceramics masters of early 18th century Naples, suggesting the building was once in Neapolitan hands.

a dark room with high vaulted ceilings

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

HK: You both worked on the project together, who does what and are you always in agreement on the design details?

UK: We have opened and renovated restaurants, boutique hotels and apartments all over the world together and we make a complimentary pair, each with our own, very distinct strengths.

PL: I’m an instinctive designer, something that runs through my veins and guides everything I do, so the architecture and interiors were very much my vision. I took the lead with the renovation, but the way I work is with few words and thousands of images in my head. Sometimes I wish one could invent a copy machine to print all my ideas that are spinning in my head 24 hours a day… I couldn’t have brought it to life exactly how I wanted it without the help of Ulrike, who as a passionate traveller as well knows exactly what makes an outstanding hotel.

UK: Yes so we are pretty much in agreement and the only challenge was to show and create understanding of what Pascale’s vision was. She had it all in her head so between us bringing it to life exactly as she envisioned it was the biggest challenge.

A large red headboard in a vintage setting

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

HK: Let’s address the elephant in the room… You opened the hotel in the middle of Covid-19, how was this?

UK: The timing could not have been worse for us and like everyone in the hospitality and travel industry we have been badly affected. However, we’ve been luckily has it seemed that everybody wanted to come to Puglia when we finally managed to open our doors and welcome guests throughout the summer months. With only 11 rooms and plenty of beautiful outdoor space, the hotel is actually ideal for safe travel in these times so we are lucky in that respect as well and have always made sure the health and wellbeing of our guests and team is paramount. We have been blown away with the glowing feedback from our guests and if we can make a success of a hotel opening during a global pandemic, we can do anything!

HK: Pascale, can you explain your personal design ethos and would you say Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel embodies this?

PL: Each project I do is so different and distinct, but the creative association of old and new art, objects and furnishings in a head-spinning and yet personal mix is my trademark and signature design style. I have a vision that is multicultural and original down to the smallest detail and this creates a unique result that is coherent, deeply modern and stimulating. I would say that Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa embodies my design ethos. The heart of the hotel’s design and what I really set out to achieve was creating exquisite design in every detail with beautiful energy while also preserving and celebrating the history of the building.

HK: Where do you look to for inspiration?

UK: We love travelling and have been lucky to live around the world, providing a fantastic source of inspiration. Visiting countless international art and trade shows, but also local flea-markets, is always inspiring and for this particular project the architecture and heritage of Puglia was certainly an influence.

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

HK: If (or should I say ‘when’!) I can come and visit the hotel, what should I do first?

UK: If you can, request to stay in the room called Onyx. Every one of our guest rooms and suites is different, but Onyx, which is black, is a firm favourite. Once you have checked it out, head to the pool, which is the only one in the city, for a refreshing swim followed by some time unwinding in the garden and of course an aperitivo at Bar 700. The next day you will be ready to enjoy beautiful Puglia- the food, culture, people, history, landscapes, countryside and sea!

A luxury pool with white washed buildings

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

PL: With only 11 guest rooms, our friendly team are able to offer an insider experience so be sure to ask them for their personal tips and recommendations and also enjoy some of our bespoke experiences, from burrata making to motorbike tours or trips out on our boat, a former carabinieri boat transformed into a private yacht, Dragonfly.

Main image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Villas overlooking the Silverstone Racecourse

Exclusive: Inside flagship hospitality development at Silverstone

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Exclusive: Inside flagship hospitality development at Silverstone

Bergman Interiors and Twelve Architects have teamed up with Escapade living, led by CEO Will Tindal, to design a new development at the iconic British racetrack, Silverstone. Here’s what we know…

Villas overlooking the Silverstone Racecourse

Award-winning design studio Bergman Interiors has been named the design firm that will bring to life a mixed-use development project at Silverstone in the UK, which will include 60 residences, a club house, wellness spaces, F&B areas and outdoor terraces that overlook the iconic racetrack.

Silverstone has always been a centre of excellence from a racing, technology and engineering perspective. Bergman Interiors, which is led by Interior Designer of the Year Albin Berglund and Brit List Designer Marie Soliman, have told Hotel Designs that they are ‘delighted to be working with Escapade Living’ in creating a peerless hospitality experience. “Escapade Silverstone will enable motorsport lovers to buy residences right on the edge of the circuit,” explains Soliman, Co-Founder of Bergman Design House. “For us, its immersive, bespoke, guest-led offering hails the dawn of something special.”

Who’s who?

The Escapade Living team has combined the talents of Twelve ArchitectsBergman Interiors and project management consultant Tower Eight, MEP led by Applied Energy, with landscape by Illman Young and construction by MY Construction.

Escapade Living aims to redefine experiential travel around the concept of high-performance living, which was founded by experienced development and investment professionals, Will Tindall and Jerome Darker.

Escapade Silverstone received full planning at the end of 2019 and breaks ground in Q1 2021 and is due to complete in May 2022.

Trackside luxury

Designed for high performance living, the clubhouse and facilities include state-of-the-art simulator rooms, briefing rooms, a driver-focused gym, oxygen swimming pool and sauna, restaurant, bar and private dining room.

The residences themselves have cantilevered terraces, allowing spectators to get even closer to the racetrack. Light-filled and with high acoustic specifications, they have underfloor heating, comfort cooling and ensuite bathrooms. When an owner is not staying in their residence, it will form part of the wider accommodation available to guests at Silverstone and offer a healthy net yield.

Escapade Silverstone will enable owners to capitalise on the 1.2 million visitors that the circuit welcomes every year. It is a reimagining of leisure, lifestyle and investing putting capital into something that provides entertainment, enrichment, enjoyment and learning, while also making a return. We look forward to following the projects development.

Main image credit: Escapade Living

Virtual roundtable: Stylish sustainability in wellness

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: Stylish sustainability in wellness

For our next magic trick – AKA virtual roundtable – we’ve invited industry experts to take on the topic of stylish sustainability in wellness. Editor Hamish Kilburn leads the discussion that is sponsored by GROHE, a bathroom brand that has put sustainability at the core of each and every decision for more than 20 years…

For years now, we have been scratching away at the surface of sustainability, persuading our clients to allow us to make conscious decisions to make as least impact on the environment as humanly possible when designing tomorrows hotels.

In this quest, Hotel Designs has exposed greenwashing and championed brands and designers who are challenging conventional thought processes in order to design better spaces, for the climate and the people they shelter.

One brand that is clearly and unapologetically leading the way towards a more sustainable future is GROHE. Having just been named one of the 50 sustainability & climate leaders and becoming a double winner at the German Sustainability Awards, there is no brand that is more qualified to help us put this often misunderstood topic under the editorial spotlight. And in order to make this conversation a multi-layered discussion between all segments of the hotel design community, we’ve also asked a handful of leading designers and architects to participate in this virtual roundtable, which is entitled: stylish sustainability in wellness.

Meet the panel:

Hamish Kilburn: Patrick, before we start, why is GROHE able to hold these credentials?

Patrick Speck: Sustainability has been part of our core DNA for more than 20 years now – we have a 360-degree approach to sustainability that incorporates all parts of the process, from product design to packaging but also encompasses our suppliers, customers and our social responsibility alike.

At GROHE, we are quite fortunate to have sustainability as one of our brand pillars, and it was already there when I joined the brand more than 16 years ago. Our ‘GROHE goes ZERO’ initiative allowed us to became the first leading sanitary ware brand to achieve carbon-neutral production last April. This was a huge milestone for us. We also have a big fight against single-use plastics. Unnecessary packaging within packaging is not acceptable.

This DNA, especially with our purposefully driven younger generation who join our team, allows us to generate new and innovative ideas. We are always considering how we can be more sustainable.

Hamish Kilburn: In the last five – 10 years, what have you learned about manufacturing energy-saving products that reduce water consumption?

PS: One thing that we learned is that we cannot compromise performance when becoming more sustainable. This puts big pressure on how we design and engineer our products. We need to ensure that everything we do is going to save water and at the same time perform exceptionally well.

The other learning, I would say, is giving the consumer options. Take hand showers for example. We heard that, while there was a desire for energy-saving products, there were also consumers who were demanding a product that gave them a luxurious full spray. Our EcoJoy technology fulfils this need by giving a voluminous experience whilst using up to 50 per cent less water.

Also, behind the scenes, we worked on engineering ways that would reduce water consumption without impacting the performance of the product.

A modern and minimalist bathroom featuring GROHE products

Image credit: GROHE

Karl Lennon: When it comes to projects its very important that we support architects and designers with sustainable solutions. When recommending a product for a project we try, where possible, to provide solutions that are inherently water efficient so that it doesn’t always have to be an additional consideration for the designer. We know that a lot of the major hotel brands have these requirements in their brand standards and so we consider this very early in the specification process.

HK: This pre-existing idea that sustainable products don’t perform as well is really interesting. Is this still the case today?

Ariane Steinbeck: Not only did it impact the quality but it also had a price tag attached to it. So, in the beginning anything eco was more expensive. And then the brands, such as GROHE with the air infusion built-in, started to, as Karl said, standardise sustainability within products. You know their products are good and you don’t have to think about it because the quality is there. As specifiers, that’s what we are looking for!

Image of modern and clean looking bathroom

Image credit: GROHE

Emma King: The sustainable aspects should not impact the guest experience, so there has to be a balance.

HK: Despite brands using technology to ensure that quality is not sacrificed in eco-products, I get the feeling it’s still a challenge pitching these options to clients. What are your thoughts on this?

Sarah Murphy: That’s definitely an issue. In our design meetings, it’s always challenging to pitch a product that has the qualities we are looking for but is more expensive. However, it comes from the top down. If a brand is inherently sustainable, then we find ourselves as designers not really having to pitch too hard because the product, and the brand’s credentials speak volumes.

Equally, consumers are so aware and are seeking sustainable options. We are finding that because of this, it becomes an upsell to pitch a sustainable product that performs just as well.

Neil Andrew: I’m quite surprised that it’s not more standard already to add the air into the water. To echo what Sarah was saying, the next generation of consumers are going to be more aware of sustainable products. Eventually, I would like to think this would become the norm. Ultimately, if this was standardised then the cost would come right down.

SM: We sometimes have CPD sessions, where if people talk about sustainability it’s all just talk. But with GROHE you can really see that sustainability runs through the brand’s DNA.

HK: Constantina, you once told me that you have yet to receive a brief where the client wants a fully sustainable hotel. Has that changed?

Constantina Tsoutsikou: I’m glad to say that is no longer the case. We are working now on a project that has a strong focus for sustainability. What has changed in recent years is that when we are specifying bathroom products we will ask if there is a water-saving element because we might choose something from an aesthetic perspective but we do want to also ensure that it is eco-friendly.

“I would say that you can tell if a company is passionate about sustainability on the packaging.” – Constantina Tsoutikou, Founder, Studio LOST

The demand for sustainable options has created a new requirement from our side. I have to say that clients, especially in the boutique scene, do want us to specify products that will save them money in the long term. I’m glad that we are all becoming a lot more aware, and that isn’t just when looking at a product and its performance, but also when considering how it is packaged. I would say that you can tell if a company is passionate about sustainability on the packaging.

PS: The amount of waste you generate from one delivery is crazy. I would say we have reacted to this with common sense and a distinct awareness.

NA: There is a perception of luxury through packaging – like a product wrapped in velvet, for example – and I am sure a lot of people still buy into that. What were designers’ reactions to when you changed packaging at GROHE?

KL: It’s an interesting point. We had a radical strategy change on how we supply customers. To be honest, every customer has a different requirement as to what they want from us. For pod and prefabricated projects, where exactly the same number of fittings and products need to be supplied in each room, we have explored bulk delivery. Rather than putting a box in a box, we can reduce packaging by supplying all of the same products in one box. In all honestly, there is really strong argument to introduce this in other projects.

AS: When the general contractor needs to certify his/her waste, there’s definitely a call for different types of packaging.

Luxe bathroom with huge bath

Image credit: GROHE

HK: Does a sustainable bathroom product limit your creative options?

CT: There are so many options, which are increasing by the day that we probably wouldn’t have a few years ago. I don’t think having sustainability in the background or forefront limits your creative options.

SM: When we ask brands to come in for CPDs, we do ask for them to hone in quite specifically on sustainability just so that we can take something away to go to the client with.

Since you’re here, Hotel Designs is hosting GROHE’s latest CPD module on hygiene on February 9. Click here to participate.

SM: Also, our past projects, like for example Zuri Zanzibar which was the first hotel globally to be awarded EarthCheck’s Gold certification, really help clients see what’s achievable. Okay, that was a very ambitious project, but when broken down everyone can learn from sustainable design and initiatives.

“Having a sustainability mind set certainly directs you.” – Neil Andrew, Director of Hospitality, Perkin&Wills.

NA: I wouldn’t say limit, but having a sustainability mind set certainly directs you. Take plating, for example, like gold and copper, when you come to recycle it becomes more difficult rather than if it was a solid brass or brushed stainless steel. On some of our projects, we are trying to steer clients in that direction. The one thing about plating and powder coating is that with more intense cleaning that the coating will wear off. In terms of shape and form, perhaps not but finishing there is a consideration there.

Also, I would like to see a more sustainable way of plating when it comes to disassembly.

KL: Our PVD quality finishing is more resilient and scratch resident than your standard chrome finish. Therefore, the longevity of the product is much higher. And of course, like you say, there are different processes. How the product is broken down is an interesting point that we can certainly look into.

PS: The way we coat and plate or products is always with longevity in mind which is also very relevant in terms of their positive sustainability impact. We do believe that we are ahead of the curve, and we are constantly looking to see which way the industry is going to establish more innovate methods in this area of product design that ultimately creates new possibilities for bathroom design.

HK: What major pitfalls should designers avoid when trying to implement sustainable design in wellness areas?

NA: My approach to design is to present a solution. I’m of the more minimalist school of thought. The most sustainable interior space is not to have any finishes whatsoever. Using too many finishes and interiors looking cluttered is a pitfall to avoid.

SM: We have had quite a few issues with powder-coated black finish because we have learned that it doesn’t last very long. This is solely down to how many times it is used and how it is used.

“There’s so much more to sustainability, it’s also about longevity and reliability.” – Ariane Steinbeck, Managing Director, RPW Design.

GROHE Bau Cosmo E taps in commercial washroom

Image credit: GROHE

HK: Hygiene is no-doubt an integral part of design. How will new demands born from the pandemic impact sustainability?  

CT: Usually, in public areas of hotels we will have touchless taps, but not so much in the guestroom until now but it could go that way.

AS: I’m always a bit hesitant with touchless taps. I always have to think about what happens to the project once we leave. There is nothing more frustrating than to specify a product that has a tendency to malfunction. Whenever we specify something we are making a commitment to our client. For us to be able to rely on a brand makes the specification much easier. There’s so much more to sustainability, it’s also about longevity and reliability.

NA: These conversations have certainly been amplified recently. We now get asked more about hygiene and the cleaning down of rooms a lot much more than the sustainability angle. I really like the taps that are operated through a foot pedal – not specifically in luxury hotels but it’s another option.

EK: Hygiene does not impact sustainable bathroom design unless the products can only be cleaned with environmentally harmful substances. This situation we are in at the moment might be a drive for eco-friendly cleaning products and bathroom elements being designed so they can be cleaned properly with these.

KL: When hygiene is mentioned, everyone’s first thought is ‘touchless’, but it is also just as much about how that product is looked after. At the design stage an important consideration is that the products we make are easy to maintain. In addition to this, whether it be a standard chrome finish or even our ceramics, most products will have intrinsic antimicrobial qualities that do not promote and can even destroy bad bacteria growth. For instance, with our Sensia Toilet we even have a technology called Plasmacluster. It works by releasing positive and negative ions, which make the bacteria harmless upon contact. So, there are more elements than just touchless that we are really trying to communicate at the moment.

A modern bathroom featuring the GROHE Sensia Arena toilet

Image credit: GROHE

HK: Do sustainable initiatives suffer in Value Engineering processes?

AS: The dreaded word ‘Value Engineering’. It’s hard to say to be honest. If somebody wants to save money, you can always find something cheaper but then it’s up to the client in order to maintain those products.

CT: Whatever project, there is always an element of reviewing cost. More often than not it is a finish that is taken out in the VE process. These things are usually pre-set before we have come on board and it’s always allocated the same. Perhaps this might change in the future as other factors, such as sustainability, become more of a focus.

NA: I always think it’s wise to keep close to the cost consultant. I will look at the large number and see where the money is being spent. However, there are unavoidable budget cuts.

 

HK: What more can we do to operate in a more sustainable wellness arena?

PS: From the product side, in our research and development we are looking at ways to further improve longevity and relevance. Which means technology for technology’s sake is no longer appropriate. Instead we are looking for project or user-centric. For this, our in-house design team is integral.

Also, the technology we are using, such as our 3D printing techniques, is allowing us to locally be more experiential and proactive in our quest to design and manufacture quality products for the hospitality industry. And at the same time, it’s helping the environment: In comparison to a brass cast body, you use less energy and only as much material as you need.

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.

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 minimalist guestroom in the hotel opening in Japan soon

Hotel opening to watch: Azumi Setoda arrives in March 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel opening to watch: Azumi Setoda arrives in March 2021

A hotel opening to keep an eye on, Azumi Setoda is the brainchild of hotelier Adrian Zecha. The new arrival, on an island within the Japanese Seto Inland Sea, will mark his first contemporary ryokan…

A minimalist guestroom in the hotel opening in Japan soon

Throughout January, we have been keeping an eye on the most significant hotel openings to look out for in 2021. Following parts one and two of The Hot List, we’re excited to hear that hotelier Adrian Zecha and Japanese hospitality group Naru Developments have announced the launch of Azumi Setoda, the first opening of their new brand Azumi. 

 Azumi Setoda, which will open in early March, is located on Ikuchijima, a small island of about 8,000 people in the Seto Inland Sea. With this debut property, the brand will take the cultural framework of the traditional ryokan and infuse it with a quality offering that appeals to the modern, global traveller. The balance between tradition and innovation is integral to all parts of Azumi; demonstrated through everything from the design, service, food and beverage, to wellness and cultural programming. 

The main structure of Azumi Setoda is Horiuchi-tei, a 140-year old Japanese compound, formerly the headquarters and private residence of one of the most dynamic salt farming and shipping families in Setouchi, after whom it is named. The family would also use the space to host and entertain important guests. 

With these original intentions of the building and the next century of its life in mind, Kyoto-based architect Shiro Miura was entrusted with the renovation. An expert in private residences and trained in the sukiya style of Japanese architecture, he balances the elements of a homey atmosphere with aesthetics rooted in tea ceremony, which date back to the 16th century. 

The restoration was driven by rebalancing the relationship between moisture, wind and light, as he treats his primary materials of wood, stone and soil as living materials, exemplified by the way they bend, break, and change colour at their own will, and reflect the conditions of the environment. He thinks about how the building breathes; the nearby presence of the ocean requires not just thinking about the interior climate, but to consider the garden’s role in bringing in and taking out mist, fog and sunshine.

Contemporary accommodation standards call for a mix of well-defined private and public spaces in order to create a harmonious atmosphere and experience. This juxtaposes the traditional ryokan experience in which guests are hosted within their own rooms. The spaces at Azumi Setoda are designed on a gradient from the more public spaces: including the reception and main dining room at Horiuchi Tei; traversing the property’s semi-private dining and entertaining areas; before guests reach their generous, peaceful rooms. Every guest room has its own outdoor area: either a private garden designed by WA-SO landscape architects, a generous balcony, or a combination of both. Each one is unique and is well-secluded thanks to Shiro’s bold, unconventional take on the traditional kakine (cedar fence), which has been adapted to create harmony between private and communal spaces within the property.

Azumi Setoda Destination_Credit Max Houtzager

Image credit: Max Houtzager

Azumi Setoda is located on Ikuchijima island, which is on the West Side of the Setouchi Region (the Seto Inland Sea) in Hiroshima Prefecture. The East Side of the region has become well-known to international guests thanks to the ‘art islands’ of Naoshima, Inujima and Teshima. It is also home to the Setouchi Triennale, a contemporary art festival that takes across a dozen islands. 

 By contrast, just on the other side of the channel from Naoshima, the lesser-known West Side of the Setouchi Region is prized by a thriving agriculture industry. Connected by bridges, the islands in the West are popular with cyclists who traverse the 70km Shimanami Kaido cycling route, where Setoda is a midpoint of the journey. 

 This area is the calmest part of the Seto Inland Sea, with clear, blue waters and pure, fresh air. It is known today, due to its mild and temperate climate, as a key part of the citrus industry within Japan. 

 Within Setoda, the ryokan is located on Shiomachi Shotengai, a local market street that spans from Setoda port to Kosanji Temple. It was once considered the entrance of the island, serving up to 10,000 people daily in its heyday; Azumi wants to help restore this vitality to the neighbourhood. The team behind Azumi has partnered with community leaders to make Setoda a more desirable place to live, as well as to visit, with a strong sensibility around interaction between guests and the local community. One result of direct community feedback includes Soil Setoda: a mixed-use facility at the very entrance of the shotengai, which will function as ‘the living room of the city.’

“My previous projects have frequently been considered as ‘luxury’ due to the impression created by our clientele and its high price point, however my original intent was always to shed light on local culture, community, arts and food,” explained Zecha. “At Azumi, we are updating the ryokan, which was typically a traditional family managed inn, that naturally does what we envisioned. At Azumi, our highest priority is to welcome people wholeheartedly so that they feel at home, no matter the location.” 

Azumi Setoda guests can enjoy the wellness programming at yubune, which translates as ‘bathtub’ or ‘bath boat’ in Japanese. While Azumi Setoda is the secluded, walled ryokan in-keeping the deep gravitas of the Horiuchi family, yubune, also designed by Shiro Miura, is located just across the street. In a further gesture to the wider community of Setoda, Azumi will operate yubune not only for Azumi guests, but as a public bathhouse where all are welcomed. Guests will be invited to learn about and experience the Japanese bathing culture, lemon and salt bathing, and sauna.

The food programme provided at Azumi Setoda will express the abundance of local ingredients and the mixed cultures, herbs, and spices that came across the ocean during ancient times, as if the Horiuchi family, the residence’s former owners, were inviting an important guest to their feast. Beyond its abundance of seafood and fresh citruses and vegetables, the area in the ancient days was known as the intersection of a variety of cultures coming from the sea and from the Asian continent through the Silk Road. Meals will be offered communally in Azumi Setoda’s main dining room in a break from the traditional ryokan offering, in which guests are served in their rooms. For those who prefer more privacy, there are three characterful private dining rooms to choose from.

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.

Main image credit: Tomohiro Sakashita

Image of shoes by the modern bed

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

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

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

Image of shoes by the modern bed

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

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

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

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

An exterior shot of the Opus

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

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

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

Read more. 

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

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

Image credit: Marriott International

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

Read more.

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

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

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

Read more.

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

Image credit: Sandals

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

Read more.

Cutting through the noise // 7 innovative hotel hygiene solutions

Image credit: Unsplash

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

Read more.

One month to go: Hotel Designs LIVE

Main image for Hotel Designs LIVE

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

Read more. | Participate.

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Main image credit: ME Dubai

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An exterior shot of the Opus

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

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

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

First impressions count

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

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

An image to show the expansive atrium inside the ME Dubai

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

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

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

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

Close up of furniture in the atrium at ME Dubai

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

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

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

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guestrooms and Suites

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

Aura Room

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

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

“No wall was perpendicular to another.”

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

Personality Suite

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

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

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

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

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

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

The F&B experience

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

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

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

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

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

An industrial-styled gym in ME Dubai

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

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

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

Over and out,

Rock.

Main image credit: ME Dubai

7 innovative hotel hygiene solutions

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
7 innovative hotel hygiene solutions

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

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

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

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

Room To Breathe – for peace of mind

Man using hygiene friendly way to steam clean curtains

Image credit: Room To Breathe

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

KEUCO sanitisers – for the design-savvy

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

Infra-red touchless taps – for the tech-savvy

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

Image credit: GROHE

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

Blueair Blue Pure 411 – for the boutique guestroom

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

Rimless DirectFlush WC – for seamless cleaning

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

UNILIN Evola Collection – for robust surfaces

A grey stone like surface that is hygienic

Image credit: UNILIN

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

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

Robot service… too soon? 

An image of a robot looking up

Image credit: Alex Knight/Unsplash

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

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

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

Main image credit: Jean Philippe/Unsplash

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

Crete to welcome island’s first ever Hilton hotel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A render of private pool terrace overlooking sea

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

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

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

An aerial view of Fari Islands in Maldives

Weekly briefing: insane hotel concepts, sustainability answers & Ace arrivals

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: insane hotel concepts, sustainability answers & Ace arrivals

Good afternoon and welcome to this Friday’s briefing, with me, editor Hamish Kilburn. In this round-up we take a look at the hottest hotel design stories that have been published over the last five days…

An aerial view of Fari Islands in Maldives

It hasn’t been the easiest of starts to the year – today the UK hospitality industry remains closed and new travel sanctions have been enforced to prevent the spread of a new Covid-19 variant – but we are determined as ever to keep the mood lifted as we pick out the headlines that are influencing positive change throughout the international hotel design scene.

Here are the top stories of this week:

The Hot List – hottest hotel openings arriving in 2021 (Q3 & Q4)

An arial view of the cutting edge swimming pools

Image credit: CAYO Exclusive Resort and Spa

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

Read more.

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

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

Read more.

Hotel concept: designing a sustainable floating resort

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.

Read more.

Looking ahead: inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Exterior of hotel

Image credit: Ace Hotels

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

Read more.

Miniview: Hotel Carmichael, Autograph Collection strikes a chord

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

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

Read more.

Rosewood Hotels to arrive in Rome in 2023

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

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

Read more.

To keep up to date with all the news at Hotel Designs, sign up to receive our weekly newsletter and bi-monthly HD Edit.

Main image credit: Ritz Carlton Maldives Fari Islands

3_Standard King Guest Room_Hotel Carmichael_credit-Coury Hospitality

Miniview: Hotel Carmichael, Autograph Collection strikes a chord

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

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

3_Standard King Guest Room_Hotel Carmichael_credit-Coury Hospitality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5_Cole Porter Ballroom_Hotel Carmichael_credit-Coury Hospitality

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

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

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

4_Suite Bathroom_Hotel Carmichael_credit-Coury Hospitality

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

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

Main image credit: Coury Hospitality

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

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

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

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

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

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

On the panel:

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

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

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

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

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

HK: What makes this process sustainable?

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

image of sustainable wooden headboard in bedroom

Image credit: Architextural

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contrasting green and light brown tiles

Colour & pattern trends for 2021 and beyond

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

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

Contrasting green and light brown tiles

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

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

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

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

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

Selection of Parkside tiles

Image credit: Parkside

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

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

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

Main image credit: Parkside

GROHE Bau Cosmo E taps in commercial washroom

Hygiene, there’s a RIBA approved CPD module for that!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hygiene, there’s a RIBA approved CPD module for that!

GROHE has launched its third RIBA approved CPD module, Hygiene Optimisation for Sanitary Facilities, which will be hosted by editor Hamish Kilburn and presented by GROHE’s Karl Lennon, on February 9, 2021…

GROHE Bau Cosmo E taps in commercial washroom

In response to the increasing demand for hygiene-optimised solutions since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, GROHE has launched a RIBA approved CPD module for the architecture and design community. Its aim is to facilitate greater awareness and provide inspiration to multiple stakeholders and industries working within the built environment, from architects and designers to house builders, retailers, and plumbers.

Click here to register for the CPD module, entitled: Hygiene Optimisation for Sanitary Facilities.

The latest seminar-based training module is the first on RIBA’s CPD database to look at hygiene in both the kitchen and bathroom, allowing architects and designers an in-depth look at residential design under a hygiene lens, alongside its increasing importance in commercial settings. As a provider of complete bathroom solutions, GROHE is able to offer its expertise holistically when it comes to bathroom applications. The CPD session encourages architects to consider how all touchpoints in the bathroom can be optimised with hygiene in mind, across brassware and ceramics. Meanwhile in kitchen settings, GROHE looks at the emerging importance tapware can play in maintaining hygiene levels.

GROHE Bau Cosmo infra-red tap close up lifestyle

Image credit: GROHE

GROHE first identified a seismic shift in the demand for hygiene