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Editor checks in: ESG, let’s talk about it (consciously)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor checks in: ESG, let’s talk about it (consciously)

Are you discombobulated with the various buzzwords that are circulating conversations around sustainability? Why are we being advised to use the term ESG, and what does it even mean? Editor Hamish Kilburn attempts to answer these questions when trying desperately to encourage people to be more conscious when using terminology on the global design and hospitality scene… 

Throughout my childhood, there was one saying over others that I remember most vividly. “Think before you speak,” my mother, teacher – even my gymnastics coach, would say. It’s been ingrained into my head ever since I received soap in my mouth after asking for the ‘effing’ marmalade at the breakfast table, when my grandparents were present.

As I grew up, careless back-chatting advanced into opinions being formed. Later, this transformed, as luck would have it, into a career of journalism where I have always found comfort and passion in sticking up for the unpopular and ethically addressing the formally unsaid or underrepresented (or both at times).

“ESG stands for Environmental, Social, Governance.”

With that in mind – and in the risk of sounding overtly negative in this already challenging era of design and hospitality – I would like to address the greenwashing effects of buzzwords. The latest of which, surrounding the topic of sustainability, is ESG, which stands for Environmental, Social, Governance. The decision was made (by whom, I am still not entirely sure) to replace the over-used term of ‘sustainability’ with ‘ESG’ in the hope of encouraging people to think about the wider context. But in doing so, the problem has in fact escalated. I have waited until now, adhering to the unspoken rule of thinking before I speak, to put forward my views on this matter, but I’m afraid my frustration has boiled over.

Lounge area at Inhabit queens park london with natural light filled interior and wooden crafted furniture

Image caption: When it opens later this year, Inhabit Queen’s Gardens will shelter a conscious design narrative, which is sustainable and innovative. | Image credit: Inhabit Hotel / Tim Evan Cook

“The truth is, I don’t care what words are use, so long as they are spoken or written with morality, understanding and meaning.” – Hamish Kilburn, Editor, Hotel Designs.

Having watched friends, colleagues, clients and brands blurt out the term without fully comprehending it, enough is enough. And they are not alone, nor do I blame them. Many people, quite understandably, assume (making an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’ in the process) that the ‘S’ in ESG stands for ‘sustainability’, which voids the entire sentiment of using yet another acronym. Instead it stands for social; the social impacts of decisions.

In addition, admittedly fuelled by passion and good will, eco-warriors – of which I say with sensitivity as I put myself in the same category – unintentionally have amplified the stigma around sustainability that heavily suggests that if you’re not using the right terminology then you’re on the wrong side of history against the wider issue of climate change.

The truth is, I and many others who care deeper about the wider and devastating impacts of climate change, don’t care what words are use, so long as they are spoken or written with morality, understanding and meaning. I can get on board with ESG, but I do feel like there are other words that can be used that offer more clarity.

coastal bedroom designed using net zero principles and sutainable materials

Image caption: This month, Perkins&Will announced how it plans to go carbon neutral on its projects by 2030. | Image credit: Perkins&Will

I also fear that the industry’s strive to say the right thing, instead of trying to do everything we can to live and work more consciously, will camouflage those who are proposing and delivering very good and innovative work behind the scenes, which is where the attention should really be focused on. This month, we shone the spotlight on several of these, including Perkins&Will’s mission to become Net Zero by 2030, Harrison Spinks’ on-going journey to become carbon-neutral by 2023 and two hotels that, when they open, will seriously disrupt and challenge the current hospitality landscape. In just a few weeks, I will have the pleasure of joining industry legends from Interior Design Matters on stage at the Surface Design Show to discuss the significance of sustainability and why we all should act now to become better working citizens.

As we leave January behind – having explored hotel openings and smart tech – we move into investigating our upcoming features; surface design and lighting. 2022 is well and truly underway, folks and, during the next 11 months, I hope you will see how our committed team will discover the unsung heroes when finding those around us who are showing original and conscious concepts that will better people.

If hotel designers, architects, hoteliers and brands developed themselves while being conscious to those around them as well as the environment they are in, then the hospitality and hotel design landscape, on a global level, would be a much cleaner and greener place to sleep, work, play and eat.

Consciously yours (always),

Editor, Hotel Designs

Hotel Designs in conversation with Jean-Luc Naret for The Set Collection

Talking all things luxury hospitality with Jean-Luc Naret

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Talking all things luxury hospitality with Jean-Luc Naret

Inside The Set Collection’s iconic London hotel, Hotel Café Royal, Editor Hamish Kilburn meets legendary hotelier and Executive Director Jean-Luc Naret to discuss hotel development, the definition of luxury and how (and why) the collection is expanding…

Hotel Designs in conversation with Jean-Luc Naret for The Set Collection

In the heart of London – straddled between the well-to-do neighbourhood of Mayfair and the exuberant quarters of Soho – sits the iconic Hotel Café Royal, which for many is the epitome of luxury hospitality with its bold, voguish design that meets the height of quality service.

“If only walls could talk,” I say to myself when walking through the paired-back, minimalist corridors being told tales of the building’s former existence, when it was, as the name suggests, a café. But not just any café in London. It was a place where the rich and famous were seen rubbing shoulders. Patrons include the likes of Mohamed Ali, Virginia Woolf, George Bernard Shaw, Mick Jagger, Elizabeth Taylor and Diana, Princess of Wales.

Hotel Designs Cafe Royal London Lobby

Image caption: The magnificent lobby inside Hotel Café Royal. | Image credit: Hotel Café Royal/The Set Collection

In 2008, the hotel closed for an extensive renovation, which was led by David Chipperfield Architects and Donald Insall Associates. The task was to transform the building into a thriving luxury hotel, while also being sensitive to the building’s long and storied heritage.

Hotel Café Royal emerged in 2012 from its building site to reveal a modern five-star hotel. The second hotel of what was then The Set, its sister hotels include the Conservatorium in Amsterdam and Hotel Lutetia in Paris.

A decade on from that spectacular opening party, I am back here, inside the Regent Suite that casts an unparalleled view over Piccadilly Circus, to meet Jean-Luc Naret, the Executive Director of The Set Collection, which is made up of a cluster of iconic hotels in spectacular locations.

Prior to starting his journey with The Set Collection, Naret took the global hospitality industry by storm. He was the Director General of the Michelin Guide and also managed luxury hotels worldwide, in destinations such a Mauritius, the Maldives, Barbados and also become CEO of La Réserve Hoetls & Spas, where he was at the helm of a collection of six hotels and five private residences.

His latest mission is to sensitively expand The Set Collection’s small cluster of award-winning luxury hotels, to welcome new members that speak the same design and hospitality language. “The Set Collection launched a few years ago during the pandemic,” he tells me. “We started with four properties in Europe (the original members, if you like). From there, we wanted to expand and that’s where our search for unique design-led hotels began.”

Hotel Designs Hotel Lutetia suite bedroom

Image caption: A bedroom inside a suite at the iconic Hotel Lutetia in Paris. | Image credit: The Set Collection

When it comes to selection process of which hotels will be sheltered under The Set Collection umbrella, Naret and his team are looking for properties that sit in a class all on their own and have a strong and meaningful sense-of-place, both in the design as well as hospitality. “We are not looking for more than one hotel per destination,” Naret explains. “We want to avoid our hotels feeling like they are competing against each other. Therefore, we are looking for a properties that are leading luxury hotels within their neighbourhoods. Each of the hotels that are already in the collection – Lutetia in Paris, the Conservatorium in Amsterdam, the Mamilla in Jerusalem and Hotel Café Royal in London – are based locally. Take this hotel, for example, you have one foot in Soho and one foot in Mayfair.”

The latest news is that The House Collective will be joining The Set Collection, which will add a further four properties to the mix. “Like our founding members in Europe and Israel, The House Collective’s properties have made an impact on their market and the luxury traveller’s collective consciousness that is far greater than their relatively small footprint would suggest,” Naret said in a press release that was issued a day before our meeting. “It is a privilege to work with these expert hoteliers, not only to offer them the myriad benefits that being a part of The Set Collection offers but also to learn and grow together in new and exciting markets during these unique times.”


Hamish Kilburn: So, you currently have properties in London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Paris, Beijing, Chengdu, Jerusalem and Amsterdam… If you had to chose one destination answer where you choose to party, live and work?
Jean-Luc Naret: Party in Paris, live in Amsterdam and work in London

HK: Is there such thing as an unachievable guest demand? What’s the most outrageous one you have heard of?
JLN: No. A guest once requested 1,000 rose petals to be floating in an Olympic-size swimming pool

HK: What’s the last item that shows up on your credit card transactions?
JLN: Last night’s dinner with my team.

HK: Number one item you cannot travel without?
JLN: My phone. What would we do without them?

HK: Incredible food with a sleepless night or an incredible sleep with a standard F&B experience?
JLN: Food every time.

HK: Define luxury for you in 2022?
JLN: Luxury is defined by quality service, in my opinion.

Given Naret’s experience working on the operational and management corner of luxury hospitality, I am keen to understand where design, in his opinion, sits when it comes to the new era of luxury travel. “The hospitality businesses that set themselves aside from others, such as Club Med, One&Only, Rosewood and others, will create their own style that will be replicated by other brands,” he says. “Design plays a vital role. Ian Schräger is a fantastic example of someone who challenged what was then the conventional way of designing hospitality spaces. He poured his energy into the public spaces so that the guestrooms and suites were almost secondary, and that completely transformed the hotel market in the luxury sector. In the luxury business, we used to be – dare I say it – boring. Today, people like to do things differently, and have bold ideas for the future of luxury travellers.”

As we wrap up our morning meeting, and Naret prepares to leave for the airport to travel to The States for more meetings, and no-doubt interviews about The Set Collection, I am keen to understand where he sees the next big movement in luxury hotels and hospitality. “For me, I have been keeping an eye on the fashion industry’s launch into hospitality,” he says, “and that’s an interesting concept that I think will further change the landscape.”

Image caption: Fashion meets design. The dramatic courtyard at The Temple House. | Image credit: The Set Collection/The House Collective

Image caption: Fashion meets design. The dramatic courtyard at The Temple House. | Image credit: The Set Collection/The House Collective

Off the record, I am told that The Set Collection, currently with eight properties as members, is not planning on procrastinating, with Naret and his time moving towards the ambitious goal of having 25 – 30 hotels under its umbrella by 2023. Following the destruction the pandemic caused on the independent hospitality sector in particular, it is refreshing to see a brand that is working to celebrate the essence of luxury hospitality by collaborating with hotels that channel deep senses of place and purpose.

Main image credit: The Set Collection

Marriott provides insight on 2022 hotel development

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott provides insight on 2022 hotel development

Marriott International, which added 86,000 gross rooms last year and 517 properties, provides Hotel Designs with the latest on its hotel development progress, while also indicating a few emerging travel trends that are currently shaping hospitality development. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Following the lows of the pandemic, 2021 was a surprisingly good year for Marriott International and there was plenty to celebrate about, including opening its 70th hotel in Japan, opening its 100th JW Marriott property worldwide and agreeing the signings of three new hotels in Saudi Arabia.

At the end of 2021, the hotel group’s worldwide system consisted of nearly 8,000 properties and roughly 1.48 million rooms in 139 countries and territories. At year-end, the company had the largest global development pipeline, with roughly 485,000 rooms. The company signed 599 agreements during 2021 representing approximately 92,000 rooms of which slightly more than half are located outside of U.S. and Canada. Rooms falling out of the pipeline remain at historically low levels, despite challenges brought on by the pandemic. During 2021, Marriott added more than 86,000 rooms on a gross basis, growing the system 3.9 percent, including deletions of 2.1 per cent. The deletion rate was 1.2 per cent excluding the exit of 88 Service Properties Trust select service hotels.

“Marriott has the benefit of sitting at the intersection of information and insights from a global community of developers, properties, owners and franchisees, as well as the more than 160 million members of our Marriott Bonvoy travel program,” said Stephanie Linnartz, President, Marriott International. “Our analysis of the prevalent trends in global development is particularly instructive as we continue to recover from this global pandemic. We have been focused on working closely with our valued community of owners and franchisees throughout these unprecedented times. We are pleased with our strong 2021 development results and look forward to continuing to drive value for our owners and franchisees throughout the recovery and beyond with our quality brands, our comprehensive business support systems and industry leading loyalty platform.”

Luxury maintains momentum

Travellers crave leisure luxury travel experiences seeking iconic destinations and undiscovered locations. Marriott is poised to meet this demand with its unmatched portfolio of seven dynamic luxury brands across 476 hotels spanning 69 countries and territories.

In 2021, Marriott International signed 40 luxury hotel deals, representing more than 6,000 rooms, and grew its portfolio of luxury hotel rooms by 4.8 per cent net, with notable additions in prime locations around the globe including Philadelphia (W Hotels), Nashville (W Hotels), Charlotte (JW Marriott), Bermuda (St. Regis), Paris (Bulgari), Rome (W Hotels), Maldives (The Ritz-Carlton), Budapest (The Luxury Collection) and Reykjavik (EDITION).

Hotel Design of W Rome

Image caption: Lobby/lounge inside W Rome. | Image credit: W Hotels

The company continues to expand its luxury footprint and has by far the largest global pipeline of hotels in this important, high fee earning segment, with nearly 50,000 rooms. Marriott anticipates debuting more than 30 luxury hotels in 2022 in destinations from Mexico (The St. Regis Kanai Resort) and Portugal (W Algarve) to Australia (The Ritz-Carlton, Melbourne) and South Korea (JW Marriott Jeju Resort & Spa). Marriott’s industry leading luxury portfolio adds to the power of Marriott Bonvoy, giving members a tremendous choice of experiences around the globe.

The leisure boom continues booming

Leisure demand has led the travel recovery, a trend that is expected to continue into 2022, as travellers continue to embrace multi-purpose trips, mixing remote work and vacation time. Leisure transient global room nights were the first to recover to 2019 pre-pandemic levels in the second quarter of 2021. For some time prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, leisure travel had been growing at a faster pace than business travel, and according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), all signs point to a continuation of the trend. Marriott’s industry leading resort network includes more than 600 properties in beach, mountain and desert locations around the world that have seen incredibly high demand and have demonstrated impressive average daily rates.

Contemporary public area inside a Marriott Hotel

Image credit: Marriott International

Consumer interest in the very high growth all-inclusive resort segment continues to increase. Marriott intends to therefore capitalise on its strong recent momentum in this area, leveraging its proven brands to drive additional growth in this important segment. Currently, Marriott International’s all-inclusive portfolio spans 28 properties, representing more than 8,000 rooms in locations across the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. In 2021, Marriott International signed 22 agreements for all-inclusive resorts, marking a company record, including 20 all-inclusive resorts under its Autograph Collection Hotels brand and the first Marriott branded all-inclusive resort agreement in North Africa.

“Marriott’s all-inclusive platform is energising the segment and providing Marriott Bonvoy members, owners and franchisees access to our strong brands,” said Carlton Ervin, Global Development Officer, International, Marriott International. “While our initial all-inclusive growth has been focused in the Caribbean and Latin America, we see tremendous opportunity to expand our all-inclusive platform into additional markets, including the Mediterranean and the Middle East.”

Europe, Romania, Bucharest, The Marmorosch

Image caption: The Marmorosch Bucharest, Autograph Collection. | Image credit: Marriott International

The extended stay segment has always been attractive to leisure travellers and has become even more popular with the increase in remote work and the blending of business and leisure travel. Marriott International is the leader in the extended stay segment, setting the bar with the introduction of its Residence Inn brand almost 40 years ago. In 2021, extended stay accounted for 37 per cent of the company’s rooms signings in U.S. and Canada. Marriott Bonvoy’s extended stay brands – Element Hotels, Residence Inn by Marriott and TownePlace Suites by Marriott – include more than 1,400 hotels, offering stays from a few nights to a few weeks. Notable expected openings in 2022 include Element City Center Doha, Residence Inn by Marriott The Hague City Center and TownePlace Suites Cape Canaveral Cocoa Beach.

With growing consumer demand, Marriott’s extended stay portfolio offers modern design, signature programming​, new food and beverage offerings​, a flexible room mix for leisure and business​ travel and a proven operating model. At ALIS, Marriott will be showcasing Element Hotels, Residence Inn by Marriott and TownePlace Suites by Marriott through its ‘Longer Stay Lounge’, a space where investors, owners and operators can experience the latest in brand programming and designs while networking. The Longer Stay Lounge will present immersive brand vignettes that will allow visitors to learn about and experience each of the company’s longer stay brands.

Modern spa area inside the JW Marriott hotel

Image credit: JW Marriott

“The extended stay segment has been extremely resilient over the past few years and guest and owner demand continues to grow, driven in some measure by the rise in multi-purpose travel,” said Noah Silverman, Global Development Officer, U.S. & Canada, Marriott International. “We are excited for continued momentum around extended stay and to use our presence at ALIS to communicate the strength and possibilities of Marriott’s longer stay category and the impressive value it brings to owners.”

Conversions transform across the portfolio

Conversions are an important driver of rooms growth in any year, but they have been particularly meaningful during more disruptive times. Marriott provides a rich and flexible conversion platform with significant revenue synergies, cost saving opportunities and turnkey access to many of the programs and services that the company provides, including the company’s powerful Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program.

Marriott added more than 18,000 conversion rooms in 2021, accounting for 21 per cent of overall openings. In addition, conversions accounted for 27 per cent of rooms signings in 2021. Interest in conversions into Marriott brands remains high, led by the company’s robust portfolio of collection brands, including Autograph Collection Hotels, The Luxury Collection, and in particular the Tribute Portfolio, which has grown its footprint of open and pipeline hotels by nearly four times in the past five years. In addition, Delta Hotels by Marriott, the company’s flexible full-service conversion brand represented nine percent of signed conversion deals in 2021. Notable expected conversion additions in 2022 include the JW Marriott Hotel São Paulo in Brazil, The Brix, Autograph Collection in Trinidad and Tobago, The Serangoon House, Singapore, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel and a Delta Hotels by Marriott City Center Doha in Qatar.

Strong international growth poised to continue

In 2021, the company signed 256 agreements representing nearly 51,000 rooms in international locations outside the U.S. and Canada. With the company rapidly growing its international footprint, Marriott continues to enter new markets, offering travellers more exciting destinations. In 2021, the company expanded into Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Bermuda, Grenada, St. Lucia and Turks & Caicos. In 2022, the company expects to plant its flag in Albania and Honduras.

Luxury minimalist suite

Image credit: Ritz Carlton/Marriott Hotels

Development activity for well-established brands within the select service space remains another key driver of growth, especially internationally. Comprised of brands including Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield by Marriott, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft Hotels and Moxy Hotels, Marriott International’s select brands are increasingly resonating internationally. In 2021, the company opened 107 select service hotels representing nearly 19,000 rooms in 29 countries across its international regions. In China, select brands further expand consumer travel experiences and choices, bringing guests diversified experiences in emerging Chinese destinations. Notable expected openings in 2022 include Element Yangjiang Hailing Island and Moxy Suzhou City Center. In 2021, Fairfield by Marriott continued to make its mark in Japan with the “Michi-no-eki” project, bringing six more hotels to key locations across four prefectures in Japan. The company also launched its new Fairfield prototype in Europe and the Middle East.

Branded residential soars

Marriott’s branded residential business soared in 2021 as evolving lifestyle changes have sparked growing interest in on-demand amenities and services from brands people admire and trust. Marriott continues to lead the branded residential segment with nearly 190 projects open or in development worldwide across 14 of the company’s brands.

Marriott’s branded residential offerings include a standalone residence model with similar elevated services offered at the company’s hotel properties, but without a co-located hotel, which speaks to the power of Marriott’s brands to attract residential buyers in markets around the globe. In 2021, Marriott signed its first standalone residences for the EDITION brand in Miami and for the Autograph Collection Hotels brand in London. The company currently operates 14 standalone residences with 16 in the pipeline. Overall, the branded residential sector continues to grow rapidly internationally, with nearly 80 percent of Marriott’s upcoming projects located outside of the U.S. and Canada. The company expects to debut 14 residential projects in 2022 in destinations from New York City (The Ritz-Carlton Residences, New York, NoMad) and Algarve (W Residences Algarve) to Belgrade (The Residences at The St. Regis Belgrade).

Since you’re here…

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Main image credit: Marriott International

Minimalist bathroom - with Ideal Standard shower in corner

Product watch: New shower collections from Ideal Standard

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: New shower collections from Ideal Standard

Ideal Standard, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of bathroom solutions, has expanded and redefined its showering range to help customers easily choose the perfect shower system and guarantee a premium showering experience day after day…

Minimalist bathroom - with Ideal Standard shower in corner

Following the launch of Intellimix, Ideal Standard has expanded its shower collection to enables designers and users to find their ideal combination of comfort, style and performance to complete their space – whether it’s an original design or a renovation of a family bathroom, wet room or en suite. Selected models are also available in a silk black finish, allowing customers to elevate any bathroom with a contemporary alternative to traditional chrome. 

All of Ideal Standard’s thermostatic shower systems are fitted with the brand’s pioneering Firmaflow Therm cartridge, allowing for precise temperature control while providing unrivalled durability and efficiency. Each model also comes with Cool Body technology, keeping surfaces cool to the touch to protect people from scalding. Meanwhile, integrated eco flow regulators help users to save water and energy without sacrificing the showering experience, and all components are smooth and easy to clean.  

The entire collection benefits from Ideal Standard’s selection of Idealrain shower heads, offering a personalised showering experience with a choice of spray modes – from invigorating to relaxing.  

The showering portfolio comprises three offers – Design, Comfort and Fresh – helping users to find their perfect solution, all of which are equipped with Ideal Standard’s innovative, German-engineered technologies that ensure optimum functionality, safety and durability. 

The deluxe showers of Design are characterised by flat surfaces, extra-large shower heads and quality metal handles, making them a statement piece for style-conscious customers. Included in the collection is the new Ceratherm S200, which features a forward-facing controls unit for easy access when adjusting temperature and flow, as well as an integrated shelf of safety glass, adding valuable extra storage space without compromising on aesthetics. 

Shower systems within Comfort have been designed with safety, durability and comfort in mind. Users have a choice of hard-wearing shower heads, and can easily flick between three different spray modes at the push of a button.  

 Fresh blends modern design and must-have technology, with small but important design touches adding extra flexibility and control, such as the raised button on the Ceratherm T25 to enable better grip. With both Comfort and Fresh, a shelf can be ordered separately to create extra storage in the bathroom.  

When it comes to installation, all products come pre-calibrated, with streamlined designs and common connections making set-up hassle-free. EasyMount height adjustable wall bracket fittings also ensure simple installation in almost any location, while Swivel Arm functionality lets installers easily adjust the angle of the shower arm. 

Ashley Smith, UK Product Manager for Brassware at Ideal Standard, said: “Everyone has their own distinct idea of the perfect shower – from temperature and pressure to position and spray mode, not to mention how it looks. We understand how personal it is, which is why we’re offering a different choice for every need with DesignComfort and Fresh. With a range of styles and features, all backed up by faultless engineering, we’re confident our customers will be able to find the shower with the look and technology they’ll love – day in, day out.” 

Ideal Standard is one of Hotel Designs’ 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: Ideal Standard

The Retreat inside The Londoner

How The Londoner created a new dialogue between design & wellness

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How The Londoner created a new dialogue between design & wellness

Sitting majestically above Leicester Square, in its very own island site, The Londoner took the design and architecture community’s breath away when it opened in 2021. One year on, Editor Hamish Kilburn meets Rob Steul, the Creative Director of Edwardian Hotels to learn more about the unparalleled design and wellness narrative…

The Retreat inside The Londoner

It was one of the most ambitious architecture and hotel development projects that Leicester Square had ever seen. The plans for the world’s first ‘super boutique’ hotel, The Londoner, designed by Yabu Pushelberg, engineer experts at Arup Associates and artist Ian Monroe, reportedly cost £5 million and included 15-storeys of innovative design and architecture. 

Rob Steul, the Creative Director of Edwardian Hotels, was the puppet master – AKA architect – behind the magnificent and innovative performance. Due to urban planning height restrictions, Steul and his team proposed a 30-metre subterranean series of spaces on six levels, which created the deepest habitable basement in London and among the deepest in the world – a factor that presented a plethora of architectural, structural and engineering challenges for all involved.

As the hotel moves close to its one year anniversary – a milestone in itself considering the unpredictable landscape along with travel restrictions that the hotel opened within – Hotel Designs, in association with AXOR and Hansgrohe, caught up with Steul to understand how, as well as architecture, the hotel has reached new heights (or depths is perhaps more apt) in wellness and wellbeing.

Hansgrohe 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: Hansgrohe

A modern bathroom with shower and glass screens overlooking skyline of city at night

6 smart bathroom technology products for 2022

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
6 smart bathroom technology products for 2022

With evolution of technology in the bathroom arguably out-running any other area of the hotel, Hotel Designs, in association with Plumb It, has identified six savvy and smart bathroom ideas that should be on the radar of all interior designers and architects…

A modern bathroom with shower and glass screens overlooking skyline of city at night

“Technology and water do not mix.” Never has a saying been more inaccurate than it is today when taking a glance at how smart hotel bathroom design is transforming. In fact, following the innovations that we launched at CES 2022, it’s safe to say that the bathroom is currently the epicentre of innovation, with tech influencing an evolution in function as well as form (and sustainable initiatives) in products such as toilets, showers, bathrooms, taps and even smart mirrors.

With new tech, though, comes confusion. This is why we, in partnership with Plumb It, have taken the time to identify six smart bathroom technologies that we believe have the power to challenge the conventional approach to bathroom design.

1) The shower toilet

Image of urban large bathroom

Image credit: Geberit

Although not an obvious nor new piece of technology, it’s remarkable to see how popular the shower toilet has become worldwide. Brands such as Geberit, Toto and Euro Bathrooms are providing a no-hassle, gentle and natural way to clean, which is far more sustainable. Geberit AquaClean products, for example, allow users to save more energy by individually adjusting the product settings, thus giving them the option to reduce their environmental impact even further. In standby mode (economy mode), all AquaClean models, which fulfil the European eco-design requirements (ErP directives), consume less than 0.5 watts of energy in total.

2) The spa bath

There was a lot of hype in Las Vegas earlier this month at CES 2022, where bathroom brand Kohler displayed its Infinity Experience Freestanding Bath, which comes complete with LED lighting effects, and relaxing fog that has been inspired by Japanese hot springs. Well, it seems Kohler is not alone in its predictions that the bathrooms of tomorrow will have an even stronger emphasis on experience. Two years ago, Toto launched its weightless bathing experience. More recently, the whirlpool and airpool system baths by Phoenix Bathrooms takes wellness to new levels by also using sensory design. The Ancona + System 3 luxury bath features underwater, fully rotating colour-kinetic LED lighting, variable three-speed airpool blowers that allow finite and customisable adjustment and an inline heater that maintains a consistent water temperature during bathing.

3) Smart eco showers

Hansgrohe EcoSmart handshower

Image credit: hansgrohe

A smart shower does not have to read you the news or play your favourite playlist while you are washing. For the sake of this editorial, smart means intuitive. The technology inside the hansgrohe EcoSmart happens behind the scenes. The showers and taps equipped with EcoSmart technology consume up to 60 per cent less water than conventional products. This not only means that you use less water, but also need less energy to heat the water – good news for the planet, and good news for your client’s pocket.

4) Mirrored art

The hotel design industry has seen the rise (and arguably the fall) of smart mirrors in the bathroom. When creating a tranquil space that encourages users to ‘switch off’, the idea of a smart TV becomes somewhat outdated. However, with the bathroom being predominantly a practical space, good lighting is an essential element. The Edison mirror by Origins Living, which comes in a variety of sizes, is more like atmospheric wall art than simply a reflective surface. Users can create their individual ambience with colour temperature control from warm to cool white lighting, adding texture and practicality to the bathroom experience.

5) Touchless demands

Even before 2020, prior to when the world become transfixed on hygienic solutions, touchless technology was a common element in public restrooms (in and outside the hotel arena). Since the pandemic, though, consumers’ demands for contactless has sky-rocketed – and brands such as Roca were prepared with resolutions. The Roca EM1 Flush Valve, for example, has been developed as a touchless option for either public or private bathrooms.

Thanks to an integrated infrared sensor, the flush button detects the movement of a hand and activates the flush automatically without contact, avoiding the spreading of viruses and the growth of bacteria. Roca’s EM1 mechanism allows you to choose between full and half flush volumes which can be easily adjusted to flush at 6/4, 4.5/3 or 4/2 litres, helping you to save your annual water usage with no electrical installation needed. It simply works on four AA batteries that provides more than 40,000 flushes.

6) Sustainable & durable baths

Crafted from Biolux, Ashton & Bentley has launched a freestanding bath that has been made from 100 per cent from an eco-friendly alternative to natural stone. The Biome Range is created for the eco-conscious and curated for harmony; a selection of modern classic freestanding baths and complementing countertop basins and freestanding washbasins. Roca’s designs are where engineering meets art – high impact visual statements of sculpted beauty created with Ashton & Bentley’s signature quality and craftsmanship. The gentle silhouettes and organic curves of the Biome Range connect contemporary ergonomic design with nature while nurturing sanctuary and wellbeing.

Plumb It 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: Kohler

Render of Somewhere Else in The Bahamas, by Pharrell Williams and David Grutman

Pharrell Williams and David Grutman to open hotel in The Bahamas

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Pharrell Williams and David Grutman to open hotel in The Bahamas

The 13-time Grammy rapper, songwriter and producer Pharrell Williams and nightclub entrepreneur David Grutman have announced that they will open a new lifestyle hotel in 2024. Set the be the creative duo’s largest hospitality project, Somewhere Else, will be located on a small island just off Nassau in The Bahamas. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Render of Somewhere Else in The Bahamas, by Pharrell Williams and David Grutman

It’s not the first time celebrities have dipped their toe in the hospitality waters, with the likes of Hugh Jackman, Donatella Versace, Elizabeth Hurley and of course Robert De Niro among A-listers owning hotels. The recent addition to the list includes Pharrell Williams and David Grutman who in 2021 opened The Goodtime Hotel to rave reviews.

Less than a year later, the pair have tasked design and architecture studio Rockwell Group to bring to life their next hotel vision of a design-forward lifestyle hotel in The Bahamas.

“Throughout the resort, there will be a strong emphasis on indoor-outdoor flows with flush, freeform landscaping.”

The new hotel will be situated on Atlantis Paradise Island, in a building that has been, until now, referred to as The Beach – and was the island’s first hotel, originally designed by the late Morris Lapidus who was a leader of the vivacious ‘Miami-modern’ style.

The 400-key hotel, named Somewhere Else, is slated to open its doors in 2024 and will shelter multiple F&B outlets and  bungalows featuring recording studios. Throughout the resort, there will be a strong emphasis on indoor-outdoor flows with flush, freeform landscaping. Williams referred to the project as “tropical modernism” in a recent interview.

The design of the property will be led by Shawn Sullivan, Partner at Rockwell Group. The overall aesthetic will take inspiration from topography of the landscape. The latest renders show a water-coloured depiction of a flamingo pink-trimmed building. On the site, the hotel will feature cascading pools that draw the eye towards the sea and polychrome room concepts with flashes of colour, CNN reports.

Despite this project being Williams and Gutman’s largest and most complex development undertaking to date, the 13-time Grammy winner and the nightclub entrepreneur have previously completed two other hospitality ventures; Miami-based restaurant The Swan and The Goodtime Hotel.

Main render credit: Somewhere Else/Rockwell Group

The House Collective

Weekly digest: Eco hotel openings, tech updates & Vegas developments

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly digest: Eco hotel openings, tech updates & Vegas developments

Roll up, roll up! Editor Hamish Kilburn here with your weekly digest. If you’re drowning in work, hurtling towards deadlines or are unable to scour the net for design and hospitality news, then this is the only article you need to read about the latest hotel openings and news to be stay in the loop…

The House Collective

In this week’s digest, there’s a lot to cover – from technology hit and misses at CES 2022 to Regent Hotels’ debut property Vietnam, and even our feature that follows our cheeky trip to the Harrison Spinks farm. Having looked at the analytics, this month’s news is largely dominated by hotel openings, which come in all shapes, sizes and styles – and this week has been no exception with a number of sneak peeks garnering a lot of attention.

From all the headlines that we have published, here are the most significant.

How the design scene is embracing Net Zero initiatives

coastal bedroom designed using net zero principles and sutainable materials

Image credit: Perkins&Will

With Net Zero fast becoming the buzzword of 2022, along with conversations around sustainability and the importance of working towards a circular economy, and brands such as GROHEHarrison Spinks and Room2 pledging to become Net Zero, design studio Perkins&Will has published a report which identifies the steps it is taking – and what other design studios could be doing – to create Net Zero projects by 2030.

Read more.

On the farm with Harrison Spinks

Image caption: Each interior design scheme has been themed to celebrate the locality of the farm, such as Fenton, my hut, which is a nod to RAF Church Fenton. | Image credit: Harrison Spinks

Image caption: Each interior design scheme has been themed to celebrate the locality of the farm, such as Fenton, my hut, which is a nod to RAF Church Fenton. | Image credit: Harrison Spinks

In the heart of the Yorkshire countryside – slap-bang between Leeds and York – editor Hamish Kilburn arrived on the 300-acre farm where the Harrison Spinks journey evolved into one that was centred around sustainable and innovative initiatives. From understanding the benefits of hemp to seeing how the bed manufacturer is keeping British manufacturing alive, Hotel Designs was given full access for 48 hours to understand why the bed and mattress manufacturer is commonly referred to as ‘the true bedmakers’.

Read more.

Hard Rock Hotels to transform the Las Vegas strip

guitar shaped hard rock hotel in las vegas

Image credit: Hard Rock Hotels

Hospitality and entertainment company Hard Rock International, has announced its agreement to acquire The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas from MGM Resorts International. Having made history in 2019 with designing the first ever guitar-shaped hotel for its Florida expansion, Hard Rock is planning to add to its guitar collection by building  its second guitar-shaped hotel, this time on the famous Las Vegas Strip.

Read more.

The technology products that hit and missed at CES 2022

A stillness bath by Kohler

Image credit: Kohler

Quiet floors, a lack of international travellers and it all coming to close a day early due to the organisers facing pressures from travel restrictions and the Covid-19 crisis: is this really the same CES that dominated the world’s attention every January with the biggest tech show on earth? Well, the answer is ‘no’ but for good and healthy reasons for the hotel technology sector.

Read more.

Regent Hotels to arrive in Vietnam this spring

Regent Phu Quoc villa with swimming pool over looking the lagoon on long beach vietnam

Image credit: Regent Hotels & Resorts

IHG Hotels & Resorts will launch the first resort from its recently acquired, leading luxury brand, Regent Hotels & Resorts this Spring in South East Asia. Situated off the southwest coast of Vietnam, alongside a UNESCO-designated World Biosphere Reserve, Regent Phu Quoc will usher in a new era for this heritage brand, offering guests 176 spectacular suites and 126 spacious villas, set against the serene waterfront backdrop of Long Beach.

Read more.

Nordic Hotels to open Sommerro in Oslo this year

Scandic climate neutral hotel guestroom

Image credit: Scandic Hotels

Nordic Hotels & Resorts has announced that it is bringing one of Oslo’s most iconic buildings back to life as Sommerro – a new luxury hotel set to open its doors in September 2022.

Read more.

The Set Collection adds four new properties to portfolio

fireplace and lounge area in the Upper House in Hong Kong

Image credit: The House Collective

In an exciting marriage of East and West, this the first chapter in an organisation that looks set to disrupt the traditional models of what went before, while doing justice to the reputation and success of the iconic properties present at its start.

“I cannot think of a better group of hotels to be our first new members than The House Collective,” said Jean-Luc Naret, Executive Director of The Set Collection.

Read more.

And one for the January blues: Vibrant, story-telling hotel art for optimistic times

breaking boundaries by Frances Bildner

With coming out of lockdown and the latest omicron fears easing up, it’s time to look forward to some fresh outlooks. Frances Bildner of Frances Bildner Expressive Arts produces and sells dynamic artwork to hotels, other businesses and residences and is no stranger on Hotel Designs‘ radar. Her paintings often tell stories, albeit abstract ones, and enhance interior design schemes by injecting vitality to the environment. Her paintings, described by New York’s Village Voice as being “vital enough to convert even the most jaded of people”, bring life and colour to empty walls.

Read more.

Since you’re here…

More than 60,000 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: The House Collective

Urbancrete from Parkside

Urbancrete by Parkside: An exploration of colour & form

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Urbancrete by Parkside: An exploration of colour & form

Urbancrete is the latest tile collection from Parkside Architectural Tiles, with concrete and stone effects in multiple formats and geometric shapes to create a unique look…

Urbancrete from Parkside

Featuring comfort, a brand-new finish that combines the luxurious feel of a matt surface with R10 anti-slip performance, Urbancrete by Parkside Architectural tiles is a porcelain tile collection designed to excel in commercial environments demanding high-quality aesthetics with the durability and easy maintenance of tiles.

The collection is centred on two basic surfaces that can be used to create multiple combinations – a concrete effect with an urban aesthetic and an original marble design – in standard formats, mosaics and geometric shapes to give specifiers the opportunity to explore combinations in effect, colour and shape. With options for floor and wall, internal and external use and a range of special pieces, Urbancrete can be used to deliver a unique look across a wide range of project types.

Urbancrete is available in comfort, grip (R11) and glossy finishes, and meets all the performance requirements for tiles in indoor environments in 6mm and 10mm specifications, making it suitable in everywhere from hotels to retail, commercial offices and public spaces. In its frost-resistant 20mm outdoor variant, Urbancrete achieves 36+ wet performance under BS 7976 (pendulum slider test).

Made by Florim, a Certified B Corporation, Urbancrete features a minimum 20 per cent recycled content in accordance with the Parkside and Strata Tiles commitment to sustainability. For all new tile collections, Parkside and Strata Tiles have pledged to include ranges with a minimum 20 per cent recycled content. This pledge comes alongside the 40 for 40 partnership with the World Land Trust and a goal set to be Carbon Balanced by the end of the year.

> Since you’re here, why not read more about Parkside’s zero-waste tile?

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

guitar shaped hard rock hotel in las vegas

Hard Rock Hotels to transform the Las Vegas strip

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hard Rock Hotels to transform the Las Vegas strip

Following in the footsteps of the worlds first guitar shaped hotel in Florida, Hard Rock Hotels plans to bring the iconic shape to the Las Vegas skyline with its new development in the city…

guitar shaped hard rock hotel in las vegas

Hospitality and entertainment company Hard Rock International, has announced its agreement to acquire The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas from MGM Resorts International. Having made history in 2019 with designing the first ever guitar-shaped hotel for its Florida expansion, Hard Rock is planning to add to its guitar collection by building  its second guitar-shaped hotel, this time on the famous Las Vegas Strip. The guitar shape is synonymous with the brand, as, beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock now owns the world’s largest and most valuable collection of authentic music memorabilia at more than 86,000 pieces, which are displayed at its locations around the globe.

“We are honoured to welcome The Mirage’s 3,500 team members to the Hard Rock family,” said Jim Allen, Chairman of Hard Rock International. “When complete, Hard Rock Las Vegas will be a fully integrated resort welcoming meetings, groups, tourists and casino guests from around the world to its nearly 80 acre centre-Strip location.”

Prior to 2020, Hard Rock International had no previous involvement with the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. HRI purchased the licensing and naming rights for Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas in May 2020 and vowed to bring the iconic brand to the Las Vegas Strip when the right opportunity presented itself.

> Since you’re here, why not check out Hard Rock Hotel New York?

Main image credit: Hard Rock Hotels

Rosewood Sao Paulo Exterior

Weekly digest: Hotel openings, wellness trends & colour in 2022

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly digest: Hotel openings, wellness trends & colour in 2022

Hello, sunshine! Editor Hamish Kilburn here to brighten up your day with the weekly digest, which this week contains a Rosewood opening that will blow your mind, wellness and colour trend forecasts for 2022 and beyond, and COMO’s new island-within-an-island resort. Follow me, this way…

Rosewood Sao Paulo Exterior

This week, Hotel Designs recorded its highest pageviews in a day on record (with 3,901 pageviews on Wednesday and more than 10,000 views this week), and we’re not really surprised given the juicy news that’s landed on our desk. From hotel openings to trends of all different sizes and colours, the stories that have dominated the headlines this week include a colour moodboard, case studies and bold moves in hotel development, including one very special exclusive from Kerzner International and interior design studio Atellior.

Here are just some of the stories that we’ve picked out for you:

EXCLUSIVE: Introducing SIRO, the new holistic wellbeing brand from Kerzner International

SIRO Boka Place Rooftop

Image caption: Render of the rooftop that will open in SIRO Boka Place, designed by Atellior. | Image credit: SIRO

Kerzner International has launched SIRO (Strength, Inclusive, Reflection and Original), a new hospitality brand that’s purpose will be to offer a balanced wellbeing experience for guests aspiring to become a healthier, more energised and rejuvenated version of themselves. The forward-thinking aim will be nurtured by SIRO’s engaging environment, supported by experts in a suite of health-related specialisms and made especially memorable by opportunities to experience destinations urban –  from urban jungles to serene countryside – through the lens of fitness.

Read more.

Rosewood arrives in São Paulo

artwork and local crafts in the bedrooms at Rosewood Sao Paola Brazil

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

Centrally located in the heart of the vibrant city near the lively Avenida Paulista, Rosewood São Paulo, which featured in our top 7 hotels on the boards in 2020, is a metropolitan oasis set within the historical enclave of Cidade Matarazzo, a complex of elegantly preserved buildings from the early 20th century that have been carefully transformed into private residences, high-end stores and entertainment venues.

Anchoring the 30,000 square-meter mixed-used lifestyle hub, the hotel occupies the historic former hospital, Matarazzo Maternity, as well as a striking new vertical garden tower. The transformation of the heritage buildings is rooted in sustainability and makes Cidade Matarazzo Brazil’s largest upcycling project, with a focus on celebrating and protecting the country’s cultural heritage and natural environment. Sustainable features executed in the property’s design include a biodiversity program that repopulates the indigenous flora and fauna from the Mata Atlantica rainforest, including 250 trees up to 14 metres in height placed vertically on the Mata Atlantica Tower.

Read more.

COMO expands private island portfolio with ‘island within an island’

aerial view of buildings using natural materials at COMO Laucala island

Image credit: COMO Hotels and Resorts / Trey Ratcliff

COMO Laucala Island offers guests the perfect island escape in a unique and carefully protected ecosystem, and is as much about the signature COMO design as it is about the location and lifestyle on offer. This is a resort where space is luxury: 25 residences, each with their own COMO butler, spread out on private beaches, above lagoons, atop hills and mountains. With a private airstrip, this exclusive sanctuary has been designed to unparalleled levels of luxury living on the northern shore of the island.

Read more. 

Moodboard: Design & colour trends emerging in 2022

Newmor colour palette of bright jewel like colours

Image credit: Newmor

With the arrival of a new year and the ‘colour of the year’ being a hotly debated topic, this is also the time when we would all normally be heading to events and exhibitions such as Heimtextil to share product and trend predictions. Heimtextil 2022, however, has fallen victim to the virus, but the conversation about trends and colours continues undeterred. So, to keep the noise echoing around the industry’s arena, Pauline Brettell caught up with Rose Campbell from Newmor to chat about the predictions for 2022, and to take us through the process in developing these design and colour trends.

Read more.

How MEET UP London plans to tantalise your senses – early bird tickets now on sale!

Meet Up London 2022

On March 24, the team at Hotel Designs – along with a few industry friends – will unveil their interpretation of the theme ‘inspiring creativity’ at the Minotti London showroom in the heart of the Fitzrovia neighbourhood. Long regarding as London’s premium networking event for interior designers, architects, hoteliers, suppliers and developers alike, MEET UP London will pull out all the stops in order to ensure that the ambiguous theme is well and truly captured with meaning.

Read more. 

Wellness trends: The shifting shape of spas and wellbeing

natural textures and surfaces in spa at auberge beach residences

Image credit: TLEE Spas + Wellness

Following our insightful look at the design trends that are shaping hotels and hospitality, we spoke to TLEE Spas + Wellness President and Founder Tracy Lee to dig a little deeper into the trends that are specific to spa design and development, while looking more broadly into how we define and create a sense of wellness in hospitality moving forward into 2022.

Read more.

W Hotels plans to open in Macau

W Hotels, W Macau Studio City

Image credit: W Hotels

Marriott International has signed an agreement with Melco Resorts & Entertainment to bring the W Hotels Worldwide brand to Macau by the end of the year. W Macau – Studio City is expected in 2022 to become an iconic addition to the world-class leisure destination through its detail-driven, unexpected design, and signature whatever/whenever service.

Read more.

Since you’re here…

More than 60,000 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: Rosewood Hotels and Resorts

Meet Up London 2022

How MEET UP London plans to tantalise your senses

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How MEET UP London plans to tantalise your senses

Returning this year by popular demand, the leading London networking event for interior designers, architects, hoteliers, suppliers and developers, MEET UP London will welcome two visionaries who will transform Minotti London into a sensory experience. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes how he and the team are interpreting the theme ‘inspiring creativity’…

Meet Up London 2022

On March 24, the team at Hotel Designs – along with a few industry friends – will unveil their interpretation of the theme ‘inspiring creativity’ at the Minotti London showroom in the heart of the Fitzrovia neighbourhood. Long regarding as London’s premium networking event for interior designers, architects, hoteliers, suppliers and developers alike, MEET UP London will pull out all the stops in order to ensure that the ambiguous theme is well and truly captured with meaning.

And to whet the industry’s appetite even further, Hotel Designs has secured sound and wellness experts, Tom Middleton and Ari Peralta, who will help to transform the Minotti London showroom into an immersive, sensory experience.

Early bird tickets for MEET UP London are now on sale. Click here if you are a supplier to secure your ticket for just £99 + VAT (prices rise to £150 plus vat per person from January 29, 2022*. Click here if you are a designer, architect, hotelier or developer to secure your early bird ticket for just £10 + VAT (prices will rise to £20 + VAT per person from January 29, 2022).*

Image caption: MEET UP London 2019 took place at Minotti London's showroom

Image caption: MEET UP London 2019 took place at Minotti London’s showroom, welcoming more than 200 interior designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers. | Image credit: MEET UP London

Tom Middleton, an award-winning composer, wellness architect and sensory design technologist, will discuss and demonstrate the mood-enhancing and wellbeing properties of spatial sound, combined with scientifically designed imprinting scents to elevate interior design, and deliver more memorable and meaningful experiences.

Meanwhile, wellness expert and neuroscientist, Ari Peralta, Founder of Arigami, will showcase the power of colour on our emotions using cutting-edge, deep learning technologies and generative graphics. Peralta will unveil an experience at MEET UP London that will reset the senses, with the power of colour and meditation, to ground, relax and replenish the mind.

*Early bird tickets will only be available until the end of the day on January 28, 2022. Please note, there are limited tickets available for MEET UP London. Due to the demand for this event, we anticipate that tickets will sell out and tickets will be issued out on a first-come, first-served basis.

Main image credit: MEET UP London


EXCLUSIVE: Introducing SIRO, the new holistic wellbeing brand from Kerzner

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EXCLUSIVE: Introducing SIRO, the new holistic wellbeing brand from Kerzner

Kerzner International, the company behind One&Only, Atlantis Resorts and Residences and Magazan Beach & Golf Resort, has announced it is creating a pioneering new hospitality brand designed to sit at the convergence of travel, fitness, health and wellbeing. Here’s what we know about SIRO…


Kerzner International has launched SIRO (Strength, Inclusive, Reflection and Original), a new hospitality brand that’s purpose will be to offer a balanced wellbeing experience for guests aspiring to become a healthier, more energised and rejuvenated version of themselves. The forward-thinking aim will be nurtured by SIRO’s engaging environment, supported by experts in a suite of health-related specialisms and made especially memorable by opportunities to experience destinations urban –  from urban jungles to serene countryside – through the lens of fitness.

The holistic wellbeing brand’s first property will be located in Boka Place, a new neighbourhood in the luxury marina destination of Porto Montenegro. Combining a 96-guestroom hotel and 144 managed residences, SIRO Boka Place is being designed by London-based design studio Atellior, and is slated for completion by the end of 2023.

“It is always very exciting to create the first property for a new hospitality brand and this is particularly so with SIRO because it is such a forward-looking concept – destinations of excellence forging an approach to fitness and wellbeing that meets the aspirations of modern, global lifestyles,” Una Barac, Executive Director of Atellior, told Hotel Designs. “We are also blessed with one of the most stunning locations in Europe, overlooking the breath-taking Bay of Kotor as well as Porto Montenegro, and with the Montenegrin mountains rising behind.”

SIRO Boka Place Gym cropped

Image caption: Render of the gym and fitness centre that will be sheltered inside SIRO Boka Place, designed by Atellior. | Image credit: SIRO

SIRO Boka Place will provide thoughtful environments for both guests and local residents. The public areas, we are being told, will emphasise the social aspect of wellbeing, providing a fully immersive experience and encouraging social interaction, with an overriding theme of ‘exploration’ and ‘play’ dictating the tempo. Sculptural bleacher seating in the lobby’s Amphitheatre zone will offer an informal and open place for people to relax and work, where leather cushions add comfort to the typical stadium experience and power points are hidden within integrated tables to provide numerous work hubs. The lobby is designed to come to life through sight, touch and sound, encouraging guests to linger.

Since nutrition is central to wellbeing and integral to connecting with the culture of the locality, the restaurant will provide a ‘mindful menu’ – balanced and nourishing cuisine crafted by SIRO dieticians and chefs using ingredients that are sourced locally and harvested seasonally. The restaurant’s design will have an urban vibe, with a grey conglomerate stone-effect floor and exposed service black-painted ceilings with a striking black mesh; a back-lit feature wall will create a dramatic focal point. In the centre of the space, comfortable lounge furniture in hues of grey, black and deep green surrounding low tables will lend themselves to a casual dining experience, whilst other dining tables will flank the perimeter and spill out onto the meticulously landscaped terrace.

> Designer Una Barac has joined several Hotel Designs roundtables. Since you’re here, why not check out the latest one she was involved in, on the ‘art of lighting’?

Adjacent to the restaurant will be another another pivotal feature of the ground floor lobby; the Juice Lab and After Work-Out Bar, where bar tenders will mix healthy and nutritious cocktails, juices and smoothies.

For those seeking a party vibe, a rooftop bar with live DJs will be a glorious rendezvous spot from day into the night. Contemporary furniture in cognac leather hues will occupy the space, offering a  variety of seating arrangements, from bar stools set around tall, communal tables through to comfortable lounge chairs. Striking, bespoke light features, inspired by sports’ physical movements will decorate the walls and hang as pendants. Contemporary outdoor furniture will grace the terrace together with lanterns and ample planting, creating a perfect al fresco experience and offering views across Boka Bay.

By contrast, the guestrooms are being designed as poised sanctuaries where guests can continue their fitness regime, recharge and sleep very well thanks to blackout and soundproof technology. Importantly, the rooms can transform quickly and easily between active and passive mode, pulse and restorative spaces. Each room comes with a range of fitness equipment, including punch bags, yoga balls and dumbbells, and there is plenty of space to work out or meditate. Another unique feature within the guestrooms will be the stretching bars, which form an integral part of the built-in joinery, enabling guests to exercise whilst also achieving a striking design feature. In-room mist showers, innovative furniture design and sustainable materials will work together to create a private retreat for rest, rejuvenation and recovery.

A high-performance fitness club will sit at the heart of the hotel. Featuring signature equipment and studios for workouts, yoga and dance, it will offer ample natural light thanks to the carefully designed see-saw roof, reminiscent of the industrial buildings that previously occupied the site. In addition, there will be the ‘Experience Box’ – an immersive studio with club-style lighting, sound and a large XL screen, and a smart climate-controlled 20-metre pool with a retractable roof which will allow guests to train freely regardless of weather, pausing only to take in the stunning views from the pool’s rooftop location.

Since rehabilitation is an important part of the SIRO experience, a ‘Recovery Lab’ will offer sports rehabilitation, innovative procedures, meditation classes and relaxing treatments. The Lab’s state-of-the-art equipment and procedures will explore new avenues to renewed, improved and harmonious health. Recovery facilities will include a selection of health spa services, ranging from cryo chambers, specialised massage therapies to meditation classes for mindful regeneration.

Igniting guests’ passions for exhilarating pursuits in the great outdoors, SIRO Boka Place will come complete with access to a number of demanding sailing circuits, plus cycling routes of varying intensity. Other outdoor activities will include hiking, boxing, climbing, kite surfing, parkour and, during the winter months, skiing, to name but a few.

SIRO will also be building TEAM SIRO, a team of key athletes from around the world who’ll each play an advisory role as SIRO develops the fitness and wellness elements at the heart of its immersive lifestyle experience. The first ambassador is GB Olympic gold medallist swimmer Adam Peaty – an Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth champion, and a favourite to win gold again at the next Olympics.

“SIRO is a gamechanger.” – Una Barac, Executive Director of Atellior.

Atellior’s aesthetic for the hotel has taken its cue from SIRO’s brand values, reflected in finishes that combine both traditional and contemporary materials such as oak, plaster, stone and aniline leather together with concrete, metal and glass. In this way, the contrast between the active and passive faces of SIRO, the physical as well as the mindful benefits that the experience provides, are expressed. The dramatic landscape background has inspired and defined the colour palette – tan leather and dark green upholstery combined with the softer tones of the warm ivory plaster, pale fabrics and light textured wood. Materials are being specified with great care to ensure they are ISO certified, regionally sourced and, where possible, incorporate elements of recycling within their manufacturing process.

The managed residences will range from studio apartments to three-bedroom duplexes and penthouses designed with a pared-back aesthetic. Clean lines and neutral tones will create an optimal environment for holistic wellbeing. Similar in aesthetic to the hotel guestrooms, they are designed with a calming and neutral palette inspired by the local limestone, with pops of colour in aniline cognac leather and striking artwork. Varying in size from 45 metre-squared to 170 metre-squared, the managed residences will all qualify for Montenegro’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBIP).

“SIRO is a gamechanger,” says Barac. “Developing a unique concept with health, well-being and mindfulness at its core has never been more relevant and together we have the opportunity to achieve a benchmark of excellence that will be the bedrock of future SIRO hotels. It is also special to us, as a firm with studios in London and Zagreb, to work in Montenegro with such a forward-looking international team.”

> Since you’re here, why not read about One&Only’s first property in Europe (it’s a stunner)?

Main image credit: Kerzner International

A hotel in the middle of the desert - with a pool and unmatched accomodation

Weekly digest: Hotel openings, a review from Paris & trends galore

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly digest: Hotel openings, a review from Paris & trends galore

Peek-a-boo! Editor Hamish Kilburn here, emerging from the Holidays slumber, with your first weekly digest of 2022 – and it’s a big one! Our list of must-read stories this week features an extensive look at significant hotels openings expected between now and June, a hotel design trends special as well as a hotel review, sent with love, from Paris…

A hotel in the middle of the desert - with a pool and unmatched accomodation

And just like that, it was January: a month that crawls by under the shadow of the Holidays. It’s not all dark mornings and freezing evenings, though, as January is a time at Hotel Designs when we put our fortune-telling hats on to explore some of the most significant hotel openings expected over the next 12 months.

Okay, we may not quite qualify as fortune tellers, but we do our best to keep our readers in the loop on all the latest hotel developments, emerging trends and new products – all while providing an entertaining read (and sometimes listen with our podcast) to keep things aptly light.

As important as it is for designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers to keep their fingers of the pulse, it’s not always the easiest of tasks to do when on-the-go and on site (somewhat of a novelty these days). Therefore, the weekly digest, published (you got it, every week) will include all the most-read and must-read stories. Shall we get started?

Hottest hotel openings anticipated for 2022 (Q1 & Q2)

A render of a modern, contemporary guestroom bedroom with wooden headboard and a colour scheme of blue, brown and cream

Image credit: xenodocheio Milos

Each year, adhering to tradition, we started January on a unique mission: to pinpoint the hottest hotel openings; the game-altering properties that will flex their muscles, challenge conventional approaches to hotel design and effortlessly take hospitality, on an international scale, forward.

If last year was about recovery, then 2022 will be defined by the designers, architects and hoteliers who are willing to put it all on the line for the sake of innovation and creativity – it’s time to show-off as we gather around the crystal ball once more to see which hotel openings of 2022 will make the biggest impact. And we start the two-part series by taking a glance at the hotels that are expected to arrive in Q1 and Q2.

Read more.

Hotel review: Fauchon L’Hotel Paris, where rock & roll meets luxury hospitality

Hotel suite bedroom with pink accents on bed and mosaic floor, in Fauchon L'Hotel Paris

Image credit: Fauchon L’Hotel Paris

Briefed to expect the unexpected, Gareth Thomas sets off on a Parisian adventure – far removed from chichés but still in the beating heart of the action – and checks in and checks out Fauchon L’Hotel Paris, where a bold interior design scheme juxtaposes heritage architecture in the heart of the city.

Read more.

Hilton reveals its list of new hotels for 2022

Cream, blue and gold decor in guestroom at Waldorf Astoria Kuwait

Image credit: Hilton Collection

With more than 75 new hotels planned across Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the coming year, Hilton is sharing its optimism and enticing us with their choices. It is starting to feel like it is time to start planning the next year’s jet-setting adventures. From Morocco to Mallorca, here is a taste of what is to come on the Hilton International agenda.

Read more.

Architecture structure ‘Phase Dance’ wrapped into the natural world

Exterior of PHASE DANCE, an architectural structure in forest in Japan

Image credit:Phase Dance/Koichi Torimura

Nestled in a hilly forested area in Shizuoka, Japan, Phase Dance is an impressive architectural structure, designed by Takeshi Hirobe Architects. But the journey to create this masterpiece was not as effortless as the result itself.

Read more.

7 hotel trends shaping hospitality in 2022

Render of lady in nest-like space in front of an outdoor pool and modern villa

Image credit: SB Architects

As we start look past the crisis period of Covid-19, and start to settle into a ‘new normal’, the definition of hospitality has a new meaning – one of comfort, security and escape. International architecture firm SB Architects has identified which key hotel trends are shaping hospitality design in 2022 and beyond.

Read more.

Dream Hotel Group unveils plans for Miami flagship in 2025

view of Dream Miami Hotel from across the river

Image credit: Dream Hotel Group

A new 165-key Dream Hotel has been planned as a centrepiece to the world-class Riverside Wharf hospitality and entertainment development in the heart of Downtown Miami. Here’s what we know.

Read more.

Product watch: The modern Statement shower collection from Kohler

Matt Black shower in contemporary bathroom. Products supplied by Kohler

Image credit: Kohler

The modern Statement shower collection from global brand Kohler brings a range of unique shapes and various sizes to the shower, breathing new, contemporary life into well-loved standards and marrying the latest in technology with enduring craftsmanship. Innovative sprays elevate the showering experience, and universal compatibility means the system works wherever in the world it is installed. Inspired by iconic furniture and home goods, and defined by soft, approachable designs, the collection carries an underlying familiarity while creating striking aesthetics within the space.

Read more.

Since you’re here…

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Main image caption: A render of a resort in the Middle East. | Image credit: SB Architects

Hotel suite bedroom with pink accents on bed and mosaic floor, in Fauchon L'Hotel Paris

Fauchon L’Hotel Paris: Where rock & roll, design and luxury hospitality meet

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Fauchon L’Hotel Paris: Where rock & roll, design and luxury hospitality meet

Briefed to expect the unexpected, Gareth Thomas sets off on a Parisian adventure – far removed from chichés but still in the beating heart of the action – and checks in and checks out Fauchon L’Hotel Paris, where a bold interior design scheme juxtaposes heritage architecture in the heart of the city…

Hotel suite bedroom with pink accents on bed and mosaic floor, in Fauchon L'Hotel Paris

Ahhh Pareee! (Paris!) – La Ville Lumiere (the City of Light) – the undistributed home of haute couture, elegant interior design and a historical destination for those seeking that ‘je ne sais quoi’ when it comes to matters of the heart.

While being a traveller in Paris comes naturally to most – people watching from a corner café isn’t exactly a difficult lifestyle to adapt to – operating a hospitality business amongst the city’s backdrop is anything but simple. Any new-kid-on-the-block hotel (even for Fauchon L’Hotel Paris, which is owned by one of France’s most iconic confectionary luxury brands) therefore needs to work hard in order to make a statement in a city littered with luxury hotels. Fauchon L’Hotel Paris shouts loudly, yet elegantly, by aiming to seamlessly harness and blend Parisian fashion cues, confident design aesthetics and even a nod to a rock-and-roll mindset, all housed in a traditional and effortlessly beautiful Haussmanien building.

The hotel’s natural playfulness and signature hot-pink touches are boldly and sensitively injected alongside the original design by renowned architect Richard Martinet who worked together with Atelier Paluel-Marmont. The juxtaposition of ‘new design meets old architecture’ feels intentional, and is further heightened when guests walk through the doors to experience celebrated French artist commissions that are hung throughout the public spaces, by names such as Aristide Najean and Monica Nowan.

Since opening in the summer of 2019 – the last travel season before the pandemic brought global travel and hospitality to its knees – Fauchon L’Hotel Paris unveiled itself as a house of innovation and excellence. The boutique hotel, which has remerged from the pandemic with bounds of character, lives up to its reputation by being a feast for all the senses that capture first impressions.

The sensory mood is set from arrival, within an elegant yet fun library that is complete with roaring digital fireplace and cosy intimate seating arrangements, with those signature hot-pink accents evident throughout. Champagne and delicious macarons – the only cliché, I promise – tantalise the tastebuds. Beyond what you can see, the hotel’s rich, indulgent, and very captivating, bespoke fragrance lingers delightfully in the air, further proving that attention to detail is paramount in the desired aim to deliver on this full sensory experience.

The public areas – from the discreet seating located throughout the public spaces to the exquisite dining room adorned with further art and sculptures that gives guests a more private gastronomic experience away from the elegant but busting Fauchon Café – further help communicate and elevate the brand’s contemporary yet refined hospitality experience.

Each of the hotel’s immaculately designed and decorated 54 rooms and suites frame the classic Parisian city view, with some extending to include a balcony view of the Eiffel Tower – truly la crème de la crème!

The rooms themselves are spread across two interconnected buildings and this is where the triad of fashion, design and unapologetic rock and roll truly meet through the hotel’s defining concept of G.L.A.M:

  • Gourmet – gastronomy is the signature Fauchon experience that is the focal point of the brand experience
  • Location – located in the heart and soul of central Paris, there is no escaping the energy and delights of the city
  • Attention and experiences – bespoke is the name of the game, each room is unique, and each guest deserves a unique and special experience.
  • Mesdames – femininity is celebrated and prioritised at every stage of the hotel design experience.
A Deluxe room inside Fauchon L'Hotel in Paris, with gold headboard

Image credit: Fauchon L’Hotel Paris

Guests checking in to one of the split-level suites on the top floor of the hotel will be provided with a 360-degree living experience. A lower ground-floor bedroom, with queen-sized bed is complete with punches of colour on the linens, which give way to a sizeable and well-thought-out bathroom designed for the discerning traveller in mind, complete with a walk-in shower area with full rain shower experience and complimentary mood lighting around a generous vanity mirror.

Within each room, the sound system is a timeless reminder of what music used to mean. A modest record player sits, harmoniously adding value to the authentic hospitality experience, while creating further texture to the overall design scheme. A selection of classic vinyl albums are also available to either listen to, either in private serenity or while throwing open the multiple balcony doors. There is something aptly satisfying about usurping digital experiences we have all grown accustomed to in favour of an analogue process that is more grounded, more tactile, and more expressive. It may be an obvious reminder of the rock-and-roll personality (depending on which album you select) the hotel presents to its guests – but this particular guest loved every second!

Split-level suite, featuring guitar on the wall and record player

Image credit: Fauchon L’Hotel Paris

The playful quirkiness of the Fauchon brand extends upstairs into the living area of the suite where the famed mini bar is displayed pride of place. Less functional drinks cabinet, more exhibition focal point, the elegant, custom-designed pink armoire installation designed by Sacha Lakic is stylishly graphic on the outside with a metallic multi-faceted finish, whilst the interior houses all the goodies and you would expect from a hotel belonging to the house of Fauchon.

From one memorable gastrnomy experience to another (though tempting to not leave the beautiful suite), The Grand Café Fauchon is a dining spectacle that awaits both guests and loyal Parisian diners and imbibers. Its design and service pays homage to the founder, Auguste Fauchon, whose legacy is celebrated here each day through Fauchon’s passionate commitment to pleasure, quality and fierce dedication to ensuring the quality of the products used and sold are from the best producers in France. These pillars, keeping the hotel relevant in the congested luxury hospitality arena of Paris, are upheld by the culinary mastery of the Fauchon chefs – three of France’s finest: François Daubinet, Head Pastry Chef; Frédéric Claudel, Executive Chef du Grand Café Fauchon and Sébastien Monceau, Executive Chef de la Maison Fauchon.

As day turns to night, the hotel’s restaurant comes to life with an eye-catching chandelier display that seems to dance above diners in what look like fishnets. This area allows guests a more secluded and private eating experience, away from the energetic and bustling public Cafe location. The design of this space reflects that intention with a relaxing yet opulent colour palate with nods to classical design sitting in harmony with the signature Fauchon modern touch.

Fauchon L’Hotel Paris, refreshingly not simply defined by its F&B offerings, is more than a base during your time in this vibrant city. It is a hotel that confidently matches – dare I say even contributes to the energy of – the awesomeness of Paris. The hotel earns its right to be a ‘destination’ in its own regard and cleverly achieves its aim to bring together the worlds of fashion, design and music, collectively which deliver its unique personality. If you are looking for a hotel experience that is distinctly Parisian but at the same time distinctly unique then Fauchon L‘Hotel Paris is for you.

> Since you’re here, why not check out our editorial series on the hottest hotels to open in 2022?

Main image credit: Fauchon L’Hotel Paris

PHASE_DANCE, an architectural structure, combining conrete and timber in Japan

Architecture structure ‘Phase Dance’ wrapped into the natural world

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Architecture structure ‘Phase Dance’ wrapped into the natural world

Nestled in a hilly forested area in Shizuoka, Japan, Phase Dance is an impressive architectural structure, designed by Takeshi Hirobe Architects. But the journey to create this masterpiece was not as effortless as the result itself, as editor Hamish Kilburn discovers…

PHASE_DANCE, an architectural structure, combining conrete and timber in Japan

The sloping location of Phase Dance, in Shizuoka, posed a range of challenges – not least the question of how the building should be positioned on site so that its architectural qualities can be admired while also remaining sensitive to the surrounding typography. To avoid an excessively large and deep foundation, a third of the floor space of the building was designed as an overhang, reducing the contact area with the ground. The basic structure from the basement to the ceiling of the second floor consists of reinforced concrete covered with wood.

Furthermore, the architects at Takeshi Hirobe Architects noticed an orangebark stewartia tree during their site visit. Calculations taking account of building-spacing regulations and other restrictions indicated that the tree stood at the centre of the area in which construction was possible. They decided to leave the tree intact and to design the structure of the building around it – as a tribute to the importance of nature, which – whether they intended or not – instantly created a new layer of the overall design narrative.

While the studio understood the tree to be central point, they were careful to avoid a symmetrical design with uniform angles in order to create unique, generously sized rooms. With that in mind, the architects sought to lend each room a cozy and playful air.

In the bathroom, the clear formal language of the Duravit washbasin from the Vero complete bathroom range blends perfectly into the overall ambience – as elegant as it is durable. The range, which launched in 2001, has found great popularity, especially among architects, thanks to its iconic rectangular character.

Large windows that follow the uneven contours of the walls afford expansive views of the green landscape and bring natural light into the interior.

The upper floor serves as a library and reading area. It has the same floor plan as the lower floor and includes a triangular roof. Although the roof is subdivided into multiple sections, it gives the impression of being a single piece that covers the building.

During the continuous decision-making process, Takeshi Hirobe Architects likened their reactions to the various phases and aspects of the project to a dance – and dubbed the project ‘Phase Dance’, inspired by the dynamics of the song of the same name by guitarist Pat Metheny.

>Since you’re here, why not read about the top bathroom products that launched in 2021?

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

Main image credit: Phase Dance/Koichi Torimura

Render of lady in nest-like space in front of an outdoor pool and modern villa

7 hotel trends shaping hospitality in 2022

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
7 hotel trends shaping hospitality in 2022

As we start look past the crisis period of Covid-19, and start to settle into a ‘new normal’, the definition of hospitality has a new meaning – one of comfort, security and escape. International architecture firm SB Architects has identified which key hotel trends are shaping hospitality design in 2022 and beyond…

Render of lady in nest-like space in front of an outdoor pool and modern villa

SB Architects has released insights into the most significant influences that informed design in 2021, and what trends will pick up even more momentum this year.

“During 2021, when the concept of ‘home’ became synonymous with home office, gym, entertainment centre, and space to retreat and relax, we saw the growing importance of incorporating flexibility in residential design,” explained Scott Lee, President and Principal of SB Architects. “Flexibility also became paramount for hotels and creating a less-defined program – such as multi-purpose public space and reimagined spaces for F&B, lounge, and lobby – will continue to be advantageous in the future. Overarchingly, creating opportunities for people to decompress in urban environments, enhancing physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social wellness, and quenching a thirst for the outdoors will be key drivers for architects and designers in 2022.”

Here are seven solid trends that are steering hospitality and hotel design, globally, on a new path:

‘Home officing’ 2.0

A hotel lobby/lounge area with armchairs and independent co-working spaces

Image credit: Telegraph Arts/SB Architects

The pandemic and ensuing work-from-home phenomenon sparked new desires for residential design. Dens are no longer to be relegated to the back of units with little or no access to natural light. Instead, residents want these spaces connected to living rooms and acting as integrated offices or flex spaces. Working from home is also changing multifamily design, where a new kind of amenity is taking shape in the form of reservable rooms for work and study, connected to communal meeting spaces where residents can both host team meetings and socialise. The ‘business centre’ model of multifamily residential projects is evolving and will be more marketable if versatile and engaging.

Here to stay: ‘Bleisure’ travel

Render of busy hotel F&B space with block of residential flats next to it

Image credit: Grand Hyatt Limassol/SB Architects

With more employees working remotely, hotels need to cater to a new segment of ‘bleisure’ travellers who are taking advantage of their newfound workplace flexibility by extending vacations that blend work, exploration, and leisure. With guests looking to spend more time in destinations, design that is experiential and deepens connections to the location and its underlying character will be key. Developers and operators will be searching for ways to differentiate their offerings from the many repositioning’s or new openings that are coming online in 2022, and hyper-local environments where guests can immerse themselves authentically into the surrounding locale and have experiences creatively tailored to a specific ethos and set of interests will be the most competitive.

Integrating experiential programming for children and configurations such as two-bedroom suites with kitchens will also help hotels cater to guests booking longer stays and traveling with their families.

Alternative stays/glamping woven into resort destinations

Image caption: A render of a resort in the Middle East, in the desert.

Image caption: A render of a resort in the Middle East. | Image credit: SB Architects

The alternative holiday/travel experience – via treehouse stays, yurts, and glamping – is becoming more and more ingrained into hospitality, and resorts are embracing glamping as an experiential element that can be integrated into the overall offering. Adding these unconventional components to a traditional resort development can deliver the connection to nature that gives guests a sense of emotional and mental well-being, while creating the kind of authentic experience and immersive atmosphere that today’s discerning travellers are craving.

Getting outside

With pandemic-era concerns about indoor air quality and social distancing deeply embedded in our psyches, the outdoors represents an escape and safe haven, and is a key element to mental health. Travellers will seek uninterrupted sightlines to the outdoors, access to fresh air and open space in 2022. Integrating outdoor spaces in urban environments, such as rooftop amenities, will be a big driver for both hotels and residential developments in the future. Rooftop amenities create a sense of escapism in which residents or guests are nestled in an outdoor environment, perhaps with natural elements, but views to a city skyline are within reach.

The rise of the urban resort

Render of busy dining space at Innovation Station

Image credit: Rivana at Innovation Station/SB Architects

Prior to the pandemic, the urban resort concept was on the rise, with brands like Aman Hotels and Six Senses Hotels and Resorts embracing the model as part of their growth strategy, and the trend will continue to grow in 2022, as lines between work and leisure continue to blur and more guests want to experience the decompression and escapism of a resort even when in an urban environment.

By tapping into sensibilities that one might leverage in a horizontal resort environment, and applying them to an urban context, designers can create spaces where people can ‘get away from it all’ while remaining in the middle of it.  Urban resorts deliver immersive experiences through rooftop experiences and iconic, place-defining food and beverage, and although in urban settings, they prioritise connections to nature, seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces, natural light, and, of course, guests’ health and wellness. Special landscaped zones sprinkled throughout sites as places to host events and celebrations, and enhanced wellness experiences where spa and fitness components are sized after those of a destination resort are among the design features trending for urban resorts.

Rethinking the all-day dining concept

The pandemic pushed many (if not all) hotels to adapt their F&B offerings, as under-utilised space in an all-day dining outlet became more apparent during periods of low occupancy. Many new hotels have been breaking down the all-day dining restaurant into multiple ‘micro’ restaurants that can be sectioned or closed off depending on the time of day, to prevent the all-day dining space from being underutilised or only used during breakfast. The traditional buffet style dining that is standard in all-day dining outlets became prohibited due to Covid-19 regulations in many areas, giving rise to alternative strategies such as customised room service for breakfast. Many hotels are leveraging the specialty restaurant or lobby lounge for those seeking a more traditional hotel breakfast experience.

In the future, instead of just serving as a convenient dining outlet for internal guests, more hotel dining outlets will be regarded as valuable revenue-generating spaces independent of the hotel, with unique concepts, menus, and designs that will entice both hotel guests and locals in the community.

Capturing the baby boomer audience 

The Baby Boomer generation is mindful of how precious meaningful life experiences are and have a pent-up desire to reconnect with loved ones since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Hotels should take note of this affluent, educated, and active audience in 2022. With so many people aged 65 and over fully vaccinated, this group is ready for reunions with family and friends, and they have the time and resources to truly immerse in experiential travel. Boomers are more likely to travel for a week or longer, and their excitement for educational, interactive, and locally inspired experiences as well as activities with multi-generational appeal should not be overlooked.

So, it seems that the pandemic has left its coffee-mug stain on this year’s trends. However, unlike in recent years, it seems as if the industry’s robust strength is ensuring that all trends we are seeing emerge are less about recovery and more about growth, evolution and sustaining unmatched travel experiences.

> Since you’re here, why not check out our editorial series on the hottest hotels to open in 2022?

Main image credit: SB Architects

Atlantis, The Royal in Dubai on The Palm

Hottest hotel openings anticipated for 2022 (Q1 & Q2)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hottest hotel openings anticipated for 2022 (Q1 & Q2)

Back with a bang, Hotel Designs starts 2022 with optimism and curiosity; shining the spotlight on the hotel openings and re-openings that will once again shift hospitality and hotel design into a new era. Editor Hamish Kilburn kicks things off with his edit of the hottest hotel openings to bookmark for Q1 and Q2…

Atlantis, The Royal in Dubai on The Palm

Each year, adhering to tradition, Hotel Designs starts January on a unique mission: to pinpoint the hottest hotel openings; the game-altering properties that will flex their muscles, challenge conventional approaches to hotel design and effortlessly take hospitality, on an international scale, forward.

If last year was about recovery, then 2022 will be defined by the designers, architects and hoteliers who are willing to put it all on the line for the sake of innovation and creativity – it’s time to show-off as we gather around the crystal ball once more to see which hotel openings of 2022 will make the biggest impact. And we start the two-part series by taking a glance at the hotels that are expected to arrive in Q1 and Q2.

xenodocheio Milos in Athens – opening in January, 2022

Within the thriving boutique hotel scene in Athens, xenodocheio Milos will be a place where ‘philoxenia’, the sacred art of making a stranger feel like home, derives from unparalleled taste and world class hospitality. The hotel is located in downtown Athens opposite Old Parliament, an area bursting with history and celebrates the best of Greek heritage, art and cuisine. Elegant and refined, this authentic culinary hotel experience is the very first luxury boutique hotel of the world-renowned Greek restaurant estiatorio Milos, carrying the inspiring story of Milos to its next chapter.

Inhabit Queen’s Gardens, London – opening in February 2022 

Lounge area at Inhabit queens park london with natural light filled interior and wooden crafted furniture

Image credit: Inhabit Hotel / Tim Evan Cook

Set across a crescent of mid-19th Century townhouses on a tree-lined square near Lancaster Gate (in London), Inhabit Queen’s Gardens, which we teased late last year, will be an intimate boutique hotel comprised of 159 uplifting guestrooms, along with carefully considered social spaces. Just like its sister hotel, which shares the same city as its home, Inhabit Queen’s Gardens has been created with a passion for wellbeing and living in a way that supports a healthy mind and body, as well as modelling responsible hospitality practices.

Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo – opening in Spring, 2022

Render of the exterior of Four Seasons Tamarindo, nestled within greenery

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Located on a private peninsula along the Pacific Ocean in the state of Jalisco, between the towns of La Manzanilla and Barra de Navidad, Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo has been designed by visionaries and experts, who envisioned a resort that blends seamlessly into the peninsula’s unique topography, supports ‘rewilding’ practices, and creates a perfect balance between the comforts of the indoors with the exceptional outdoor opportunities offered on the 3,000+ acres of private natural reserve.

The resort will offer four dining and beverage venues, including an ocean view bar and restaurant, beach bar and grill and golf club restaurant. The grounds will also feature three pools, a full-service spa set amidst a tropical forest and a fitness centre, young adults centre and lounge, water sports centre, tennis courts and more than 370 square-metres of meeting space.

The LaSalle Chicago – opening in March, 2022

Presidential Suite Bedroom inside The LaSalle in Chicago, which includes a modern design scheme with colours of rish blue and brushed gold.

Image credit: The LaSalle Chicago

Expect 1920s glamour, and dramatic interiors, from inside Chicago’s hotly anticipated The LaSalle Hotel, which opens this spring. Located in the heart of downtown Chicago’s Financial District, the hotel is a modern club-like escape that sits on the top five floors of a historically iconic landmark from architect Daniel Burnham. Rich in symbolism encapsulating the essence of time, the hotel pays tribute to The Hour Glass Lounge from the old LaSalle Hotel. The hotel will sensitively honour the building’s history by incorporating the hourglass icon brought to life through guest’s experiences delivering the hotel’s service culture and promise that ‘time at The LaSalle Chicago is time well spent.’

ROOST Apartment Hotel, at Asher, Florida – opening in March, 2022

A rendering of apartment-style hotel with urban, laid-back interior design scheme

Image credit: CG Rendering

Tampa-based real estate development firm Strategic Property Partners, LLC (SPP) has announced the imminent arrival of Asher, a dynamic, highly amenitised new apartment tower at 1050 Water Street in Water Street Tampa. The 56-acre neighbourhood is expected to ‘transform downtown Tampa’ into a walkable urban experience. In addition to offering a collection of rental residences, SPP has partnered with Method Co., to bring Tampa the first Florida location of its high-design extended-stay concept, ROOST Apartment Hotel, at Asher. Pre-leasing at Asher will begin in January with move-ins slated for March, and ROOST Tampa will open in the building in Spring 2022.

Designed inside and out by celebrated architecture firm Morris Adjmi Architects, the building offers a nod to Tampa’s industrial history with oversized divided-light windows that maximise natural light. Asher’s luxury rental residences will be located on the top 15 floors of the building, while ROOST Tampa will occupy the first six residential floors. Asher will offer 490 thoughtfully designed rental residences ranging from studio to two-bedroom homes.

Virgin Hotels Edinburgh and Glasgow – opening in April, 2022

Making headway this year, the Virgin Hotels brand is hopping over the pond to make its mark in the cultural hub of Edinburgh, closely followed by another hotel opening in the neighbouring city of Glasgow. Virgin Hotels Edinburgh will be located in the landmark India Buildings in Edinburgh’s Old Town near The Royal Mile. The new hotel will feature 225 Chambers and Grand Chamber Suites: multiple dining and drinking outlets, including Commons Club, Virgin hotel’s iconic cultural hub. In re-envisioning the building, the design team will work to preserve its notable elements while adding a sense of style and sophistication. The property promises a stunning mix of old and new to fully capture the uniqueness of the iconic city of Edinburgh. 

Just a few miles away, Virgin Hotels Glasgow will be the brand’s second Scottish hotel. The property will be located at 236-246 Clyde Street, a prime City Centre position. The panoramic river views will be a highlight of this location, as it overlooks the River Clyde in the heart of Glasgow’s shopping area, making it an ideal base to explore the city. The hotel will feature 242 Chambers and Grand Chamber Suites; meeting and event space; and multiple dining and drinking outlets, including the brand’s signature culinary experience Commons Club, a restaurant, bar and modern social club where guests can both work and play during their time at the hotel. The Funny Library Coffee Shop will also be a feature that guests can wind down and socialise. Here, an assortment of whimsical and funny books and games will surely keep guests entertained during their stay.

Atlantis, The Royal, Dubai – opening in April, 2022

Render of Atlantis The Royal The Palm

Image credit: Atlantis, The Royal, Dubai

It’s been a long time coming, but we are finally receiving the signal that Atlantis, The Royal, Dubai – arguably the most anticipated hotel opening in the Middle East this year – is almost ready to open its majestic doors. The hospitality and entertainment destination will span around 63 hectres, and will shelter 795 rooms and suites inside an iconic structure that rises above The Palm.

Lesante Cape – opening in May, 2022

The ebullient family behind the Lesante Collection are continuing in their mission to shine a luxurious spotlight on the isle of Zakynthos with the arrival of Lesante Cape.

Located within the historic Akrotiri village, yet uniquely with access to a private beach, the village-style resort will comprise 55 suites and 10 villas inspired by the traditional architecture of yesteryear, whilst neutral colours, natural fibres and local art will be at the heart of the soothing interiors.

Epicureans will, quite literally, get a true taste of traditional fare in one of three restaurants headed by Greek culinary marvel Aggelos Bakopoulos. For those who are seeking complete tranquillity during their holiday, Armonia wellness centre will provide a relaxing refuge for treatments and therapies harking back to ancient Mediterranean healing practices, whilst a dedicated Agora is the heart of the village with its artisanal shops, taverna and cultural museum.

WunderLocke – Sendling, Munich – opening in May, 2022

Opening with the aim to disrupt the Bavarian capital with a hospitality concept unlike any other in the city – and is the first Locke of its kind – WunderLocke will take will feature 360 spacious studio apartments, a large co-working area, meeting and event spaces, workout studio and outdoor heated swimming pool.

In addition, the hotel will shelter four food and drink destinations conceived by the founders of revered local Michelin-starred restaurant, Mural. The new concept – Mural Farmhouse – will include an urban farm that will supply fresh herbs and vegetables to a farm-to-table concept, and rooftop cocktail bar with panoramic views of the Bavarian Alps. WunderLocke is also home to several suites, which include roof terraces and large dining areas that can host dinner parties and business meetings.

WunderLocke will be a destination for locals, holidaymakers, and business travellers alike, providing a new creative hub in South-West Munich for the city’s burgeoning undercurrent of artists, creatives, and tech entrepreneurs. WunderLocke has been designed by acclaimed studio Holloway Li, which also completed Bermonds Locke in London, in September 2020. The property’s design-led apartments are peaceful, spacious and leafy, and all feature kitchens and seating areas – a hallmark of Locke design.

Hilton Bahrain – opening in June, 2022

We have been kept largely in the dark about Hilton’s development in Bahrain, but what we do know is that Hilton Bahrain is expected to open its doors this Summer. Located along Al Fateh Highway, the 348-key hotel will feature studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments with what the brand is describing as ‘all the comforts of home’ and a stunning view of the sea from each unit’s balcony. In addition, the hotel will shelter six distinct restaurants and lounges, nine meeting rooms and a luxurious spa.

Main image credit: Atlantis, The Royal, Dubai

The Brit List Architects of 2021

Unveiled: The Brit List Architects of 2021

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Unveiled: The Brit List Architects of 2021

Following hot on the heels of this year’s designers who made the list, it’s now time to shine the spotlight on the 25 architects who were profiled in The Brit List 2021, which was unveiled in style at The Brit List Awards 2021…

The Brit List Architects of 2021

After a year full of rethinking and recalibration in the hotel industry, architects have been faced with increased demands on their innovation and creativity as the industry moves forward with determination.

The Brit List Awards 2021 was the perfect platform that amplified the leading British-based architects, with Mark Bruce, Director at EPR Architects winning Architect of the Year following the unveil of NoMad London, which takes shelter inside the former Bow Street Magistrates’ Court.

In addition to the individual winners, though, the awards campaign also gave nod to the top 25 architects who are proving themselves to be influential figures in the hotel design arena. Following our unveiling of The Brit List designers of 2021, here is our list (in alphabetical order), of the architects in Britain who continue to contribute to the dynamism of British hospitality design, who have all been profiled in the published version of The Brit List 2021.

Alastair Shepherd, Director, Falconer Chester Hall Architects

Following his arrival at Falconer Chester Hall Architects in 1999, Alastair Shepherd was appointed as a Director in 2007. Since then, he has been instrumental in delivering award-winning residential and commercial schemes across the country. Most recently, his focus has been on delivering large scale regeneration projects with a particular expertise in the private rental sector.

Cue the launch of The Other House, a new revolutionary hospitality concept that will have the body of a hotel, the heart of serviced apartments and the soul of a private members’ club. Shepherd is currently working on the conversion of the brand’s first property, Harrington Hall in South Kensington. He and his team have been tasked to transform the heritage building into a luxury hotel that will open in 2022 while also designing the brand’s second hotel, which will sit majestically in Covent Garden.

Central to these projects, the studio has carved out club flats – all of which vary in size and layout. The two new hotels will also shelter welcoming, luxurious and distinctly British public areas as well as a destination spa.

 Amrit Naru, Studio Director, ADP Architecture

Amrit Naru is a Studio Director at ADP Architecture and leads the Newcastle studio.

ADP Architecture has been designing exceptional buildings since 1965, and the architecture and interior design teams are working on an ever-growing portfolio of exciting hotel and leisure projects. The studio works with international brands, and it is currently delivering high quality buildings and interiors for clients across the globe.

With an extensive knowledge in the healthcare sector, Naru has worked on a range of primary health care, specialist care, mental health and acute hospitals. His interest in healthcare design is further strengthened by his outside academic interests in medical health planning and elderly care in Europe and America.

Naru also has extensive experience in the hospitality sector, delivering architectural and interior-led hotel projects. In addition, he has also contributed to a number of thought-provoking articles on Hotel Designs on topics such as public spaces, green hospitality and community-driven hotel design.

Ben Adams, Founding Director, Ben Adams Architects

The work at Ben Adams Architects is underpinned by a rigorous process that balances context, constraints, and concepts. Once the team have fully understood the constraints and potential inherent in a project, they begin to develop a concept – a visionary response to what the building needs to be, and a creative point of departure from which a design can spring.

The Founding Director of the studio, Ben Adams, is a regular name featured in The Brit List. His previous work demonstrates architectural flair, fresh thinking and commercial acumen, with projects that are individually distinctive and the result of bespoke ideas rather than formulaic solutions. Within his portfolio is Nobu Hotel Shoreditch, the first Nobu hotel that arrived in Europe. The property occupies a tight urban plot and the building follows the street line, accenting its strong linear form with horizontal steel and concrete fins at each floor level.

His most recent hospitality project is sheltered inside Page8 Hotel, a thoroughly contemporary boutique hotel, which is “all about the lifestyle”. The studio was part of the design team that created Bisushima Restaurant, the amalgamation of two key elements: Bisu represents the Egyptian God of hedonism and party and Shima, the Japanese word for island and sanctuary. Born from these two elements, the concept conveys the transformative journey that guests can relish in from Shima (Day) to Bisu (Night).

Catarina Pina-Bartrum, Project Director, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands Architects

Catarina Pina-Bartrum, again no stranger to The Brit List, was part of the team developing a mixed-use development on Hanover Square; a retail-led project on Oxford Street in central London and Hoxton Southwark, a mixed-use hotel and office development, which has quickly become a new destination hotel in London.

In addition, the studio’s portfolio also includes The Moorgate, Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge, The AEG Greenwich Hotel and the London 2012 Athletes village            Plot No. 2.

Prior to joining Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands in 2014, Pina-Bartrum worked with Daniel Gusmão in Rio de Janeiro on the design and development of the broadcasting centre for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Christos Passas, Director, Zaha Hadid Architects

Christos Passas, the winner of Architect of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2020, was the Project Director for Zaha Hadid Architect’s latest hotel project in Dubai. Spanning 84,300 sqm, the Opus was designed as two separate towers that coalesce into a singular whole – taking the form of a cube. The unique cube shape has been ‘eroded’ in its centre, creating a free-form void that is an important volume of the design in its own right. The two halves of the building on either side of the void are linked by a four-storey atrium at ground level and are also connected by an asymmetric 38-metre-wide, three-storey bridge, which is 71 metres above the ground.

The structure’s double-glazed insulating façades incorporate a UV coating and a mirrored frit pattern to reduce solar gain. Applied around the entire building, this dotted frit patterning emphasises the clarity of the building’s orthogonal form, while at the same time, dissolving its volume through the continuous play of light varying between ever-changing reflections and transparency.

Doug Pearson, Senior Associate, 3DReid

Doug Pearson has extensive hospitality experience working with a number of prestigious hotel brands, covering both new build and refurbishments and conversions throughout the UK.

Pearson is a versatile architect and experienced job runner, working predominantly on hospitality, commercial and cultural projects. He is responsible for the design and delivery of high profile and complex projects. Notably, he has led design teams on the refurbishment and extension of Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Goodwood Hotel in Chichester and Malmaison in Edinburgh.

Most recently, Pearson has been an integral member of the creation of Gleneagles Townhouse in Edinburgh, and is currently working on The Bull at Burford Hotel in Oxfordshire, The Lucullan Hotel in Inchmarlo and Erskine Church Development in Falkirk.

Ed Murray, Associate Architect, Dexter Moren Associates

Ed Murray is an accomplished Associate and architect who has led a wide range of projects for independent owners and international brands across the entire hospitality spectrum, including luxury hotels, banqueting and conference venues, resorts and spas. Murray has meticulous attention to detail, a good sense of perspective and a proven track record in delivering projects from conception to completion. He has a strong value set based on honesty, integrity and respect for the individual.

For the last two and a half years he has been leading the delivery of the Westin London City, the brand’s debut hotel in the UK. The 222-key, new build hotel opened in September, 2021 and also shelters nine residential apartments and an 8,000 sq ft spa.

Murray’s ability to coordinate and manage large teams, his rapport with colleagues, clients, design teams and contractors alike makes him an indispensable interface between projects and their stakeholders.

His role goes well beyond a purely architectural as he is also involved in the practice’s inclusivity forum group as well mentoring other team members.

Gordon Ferrier, Head of Hotels – 3DReid

As Head of Hotels at 3DReid, Gordon Ferrier brings more than 30 years’ hospitality design experience on a wide range of hotel projects, covering both new build and refurbishments and conversions.

Ferrier has worked with a number of prominent hotel brands including Goodwood, Gleneagles, Cameron House, Dakota, Malmaison, Principal and De Vere and has worked internationally on projects across Europe, UAE, the US and Africa.

Most recently, Ferrier and his team have been putting the final touches on Gleneagles Townhouse in Edinburgh, a highly anticipated opening for the Gleneagles brand. Hi addition, he is currently working on The Bull at Burford Hotel in Oxfordshire, The Lucullan Hotel in Inchmarlo and Erskine Church Development in Falkirk.

Graham Barr, Associate – jmarchitects

Set behind a striking façade of Scottish stone at the point where Edinburgh’s historic Old Town meets the New Town, Market Street Hotel, designed by jmarchitects, emerged as a cultural gateway to both the city’s storied past and its pulse-quickening present.

The visual concept of the 98-key hotel pays homage to the capital’s character and historic narrative, while simultaneously exploring Scottish cosmopolitanism. Cracked, earthen walls are juxtaposed against the clean, minimalist lines of contemporary furnishings, and unexpected bursts of traditional tartans alongside heritage fabrics provide an experiential element to the hotel’s aesthetic.

A modern take on Baronial materiality and composition also provides the inspiration behind Market Street’s 98 guestrooms and suites. Organic, natural materials such as oak and locally sourced stone provide a tactile canvas for modern design classics from the likes of Fritz Hansen and Saint Luc, alongside custom-made furniture and handcrafted local pieces.

Herbert Lui, Partner, Dexter Moren Associates

Originally from Singapore, Herbert Lui has led numerous large scale mixed-used projects at Dexter Moren Associates, ranging from residential to hospitality-led schemes both in the UK and internationally, and has pursued and won a number of international architectural design competitions. He is a popular mentor to the younger architects and assistants at the practice, and is keen to encourage hand sketching during the creative and problem-solving process among junior colleagues, as he constantly laments the disappearance of pencil and paper in current architectural education.

In the last year, despite battling through adversity, Lui has continued working on several notable international projects in Africa. Following the completion of two hotels in Benin, Lui won a commission to design a new hotel in Lagos. Responding to the client’s brief, the 20-storey tower hotel will create an iconic and exciting hospitality destination for the city, and will feature a mid-level spa and sky terrace, and rooftop pool and bar. Located on a challenging and narrow site, Lui’s architectural composition and his sculptural expression of the building’s rooftop – inspired by the sleek lines of luxury yachts – has generated much excitement with the client, his investors and the hotel brand.

James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles

James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles, is more than an exceptional British designer and architect. In a career that has spanned more than 27 years, Dilley has become an accomplished and charismatic leader who has helped to steer luxury and lifestyle hospitality into several new eras. Some of his masterpieces include W London, Zuri Zanzibar and Villa Honegg.

His most recent work includes W Edinburgh, a new mixed-use development known as Island Quarter in Nottingham, a spectacular atrium onboard P&O Cruises’ Iona vessel and Kempinski Palace Engelberg, which opened earlier this year.

In addition to reshaping the hospitality landscape, Dilley is also an authentic and honest speaker on the international hotel design scene. Most recently, he has supported a campaign with Hotel Designs, supported by NEWH, to give young, and hungry designers and architects a voice by being the subject of an interview that they themselves lead.

Jen Samuel, Associate Director, 3DReid

Jen Samuel manages all aspects of a project at 3DReid, from feasibility and concept design to the production and co-ordination of construction information, liaising closely with clients and contractors at all stages of the process. Her experience spans a variety of sectors, including education, offices and residential and working primarily in the hospitality and leisure sectors.

Most recently, Samuel led the project team working on the reinstatement and extension of Scottish five-star resort, Cameron House, on Loch Lomond. Reopened in summer 2021, the hotel offers unrivalled five-star luxury. Renowned for its timeless style and refined Scottish culture, the property features 140 guestrooms, including 24 exquisite suites complemented by elegant function rooms and inspiring event spaces, with spectacular unspoiled views of Loch Lomond.

Ensuring the newly restored hotel offers an unrivalled guest experience, the restoration has required meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail, which will be seen throughout the beautiful reinstated suites, reception areas and event spaces.

Jonny Sin, Associate Director, ReardonSmith Architects

Since joining the firm in 2011, Jonny Sin has led ReardonSmith Architects’ hospitality team modestly into present time. He was a key member of the award-winning team who transformed a Grade II listed art-deco style building into the luxury boutique hotel that we know of as The Beaumont Hotel, which was one of the first projects he worked on from concept through to completion.

Other projects include a 173-key hotel in Battersea, Adere Manor, Co. Limerick as well as a conversion of three buildings in London’s Soho into a 69-key urban lifestyle hotel.

Most recently, although many of the projects the studio is working on are guarded by NDAs, ReardonSmith Architects was named as one of the architecture firms that will be working on creating The Chancery Rosewood, which is expected to make its arrival in 2024.

 Julie Humphryes, Co-Founder, Archer Humphryes Architects

Julie Humphryes is an architect and innovator. One of the first two women in 700 years to be invited to read Architecture at Cambridge University’s prestigious Peterhouse college, today she is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), member of the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), and is directly responsible for many of the most beautiful and iconic spaces across the United Kingdom and overseas.
Her company, Archer Humphryes Architects, has won a multitude of international awards and accolades, and is championed throughout the global sector for its inimitable style of architecture and interiors, as well as its diverse range of projects.

With a portfolio worth £400 million, £3 million in turnover and a 30-strong team that is ever-increasing, the firm is revered for its approach to research and development (R&D) – embracing technological advances like no one else. This is exemplified, in the past three years, by the awards by the UK governments HMRC for unrivalled innovation, and showcased in such pioneering projects as the 95ft racing yacht Archer Humphryes is creating for Finnish sailing company, Nautor’s Swan, and the groundbreaking hospitality complex at the hotel, Peninsula London; and The Eggli Club, Gstaad; all of which boast technological advances that are a world first. Significant completed projects in her practice include Chiltern Firehouse, The Standard Hotel, The Great Northern Hotel and Lalit London.

Luke Fox, Head of Studio – Foster + Partners

Luke Fox is a head of studio at the practice and part of the Design Board and the Partnership Board. He leads a team of designers in London, Hong Kong and Beijing on a wide range of international projects. He is originally from Sydney, Australia and studied architecture at the University of Sydney. After graduating he worked in New York and joined Foster + Partners in 1998.

Fox has worked on many significant projects varying from infrastructure and offices to hospitality and residential. His recent schemes include new offices for Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba, in Shanghai; Jeddah Metro, where the practice was appointed to develop the architectural vision for Jeddah’s city-wide public transport plan; Lusail Stadium in Qatar, the iconic venue for the 2022 World Cup; Murray Hotel, a new luxury hotel in Central Hong Kong and a new Four Seasons Hotel in the heart of Makkah for Jabal Omar.

Mark Bruce, Main Board Director, EPR Architects

Mark Bruce is a Main Board Director and heads up the hotels and hospitality team with extensive experience across the sector, with particular expertise on listed buildings, refurbishments and resort hotels.

Previous projects include The Ned, Rosewood London, Sea Containers and LaLit London. Following the completion of London’s new popular place to be, NoMad London – which is sheltered inside what used to be Bow Street Magistrates Court – Bruce is now, in collaboration with Foster + Partners and AvroKO, working with Six Senses to sensitively inject the luxury brand’s distinctive personality and philosophy into its debut hotel in London.

In addition, EPR Architects is also working on what will become Raffles’ first hotel in the UK, which will be contained inside the storied walls of the Old War Office building in Westminster.

Mark Kelly, Partner, PLP Architecture

Following much anticipation – and a year of unpredictable variables – Mark Kelly and his team at PLP Architecture have recently completed their work on creating Pan Pacific London. Arriving with the aim to take London’s luxury and wellness scene up to new heights, the project’s vision was to balance a design that is sensitive to the Asian heritage of the brand whilst creating an ultra-modern, timeless hotel and complex that challenges conventional architecture.

In an interview with Kelly, Hotel Designs’ readers learned the need for flexibility in today’s era of design and hospitality. “Architecture is an inherently flexible process – always evolving while constantly questioning and reinventing itself,” he said when discussing architecture’s role post-pandemic. “As such, it is well placed to respond to the current and seemingly ever-changing Covid crisis and, for that matter, other current and future global concerns such as the climate emergency.”

Metehan Apak, Senior Interior Architect, Dawson Design Associates

Metehan Apak brings more than 10 years’ professional experience working on projects for luxury hotel and spas in the US, Europe & Asia to the Dawson Design Associates (DDA) as Senior Interior Architect and Project Manager. Six years of work at DDA has led to his involvement in projects for renowned brands such as Z Collection Hotels, Mondrian, W Hotels and Rosewood Hotels.

Apak applies a holistic methodology during the design process from concept creation to the project completion with a tough-minded attitude and efficient communication within the team as well as with the clients. His dedication and work ethic continue to be recognised by his former and current clients.

DDA recently completed groundbreaking Hotel Zena which was designed as a new cultural hub celebrating the accomplishments of women and recognizing their enduring struggle for gender equality.

Currently, the studio is working on numerous multi-million-pound hotel projects which includes resorts and uniquely positioned city hotels.

 Nicholas de Klerk, Co-Founder, Translation Architecture

Following 13 years at Aukett Swanke, Nicholas de Klerk recently made the bold leap, together with Co-Founder Sze Wei Lee, to set up a new design and architecture studio. Translation Architecture is on a mission to transform innovate ideas into extraordinary spaces on tomorrow’s hospitality scene. Two of Klerk and Lee’s first projects are situated in the UK – and are both for a new brand. The Relais Retreats is a waterside hospitality concept developed by Grace Leo and Tim Hartnoll.

One of these projects completed its first phase in Q3 of 2021. Both are complete refurbishments of existing buildings, one of which is Grade II Listed. The heritage and urban context of each building is fundamental to the hotel concepts that they are developing. Both also embrace changing attitudes to work by creating beautifully designed and well serviced, generous lounges with great F&B, which nonetheless create a comfortable environment with a domestic feel to it – a work from home environment that doesn’t necessarily need to be at home.

Richard Coutts, Director, BACA Architects

Designer of the UK’s first amphibious house, Richard Coutts, who founded BACA in 2003, featured on the Channel 5 documentary entitled “Sinking Cities – The Great Flood of London: Environmental Challenges, Food and Floating”, which referenced Aquatecture (architecture on water) and the need for consideration to be given to intelligent innovative ways of living by optimising water as a resource.

From concept right through to completion, BACA Architects has been a key collaborator and an inspiration for Tyram Lakes. Described as “so much more than a hotel, spa and resort,” the property shelters uncompromised luxury within an eco-friendly and sustainable environment.

BACA’s holistic approach has developed a pragmatic method to a long-term vision of a sustainable hospitality landscape. The team find practical solutions for inhabiting and building with water. This ultimate aim for the architecture studio is to make built communities safe – keeping people dry whilst enjoying the benefits of living near water, which humans are so attracted towards.

Richard Holland, Director, Holland Harvey Architects

Richard Holland leads the hospitality team at Holland Harvey Architects – working on early concepts through to turnkey delivery of some of London’s most high-profile hotels.

His recent work includes establishing and designing architecture solutions for Inhabit, a hotel brand with a heart for community, a head for life-enhancing hospitality and wellness wisdom. Holland and his team were fundamental in the development of the brand’s first hotel, which launched in 2019. The architecture studio returned to help the brand grow its mission to create restorative, environmentally and socially conscious places to stay in the city, with a second London hotel that opened recently.

Sarah Murphy, Architect, Jestico + Whiles

Following being listed in Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30, which was published in 2018, Sarah Murphy has emerged as a rising figure on the British architecture scene. Not only is Murphy an emerging example of women leading the way in hotel design, her portfolio of past and present work as a senior member of the Jestico + Whiles team, is impressive as well as inspiring. This includes W Edinburgh, a new mixed-use development known as Island Quarter in Nottingham, a spectacular atrium onboard P&O Cruises’ Iona vessel and Kempinski Palace Engelberg, which opened earlier this year.

Murphy works among a strong and tight-knit team at Jestico + Whiles, which is led modestly by Director James Dilley, who is regarded by those who know him best as a strong, forward-thinking and kind mentor – everything the industry needs as it recovers and evolves.

Simon Whittaker, Associate Director, Orms

Simon Whittaker, architect and Associate Director at Orms was deservingly crowned Architect of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2019, following the spectacular completion of The Standard London. Since then, Whittaker, fuelled by his love for retro-buildings has started to work on a new development, which will see the transformation of the Central St Martins Building in Holborn – a property that shelters many memories for the UK’s leading designers, architects and creatives alike.

Nearly a decade after University of Arts London moved out of the site, Orms is currently working with a world-renowned team to sensitively restore the building and give it a new lease of life as a mixed-used development, which will include a new lifestyle hotel.

Orms were approached in 2019 to, through the power of architecture, secure consent for a hotel on the iconic site. The plot within the Holborn area includes the Grade II listed building, formerly Central St Martins building that fronts Southampton Row, as well as a collection of ‘60s buildings behind.

In addition to a new hotel, the ‘new neighbourhood’ as Whittaker described it in an exclusive interview with Hotel Designs, will include exhibition spaces, a refurbished lecture theatre, a screening room, various F&B outlets, a library, a series of function rooms and co-working spaces.

Tom Lindblom, Principal, Gensler

Tom Lindblom is a Hospitality Leader and a Studio Director in Gensler’s London office (despite taking a few years out to travel and work from various Gensler offices around the world). He has more than 25 years of experience on a variety of projects, with a special focus on hotels, resorts, and museums.

Working with diverse clients in Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the United States has broadened his understanding and appreciation for unique opportunities in a variety of markets. Lindblom is active with clients in the Mediterranean and Adriatic to develop sustainable resorts that operate efficiently from an economic, social and environmental position. His experience also includes design and planning for several museums and galleries in the United States and Europe. He teaches and lectures on architecture, lighting design, and museum design at universities in the US and London.

Yasmine Mahmoudieh, Founder, Yasmine Mahmoudieh Studio

Completing The Brit List alumni of 2021 is Yasmine Mahmoudieh, an architect, designer and product developer who is pioneering real change in hospitality arena globally through social and sustainable hospitality initiatives.

Mahmoudieh’s unique and holistic approach to design and architecture, which merges human psychology and cutting-edge technology, has resulted in an acclaimed international showcase of award-winning, one-of-a-kind projects. Her achievements include Strandhotel Atlantic and Villa Meeresstrand as well as Four Seasons Hotel in Hamburg, among others.

> Since you’re here, why not read The Brit List 2021

The application process (free of charge) for The Brit List Awards 2022 will open in Q2 of 2022.

Main image credit: The Brit List Awards 2021

Hamish Kilburn, Editor, Hotel Designs

Editor checks in: A sense of change in hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor checks in: A sense of change in hotel design

Making the best out of a disruptive situation – day eight of 10 into quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19 – Editor Hamish Kilburn finds the time (and the words) to explore in his final editor’s letter of 2021 how sensory design and togetherness could help fuel hotel design and hospitality into a new yet-to-be-written chapter…

Hamish Kilburn, Editor, Hotel Designs

Can you feel, smell, hear, touch or taste it? Don’t worry, this isn’t a new variant symptoms check. There’s a transformation happening. It’s affecting the way we work. The way we communicate. Even my tone seems dissimilar (perhaps more honest) as I write this, uncomfortably pessimistic, in day eight of a 10-day quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19 the day I landed back from reviewing a recent cluster of hotel design projects in Spain.

Whether we like it or not, we have no choice but to embrace new ways of living and working. As frustrating as this ‘new world’ may feel at times, we cannot always alter our surroundings. What we can adjust, however, is how we react. In great depression comes new prospects. When we accept a remodelled status quo, we can move past the practical hurdles and start to see how a change in landscape creates a transformation in behaviour, which in turn can lead to new breakthroughs in design, architecture and hospitality.

If you are struggling to see it, look no further than The Brit List 2021, which was unveiled in November at a spectacular, glitter-filled awards ceremony. The publication includes 75 individual examples of people at the forefront of our industry who are utilising this situation, which is becoming to feel more long-term as the months draw on. Take Robin Hutson, the Founder of The PIG Hotels, for instance, who won Hotelier of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2021. During a time when hospitality was forced to be on hold, Hutson started A Seat At The Table campaign in order to give the industry – formally under-represented – an unapologetic voice.

Another example is Tina Norden, Partner at Conran and Partners, who recently completed projects include the new five-star Park Hyatt hotel in Auckland; FEAST within Hong Kong’s iconic EAST hotel and the Peninsula Boutique and Café in Hong Kong. Norden was crowned Interior Designer of Year because of these projects as well as her selfless efforts to support the industry through lockdown, saying ‘yes’ to any opportunity to help raise the profile of British and global hospitality and design at its best. And instead of wallowing in self-isolation despair, I’ve just realised that I am interviewing both leaders in just a few days (note to self: use this time locked away from the world wisely in order to work on thought-provoking questions).

Logically, design and creativity during this period should have suffered, when human interaction and supplies chains have been damaged. Okay, it’s taken longer, and designers have been forced to, at times, sacrifice global FF&E, but it has allowed our community to do what it does best; find solutions to problems. Interior designer Álvaro Sans was tasked to steer one of Seville’s most iconic hotels, Meliá Gran Hotel Colón, into a modern era at a time when it was illegal for citizens to leave their houses. The delivery times of materials was a great task to manage,” he told me. “We had to change some furniture items because they did not arrive after five months of delay.” Sans recently unveiled this project, and it is, in my opinion, genuinely one of the most impressive public area renovations in recent history.

So, you see, change on this kind of scale can be a pivotal part of the overall narrative – we are turning the page of a gripping novel. Well, I have a confession to make. I read ahead and skipped a few chapter, and – spoiler alert – I have to tell you what I found before I read backwards. Waiting for us on the other side is an industry, scarred and not broken, which sets a holistic and more meaningful setting. The textured scene is layered with colour for personality, sound to create atmosphere, touch to make it personal and the smell of fresh bread from the bakery. It’s a sensory fusion of all the things we lost during dark times – a coming together of new skillsets we learned when restrained to the parameters of our homes. I’m not the only one who is reading ahead. At a recent panel discussion I moderated at Independent Hotel Show, Mark Bruce, Main Board Director at EPR Architects; Sound Designer Tom Middleton and Marie Soliman, Co-Founder of Bergman Design House discussed all the possible senses that will take hospitality forward – and no area, even the often forgotten hotel corridors, were off limit. “The gaps between the experiences are just as important as the experiences themselves,” said Bruce. “Those few metres can be thoughtful in themselves.”

The answer to many (if not all) of our problems comes in the form of collaboration, which has long been a fuel for the sector. I’m not talking about interior designers working with lighting designers or architects forming partnerships with sound architects. Instead, I’m suggesting two (or more) interior designers – AKA competitors – actually working together on a brief.

We saw this recently at HIX, in a wonderful display by the three design studios worked together to create Hotel Tomorrow. In this space, Conran and Partners injected the energy of community. Meanwhlile, Areen Design created an art installation-style safe cocoon nest that brought down the heart rate. stroop design, very much inspired by its own situation of launching recently with no physical base, was inspired by nature – and unveiled its co-working pod as a walk-in-the-park experience. Outside these three pods, the studios worked together, using visuals and sounds as tools for transformation from one area of the show to another – and as a result, intentional or not, they helped redefine the traditional trade show into an insightful experience.

Elsewhere in the show, a new revolution came to the surface in the wellness ‘living moodboards’ that were created by Sieger Design, Studio Carter, and Studio Corkinho – think hemp walls, spa-like suites and silent architecture. These concepts that were inspired with the 12 principles of design by Nestwell proved that the world is truthfully our oyster, and there is little we cannot achieve through constructive research and development (R&D).

“Yes, close the laptop lid and prepare to round-off another year on the international hotel design scene with a sense of pride from what we have created in a difficult year.” – Hamish Kilburn, Editor, Hotel Designs.

Render of organic guestroom designed by Studio Carter

Image credit: Studio Carter’s concept explored organic materials as well as soft architecture to create an authentic sense of wellbeing. | Image credit: Studio Carter

I would like to evolve R&D to add a new ‘R’: ‘rest’, which is unreservedly an integral element with innovation in design and hospitality. It’s the same with writing. Leaving an idea or an article to mature is all part of the process, which cannot sometimes be rushed, nor forced. Resetting the scales allows you time to exhale. When the writer returns, the space they’ve created allows the opportunity to add value to whatever was created previously.

And with that, several drafts later of attempting this column, it’s time to ‘switch off’ and turn on our Out of Office automatic replies. Yes, close the laptop lid and prepare to round-off another year on the international hotel design scene with a sense of pride from what we have achieved in a difficult year. I hope that when we return in 2022, we will find it in our hearts to embrace togetherness; to take on, in harmony, new opportunities and challenges.

To spur on this sense of change, I pledge to amplify on these pages bold, genius and non-conforming concepts next year and beyond. Revise the recipe – we’re craving spice and flavour here on the editorial desk – and please help us take hotel design and hospitality forward in beautiful, authentic, and disruptive ways. So, who will feature in the next chapter, I wonder?

Stay tuned…

Editor, Hotel Designs

Main image credit: Dish Creative/James Munson

the main stage at Independent Hotel Show 2021

Panel discussion: Exploring sensory design in hospitality at IHS 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Panel discussion: Exploring sensory design in hospitality at IHS 2021

At the Independent Hotel Show 2021, Editor Hamish Kilburn sat down with Mark Bruce, Main Board Director at EPR Architects; Sound Designer Tom Middleton and Marie Soliman, Co-Founder of Bergman Design House, to discuss the latest developments in the world of sensory design. Nicola Macdonald writes…

the main stage at Independent Hotel Show 2021

Creating an appealing hotel design is no longer just about making a space easy on the eye. Sensory design has grown rapidly as a movement in recent years, incorporating smell, taste, sound and touch from the initial design, not as an afterthought, and interlinking closely with trends such as wellness and curated, personalised customer experiences. A prestigious panel of industry experts gathered at the Independent Hotel Show 2021 to discuss some of the innovations at the forefront of sensory design.

Hamish Kilburn, Editor of Hotel Designs, kicked off the discussion by commenting that, while all hotels are different, all hospitality projects can benefit, regardless of budget, from looking at their designs from a 3D perspective.

“Sound can be used congruently with other senses to help support the journeys we’re on every day,” added sound architect Tom Middleton. “It can reduce anxiety, help with peak performance and productivity, help you become les anxious and overwhelmed and, vitally, help you get a better night’s sleep.”

Mark Bruce, EPR Architects’ Board Director, who following this panel was crowned Architect of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2021, agreed. He said: “What has changed recently is that we value all of the senses more. Acoustics was a form of design and sadly often it was a plug-in or an add-on, an afterthought. We’ve now found ourselves in a really interesting place in terms of our experiences in hotels.

“As all of our lives get busier and more frantic, hotels are a little moment of luxury and when we start looking at all the senses holistically we can understand the value of that. It’s not just about having a great soundtrack in a bar, it’s about influencing the customer experience and making people enjoy themselves more by understanding the science and embedding that in the design.”

Marie Soliman, Co-Founder of Bergman Design House, added: “I get asked ‘what makes you loyal to a specific brand?’ and the answer is that I care how I felt in that hotel. People forget how the room looks, but they don’t forget how they felt. The room needs to be about them, with the right light and the right sound.”

Marie Soliman on the main stage at Independent Hotel Show 2021

Image caption: Hamish Kilburn was joined by Marie Soliman, Tom Middleton and Mark Bruce to discuss a sense of design in hospitality. | Image credit: Independent Hotel Show 2021

Bruce commented that even corridors were becoming a sensory experience, in addition to being a functional route from A to B: “The gaps between the experiences are just as important as the experiences themselves. Those few metres can be thoughtful in themselves.

“With Six Senses [the luxury hotel brand’s debut London property, opening in 2023], we looked at how we can use sound, light and smell to help people with their moods, and to get them ready for their experience.

“First thing in the morning people don’t want to walk into a dark corridor, so we worked with some very talented light engineers to mimic certain types of light across the year, with calming music and smells. Not plug-ins, but very subtle undertones to help with your heart rate and your mood. What we’re talking here about isn’t hugely expensive; we all have LED lights and speaker systems.”

Image caption: Standing room only on the main stage at Independent Hotel Show 2021. | Image credit: Independent Hotel Show 2021

Image caption: Standing room only on the Innovation Stage at Independent Hotel Show 2021. | Image credit: Independent Hotel Show 2021

“Having a sense of where the customer might be emotionally and mentally is key to adapting sensory design to fit the occasion,” added Middleton. “There is a social responsibility. Every hospitality brand right now needs to be considering the anxiety that guests will be experiencing getting out there, travelling and flying again.

“We need to understand that, as human beings, we’ve had our nervous systems decimated over the past year and half. Anxiety is going through the roof, as is mental health generally, so wellness is a key word right now: emotional and mental wellbeing. We should be supportive and kind.

“We’re handing over trust to brands as we’re going to go into this environment.” – Sound architect Tom Middleton.

“I design with empathy, and we all need to be more empathetic in the way that we approach design so that the whole journey isn’t too hyper-stimulating. The reason I use that word is that we’ve been hyper-stimulated for nearly a year and a half by fear, uncertainty and overwhelm.

“We’re handing over trust to brands as we’re going to go into this environment: trust that it’s going to be safe and we’re going to enjoy ourselves. Trust that it’s even going to help us feel more relaxed and less anxious. That’s my responsibility now: work with all these sensory inputs and the ecosystem of senses within designing and make sure that the guest does feel supported. I think that’s our responsibility within the industry.”

Since you’re here, why not read our show review of the Independent Hotel Show 2021? Also, check out the full discussion on-demand on Independent Hotel Show London’s new digital platform IH Connects.

Main image credit: Independent Hotel Show London

New collections from Moooi Carpets to put on your 2022 watch list

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
New collections from Moooi Carpets to put on your 2022 watch list

Moooi Carpets, which never fails to deliver an endless mix of colours, has just unveiled four new collections, which have been designed by individual artists – all with the aim to add personality in hotel design. Editor Hamish Kilburn takes a look…

All rugs at Moooi Carpets combine an endless mix of colours thanks to the use of a ground breaking high definition Chromo jet printer and its accurate tones, which generate a playful illusion of depth – just take a look at the Liquid Layer collection if you need convincing.

When Marcel Wanders (Founder of Moooi in 2001) came across the technique of digital printing on carpet material, more than 10 years ago, he realised that it was so ground breaking that he felt it needed its own space to grow, without being absorbed by/in something else. Moooi Carpets was launched by Moooi in 2015.

Since then, each collection launched has, in its own way, challenged conventional design with meaningful patterns – and the brand’s latest collections are no exception. Cue the arrival of ‘Pluck Their Petals’, ‘Lint’, ‘In the Meadow’ and Bisanto.

Pluck their Petals by Ferry Schiffelers

Ferry Schiffelers founded his eponymous womenswear label at the age of 25. In 2018, Schiffelers graduated Cum Laude from the design department at AMFI (Amsterdam Fashion Institute). His graduation collection ‘Défilé de Deuil’ ensured that he won the Lichting prize and was named the most promising graduate of 2018. In September 2019, Schiffelers presented his first independent collection ‘Ladies Who Lunch’ during AFW (Amsterdam Fashion Week). Prior to AMFI, he followed the four-year Fashion / Bespoke tailoring course to develop himself in the field of tailoring and techniques. Schiffelers has successfully completed internships in the couture atelier of Viktor & Rolf and Antwerp designer Tim van Steenbergen. His work is being published in Vogue, ELLE and Mirror Mirror magazine.

Moooi Carpets: Tumbling petals by Ferry Schiffelers-300DPI copy

Image credit: Moooi Carpets

Combining fashion with design – a concept we can’t get enough of at Hotel Designs – Schiffelers designed the ‘Pluck their Petals’ colleciton, which was inspired by the greatest love tragedy whether he loves me – or not. Multiple layers of tulle petals build up a gradient of colour causing a mysterious, yet romantic and dramatic dimension. The technique of layering creates more depth and darkly shadowing in the creases, turning the carpet into a fantasy like destination somewhere between a dream and a nightmare.

Lint by Visser & Meijwaard

Visser & Meijwaard is a design studio focused on product- and scenographic exhibition design based in Arnhem, The Netherlands. The studio is run by Dutch designers Vera Meijwaard and Steven Visser who met at ArtEZ University of the Arts. As a design duo they create distinct but minimalistic products from an aesthetic world of material, colour and shape. Their working method is associative. By playing with materiality, context and scale and with a fascination for ‘form follows function’, Visser & Meijwaard researches new applications for the hidden aesthetics found in everyday products. Their wide range of work extends from furniture and lighting to textile, ceramic and glassware. Visser & Meijwaard collaborate, among others, with brands as Hermès , Linteloo and Pulpo Products. Their work has been presented in museums, galleries and fairs worldwide, including London, Paris, Milan, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Barcelona, Cologne and Copenhagen.

Visser & Meijwaard - ribbon carpet real size

Image credit: Moooi Carpets

In the ‘Lint’ carpet collection, silk ribbons are woven into a colourful graphic pattern to create a bold interplay of lines. Inspiration for the ‘Lint’ design was found in the rectilinear pattern of a traditional tartan textile, made by weaving alternating strips of coloured threads, both in the warp and in the weft, at right angles to each other. ‘Lint’ was created by playing with the materiality and the size of the threads and in search of the right colours to contrast but complement each other at the same time.

In the Meadow by Emma Larsson

The carpets of Larsson’s In The Meadow collection are inspired by the never-ending wonders of nature. With whimsical and abstract shapes, the carpets depict mesmerising worlds of aquarelle art. The bright and soft colours are an ode to nature’s variety. In The Meadow is Larsson’s contribution to bringing nature indoors, into your space, like ink in water.

The intensity of colours creates density while maintaining that ethereal feel. Every day we are surrounded by an endless variety of colours, shapes, textures, and patterns. Every living moment our senses are treated with a beauty only nature can give us. And it gives us everything. It gives us scents and smells that keep us going or calm us down. Spectacular colours that fill our hearts and minds with hope and lightness. Textures and patterns that amaze and trick us. For artists and designers, nature is an endless source of inspiration. It has been so for centuries, and hopefully it will be for the next centuries. Nature is to be coveted and cherished, for it is as close as magic we will ever experience. In The Meadow, by Emma Larsson, reveals an ethereal world of abstract aquarelle shapes. Inspired by the beauty that nature surrounds us with every day. Inspired by nature’s endless variations of colours, shapes, patterns, and textures. Nature surrounds us when we’re outside, but with In The Meadow, you can bring the magical beauty of nature inside. Whimsical and abstract shapes in bright and soft colours to mesmerise every onlooker. In The Meadow is a collection of carpets that all bear the signature aquarelle-style artwork of artist & designer Emma Larsson. Her contribution to bringing the beauty of nature inside.

Bisanto by Antonio Aricò

Antonio Aricò is an Italian artist, designer and creative director. After earning a double degree at Milan Polytechnic he obtained his master’s degree with a work based on the themes of Design & Tradition, combining the fields of art, craft and design. These theories merged with the poetic of contemporary culture, make up Aricò’s inter-disciplinary practice today. He is known as forerunner of a unique approach that parallels crafts and self-production with industrial design. With each new project he approaches design themes, preferring to focus on the romantic, fantastic and archetypical rather than just the functional. In this universe the coldness of industrialism is replaced by the poetry, fantasy and romance of our past, vividly brought to life in contemporary days.

Bisanto by Antonio Aricò

Image credit: Moooi Carpets

Italy is not a country, it is a sea of stories. Its imaginary is waved of infinite magic stories coming from North to South and from West to East. By shaking and mixing these stories come to life BISANTO, a collection drawn by the intimate memories of a child playing with iconic souvenir coming from his memories of antique ages. The idea is to transform the Byzantine Italy into a Carpet Collection by playing with drawings and colors. The result are Luxurious Textile Mosaics printed on carpets able to represent new characters and worlds. Each piece is “secretly” inspired by real Italian historical masterpieces that are reinvented starting from eclectic inspirations and ending into renovated traditions. Indeed, all the IKONAS of the collection hide a secret inspiration belonging to Italian History of Art, coming both from North & South. The result is a collection of carpets where bidimensional signs get mixed with 3D elements, where the mosaic become soft and flocked as velvet and heavy precious printed jewels becomes a as light as fabric. Aricò doodles becomes vivid icons, making Italian tradition new again.

Moooi Carpets 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: Moooi Carpets

The check-in desk at Hotel Colon, surrounding by Spanish memorabilia

‘First in’ to review the newly renovated Hotel Colón Gran Meliá

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
‘First in’ to review the newly renovated Hotel Colón Gran Meliá

In the heart of Seville, the iconic Hotel Colón Gran Meliá re-emerges from lockdown showcasing a sophisticated first impression that’s timeless design effortlessly takes it into a new era. Editor Hamish Kilburn is among those ‘first in’ to explore the newly renovated hotel – and while there, he manages to secure an interview with the interior designer behind the project…

The check-in desk at Hotel Colon, surrounding by Spanish memorabilia

With its grandeur monuments, orange tree-lined cobbled streets and a vibrant gastronomy scene, Seville is a city that will leave a lasting impression on even the most seasoned of travellers. At the epicentre of this cultural hub – just a 10-minute stroll from the The río Guadalquivir, the Torre del Oro and the Real Maestranza Bull Ring – is Hotel Colón Gran Meliá; a hotel that has been an inherent part of Seville since its iconic architecture by José Miguel de la Cuadra was first unveiled in 1929.

Some 92 years later, and the building is now a listed pillar, having majestically maintained its original neoclassical façade. Don’t let its grand structure fool you, though. It shelters a contemporary hotel that fluidly forms around a modernist central dome, made up of thousands of coloured crystals. It, as Rosana Gonzáles, General Manager of the hotel says: “Shines over the hotel bringing a new light over Seville’s history.” And it was this central part of the hotel that became the core inspiration for interior designer Álvaro Sans when he was asked to steer to the its public areas through a sensitive renovation that could meet the demands of today’s travellers.

“Seville is a unique city, the ‘Spanish Florence’, if you like.” – Álvaro Sans, interior designer.

Lobby inside Gran Melia Hotel Colón in Seville

Image caption: The central dome inside Gran Melia Hotel Colón, which is the heart of the hotel and was a significant source of inspiration for the design team. | Image credit: Meliá Hotels International

“We wanted to differentiate Hotel Colón Gran Meliá from the rest of the hotels in the city,” said Sans. “To do this, we decided to inject a healthy dose of Sevillian culture, art and feeling into the building. The strong sense of place transports guests to the destination where they can really experience the true essence of the location. Seville is a unique city, the ‘Spanish Florence’, if you like. The ‘Sevillano’ is felt in the streets and by visitors who live who live within it. There is a contagious joy of living here.”


Hamish Kilburn: How long did the project take from concept to completion?
Álvaro Sans: Two years, due to delays with Covid-19

HK:  Describe the newly renovated hotel in two words?
AS: Sevillian and timeless

HK: What’s next for the hotel?
AS: Two wonderful suites, but you didn’t hear that from me!

There is no doubt about it: the hotel’s rejuvenation has been influenced by the past. However, its hospitality offering on the other hand has been created with a worldly traveller in mind, while looking ahead towards the future. By opening up the space in the lobby, the opportunity emerged for Sans to create a new F&B proposal – a new destination bar – that is now the focal point of all first impressions, which sits under the magnificent dome. The interiors of the bar are decorated with pieces that have been curated by young local artisans. Together, they form a magical atmosphere.

Making such a drastic transformation in an iconic hotel is challenging enough, but add to this the fact that Sans was working on this project during a pandemic creates a whole new layer of uncertainty. “The delivery times of materials was a great task to manage,” Sans explains. “We had to change some furniture items because they did not arrive after five months of delay.”

Originally known as Hotel Majestic, the property was, in its hay day, one of the most luxurious hotels in Spain, built primarily to welcome international visitors of the world’s fair, Exposición Iberoamericana, hosted in Seville in 1929. Following this, world renowned figures such as Ava Gardner, Picasso and Dalí also walked its floors and fell in love with the historical building. The hotel was where famous matadors (bull fighters) used to stay ahead of crowd-drawing Corridas (bull fighting events), which arguably helped put Seville on the tourism – domestic and international – map. In fact, traje de luces (the various costumes) of the famous El Cordobes have become part of the interior design decoration, displayed behind the check-in desk, along with original flamenco dancer costumes, to add a unique sense of place for guests who are beginning or ending their stay.

Check-in desk inside Gran Melia Hotel Colòn in Seville

Image caption: The check-in desk inside the hotel features a display of memorabilia, which gives a sensitive nod to Sevillian culture. | Image credit: Melia Hotels International

As guests arrive, what was a dated red and white design scheme has been transformed into a space that feels light, elegant and welcoming. “Pure red is a colour only used in the bullfighter’s cape in Seville – it is not an emblematic colour of the city,” explains the designer. The lobby now features hues of green, ochra, gold – reminiscent of the Andalusian countryside. Wood alongside luxurious and elegant materials such as velvet, silk, leather and walnut add meaningful texture. Amongst the new services, guests can enjoy a completely new Red Level on the ground floor, the new Bar del Colón and the restaurant Abacería del Colón.

“Seville is olive green,” adds Sans. “It is a city with many cultures that have merged in a magnificent way. The hotel, therefore, had to have something that amplified this authentically.” To achieve this, Sans introduced natural materials – Andalusian Macael white marble, solid walnut wood, hydraulic concrete floors – designed and built for the hotel, in a format larger than the traditional one. “We chose olive green [throughout the lobby and public areas downstairs], to mimic hotel’s wonderful skylight,” says Sans. “Ceramics were handcrafted specially for the hotel by Isabel Parente’s workshop in Seville, in an oxidised olive-green tone and an original Mudejar design, with details of the plasterwork from the Alhambra in Granada.”

One of the gastronomy venues at the hotel, Burladero restaurant offers a wide range of Andalucian tapas that attract locals as well as international visitors. The new Abacería del Colón is a place where guests can indulge in typical Sevillan produce such as jamón, cold meats, jams and chicharrones, as well as purchasing them to bring that iconic Sevillian flavour back home.

The hotel is also part of the Virtuoso y Fine Hotels and Resorts de Amex (FHR), as well as The Leading Hotels Of The World (LHW). It comprises of 188 rooms including 24 suites, adorned with classic paintings of the Spanish Golden Age from artists such as Goya, Murillo, Velazquez y and El Greco – the giants of 16th and 17th century Spanish painting.

Suite inside Hotel Colòn Gran Melia

Image caption: If rumours are to be believed, the next chapter for the hotel will be the renovation of two suites. | Image credit: Meliá International

The newly renovated Hotel Colón Gran Meliá is a tribute to Seville’s history and culture; a space where old and new meet with incredible results. Everything is curated to the smallest detail and recalls original elements from the 1929 Exposition to make every guest walk back in the past and discover the beauty of the city. And with whispers all but confirmed from Meliá International that the hotel will unveil two new renovated suites soon, it’s clear that the Gran Melia Hotel Colón’s narrative is far from ending.

Main image credit: Meliá International


London Architecture firm unveiled for The Dorchester renovation

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
London Architecture firm unveiled for The Dorchester renovation

London-based architecture firm ReardonSmith Architects has been named the ‘architects’ and ‘lead designers’ for the extensive renovation that is due to be completed inside The Dorchester by Spring 2022. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…


Following yesterday’s news that unveiled The Dorchester will undergo a major renovation, we have done a bit more digging and we can now reveal that London-based architecture firm ReardonSmith Architects will be the architects and lead designers on the project, which will include the re-design of the iconic The Promenade and The Bar at The Dorchester, as well as two guest floors.

We now have clear endorsement from one of the project directors at The Dorchester that ReardonSmith Architects has been working closely with The Dorchester management team since June 2019 on a long-term design plan for the hotel and, in particular, on the detailed plan for phase one of the programme. In a statement released after the official announcement, the firm’s extensive involvement in the project will include a partial redesign of the arrival lobby, to provide greater ingress of natural light and enhance the hotel’s street level presence.

ReardonSmith Architects will be working closely with Pierre-Yves Rochon and Martin Brudnizki Design Studio to sensitively steer the 250-key luxury hotel in London into a new era.

The architecture firm, which recently unveiled phase one of a new design scheme inside The Beaumont, has been responsible for the coordination of all consultants, documentation and local planning, as well as listed-building approvals for the iconic Grade II listed building.

As we expect this story will become the hotel design gift that keeps on giving between now and when Spring 2022 (and potentially beyond), Hotel Designs will be following this project closely to report on accurate information and updates throughout the process.

> Since you’re here, why not read our in-depth feature on The Dorchester, where we argued that style will always conquer over fashion inside the hotel?

Main image credit: Dorchester Collection

Bvlgari Hotel Paris collage Hotel Designs

In pictures: Inside Bvlgari Hotel Paris

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In pictures: Inside Bvlgari Hotel Paris

Three years since the concept of the luxury hotel appeared on our radar, Bvlgari Hotel Paris has opened. The new hotel, designed by Italian architecture firm Antonio Patricia Viel, alongside the renowned Parisian architects Valode & Pistre, promises an experience that mingles Italian excellence with the magnificent culture of the City of Lights…

Bvlgari Hotel Paris collage Hotel Designs

In the heart of the world-renowned Golden Triangle of Paris, Bvlgari Hotel Paris has opened. Breaking with the traditional codes of the Parisian architecture, the elegant building that shelters the new luxury hotel enriches the eighth arrondissement with its contemporary style. For Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts, the opening marks a harmony between two cultures in design as well as hospitality. “We are particularly proud to add a French jewel to the Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts collection, the opening of the new Bvlgari Hotel Paris,” said Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bvlgari. “Following the recent opening of the Bvlgari flagship store in Place Vendome, it is an honour for us to bring, once again, the best of the Italian design, lifestyle, culture and luxury hospitality to Paris.”

BH Paris Lounge, fireplace

Image credit: Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts

As with all of the Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts, the Bvlgari Hotel Paris has been designed by the Italian architecture studio Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel. Both the interior and exterior have been created with the same attention to details and precision of a Bvlgari jewel, enhancing all the characteristic codes of the establishments developed by the Rome-based jewellery house. The Bvlgari Hotel Paris offers 76 rooms, of which 75 per cent are suites, featuring terraces and loggias. Each one is designed as a private apartment and is exquisitely furnished with the highest quality luxury furniture brands. In addition, the artwork and photographs of celebrities closely linked to the Maison add that touch of personality characteristic of the Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts.

Perched atop the building, the Bvlgari Penthouse illustrates the pinnacle of this approach. Across more than a total of 1,000 sqm of which 400 sqm interiors and 600 sqm exteriors and on two levels, the Bvlgari Penthouse features a fully landscaped hanging garden, filled with Mediterranean plants and fruit trees, and offers a panoramic view over the emblematic buildings of the French capital.

Bvlgari Hotel Paris penthouse suite at night

Image credit: Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts

The highlight of the hotel’s culinary offering is “Il Ristorante – Niko Romito”, curated by the three Michelin star Chef, Niko Romito. Romito has created this concept for all the Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts with a blend of modern and classical Italian dishes using ingredients that are the essential characteristics of the culture, elegance and vitality of the ‘Made in Italy’ ethos.

Adjacent to the restaurant and facing the hotel garden, the Bvlgari Bar expresses the full generosity, elegance and spirit of the House and is set to become one of the most sought-after gathering places in western Paris. Located just next door, the Lounge – with its plush armchairs, massive fireplace, and ceiling inspired by a Bvlgari minaudière – is a desirable place to gather. Spanning 1,300 sqm on two levels, the Bvlgari Spa at Bvlgari Hotel Paris offers a unique experience, with its 25-metre swimming pool, one of the longest in any Paris luxury hotel. The fitness space, featuring state-of-the-art technology and entrusted to Workshop Gymnasium, has been exclusively created for Bvlgari by Lee Mullins, and includes a private studio.

Luxury pool inside Bvlgari Hotel Paris

Image credit: Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts

What’s next? Well, Bvlgari Hotel Paris is the latest creation in the Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts collection, which includes properties in Milan, Bali, London, Beijing, Dubai, and Shanghai, as well as upcoming openings in Rome (2022), Moscow (2022), Tokyo (2023),Miami (2024) and Los Angeles (2025).

Main image credit: Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts

Render of Rosewood Riyadh

Rosewood to open second hotel in Saudi Arabia in 2025

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Rosewood to open second hotel in Saudi Arabia in 2025

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts accelerates its strategic global growth with the announcement of Rosewood Riyadh, a new-build luxury hotel, which will open in 2025 within a progressive mixed-use development project…

Render of Rosewood Riyadh

Situated adjacent to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of At-Turaif, Rosewood Riyadh, slated to open in 2025, will be located within Diriyah Gate, a mixed-use development project poised to become the country’s leading cultural and lifestyle destination. The 250-key hotel is destined to bring a new level of luxury to the local and regional hospitality landscape and present an exceptional opportunity for both business and leisure travellers to immerse themselves in one of the Middle East’s most important cities. 

Rosewood Riyadh is the latest expression of Rosewood’s ambitious global expansion strategy, which currently includes 25 properties in the pipeline in areas such as Mexico City, LondonMadrid and Japan. The hotel will mark the brand’s second property in Saudi Arabia, joining Rosewood Jeddah, and fourth in the region, including Rosewood Abu Dhabi and Rosewood Doha opening in 2022.

“We are thrilled to further our presence in the Middle East with an opening in Riyadh, a historic trade hub and exemplar of 21st century vision, that is now a major destination for international business and cultural exploration,” said Sonia Cheng, Chief Executive Officer of Rosewood Hotel Group. “The Diriyah Gate development is bringing the destination to an expanded international audience of discerning travellers and we’re excited to be a part of the city’s continued evolution and commitment to redeveloping heritage areas for future generations.” 

Rosewood will bring a level of refinement to Diriyah, mirroring the past whilst providing guests with the excitement of the future, in the same way Diriyah will lead travellers from Saudi’s historical past to the present,” said Jerry Inzerillo, Group CEO of DGDA. “The exclusive nature of the Rosewood experience will bring excitement to Diriyah through the development of their renowned wellness offerings, famed Explorers Club and F&B talent. Guests will be immersed in a cultural journey spanning the centuries through the joint efforts of Diriyah and the Rosewood team; we are excited to unveil more in the coming months.”

The largest city on the Arabian Peninsula and the political and administrative centre of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh is a dynamic destination rich with history. Boasting myriad cultural institutions from forts and palaces to museums and marketplaces, the metropolis attracts a wide range of nearly five million visitors each year. Nestled around the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site of At-Turaif, Diriyah Gate is set to underscore Riyadh’s status as a Middle East magnet for travellers.  It also provides a perfect canvas for the Rosewood brand to express its A Sense of Place concept and celebrate its unique location. 

In addition to Rosewood, the inspired set of heritage, hospitality, education, retail and dining experiences at Diriyah Gate will include a culinary centre, cinema, art academy and more, with all buildings showcasing their own interpretations of the destination’s iconic Najdi style. By honouring this traditional architectural typology while incorporating modern principles of New Urbanism, the development aims to revitalise the area for locals and tourists alike while protecting its history. 

The hotel itself will occupy a standalone building boasting 250 ultra-luxury accommodations, including 202 guestrooms and suites and 48 Wadi Suites ranging from one to three bedrooms. The property will further feature four restaurants and bars; Asaya, Rosewood’s integrative well-being concept; and Rosewood Explorers, the brand’s culturally inspired children’s club. Additional recreation will span a state-of-the-art fitness center and expansive meetings and events spaces including a ballroom. Visitors will enjoy exceptional access to many of the city’s key landmarks, lifestyle activities, and corporate destinations via Rosewood Riyadh’s prime positioning within the development. 

Rosewood Riyadh adds to Rosewood Hotels & Resorts’ impressive global growth plan and is the eighth property opening announced by the brand in 2021, a testament to the hospitality group’s vitality and vision. Additional projects that have recently been added to the pipeline include Rosewood properties in Rome, Miyakojima, Hangzhou, Chongqing, Mexico City, and San Francisco.

Main image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

Collage from AHC in Manchester 2021

Show review: What you missed at The AHC in Manchester

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Show review: What you missed at The AHC in Manchester

Out with the old (venue) and in the with the new. On November 22 – 24, The Annual Hotel Conference (AHC) took shelter under a new roof, Manchester Central Convention Complex, where it welcomed more than 800 senior delegates to learn, network and party. Editor Hamish Kilburn was there to soak it all in…

Collage from AHC in Manchester 2021

For years, The Annual Hotel Conference (AHC) has been a major calendar event that has attracted leading investors, developers and operators from across the UK hospitality sector. In fact, the event has become so popular now, with more than 800 delegates to shelter safely that it required a venue change, from the familiar territory of Hilton Manchester Deansgate to where it is now held in the Manchester Central Convention Complex.

At the epicentre of the new venue was the auditorium, where more than 100 industry-expert speakers took to the stage over the two-day event, including senior leaders from global hotel brands. These included: Adela Cristea, Vice President, Head of Business Development UK & Ireland, Radisson Hotel Group; Satya Anand, President, EMEA, Marriott International; Stephen Cassidy, Senior Vice President & Managing Director UK, Ireland & Israel, Hilton; Philip Lassman, Vice President Development Northern Europe (UK&I, Benelux & Nordics), Accor; Dimitris Manikis, President & MD EMEA, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts; Karin Sheppard, Senior Vice President & Managing Director Europe, IHG and Camil Yazbeck, Senior Vice President, Head of Development Northern Europe, Accor.

Speakers took turns to deliver their views, strategies and visions for the future across four stages: vision, collaboration, innovation and transformation that represented the four pillars that underpinned this year’s theme ‘Change for Good.’ Amnd it was clear that there was a real sense of collective excitement and energy, and a renewed optimism for not only the recovery but also the opportunity to reset and reconsider the hospitality industry as a whole. People’s passions have seemingly been reignited. The conversation around ‘responsible recovery’ was discussed throughout the event, and seemed to spill into the discussions at the number of after parties around the city.

The hospitality industry is emerging from the pandemic with a long list of changed priorities. Values – in contrast to value for money – are creating new challenges for the hospitality industry. Sustainability and ESG (Environmental, Social Governance) are becoming ever-more important priorities for customers, operators, employees and owners.

Three inspiring leaders, Satya Anand, President EMEA, Marriott International; Dimitris Manikis, President & MD EMEA, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and Karin Sheppard, SVP and MD Europe, IHG, discussed the characteristics of a ‘good brand,’ how people are increasingly conscious of ESG and that travel has become more purposeful. “ESG brings a unique opportunity to bring back young people into this sector,” said Manikis. “The future leaders of our industry — doing the right thing for humanity will bring the right people back.”

Karin Sheppard followed this up with the strong statement: “The best we can do today, is not the best we can do tomorrow. Be humble that we are all here to learn and we don’t have all the answers but without steep ambitions nothing will ever change.”

ESG came into sharp focus during the ‘Serviced Living — Capturing the New Demand’ session when Robert Godwin, Managing Director, Lamington Group made clear his strong feelings “with passion and intent there are ways to deliver truly sustainable buildings” and shared his company’s mission to deliver fully net zero carbon hotels in its portfolio.

Image caption: Robert Godwin, Managing Director, Lamington Group speaking passionately about truly sustainable buildings. | Image credit: Simon Callaghan Photography

Image caption: Robert Godwin, Managing Director, Lamington Group speaking passionately about truly sustainable buildings. | Image credit: Simon Callaghan Photography

Lamington Group recently launched Room2 Chiswick, it’s first net zero carbon offering which is 89 per cent more energy efficient than other hotels in the UK. It’s 100 per cent electric, has a blue roof that can hold 50,000 litres of rainwater that filters down for use in the hotel and is covered with 200 tonnes of soil to grow a green roof to encourage biodiversity and insulate the building. Occupancy sensors inside the building manage heating lighting and cooling to provide energy efficiency savings.

Labour shortages are affecting the industry in a huge way and fixing the reputation of the hospitality industry is vital if staffing shortages are to be alleviated. The industry has an unfortunate association with long hours and low pay, something which was highlighted by keynote speaker Gary Neville, who owns GG Hospitality and runs the Stock Exchange Hotel and Hotel Football: “Hospitality staff have been treated poorly for far too long and the pandemic has highlighted that for me. People come first and they need trust and flexibility, empathy and compassion.”

Image caption: Gary Neville, owner of GG Hospitality, said that 'hospitality staff ghave been treated poorly for far too long.' Image credit: Simon Callaghan Photography

Image caption: Gary Neville, owner of GG Hospitality, said that ‘hospitality staff ghave been treated poorly for far too long.’ Image credit: Simon Callaghan Photography

In the ‘Power to the People’ session, Chris Mumford, Founder, Cervus Leadership Consulting, David Orr, CEO, Resident Hotels, Thomas Greenall, CEO, Bespoke Hotels and Harry Cragoe, Owner of The Galivant / Costel Hotels joined forces to address the supply of labour that has resulted in an awareness amongst hotel managers of the wellbeing of their staff.

Harry Cragoe said his business “is all about creating happiness” and he wants happy employees because it means guests are likely to be happy. “At The Gallivant, mini-bonuses of £10 are handed out each time a staff member is name checked by guests giving end-of-stay feedback. Monthly totals can be as much as £300-£400,” he added.

Nicholas Northam, who leads Interstate’s white-label operations at more than 120 hotels in the UK, Ireland, Continental Europe, Russia and CIS, said the labour shortage was less about the number of people available for work and more about the skills of potential employees. “We are looking at many different ways to find the talent we need,” Northam said. Among the programmes that may have previously fallen foul of a company’s behavioural sensibilities, Interstate has set up what he called “academies” in some UK prisons. Thanks to Interstate, Northam said, inmates were receiving instruction on kitchen and housekeeping roles.

Chris Dexter, CEO of Kew Green, in a directly political appeal to the UK Government about relieving pressure in the labour market said: “Open up the visa channels.” Pay rates were rising, he said, but jobs remained unfilled because there were insufficient numbers of people available for work.

Whilst the audience enjoyed hearing the anecdotal insights from the industry’s leading minds and the opportunity to learn from how they re-strategised following such a difficult period, cold hard numbers always win the day.

Thomas Emanuel, Director of STR hosted ‘Decoding the Revenue Data’ in which he gave comprehensive industry analysis — including how the UK has consistently outperformed Europe as a whole, and that Q3 UK occupancy had returned to pre-Covid levels: however, London and other large cities lag behind due to decreased international travel.

Meanwhile, in ‘Profits & Pricing’ Michel Grove, Chief Operating Officer at HotStats and Joe Stather Director, OPRE, Hotels, CBRE Hotels, asked do hotels still appeal to the investor community? Their discussion drew the conclusion that investor demands actually outstrip supply, which is supporting relatively buoyant pricing and in turn an increased number of deals is expected in 2022. They identified that profitability is weakest in London and the gateway cities, however these markets are seeing the strongest investor demand. The growing interest in alternative real estate is also being fuelled by increased investor demand.

Looking ahead, The AHC 2022 will take place on October 3 – 4 at The Manchester Central Convention Complex.

Main image credit: Simon Callaghan Photography

Roundtable - Franklite

Virtual roundtable: Innovation in hotel lighting design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: Innovation in hotel lighting design

With the aim to identify how hotel lighting is evolving in the international hotel design arena, Hotel Designs, in association with Franklite, invites leading interior designers and lighting experts to partake in its next virtual roundtable. From savvy product design to advanced technology – and even the idea of vitamin D lighting solutions – how is lighting in hotels taking centre stage? Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Roundtable - Franklite

Lighting, especially in the parameters of hotel design, is not a tool. Instead it is an art form, which requires sensitive approach. Often an extension of the interior design scheme – and sometimes the thread that brings the whole scheme together – the lighting design in many hotels that are emerging on the scene in 2021 is breaking boundaries by adding theatre into areas of hospitality that otherwise would be look and feel cold.

When identifying when and how lighting in hotels evolved from practical to experimental, the answer seems to be collaboration; when it became the norm on large projects for interior designers to appoint a lighting designer, not only to elevate the ambiance but also to be the vital source of knowledge when it comes to concept turning into reality.

To understand innovation in lighting in today’s arena, myself and the team at Franklite pulled together some industry experts for our next virtual roundtable.

Meet the panel:

Hamish Kilburn: What are the major innovations that you have seen emerge recently?

Michael Curry: LED technology is a huge innovation that we are dealing with. I have been with DPA now for 22 years, and I am of an age that I believe is quite fortunate; I recall older technology and understood at the time why we used those. Things were clunky, functional but not slick. I think the pre-consumption with lighting design is that it is subjective. Actually, a lot of the time, there is a right and wrong way of doing things.

I’ll be honest, we were really sceptical of LED when it first emerged on our radar. It wasn’t until five years ago when we really started to find good products that were almost the same as halogen in terms of warmth and intelligence. In addition, there’s warm, dim and tuneable whites to consider, which allows the user to personalise the lighting scheme. As a result of this, lighting controls have become almost essential in hotels. However, now there’s a large conversation around lighting automation – not only to benefit the usability of the space but also to save energy – that is very exciting and so important not waste power.

We are also looking at retrofit LED, in terms of decorative lighting but also to converse power while also adding quality to lighting schemes.

decorative neon lighting in manchester YOTEL

Image credit: YOTEL

Sam Hall: We are actually currently working on a refurbishment in London that was originally completed 15 years ago, and one of the main comments that came back was that the lighting level was just too cold. Now, we can go back in and create far more atmosphere. What’s great about the lighting scheme inside this project is that you don’t notice it – this, to me, is a sign that the lighting has been really considered; it enhances the space and becomes the unsung hero.

At the moment, we are putting a lot of emphasis on sustainability, which to me too often feels like a buzzword. For me, it needs to now also be about longevity.

Ariane Steinbeck: Having a lighting designer on board at the beginning of a project is awesome, but internationally that is usually lagging behind, because people don’t understand the painstaking research that the lighting designer has done and you fall into the risk of a contractor coming in and wanting to just get on with the project, substitute things and really damage all that work in early concept stages. There needs to be a wider and greater understanding of the role of the lighting designer.

Gary Marshall: Clients are now asking about lighting a lot more than they used to, because they are beginning to see the value of good lighting. I think three or four years ago there was more expectation on the interior designer to be able to design the lighting. Innovation comes into it because thanks to technology advancing there is a lot more choice on the market, and with the interior designer and lighting consultant working in harmony the results can be extraordinary. For me, that’s really positive because it’s understanding the value of lighting, which we have always known but I don’t think that was the case from clients. I think that there has been a real mood change.

HK: Why has it taken this long, do you think, for clients to understand these roles?

GM: My view is that clients are given more choice. Take a hotel corridor for example, you can create completely different effects, using lighting, with what a designer specifies.

MC: Gary, you’re right. It’s exposure and experience. We work on a lot of residential projects as well as hotels. I have noticed in the last 10 years that the managers and head of operations are actually from the design industry and appreciate good design. Quite a lot of the operators, these days, now ask for a lighting consultant to be part of the team.

SH: Technology has become more affordable, and picked up by consumer brands. Good lighting is now more accessible in everyday life. When that happens, it puts pressure on the industry to keep up and stay ahead.

Image caption: Junior suite inside Belmond Cadogan Hotel, designed by GA Group. | Image credit: Belmond

Image caption: Junior suite inside Belmond Cadogan Hotel, designed by GA Group. | Image credit: Belmond

HK: How important is lighting when defining some of these lifestyle brands that are emerging on the international hotel design scene?

MC: Sam mentioned ‘unsung heroes’ and I completely agree. A lot of time, the lighting product itself is out of sight but we make the interior look spectacular. In terms of branding and signage, you can make the lighting and the products look appropriate for that brand.  We as lighting consultants, tend to interfere when needed in order to ensure all areas of the lighting looks exceptional, which I think really amplifies brands’ look and feel as a quality hospitality establishment.

AS: Lighting is such an integral part of the overall design. In my 30 year career in the industry, even ‘lower end’ brands will insist on a lighting designer, not only for looks but also for the economy that good lighting can bring to a company’s bottom line. I see a much greater integration between interior design and lighting disciplines. And I think some of the more sophisticated clients insists on doing things that are intuitive yet simple to operate. With everything, the more simple and more stripped away the experience is, the harder you have to work to ensure that it works behind the scenes.

GM: From a brand point of view, brands across all sectors are battling to get closer to their customer. If you take away the functionality of a brand, it becomes all about emotions, values and that in itself becomes more sensory. Some would argue that there is nothing more sensory than lighting.

HK: Are travel trends dictating the way in which you light a space?

MC: I suppose they are. Take the Instagram moment for example, and having to change moods within spaces. We are working on a project at the moment in Moscow where this is a big draw for the client, in order to, as Gary was saying, reinforce the brand. It comes down to comfort.

SH: I think it depends on the brand, to be honest. On a younger brand, the lighting has more presence. A few years ago we did the W in Shang-hi and the lighting is the artwork. Whereas if we were working on a hotel in a heritage building, then it becomes more subtle. Equally there are hotels that use lighting to enhance wellness and the consumer journey – so yes, lighting is absolutely changing as a result of travel trends and modern traveller demands.

HK: Gary, I wanted to highlight one of your projects, Middle Eight, where you created an immersive, modern suite that had no windows, therefore lacking natural lighting. Talk us through how you designed these areas to become the hotel’s premium suites… 

GM: We broke all the rules with that location. More often than not the most expensive suites are located at the top of the hotel in order to create privacy but also to utilise views. We were repositioning the hotel from a run-of-the mill hotel in London into a luxury/lifestyle hotel. We decided to take what were the meeting rooms on the first floor, which had a light-well on the ceilings in the centre of the room. We were able to punch roof lights in and we wrapped the living spaces around this interior courtyard, if you like.

To ensure we achieved a premium lighting scheme in these premium suites, we ensured that guests could change the lighting setting through the means of very simple controls.

HK: What would you say at the major pitfalls to avoid when creating lighting schemes?

SH: When you are working internationally, it’s very difficult to ensure everyone has the same intent, and that’s where good communication and strong relationships come in.

AS: For me, one manufacturer’s lighting element is not the same as another manufacturer’s lighting elements. They may look the same in image, but unless you touch the elements you really can’t tell whether it’s a quality product. Because everyone is so connected now, you can’t tell if a product element is ‘equivalent’ to another product without touching it.

Mark Lissauer: That’s a great point. We have lots of distributers around the world, and a year and a half ago we decided to open our own office in the Middle East. Whilst all the designs are specified in the UK, our connection to our distributers were losing when it came to going to site. Now, with this investment, we are able to streamline the process.

HK: Another area Franklite has invested in is its research and development with its own testing equipment on site. Perhaps you can tell us more about that…

ML: Michael was saying earlier reducing from 40 watts per square metre to 20 watts per square metre. With the photometer, we can give all the circuit wattages for that. Hopefully, this enables us to prove how our USPs in products are benefiting the overall look and feel of design schemes. We have just invested in this marvellous machine that looks at flicker, the flickers that are subliminal that could be impacting the quality of guests’ wellbeing.

HK: Let’s end by talking about Brexit. Has this resulted in designers being more aware of British manufacturers?

SH: Unfortunately not! There is a change from the project team. We are working on a number of projects in mainland Europe where they are wanting us to specify products from mainland Europe, which is great from an eco-perspective, but it does mean that we have to be more knowledgeable when it comes down to what certain brands can do and what their strengths are – and not trying to do something that’s not natural for that area. It is causing issues, and the general speed of sampling is also very difficult.

Equally, we have UK projects that are really championing only looking at manufacturers in the UK, which has been really refreshing to find even artisan manufacturers. That, for us, has been a game changer because it impacts every project.

GM: The gestation period of a hotel project is so long, we are just getting to the point now where it becomes more of an issue. I envision it becoming more of an issue and I am anticipation that situation.

RPW Design designed The Capital Suite

Image caption: The Capital Suite inside InterContinental London Park Lane, designed by RPW Design (Ariane Steinbeck). | Image credit: Will Pryce

HK: What else in lighting has inspired you recently?

AS: I want to know why we can’t incorporate that healthy spectrum of vitamin D to counter the deficit of natural light we don’t get during the winter,

I want know, especially in northern hemisphere where there is a deficit of sunlight in the winter months, why can’t we, with our sophisticated tech, launch a product that incorporates a healthy spectrum of what we need for our skin to produce vitamin D during these months.

MC: We have heard about this. It was a little while back a bit of a buzzword and idea, but it is just how we get that design into a scheme. The whole conversation around circadian rhythm is very interesting and we should always be thinking about it.

ML: We have just launched our L11 Tuneable White Light engine, which gives the user much more control – and we are absolutely now looking at replicating the health qualities of natural light.

Franklite, which won Best in British Product Design at The Brit List Awards 2021,  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: Unsplash

Beach and pool at koh samui resort SAii Koh Samui Bophut

S Hotels & Resorts opens new resort on Koh Samui

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
S Hotels & Resorts opens new resort on Koh Samui

Just opened: SAii Koh Samui Bophut is an elegant low-rise, upscale resort planning to cater for those travellers wanting to stay in style, while soaking up the authentic essence of island of Koh Samui…

Beach and pool at koh samui resort SAii Koh Samui Bophut

S Hotels & Resorts is embarking on a new era of free-spirited hospitality on Thailand’s ‘Coconut Island’ of Koh Samui with the opening of SAii Koh Samui Bophut. The stylish low-rise sanctuary is nestled on Hanuman Bay, a secluded 300-metre long stretch of sand on Samui’s pristine northeast shore. Surrounded by lush foliage and coconut palms, with spectacular granite headlands that jut out into the sparkling sea, the elegant, eco-sensitive resort allows guests to unwind and escape the outside world.

SAii, from the Thai word for ‘sand’ or ‘pathway’, is an upscale lifestyle concept that plans to attract a new generation of experience-seeking guests. With private pools in every suite or villa and an array of engaging guest experiences, the resort was designed with couples and families in mind.

“SAii has captured our customers’ imaginations since it was first unveiled,” said Dirk De Cuyper, CEO, S Hotels & Resorts. “This fun and free-spirited lifestyle brand intuitively caters to a new generation of travellers who are curious and want to explore their destination, but on their own terms. With its spectacular seafront setting, stunning pool suites and villas, fantastic facilities, exceptional activities and deep environmental ethos, SAii Koh Samui Bophut will be an outstanding addition to our lifestyle collection.”

Hotel suite on koh samui featuring natural materials all with sea view

Image credit: S Hotels and Resorts

The resort is made up of a collection of spacious, standalone Plunge Pool Suites, One Bedroom Pool Villas and Beachfront Plunge Pool Suites. All showcase garden or sea views and come fully equipped with plenty of indoor and outdoor space, separate living areas and bedrooms, spa-inspired bathrooms, premium amenities and fast connectivity and Wi-Fi. Exclusive to the SAii brand are ‘creature comfort’ pillows, as well as personalised organic bathroom amenities from the unique M.I.Y Aroma Lab. The SAii App allows visitors to personalise every aspect of their vacation, with the ability to make requests, chat with resort’s team, book excursions, order room service and more, straight from their smartphone.

SAii Koh Samui Bophut is the fourth member of the SAii portfolio worldwide, joining SAii Lagoon Maldives, SAii Laguna Phuket and SAii Phi Phi Island Village. SAii Resorts will be the driving forces behind S Hotels & Resorts’ future expansion, as a forward-thinking Thai company strives to create a collection of hotels and resorts that reflect the vibrant spirit of their destination.

> Since you’re here, why not read about the eco gem, The Tongsai, on Soh Samui?

Main image credit: S Hotels & Resorts

Suite inside LEVEN Manchester with freestanding bath in front of window with red exposed brick walls

‘First in’ to review LEVEN in Manchester

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
‘First in’ to review LEVEN in Manchester

In the heart of Manchester, LEVEN, brought to you by the innovators at Wellbrook Hospitality, has opened its glass door. Editor Hamish Kilburn was ‘first in’ to review the luxury/lifestyle brand’s debut hotel…

Suite inside LEVEN Manchester with freestanding bath in front of window with red exposed brick walls

For some time now, the David-and-Goliath narrative between Manchester and London has been an exciting battle to watch. London, a giant in size as well as spirit, is unequivocally the epicentre of the UK hotel design and hospitality scene. But it is not alone. Small yet mighty and effortlessly dominating the Northern hotel landscape, Manchester’s compact city centre is an incubator of vibrant innovation and pure style; home to lifestyle and fashion brands that unapologetically break the mold. It therefore confidently squares up to many major hotel design hotspots around the globe (seriously, ignore development in the city at your peril).

Within the hive of new development that is simply bursting out at the seams is LEVEN, the new hospitality brand that has arrived with a bright and infectious personality.

Taking on the challenge to achieve meaningful luxury/lifestyle hospitality in the heart of Manchester required individuals who were able to navigate the lifestyle sector and pinpoint valuable opportunities. Cue the arrival of Timothy Griffin, PJ Kenny and Shanthan Balakrishnan, the Founders of Wellbrook Hospitality who prior to this accumulated 20 years’ experience between them as senior leaders at Ennismore.

“We saw an opportunity  to enter a space that is dominated by staid-legacy thinking,” said Griffin. “Challenging the status quo, thinking differently, and bringing a fresh dynamic approach are all key components of our DNA. Wellbrook Hospitality is also unusual in that we are one of the only independent operators that not only create new brands, but manage all technical, design  and pre-opening services along with operating under flexible HMA terms.”

LEVEN Manchester, the brand’s debut hotel located on the corner of the infamous Canal Street, is where the brand’s narrative begins to create a conscious, community-driven series of spaces that speak the local language.

“It’s like LEVEN gatecrashed the party, deliberately ignored the dress code and brought its own booze.” – Hamish Kilburn, editor, Hotel Designs.

From the outside, the property’s striking red bricks and characterful Crittal windows reflect the same style as many other building’s in Manchester: original, untouched and charmingly rustic.

Exterior of LEVEN Manchester

Image credit: Mariell Lind Hansen

But inside, the 42-key hotel is equipped and designed for modern travellers, and includes contemporary co-working, co-living, on-trend retail space and a yet-to-open food and beverage experience.

Immediately upon entry, the scene is set as a laid-back lifestyle hotel. The cosy lobby is adorned with emerald green scalloped tiles, blackened steel ceiling-height units and statement lighting, which creates a dramatic entrance. The space feels home-from-home level of intimate, with faux fur throws draped over miss-matched furniture and a gallery wall of abstract art that makes guests stop to exhale and admire with a tilted head.

As far as ‘the brand’ goes, it’s like LEVEN gatecrashed the party, deliberately ignored the dress code and brought its own booze. And talking of dress codes, in one corner of the lobby, the retail concept allows the brand to further flex its muscles with the slogan ‘work life’ taking on a whole new meaning, which is imprinted in the various on-trend merchandise available, including jumpers, socks and drinks containers. Adjacent to this is the modest check-in area and café, which is aptly subtle, allowing for the friendly nature of the staff the opportunity to ensure guests’ experience from the start is one that is warm and memorable.

The hotel’s 42 guestrooms and suites are spread over eight floors, and comprise of four thoughtfully designed accommodation types: ‘Life Size’ (standard guestroom), ‘Living Space’ (one-bedroom suite), ‘Living Large’ (one-bedroom duplex Penthouse suite), and ‘Living The Dream’ (two-bedroom duplex Penthouse suite).

Suite with white bed, exposed brick and bath, inside LEVEN Manchester

Image credit: Mariell Lind Hansen

Although each room and suite is designed to be different, together they share the same design language with oak parquet or timber floors, bespoke furniture and quirky ‘do not disturb’ signs. As well as being a pioneering hotelier – that, nobody is questioning – Griffen is also an exceptional interior designer. Inside the hotel he took the historic roots and industrial bones of the building, and masterfully married them together with sleek interior touches and intuitive design solutions. Here, the devil is in the detail. For example, the rooms, which feel lifted and airy with plenty of natural light flooding in, feature by-folding wardrobes that open to reveal a simple yet clever mirror that slides across the piece of furniture.

“We wanted the interior design to be consistent with the pillars of the LEVEN brand,” added Griffin. “Leven means ‘live’, so we crafted spaces that would feel not only stylish and sophisticated, but warm, relaxed and homely.”

In the Life Size and Living Space rooms, soft greys and blues are offset by rich green velvet, leather and black marble furnishings. The duplex Penthouses – sheltered in a seamless extension on the top floors of the building – have a calming neutral colour palette throughout and upper-level bedrooms that are accessed by whimsical, wooden spiral staircases.

“We selected calming colours throughout, paid attention to the tactility of fabrics and materials using natural woods and stones to complement the industrial fabric of the early 20th century warehouse,” added Griffin. “We played around with the idea of using graphic paint lines in the corridors, however settled on floor to ceiling wooden panels painted in a charming Farrow & Ball Card Room Green juxtaposed with an industrial mesh ceiling.

The beds, with natural fibre mattresses from Naturalmat, feature padded leather headboard paired with black metal frames. The artwork, deliberately positioned on the left hand side of each guestroom to avoid unsightly symmetry. From black-and-white images of the city to an upside-down poem and the odd dog in between, the art curation raises questions. “It’s all been curated by Tim, and there’s no real theme with these pieces” said Kris Doyle, General Manager, LEVEN Manchester. “He just knows what he likes and can capture what works.”

The bathrooms, meanwhile, complete with anti-steam mirrors and industrial-style grey concrete tiles, have been designed to be minimalistic wet rooms. They include quality brands, such as Hansgrohe showers (hand shower and overhead shower), Roca basins, GROHE flush plates and Duravit toilets. Creating a cohesive design tone between bathroom and bedroom – all while taking the wellness outside the bathroom – the ‘Living Space’ suites also feature deep free-standing baths from Porcelanosa.

Entering a new territory in the luxury/lifestyle sector, LEVEN has unquestionably arrived, and in doing so it has set the tone for lifestyle hospitality to transform and adjust its settings yet again.

So what’s next for Wellbrook Hospitality, and the LEVEN brand? “We are in advanced discussions for our second and third sites in the UK and Europe,” said Griffin. “Along with Branco Capital we are looking at New York – a favourite city of mine after living there for over a decade.”

And with that, I bid farewell to Manchester – a city that will forever inspire me to push boundaries and ask questions – with the knowledge that when I return, whenever that may be, LEVEN will have established itself as the trend-setting, gatecrashing friend in the industry who we all want to socialise with.

Main image credit: Heiko Prigge

blue and white bedroom with seaview in tel aviv hotel David Kempinski

The David Kempinski Tel Aviv to arrive in February 2022

730 565 Pauline Brettell
The David Kempinski Tel Aviv to arrive in February 2022

Kempinski Hotels has announced the long-anticipated opening of The David Kempinski Tel Aviv, the luxury hospitality brand’s 80th global opening and its first property in Israel. Let’s a take a look inside… 

blue and white bedroom with seaview in tel aviv hotel David Kempinski

In 2022, Kempinski Hotels is set to bring 125 years of five-star European hospitality to Tel Aviv. Housed in the latest skyscraper (built by Feigin Architects) to appear on the city’s Mediterranean Sea promenade, the 250-key property is set to open to guests as soon as February, following quickly on from the opening of Israel’s international borders to tourism. Centrally located across the street from the seaside boardwalk and promenade – and within walking distance to the city’s wonderful outdoor food markets and dynamic urban centre – The David Kempinski Tel Aviv stretches over 34 stories, with interior design spearheaded by Ara Design.

seaview bedroom at the david kempinski tel aviv

Image credit: The David Kempinski Tel Aviv

Unique for an urban resort, each of the 250 guestrooms and suites at The David Kempinski Tel Aviv features views of the Mediterranean Sea, with sliding glass doors that allow guests to soak up the sunshine. One of the highlights of the hotel is the property’s triplex-penthouse suite, the largest of its kind in Tel Aviv, spanning more than 370 square metres, and including a 100 square metre rooftop terrace with an infinity pool melting into the coastline. Guests of the hotel’s top 14 suites will have exclusive access to the 34th floor outdoor lounge that is open during the warm spring, summer and autumn months, and boasts a private rooftop pool, relaxation area with sunbeds and cabanas, and a fully-serviced lounge restaurant and bar. At night, the 34th floor lounge will also transform to Cloud51, a buzzy nightlife experience with cocktails and tapas. Adding to the city’s legendary gastronomic scene, the hotel will feature five dining venues spread across multiple floors of the property, each with their own unique atmosphere and decor. Executive Chef Mor Cohen, a World Luxury Restaurants Award-winner specializing in gourmet Kosher cuisine, will helm the property’s F&B program, including Sereia Restaurant & Lounge, a high-end Kosher fish restaurant with an outstanding selection.

Set in the heart of the “tayelet” (as Tel Aviv’s boardwalk is locally referred to in Hebrew), The David Kempinski Tel Aviv is steps away from the outdoor sport and water activities the city offers, from paddle boarding and surf lessons, to bike and scooter rentals and rooftop yoga curated by the hotel.

“Our goal is to create a warm community and become a home base in Tel Aviv for families visiting Israel,” said Guy Klaiman, General Manager, The David Kempinski Tel Aviv. “The David Kempinski Tel Aviv is the new central hub along the beach, combining the finest of a beach vacation and cultural urban experience.”

marble and wood hotel bathroom in tel aviv David Kempinski

Image credit: The David Kempinski Tel Aviv

In addition to the entertainment and culinary offerings, the hotel includes a full-service spa with 11 treatment rooms, a fully-equipped gym, a sauna and a relaxation area. Manicure, pedicure and hair salon appointments can be arranged in-house with the hotel’s team of seasoned professional stylists. The David Kempinski Tel Aviv tower features a state-of-the-art meeting and banquet space that can accommodate up to 500 guests, creating a new venue for destination weddings, large conferences, business meetings, and holiday celebrations.

Main image credit: The David Kempinski Tel Aviv

Hamish Kilburn, Tina Norden, Balkaran Bassan and Vince Stroop on stage at HIX

HIX panel discussion: Designing hospitality for the ‘WFHotel’ generation

730 565 Pauline Brettell
HIX panel discussion: Designing hospitality for the ‘WFHotel’ generation

One of the stand-out moments from HIX 2021 was undoubtedly the installations that were displayed in the Hotel Tomorrow gallery. Designed collaboratively by Conran and Partner, Areen Design and stroop design, the aim was to reflect the coming together of co-working spaces and hotels. Editor Hamish Kilburn, who spent six months following the designers, moderated the panel discussion on the HIX Talks stage that explored every corner of the concept in detail. Pauline Brettell writes…

Hamish Kilburn, Tina Norden, Balkaran Bassan and Vince Stroop on stage at HIX

HIX 2021 has been two years in the making – like the entire hospitality industry, the event was subjected to Covid-19 cancellations and delays – but finally, last week saw the experiential trade show in the spotlight at London’s Business Design Centre. True to its manifesto and guiding principles, HIX presented us with not only new products and practical design solutions to marvel over, but it also opened discussion and debate around issues of direction, design and, of course, sustainability.

The spaces in which this spirit of debate and conversation were most visible, were the two installations, along with the discussions that were taken to the HIX Talks stage as a result.

The first of these immersive settings was the WFHotel installation, which presented designers with the challenge of re-looking at the hotel as a “new productive, fluid and well workplace”, and all that that means. It was a collaborative installation by the design studios of Areen Design, Conran & Partners, and stroop design. The three hand-selected studios worked together to present us with emerging possibilities. The designers representing the studios,  Balkaran Bassan, Tina Norden and Vince Stoop joined forces with editor Hamish Kilburn on the HIX Talks stage to explain the process and discuss the thoughts and ideas that resulted in the set, and just how the conversation developed into one that hopefully initiated debate and discussion rather than coming up with a formulaic answer or response. “The access we had into these studios was unprecedented,” said Kilburn. “It allowed us to follow the process from concept through to completion, to understand how each area of the installation evolved and mutate over time. “For me, though, the most inspiring element of this project was how it changed from being a competition between three studios to a purposeful collaboration, which really helped enforce this year’s theme of HIX: ‘all together now’.”

Although the project was a collaborate effort, each designer was able to create their own section within the overall installation. While there is clearly a need to overlap and integrate, the installations and the conversation that followed could be broadly divided into community and function, comfort and cocooning and wellness and nature. “It was inspiring to see how each design studio approached the brief differently,” Kilburn explained. “Conran and Partners injected the energy of community when they decided to launch workshops on their pod on the hour so that the space would transform in time. Meanwhlile, Areen Design created an art installation-style safe cocoon nest that brought down the heart rate. stroop design, very much inspired by its own situation of launching recently with no physical base, was inspired by nature – and unveiled its co-working pod as a walk-in-the-park experience. Outside these three areas, the studios worked together to help set the scene, using visuals and sound as tools for transformation from one area of the show to another.”

Discussing the question of community and function, Conran & Partners developed an interactive and community based focus to the design question. As explained by Tina Norden, while hotels have clearly always had to design for people, this concept took it a step further, encouraging the people using the space to define it and refine it, according to function and needs. Rather than over designing a space, the circular workspace was stripped back to allow for flexibility – flexibility of space and design being a key them throughout the discussion – to allow the people using the space to use it according to their needs in that moment.

The theme of wellness was explored by stroop design. Identifying the ‘work from wherever’ fluidity that has emerged out of the pandemic, and combining it with the importance of nature, especially in the urban built environment, was the focus. Stroop spoke about the need to maximise the ‘pockets of nature’ presented to us, along with the importance of nature in our wellbeing and therefore the importance of integrating that into the workplace and in so doing, ensuring a work, wellness balance.

Becoming a lot more introspective, and really championing the ‘circle of life’ motif that ran through all three installations, Areen Design created a soft and fluid quiet space, a space to cocoon. It was a place for thought, which provided an important counterbalance to the busy communality of the other spaces. Heightened by soft surfaces and lack of colour interference, this space gave a heightened sense of calm, and was a design devoid of unnecessary distraction.

“Not long after being presented with the brief and exploring initial ideas, the conversation soon developed from one of competition into one of collaboration – and this ethos was a positive note that sounded throughout the discussion.”

Having identified the differences, it was soon clear in discussion that the overall installation was all about collaboration and commonality. It was a process that, as mentioned by Kilburn, started out as a competition; a call to arms for three design studios to compete and establish who could come up with the best workplace solution. However, not long after being presented with the brief and exploring initial ideas, the conversation soon developed from one of competition into one of teamwork – and this ethos was a positive note that sounded throughout the discussion.

There was, as already mentioned, a clear theme or key word which emerged out of this discussion; flexibility. The need for flexible spaces and flexible design, to accommodate flexible purpose and mood. Coming out of the pandemic, lines and boundaries have been blurred as our personal spaces have had to be more multi-functional. We are now projecting those experiences onto what we want from public and hospitality spaces, specifically when it comes to design requirements around our co-working space. All three designers discussed at length the need for the need for that concept of flexibility to be applied to the design process as much as to the design itself. People have had to find the ‘space’ at home for work, play and wellness, and now expect hotels to deliver the same. A successful co-working space is about more than providing a socket to charge your phone, people are demanding a place that allows them to be creative, to work, to be responsive.

Tina Norden, Balkaran Bassan and Vince Stroop on stage at HIX

Image caption: Balkaran Bassan, Tina Norden and Vince Stroop were on the HIX Talks stage last week, explaining how their WFHotel concepts developed. Image credit: HIX

Another key theme of this discussion was that, along with the spirit of partnership, there developed an understanding of what we have in common rather than differences, so while on the surface the studios offered three very different design solutions, there was, as discussed by Tina Norden, Conran and Partners, “the red thread that ran through the designs”. The points the installations had in common were as important as their differences, and in fact ideally, aspects of all were required for a successful WFHotel space. The singularity of purpose, that red thread, strengthened the individual designs as they all presented us with different aspects of that flexible new space.

All three designs brought something different into the mix and highlighted the different elements that are required when we are looking critically at hotel design for tomorrow, a tomorrow which is rapidly becoming today. As with a lot of subjects, the questions around co-working spaces and design requirements where already happening before society got locked down, but Covid-19 and the ensuing shifts in society have accelerated this discussion. The WFHotels installation can therefore be seen as a starting point, and possibly even a challenge to start thinking more critically. As Bassan, succinctly put it, these installations should be seen as “conceptual thought bubbles,” that float into other conversations rather than a prescriptive solution.

The entire installation was described by stroop design as a “palette cleanser” from the main exhibition hall – it was a place to decompress after the hard sell of the main event where people where visually vying for space. In this space it was palpably quieter, and a lot calmer. There was a sense of community and common purpose, yet within that there remained space for so many different threads to be followed and discussions to be had.

If it was about creating an experience, then the circle of life swathed in fabric by Areen Design certainly did that, and as you walked into and quietly took time to explore the folds of fabric, you were confronted with the words of Haruki Murakami; “you won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm is all about”

The storm isn’t over, and the world is certainly not the same, but the conversation about what that means for the industry is certainly taking place as we try and work out exactly what the storm is all about. Hopefully, we are able to take back the narrative, and ensure that with some conscious and considered design we can somehow  charge the conversation with an increased positivity and energy.

And the suppliers…

The designers have expressed their sincere gratitude to the companies that and people who helped them throughout this process (and in some instances at very last minute) to achieve each their visual goals. Below is a nod to those brands; the often forgotten or at the very least, under-amplified, manufacturers that are vital part of the puzzle.

Conran and Partners: Alt Collective, Table Place Chairs, Matter of Stuff, Foresso, Fredericia, Carl Hansen & Son, Double Decker, Tomoko Kakita, Muuto
Areen Design: Alt Collective, Table Place Chairs, The Romo Group, Villa Nova, Latham Timber
stroop design: Technogym London, Elite Wallcovering by Article, Leaflike, Gubi, Ligne Roset, Astro Lighting, Romo Fabrics, Solid Surfaces, The Alt Collective, The Sunbeam Group

Main image credit: HIX

Exterior of Amada Colossos Resort

Amada Colossos Resort – large in size, made personal by design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Amada Colossos Resort – large in size, made personal by design

To understand whether or not a hotel on a ‘colossos’ scale can still create a boutique look and feel, editor Hamish Kilburn travelled to the Greek island of Rhodes – known as the Island of Sun – to check in to the 699-key Amada Colossos Resort

Exterior of Amada Colossos Resort

The most eastern Greek island – just 12 miles from Turkey, which can be seen vividly from the Old Town – Rhodes has become famous among tourists for its medieval city, which is twice the size of Dubrovnik; fascinating architecture; stone-paved alleys and beautiful, untouched natural landscape.

In recent years, due to its easy accessibility from the UK and wider Europe, the island has become somewhat of a tourism hotspot. In 2018, it was reported by Statista that Rhodes had 49,451 hotel rooms, the second largest reported figure among the Greek islands that year.

Among them is the beachfront Amada Colossos Resort, where, on the eastern coast, early risers during the small hours of the morning can capture the moment the Mediterranean Sea meets a bubble-gum pink sky as the sun starts to emerge on the edge of the horizon – a much welcome change of scenery from the craggy, grey autumn I left behind in England.

Since 1980, when the hotel first emerged as a 408-key hotel, it has evolved into several new chapters thanks to a series of renovations. Nothing, though, was quite as impressive or dramatic as than the €50m reconstruction and redevelopment project in 2017, which was implemented by architecture studio F. & K. KYDONIATIS & PARTNERS and completed in 2018.

Exterior image of Amada Colossos Resort

Image credit: Amada Colossos Resort

Aris Soulounias, Colossos SA CEO, a veteran and experienced hotelier, had the vision to create a resort that would offer, through a spectrum of locally inspired and meticulously selected details, a ‘modern philosophy of luxurious seafront holiday’; an irresistible combination of five-star living and authentic Greek hospitality.

Landscaped to blend into its natural setting, the hotel now shelters no less than 699 guestrooms (varying from 17 styles), all decorated in natural materials with a contemporary twist. To cater for the number of guests, the hotel features 16 bars and restaurants that are dotted throughout the resort, a 140-metre outdoor pool and even its own water park. The challenge, therefore, for the wide team at F. & K. KYDONIATIS & PARTNERS was to maintain a cohesive design narrative throughout – and this required a sensitive yet personal approach.

Inside one of the 32 sea-view suites, guests enter to a sense of calm, which, in one of the 12 Sea-View Executive Suites, is enhanced by the floor-to-ceiling balcony doors that frame an enchanted vista of endless sea, which is complimented by the colour scheme that includes punches of turquoise and blue.

Guestroom with handmade headboard inside Amada Colossos Resort - Sea View Executive Suite_2

Image credit: Amada Colossos Resort

Clever use of cove lighting aptly elevates the space, while also blurring any potential hard boundaries. Blended together with natural materials, such as a handcrafted wooden headboard from Bali and walls that have been painted with a modern lime wash effect to create a natural tone and texture, the suite feels earthy yet spacious, complete with a contemporary walk-in wardrobe, framed with LED strip lighting, a large living area, a luxurious bedroom and a balcony that stretches the entire width of the suite.

The bathroom, meanwhile, complete with Ideal Standard taps and shower fittings, is beyond simply a practical space. A large window, with panel-controlled blinds, allows natural light and a cohesive design style to flood into the space, as well as opening up yet another opportunity for guests to soak in the unmatched view of the sea below. “The first question was how to bring water into the building,” architect Konstantinos Kydoniatis tells Hotel Designs. “We opened up the bathrooms to give a feeling of more space and tried to orientate everything towards the sea. When visitors arrive, they will understand that they have come very close to the sea. That you can see the sea from many parts of the resort. That you can touch it.”

Bathroom inside Amada Colossos Resort Sea View Family Room (With sliding doors)

Image credit: Amada Colossos Resort

It would be easy with a hotel as large as Amada Colossos Resort for its design language to be muted or overshadowed by its size. However, like many answers in design, the solution came in the form of art. Throughout the hotel, guests will notice abstract sculptures and art pieces that reflect the property’s sense of location. Taking the art narrative deeper, I am told that in fact all the art sheltered within the building had been commissioned by Ms. Roula Soulounia, who was instrumental in the interior design process and the selection of the artworks adorning Elite Collections Suites and Villas as well as resort’s premises.

Sustainability fit to scale

Don’t let the hotel’s size fool you Despite its scale, the Amada Colossos’ commitment to sustainability is refreshing. Going much further than simply banning plastic straws – although the hotel has taken the liberty to introduce 450,000 pasta straws – decisions such as installing energy-efficient windowpanes, heat-recovery chillers to reduce energy costs of air conditioning units, prove that the hotel is, from its foundations, a non-greenwashing, sustainable core.

In addition, the outside walls have been fitted with an external thermal insulation composite system and all interior walls have been painted with European Eco-Label paints. The hotel also used 40,000 metres of energy-saving LED tape around the premises (just another 295 metres and it would have completed a marathon). Around the resort, a total of 14,000 low-energy LED bulbs have been fitted, and by introducing reverse osmosis and nanofiltration technology, not only is the tap water in rooms and common areas drinkable, but guests save 450g of CO2 emissions (equivalent to six km of driving) by consuming their three-litre daily water quota.

Outside, the landscaping has been done with local Mediterranean plants, minimising irrigation needs.

Sunrise image of pool at Amada Colossus in Rhodes

Image credit: Amada Colossos Resort

As an added touch, screens in the lifts reference these sustainable milestones, which ensure the message around conscious hospitality is being heard loud and clearly, without it feeling too forced.

The real power of F&B 

And now we come to the real answer on how a large hotel can indeed still shelter an apt boutique look and feel. The power of F&B has long been explored in the arena of hospitality, but nowhere can it set different scenes than in a large resort, and often it is the make or break moment of whether a hotel will cater for modern demand travellers. In charge of the main restaurant as well as three á-la-carte restaurants (Greek, Italian and Asian) is Executive Chef Konstantinos Vasileious, who along with his committed team ensure that the hotel’s extensive menus hit the notes, which they do precisely in every dish.

The three á-la-carte restaurants are positioned next to each other, but could not be more different in their design. The Greek restaurant appropriately feels more like a Greek house than a hospitality establishment, with authentic artwork and ceilings made from used crates. The Italian restaurant, meanwhile, features a beautiful tiled floor and orb-like lighting with matt black and wooden furniture to reflect a contemporary image. Lastly, the Asian restaurant has been designed with a sharp eye to feature Asian-inspired lighting that plays on different textures.

Asian-inspired F&B outlet in hotel in Rhodes

Image credit: Amada Colossos Resort

If trends are to be believed, with travellers expected to journey deeper and for longer in the future, hotels such as Amada Colossos Resort have the ability, flexibility and space to offer something for almost everyone. As I check out – turning over my shoulder to capture the postcard-perfect view one last time – I feel confident to conclude that the owners and management team behind this hotel work tirelessly and effectively, through design as well as service, to ensure that each guest’s experience is unique, comfortable and memorable – you don’t get much more boutique than that.

Main image credit: Amada Colossos Resort


The Luxury Collection makes debut in Rocky Mountains

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Luxury Collection makes debut in Rocky Mountains

The Luxury Collection Heralds a new beacon of sophistication and vibrancy in the Rocky Mountains with the Debut of The Hythe, a Luxury Collection Resort, Vail…


The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts, part of Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of 30 extraordinary hotel brands, today announced the opening of The Hythe, a Luxury Collection Resort, Vail. Owned by DiamondRock Hospitality Company, the brand-new luxury resort concept in the heart of the Rocky Mountains debuts after undergoing a $40 million transformation, including an entirely revamped arrival and lobby experience, reinvigorated outdoor spaces and four brand-new culinary concepts. The resort marks Marriott International’s only Luxury Collection alpine resort in North America.

“With over 5,200 acres of world-renowned terrain, Vail, Colorado has become one of the most popular mountain resort communities in North America,” said Philipp Weghmann, Vice President and Global Brand Leader for The Luxury Collection. “The addition of The Hythe, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Vail to this legendary destination is an extension of the unique experiences available in the region. We are proud to announce the opening of the resort as the only Luxury Collection alpine resort in this iconic destination.”

Boasting 344 rooms, inclusive of 22 suites and 16 spacious residences, guests are situated just steps from the base of Vail Mountain where they can explore a plethora of outdoor experiences designed for every season or take in the charming and bustling cobblestone streets of Lionshead Village, which offers countless shops and art galleries. The Hythe serves as a gateway to Vail’s most exciting and desirable experiences, whether guests are looking to partake in exclusive alpine excursions or rejuvenate at the on-site recovery-focused spa. Inspired by the legendary founders of Vail Ski Resort, Pete Seibert and Earl Eaton, The Hythe reimagines the revelry, camaraderie, and hospitality of après ski, infusing the ‘good-time-was-had-by-all’ spirit into all aspects of the guest experience, no matter the time of day or season.

Helmed by Wilson Ishihara Design, the interiors of The Hythe are inspired by the origins of Vail, those who built it in the 1960s, and the beautiful surrounding nature that drove people to the destination. A pioneering spirit, hospitality, and a mutual love of skiing can be felt in each elevated design element. Adorned with elegant custom furniture and art pieces, entering the lobby brings guests into a majestic and serene Rocky Mountain design scheme. Punctuated with glamorous 60’s touches and historic ski references, the space brings guests a sense of unparalleled authenticity. Visitors will be pulled in by thoughtful, clean design details such as local Colorado calacatta marble quarried from the Rocky Mountain, carved wood feature art inspired by the local shepherding tradition of Arborglyphs, marble flooring textured to evoke snow fall on the landscape, carved black stone walls, and Douglas fir siding wood panels inspired by an alpine chalet.

The Hythe’s namesake, ‘haven’, is fully realised in the resort’s 344 guestrooms, which offer elegant and opulent spaces, creating a true respite. With a focus on design elements that invite relaxation and recovery from a day spent on-mountain, picture windows boast the same views of Vail Mountain that inspired the passion of Pete Siebert and Earl Eaton many years ago. Wood, stone, leather, and faux fur bring a welcoming sanctuary to lay one’s head or simply spend the whole day.

> Since you’re here, why not read about W Dubai, which has been signed?

Main image credit: The Hythe, a Luxury Collection Resort, Vail

Trip lighting from LEDS C4

Live from HIX: LEDS C4 presents ‘best choice’ of new products

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Live from HIX: LEDS C4 presents ‘best choice’ of new products

LEDS C4 is presenting its ‘best choice’ of new products at Hotel Interiors Experience (HIX). Editor Hamish Kilburn heads over to stand U36 to learn more about the Tubs, Trip and Noway collections…

Trip lighting from LEDS C4

LEDS C4 is at Hotel Interiors Experience (HIX) this week in London. The lighting company over on stand U36 at this year’s event – and has also lent a few items to Hotel Designs on stand U54. LEDS C4 is an official sponsor of this year’s edition, supporting the organisation with an interesting series of discussions involving famous names such as Tom Dixon. For this London event, the brand will highlight some of the best sellers from its Decorative Collection catalogue – and here’s what caught our eye…


The design by Nahtrang Design is a set of geometric lines that make versatility its main strength, with almost endless composition possibilities. Its linear forms combine to create visual poetry in the form of latticework. The Tubs collection has four families: pendant, table, wall and floor. Each piece is a living element that can be infinitely extended; they can also be built in smaller versions that adapt to more limited spaces.

Recently, the collection was extended with a new felt fitting, providing spaces with a greater decorative element and improved acoustic quality.


LEDS C4 has opted for the Trip collection at the HIX event: a family of wall lights that decorates and illuminates. This soft, diffuse and asymmetric light point adapts easily to any space: “When the piece and the light effect it produces are designed in full harmony, the possible applications of the luminaire are endless”, explains LEDS C4.

Trip is intended to decorate with its mere presence. To do so, it’s available in two sizes (300 and 460 mm), in metallic gold and black, and there is the option of combining two or three luminaires. It’s made from steel and aluminium.

The glass version, TRIP GLASS, connects the design of the piece with light effects, and transparency is the key to its design. It comes in three diffuser colours: Amber, Fumé and Opal. Measuring 270mm, it uses E14 bulbs with IP20 protection.


LEDS C4 will also present the Noway collection, which is now available this year with a new pendant version. Not only does Noway boast a character based on simplicity and purity, but it also provides visual comfort through high-quality indirect lighting.

Noway, which is a design by Francesco Vilaró, is a luminaire with notable dematerialisation, fully ceding relevance to the light through a surprising effect of weightlessness and lightness that helps it offer high visual comfort with minimal material. This collection offers different options, from purer versions to other more complex choices, playing with a double shade (the colours of which can be combined) and with light effects to provide more visual presence. It’s available in black and gold finishes, with or without a floor counterweight.

LEDS C4, which will also display its Tubs lighting products on Hotel Designs’ stand on U54, 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: LEDS C4

Warner Bros. Hotel - Hotel Designs

World’s first Warner Bros. hotel opens on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
World’s first Warner Bros. hotel opens on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island

The world’s first WB hotel is situated on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, steps away from the Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi Theme Park. The 257-key hotel invites guests on a ‘journey through the world of Warner Bros.’ most iconic films and television series…

Warner Bros. Hotel - Hotel Designs

Miral, Abu Dhabi’s leading curator of magnetic experiences in collaboration with Warner Bros., home to one of the most well-known and successful collections of brands and characters in the world, has announced The WB Abu Dhabi, located on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, the first ever Warner Bros. themed hotel, part of Curio Collection by Hilton, has officially opened its doors to guests. The hotel allows guests to see their favourite stories and characters brought to life through unique hospitality experiences that only the rich history and storied legacy of Warner Bros. could offer. 

“This is yet another great moment for us, with The WB Abu Dhabi hotel opening on Yas Island, further positioning it as a top global destination for leisure, entertainment and business,” said HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Miral. “We are very proud of our long-standing partnership with both Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment and Hilton, bringing world firsts and global hospitality offerings and experiences to Abu Dhabi.”

Featuring more than 400 curated images and film and TV props, guests at the world’s first Warner Bros. hotel will be treated to a journey of discovery through film and television, enjoying Warner Bros.’ rich history and library of timeless productions at every touchpoint from arrival to check-out. While dining in one of five restaurants on the property, you can listen as the piano from “Westworld,” the hit HBO science fiction TV show, plays a familiar tune. Visitors can stroll through the lobby or admire 360-degree city and sea views alongside their favorite props and costumes from Warner Bros. films and TV shows.  Kids and families can ring up one of their favourite Looney Tunes characters for a room service treat brought to them by the Wascally Wabbit, Bugs Bunny himself.

“Our dream has come true with the grand opening to the first ever Warner Bros. branded hotel. Our incredible partners at Miral and Hilton, have helped us make this vision a reality for our fans around the world,” explained Pam Lifford, President of WarnerMedia Global Brands and Experiences. “We always strive to be fan focused and have developed an exceptional hospitality experience for them to further connect with the iconic Warner Bros. brands, franchises, and characters they know and love. Guests visiting Warner Bros. World right next door will have the ultimate encore to their park experience by relaxing and treating themselves to a stay at The WB Abu Dhabi.”

Lobby area inside Warner Bros Hotel in Abu DhabiJochem-Jan Sleiffer, President, Hilton, Middle East, Africa & Turkey, added: “With the opening of The WB Abu Dhabi hotel as part of Curio Collection by Hilton, we continue our successful partnership with Miral on Yas Island.  This is the second of three hotels we are opening together, following on from the opening of Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island earlier this year, with DoubleTree by Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island Residences soon to come.  This property is a perfect representation of what Curio Collection by Hilton is all about, unique locations and experiences that carry their own distinct identity as a concept underpinned by the same upscale Hilton service.”

Guests of The WB Abu Dhabi hotel begin their story as they pull up to the hotel and are greeted by digital screens that span the height of the building, playing over 35 different pieces of original content created for the hotel. Before entering the hotel, visitors won’t want to miss the iconic “Friends” fountain, or snaping a pic with the all-new Batmobile from the upcoming highly anticipated film, The Batman. Guests will then enter the lobby and be drawn to the hotel’s uniquely designed lobby columns. A spectacular Living Archive (spiral staircase) also resides in the lobby and will house an evolving collection of items dedicated to the vast depth and history of WB’s role in entertainment. It will showcase original films and a number of Warner Bros. props such as Cowboy boots from the 1956 film Giant, worn by James Dean, Michael Keaton’s cowl from 1989 film, Batman, original drawing from The Great Gatsby and so much more. As guests continue their journey, the storytelling experience is further enriched with guest room corridors displaying a curated gallery of artwork.

Furnishing with nods to Warner Bros. legacy of rich story telling make up each of the hotel’s 257 rooms. Three themes have inspired the guestroom artwork. The first theme, “From Script to Screen,” highlights standout moments from Warner Bros.’ movies and shows and documents the journey from the written page to the final shot. The second theme, “Artist Confidential,” celebrates a variety of talent in front of and behind the camera in some of Warner Bros.’ favourite productions. The third theme, “The Vault” features rarely seen images from Warner Bros.’ most memorable archives.

Accompanying the hotel’s unique design is a broad range of world class food and beverage offerings featuring five dining options catering to both adults and children. Craft Services, located in the lobby lounge, offers a relaxing coffee break after a busy day, while Sidekicks is the perfect family friendly place for socialising and interacting while enjoying a flavorful international menu. For those lounging by the pool, The Matinee provides a casual dining option for guest of all ages, complete with a dive-in pool theatre and Mediterranean menu. Additionally, guests looking to indulge in an elegant dining experience, can visit The Director’s Club offering a sophisticated meatery where charcoal ovens, perfectly aged cuts, and a menu selection of dishes inspired to reflect the movie scene setting and supporting the whole cast, serve the mature palate, or enjoy an experience at The Overlook, a fabulous lounge with a relaxing infinity pool and beautiful 360-degree city, theme park and sea views.

The hotel is home to a host of leisure amenities for guests to enjoy, whether that’s lounging by the family pool area, working out in the fitness centre, relaxing in the spa, exploring the artwork and props or shopping in the Warner Bros. store, the Prop Shop. For younger guests, the Kid’s Club will offer a vibrant and playful space designed to bring Warner Bros.’ characters to life. Some of WB’s world-renowned characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and others will participate in entertaining activities throughout the hotel providing guest memories that will last a lifetime. The hotel also caters for business meetings and events with a large 394 square-metre multi-function ballroom and expansive meeting room facilities perfect for events.

> Since you’re here, why not read about W Hotels arrival on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi?

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Rooftop render of hotel in Covent Garden

Berlin comes to London: AMANO to open new hotel in 2022

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Berlin comes to London: AMANO to open new hotel in 2022

The German boutique lifestyle hotel brand, The AMANO Group, announced it will open its debut hotel in London in 2022. Hotel AMANO Covent Garden promises to bring the cool and vibrant energy of Berlin to the heart of London. Here’s what else we know…

Rooftop render of hotel in Covent Garden

Located on Covent Garden’s Drury Lane, a luxury hotel will emerge next year marking the first international destination from Berlin-based hotel brand, The AMANO Group, which currently has eight hotels in Berlin, one in Munich, and one in Düsseldorf.

Render of exterior of AMANO Covent GardenAMANO hotels offer sophisticated urban living in a central location at a fair price, and are carefully integrated into the cultural life of a city. Extrovert by nature and unafraid to be different, the hotels are renowned for their distinctive design and immersive drinks and dining experiences.

Formerly a 1980s office building known as Drury House, this 141-room property is the first of multiple AMANO hotels set to open in London. Hotel AMANO Covent Garden will offer a new destination for Londoners to socialise in, as well as visitors coming to the city. Here you’ll find a basement bar, restaurant, sky bar and rooftop terrace with impressive city views and DJs spinning music on weekends.

Throughout the property, we are being told to expect dark moody tones and unique design features, which have been imagined by London-based design studio, Woods Bagot, the lead architect and interior designer behind the new opening.

Render of luxury lobby in AMANO's first hotel in the UK

Image credit: The AMANO Group

“As a Berlin-based company, opening our first international property in London was always a natural step for us,” said Ariel Schiff, Co-founder of The AMANO Group. “Like Berlin, London is a dynamic city known for its thriving nightlife and multicultural community. We felt the spirit of the AMANO brand would blend in well here. We’re excited to offer guests a unique hotel and leisure experience, bringing a taste of Berlin to London.”

With a wealth of tourist hotspots on its doorstep, like the recently renovated Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Hotel AMANO Covent Garden will make a great base for solo and business travellers, couples, and families wanting to explore the capital. Guests can choose from three room categories (cosy, comfy and roomy) to suit a range of budgets.

Watch this space.

Main image credit: The AMANO Group

Orange couch and indoor plants at Beckett Locke hotel

Lifestyle brand Locke opens second hotel in Dublin

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Lifestyle brand Locke opens second hotel in Dublin

Set to become a new hub for culture and entertainment in the city Beckett Locke brings its home-meets-hotel concept to the centre of Dublin’s thriving docklands area…

Orange couch and indoor plants at Beckett Locke hotel

As a brand that isn’t prepared to waste time procrastinating, Locke is seriously catching up to – dare we say ‘taking over from’ – the conventional lifestyle brands that have for decades dominated the international hotel design scene. Following the launch of Zanzibar Locke, which was hotel brand’s first property to emerge outside of the UK, the stylish brand has now opened its second hotel in Dublin.

Tucked behind the 3Arena, Beckett Locke is a 241-studio aparthotel, which aims to inspire and connect travellers through mindful design, activated social spaces, a locally led cultural programme and disruptive food and drink concepts that celebrate the character and social fabric of its locality.

Set around a naturally lit atrium, Beckett Locke features a neighbourhood co-working space, artisan coffee shop, restaurant and intimate cocktail bar in addition to meeting and event space for up to 100 people. Beckett Locke’s beautifully designed apartments (which range from 23sqm to 53sqm) each feature fully-fitted kitchens, as well as living and dining space, making them suitable for short, medium, and long stays.

“We are thrilled to open Beckett Locke, our second home in Dublin, and the third international property in the Locke family,” said Stephen Mccall, CEO of Locke’s parent company edyn. “Dublin has always been an important city for us, and we’re excited to bring Locke’s distinctive and vibrant personality to the rapidly expanding Docklands area. The Locke experience ranges from cultural programming to creative partnerships and our ambition is to establish Beckett Locke as a creative hub for guests and locals alike.”

Designed by the London studio of globally renowned design firm AvroKO in collaboration with local firm C+W O’Brien Architects, the interiors of Beckett Locke take their cue from Dublin’s maritime history and the Docklands’ deep industrial heritage. The layout of the social spaces are inspired by a traditional Docklands market hall, and include a co-working area, meeting rooms, cocktail bar, coffee shop and restaurant, all set around a central glass atrium. The assimilation of local narratives flows into the apartments, which feature black steel, exposed concrete and rust-coloured soft furnishings, which evoke the intrepid colourways and history of the Docklands. Unique to Beckett Locke, each studio apartment has been designed in-house by edyn Development Studio.

glass walls and wooden table provide contrasting surfaces at Beckette locke hotel

Image credit: Beckett Locke

The hotel also houses three new food and drink concepts by Alan Clancy’s native restaurant group, NolaClan. North 7th Coffee will fuel the co-working space from the early morning and throughout the day, serving artisan coffee, delicate pastries, and hearty sandwiches. Meanwhile, The Belis restaurant will offer a contemporary Irish take on classic dishes using freshly sourced ingredients. Nestled in a decadent theatre-like setting, complete with rich red velvets and draped chain canopy, Sam’s Corner will shake up handcrafted cocktails inspired by Beckett Locke’s namesake, playwright Samuel Beckett.

Beckett Locke will also host an evolving cultural activation programme where locals and guests can participate in talks, events and workshops hosted by local businesses and creatives. This will be complemented by an evolving cultural activation series, which will invite local creatives, brands, and businesses to host talks, workshops and events.

Locke’s hybrid ‘home-meets-hotel’ concept has proven popular among guests seeking flexible accommodation for a night, to a month or longer. Each apartment provides the space and comfort of home, which includes fully fitted kitchens, adaptable living areas where guests can dine or work, and ample storage, all with industry-leading design and guest experience at its core. This is combined with the social attributes of a lifestyle hotel, including buzzy co-working spaces, original food and drink concepts and a team of local house hosts.

Main image credit: Beckett Locke

The Brit List Awards in Pictures

In pictures: Inside The Brit List Awards 2021

730 565 Pauline Brettell
In pictures: Inside The Brit List Awards 2021

The winners of The Brit List Awards 2021 were announced last night, inside a spectacular setting. The evening, which included more than 500 designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and brands, was full of glamour and a fair amount of glitter. Pauline Brettell and editor Hamish Kilburn were at the centre of the action to capture the atmosphere inside the awards ceremony…

The Brit List Awards in Pictures

Surrounded by the design, energy and vintage glamour of the roaring ’20s, London’s famous cabaret venue, PROUD Embankment, was a fitting platform for The Brit List Awards 2021 – an awards ceremony, unlike any other, that focused on and celebrated the individuals who are moving design, architecture and hospitality into the new ‘roaring ‘20s’.

Much like the 1920’s, there is an energy that this decade is harnessing, coming out of a period of disquiet and uncertainty, which feels like it is mirroring that same positivity of the era – a chapter in design and hospitality that was characterised by economic growth, accelerated consumer demand and saw the introduction of new trends in lifestyle and culture (sound familiar?). If those glamorous black-and-white photographs are to be believed, all this was done alongside the consumption of copious amounts of champagne – the parallels are clear.

2021 stands as the fourth year of The Brit List Awards, and this year felt significant, as we appreciate and rewarded all the creativity that surrounds us despite – or possibly because of – the year of enforced hibernation that has preceded the event. Importantly, this hibernation brought with it a healthy dose of introspection, as the industry realigns and refocuses on design priorities and responsibilities that have become integral to the design and hospitality processes. Here at Hotel Designs we feel it is important to ensure that the social considerations facing the industry – sustainability, wellness and technology, for example –  don’t just become another strap line, but are instead a continuing part of the discussion and debate. We hope this has been mirrored, in part, by the award categories.

Choosing last night’s venue at PROUD Embankment as a place of performance and celebration, was a deliberate coincidence, as Editor Hamish Kilburn explained in his opening address. “Proud,” he said, ” a relevant emotion that I sincerely hope you are all feeling right now as we gather, scarred and not broken, to celebrate the UK remaining an international design and hospitality hub.” And he was right, pride was bursting from the audience because darling… life is a cabaret, and although it may feel like we have been through a protracted intermission, the takeaway from last nights ceremony is that the main performance is about to begin!

> Since you’re here, why not read the winners’ story from The Brit List Awards 2021?

While the awards ceremony was about celebrating excellence, it was also a much-needed coming together of an industry that evolves through collaboration, craft and creativity. The event was a ‘who’s who’ – and our photographer was on the floor to capture what happened behind the red curtain. Right on cue, following the announcement of the winners, here are the obligatory social snaps from the from The Brit List Awards 2021.

The Brit List Awards will return in 2022, with applications and nominations remaining free. More information will be available shortly.

Main image credit: The Brit List Awards 2021

The Brit List Awards 2021 Winners story

Winners of The Brit List Awards 2021 unveiled

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Winners of The Brit List Awards 2021 unveiled

On November 3, The Brit List Awards 2021 welcomed more than 500 interior designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers when it took over London’s famous cabaret venue, PROUD Embankment, for an awards ceremony unlike any other, which crowned nine individual winners and celebrated the UK remaining a leading international hotel design and hospitality hub…

The Brit List Awards 2021 Winners story

Hotel Designs’ annual nationwide search to find the top designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers operating in Britain came to a dramatic climax on November 3, when more than 500 of the industry’s top names came together at PROUD Embankment for a night of celebration, timeless glamour and frivolous fun: The Brit List Awards 2021 – the awards ceremony had arrived.

“Welcome to PROUD,” roared editor Hamish Kilburn who hosted the awards ceremony, “a relevant emotion that I sincerely hope you are all feeling right now as we gather, scarred and not broken, to celebrate the UK remaining a leading international hotel design and hospitality hub.”

The shortlist, which was unveiled in September, included the names of 130 individuals and projects – the most finalists in the campaign’s history – across nine categories. From here, the judges whittled down the not-so-short shortlist in order to confidently decide this year’s winners.

Following Publisher Katy Phillips and Kilburn’s opening addresses, the evening was divided into two sections. Following tradition, first came the formal unveiling of The Brit List 2021the official publication, produced by Hotel Designs, which includes the profiles of the top 25 interior designers, architects and hoteliers who are a operating in Britain.

In addition the individual awards, The Brit List 2021 can be read here.

The event then continued, with the event’s partners and sponsored invited on stage to announce each winner.

And the winners are… 


The Brit List Awards winner Tina Norden and Maximilian Hotel in Prague

Highly Commended: Geraldine Dohogne, Founder, Beyond Design
Winner: Tina Norden, Partner, Conran and Partners


Mark Bruce, Architect of the Year 2021 and a render of NoMad London

Highly Commended: Mark Kelly, Partner, PLP Architecture
Winner: Mark Bruce, Director, EPR Architects


THE PIG guestroom and Robin Hutson, Hotelier of the Year 2021

Highly Commended: Olivia Richli, General Manager, Heckfield Place 
Winner: Robin Hutson, Founder, THE PIG Hotels


L11 Tuneable white light engine by Franklite

Highly Commended: Sonance audio systems
Winner: L11 Tuneable white light engine, Franklite


Two seperate images of beds from Silentnight Group

Highly Commended: The Global Collection, manfucatured by Mosa Tiles (supplied by CTD Architectural Tiles)
Winner: Silentnight Group Hospitality


Close up and lifestyle shot of the Metamorphis collection by The Monkey Puzzle Tree

Highly Commended: Hypnos Contract Beds
Winner: The Metamorphosis collection, The Monkey Puzzle Tree


A design moodboard and image of Sophie Sheppard, The Rising Star Award winner of 2021

Highly Commended: Matthew Maganga, University of Kent
Winner: Sophie Sheppard, Junior Designer, Concorde BGW Group


Bill Bensley, Founder, BENSLEY, winner of International Awards, The Brit List Awards 2021

Highly Commended: noa* network of architecture 
Winner: Bill Bensley, Founder, BENSLEY


Design-led kitchen and Ariane Steinbeck, winner at The Brit List Awards 2021

Winner: Ariane Steinbeck

> Since you’re here, why not also view the ‘in pictures’ story from The Brit List Awards 2021?

Thank you to our Partners!

Headline Partner: Crosswater

hotel suite at Pan Pacific London with bespoke bed overlooking london cityscape

Case Study: Designing bespoke beds inside Pan Pacific London

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Case Study: Designing bespoke beds inside Pan Pacific London

With its proactive approach to environmental sustainability and wellness, Pan Pacific London gives centre stage to a bespoke bed in every guestroom and suite…

hotel suite at Pan Pacific London with bespoke bed overlooking london cityscape

Located in Liverpool Street, Pan Pacific London is the first European property from the Singaporean hotel group, and takes understated luxury to new heights – the 43-storey haven even incorporates a dedicated floor to wellbeing. The interiors are designed by world-renowned design duo George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg, who honour Pan Pacific’s Singapore heritage for hospitality and connection with nature, by beautifully blending the refined charm of British design with a South-Eastern Asian artistic flair.

Pan Pacific London bedroom design

Image credit: Jack Hardy

In developing this sanctuary, the team at the hotel were committed to working responsibly and ethically to improve their sustainability credits, and to reduce the impact on the environment. This proactive approach to environmental sustainability and wellness can be seen in each of the 237 guestrooms and 43 suites. Each guestroom and suite has been designed as a haven from the bustling city. Curved walls and the neutral colour palette add to the peace and tranquillity of these private spaces. The art pieces add a further layer of calm, through the depiction of oak, elder, elm and maple trees. Centre stage is a bespoke Hypnos bed which provides the foundation for a perfect night’s sleep.

“We wanted to deliver an oasis of tranquillity in this wonderful bustling city of London,” said designer Glenn Pushelberg. “Pan Pacific London is intended to feel tailored, calm, and serene without falling flat on metaphors or symbolism. We wanted our guests to be immersed in a worldly outlook that is rooted in the warmth and comfort of the brands heritage.”

George Yabu adds: “Our design team conceived the hotel as a home, delivering a relaxed-yet-elevated residential feel. Qualities of an English manor house were reinterpreted with tailored modernity to serve as the bones of the project, while a twist of personality has been introduced through art and accessories, which layer in Eastern flair.”

Pan Pacific London luxury bedroom design

Image credit: Jack Hardy

“There is no doubt that Pan Pacific London was one of the most hotly anticipated hotel openings in London in 2021,” said Carolyn Mitchell, Sales and Marketing Director, Hypnos Contract Beds. We were delighted to work with the team to develop a bespoke mattress during a period when the hospitality industry was in lock down. It is so refreshing  and rewarding to finally see our hard work unveiled. We are a family business, dedicated to delivering sustainable sleep solutions and have been carbon neutral for over a decade. So, we are particularly proud to have worked with Pan Pacific London in delivering their vision of taking wellness and luxury into a new era. Our mantra at Hypnos is to deliver comfort with integrity – Pan Pacific London epitomises this perfectly.”

Pan Pacific London main plaza in central london

Image credit: Jack Hardy

Pan Pacific London is truly a serene haven away from the hustle and bustle, with every element carefully crafted and tailored to offer one of London’s most complete contemporary and luxury hotel experiences.

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

Main image credit: Jack Hardy

A modern guestroom inside Canopy by Hilton in East London

Canopy by Hilton makes UK debut in East London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Canopy by Hilton makes UK debut in East London

Complete with panoramic views over Aldgate and a locally infused interior design scheme by ACME, the 340-key Canopy by Hilton London City opens echoing the spirit of one of the capital’s most vibrant, eclectic neighbourhoods – and becomes the brand’s debut hotel in the UK…

A modern guestroom inside Canopy by Hilton in East London

Canopy by Hilton London City has opened, marking the brand’s UK arrival. Set within the multi-million-pound Minories development, close to Aldgate station, the eco-conscious 340-room hotel, designed by ACME, provides the perfect base for design-conscious travellers looking to immerse themselves in London’s lively East End.

Rooftop view over London

Image credit: Canopy by Hilton

“We are pleased to expand our portfolio with Hilton to open the first Canopy by Hilton hotel in the UK,” said Neil Taylor, Chief Operating Officer, 4C Hotel Group. “Convenience and quality are at the core of our business, we carefully select hotels that are perfectly located in major key cities, so our customers have easy access to major tourist attractions.  For our business travellers we ensure that our hotels are always located near key transport links.  This hotel is the perfect collaboration for us, with an incredible location right in the heart of London’s buzzing East End.”

Following the opening of Canopy by Hilton Paris Trocadero earlier this year and the arrival of Canopy by Hilton Madrid Castellana, the hotel joins a growing portfolio of more than 30 lifestyle hotels across the globe – a number which is set to double in the coming years.  Each hotel is inspired by its local neighbourhood and designed to give guests an authentic experience, steeped in the culture of the surrounding area.

“Canopy by Hilton continues to expand its presence across Europe with recent openings in Paris and Madrid, and we’re thrilled to be bringing the brand to London – one of the most dynamic cities in the world,” said Simon Vincent, Executive Vice President and President, EMEA, Hilton. “With Hilton set to open 30 hotels in the UK in the next five years, Canopy by Hilton London City is a stunning new addition to Hilton’s lifestyle portfolio and symbolises our commitment to providing exceptional accommodation in the very best global destinations.”

Phil Cordell, Global Head, Canopy by Hilton added: “Canopy by Hilton is all about championing local neighbourhoods – and what better place for its UK debut than the vibrant East End of London.  With its rich textile history and thriving arts scene, the surrounding area provides no end of inspiration for this incredible hotel, and we can’t wait to welcome guests to experience everything it has to offer.”

The hotel’s interior design reflects the rich culture of the area’s historic textile industry. Inspired by the Huguenot silk weavers who settled in Spitalfields in the 17th century, thoughtfully decorated guestrooms and dining spaces feature floral patterns and woven fabrics reminiscent of the techniques employed by the Huguenots.  In celebration of Whitechapel’s contemporary arts scene, artwork created by neighbourhood artists adorns the public spaces throughout the hotel. The bathrooms have been designed to reflect a contemporary atmosphere, with fittings specified by Crosswater.

Corridor inside Canopy by Hilton hotel in London

Image credit: Canopy by Hilton

Local inspiration continues throughout the hotel’s dining outlets. East End-inspired dishes made with local, sustainable ingredients are served at the hotel’s specialty restaurant Penny Squares, which takes its design inspiration from the quilting technique popular in the textile industry.  Meanwhile, Freedom Café, named after Freedom Press Publishing House in Whitechapel High Street, provides the perfect place to relax, work or socialise over a craft coffee or East End-inspired cocktail at the heart of the hotel.  Guests can also enjoy daily tastings at Freedom Café, featuring appetisers and drinks from local distilleries, craft brewers and wineries.

> Since you’re here, why not read about Canopy by Hilton’s first hotel to open in Spain?

There are currently 32 Canopy by Hilton properties open around the globe, with a further 29 hotels under development across 15 countries and territories.

Main image credit: Canopy by Hilton

A contemporary, airy suite inside ME Cabo

Now open: ME Cabo unveils $10 million renovation

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Now open: ME Cabo unveils $10 million renovation

Arriba! Mexico’s much-loved ME by Meliá property returns into the Cabo luxury hospitality scene to flex its design muscles after unveiling a $10 million renovation. Editor Hamish Kilburn takes a look inside…

A contemporary, airy suite inside ME Cabo

ME by Meliá has unveiled the all-new ME Cabo, five years after completing its previous restoration project. After undergoing a $10 million transformation, the lifestyle resort has reopened its doors with a completely reimagined look that touches nearly every aspect of the resort; from guestrooms and public spaces to food and beverage outlets and an entirely new rooftop bar and lounge, in partnership with Rosa Negra. 

Located on Los Cabos’ only swimmable beach, and overlooking the celebrated ‘El Arco’, ME Cabo embodies sophisticated design with a creative flair and hint of local culture. Designed by Alvaro Sans, the hotel’s new look is bold and contemporary, with special touches around every corner. Beginning with ME Cabo’s signature open-air arrival experience, guests are welcomed back with warm, earthy, natural hues and touches of turquoise and ivory that complement the stunning Pacific Ocean that lies just ahead. Welcoming yet sophisticated, the arrival captures the classic charm of Mexico while embodying the brand’s European signature style. 

ME Cabo has partnered with popular Mexican restaurant group Grupo Rosa Nega to debut four new culinary hotspots: Confessions Skybar & Tapas, Taboo Beach Club & Restaurant, Funky Geisha, and Mamazzita Mexican Soul. The new culinary concepts are dedicated to serving locally-sourced produce and ingredients that explore Latin American cuisine. 

Dazzling with some of the best views the destination has to offer, Confessions Skybar & Tapas is the newly built rooftop bar andlounge featuring a tapas-style menu, creative mixology and nightly entertainment. ME Cabo’s signature restaurant, Mamazzita, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, is an open-air restaurant that takes inspiration from the flavours and colours of Mexican culture, with the finest ingredients and culinary techniques.

Lobby/lounge inside ME Cabo

Image credit: ME by Meliá

Additional dining outlets include Funky Geisha, a reinvented lobby lounge open for lunch and dinner, that serves up Thai, Chinese and Japanese inspired cuisine in a casual setting. Guests relaxing poolside can also enjoy Taboo Beach Club, where the design of deep sea blues and natural stone walls, coupled with reimagined cuisine, transports guests to the Mediterranean.

All 170 guestrooms have been cued to embrace traditional Mexican design, boasting an eclectic feel, mixing rustic wood furnishings with bright, vivid colours. Rooms range from 425 to 914 square-metres and feature a private, furnished balcony or terrace with garden or ocean views, rainfall showers, fully stocked Maxibar, integrated room technologies and bath amenities by C.O. Bigelow.  

ME Cabo also reopens with a new spa and wellbeing experience. The KORPO Wellness Experience combines inner and outer-wellness through a harmonious blend of beauty treatments, relaxation techniques, and state-of-the-art fitness facility. Innovative treatments and techniques by Sothys include the ‘CBD Detox Massage’ featuring CBD oil designed to improve lymphatic and blood circulation, and relieve tension and pain. The “Facial HIIT Tri-Complex” combines the trifecta of saffron, sophora and peptides in a scientifically proven anti-ageing treatment, safe for all ages.

Meliá Hotels International is one of the largest hotel companies worldwide, as well as the absolute leader within the Spanish market, with more than 380 hotels (current portfolio and pipeline) throughout more than 40 countries and four continents. Watch this space.

Main image credit: ME by Meliá

Brexit and Covid-19 FoH panel discussion

Covid-19 & Brexit: Designing a common sense approach to moving forward

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Covid-19 & Brexit: Designing a common sense approach to moving forward

Exclusive: As the Festival of Hospitality gained momentum, editor Hamish Kilburn sat in the audience of what was one of the most honest and open panel discussions of the year, moderated by procurement expert Kerri Lewis which explored how the hotel design and hotel development sectors of the industry can recover and accelerate into unchartered territory…

Brexit and Covid-19 FoH panel discussion

There’s been a plethora of buzzwords and phrases that have emerged since the pandemic arrived uninvited to the party – ‘experience’, ‘sustainability’ and ‘lockdown’ being among them. The negative impact of the forced hibernation hospitality was widely documented in the frustrated social media posts of those who had a voice in the wider community. In the UK, the reality of three national lockdowns resulted in many casualties and, at the very least, every business was affected in some capacity.

However, when hotel doors were firmly shut and designers’ sources of inspiration were limited to four walls or maybe a pickered fence, people started to adapt and conversations soon began to steer towards the direction of the future.

Procurement specialist Kerri Lewis was among the wave of leaders and visionaries who took it upon themselves to start amplifying their own narrative. Lewis launched a webinar series that was aimed to find common sense solutions in design and hospitality.

To continue this series – and evolve it into a real-life setting – Lewis partnered with the Festival of Hospitality to moderate a live panel discussion, which, on September 30 was sheltered at Nhow London, with its disruptive and quirky design scheme.

“We wanted to help drive our future together,” she said when explaining what fuelled the initial conversations. “It’s an exciting time ahead, but we still face many challenges, including the obvious Brexit and Covid-19.

Meet the panel:


Kerri Lewis: Let’s address the elephant in the room. Grace how did Covid-19 affect the programme of launching your latest hotel project?

GL: It [the hotel development] is a pretty broad picture. We first started getting interested in the project before first lockdown, and then things changed rather quickly. During March, as the country was put into the first lockdown, we started discussing the design scheme. Because of the restrictions, it felt like I was designing a hotel in my imaginary world.

Covid-19 has affected us in so many ways, and I speak personally and professionally when I say that. You just couldn’t do what we have done without a huge dose of determination as well as conviction that you are doing the right thing. Part of that, in my opinion, is getting the right team in place who you can trust. There was a lot of the online communication, which, good or bad, was a new way to manage a project. It wasn’t perfect but it worked.

On top of this, Brexit added to our issues in a major way. I remember vividly watching the news in the December 2020 and seeing all the lorries stacked up at an airport as they were not able to leave. “Oh my goodness, my mock up room is in one of those lorries,” I shouted. After the new regulations came into play, our strategy changed and we decided not to purchase in EU, and that’s when we started to source locally for this project. As a result, the process was easy to manage and that was key to success.

KL: Oliver, talk to us about budget costs. What allowances and contingencies can people put in place so that they reduce the amount of surprises they face?

OL: It’s so difficult. If you look at last 6 months, you will realise how much things are changing. Right now, returns don’t look great but costs are increasing. My advice would be for people to factor in inflation. If costs go up too high and too quickly, projects will grind to a halt, and then costs may come down. I know it’s cliché, but it really is the perfect storm.

Find out costs and then ask whether it is viable. Take practical steps. Work beyond contractors, and try to where you can speak to the supply chain. Ask where the opportunities are, both regionally and globally.

KL: Will, has Covid-19 changed the way people invest?

WT: The most noticeable evolution are trends around consumer holidays. Some of these changes, though, are short term. How many more summers will people realistically want to spend in the UK? You need to look beyond this to really see what’s going to happen in the long term. We don’t expect air travel to pick up to where it was but it will change. Hospitality in the UK will look rosey in some areas but others not so much. Don’t be short term when investing.

Oliver is right, Brexit and Covid-19 have created the perfect storm. Tomorrow 12 per cent, march 20 per cent. Seismic shift when it comes to training. There is going to be wage inflation in the sector.

KL: Nick, how do cost issues affect design and FF&E?

NK: Brexit and covid have accelerated trends. Lockdown has forced us to confront those issues. Generational, for a lot of people appetites will change. In hotels, co-working spaces is very much a demand. Perhaps they want to extend a long weekend into the working week, so hotels need to be equipped for this.

Grace, expansion… has the current climate changed the way you want to move forward?

GL: The idea is… waterside hotels, actually it has been very interesting to discover similarities of British coastal hotels and the ones across the channel.

It’s changed a lot even in the last month. We seem to be springing back to where we were before. There is more of a consideration now to space and outdoor space. Those are important factors. In terms of design, I don’t see much different but it is a questions of interpreting of what a resort is like. To be able to provide those spaces but not in a formal way. Leisure and work.

NK: We are looking at how we can extend the F&B areas into the outside areas. Keeping the cohesive design narrative but also with seasons – blending them into one. Spa component comes into this.

KL: Where geographically will benefit/flourish from recent cultural shifts?

WT: Popular places pre-pandemic, they need breathing new life back into the destination.

KL: Positive thinking. What has changed for the good and why?

GL: I have learned to work differently. When you are on zoom calls etc… you learn to live with it and adapt.

WT: all we have seen is a big acceleration of trends (for the better) that had already started. Lack of air travel, personalisation.

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: Unsplash

Weekly digest: Global hotel growth, a Nobu debut & a live roundtable

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly digest: Global hotel growth, a Nobu debut & a live roundtable

Huddle in everyone… Editor Hamish Kilburn here to serve up your weekly dose of hotel design and hotel development news and features. This week on the editorial desk we unveiled our latest live roundtable, explored the art of lighting; shared hotel development news from several hotel groups and, in addition to this (and more), we rounded up the latest products that have emerged on our radar…

In the week before the industry gathers for The Brit List Awards 2021 – we are ready to put on a show – the energy pulsating through the veins of the hotel design and hospitality industry, on an international scale, is pointing towards signs of serious recovery. From brands announcing that they’re doubling their current portfolio of hotels by 2025, to other leading groups that have, this week, debuted in new territories, it suggests that 2021 will be rounded off with ambitious plans laid out on the table. And following the industry’s awakening since its forced hibernation, why not be aggressive when strategically looking ahead?

In the meantime, while hotel groups and brands jostle for position on the international stage, suppliers have come out of the wings, performance ready, with new products to attract designers’ attention. In addition, industry experts are excited about the boundless possibilities that lie ahead. One wellness guru, Ari Peralta, Founder of Arigami, exclusively reveals some game-changing qualitative research that we are excited to share with you!

To make sense of the latest headlines and features, from all corners of the industry, here are our top stories of the week.

St Regis to almost double portfolio of hotels by 2025

luxury st regis resort built over the sea

Image credit: St Regis

Hotel brand St Regis Hotels and Resorts has announced ambitious plans to expand its portfolio of luxury resorts in desired destinations for the next generation of luxury travellers, including locations within the Caribbean, North America, North Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific.

St. Regis currently has 49 hotels and resorts open worldwide, with a further 29 hotels and resorts in its pipeline, representing expected growth of nearly 60 per cent over the next five years in both urban and leisure destinations.

Read more.

Inside Rosewood Villa Magna, the brand’s debut hotel in Spain

facade of Rosewood Villa Magna in Madrid

Image credit: Rosewood Villa Magna

Set in the heart of the Spanish capital city’s distinguished Salamanca district, the reimagined icon, now Rosewood Villa Magna, represents a milestone for the brand as well as Madrid’s hospitality landscape.

Renowned Spanish architect Ramón de Arana led the remodel of the building’s striking façade and entryway into the hotel, adding a sense of grandeur to the arrival experience via a striking staircase and a pair of reflecting pools that draw attention to the centuries old, 30-metre-high cedar and carob trees adorning the property.

Read more.

Industry insight: Digital interactive art – technology for tomorrow’s hotel

Image caption: 'Internal Visions' by Daniel Kersh. | Image Credit: Daniel Kersh Studios

Image caption: ‘Internal Visions’ by Daniel Kersh. | Image Credit: Daniel Kersh Studios

Technology is shaping the way in which hotel buildings are built and designed. Inside the hotel, technology is altering how guests use and journey through spaces as well as how they view interior design. In our latest article in the Hotel Designs Lab series, Ari Peralta, Founder of Arigami, explores the rise of digital, generative and interactive art; a new genre that has the potential to transform guest experiences.

Read more. 

Nobu expands its footprint in Saudi Arabia

street view of new nobu hotel in saudi arabia

Image credit: Nobu Hotels

Nobu, the global lifestyle brand founded by Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper, has just revealed plans to launch a new hotel, Nobu Restaurant and Nobu Residences in the Eastern Province city of Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, by 2024. Here’s what we know.

Read more.

Live roundtable: Th