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

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

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Wink Hotels has arrived in Vietnam with a fresh eye for design

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

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

Wink is a new hotel brand and new concept, aimed at a young Vietnamese audience, defined as the Indochine 2.0 generation – a new generation of Vietnamese who are driving the booming economy.

The brand launches with the arrival of a 237-key medium-rise urban hotel, Wink Hotel Saigon Centre. The property is part of the new Wink brand, the vision of Indochina Kajima and operations company Indochina Vanguard, which is rolling out a series of hotels across the country. Located in District 1’s Dakao Ward, a hip and upcoming neighbourhood, the twelve-floor, 10,500 m2 hotel has been designed as an extension of Vietnamese street life, bringing local flavour from the outside in. 

Architecture Workshop (AW2) designed every element of this affordable lifestyle hotel, from the architectural concept through to interior design and furniture, as well as collaborating with the company to create the brand identity across its hotels.

The brand focuses on creating a balance between design forwardness, financial return and construction feasibility while being a fashionable urban destination. AW²’s previous work in Vietnam (FV International Hospital, Four Seasons The Nam Hai and Six Senses Con Dao) with Indochina Capital, who created the development team, placed them in a strong position to respond to the client’s brief requirements.

For the Wink brand, AW2 created a specific locally-inspired colour palette deployed throughout the hotel, from the bespoke sunshades on the façade down to the cushion fabrics. The bold and vibrant exterior design attracts attention from the outside, acting as a beacon for the wider neighbourhood. 

The Wink Hotel incorporates blended spaces where accommodation, work and leisure co-exist. The interior design is centred around creating a fun and dynamic environment, using furniture styles based on the street food culture such as food carts for the self-service food and beverage facilities and bicycles repurposed as table legs for the breakfast bars.

Collaborative spaces are made to encourage visitors and the public to use the public areas at their leisure. The shared spaces are composed into different flexible zones consisting of an entrance ‘Wink Space’ lobby, a lounge with integrated library and games area and food & beverage facilities. The food & beverage facilities cater to all needs including the Wink Bar, ‘grab and go’ self-service, breakfast bar and dining areas.

For the hotel guests, the bedrooms have been efficiently designed to be compact, with bespoke furniture that maximises space usage and with a strong brand identity throughout. With three different colour spectrum schemes (each made up of three key Wink-branded colours), the external sunshades act as an extension to the hotel interiors and reflect the colour themes found in each hotel bedroom.

“The Wink Hotel Saigon Centre is designed for a fast-growing, fast-changing society that remains connected to local traditions while simultaneously embracing contemporary trends,” added Reda Amalou & Stéphanie Ledoux, Partners, AW².

AW² have more than twenty years of experience within the hospitality industry, with projects in 40 different countries, working with leading hotel and resort operators. They have drawn upon their extensive knowledge to create a new brand that speaks to the next generation of global travellers. 

The well-timed arrival of Wink Hotels will no doubt meet (perhaps exceed) new demands from modern travellers, to offer a hospitality setting that can effortlessly allow travellers to see destinations through fresh eyes.

Main image credit: AW2

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

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

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott International to open almost 100 hotels in Asia Pacific this year

Following Marriott International announcing its 800th hotel opening in Asia Pacific, the group is expected to open almost 100 more properties in the region this year alone…

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

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

“I am proud of the way we have continued to grow and have moved quickly to adapt to the challenges that arose from the pandemic. With the launch of new global industry hygiene standards in April 2020, innovative offerings such as work anywhere packages and hyper-localised marketing and sales strategies, our nimble and forward-thinking approach will continue to lead us through the recovery,” said Craig S. Smith, Group President, International, Marriott International. “We are grateful for the continued resilience and positivity demonstrated by our associates and for the confidence our guests, owners and franchisees continue to have in us. We remain well-positioned to meet the travel demands of our guests across Asia Pacific and the rest of the world.”

Greater China has led the global recovery to date, and the company expects to soon celebrate its 400th hotel in Greater China and its 50th hotel in Shanghai with the opening of JW Marriott Shanghai Fengxian in spring 2021. With this hotel opening, Shanghai has the distinction of reaching this important milestone for the company in Asia Pacific.

“Mainland China is on track to become the world’s largest personal luxury market by 2025.”

According to a joint report by consultancy Bain & Co. and Alibaba’s Tmall Luxury unit, Mainland China is on track to become the world’s largest personal luxury market by 2025 even seeing year-over-year domestic growth in 2020 despite the pandemic. To leverage this trend, Marriott International continues to strengthen its luxury portfolio with expected openings in 2021 such as W Changsha, W Xiamen, St. Regis Qingdao and The Ritz-Carlton Reserve Jiuzhaigou. With the anticipated opening of the Ritz-Carlton Reserve, China will be the first country in Asia Pacific to house all of Marriott International’s luxury hallmarks.

Pool at Ritz-Carlton Reserve, China

Image credit: Marriott International/Ritz-Carlton Reserve, China

Marriott’s leisure bookings in China have been particularly strong, up over 25 per cent year over year in the third quarter in Mainland China, demonstrating the resiliency of demand once consumers are comfortable that the virus is under control and restrictions can safely be lifted. The company is introducing more travel experiences across its brand portfolio, including at popular leisure destinations such as Mianyang in the Sichuan province with the expected opening of Sheraton Mianyang, as well in the culturally-rich destination of Nanjing with the anticipated opening of The Westin Nanjing Resort & Spa.

Beyond Greater China, Marriott International continues to strengthen its footprint, with several expected brand debuts across Asia Pacific in 2021. In Japan, W Hotels is expected to debut with the opening of W Osaka, while The Luxury Collection is also slated to debut in Australia with the opening of The Tasman in Hobart. The iconic Ritz-Carlton brand is expected to celebrate its debut in the leading resort destination of Maldives in early summer, bringing legendary service to the picture-perfect archipelago.

A render of the first Luxury Collection hotel in Australia

Image credit: Marriott International/The Luxury Collection

Further expanding Marriott’s presence in breathtaking resort destinations, the JW Marriott brand is slated to bring its warm luxury experience to Jeju Island in South Korea with the planned opening of JW Marriott Jeju in late 2021. The company’s signature wellness brand, Westin, is also highly anticipated to debut in one of India’s top beach destinations, Goa, this summer.

Since you’re here, why not read ‘The Hot List’, referencing the most significant hotels openings expected in Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4 of this year?

To support domestic travel in Japan, the company plans to open six additional Fairfield by Marriott hotels throughout 2021 along ‘Michi-no-Eki’ roadside stations aimed at revitalising the country’s local sightseeing spots. Japan expects to have more than 30 Fairfield by Marriott hotels by the end of 2023. Touted as one of the best cities in the world for art, culture, music and food, Australia’s Melbourne is expected to see the opening of the country’s second W Hotel with W Melbourne in spring and the opening of Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands in early 2021.

Pool area at Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands overlooking city

Image credit: Marriott International/Melboure Marriott Hotel Docklands

“The strength of our pipeline is testament to the long-term growth prospects in Asia Pacific,” said Paul Foskey, Chief Development Officer, Asia Pacific, Marriott International. “Despite a challenging environment in 2020, we are pleased with the signings we have achieved across the region during the year. We have full gratitude to our owners and franchisees for their belief in the resiliency of travel and the strength of Marriott’s portfolio of brands.”

Main image credit: Marriott International/Domes Zeen, a Luxury Collection Resort, Chania

A render of a stylish bar

Hyatt Regency makes debut in Cambodia’s captital

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Regency makes debut in Cambodia’s captital

Sheltering 247 rooms, the opening marks the largest hotel by an international brand in the city and Hyatt’s debut in the Cambodian capital…

Hyatt Regency Phnom Penh, the first Hyatt hotel in the Cambodian capital and the second Hyatt hotel operating in Cambodia, has opened.

A render of a stylish bar

The 247-key property is the largest hotel from a global brand in the city and is located in the heart of the cultural and business district of Doun Penh.

Conceived by award-winning Singapore-based SCDA Architects and leading Thailand-based PIA Interior, the hotel’s stylish interiors reflect Cambodia’s unique history, seamlessly blending Khmer architectural accents with French colonial influences alongside specially commissioned artworks by contemporary Cambodian artist, FONKi.

As guests pull into the hotel’s driveway, they are greeted with a welcoming centerpiece, a beautiful French heritage building flanked by frangipani trees. Originally built as a Colonial villa in the early 20th century, the carefully restored lemon-coloured Colonial House with wooden shutters, arched doorways and terracotta-tiled roof now serves as the hotel’s entrance, providing guests with a nostalgic arrival experience.

Behind the Colonial House stands the newly-constructed, 14-storey main building, featuring 247 guestrooms, including 43 residential-style suites, all with hardwood floors and marble bathrooms. Starting at 30.5 square metres, the guestrooms offer modern comforts, including complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, 65” TVs, a walk-in rain shower, Staycast systems, and Hyatt Mobile Entry technology for keyless entry.

A render of a modern guestroom in the Hyatt Hotel

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Distinct Khmer touches are found throughout the rooms, including an intricately carved headboard depicting Bayon Temple, one of the most celebrated temples at Angkor. The 1,087-square-foot (101-square-meter) Royal Suite features two ensuite bedrooms, a walk-in closet, separate living and dining areas and floor-to-ceiling views of the city.

Guests staying on the 10th floor can access the Regency Club Lounge where they can enjoy dedicated check-in and check-out services, daily breakfast, evening hors d’oeuvres, and complimentary drinks alongside panoramic city views with indoor or outdoor seating.\

The hotel is home to four dining venues, including Market Café Restaurant & Lounge, an all-day dining venue inside a light-filled atrium serving breakfast, afternoon tea and à-la-carte options, Metropole Underground, an early 20th century metro-themed bar offering live music and local beers and an old-world speakeasy-style bar tucked away in the Colonial House called The Attic, which specialises in handcrafted cocktails and grand cru wines. Spanning the rooftop, FiveFive Rooftop Restaurant & Bar is set to become the city’s social hotspot where guests will be treated to locally sourced meats and sustainable seafood, an array of signature cocktails.

In addition, a wide range of recreational facilities are located on the third floor, including the 22-metre outdoor infinity pool surrounded by lush greenery, a poolside bar, a Himalayan salt room and a steam room. The 24-hour gym is equipped with a cardio zone, strength zone, and free weights. Personal trainers are on hand to offer one-on-one sessions for guests.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Marriott debuts first Moxy hotel in Taiwan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott debuts first Moxy hotel in Taiwan

Moxy Taichung combines stylish, industrial-chic design with sociable service at the intersection of Taichung’s uptown and downtown districts…

Following the hotel group announcing its 800th hotel opening in the Asia Pacific region, Marriott International has announced the opening of its first Moxy Hotel in Taiwan, shaking up the city’s hospitality scene with its playful spirit. The experiential and next gen-focused Moxy Taichung is located near many of the city’s attractions, including the colorfully quirky Rainbow Village, Zhongshe Flower Market, as well as the street food paradise of Yizhong Street Night Market – all must-visit destinations for the young and young-at-heart.

“We are excited to see the arrival of the Moxy brand in Taiwan with the opening of Moxy Taichung,” said Henry Lee, President, Greater China, Marriott International. “This opening marks the sixth Moxy Hotel to open in Asia Pacific and further underscores Marriott International’s commitment to continue growing its lifestyle portfolio across the region, and to cater to the next-generation of travelers with tailored experiences in a well-designed space that is surprisingly affordable.”

Queen supier room inside Moxy Hotel

Image credit: Moxy Hotels/Marriott International

Moxy Taichung features 262 bedrooms that are cleverly designed to maximise space and allow guests the flexibility to adapt the room to their needs. Each room is equipped with the latest technology featuring a 55-inch flat screen television, high quality sound system, furiously fast and free Wi-Fi, ample USB power outlets, motion-activated LED guidelights below the bed, and a backlighted glass panel to add ambiance.

The hotel also features several of the brand’s signature playful touches, kicking the experience off with check-in at Bar Moxy where guests are greeted with a complimentary “Got Moxy” cocktail. The bar also doubles up as a communal hub for dining, drinks, and social gatherings. At sunset, the chic rooftop bar XOXO is buzzing with energy, and is the place to be for light bites, decadent drinks, and curated cocktails.

The hotel also shelters a 24-hour fitness centre decked out with cardiovascular equipment, free weights, and other equipment including SYNRGY and TRX. In addition, a tech-enabled meeting room is also available for any team brainstorming sessions in the hotel.

“Across the Asia Pacific region and the world, the strong growth of our playful Moxy brand is proof that its brand philosophy resonates with millennial and next-gen guests, who seek a hotel stay at an affordable price point, saving on space and splurging on experiences,” said Jennie Toh, Vice President, Brand, Asia Pacific, Marriott International. “We are excited to be bringing the Moxy brand to Taiwan with the opening of Moxy Taichung, and to welcome travellers to the Moxy experience in this dynamic, future-forward city.”

Taichung is Taiwan’s second largest city, home to its lively cultural, arts, entertainment, and lifestyle scenes. In addition to its many museums, theaters, parks and temples, Taichung’s Chun Shui Tang teahouse is said to be the original birthplace of bubble tea. The city is also home to many of Taiwan’s high-tech manufacturing facilities, particularly in the semiconductor and transport industries.

Main image credit: Moxy Hotels/Marriott International

Banyan Tree unveils first luxury resort to open in Krabi in 11 years

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Banyan Tree unveils first luxury resort to open in Krabi in 11 years

Elevating the destination on the southern Thailand’s west coast, the 72-key Banyan Tree Krabi has opened…

Nestled on a verdant hillside with spectacular vistas of limestone cliffs rising from the sea, Banyan Tree Krabi has opened.

Owned by Asset World Corporation (AWC), the new luxury resort backs onto a lush national park and Naga Crest Hill, granting three ultra-exclusive beachfront pool villas, 10 beachfront pool villas, and 59 pool suites — each of which has its own private pool — a westward-facing view of sunset over the Andaman. A natural spring flows downhill into the property where it is transformed into a flower-fringed canal ferrying springwater to the sea.

Facilities at Banyan Tree Krabi include two restaurants and a beach bar, a fitness centre, a meeting centre, and in keeping with Banyan Tree’s global wellbeing branding — a rainforest-themed spa.

The centerpiece of the resort, as guests walk through the naga legend-inspired entrance, is a circular water feature in the lobby that cascades into a cavernous meeting room area below. With a backdrop of emerald sea and karsts, the awe-inspiring spectacle is shaping up as one of the resort’s signature images. 

Image caption: The lobby at Banyan Tree Krabi, with the karst towers of Than Bok Korani National Marine Park in the background | Image credit: Banyan Tree Krabi

The hotel offers eight suite and villa types. The most modest accommodation type, coming in at 99 sq.m, is the Deluxe Pool Suite. Highlight of the room is a sumptuous double bed, situated beneath a pitched hardwood ceiling and fan. A private terrace, plunge pool and jet pool surround the bedroom, giving guests the feeling of being on a small island.

The largest is the majestic seven-bedroom Presidential Villa, which sits directly in front of the beach. Guests can reserve the villa as a three-bedroom unit or take an option to combine the three-bedroom with the two adjoining 2-bedroom beachfront villas, transforming it into a seven-bedroom wonderland of saltwater pools, canals, and myriad balconies and terraces. Designed as a retreat for multi-generational family vacations and intimate wedding celebrations, the Presidential Villa commands a palatial 1,335 sq.m as a seven-bedroom arrangement.

All suites and villas have private saltwater pools and water features. Each is modern and bright with gentle tones of wood, stone and sand. Decor is modern chic, while bathrooms are resplendent with sandy beige marble tiles, a double sink, and decorated with naga art.

Mod-cons include a lavish bathtub and jet pool, high-speed Internet, IPTV with multiple-device connectivity, a full range of multi-lingual channels on state-of-the-art flat screen TVs, and a premium coffee machine.

In keeping with Banyan Tree Group’s “Safe Sanctuary” programme rolled out during the Covid pandemic, guests at the new resort will be assured of enhanced safety and hygiene protocols with emphasis on wellbeing and nature-focused offerings. Among them is a personalised check-in and check-out service in their rooms. Prior to arrival, each guest is assigned a Banyan Tree Host – similar to a dedicated butler. Upon checking in, guests receive a Portier Smartphone with unlimited international calls and data – to contact their Banyan Tree Host at the touch of a button and enjoy personalised service, ranging from in-room dining to arranging tours, as well as room service and housekeeping requests.

One of the most dramatic features at Banyan Tree Krabi will be the three “Bird’s Nest” tables perched precariously among the trees around the resort’s highly-elevated signature restaurant, Saffron. With a lush jungle scene as backdrop, and a sea vista of Krabi’s world-famous limestone wonders at sunset, this romantic dining spot will make for some memorable Instagram moments. 

As well as an all-day dining restaurant, Saffron Restaurant and its accompanying Sunset Wedding Deck can be accessed by a quaint electric funicular, large enough for eight persons, which will ascend and descend the hillside throughout the evening. 

Banyan Tree has been recognised worldwide for its sustainability stewardship. Sister resort Banyan Tree Samui was lauded by global organisation EarthCheck in 2018 as the first hotel in Thailand to receive its highest certification. Banyan Tree Area General Manager Remko Kroesen, who will oversee both southern Thai resorts, aims to maintain the same high standards at Banyan Tree Krabi.

Main image credit: Banyan Tree Krabi

Inside Moxy Hotels’ third property to open in Japan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside Moxy Hotels’ third property to open in Japan

Located in one of the main hubs of Osaka City, the new Moxy hotel will provide guests with what Marriott is describing as “a fun and playful experience” through lively communal spaces…

In a city that is buzzing with an attitude that does not always follow the rules, the 288-room Moxy Osaka Shin Umeda has officially opened its doors. As Marriott International’s bold experiential brand, the new hotel features fun, playful and stylish experiences, designed to give guests everything they want and nothing they don’t.

Render of outside of the Moxy hotel

Image credit: Marriott International/Moxy Hotels

“We are thrilled to be opening Moxy Osaka Shin Umeda, which marks the third Moxy branded hotel to open in Japan,” said Rajeev Menon, President, Asia Pacific (excluding Greater China), Marriott International. “This opening is a testament to Marriott International’s commitment to continue expanding its footprint across Japan and Asia Pacific with the experiential lifestyle portfolio catering to the next generation of travellers.”

Creating an environment that appeals to today’s modern traveller as well as locals,  the hotel’s chic design pays homage to the vibrant city of Osaka. The aesthetics of the hotel are inspired by a combination of the fashionable art of Umeda and the unique expressions of local Fukushima, known as the “mechanical arcade” that once supported the development of Japan’s electronic industry.

Upstairs, the 288 guestrooms are cleverly designed to maximise space and allow guests the flexibility to adapt the room to their needs. Each room is equipped with the latest technology featuring a 55-inch flat screen television with screen casting ability, furiously fast and free Wi-fi, abundant USB ports, motion activated LED guidelight and backlighted glass panels to add ambience.

The hotel also features several of the Moxy brand’s cheeky lifestyle touches. The signature Bar Moxy doubles as the hotel’s check-in counter, where guests are greeted upon arrival with a complimentary ‘Got Moxy’ cocktail. Buzzing with high-energy is The Terrace, an outdoor area where ‘Fun Hunters’ can eat, drink and socialise. The Lounge calls its charms through its graffiti art walls, modern furniture and ambient lighting, ideal for gatherings, special events or crafted cocktails, while Grab and Go allows guests to satisfy their cravings day or night. Guests can plug in and tune out in the Library or re-energise using the pink Moxy punching bag in the hotel’s 24-hour fitness centre that also features gymnastic equipment, spinning bikes and a full-circuit gym.

With the opening of Moxy Osaka Shin Umeda, the animated brand, which now has more than 60 experiential hotels open across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific, continues to make design-led hotel experiences accessible and affordable.

Main image credit: Marriott International/Moxy Hotels

Hotel Designs LIVE: ‘eco warrior’ Bill Bensley confirmed as headline speaker

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs LIVE: ‘eco warrior’ Bill Bensley confirmed as headline speaker

Back by popular demand, following last months debut event, Hotel Designs LIVE, which will take place on October 13, has  announced the renowned ‘eco warrior’ Bill Bensley as its headline speaker…

Last month, the industry gathered for Hotel Designs’ debut virtual conference, which broadcasted a series of debates and discussions.

Following the positive response, highlighting how well the virtual event was received, Hotel Designs LIVE (part two) will welcome yet more internationally renowned designers, architects and hoteliers in order to start relevant conversations like no other.

If you are designer, architect, hotelier or developer, click here to secure your complimentary virtual seat in the audience for Hotel Designs LIVE on October 13.

The next edition of Hotel Designs LIVE, which takes place on October 13, will focus on sustainability, adding personality in public areas, reassuring the post-corona consumer and the revival of smart technology post-pandemic.

Editor Hamish Kilburn, who will host the event, explains: “When we launched Hotel Designs LIVE as a meaningful way to keep the industry connected throughout lockdown, it was our mission to select engaging and thought-provoking topics that would resonate with our audience. The next Hotel Designs LIVE will look past the short-term issues and solutions that emerged during the pandemic, and will instead focus the editorial lens on wider topics, with sustainability expecting to dominate the general tone of the event. It is important to for us to continue discussing new ways to challenge conventional ideas in order to find sustainable, alternative methods when it comes to design and service – and who better to discuss this than the eco-warrior himself, Bill Bensley?”

Affectionately known as the ‘Willy Wonka of Design’, Bensley is a dedicated eco-warrior and a highly qualified jack of all trades – gardener, fisherman, architect, interior designer, lover of all things natural, and most of all, a wide-ranging explorer of as many corners of the earth as he can. Most recently, he made headlines for unveiling his plans to design a human zoo after publishing his white-paper on sensible sustainable solutions.

Sustainability is at the core of everything I create as a designer.” – Bill Bensley.

When interviewed by Hotel Designs in 2018, the award-winning designer described himself in three words as: “serious, inquisitive and wacky”. Bringing all that energy to discuss innovative and sustainable solutions, Bensley will join Kilburn on the virtual stage to explore how design, architecture and hospitality can coincide with nature. “Sustainability is at the core of everything I create as a designer,” Bensley told Hotel Designs. “I am simply ecstatic to join Hamish Kilburn for Hotel Designs LIVE where we will talk about how, as an industry, it is essential for us to work together to design hotels with meaning, and rework conventional ideas and methods in the process – all to create a more profound and considerate international hotel design landscape that puts nature first.”

Hotel Designs LIVE takes place virtually on October 13. Bensley is first speaker of the event who has been announced, with the full panel being unveiled next week.

If you are a designer, architect, hotelier  or developer and would like to find out more about Hotel Designs LIVE, or book on to any or all of the above sessions, you can do so by visiting the event page.

If you are a supplier to the hotel design industry and would like to promote your latest product or services to the Hotel Designs LIVE audience, please contact Katy Phillips via email or call +44 (0)1992 374050.

Hotel performance in Asia Pacific were lowest ever recorded in April 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel performance in Asia Pacific were lowest ever recorded in April 2020

Reflecting the effects of the COVID–19 pandemic, the Asia Pacific hotel industry reported record lows in the three key performance metrics during April 2020, according to data from STR

New data from STR shows that the absolute levels in occupancy, average daily rate and revenue per available room were the lowest for any month on record in the region of Asia Pacific.

U.S. dollar constant currency, April 2020 vs. April 2019

  • Occupancy: -60.3 per cent to 28.0 per cent
  • Average daily rate (ADR): -44.8 per cent to US$54.97
  • Revenue per available room (RevPAR): -78.1 per cent to US$15.38

Local currency, April 2020 vs. April 2019

South Korea

  • Occupancy: -70.8 per cent to 20.0 per cent
  • ADR: -21.0 per cent to KRW112,897.83
  • RevPAR: -76.9 per cent to KRW22,536.18

Each of the three key performance metrics were up from March but remained the lowest for any April on record in the country. Incheon & Seoul experienced a 75.2 per cent year-over-year decrease in occupancy (to 18.8 per cent).  

Australia

  • Occupancy: -72.7 per cent to 19.9 per cent
  • ADR: -33.1 per cent to AUD119.87
  • RevPAR: -81.7 per cent to AUD23.85

The absolute occupancy, ADR and RevPAR levels were the lowest for any month in STR’s Australia database. Among key markets, Melbourne and Sydney saw year-over-year occupancy declines of 65.0 per cent and 73.7 per cent, respectively. Returning travellers are predominantly keeping occupancy up, as seen in Adelaide, where year-over-year occupancy declines eased slightly during April up to May 13 due to returning travellers from India. More information can be found in STR’s Pacific webinar recording.

Main image credit: Pixabay

Hotels that are self-isolating in style (part 4)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotels that are self-isolating in style (part 4)

Marking the conclusion of Hotel Designs’ series to discover hotels that are naturally self-isolating in style, editor Hamish Kilburn metaphorically explores some of the world’s most detached destinations…

For four weeks now, I have researched some of the world’s most secluded hotels that are self-isolating in style. Part four in the series has taken me to the furthest-reaching regions where social distancing comes naturally.

Following on from parts one, two  and three in this series, Hotel Designs continues to start the week during lockdown with some Monday motivation to explore a handful of hidden, untouched luxury gems.

Eichardt’s Private Hotel, New Zealand

View overlooking lake and mountains

Image credit: Eichardt’s Private Hotel

Eichardt’s Private Hotel, a Queenstown icon, provides fine accommodation in five luxurious suites in an historic building situated on a premium lakefront position.

The hotel under the historic building reflects contemporary, provincial elegance — its modern features in perfect harmony with distinctive antiques and luxurious furnishings. The opulent suites invite guests to soak up a sense of quiet before exploring one of the world’s truly remarkable locations. The confident strokes and flawless symmetry, which are the hallmarks of New Zealand designer Virginia Fisher, are married seamlessly with every amenity you would expect in a world-class hotel.

Saffire Freycinet, Tasmania

Image credit: Saffire Freycinet

Saffire Freycinet provides an authentic and immersive connection to the magnificent Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay in Tasmania. Distinct in its design, exclusive in its features and set apart by its approach to individually tailored experiences and service, Saffire features 20 private suites, a luxury day spa, an unforgettable culinary offering and so much more.

Amanemu, Japan

Image credit: Amanemu

On the shores of Ago Bay, Amanemu’s rustic ryokan-inspired retreat is where Japan’s ancient hospitality ritual finds its contemporary expression. Mineral-rich waters from a natural hot spring enable guests to embrace the tradition of onsen bathing – while nourishment in culinary form reflects a region famed for rare delicacies. Surrounded by Unesco pilgrim trails, sacred forests and the diving culture of the pearl-rich Pacific, here, rejuvenative stays and wellness experiences are imbued with a deeper cultural sensibility.

An Lam Retreats Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam

Image credit: An Lam Retreats

An Lam Retreats Ninh Van Bay is the perfect destination for personal comfort, relaxation and rejuvenation from the bustling life, ideally for those seeking a genuine retreat. The resort is ideal to connect with nature with contemporary chic architecture meeting natural elegance in interior designs, blended with a Vietnamese touch of each villa makes your own private hideaway.

Zannier Hotels Sonop

Image credit: Zannier Hotels

Built entirely on stilts connected through sturdy elevated wooden decks, Zannier Hotels Sonop’s tents are covered by an elegant canvas, designed to harmonise perfectly with the surrounding environment. Shaped in an oval formation facing out towards the spectacular landscape, the tents offer comfort to cater for today’s discerning travellers whilst also avoiding soil erosion and ensuring the preservation of the insects, fauna and flora that make up the Namibian desert dune ecosystem.

White Pearl, Mozambique

Nestled in a sheltered bay on Mozambique’s Lagoon Coast, poised amongst the dunes on timber stilts, our 22 luxurious suites have been sensitively designed to take advantage of their beautiful natural setting, while protecting the fragile eco-systems beneath them. Cool, clean lines, contemporary furniture and a palette inspired by the surrounding coastal landscape, make for a getaway out of this world.

Main image credit: Zannier Hotels

SPOTLIGHT ON: Unconventional public areas

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: Unconventional public areas

To mark the change of focus of Hotel Designs’ editorial lens, editor Hamish Kilburn goes on a journey to discover some of the world’s most unconventional hotel lobbies and public spaces… 

From striking rooftop bars above bustling metropolises to home-from-home hot-desk sanctuaries, the design of hotel public areas have evolved to capture not only a property’s rare personality but also a brand’s ethos and character.

While luxury hotel etiquette and demand has changed, one thing has remained firm for the operators and designers alike: you only have one opportunity to make a lasting first impression, which is arguably most true when it comes to designing the hotel lobby and public spaces. It’s a fine balancing skill to master. Designing a space suitable and accessible for everyone, but creating skilfully and meaningfully designing public spaces that add drama in all the right areas without coming across too strong can take a well-designed hotel into the realms of extraordinary masterpieces.

To kickstart Hotel Designs firmly positioning Public Areas under the editorial spotlight this month, here are nine uniquely designed lobbies and public spaces that each aptly amplify a hotel’s purpose and charm.

The Ritz Carlton – Astana

Image credit: Ritz Carlton

With a unique yet graceful design, The Ritz-Carlton – Astana is a natural extension of the square around the nearby Bayterek Tower, a monument and symbol of modern Astana. The property features an architectural lighting scheme designed by Nulty Lighting with carefully positioned luminaires in the soffit, which graze light across the fins for a dappled effect. In the restaurant, surface-mounted spotlights nestle within a bronze trough that cuts through an otherwise architecturally clean ceiling, complemented by a suspended rail with adjustable spotlights, which drops from the same detailing to provide a focus along the continuous marble counter, drawing the eye through the space.

PUBLIC Hotel, New York

Image credit: Public Hotel, New York

Featuring what our editorial team are unofficially concluding as the largest sofa in the world, PUBLIC, designed by legendary designer Ian Schrager, has all the necessary ingredients of a successful urban retreat. The New York-based hotel is known for being refined, sophisticated, smart, simple, yet flamboyant and provocative all at the same time. Its public areas, complete with high ceilings and modern comfortable furniture, attract locals and guests alike to work, socialise and simply chill out in a comfortable setting.

The Standard London

Image credit: The Standard London

The ground floor inside The Standard London was inspired by the groovy 70s, a decade full of character with Psychedelic Furs (the early years), Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin and the debut of The Muppets and Star Wars capturing the movement.

The Standard London’s lobby/lounge features fabulous circular fixtures and quirky furniture that set the scene. The carefully curated library pays homage to the building’s original use. Look down and you’ll notice a sumptuous orange rug leading the way into the hotel, look up and the bright red ceiling offsets the striped wooden walls and the blue mural behind the reception – forcing you to take everything you thought you knew about maximalism and throwing it out the window. The muted lamps and pot plants only enhance the boldness of the lobby’s design.

AKELARRE Hotel

Image credit: AKELARRE Hotel.

Architecture studio Mecanismo was responsible for the construction and interior design of AKELARRE Hotel. The carefully and meaningfully designed public areas evoke a sense of calm with a clever use of curves. The design concept was to use elements that coexist in harmony with the surrounding environment, to connect the interiors with the striking views of landscape that surrounds.

The Murray Hotel, Hong Kong

Image credit: The Murray Hotel

The Murray Hotel was a preservation project undertaken by Foster + Partners, the brief being to design a 336-key luxury hotel within the shell of one of the city’s most iconic landmarks that was built in 1969.

The hotel’s rooftop bar and restaurant both reflect Hong Kong’s vibrant cosmopolitan style, open to the city’s flamboyant population. The interior spaces feature high-end luxury furniture from Minotti, including Aston sofas and Lounge little armchairs animated by vivacious Cesar side tables. A wraparound terrace frames the restaurant with Aston “Cord” Outdoor sofas, armchairs and dining chairs.

Nobis Hotel Copenhagen

Image credit: Nobis Hotel Copenhagen

The patterned-geometric rug, cosy leather seating and contemporary white lighting reflects Scandi modern living. The home-from-home lobby inside Nobis Hotel Copenhagen, designed by Wingårdh Architects, shelters subtle deft touches, clean lines and playful colour while balancing the well-to-do elegance of the original building.

The Langham, Chicago

Image credit: Langham Hotels

The Langham Chicago, designed by Richmond International, is part of the former IBM tower, the final masterpiece of architect Mies Van Der Rohe and a well-loved feature of Chicago’s skyline, which the design team respected while creating a new, luxurious hotel inside its magnificent shell.

The designers opened up the reception with double-height spaces and introduced views of the city and the Chicago River. Materials such as bronze and travertine reference the original building, while decorative elements including onyx and velvet were inspired by the architect’s residences. The result is a warm, elegant hotel that honours its past.

nhow London

‘London Reloaded’ was the interior design concept for nhow London. The design studio Project Orange stretched that broad theme to its limits when imagining the look and feel of the the lobby inside the 190-key hotel. Although the arrival experience is impressive and memorable, we believe that the corridors, which often become ‘dead spaces’ are a true reflection of the studio’s ability to uniquely narrate a story with interiors. Inspired by a London stroll in the park, the corridors feature detailed HD carpets by Brintons and has been brought to life with humour. Each floor, facing the lifts, features a stencil of a bike chained to a fence. As guests move up each levels of the hotel, another part of the bike is removed, which is a playful nod to the reality of most, if not all, for cyclists in the city.

Proper Hotel San Francisco

Image credit: Proper Hotels

The flagship property of Proper Hotels is nestled in a landmarked flatiron-style building in San Francisco’s vibrant Mid-Market district., and features captivating interiors by designer Kelly Wearstler. The designer’s luxury residential style is arguably most felt in the lobby, which has been created using a clash of patterns, colours and textures alongside European furniture pieces from a number of design movements in history.

Main image credit: AKELARRE Hotel

Aloft Hotels arrives in Bali with new ‘future-proof design’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Aloft Hotels arrives in Bali with new ‘future-proof design’

Aloft Hotels’ First property on the Island of Bali introduces the brand’s new ‘future-proof design formula’…

Aloft Hotels, Marriott International’s hotel brand for music enthusiasts and tech-savvy travellers, has announced the opening of Aloft Bali Seminyak.

Located in the heart of vibrant Seminyak, within walking distance to the beachm, the urban-inspired hotel features interactive social spaces and modern style, along with a fresh new social scene to Bali as the first Aloft hotel to open on the island.

“We are excited to be unveiling the Aloft Hotels brand in Bali,” said Mike Fulkerson, Vice President, Brand & Marketing, Asia-Pacific, Marriott International. “The new Aloft Bali Seminyak is set to own the stage as the hottest gathering hub for travellers visiting the well-known social scene of Seminyak. From its bold design to its live music programming, locals and guests alike can experience the next generation of hotels that will enhance their stay while vacationing on island paradise.”

Aloft Bali Seminyak embodies the brand’s new tech-forward design philosophy with a lively, industrial-inspired aesthetic intermixed with distinct local touches that complement the free-flowing open spaces. The hotel is home to 80 modern and stylish guestrooms, all of which have been designed with the brand’s signature artful and innovative loft layout in mind. They feature airy nine-foot-ceilings, Aloft’s ultra-comfortable beds and contemporary décor with Balinese accents. In addition, the hotel features eight guestrooms with direct access to a lap pool, complete with stunning views of a tropical hanging garden.

render of luxury guestroom

Image credit: Aloft hotels/Marriott International

The hotel features a variety of dining and social spaces including its main attraction: The Kahuna rooftop restaurant, which serves up a fusion of eclectic fare with a playful twist on international and local cuisine complemented by mesmerising sea views as a backdrop.

The open and expressive lobby is adjacent to Re:mix lounge that provides locals and travellers a space to mix and mingle. The brand’s signature W XYZ bar offers signature cocktails and light bites for guests to enjoy over live music as part of the brand’s iconic Live At Aloft Hotels music series which offers emerging local artists a platform to showcase their musical talent.

Business travellers can make use of the two multi-functional, tech-forward meeting spaces equipped with fast and free Wi-Fi, which can also be transformed into an intimate event venue accommodating up to 66 people.

Aloft currently operates 176 lifestyle hotels globally. There are 132 Aloft hotels in the signed pipeline expected to open in North America, Caribbean & Latin America, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Asia Pacific.

Main image credit: Marriott International/Aloft Hotels

MINIVIEW: A story of sustainable design inside Heritance Aarah, Maldives

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: A story of sustainable design inside Heritance Aarah, Maldives

The recently opened Heritance Aarah resort was the first property to be awarded gold for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Hotel Designs takes a peak inside the sustainable masterpiece…

Opened last year in the  Raa Atoll of the Maldives, Heritance Aarah has not sacrificed style or design in its quest to become the most sustainable hotel in the region.

The resort is owned and managed by Aitken Spence Hotels, which currently operates 23 hotels and resorts across Sri Lanka, Maldives, Oman and India, which are reflected under the Heritance, Adaaran and Turyaa brands.

Image credit: Heritance Aarah

Four years in the making, the 150-key Maldivian resort shelters a design scheme that compliments the uninterrupted views that stretch across the horizon. The overall aesthetic, created by architect Mohamed Shafeeq, follows a strict approach of sustainability. With the aim to outshine other luxury hotels in the area, the hotel has implemented components such as fuel-saving generators, energy-saving LED lighting, water-saving fixtures and energy-efficient air conditioning.

Image caption: Beach Villa, complete with energy-saving technology | Image credit: Heritance Aarah

These operational achievements, married with thoughtful design, enabled Heritance Aarah to become the first ever property in the Maldives to be awarded the internationally recognised Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, which complies with the US Green Building Council rating system and is awarded to properties that save energy, water and resources; generate less waste; and support human health.

“We are honoured that Heritance Aarah has been presented with numerous accolades after just a few months of opening,” said Stasshani Jayawardena, Executive Director of Aitken Spence PLC and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotels. “Aitken Spence Hotels are known for distinction in the culinary field and Heritance Aarah’s 11 dining and drinking outlets introduces guests to flavours from across the world.

“Furthermore, our strategies to expand are led by guests’ expectations and design- led refurbishments to enrich the experience at our properties. A key priority is to ensure our resorts contribute positively to protect and preserve the environment and the ecosystems we operate in so we are proud that Heritance Aarah has been named as the first LEED Gold certified property in the Maldives.”

The resort’s 150 villas allow guests to wake up either atop of the turquoise ocean or beside it on the soft, sun-drenched shores – either way, the ocean is never far away. The intimate villas and suites, each with thatched roofs and calming interiors, seamlessly blend indulgent comforts with traditional aesthetics, adding a further layer to the unique sense-of-place.

Scattered around the property are the dynamically designed, contemporary F&B areas. The six restaurants and five bars, which have collectively won a total of 130 medals, house open-air dining options to once again frame the postcard-perfect views.

Image caption: The interiors inside Falhu Bar, one of the 11 F&B options in the resort | Image credit: Heritance Aarah

The Medi Spa, with six treatment rooms, is situated Situated above tranquil lagoon waters. Its scaled-back design not only compliments the laid-back luxury approach of the resort, but also allows nature in to offer a holistic wellness experience.

Image caption: The main pool | Image credit: Image caption: The interiors inside Falhu Bar, one of the 11 F&B options in the resort | Image credit: Heritance Aarah

Image caption: The main pool | Image credit: Image caption: The interiors inside Falhu Bar, one of the 11 F&B options in the resort | Image credit: Heritance Aarah

Like all hotels at the moment (in all sectors), Heritance Aarah is feeling the effects of the COVID–19 pandemic – and recently released a statement on its website on this. In these no-doubt turbulent times, one thing is as clear as the waters that surround Heritance Aarah: the luxury nest, situated in one of the world’s most desired far-flung destinations, is waiting to welcome its next sea plane of luxury travellers (whenever that may be).

Main image credit: Heritance Aarah

CASE STUDY: utilising sustainability and emotional practice in hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: utilising sustainability and emotional practice in hotel design

Conscious, emotion and sustainability formed the design recipe for Kalukanda House, as interior designer Dee Gibson from Velvet Orange explains…

As an interior designer, I have always extolled the virtues of how a successful design makes my clients feel – and the aesthetics form only a part of that.

A space should functionally work, but it must also awaken as many senses as possible and I believe that comes from the designer at design stage connecting at a human level. Right from the get-go, we should be thinking about all the elements that will be pulled together to create an awakening for a user within a space that will stay with them long after we have gone.

“I deliberately allowed the design thinking to evolve as I discovered materials and fixtures that would fit the bill.” – Dee Gibson

Building a luxury hotel from scratch was an opportunity for me to put this into practice, and I deliberately allowed the design thinking to evolve as I discovered materials and fixtures that would fit the bill. Of course, the story doesn’t end there, we have a responsibility as hoteliers and designers to create and build sustainability, especially considering residential design trends can be influenced by the hotel market. Sharing this information and passion encourages others to join us; to engage emotionally and create spaces that people understand and want to talk about and replicate themselves.

Exterior of the property

Image caption: The colonial Walauwa architectural style of the building had to be restored sensitively in order to retain its charm and character

The hotel is on a gorgeous natural piece of jungle backed by a tall, golden cliff and 100 metres from the beach. Its garden was overgrown and the original derelict building had to be razed to the ground (not part of the plan). With a finite budget, it was important not to cut corners just to save money. At the same time, we had to balance the requirements of a demanding, luxury travel market. The challenge was to build and respect the elements of sea air, enormous trees, wildlife and extremes of weather and make the right financial choices around this.

The hotel is created in the colonial Walauwa architectural style associated with “Headmen” and the aristocracy, so the look was to be ultra luxury but had to be built responsibly. We wanted to evoke feelings of nostalgia for beautiful bygone eras, far away from the glass and steel structures that many developers favour today.

Image caption: Elements such as clay roof tiles and shutters were up-cycled to keep the style of the property

We stripped the bungalow of every inch that could be re-used. Original clay roof tiles were removed one by one and saved, shutters, doors, even the rotting fretwork was all dismantled. It was important to us to re-use as much as possible but also replicate original patterns wherever we had to make new. The charm of the original building had moved us and this was the closest I could get to completely replacing it and creating a sense of history.

The original grounds were bursting with tropical life; the trees and flora giving home and sanctuary to countless monkeys, birds and other wildlife. We carefully hand selected and cut back a small number of trees that were blocking light and designed outdoor spaces around the remainder. The gardens today are packed full of original, gigantic palms and Jackwood trees, and sunlight floods through to the ground where we have planted new exotic flowers, shrubs and Frangipanee.

Wooden shutters and doors on hotel

Image caption: The hotel has a distinct residential style that is both luxurious and thoughtful.

Working with the footprint of the original bungalow was crucial. Rather than cramming lots of small rooms in as was suggested (bums on seats), we created two levels and carved off half the space for a large double height, vaulted living area which would stay cool naturally, and the other half for four lovely bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms. We installed the refurbished doors, shutters and windows from the original property back into similar locations and had additional ones handmade by local craftsmen from local, sustainable sources.

We have a natural water well and that water is used to irrigate the gardens. If the well runs dry when it is particularly hot, then the gardens go without. The original jungle has been there for centuries without being watered and we chose beautiful but hardy plants that could withstand extreme weather patterns. It was one of hundreds of decisions we debated – how to balance finances, sustainable design and luxury market expectations.

Image caption: The bedrooms shelter a traditional look and feel with hidden technology keeping it relevant for the luxury market

Powerful hot showers are a personal must have for comfortable, luxury travel and the electricity for this comes from solar panels. The Grohe fittings are expensive in Sri Lanka but the thought of having cheaper, mass produced variants was not an option. In a hot country like Sri Lanka there are times when the heat can be intense, so we have installed fast, efficient high-tech AC units in the bedrooms in addition to ceiling fans, and we actively ask and encourage guests to use the fans where possible and be mindful of the impact on the environment.

Our future plans include switching over entirely to solar power, but frequent power cuts will mean we still have to rely on our generator.

The hotel is styled with antiques that are all in daily use, and individually selected based on how they stirred us emotionally. We used a local antique dealer who had stories to tell of his life including where he was on the day of the Tsunami in 2004. These human connections and stories of provenance added layers of interest and emotion into the process.

Other craftsmen hand carved furniture for us, and we consciously sought out Sri Lankan artisans instead of mass produced, replica retailers. The entire space breathes and pieces are installed for specific use, their inherent beauty and details are styling enough. Carvings and statues add a sense of nostalgia, these too are minimal so they can be admired.

Image caption: The interior design scheme inside the hotel evokes a strong sense-of-place and time

Having regular contact with the contractors meant that I could see the hotel going up brick by brick. Our Sri Lankan builders had knowledge of local building techniques as well as modern materials, they used labourers from local streets to help on smaller tasks and we retained the caretaker who had looked after the site before we bought it. Relationships were built and strengthened, our presence in the village has roots.

Every detail was considered, from drainage and irrigation to power sources and building materials, and contractors, craftsmen and staff. It took time and effort and since opening, there are costs associated with maintenance, but the hotel has been built responsibly and with authenticity.

Sustainability is an on going project for us. We share our story with guests and engage them as much as possible to join in by making conscious choices on meal ingredients, water and electricity consumption and even local experiences. Our toiletries are all organic and every bathroom has china bottles that are topped up with products. Single use plastic is down to less than five per cent and we are always thinking about what we can do to improve.

We are asking that all guests go on at least one of our experiences where we encourage a human connection with locals. We also have strong links with a local children’s charity who we support through donations from guest bookings and other means.

Our staff are trained to be discrete while attentive and they are encouraged to warmly interact with guests if it feels appropriate, recreating those moments of connection we had with various people when building Kalukanda House.

All of this brings the guest experience into a deep sense of connection with the provenance and values of the hotel, the people, and the environment. Guests want to actively participate in our sustainability and green initiatives and ask about this when booking to stay.

Designers and hoteliers must insist on thinking about a design approach that is both conscious, emotional and sustainable. Whether in Sri Lanka or anywhere else, we can use our influence to create engagement between users and their environment, as this is the beginning of a journey to good mental health, wellbeing and thinking about our world in a kinder and respectful way.

Over complicated technology, throw away fixtures and faddish design aesthetics result in buzzes that are easily forgotten, and an un-conscious lack of respect for the environment.

The Kalukanda House definition of luxury is having the time and means to engage at a human level, to savour every pleasure our senses can find and to leave a positive social impact on the space we leave behind. That word ‘conscious’ is the golden key to sustainable and timeless design.

Main image credit: The Kalukanda House

Hotels that are self-isolating in style (part 3)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotels that are self-isolating in style (part 3)

The editorial series continues with part three, as editor Hamish Kilburn mentally checks in to some of the best hotels that are self-isolating in style…

The weeks are starting to feel like years. As the number of cases of COVID–19 increases day-by-day, so too do our social restrictions. From our new-found goldfish bowl perspective on the world, travel is beginning to feel like a distant memory.

Following on from parts one and two in this series, Hotel Designs continues to start the week during lockdown with some Monday motivation, – a non-permanent day-dream, if you like – to explore some of the world’s hidden luxury gems. Here are a handful of hotels that are naturally self-isolating in style.

Dharana at Shillim, in the Western Ghats of India

Lounge overlooking greenery

Image caption: Spa Pool Villa’s Living Room | Image credit: Dharana at Shillim

Spread over 3,000 acres of its own fertile valley, Dharana at Shillim used a completely local work force to respectfully build 23 rooms and three Presidential Villas within the forest. Each room celebrates the nature they’re in while also paying homage to Indian local design. The roofs are made out of tin, as a reflection of the village homes surrounding Shillim, and also to heighten the sound of the rain during monsoon season, reminding guests that nature rules here.

Treehotel, Sweden

Glass-mirrored structure hanging from trees

Image credit: Treehotel Sweden

The mirrorcube structure was launched as an “exciting hide-out among the trees, camouflaged by mirrored walls that reflect their surroundings.” Its base consists of an aluminium frame around the tree trunk and the walls are covered with reflective glass. The interior is designed from plywood with a birch surface. The total of six windows provide a stunning panoramic view. A 12-meter-long bridge leads up to the tree room.

Matetsi Victoria Falls

Luxury suite with sensitive interiors

Image credit: Matetsi Victoria Falls

Nestled within a 123,000-acre (55,000 hectres) wild game reserve, Matetsi Victoria Falls is arguably the most self-isolated hotel in the world. The hotel has been constructed to blend into its natural surroundings. The interiors, designed by local designer Kerry van Leenhoff, have been sensitively created to evoke sense-of-place at every turn.

Artist Helen Teede spent much time on site at Matetsi in order to find the inspiration of a unique collection of 18 paintings entitled ‘Mapping Matetsi’. Having done extensive walks and drives in the area, Teede divided the cartographic map of Matetsi unit seven into 18 parts and drew it to scale on each canvas, adding her own impressions of the river, the landscape and the pathways walked in the area, both man and animal-made. These 18 paintings hang separately in each suite. However, put together and these pieces of art actually form the aerial map of the reserve.

Severin*s – The Alpine Retreat

Luxury pool inside the hotel

Image credit: Severin*s – The Alpine Retreat

Severin*s is an uber-luxe hotel in Lech, situated in the Arlberg region which is part of Austria’s largest inter-connected ski areas. It set a new design standard in an otherwise predominantly traditional hotel landscape – Severin*s oozes James Bond glamour with pine interiors, fires in the rooms and fur throws.

The luxury hotel shelters just nine exclusive super-suites, each with private terraces and mountain views, a private four-bed Residence and an indoor luxury spa. 

Heritance Aarah, Maldives

Luxury pool on stilts in the middle of ocean

Image credit: Aitken Spence Hotels

The design of Heritance Aarah compliments the group Aitken Spence Hotels’ policy of sustainability by implementing components such as fuel saving generators, energy saving LED lighting, water saving fixtures and energy efficient air conditioning. The premium all-inclusive resort boasts 150 villas, six restaurants, five bars, a PADI dive centre and the first of its kind IASO Medi Spa.

Main image credit: Dharana at Shillim

Hotels that are self-isolating in style (Part 1)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotels that are self-isolating in style (Part 1)

While the entire world is feeling the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, Hotel Designs is here to start your week with some stunning hotels that are naturally self-isolating in style. Editor Hamish Kilburn emerges from his quarantined slumber to write part one… 

In uncertain times, it can become easy for designers and architects to lose focus on a creative vision.

The outbreak of the recent coronavirus COVID-19 is taking its toll on all creative industries, and has resulted in a number of major events, such as Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam, Hotel Summit and Salone Del Mobile Milan, to postpone all activity until later in the summer.

With the aim to simply lift spirits and steer those who are lacking Monday motivation back on course, here are a handful of remote hotels that will allow you to escape from the madness, even if it’s for just a minute.

Lepogo Lodges’ Noka Camp, Limpopo Province, South Africa

Large bedroom overlooking the African wilderness

Image credit: Lepogo Lodges’ Noka Camp

Lepogo Lodges, one of Africa’s few entirely not-for-profit high-end safari lodges, has opened its very first lodge in South Africa’s Limpopo Province, Noka Camp. Just a short air transfer or a three-hour drive from Johannesburg, Noka Camp enjoys a remote spot within the 50,000-hectare, malaria-free Lapalala Wilderness Reserve, home of the ‘big five’.

Lepogo Lodges is the very first luxury camp in Africa to offset the carbon footprint of every visiting guest, from the time they leave their home to the moment they return. Family-owned and operated, the project has been developed as part of a life-long dream to create a sustainable conservation legacy in Africa, with 100% of any financial gains made re-invested back into the reserve for the benefit of wildlife, conservation and the local community. 

Jade Mountain, St Lucia

walkway to suites

Image credit: Jade Mountain St Lucia

On the western stretch of Saint Lucia, an island that last year welcomed more than 1.2 million visitors, two incredible design gem stones can be found. While the two hotels are very different in style, the experience of Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain comes as one.

Not only are the hotels two of the region’s most sought-after places to check in to, but they also stand as a permanent reminder of an unforgettable journey, which is full of discovery, challenges and sustainable solutions that is still ongoing for husband-and-wife team Nick and Karolin Troubetzkoy. 

Zannier Hotels Sonop, Nambia

Image credit: Zannier Hotels/Tibod Hermy

Arnaud Zannier’s inspiration for Zannier Hotels Sonop’s design was conceived during his very first trip to the site and first view from the top of the boulders. Arnaud recognised that he had been fortunate enough to discover somewhere very special, likening the feeling to an old explorer discovering a destination for the first time – hence the property was designed to resemble a 20th Century tented camp for explorers.

The construction process was challenging due to the hotel’s remote location and protected surroundings. All building materials and interiors were manually transported up the huge boulders, by expert craftsmen from Namibia. Zannier Hotels only used a limited number of existing roads to the site, to ensure the human impact on the fragile flora was minimal. In addition, each piece of furniture, including twelve 30kg handcrafted four-poster beds, had to be carried by hand over the rocks and boulders thereby avoiding the use of disruptive machinery.

Hotel Chais Monet, France

Image of old and new architecture blending into one frme

Image credit: Hotel Chais Monet

The project was reported to have cost €60 million, and was the brainchild of chief architect Didier Poignant of Ertim Architects. But the result of the sensitive restoration to transform the traditional Cognac trading house site into a 15,000m2 luxury spa hotel, offering what it was described back then as a “modern take on traditional French luxe”, has given the buildings a new lease of life.

I would go one step further in saying that it has reopened up the destination’s history books, perhaps to a different chapter. In the process, it has added a new contemporary architectural jewel ­­– a rare find in and around the low-level city ­– one that is sensitive to its surroundings.

Four Seasons Nevis

Recently, the Four Seasons hotel underwent a complete renovation, which was led by TAL Studio. The hotel is situated on the pristine beaches of the remote Caribbean island where building regulations state that no building is allowed to be taller than a palm tree.

The hotel’s latest chapter of renovations includes the redesign of the resort’s main signature pool, construction of a new restaurant concept – On the Dune – that extends out on to the sand and the unveiling of additional improved spaces around the property for guests to enjoy a variety of new experiences and amenities.

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

Image of restaurant overlooking green countryside

Image credit: Cape Kidnappers

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers is just that: a working farmstead of arable land and sheepherding, poised on the edge of a scenic bluff on North Island’s east coast so dramatic, idyllic and untouched that the views – and best enjoyed from the outdoor swimming pool or Jacuzzi. The hotel’s design is one that is considered to blend in harmony with the natural beauty of the area. 

Image credit: Zannier Hotels

Sindhorn Midtown hotel opens in Bangkok

750 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sindhorn Midtown hotel opens in Bangkok

The opening in Bangkok marks the new hospitality brand’s debut in Thailand… 

Sindhorn Midtown, the flagship property of a stylish new Thai-inspired hospitality brand, opens in the heart of Bangkok’s Langsuan neighbourhood. 

Inspired by local artistry and designed for a sophisticated lifestyle, Sindhorn Midtown introduces a contemporary Thai hospitality experience for today’s business and leisure travellers alike.

Image of pool and skyline of Bangkok

Image credit: Sindhorn Hotel Bangkok

“We’re thrilled to open our doors and introduce guests to our new brand of hospitality,” said Jee Hoong Tan, Sindhorn Midtown’s General Manager. “Sindhorn Midtown is a chic urban escape that welcomes guests with authentic warm Thai hospitality. With intuitive service, thoughtful amenities and sleek design, Sindhorn Midtown is setting a new standard in the market sure to appeal to savvy travellers.”

“Sindhorn Midtown delivers modern living with the allure of relaxation, comfort and sustainability.”

Uncomplicated and harmonious, Sindhorn Midtown delivers modern living with the allure of relaxation, comfort and sustainability. Nestled within a pocket of greenery in the midst of the quiet Langsuan neighborhood area, the hotel offers a collection of 344 hotel guestrooms and suites and 49 serviced residence units within two sleek, modern towers offering urban views.

The hotel blends art-infused contemporary interiors with a calm vibe. Food and beverage offerings include Tr.EAT, an in-house eatery with the flavour and flair of the local neighbourhood; and Rhumba, a lively gathering spot offering a large selection of rum, mixed into classic and creative cocktails. On the 18th level, the Horizon Pool offers skyline views, cocktails and small bites; while the Fitness Center on the 19th level allows guests to stay fit 24/7 with the latest equipment from Life Fitness.

Main image credit: Sindhorn Hotel Bangkok

Electric red led lights in modern and quirky lounge

Most anticipated hotel openings in 2020 (Q3 & Q4)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Most anticipated hotel openings in 2020 (Q3 & Q4)

Hotel Designs continues to glance at some of the most significant hotel projects that are expected to complete in the next 12 months (edited by Hamish Kilburn)…

According to the latest findings by Top Hotel Projects, a whopping 50,000 new rooms are expected to open in January alone of this year.

Electric red led lights in modern and quirky lounge

Following on from part one of this series, where we put hotel openings in 2020 under the spotlight, here’s a closer look at some of the more significant hotels that are slated to open in Q3 and Q4 of this year.

Pendry West Hollywood (Q3)

Render of modern building

Image credit: Penury Hotels

Located on the iconic Sunset Strip, Pendry West Hollywood is one of the most anticipated developments in the creative heart of Los Angeles. The ‘new luxury’ hotel – set in an eye-catching glass fronted building with interiors designed by the acclaimed Martin Brudnizki Design Studio to evoke Californian glamour – comprises 149 guestrooms, including 37 suites and 40 additional residences. For the property’s signature restaurant and food and beverage outlets, Wolfgang Puck has created an unparalleled culinary experience inspired by the artistic energy of the surrounding area. Other stand-out features include a spectacular rooftop pool and bar adorned with chic cabanas; Spa Pendry a tranquil sanctuary offering personalised wellness treatments; curated public art collections showcasing local talent; bowling alley; and screening room.

Hilton Garden Inn Silverstone (Q3)

Render of modern building overlooking racetrack

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

Racing fans will have a new hotel to call their home away from home from 2020. Hilton Garden Inn Silverstone is the first hotel to open at the premier motor racing venue and will provide guests with extensive views over the track. Enjoy the breakneck speeds and gripping circuit side action from the comfort of the guestroom balconies or the hotel’s gorgeous rooftop terrace.

The hotel will also offer race-day experiences for all major sporting events held at the venue.

The Reykjavik EDITION (Q3)

Render of the exterior of The EDITION Reykjavik

Image caption/credit: Render of The EDITION Reykjavik | EDITION Hotels/Marriott International

Opening in a prime location within the downtown area of the city, The Reykjavik EDITION is set to launch in late 2020. Adjacent to the prominent Harpa Concert Hall, the hotel is situated in both a vibrant and scenic part of Iceland’s historical capital.

Ian Schrager Company has collaborated with architects T.arch and designers Roman & Williams to introduce EDITION Hotels to Iceland. Poised to offer 250 rooms and suites, The Reykjavik EDITION is poised to house a private rooftop, nightlife space and ballroom. In addition, the hotel is expected to offer guests and locals a diverse culinary offering with three restaurants and a café.

Crowne Plaza & Holiday Inn Express, Warsaw Hub (Q3)

Render of hotel

Image credit: IHG

A phoenix arisen from the ashes, Poland’s capital is a modern and dynamic metropolis that radiates contemporary style and sheer joie de vivre. The city boasts diverse architecture, beautiful outdoor spaces, cultural treasures, and a superb selection of dining spots, as well as over 100 cultural events taking place on a monthly basis. This new dual-branded hotel is part of The Warsaw HUB – a new business concept that will offer 430 rooms and suites from Holiday Inn Express and Crowne Plaza, conveniently located in the heart of the city’s Silicon Valley – Rondo Daszyńskiego in the Wola district.

Rosewood Hong Kong – Asaya (Q4)

Two sun loungers overlooking bay

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels

November 2019 marks the launch of the ultimate urban wellness destination, ASAYA, at Rosewood Hong – offering progressive, comprehensive integrative wellness in a destination setting. This is the first urban outpost of Asaya, following its resort debut in Phuket in December 2017. Asaya will occupy a vast indoor and outdoor space at Rosewood Hong Kong, making it the largest lifestyle and wellness facility of the city.

Ambiente, A Landscape Hotel, Arizona, USA (Q4)

Render of hotel under rocks of Arizona

Image credit: Ambiente

Described as North America’s first landscape hotel, Ambiente is designed to blend in with the mystical red rocks of Sedona, Arizona.

Developed, owned and managed by Two Sister Bosses, a Sedona family-owned and operated company, Ambiente is being built with a deep respect for the environment with a focus on sustainable methods and organic, modern architecture that complements the surrounding topography and minimises the impact on the land. Designed by award-winning, Scottsdale-based ASUL Architects, the hotel will be constructed around the natural vegetation and topography, requiring less cut and fill, which better meets today’s expectations of being responsible land stewards.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Eco gem: The Tongsai Bay, Koh Samui

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Eco gem: The Tongsai Bay, Koh Samui

In search of eco gems, as we continue putting sustainability under the spotlight this month, journalist Sara Darling has committed to long haul, and Asia is firmly on her agenda. Removed from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, Koh Samui is Darling’s next adventure as it is home to one of the world’s few fully sustainable boutique hotels, The Tongsai Bay…

Koh Samui, just east of mainland Thailand, is a relaxed island, famous for its giant temple of the Big Buddha- a 39ft golden Buddha erected in 1792 at Wat Phra Yai. It is also the home of what I have found to be one of the world’s most sustainable boutique hotels.

The Tongsai Bay, on the north east tip of the beautiful island, is a family run business which has been welcoming visitors since 1987, and is the ideal  tranquil break that is full of many sustainable and thoughtful moments thanks to its design, architecture and day-to-day operations.

Nestled amongst 28 and a half acres of greenery, the secluded property consisting of low rise apartments, bungalows and cottages are spread in the valley of a private cove. Only 15 minutes from the airport, it is a short hop north of the popular Choeng Mon beach, and a ten minute transfer to the buzzy restaurants, bars and shopping in Fisherman’s Village.

Paying attention to all the small details, the hotel has a modern rustic feel, which blends Eastern and Western philosophies with science and spirituality; However the subtle decor is more homely than pretentious and enhances the brand’s ethical stance. For example, the art throughout the property, which has been created by the hotel’s resident artist Mook, uses recycled materials – and paints my first indication of a sustainable and eco-friendly picture.

Meanwhile, the elegant, airy villas have private pathways and pools which are interspersed amongst the greenery. Along with cottages, villas and suites, there are low rise blocks, all which maximise the uninterrupted sea views, and are designed to utilise the natural sun and shade within their open spaces.

With a low-key, back-to-nature environment, the 83 chalets and villas that cascade down to a private beach on the Gulf of Thailand, have also been designed to enhance their natural surroundings, so guests can enjoy the birdsong, crashing waves and sound of crickets on their terrace. The terrace cottages all offer an outside “bath with a view”, four poster gazebo, bar, dining area and sun loungers, along with a freshwater plunge pool for ultimate luxury while feeling at one with the elements.

“Dedicated to improving its carbon footprint, Tongsai Bay has abolished the use of all plastic – providing re-fillable glass drinking bottles and lemongrass straws for guests.”

Great care has been taken to integrate the buildings into nature. They are furnished in contemporary Thai style – dark wood tables and beds, hardwood floors, along with modern showers, hairdryer and walk-in wardrobe.

Dedicated to improving its carbon footprint, The Tongsai Bay has abolished the use of all plastic – providing re-fillable glass drinking bottles and lemongrass straws for guests. It also applies energy-saving measures throughout, stocks guestrooms with environmentally-friendly toiletries made by local supplier, and only changes bedding when requested.

Other eco-conscious details include washing-up liquid and cleaning products produced from leftover peelings, and mosquito deterrent created with natural citronella and lemongrass. Staff are trained to be environmentally aware and the hotel prides itself on upcycling and composting everything it can- including the waste of the compost toilets for fertiliser, and recycling cooking oil.

These simple approaches go a long way in making a difference to the future of the planet, and the ethos is subtly carried out across the site. From a bay that is free from mechanical water sports, to avoid pollution, to the two fresh water pools.

Image credit: Tongsai Bay

In regards to food, as much produce as possible is home grown for the Tongsai, at an impressive, off-site organic garden which provides ingredients for the bar, kitchen and spa, and is open to guests by arrangement. Packed with edibles including exotic fruits, herbs and vegetables, they are cared for using sustainable agricultural practices, and knowledgeable gardners.  The breakfast “Happy Juice” prepared by larger than life Khun Pu is an essential kick start to your day.

A visit to Thailand is not complete without a massage, and the onsite Prana Spa provides a wide range of luxury, innovative treatments for a traditional  taste of Thailand. The scents and oils are provided by the same organic company as the bathroom products, and you can get transported to another world either in one of the cosy spa cottages or shady daybeds on the beach.

For a deluxe stay in a hotel that really puts the environment first, along with friendly staff, The Tongsai Bay is a great place to escape from the rat race where guests can feel at one with nature and themselves.

Main image credit: Tongsai Bay

ARCHITECTURE GOALS: Architects unveil Japanese infused urban retreat in Sydney

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
ARCHITECTURE GOALS: Architects unveil Japanese infused urban retreat in Sydney

The new development of five buildings in Sydney will feature new penthouses that will offer rare traditional Japanese design details…

Australian developer Crown Group’s latest residential development, Mastery by Crown Group, will offer a rare infusion of Japanese design in Sydney, complete with traditional Japanese hinoki timber onsen style baths.

The five towers are designed by three different architects, with a Japanese aesthetic and design scheme. The tallest, at 20-storeys, is designed by world-renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, and features lush, timber-clad innovative design on the building’s green exterior emulating a ‘stacked forest’. Three further towers are the work of award-winning architect Koichi Takada Architects, while the fifth residential building is designed by established Sydney based architects Silvester Fuller.

Prisca Edwards, Director of Sales at Crown Group said the apartments would have the most sophisticated Japanese-inspired interiors Sydney had ever seen, with a neutral palette and generous use of natural materials, timber tones and soft warm hues, inspired by the interplay of light (hikari) and shadow (kage).

“Mastery by Crown Group has been designed with the most sought-after features drawing on an inspirational Japanese concept of simplicity, peace, and nature,” she said. “Koichi Takada himself conceptualised and curated the interior of every apartment. It’s very Japanese inspired, very minimalistic and also represents what Crown Group stands for.”

The modern and sophisticated interior design varies between five buildings to complement the exterior architecture. In all residences, natural light takes centre stage. Landscaping on the facades relates to materials used inside the apartments.

Edwards said the design created a natural urban retreat, incorporating the calming, zen design sensibilities of Japanese architecture and interiors.

“We are giving penthouse buyers the option to have a hinoki wood bathtub — it is a traditional Japanese onsen style bath using the densest wood in the world,” she said. “Normally, wood disintegrates in the water but this type of timber is really unusual because it becomes hardened.

“Natural oils with medical properties and soothing fragrances are released in the warm water for a sensation of extreme wellbeing when you soak in the warm water. Hinoki wood oil is also traditionally used to treat skin irritations and injuries thanks to its antibacterial and antifungal action. When inhaled, it acts as a decongestant of the respiratory system, used to cure asthma and as a tonic for the nervous system. So, we are going all out with this – soaking in a Japanese natural style – because they are limited and with a Japanese concept these are different.”

Mastery by Crown Group, being developed in partnership with Mitsubishi Estate Group, will comprise 368 luxury apartments across five-tower residential towners. When completed in 2021, residents can access to Crown Group’s signature resort-style facilities including an infinity-edge rooftop pool, gym, spa, mini-cinema, community room and a ground-floor retail precinct comprising a mix of restaurants, cafes and shops, as well as Sydney’s first Japanese “eat street”.

Main image credit: Crown Group

The Standard Hotels brand arrives in the Maldives

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Standard Hotels brand arrives in the Maldives

The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives opens as the brand’s second hotel outside America and its debut hotel in Asia… 

Following the brand’s first venture outside The States to open in London, The Standard brand has spilled into Asia with the arrival of The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives. With 115 stunning private pool villas, The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives is a short sea plane ride away from Male, nestled between the Raa and Baa Atolls, on a naturally protected island.

The goal of every Standard project — be it a hotel, a rooftop discothèque, or a magazine — is to defy conventions, up the aesthetic stakes, and deliver an experience that can only be had at The Standard. While the Maldives has traditionally been seen as a ‘couple’s destination’, the famed hotel brand has approached the development with a fresh set of eyes. The resort offers an unmatched combination of relaxation, dynamic social life and vibrant cultural programming that also welcomes groups of friends or singles looking to meet others or just reset and recharge in Paradise.

Each of the 115 villas features its own private lounge deck and plunge pool, and guests can choose from one of six unique culinary offerings. The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives presents culinary options that are inspired by the bounty and beauty of the Indian Ocean and guided by the brand’s commitment to authenticity. Both local and global cuisines are offered, and special, local ingredients – some grown on its very own island farm – are woven throughout the menu.

The Standard Spa is a haven for recovery or reboot, offering a communal hammam, aroma cypress steam room, chromotherapy and contrast shower, and ten private treatment rooms. Guests are able to drop in to a daily yoga or personal training session, or chill out at the Spa Deck and Tonic Bar plunge pool.

Of course, no Standard experience would be complete without nightlife, from tribal beats at a beach bonfire to a glass bottom nightclub. And a disco ball above your bath tub, for guests to enjoy their own private party.

The hotel brand, which was created in 1999, now has six hotels within its portfolio, which includes properties in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London and now the Maldives.

Main image credit: The Standard Hotels

Aman announces its debut in Bangkok

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Aman announces its debut in Bangkok

Slated to open in 2022, the luxury hotel will be Aman’s debut hotel in Bangkok, and second property in Thailand, further proving that the region is a design and hotel development hotspot… 

Luxury hotel brand Aman, which has grown to encompass 38 hotels in 22 destinations around the world, has signed a long-term partnership with Nai Lert Group to manage a hotel and branded residences offered under a long-term leasehold ownership, which will mark the brand’s entrance in Bangkok.

Under the terms of the agreement, Aman and Nai Lert Group will develop a luxury hotel and residences project, with construction works scheduled to commence in the coming months. The project is expected to welcome its first hotel guests and residents in 2022.

“Aman Nai Lert Bangkok will offer a unique connection to the rich heritage and history of Bangkok” – Vladislav Doronin, Chairman and CEO of Aman

“Thailand holds a special place in our hearts ever since the conception of Amanpuri, and our brand, in Phuket over 30 years ago,” said Vladislav Doronin, Chairman and CEO of Aman. “Aman Nai Lert Bangkok will be situated in its namesake iconic central city parkland and will further cement our vision to bring the Aman ethos to global cities. Nestled in the century-old tropical gardens of Nai Lert Park, Aman Nai Lert Bangkok will offer a unique connection to the rich heritage and history of Bangkok enhanced by the gracious traditions of Thailand.”

Pursuing its long-lasting legacy in real estate and hospitality, Nai Lert Group is making its entry into the ultra- luxury segment with the upcoming mixed-use project, Aman Nai Lert Bangkok. Nai Lert Group Managing Director Naphaporn Bodiratnangkura commented: “We are very pleased to be working with world renowned hotel and resort brand Aman, which shares our values of delivering exquisite customer experiences.”

Aman is the latest group to announce hotel openings in Bangkok. According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), in 2016 more than 32.59 million tourists visited Thailand, which was an almost 20 per cent increase over the year before, and a record number for the country. With recent openings from Rosewood and Avani Hotels, the region is proving to be a hotel development hotspot in the making.

Main image credit: Amanpuri (Aman’s current hotel offering in Thailand)

The Luxury Collection announces opening of eighth hotel in China

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Luxury Collection announces opening of eighth hotel in China

With a design narrative that celebrates Chinese culture, the 290-key Na Lotus Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, has opened… 

Following Marriott International’s plans to open more than 30 luxury hotels in 2019, the hotel group, which has recently debuted the W Hotels brand in Oman, has announced the opening of Na Lotus Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Nanning. Strategically located in the business district of the Guangxi Province, the opening marks the global brand’s eighth property in China.

The contemporary setting merges the rich heritage of the Zhuang Minority Group and showcases their history through beautiful décor, evocative catering and magnificent surroundings.

“The hotel’s interiors echo strong elements of the Zhuang culture.”

“We are excited to introduce Nanning to our Global Explorers, allowing them to discover the destination, also known as the Green City and it’s abundance of lush foliage,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, The Luxury Collection. “As a culturally rich ethnic minority area in Guangxi Province, the destination is a perfect gateway for travellers to experience through the lens of The Luxury Collection.”

Each of the 290 guestrooms, including 26 suites, takes inspiration from the lotus flower, and feature floor-to-ceiling windows offering panoramic views of the city as well as the Yong River and Qingxiu mountain. The hotel’s interiors echo strong elements of the Zhuang culture such as farmlands, symbolizing happiness and prosperity. Na Lotus Hotel also features a 1,100 square metre Ballroom, state-of-the-art fitness centre, and an indoor pool overlooking the skyline.

Indigenous and international cuisines are celebrated at Na Lotus Hotel’s four signature dining venues, including Na Lian, a Chinese restaurant offering a journey of flavors with an emphasis on fresh Guangxi and Cantonese cuisines. Sky Lounge is a popular social hub serves exclusive cocktails, wines and spirits accompanied by distinctive sweet treats. Elsewhere, The Clouds features an all-day dining experience showcasing international delights, while Yun Yue, a Thai and Vietnamese fusion restaurant,  focuses on signature seafood and meat dishes prepared with local and seasonal produce.

Image credit: Marriott International

“As the first Marriott International luxury hotel in Guangxi Province Na Lotus hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel invites the guests to explore the charm of Nanning,” said Henry Lee, Chief Operations Officer and Managing Director, Greater China, Marriott International. “Na Lotus Hotel is a rare gem of the Zhuang Minority, and we are thrilled to uncover this hidden treasure for our global travelers who are sure to develop a deep connection with this fascinating destination.”

The opening of the hotel follows the hotel group unveiling its three year plan in March of this year. The strategy included adding 1,700 hotels, which would result in between 275,000 and 295,000 more rooms by 2021, supported by the strength of its record 478,000-room pipeline, including roughly 214,000 rooms that were already under construction when the press release was published.

Main image credit: Marriott International

TUI Blue to expand in Asia with debut hotel in Vietnam to open in Spring 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
TUI Blue to expand in Asia with debut hotel in Vietnam to open in Spring 2020

TUI’s flagship hotel group, TUI Blu, has announced plans to expand its portfolio in Asia, debuting in Vietnam next year with TUI Blue Nam Hoi An hotel…

With the opening of TUI Blue Nam Hoi An hotel slated to take place in March 2020, the hotel brand is set to become the world’s largest leisure hotel brand, slated to expand its portfolio to more than 100 hotels by 2020:

TUI Group’s existing portfolio of own hotels in Asia includes three Robinson Clubs in the Maldives and in Thailand and three Riu hotels in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. In addition, TUI operates three concept hotels in the region. TUI Blue Nam Hoi An is the first hotel of the world’s leading tourism group in Vietnam. The resort, to be converted and extended in the style of the flagship brand, will expand TUI Group’s portfolio of long-haul destinations for European travellers.

“We see great potential for TUI Blue in Asia and have already started to pursue further growth plans. South East Asian destinations enable us to operate our hotels all year round, reducing our seasonal swing, and to tap into new target groups,” said Sebastian Ebel, TUI Group Executive Board member is charge of Hotels & Resorts. “We also work with local partners”, said Thomas Pietzka, Managing Director TUI Hotels & Resorts. “We are investing in our first hotel in Vietnam in cooperation with our new joint venture partner TMG, a company with many years of experience in the tourism and hospitality sector in Asia. They ideally complement the expertise held by TUI Blue, which will be in charge operating the new hotel.”

The TUI Blue Nam Hoi An hotel features 318 rooms and is situated in a beachfront location on the fine sandy Tam Tien beach on the Central Vietnamese coast. Holidaymakers can combine their stay with a visit to the coastal town Hoi An. Its well-preserved old town with numerous canals and diverse architecture is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. “Vietnam is a perfect hotel location for travellers interested in culture”, said Artur Gerber, Managing Director TUI Blue. “The country offers ideal conditions for guests wishing to combine their stay with authentic experiences in the region. From 2020, we will label corresponding hotel offerings as ‘TUI Blue For All‘.”

Main image credit: TUI Group

Curio Collection by Hilton debuts in South East Asia with hotel in the Maldives

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Curio Collection by Hilton debuts in South East Asia with hotel in the Maldives

The new 198-key property will form part of the first integrated resort in the Maldives…

Hilton has announced the opening of SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, a free-spirited tropical escape that offers sun, sea, style and sustainability, creating a playful getaway for groups of fun-seeking friends, couples and families. Nestled within the idyllic Emboodhoo Lagoon, SAii Lagoon Maldives forms part of CROSSROADS Maldives, the country’s first and only integrated resort and game-changing retreat.

The opening of SAii Lagoon Maldives also marks the debut of Curio Collection by Hilton in South East Asia, and the fifth Curio Collection by Hilton property in Asia Pacific. With a total of 198 guestrooms and villas, the resort will be Hilton’s third property in the Maldives, making the global hospitality company the largest and longest-running international hotel operator in the Maldives. Hilton opened the country’s first internationally branded resort in 1997, and today, it operates Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, which features 151 villas, suites and THE MURAKA Residence, as well as the 122-villa Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, which was recently unveiled in July 2019.

“For more than 20 years, through the many firsts that Hilton has introduced in the Maldives, we have been sparking travellers’ imagination of waking up right above the Indian Ocean, or dining and even sleeping beneath the crystal-blue sea,” said Alan Watts, president, Asia Pacific, Hilton. “In addition to putting the Maldives on the global map, we have brought meaningful opportunities for employment and we continue to make positive contributions to the livelihood and well-being of local communities. With the launch of SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, we are looking to further deepen ‘The Hilton Effect’ in the Maldives and continue to set new benchmarks for hospitality through innovation.”

“We are excited to welcome the world to SAii Lagoon Maldives,” said Martin van der Reijden, General Manager of SAii Lagoon Maldives and Vice President of Operations of CROSSROADS Maldives. “Guests will be able to experience the exquisite beauty of this destination, with plenty of places to stay and play. The architecture is quirky, and the interiors are daring. And yet, the resort also has a wonderfully inspiring ambience. We want everyone to walk into the resort and instantly feel a sense of excitement and exploration.”

“Every room at SAii Lagoon Maldives is adorned with a bright, contemporarily eclectic design that reflects the archipelago’s maritime heritage.”

“The Maldives is a dream destination for global travelers and we are thrilled to pair its tropical charm with Curio Collection’s spirit of discovery,” said Mark Nogal, global head, Curio Collection by Hilton. “SAii Lagoon Maldives is a breathtaking resort with distinct character and direct access to the fantastic facilities at CROSSROADS Maldives. Supported by Hilton’s 100 years of hospitality, guests of this resort are guaranteed memorable experiences in one of the most beautiful destinations in the world.”

Every room at SAii Lagoon Maldives is adorned with a bright, contemporarily eclectic design that reflects the archipelago’s maritime heritage, complete with natural textures, driftwood décor and marine-inspired hues and views. Guests can choose from a series of rooms and villas, including overwater pool villas.

The resort’s innovation is also showcased at its restaurants and bars. Miss Olive Oyl is a vibrant poolside Mediterranean seafood grill and bar, while Mr. Tomyam is an exciting Thai fusion eatery with an open kitchen and alfresco dining areas.

The resort’s ocean-view infinity pool and fitness centre will allow guests to refresh and recharge in paradise. A wide range of water sports and recreational facilities will also be available at The Marina @ CROSSROADS, a 30-berth marina and vibrant lifestyle district.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

A legend reborn: Raffles Singapore reopens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A legend reborn: Raffles Singapore reopens

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

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

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

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

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

Striking chandeliers hang down in modern nd contemporary restaurant

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Accor/Raffles Singapore

SNEAK PEEK: Inside Hinode Hills Niseko Village, Japan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SNEAK PEEK: Inside Hinode Hills Niseko Village, Japan

Nestled at the south base of the 1308m Mount Niseko Annupuri, the design-led 79-key boutique hotel, Hinode Hills Niseko Village, operated by YTL Hotels, will open in Japan on December 1…

Named to pay homage to the rising sun, the elegantly furnished luxury all-suite Hinode Hills Niseko Village hotel is designed with a wabi-sabi aesthetic, unveiling its fine beauty through authenticity, natural forms, and the appreciation for nature.

Blending warm contemporary style with authentic Japanese aesthetics, and complemented with luxury hotel services and amenities, guests’ choice of multiple room and suite configurations up to three-bedrooms, provide a host of opportunities suitable for any type of merriment, from romantic getaways to large family vacations.

“The hotel is also strategically located adjacent to the Upper Village Gondola.”

Situated at the base of Mount Niseko Annupuri, Hinode Hills occupies a prime position at the heart of Niseko Village with stunning Mount Yotei views, ski-in, ski-out access, an in-house onsen, and a host of ski services available on property. The hotel is also strategically located adjacent to the Upper Village Gondola, which provides guests with the convenience of mobility around the mountain with easy lift access replacing the need to walk, drive or take a shuttle bus.

Services at Hinode Hills are held to the usual high standards of YTL Hotels, with concierge facilities and priority privileges at guests’ doorstep. Being part of an integrated resort managed by Niseko Village, all-mountain operations and experiences are designed to be seamless and guests are spoilt for choice with the variety of convivial social settings across diverse dining and retail venues, world-class facilities, indoor and outdoor attractions at The Green Leaf Niseko Village, Hilton Niseko Village, and at the heart of the village itself.

Image credit: YTL Hotels

“Hinode Hills raises the bar for luxury developments in Niseko and is committed to providing guests with a truly integrated and seamless experience,” says Luke Hurford, Senior Vice President of Strategy at YTL Hotels.” You will have the luxury of having your ski school instructors meeting you at your door, to ski-out directly to the ski area and lifts beside the hotel, the convenience of on-site gear rental and the advantage of the gondola beside the hotel to whisk you away to the village dining and shopping area.”

The highly anticipated hotel opened for reservations in April, and will officially open in December, adding to the strong portfolio of YTL Hotels.

Main image credit: YTL Hotels

Four Seasons Hotel Singapore unveils botanical twist

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Four Seasons Hotel Singapore unveils botanical twist

Four Seasons Hotel Singapore goes botanical, unveiling reinvented interiors, including luxury suites, F&B and wellness areas…

Nestled within a city/country that is widely known as a modern metropolis that is leading the way in sustainable design and architecture, Four Seasons Hotel Singapore has lifted the lid on its newly completed interior design renovation, celebrating the natural, verdant flora that the island is unmistakeably known for.

Somewhat becoming a major source of inspiration for the design team, the hotel is situated amidst lush foliage on the fringe of one of the world’s largest shopping street, Orchard Road, a mere five minutes away from the a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Singapore Botanic Gardens. With the creative direction of celebrity Floral Art Director Nicolai Bergmann since April 2019, guests are greeted fresh florals in the Grand Lobby at arrival.

“Replacing deep, rich palettes are now contemporary interiors that feature a natural colour palette of dusty cool blue tones and lime green accents.”

The guestrooms and luxury themed suites alike were revamped in the last six to twelve months in preparation for the hotel’s Silver Anniversary. Replacing deep, rich palettes are now contemporary interiors that feature a natural colour palette of dusty cool blue tones and lime green accents, inspired by the water and tropical lotus leaves of the Singapore Botanic Garden’s Swan Lake. Each room also features a mural wall composition of traditional Peranakan tiles, adding an artistic touch and reminiscent of Singapore’s rich and multicultural heritage. Peranakan culture represents the union between two or more major ethnicities of the Straits Peninsula – a result of Singapore’s historical significance as a major trading port. Large floor-to-ceiling windows provide sweeping views of the city and surrounding greenery, while white-colonial style doors and windows with plantation shutters, reminiscent of Singapore’s once-agricultural history, allowing for the natural light to brighten the rooms.

Comprising four distinctive residences – the Royal Suite, Governor Suite, Ambassador Suite and the Presidential Suite – the quartet of luxury suites unfurl Singapore’s legacy through subtle design motifs, natural textures and serene palettes of subtle sophistication that portrays and acknowledges the Garden City’s dynamic, cosmopolitan storied history.

The passion for a nature-enlivened, tropical ambiance continues from the private areas to the restaurants and bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Singapore.

Relaunched in March 2019 after a month-long revamp, One-Ninety, the breezy, botanical modern Asian brasserie teases with its Asian twist on wholesome Provençal cuisine. The adjourning resort-style alfresco Terraza is perfect for unwinding with a classic in hand and weekend tete-a-tete over a tri-terraced Floral Afternoon Tea that intrigues with flora-infused treats, launched in end-May 2019. Embodying the concept of “Xiang Le Zhu Yi,” or the principle of enjoyment and happiness, newly minted Michelin-starred restaurant Jiang-Nan Chun is not only evocative of the pastoral lifestyle of Jiang Nan region’s traditional river villages through its rustic décor, but also through its authentic Cantonese cuisine.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Injecting sense of place in Koh Samui beach hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Injecting sense of place in Koh Samui beach hotel

SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort, the luxury boutique beach resort on Koh Samui, briefed design firm Onion to divide the resort into two distinct parts in order to add architectural drama while creating an unforgettable sense of place.

The moon plays an integral role in Thai culture, with each phase of the lunar cycle holding deep significance. The presence of a full moon, half-moon or dark moon can dictate the timing of festivals, the schedule of planting and harvesting, and even the most auspicious dates in a person’s life.

More recently, they have provided the backdrop to the legendary full, half or dark moon beach parties of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.

SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort, the luxury boutique beach resort on Koh Samui, has divided the resort into two distinct parts – the Oceanfront/Beach Wing and Garden Wing – each of which has been exquisitely designed to reflect the changing phases of the moon.

“The Garden Wing will complete our resort, not only in terms of its rooms and facilities but through the story of its design,” said Erwin van der Veen, General Manager, SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort. “Just as the moon moves through cycles, SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort will allow guests to journey through a series of spaces which are designed to reflect the different characteristics of the full, half and dark moons. Charming, intimate and atmospheric, our new Garden Wing will provide the perfect contrast to the bright and spacious vibe of the Oceanfront/Beach Wing,”

Image caption/credit: Inside the Garden Wing/SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort

Conceived by Onion, the Thailand-based architecture and design studio, the hotel allows guests to channel the energy of the full, half or dark moons through innovative design shifts – from the openness and high energy of the full moon, through smaller half-moon spaces, and into the more intense shades of the dark moon.

Blue and white decor in treehouse-like bar and restaurant

Image caption/Credit: Treehouse restaurant and bar/SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort

While the Oceanfront / Beach Wing reflects the energy of a full moon with the circular shapes incorporated into various design elements, from the façade to the aptly named Moon Pool – the new Garden Wing offers a collection of private spaces with an ambience elevated by verdant trees and plants that add a touch of natural tranquillity. The family friendly area includes 82 rooms, pool villas & pool suites, ranging from 45 to 181 square meters in size, with state-of-the-art IPTV and audio systems, and glamourous full-size daybeds. Also included is a Tree House Restaurant and Bar, 25-metre swimming pool, the Garden Pool Bar, SALA Gym, SALA Spa with six private treatment rooms and steam room as well as SALA’s first kids’ club, which includes indoor and outdoor play areas.

St Regis opens “curated mansion” in Hong Kong

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
St Regis opens “curated mansion” in Hong Kong

Renowned interior designer André Fu completes his latest project, St Regis Hong Kong, located in the vibrant district of Wan Chai…

An ode to the cultural diversity and timeless elegance of Hong Kong, The St. Regis Hong Kong has opened and is described as a curated mansion which has been realised through the masterful lens of designer, André Fu.

Design elements throughout the hotel seamlessly combine classic luxury with modern sophistication, incorporating signature details which pay homage to Hong Kong’s rich culture and heritage.

“Hong Kong has always been one of the most attractive destinations for global luxury travelers, and the St. Regis brand is synonymous with timeless luxury and impeccable standards of hospitality,” said Henry Lee, Chief Operations Officer and Managing Director, Greater China, Marriott International. “We are very glad to add The St. Regis Hong Kong to Marriott International’s strong luxury portfolio in the market. The St. Regis Hong Kong represents the very best of the St. Regis brand, with its distinctive design, exquisite fine dining and truly exceptional service.”

Designed for business travellers and culture seekers alike, the 27-storey property boasts 129 appointed guestrooms and suites featuring warm and inviting touches throughout. A residentially-inspired retreat in the heart of Wan Chai, guestrooms at The St. Regis Hong Kong feature wood flooring and accents infused with understated Asian sensibility, deep soaking bathtubs and expansive windows with sweeping views of the harbour and city. The hotel is also home to a heated swimming pool and poolside bar, as well as a health club with a spa treatment room and other luxury amenities.

Image credit: Marriott International/St St Regis

The St. Regis Hong Kong also introduces two exceptional dining concepts to the region with L’Envol and Rùn, each spearheaded by award-winning chefs. At L’Envol, guests can indulge in French Haute cuisine created by chef Olivier Elzer who has accrued a remarkable 18 Michelin stars throughout his career to date. The hotel’s signature Cantonese restaurant, Rùn, is led by renowned chef and winner of the Silver Award in the 2012 Best of the Best Culinary Awards, Hung Chi-Kwong. Famed for his contemporary interpretations of Cantonese cuisine, Chi-Kwong’s restaurant will serve innovative takes on traditional Cantonese fare.

The Drawing Room is an all-day eatery with views of the Terrace. Meanwhile, the St. Regis Bar is a contemporary bar for after-hours digestifs.

The St. Regis Hong Kong is also an all-encompassing events destination with approximately 12,000 sq. ft. of event space across five venues. The sophisticated Astor Ballroom, with its cathedral high ceiling design, is perfectly suited for grand-scale events; while the Rockefeller Room is a versatile space for corporate meetings or more intimate affairs.

The hotel’s opening follows Marriott’s plans to open more than 30 luxury properties this year.

Main image credit: Marriott International/St Regis

Rendering of the Wet Deck, one of the hotel's two pools

W Hotels announces second arrival in Bali

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W Hotels announces second arrival in Bali

W Bali – Ubud is set to bring a new level of W’s bold design to the cultural heart of Bali…

W Hotels Worldwide has announced the signing of W Bali – Ubud, the brand’s newest W Escape, which is being developed in partnership with Indonesia’s Ruang Teknik Group.

The expansion into Ubud marks the second W Hotel in Indonesia, following the opening of W Bali – Seminyak in 2010.

Rendering of the Wet Deck, one of the hotel's two pools

Positioned on a hilltop, deliberately oriented toward the morning sun rising in the east, and southwards over stunning, unobstructed views of the Tanggayuda Valley, W Bali – Ubud is expected to reinvent the dreamy Ubud experience with eclectic, surprising art and design set amongst a versatile vibe that is at once laid back and social.

“Ubud is a hidden destination like no other, where legends and nature intertwine with everyday life to create a magical sense of adventure,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “W Bali – Ubud is an exciting next step for us. We are applying a unique, vibrant sensibility to this hotel, one that has not been seen before on the island. W Bali – Ubud will combine the brand’s boundary-breaking approach to design with the rich cultural, spiritual and artistic influences of Ubud to show off the best of this incredible locale and all we’ve learned in the decade since W debuted in Indonesia.”

The hotel’s design will redefine modern luxury in the destination, taking inspiration from social, historical and physical insights and embedding elements of each into the rooms and public spaces. Upon entering the hotel, guests will be immersed in modern interpretations of traditional Balinese art styles with works from local artists, that lead to breath-taking lounges perfect for soaking in spectacular jungle sunsets as sounds of cool beats drift through the air. The hotel will offer 100 inspired guestrooms, including 10 villas with private swimming pools and an EWOW suite (the brand’s take on the traditional Presidential Suite).

As the brand’s newest W Escape, W Bali – Ubud will bring a bold new take on international cuisine with a Balinese twist to multiple on-site bars and restaurants. Traditional Asian flavors intertwine with international influences at the stylish all-day dining restaurant Morinda. Meanwhile, Synn, a specialty restaurant featuring the finest of Balinese and world cuisines will be an underground sensation, literally. The new restaurant is partially underground, opening towards a jungle cliff.

“Bali’s hotel market continues to see strong growth and it remains a major destination in Marriott International’s footprint,” said Paul Foskey, Chief Development Officer, Asia Pacific, Marriott International. “We look forward to partnering with Ruang Teknik Group in introducing W Bali Ubud, the second W-branded hotel in this market.”

W Bali – Ubud is slated to join the brand’s robust portfolio of more than 50 hotels around the globe, including the recently opened W Dubai – The Palm (February 2019), as well as the soon-to-open W Aspen, W Ibiza and W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island following Marriott announcing that it will add 30 new luxury hotels to its thriving portfolio this year.

Main image credit: Marriott International/W Hotels

Minimalist Muji opens first hotel in Japan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Minimalist Muji opens first hotel in Japan

The Japanese retailer, Muji, opens its first hotel in Japan, Muji Hotel Ginza – and it’s a minimalist’s dream…

Spread over six floors, the 79-key Muji Hotel Ginza designed by UDS has opened as the brand’s first hotel in Japan following the successful openings in Beijing and Shenzhen last year.

Muji Hotel Ginza’s thoughtful design is true to the company’s sustainable principles, using upcycled materials such as flagstone of Tokyo’s tramway from 50 years ago and even the waste materials from ships.

The 79 guestrooms all vary in size and are presented in nine categories. Designed to fill a gap in the market between luxury and mid-scale, the hotel’s interiors are true-to-form minimalist.

Minimalist interiors - writing desk

Image credit: Muji Hotels

The interiors convey an atmosphere typical of Muji; natural materials, alongside upcycled products with a small number of rooms including traditional Japanese textiles. Fuji Hotel’s pricing structure remains the same throughout the year, regardless of seasons and holidays, which supports the brand’s commitment to fairness and affordable living as the hotel aims to become a base for visitors to enjoy a deeper immersion in Ginza and Japanese culture.

“Great care has been taken to ensure that the room will restore travelers in body and spirit alike,” the hotel’s website states. The mattresses have been designed informed by posture research, while the lighting designed in order to aid sleep quality.

The hotel opens together with the global flagship store Muji Ginza as the “anti-gorgeous, anti-cheap” alternative hotel.

Main image credit: Muji Hotels

 

 

Kimpton brand arrives in Asia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Kimpton brand arrives in Asia

Kimpton Da An Hotel has opened its doors in Taipei, marking its entrance into Asia…

Kimpton Da An Hotel brings a new luxury hotel offering to modern Taipei (Taiwan). With its unique location in the heart of the Da’an District and an elevated, sophisticated design, the hotel opens as an urban sanctuary for the laid-back luxury traveller.

Kimpton Da An is ideally located in the heart of Taipei city, allowing guests easy

access to local cafes, boutiques and galleries, while providing a welcoming environment decorated with artwork from local artisans. The hotel features 129 rooms and has been designed by Neri & Hu, the winner of MASION&OBJET Asia in 2015, a prestigious design accolade. Once guests enter the hotel, the lush greenery and sophisticated water installation, coupled with custom lighting, immediately offers guests a sense of calm.

Kimpton Da An will enjoy Kimpton’s signature perks such as in-room yoga mats and a Morning Kick-Starter, as well as tea and coffee served in the lobby living room to energize guests. Guests can also take part in wellness morning yoga on the rooftop, free fitness and wellness classes or explore the city with complimentary bicycles.

Home to The Tavernist restaurant, its culinary experience provides diners with contemporary dishes coupled with local touches and innovative cooking methods. The Tavernist embraces Taiwan’s organic movement and works closely with local farmers and food producers. The restaurant is led by Chef James Sharman, who has travelled to countless countries with his team and has sought inspiration from local cuisine around the world. To him, The Tavernist offers a place where guests can discover something new while feeling at home.

“As the world’s largest operator of lifestyle hotels, the luxury lifestyle hotel segment is a key IHG focus,” said Jolyon Bulley, CEO of IHG Greater China. “We’re delighted to bring the Kimpton brand to Taiwan, one of the most renowned destinations in Asia. Today’s opening marks another milestone for the brand, as it pushes the boundaries to bring design-led hotels and heartfelt, human service to more guests around the world.”

IHG currently has 6 hotels operating under four brands in the Taiwan market including, Regent Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn Express, with another 6 hotels in the pipeline. In the next few years, Kimpton is slated to open new hotels in Shanghai, Beijing, Sanya, Tokyo and Bali.

The brand, which currently operates more than 60 hotels and 80 restaurants and bars across the United States, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean is also due to open a further five properties in Shanghai, Beijing, Sanya, Tokyo and Bali. Last November, the Kimpton Fitzroy became the first UK opening in London, with more in the pipeline.

Main image credit: IHG/Kimpton Hotels

Rosewood Hotels arrives in Hong Kong

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A new global icon for Rosewood Hotels & Resorts is established at the most distinguished address in its home city of Hong Kong…

Rosewood Hong Kong has opened as a magnificent new ultra-luxury property in the heart of the Victoria Dockside district on the shores of Victoria Harbour. Situated on one of Hong Kong’s most significant waterfront locations in Tsim Sha Tsui – Kowloon’s dynamic, culturally compelling heart – the property is set to become a grand icon for the city, celebrating the area’s role as Hong Kong’s new creative and cultural epicentre.

The opening of Rosewood Hong Kong is a defining milestone for the group, solidifying its stature as one of the world’s most dynamic hotel brands and a leader in global style.  This showpiece of the brand’s highest aspirations epitomises Rosewood’s essence and represents the complete manifestation of a differentiated and modern expression of ultra-luxury hospitality.

Exterior of hotel

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels

From the brand’s inception 40 years ago as a fine private home that opened its doors to guests, each Rosewood hotel continues to be guided by A Sense of Place® philosophy and the concept of the hotel as a living canvas celebrating artistry in all its forms.  This spirit reaches its zenith at Rosewood Hong Kong.  Guests can experience the first urban outpost of the brand’s pioneering wellness concept; gastronomic innovation showcasing locally grown and artisanal ingredients; masterworks by the world’s most highly acclaimed artists; and supremely stylish, residentially natured gathering and living spaces – all within a masterfully designed and meticulously curated journey in architecturally bold environs commanding the harbour.

“The site is the former Holt’s Wharf, dating back to 1910.”

Rosewood’s opening in Hong Kong marks the evolution of another meaningful historic legacy.  The site is the former Holt’s Wharf, dating back to 1910, which subsequently became New World Centre, a lifestyle magnet for the city in the 1980s, which holds a unique place in the hearts and minds of local residents as a place of discovery and wonderment.  New World Centre – a proud expression of Hong Kong’s evolution – was the creation of Dr. Cheng Yu-tung and Dr. Henry Cheng, the grandfather and father (respectively) of Rosewood Hotel Group Chief Executive Officer, Sonia Cheng.

“With Hong Kong evolving from a business and financial centre to become a true global cultural capital, I wanted to create an iconic property that not only showcases the city’s rich history but also reflects its bright future,” says Cheng. “New World Centre was conceived as my grandfather’s ultimate gift to Hong Kong, a celebration of its progress, vibrancy and spirit.  I hope that Rosewood Hong Kong enhances this legacy and helps fulfill his and my father’s vision for the city that they loved. Rosewood Hong Kong sets bold new benchmarks for design, guest experience, cuisine, and culture. Our ambition is to create a new world standard for ultra-luxury hospitality and a focal point of the vibrant Hong Kong lifestyle, reflecting its incredible dynamism, style and diversity.” 

The Kohn Pedersen Fox-designed, 65-storey exterior pays homage to the city’s impressive verticality.  Renowned hospitality designer who designed the London property Tony Chi of New York studio tonychi has created an immersive experience for a new age of elevated residential hotel living. An homage to Rosewood’s origins as an aristocratic manor, Chi has conceived the entire hotel as a “vertical estate” which incorporates significant green spaces and outdoor areas throughout.

“More than 80 per cent of Rosewood Hong Kong’s rooms boast standout harbour vistas.”

Masterful and important art throughout the property includes works by internationally acclaimed artists Henry MooreDamien Hirst and Bharti Kerr, as well as China’s Wang Keping and homegrown Hong Kong artist Wilson Shieh. Significant works are juxtaposed with an eclectic, whimsical approach to decorative arts throughout the hotel.

More than 80 per cent of Rosewood Hong Kong’s rooms boast standout harbour vistas, with the remainder featuring verdant Kowloon Peak views overlooking the fabled Lion Rock and scenic mountains. Generous “salons” on each guestroom floor from the 24th level up feature carefully selected objets that reflects Hong Kong’s richly layered past.

“For me, Rosewood Hong Kong is the majestic ‘estate on the harbour’ that pays reverent homage to the great founding family that built and operates it, and also the legacy of its surrounding community,” says designer Tony Chi. “Having designed Rosewood London — an elegant mansion in a royal city — and being in the process of refreshing The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel, in New York, an iconic residence in Manhattan’s Upper East Side; there’s a remarkably rich and overarching sense of continuity and a sense of place that binds all these properties together.”

Generous space and residential luxury are the hallmarks of Rosewood’s 322 light-filled guestrooms, which start at 53 square metres and include the Grand Harbourview Rooms, boasting panoramic views of Hong Kong Island. Elevated homely comforts include curated interior details, considered amenities, generous marble bathrooms with a freestanding soaking bath, separate, freestanding vanities and twin showers, as well as spacious walk-in closets.

Rosewood Hong Kong is home to the highest number of suites of any Hong Kong luxury hotel and also some of the largest.  The 91 suites, starting from 92 square metres, offer carefully curated stays, bespoke services, and inspired interiors. Suite guests enjoy exclusive services including access to Rosewood’s Manor Club executive lounge, personal butler service, monogrammed pillow cases and robes, and personalised amenities from arrival to departure. On each floor, the 123-square-metre Grand Harbour Corner Suites offer glittering panoramic harbour views from every vantage point.

Rosewood Hotels Cafe

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels

In addition, Rosewood Hong Kong features 18 of the most outstanding signature suites in the metropolis, each with its own unique character. The crowning jewel amongst them, the 1,000-square-metre Harbour House boasts spectacular views from private sky terraces on the 57th level and unique décor and design. Enhancing the lavish interiors, a garden oasis features harbour view sun decks and private lap pools.  Located on the same floor, the Harbour House and Garden House can be combined, offering an entirely private five-bedroom retreat complete with state-of-the-art private gym.

Extended stays will be catered to by 186 exclusive Rosewood Residences, set to launch this Spring.  Uniquely designed for longer-term stays, the Rosewood Residences will offer a separate private entrance and dedicated club facilities, including an indoor swimming pool and private fitness centre, along with a host of special services and amenities for guests.

 

Main image credit: Rosewood Hotels

The Luxury Collection debuts in Armenia

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The Alexander, a Luxury Collection Hotel becomes the first international luxury hotel in Armenia…

Following plans to open 30 new luxury hotels this year, Marriott International has annoucned the opening of The Alexander, a Luxury Collection Hotel. Owned by Tsupani CJSC., the hotel proudly brings The Luxury Collection’s rare, indigenous and captivating experiences to the capital of Armenia – one of the world’s oldest cities and a noted historical intersection between the East and West. As the country’s first internationally-branded luxury hotel, The Alexander joins a portfolio of more than 100 Luxury Collection hotels around the world. The brand’s new footprint in Yerevan also further cements the hotel group’s strategy to meet the growing demand for experiential luxury in emerging markets.

“Armenia is a destination with a deeply rooted history and rich culture, which has until now remained a mostly unchartered destination for our Global Travelers” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, The Luxury Collection. “The Alexander will allow our guests to connect with the fascinating capital city of Yerevan, marked by grand Soviet-era architecture and historic landmarks such as the Matenadaran library, and truly engage in the authentic traditions of Armenia.”

“Led by Alexander James Interior Design, the decor draws upon intricate Armenian motifs, alongside contemporary flourishes.”

Set in an enviable location in the heart of Armenia’s capital, The Alexander is mere moments away from the city’s famous Republic Square, and is a brief stroll to numerous landmarks and cultural sights. The striking hotel reflects the city’s distinctive architecture, cleverly incorporating an 18th century façade at its entrance to hint at the indigenous charms found within. Led by Alexander James Interior Design, the decor draws upon intricate Armenian motifs, alongside contemporary flourishes that bring to life the history and modernity of the destination within the property’s opulent public spaces.

Roof top restaurant

Image credit: Matthew Shaw.

“Shaped by rich traditions, coveted treasures and a storied history, the city of Yerevan truly encapsulates the spirit of The Luxury Collection,” said Jenni Benzaquen, Vice President of Luxury Brands, Europe at Marriott International. “The Alexander will provide sophisticated, independently-minded global explorers and locals alike with an unparalleled level of luxury in this fascinating destination. The unique destination experiences offered by The Luxury Collection, combined with Armenian hospitality, is also the perfect way to introduce our luxury portfolio to the region.”

The Alexander offers 114 guestrooms and suites, many of which include private balconies. The magnificent Presidential Suite is celebrated as a standout highlight of the property, occupying an entire floor and spanning over 1,700 square feet. An equally alluring feature is the Alexander Spa by Anne Semonin, providing guests with an inviting haven of wellness experiences and personalized treatments designed to relax, heal and rejuvenate. The hotel also features a state-of-the-art fitness centre, a full-service beauty salon, and the city’s first indoor pool, which boasts breath-taking vistas of the snow-capped peak of Mount Ararat.

Main image credit: Matthew Shaw/Marriott International

MINIVIEW: Joyze Hotel Xiamen Curio Collection by Hilton

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MINIVIEW: Joyze Hotel Xiamen Curio Collection by Hilton

Opened late last year, Joyze Hotel Xiamen Curio Collection by Hilton, with all its unique design qualities, is a mere shadow of the stereotypical chain hotel you would expect check in to. Editor Hamish Kilburn dives deeper into its Chinese design story to uncover how the boutique 104-key hotel came to be… 

As a boutique hotel, the concept of a ‘floating city on the sea’ can be seen throughout the hotel design of Joyze Hotel Xiamen Curio Collection by Hilton. Combining the local cultural elements of Minnan with urban design techniques, the hotel narrates the historical changes of “the fishing village” that it neighbours. Tasked to merge architecture with interior design was Hong Kong-based design firm CCD (CHENG CHUNG DESIGN).

Image credit: CCD/Cheng Chung Design (HK)/Curio Collection by Hilton

Surrounded by mountains and seas, with the Dongping Mountain in the North, and the coastline of Huandao Road in the South, the hotel enjoys the best of both worlds. The villages in Zengcuoan are divided by walls, and the houses in the villages are scattered around. The floor plan of the hotel follows the arrangement of the villages, as different zones are divided by walls and intersected by landscapes between different areas. Look down from the above; each area is like a box, representing a household with different personalities and designs. Guests enter the hotel as if they are on a village tour, complete with alleys, walls and landscapes.

Image credit: CCD/Cheng Chung Design (HK)/Curio Collection by Hilton

The entrance of the hotel incorporates the local culture of ‘brick wall’, which is a very unique way of building a wall in Minnan architecture that uses stones and bricks of different shapes to overlay and build simple and beautiful walls.

According to the legend in the end of the Ming Dynasty that, there was a major earthquake occurred in the Southern part of Minnan region. After the earthquake, the native people used the local materials such as bricks, stones, tiles and gravels collapsed from the natural disaster to build the unique wall. And thereby, this way of wall-building has been widely practiced and followed in the region.

Image credit: CCD/Cheng Chung Design (HK)/Curio Collection by Hilton

The designer also used the mansion method to design the hotel lobby. The first sight of the guest after they get off from the drop-off area and enter the hotel is not the hotel lobby, but a door that is several meters wide, and if they are entering a mansion house. Then they will see the brick wall, followed by cultural exhibition area, then other landscapes and finally the lobby bar and reception.

“Under each box, there is a light to create a sense of levitation.”

The design concept of “Floating City on the Sea” is expressed through the subtle design method.The façade of the wall is constructed with boxes, and it transforms from empty to solid, presenting a feeling of ‘floating’, the orderly change of the gradient also presents a sense of rhythm swinging with the current. A corner of the reception desk floats into the air, becoming a warm chandelier, floating on the sea, and the entire hotel is like a floating city on the sea.

In comparison to the hotel, every box in the space is the composition of the hotel as a floating city. Under each box, there is a light to create a sense of levitation.

“The design of the guestrooms are natural, warm and cosy, creating a sense of home.”

The design incorporates natural comfort and childhood memories, vintage chandeliers, metal-trimmed glass doors, wooden tables and chairs; it brings guests back to the restaurant where they used to go with their parents. Here, the curious people walk into the old days of Xiamen.

Image credit: CCD/Cheng Chung Design (HK)/Curio Collection by Hilton

The design of the guestrooms are natural, warm and cosy, creating a sense of home. Meanwhile, it also tries to open the space as much as possible as to form a transparent visual experience. Getting rid of the traditional framework, and strengthen the interaction of spatial functions through subtle design, so that each area can be used alone and connected.

After the entrance is the cloakroom and the luggage rack, which is designed to make the walkway more functional and to make the largest use of space. In detail, it also closely follows the concept of floating city, as the wash table and the bed are suspended from the ground.

The city view and beach outside the window is one of the hotel’s business cards. The wash table, mini bar and operating desk form a small living room, so that guest can sit in the living room and enjoy the scenery with tea, just like the local residents. The texture of the old buildings in the city is projected onto the walls of the guestrooms, and the patterns of the old buildings in Gulangyu are carved into ceramic tiles, which become time fragments to record the traces of the years.

Main image credit: CCD/Cheng Chung Design (HK)/Curio Collection by Hilton

In Conversation With: Damien Perrot on defining ibis Hotels’ new design era

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The world’s most iconic budget hotel brand is undergoing a major redesign following the growing demands of the modern traveller. To understand all the design details of the new generation of ibis Hotels, editor Hamish Kilburn sat down with Damien Perrot, Senior Vice President, Design Solutions for Accor, to find out more about how the new ibis was conceived in three separate designs…

With more than 1,170 economy hotels open worldwide, ibis has become somewhat of a trailblazer in the congested budget sector of the hotel industry. Opening up in neighbourhoods that before the ‘70s may well have not existed for the modern traveller, the company’s aggressive expansion into tier two cities bridged the gap between travellers and the freedom to explore the world while on a budget.

With the aim to ‘shake up budget hotel standards’, the brand, which is known for its basic and standardised design, is now in the process of reinventing itself to become more flexible to cater to a wider demographic. Using interior design as its tool, Ibis’ latest face lift includes new guestrooms, F&B areas and living spaces. “Its transformation is primarily based on customer behaviour and how guests instinctively use the spaces,” said Steven Taylor, Chief Brand Officer at Accor in the official statement from the brand. “Today, the brand is a truly vibrant place where travellers and non-staying and local customers alike can dine, sleep, work and feel welcome.”

Leading the extensive brand renovation is Damien Perrot, Senior Vice President, Design Solutions for Accor. “I wanted to achieve a design that was living, vibrant and real,” he told Hotel Designs. “The objective, in terms of design, is to attract people and allow our guests to have a great experience that will naturally encourage them to return.”

“Perrot launched competitions in America, Asia and Europe in order to garner inspiration from all corners of the world.”

The design, marketing and brand team came together with the ambition to rethink ibis as if it was created today. “The simple fact was that we felt obliged to confront the way in which our guests’ behaviour and lifestyles have changed,” explained Perrot. “Our idea was not to radicalise the form, but instead to create a concept in line with that of the modern travellers’ needs of today.” In order to keep the thoughts open and fresh, Perrot launched design competitions open to all in America, Asia and Europe in order to garner inspiration from all corners of the world. “The brief being light in context around what we wanted was key as we did not want to restrict the designers’ creative flow,” adds Perrot. As a result, the brand was able to handpick the designers who put forward realistic and brand-worthy solutions to the challenge.

Following the competition, the new ibis was to be divided into three concepts drawn up from three separate design studios. Studio Innocad from Europe, Studio FGMF from Latin America and Studio Soda from Asia together were Perrot’s answer to the new generation of ibis hotels.

Studio Innocad – Europe

Flexible living area with hammocks by entrance - blue and while tiles

Image credit: INNOCAD Architecture

The concept is a modular, flexible and customisable approach for architecture and interior, for renovation as well as new construction of ibis hotels. Designed around the fluid transition between inside and outside, the different settings of social spaces invite travellers and locals to explore several atmospheres and areas and are importantly not limited to be in one design during their customer journey.

Studio FGMF – Latin America

Modern Scandinavian room with flexible living spaces

Image credit: FGMF/ibis hotels

Urban living comes to the heart of the hotels with the design concept from Studio FGMF while the street outside becomes an integral part of the lobby. Unveiling a new pedestrian walkway, the hotel concept is gallery of local inspiration.

Meanwhile, the guestrooms have been imagined to be comfortable in a modern style, featuring a bookshelf as a centrepiece. A functional layout opens up new possibilities for guests to relax in the home-from-home setting.

Studio Soda – Asia

Modern, opening living areas

Image credit: Soda Studio/ibis hotels

Flexible, modular and contemporary, the concept that was imagined by Studio Soda is one that offers everything the modern guest is looking for; comfort combined with warmth. The lobby has been specifically designed to welcome the outside world, with a terrace area that extends out onto the street. The result is a public area that is welcome and free for guests to eat, relax, work or play.

“When we are rethinking ‘the new’, it is essential to forget what it is today,” explained Perrot when confronting the challenges of the project. “After the big idea in terms of design, the question is how can we apply that into our existing hotels. That’s a really big challenge, but I think we have succeeded.

Portrait of Damien Perrot

Image caption: Damien Perrot, Senior Vice President, Design Solutions for Accor

“The other challenge is to not be distracted by trends. Each design concept that was accepted stayed true to the DNA of the brand, which is very modern. Throughout the project, I want to demonstrate that modernity is in line with a new way of living.”

With the ambitious plans to redesign all hotels in the ibis portfolio by 2022, the aim is not for all hotels to be identical to one another. Instead, each property is aimed to have its own quirky personality. “Each concept is not 100 per cent defined. But the designer will apply the concept on projects and select different furniture and lighting to suit the hotel,” said Perrot. “In order to be able to roll this out globally, we have to have guidelines and style book. Each document helps the designers to roll out this concept. In those guidelines, we explain the boundaries that can and can’t be broken to achieve the final design of the individual hotel.”

Each hotel to adopt the new design concept will be better equipped and better designed to personalise the overall guest experience. The refreshing, and very different, designed concepts suggest heavily that ibis strongly believe a good hotel experience is much beyond experiencing a good night’s sleep. To achieve that overall home-from-home experience, the brand has redefined its public areas, F&B environment and guestrooms allowing its guests to tailor-make their own travel experience when checking in.

Main image credit: FGMF/ibis hotels

Avani Hotels & Resorts to enter Cambodia

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Following the opening a hotel in Koh Sumui, Avani Hotels & Resorts prepares to open its first hotel in Cambodia… 

Avani Hotels & Resorts has announced its entry into the Cambodian market with the launch of ‘FCC Angkor – Managed by Avani’. Following an extensive seven million USD renovation which includes the addition of 60 new rooms, the hotel is set to reopen its doors in the second quarter of 2019. The FCC Angkor is one of Cambodia’s best-known hotels and features authentic French colonial architecture intrinsic to the historic and cultural fabric of Siem Reap. FCC Angkor creates an inspiring ambience for remarkable experiences and unforgettable stories in the heart of Siem Reap.

“Avani Hotels & Resorts’ first entry into Cambodia signals our ongoing commitment to offering an upscale experience to all intrepid travellers,” said Dillip Rajakarier, CEO of Minor Hotels, the parent company of Avani Hotels & Resorts. “We believe FCC Angkor will be home to the intrepid traveller seeking an authentic experience in the social hub of Siem Reap.”

Located across from the Royal Independence Gardens and Royal Residence, FCC Angkor evokes the timelessness of Siem Reap for guests who want authentic experiences during their journey. The property centres around the former ‘Mansion’ of the French colonial governor, which became the renowned Foreign Correspondence Club and a popular meeting place for local and international journalists, celebrities, and travellers from around the world seeking to explore Siem Reap. Their stories echo and permeate every corner of the FCC Angkor, encouraging visitors to embrace their inner global adventurer.

“We are excited to be working with Avani Hotels & Resorts as they are exceptional operators of lifestyle hotels, and well aligned to promote and position the FCC Angkor and FCC Collection brand. The new FCC will also be a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, joining us in the commitment to deliver extraordinary, engaging and unique experiences to our global guests,” said Susan Devine, Owner’s Representative, FCC Angkor – Managed by Avani.

The hotel enhancements have perfectly blended the colonial structures with contemporary designs inspired by Cambodia’s natural beauty and Khmer culture, which extend across the pedestrian bridge to the newly built extension. Throughout the property, the exotic environment of verdant gardens, Khmerinspired contemporary art, and exclusive European design accents create a sophisticated, residential feel, a signature concept for the heritage property.

Main image credit: Avani Hotels & Resorts

In Conversation With: COO and Partner of luxury hotel group LHM

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Hotel Designs editor Hamish Kilburn catches up with Hans Joerg Meier the COO and Partner of LHM to discuss regional differences, design ethos’ and the challenges that come with setting up a new luxury hotel group…

With a new hotel about to open just over the horizon, which will add to the LHM (Legian Hotel Management) portfolio, the luxe hotel group is starting to find its bare-foot luxury feet in the international hotel design sands. Currently based in Indonesia with plans to expand across the globe, its ambition to “raise expectations of what a holiday can be” has been set in stone by the COO and co-founder Hans Joerg Meier. As its next hotel, The Legian Sire, Lombok, prepares for a Q1 2019 Launch, we caught up with Joerg Meier to find out  what the future for the hotel group looks like.

Hamish Kilburn: What has LHM identified as differences in markets between Indonesia and Europe?
Hans Joerg Meier: Travellers from Europe are seeking an authentic Indonesian/Balinese cultural experience – the warm and sincere service/hospitality. Furthermore, European guests want to travel around the island, visiting temples, renowned rice paddies, tasting local cuisine and attending cooking classes. Many are also keen to attend/participate in a local ceremony. Our regular guests from the local Indonesian market are very familiar with Bali/Seminyak where The Legian is located, and most seek a getaway to relax in the hotel from the pressures of their working lifestyle. They come to wine and dine and visit friends. This pattern is also similar with our regional markets from Hong Kong and Singapore. Both European and Indonesian markets are very interested in our wellness programs and following this we have recently launched a new wellness concept ‘Wellness by the Legian’ which will be available in all LHM hotels.

HK: There seems to be a lot of emphasis on experiences when it comes to luxury travel. Is the experience more important than the product these days? 
HJM: I am of the opinion that both are equally important. A good product is imperative and superior guest experiences personifies the product and vice versa. They synergize each other and are essential for the luxury traveller.

Image caption: Legian Seminyak, Bali

HK: Can you explain the design ethos of LHM properties?
HJM: Each LHM property is/will be exquisitely crafted by renowned architects and interior designers as well as legendary local artisans. This will reflect the sophisticated taste of our refined clientele who will feel right at home within LHM’s exceptional natural timeless surroundings, each one tastefully and utterly unique in their style.

HK: What are the main challenges for a new hotel group in today’s hotel landscape?
HJM: The main challenges include coming up with unique selling/marketing ideas which clearly differentiate the brand from the many competitors. It is also important to have a clear strategy in place and stick to it, not to follow every single trend, but rather create a bespoke experience. New hotel groups need to have a solid structure in place which allows the brand to expand on firm grounds without becoming too corporate. The key element is to form a strong team and nurture talents to take on more responsibility and to fully embrace the culture of the company. It is important that the team truly understands and is passionate about the brand so the company can successfully expand in the right direction. People are key in our industry as every guest interaction is vital.

Image caption: The site at Legian Sire, Lombok

HK: How did the management team come together?
HJM: Our first property, The Legian, Seminyak Bali has been owned by the Djohan’s family since the opening in 1996. Irma Djohan, The youngest daughter of Robby and Nanan Djohan, has a career in banking and at the same time was mentored by her father to eventually become a partner at LHM. Ralf Ohletz von Plattenberg was working for Adrain Zecha at Aman and GHM for over 30 years and was part of the team who setup The Legian. As for myself, I was working with GHM, who managed The Legian, for 15 years. Therefore, Irma, Ralf and myself knew each other. When the late Robby Djohan decided to start his own management company, he brought the 3 of us together help him form LHM, based on our diversified backgrounds.

Image credit: Legian Sire, Lombok

HK: The team clearly has a lot of experience in luxury. What key elements have you taken from Como, Peninsula and Aman to make LHM truly luxurious?
HJM: The LHM team have utilised their experience to create LHM’s own bespoke luxury key elements. LHM balances authentic unsurpassed service within captivating environments of exquisite craftsmanship reflecting the sophisticated lifestyle and intellectual curiosity of our guests. Every LHM property reflects its location, culture and people and does not wish to be a ‘cookie cutter’ brand. The one main key element I have taken from all my experience is that the people are key to creating a truly memorable and luxurious experience.

HK: How important is location when expanding a luxury hotel portfolio?
HJM: Location is important not just for each individual property but expansion should be based on a strategic plan. Some destinations may complement each other which can be of great advantage to boost occupancy. LHM’s 5 year business plan focussed on Indonesia and South East Asia which allows us to streamline efforts and keep operations efficient.

Avani Hotels & Resorts unveils sharp interiors in upscale resort in Koh Samui

Hamish Kilburn

The new upscale hotel in Thailand’s Koh Samui opens as Avani Hotels and Resorts’ 24th property, with a further 15 currently in the pipeline… 

Avani Hotels & Resorts is expanding its portfolio in Thailand with the launch of AVANI+ Samui, an upscale resort situated by Taling Ngam Bay on Koh Samui.

The new seaside hideaway features 25 guestrooms, 27 private pool villas and six beachfront pool villas, which are all situated steps away from an untouched, secluded bay. Each room and suite has been designed to be spacious, with nature-inspired yet vibrant interiors complete with ample natural lighting that floods each room.

Sunset view over the bay

“We are excited to confirm the Avani+ Samui opening, the second addition to our Avani+ portfolio, providing guests with our signature Avani+ experience for their beach getaway,” said Dillip Rajakarier, CEO Minor Hotels, owning company of AVANI Hotels & Resorts. “An exclusive upscale resort offering all the Avani+ extras at one of the hottest island destinations in Thailand, Avani+ Samui also embraces an eco-friendly culture to help Samui maintain its natural beauty for future generations such as no plastic straws, bio-degradable materials and locally sourced ingredients.”

Koh Samui, Thailand’s second largest island, has long been a major island destination for local and international travellers. With its untouched beaches and easy access to the rest of the island, Taling Ngam Bay, on the southwest coast, is ideally situated to capture a wide consumer demographic.

Avani currently operates 24 hotels and resorts in 15 countries worldwide. The opening of Avani + Samui follows the brand recently debuting properties in Australia, New Zealand, and Laos – and Avani currently has a further 15 new hotels in the pipeline, including a recent signings in Dubai, Bangkok, and Busan.

Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour prepares for Asia Week

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As Hotel Designs continues to focus the Spotlight On Art and Photography, Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour launches exhibition from November 5 – 9, celebrating the influence, culture and creativity of Asia…

East meets west as Asia Week arrives at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour. The exhibition, in association with Asian Art in London, is a multi-dimensional exhibition that will run from 5 until 9 November 2018. Attracting top designers, architects, international collectors, art-lovers and style-seekers, it will celebrate the influence of Asian art, culture and creativity from across the region.

Featuring seven galleries showcasing the work of artists from China, Korea, Japan, The Philippines and Nepal, Asia Week at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour will explore the enduring appeal of the Asian aesthetic and why it resonates today. Artistic interpretations of the history, philosophy and culture of individual countries will offer a unique perspective to the work on show.

Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour’s famous architecture will provide a dazzling space for an impressive rollcall of emerging and established names. Work by Japanese artists will be represented by Kamal Bakhshi. These include those by the grande dame of Japanese printmaking Toko Shinoda; painter, printmaker and multi-media artist Daniel Kelly (his work can be found in permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the British Museum) and renowned printmakers Morimura Rei and Yoshitoshi Mori who specialized in ‘kappazuri’ stencil prints.

ArtChina, which represents Chinese printmakers and contemporary artists, will show a selection of artworks, prints and ceramics that combine traditional techniques with a modern aesthetic. They include woodblock prints by Wang Chao, screenprints by emerging artist, actor and producer Kelly Mi and lithographic prints by Wei Jia, a representative of artists born in the 1970s. From Korea will be ceramic pieces from The Han Collection including those by pottery painter Oh Man-Chu.

The selling exhibition will include work by South East Asian artists, represented by Singapore Art Garret Gallery (SAGG), such as those by Singaporean watercolourists Ng Woon Lam and Don Low, renowned glass sculptor Ramon Orlina from The Philippines and Indonesian painters Indra Dodi and Hari Gita. The October Gallery will showcase contemporary work by Nepalese artist Govinda Sah, Chinese artist Tian Wei and celebrated Japanese artist Kenji Yoshida. Genrokuart will explore female beauty and the history of pre-modern Japan.

Previously unseen in the UK, visitors can also view the Hugentobler Collection of Modern Vietnamese Art, featuring paintings and drawings by two Vietnamese modernist masters, Bùi Xuân Phái and Nguyễn Tư Nghiêm. It belongs to a private collector who discovered Hanoi’s hidden art scene when he travelled to Vietnam in the early 1990s as the country was opening up. The work is not for sale but has come from its current home in Switzerland, especially for the exhibition.

The inclusion of the NIO EP9 supercar will quicken the pulse of design lovers and automotive collectors alike. The fastest electric car in the world, carbon fibre is coupled with advanced technology in the design of this high-performance vehicle from China-founded EV company NIO. With its futuristic aesthetic, the EP9 has the looks to match its performance.

Generating a deeper understanding of design from both cultures is at the heart of the events programme, bringing a connection in an increasingly cosmopolitan world. From talks, workshops ad masterclasses and discovery tours, they will explore the crossover between East and West.

 

WATG unveils five-star Ayana Komodo Resort in Asia

Hamish Kilburn
Set across a 1.4-hectare site, the hotel resort is surrounded by a lagoon and its marine life, where guests can soak up the 180-degree views of the Flores Sea…

Design firm WATG has opened the doors to its brand-new contemporary hotel in Indonesia, The Ayana Komodo Resort, Waecicu Beach, marking the third Ayana property across Asia. Located in Labuan Bajo, on Flores Island, the hotel is the latest five-star offering in the Indonesian Archipelago, boasting 192 rooms and 13 suites.

Set across a 1.4-hectare site, the hotel is surrounded by a lagoon and its marine life, where guests can soak up the 180-degree views of the Flores Sea. “The site’s amazing location on the edge of the sea forms a destination and gateway to the Sunda Islands archipelago,” said Bill Reed, Vice President of architecture at WATG. “This is the first world-class destination in the area and it will serve as a benchmark for future development. We designed the Ayana Komodo Resort to reflect the relaxed aesthetic of the Komodo Islands, with a feeling of spontaneity and subtle sophistication.”

The area’s cultural and ecological landscape has shaped WATG’s design for the resort; named after the Komodo dragon the resort’s guest wing has a curving shape and rough textured roof that emulates the form of the reptile.

 

Meanwhile, the architecture also draws inspiration from the Manggarai Mountain range, and a collection of local materials and traditional Batik patterns to create an informed identity for the hotel.

On site, guests can also take advantage of the two large pools, six restaurants and bars, and a 420 square-meter spa.

Luxury brand Anantara prepares to open all-villa hotel in Vietnam

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The luxurious Anantara Quy Nhon comprises of 26 one- and two-bedroom villas…

Luxury hotel brand Anantara, with more than 35 properties around the world, has announced that it will open an all-villa resort that is said to redefine luxury in the area this November.

Located in a secluded bay in south central Vietnam, known for its impossibly wide beaches and emerald waters, Anantara Quy Nhon comprises 26 one- and two-bedroom ocean-facing villas ensconced amidst 7.2 hectares of landscaped tropical gardens. The resort is designed to seamlessly blend into the natural environment: locally-sourced materials, traditional craftsmanship and regional influences are discretely incorporated into its contemporary design. The spacious villas boast sleek timber and granite sundecks, oversized bathtubs, private lap pools and extended low overhanging roofs, giving them a fresh, contemporary feel. Vietnamese blue stone keeps the look of the common areas vernacular while granite and marble elements introduce a touch of modernity.

A destination in its own right, the dining outlets at Anantara Quy Nhon celebrates the abundant local seafood and regional flavours with a variety of dining restaruants, all of which boast striking views over the bay.

Perched high on the hillside overlooking a serene bay, Anantara Spa is a wellbeing paradise hidden amongst the lush tropical foliage. Nature-inspired treatment suites boast double massage beds and oversized bathtubs for nourishing coconut milk soaks, while breezy cliffside pavilions bring the art of relaxation to new heights.

The soft opening of the resort is scheduled for late November 2018 and fully opened by January 2019.

 

Large modern guestroom

W Hotels debuts in Malaysia

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The hotel brand has brought its vibrant style to Malaysia with the opening of the 150-key W Kuala Lumper… 

In the shadow of the iconic buildings, the Petronas Towers, W Hotels Worldwide, part of Marriott International, Inc., has announced the opening of W Kuala Lumpur, marking the iconic brand’s first-ever hotel in Malaysia. Owned by Tropicana Corporation Berhad, W Kuala Lumpur opens its doors in the heart of the capital, steps from the world-famous Petronas Twin Towers. Through bold, innovative design, W Kuala Lumpur immerses guests in the city’s wildly lush greenery, globally renowned cuisine, centuries-old history and growing appetite for playful luxury.

Known locally as the Southeast Asian jungle city, the new modern luxury hotel is nestled between the Klang and Gombak Rivers. Kuala Lumpur itself boasts a sunny tropical climate, flourishing jungle, soaring buildings and traditional Malaysian architecture – a meeting of old and new, nature and humankind, on every street. Even within the city centre, nature is juxtaposed against architecture with towering skyscrapers emerging from the canopy of green. Beyond the city’s juxtapositions, Kuala Lumpur is home to a multicultural mix of world-class cuisine and creativity, the perfect spot for the brand’s debut in Malaysia.

“W Kuala Lumpur welcomes guests to the jungle.”

“Kuala Lumpur is one of the most modern cities in Asia. Skyrocketing from its humble heritage as a mining town to a skyline punctuated by skyscrapers, it’s clear that, like W, the city has a passion for embracing what’s new and next in the world – a natural fit for the W Hotels brand,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “We are blown away by how the city is moving towards the future while still maintaining its traditional and cultural roots. It’s a precise balancing act that we have brought to the intricate, vibrant design of W Kuala Lumpur to show guests from across the globe all the magic this city has to offer.”

Exterior render of the hotel

Image credit: Marriott International Hotel

W Kuala Lumpur welcomes guests to the jungle and combines an inexhaustible mix of old and new colours, aromas and sounds that blend effortlessly together in a cultural festival for the senses. A distinct design feature at W Kuala Lumpur is the pixel – or dot. It is cleverly integrated throughout the hotel and is used to create a bigger picture inspired by a broader multicultural Malaysia made up of many ethnicities. Upon arrival, guests are welcomed by larger-than-life traditional batik motifs, a nod to ancient artwork of the region, blended with sleek metal accents. The city’s abundant plant life is pulled into the space via bamboo-inspired chandeliers set against an ever-changing wall of lights, a representation of the new technology that is enhancing the cityscape. At the Welcome area, guests check in among modern nods to the jungle. Streaming LED lights hang from above, playfully mimicking waterfalls, spotlights alternate along the floor like a flowing river while the ceiling patterns depict an artistic interpretation of Kuala Lumpur’s topography, and chandeliers show off the shapes of spinning Malay toys known throughout the country.

Extending from the Living Room, the hotel’s grand staircase plays with light and space in a towering geometric cascade of steel-mirrored panels. Reflecting the vibrant colours and native designs found throughout the room and floors above, the staircase shifts each guests’ view of both colour and spacial dynamics as they move through the creatively extroverted mirroring.

W Kuala Lumpur features 150 stylish guest rooms and suites, including two WOW suites and the lavish Extreme WOW Suite (the brand’s take on the traditional presidential suite). With a living space of over 520 square metres, the Extreme WOW Suite brings a new level of eclectic luxury to the city. All W Kuala Lumpur rooms and suites embody both the traditional and modern elements of the Jungle City, teaming W essentials like signature W beds with traditional accents like indigenous “Wau” tassels commonly featured on Malaysian kites and pixelated versions of batik designs.

Main image credit: Marriott International Hotel

 

Waldolf Astoria Bangkok prepares for ‘Asia’s most anticipated hotel openings this year’

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The anticipated opening of Waldorf Astoria Bangkok, designed by the award-winning André Fu is said to evolve the hotel landscape in Southeast Asia…

The end of August will see the opening of what is said to be Asia’s most anticipated hotel openings of 2018. The grand Waldorf Astoria in Bangkok, meticulously designed by, André Fu, from AFSO who was named Designer of the Year for Maison & Objet Asia in 2016, captures the brand’s iconic image in the vibrant Thai capital.

All areas of thew hotel will open to reflect the artistry and craftsmanship of Fu and his design studio

In tribute to the owners of the property, Magnolia Finest Corporation Limited, the building, which is perched near the city’s Royal Bangkok Sports Club and Ratchaprasong Intersection, has been designed to give the effect of springing from the ground like a Magnolia flower. Towering above the city, the dazzling sculptural appearance of the property cuts a dramatic profile in the skyline of Bangkok, in the heart of the bustling Ratchaprasong intersection.

Large, spacious and modern guestroom

Image credit: Waldrof Astoria Bangkok

The hotel will boast 171 spacious guestrooms and suites, which start at 50 square metres, offer more space than the average hotel room size and are designed to as ‘home-from homes’. All areas of thew hotel will open to reflect the artistry and craftsmanship of Fu and his design studio. Globally recognised for high-profile luxury fashion and retail projects, such as his recent work with luxury brand Louis Vuitton, the studio has been involved in curating an holistic hotel experience that brings together the building’s contemporary architecture with Thai artisanal tradition.

The hotel, which stands as a milestone for the Hilton brand as it will be Southeast Asia’s first Waldorf Astoria, is expected to become the new skyline gem of Bangkok, and promises to live up to high expectations of locals and diserning travellers.

 

 

Opposites attract at Wyndham Grand Phuket Kalim Bay

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Nestled behind vibrant streets, where thousands of Gap-Year backpackers find shelter in cheap hostels, rises a luxury hotel with personality, style and unmatched ocean views. Editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to the Wyndham Grand Phuket Kalim Bay to see for himself how opposites in South East Asia can attract after all…

Perched on a hilltop facing south, with Phuket’s Patong Beach to the left, Wyndham Grand Phuket Kalim Bay’s location was certainly not compromised when local architect Rachapuk Sungkhaphunt from Greenity Co. Ltd designed the foundations of what was said to be ‘a new kind of luxury’ away from the wild, bustling and polluted streets behind Patong Beach.

Exterior of the hotel

Image caption: Exterior of the hotel

Opened in December 2016, the hotel offers 214 elegantly appointed guestrooms and private villas as well as large public areas throughout. The hotel’s structure was thoughtfully designed using the natural landscape as a tool to stagger the individual blocks so that from all corners of the hotel, guests can marvel over the sweeping ocean vistas that extend over the Andaman Sea.

Guestroom image with stunning ocean views

Image caption: The hotel has been designed to capture striking views of the A Sea

Approachable by design, simplicity, minimalism and copious amount of space, interior designer Voravee Puranasamriddhi from Bangkok-based firm 1328 Pt Ltd led the interiors throughout the hotel. Vast emptiness and unused space captured my first impressions of the public areas. That’s because at first there is little to see, as the finest areas are rightfully to be enjoyed by guests only, and clearly detached from the loud streets across the bay.

Tall floor-to-ceiling glass doors open into a refined, elegant space

Designed to reflect more of a terminal than a lobby, the first building guests walk into when checking in on the ground floor is bare and offers just enough facilities for a member of staff to tick you off the list and direct you on. It shelters a constant flow of traffic and once guests have been filtered through this system they are picked up by a car and driven to the main lobby, which is situated three floors above the first terminal.

Unlike the main entrance, the lobby is striking with a strong, solid check-in desk sat in the middle of a modern, light and airy room. Tall floor-to-ceiling glass doors open into a refined and elegant space, while intricate wallcoverings, designed to replicate corral, burst with personality. The furniture is simple yet comfortable with under-seat lighting reflecting off the ceramic flooring.

Image caption: Lobby area

All guestrooms and suites are Asian-inspired with a modern touch. Wooden floors, warm colours and floor-to-ceiling windows create a blissful sanctuary allowing guests to unwind and take in the jaw-dropping views.

A control panel next to the large bed allows guests to personalise the ambiance to suit every mood

Offering by far, though, the most luxurious experience is the Luxury Private Pool Villa Panoramic Ocean View, which sit in the middle of the complex. Designed to blend Asian decor with Western, modern, spacious living – complete with a private infinity pool and decking – the abode allows you to enjoy the panoramic vistas of the bay from a premium perspective – whether that be on the balcony or on the edge of your own infinity pool, accessible from the decking, the living room and the large bathroom.

Image caption:  Luxury Private Pool Villa Panoramic Ocean View

Each of the resort’s 152 pool villas, the most in the Kalim-Patong area, feature a private outdoor sundeck and a six- or nine-metre infinity pools overlooking the ocean, providing guests checking in with privacy and seclusion as well as ultimate comfort and relaxation.

The lighting in the room is tasteful and well-designed. A control panel next to the large bed allows guests to personalise the ambiance to suit every mood. In addition to spotlight lighting, two pendants hang from the ceiling either side of the large bed. This, I believe, adds another dimension to the minimalist setup.

The bathrooms are large and again offer unmatched views through floor-to-ceiling windows that open completely so that the panoramic view is never sacrificed. A large twin tub sits above the infinity pool. Next to it is the walk-in rainfall shower. Above the large twin sink is an oversized mirror that reflects a spacious home-away-from-home feel.

Outside seating area at L'atitude 98 restaurant

Image caption: Outside seating area at L’atitude 98 restaurant

Dining at Wyndham Grand Phuket Kalim Bay has been designed to capture a multisensorial experience with two restaurants serving authentic Thai cuisine and international favourites amidst breathtaking sea views.

What I respect most about this hotel is that it may be a stones throw away from provocative streets of Patong Beach, but it is worlds away from the ‘in your face’ attitude that’s evident across the bay.

Wyndham Hotels and Resorts now has more than 9,000 properties worldwide. Recently, Hotel Designs sat down with the new Managing Director (EMEA) to discover what the next chapter for the hotel group looks like.

 

King terrace suite

Malaysia’s First DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Opens in Penang

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DoubleTree by Hilton has opened its first resort-style property in Malaysia: DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang, and also marks the 50th DoubleTree by Hilton property in the Asia Pacific region.

Located in the vibrant beach area on Penang’s north coast, overlooking the Indian Ocean, DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang is a family-friendly resort with exceptional facilities for all ages.

Overlooking Malaysia’s Miami Beach, DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang features a distinctive design concept that blends contemporary style with classical Peranakan motifs. The 316 rooms and suites are all equipped with walk-in rain showers, 40-inch LED TVs and Wi-Fi. Families can opt for two inter-connected rooms, linked by a hallway door to create a private sanctuary, complete with double and twin bedrooms and separate bathrooms.

Large lobby area

“Blessed with a rich history, diverse culture and tropical scenery, Penang is a truly enchanting destination. As the first DoubleTree resort in Malaysia, we are delighted to bring the brand’s warmth and genuine hospitality to the country, as epitomized by the welcome cookie we offer to all our guests,” commented Jamie Mead, Regional General Manager, Hilton Malaysia.

Linda Giebing, DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang’s General Manager, added: “We have experienced strong demand since the hotel started operating in January, with high occupancy and interest from the events sector. I am confident that all guests will be captivated by our comprehensive range of facilities and renowned standards of hospitality.”

The upscale resort also features a state-of-the-art conference area, including three flexible meeting rooms for events of between 12 and 120 delegates.

The new resort is also part of Hilton Honors, an award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton’s 14 distinct brands.

Andaz Singapore

Miniview: Andaz Singapore – Andre Fu’s design

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Conceived as a contemporary lifestyle destination that embraces the energy of Singapore’s urban spirit, architect Andre Fu and his design studio AFSO seek to capture the city’s eclectic shop-house experience of dining at Andaz Singapore.

Working within the framework of the modernist Duo development by German architect Ole Scheeren, Fu has fashioned a multi layered journey that conveys relaxed luxury yet captures the vibrant atmosphere of local areas such as Kampong Glam and Bras Basah Bugis.

As guests explore the hotel, they will experience a strong sense of discovery – an experience that is quintessential to Singapore itself.

THE ARRIVAL & PANDAN
The Andaz journey begins with a dramatic 8m high lobby where guests encounter an abstract interpretation of the traditional Singaporean shop-house façades which is a recurring theme throughout the hotel. The arrival experience also introduces the concept of a Pandan where guests are enticed by a spectrum of Pandan chiffon cakes and a selection of sweet and savoury soft buns to enjoy.

Andaz SingaporeALLEY ON 25
Conceived as the hub of the hotel, Alley on 25 brings the spirit of the local neighbourhood into a matrix of seven distinct shop-house experiences. Sunroom is an airy timber pavilion with an intricate checkered grid ceiling that has drawn inspirations from the works of modernist architect Schindler. Hanging ferns and greeneries are suspended from the ceiling to entice the guests with a sense of urban retreat. Icehaus , which is crafted in monolithic white Carrera marble has an open kitchen and views to a terrace of frangipani and guests can view live cooking preparations.

Aunties Wok & Steam is an eatery dedicated to the art of steam and wok cooking and has been designed to evoke a lively market dining experience. Decked with tilted metallic windows and timber furniture upholstered in olive green and lemon yellow, this intimately-proportioned dining room offers panoramic views of the city and exemplifies a genuine street-dining spirit. Other shop-houses guest can visit are Bar Square, Smoke & Pepper, Plancha’Lah! and The Green Oven.

Andaz SingaporeTHE GUEST ROOM EXPERIENCE
In-keeping with the alley concept, the experience of the guestroom also embraces the neighborhood spirit. Conceived as a contemporary bungalow, Fu has introduced whimsical moments throughout the room – from the entrance doorbell that is housed in a bespoke post-box, the shop-house doors in bold mango yellow to the floor-to-ceiling ivory paneling. The room experience is also punctuated with ethnic touches in aubergine and mustard yellow to celebrate Singapore as a city.

Andaz SingaporeMR STORK
Nestled high above the hotel is Mr Stork – the destination rooftop bar set within a lush tropical landscape and cobbled paving. At the heart of Mr Stork is a free-standing bronze pavilion, designed as an installation with radial tilted fins reminiscent of a classic wind-mill. The journey is also layered with a series of private tents where guests are invited to escape into a rural dreamscape. The exposed aggregate and tropical landscape reinforce the idea of an urban yet rustic al-fresco experience.

singapore.andaz.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home

Shangri-La Jinan

Shangri-La Hotel, Jinan – opening in the heart of ‘Spring City’

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Shangri La Hotels and Resorts announced Shangri-La Hotel, Jinan, its third hotel in Shangdong Province, will soft open on 13 December; considered to be one of the origins of Chinese civilization, Shandong has emerged as one of the biggest industrial producers and among the top manufacturing provinces in China since its storied history began over 5,000 years ago.

Located within Jinan”s central business district, the 20-storey Shangri-La Hotel, Jinan is part of a multi-use complex opening in Q1 of 2018 that will feature an office tower and shopping mall offering guests refreshing and redefined experiences for work and life. Beyond the hotel, guests can explore Jinan”s natural beauty which has earned the city the reputation of a “Spring City”. With no less than 72 artesian springs, the Baotu Spring is revered as the “Number One Spring under the Heaven” and a short walk from Shangri-La Hotel, Jinan.

Other popular attractions nearby include the Five-Dragon Pond, Black Tiger Spring, Daming Lake and shopping at Kuan Hou Li. The Jinan Station and Jinan Yaoqiang International Airport is 20 minutes and 40 minutes away by car respectively.

Known for creating a sense of place, Shangri-La drew design inspiration for the hotel from the Baotou Spring Park to illustrate the times when Jinan city developed around the lake and surrounding gardens, infusing public spaces with a blend of traditional elements and modern Chinese architecture.

A total of 364 rooms and 32 serviced apartments overlook Jinan”s landmark Quancheng Square or the Daming Lake. All guestrooms are adorned with impressions of the lotus flower – the symbolic flower of Jinan – and equipped with an air purification system, complimentary Wi-Fi, a pillow menu, and a deluxe bathroom with luxury amenities. Each apartment is fully furnished with a kitchen.

Jumeirah to launch new lifestyle brand in 2018

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The new year hasn’t yet arrived, but it’s already stacking up to be a consequential one for the hospitality industry, with a number of large hotel companies dedicating resources to the launch of new lifestyle brands and other initiatives.

One such example of this is Jumeirah Group, which is launching a new brand that it hopes can stand out to consumers as a lifestyle option that appeals to the “millennial minded,” the companies interim CEO Marc Dardenne has said. This new brand is slated to launch in early 2018, and when it does it will have smaller rooms but locations in key desirable areas, while also retaining a strong focus on food and beverage services. Dardenne has also said that the new brand, which has not yet been named or fully revealed, currently has three to five new projects that have already signed on to be a part of it.

Jumeirah Hotels has been around for two decades, and this recent decision to launch what will become just its second brand was inspired in part by a desire to access markets where the company already has existing properties that are under the Jumeirah name. This is far and away one of the most common motivations that large hotel companies have cited for launching additional brands, with recent examples of companies that have done this including Trump Hotels and its new Scion brand, Langham with its Langham Place brand, and Capella Hotels with Solis.

Although the lifestyle segment is becoming somewhat crowded within the global hospitality space, Jumeirah is confident that its new creation will stand out a bit from the pack, which contains many lifestyle brands that have been in this arena for 15 to 20 years old now, making them seem a bit dated to guests. Jumeirah leadership has painted its late arrival to the lifestyle segment as a great opportunity to ensure that it is able to provide some of the most modern and up to date offerings of any hotel in the space.

No star rating or category has yet been assigned to the brand, but Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts are likely above its price range, and the new brand will not be associated with Jumeirah’s loyalty program, Sirius. Leadership does, however, hope to have a little bit of association between it and the Jumeirah brand so that savvy travelers will draw a connection between the two.

www.jumeirah.com

Minor Hotels announces AVANI to debut in Oman

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Minor Hotels has signed a management agreement with Safari International Group for a new AVANI hotel to be developed in Muscat, the Omani capital.

Scheduled to open in 2020, the 250-room AVANI Musc at Hotel will be located in Seeb to the west of the city, 15 minutes’ drive from Muscat International Airport. Seeb is a prime residential area in Muscat and a key area for future development as the city grows westwards. The AVANI hotel will be connected via a sky bridge to the upcoming Al Araimi Boulevard Mall, which is currently being developed and is scheduled to open in 2018 with over 250 retail and dining outlets, a medical centre and a 10-screen cinema complex.

With a total development cost of $50 million (£37 million) by Safari International Group, the new-build hotel will open in two phases. The first phase will comprise 160 guest rooms and suites, an all-day dining restaurant, an AVANI Pantry and a rooftop lounge. Additional facilities will include a swimming pool and health club and a 1,000 square metre ballroom and eight meeting rooms. The second phase, which will commence two years after the main hotel opens, will offer a total of 90 serviced apartments including studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments, plus two 175 square metre three-bedroom apartments.

AVANI Muscat OmanLaunched in 2011, AVANI Hotels & Resorts currently operates 21 properties in the Asia Pacific region, the Middle East, Africa and Europe, with the brand most recently debuting in both Australia and New Zealand. AVANI is a true lifestyle brand, imaginatively blending genuine hospitality and technology with savvy design and contemporary style. The AVANI experience is designed to satisfy important guest needs.

The future launch of the brand in Oman represents a key strategic addition to Minor Hotels’ portfolio in the country, following the launch of the group’s luxury Anantara brand in Oman in late 2016 with two new openings – Anantara Jabal Al Akhdar Resort located on the Saiq Plateau in the north of the country and Al Baleed Salalah Resort by Anantara in the Dhofar region in the south.

Minor Hotels currently operates 13 properties in the Middle East across four of its brands – Anantara, AVANI, Tivoli and Oaks – and has a further strong pipeline in the region across these four brands. In 2018 AVANI will launch in North Africa with the opening of AVANI Les Berges du Lac Tunis Suites in the Tunisian capital, with further pipeline properties announced in 2017 including both Mauritius and the Maldives.

Andre Fu - Andaz Singapore

Q&A: Andaz Singapore designer Andre Fu

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Andre Fu gives a glimpse into the design process for the Andaz Singapore…

Q. What would you point out specifically as some of your personal design highlights of the hotel?
A. My favourite aspect of the hotel is perhaps in our vision to create a Singapore-style alleyway experience. The intricate play of intimate proportions within the alleys evoke a sense of discovery and each shophouse is given its own personality and character. I personally believe this is an experience that is unique to Andaz Singapore.

In terms of particular spaces, I am very fond of Sunroom – conceived as modernist expression of the Peranakan house, it is an airy timber-lined lounge decked with lush hanging ferns. I am also drawn to the whimsical nature of 665 for its intimacy and the way it evokes the spirit of a bespoke tailors shop. The use of tropical plants within the hotel experience and how the way the curation of plants expresses a strong feeling of outdoor throughout is also a favourite aspect for me.

Andaz SingaporeQ. How would you say, in terms of design, Andaz Singapore is a combination of what Andaz and Singapore are both known for?
A. Andaz hotels draw direct inspiration from a location’s history, culture and architecture, and by distilling the best of its locale, allow guests to truly engage with a destination and experience it authentically, rather than merely visit.The expression of culture goes beyond the superficial adaptation of local elements or decorative motifs, but to engage in an experience that captures the spirit of the city.

Andaz Singapore
Q. How has it been working with such an iconic building by Ole Scheeren? What are the most challenging bits and how did you and your team work around those challenges?

A. The distinct architecture of the DUO building has posed many challenges to the designs of the project, in particular the relationship between the imposing internal structures against the curved façade of the building. Working with the unconventional shape of the building and the constraints of a thin footprint surrounding the building’s core have prompted us to bring down the scale of the experience, enhance the notion of intimacy and making each shop-house or venue unique in its design language. The resulting effect is a hotel that fully expresses the sense of journey, a journey that is accented with colours, textures, and expressive artworks. I believe the vision to bring the scale and create more personable spaces is a good example of hospitality going forward.

Q. What was your main design inspiration for Andaz Singapore?
A. I drew inspiration from the hotel’s dynamic location and the neighbourhood’s eclectic passageways and shop-house experiences. Our goal has been to re-interpret these qualities to create a Singapore-style alleyway experience. The intention is not to replicate the experience, but finding a means to capture the spirit of it with an emphasis on modernity. The intricate play of intimate proportions within the alleys evoke a sense of discovery and each shop-house is given its own personality and character. I personally believe this is an experience that is unique to Singapore.

Andaz SingaporeIn keeping with the alley concept, the experience of the guestroom embraces the neighborhood spirit. Conceived as a contemporary bungalow, I’ve introduced whimsical moments throughout the room – from the entrance doorbell that is housed in a bespoke post-box, the slender shop-house doors in bold mango yellow to the floor-to-ceiling ivory paneling. The room experience is also punctuated with ethnic touches in aubergine to celebrate the unique palette of the shophouse experience.

Q. What does luxury mean to you?
A. Luxury to me, is having a moment of stillness and not have so much on my mind. It’s a nice feeling having time to be really focused on a particular subject with the absence of distraction.

afso.net

La Boucherie Starlight VIP Booth - LA IHG

Introducing three new luxury hotels from IHG

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InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), one of the world’s leading hotel companies is proud to announce the opening of three new hotels – in Los Angeles, Perth Australia and Singapore.

InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown
The recently opened InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown elevates the Los Angeles skyline at 1,100 feet and 73 storeys, making it the tallest building on the West Coast of the US. The hotel occupies floors 31 to 73 of the Wilshire Grand Centre and has 889 elegant guestrooms. The property also boasts a Club InterContinental Lounge, a swimming pool and five dining outlets including Spire 73, the tallest open-air bar in the Western Hemisphere on the 73rd floor with unparalleled 360-degree views of LA’s cityscape and skyline with fire pits, fountains and innovative cocktails.

InterContinental Perth City Centre
Located amongst the charming theatres, cafés and luxe boutiques of ‘The King Street Precinct’, the new InterContinental Perth City Centre is the sixth InterContinental hotel in Australia. The hotel’s 240 rooms, studios and penthouse all have a residential feel and views over Perth’s cityscape. The property also features specially commissioned sculptures, paintings, bespoke ceramics and glass works by renowned artists from Western Australia. The hotel’s stylish line up of restaurants and bars focuses on regional food producers, growers, brewers and wine-makers.

InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay
Set amidst a vibrant neighbourhood along the Singapore River, known for its wide array of restaurants and art galleries, the residential-inspired InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay offers 225 luxurious studios and suites, including an expansive Penthouse, which has unparalleled views of both the Singapore River and vibrant city via floor-to-ceiling windows. The hotel also features a 24-hour Club InterContinental Lounge, four dining options including a 389-seat Italian restaurant & bar, Publico, five meeting and event spaces, a swimming pool and a 24-hour fitness studio.

www.ihg.com/intercontinental

Rosewood Phuket

Rosewood Phuket – immersive design by Bar Studio

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Within a jungle forest on the shoreline of the Andaman Sea, Rosewood Phuket captures the essence of the island’s spirit, culture and environment, with a design inspired by the concept of a luxurious beach residence.

Renowned Melbourne-based design firm BAR Studio seamlessly blended contemporary aesthetics with the tropical surrounds to celebrate a connection between landscape, light and views. Rosewood Phuket is village-like in its layout – a series of pavilions and paths linking hilltop to beach, whose design acknowledges its international context, yet is profoundly influenced by its geographical and cultural location: raw and refined, sophisticated yet relaxed.

“Landscape is really the star of Rosewood Phuket and the resort design was focused on facilitating the guest’s immersion into it,” says Andrew Turner, managing director of Rosewood Phuket. “The fundamental experience is that of being at one with this incredible environment of tropical jungle, hilltop views and stunning coastline.”

Rosewood PhuketA balance of architectural elements, sophisticated interiors, diverse landscapes, captivating details, and a dramatic revealing of interior and exterior spaces gives Rosewood Phuket its distinctive personality. The resort continuously unfolds and engages guests with a myriad of hidden surprises, details and intimate moments. Framing is a fundamental design component here, showcasing elements that are uniquely of the place — whether that is a view, an artifact, a piece of art or a landscape.

From approach by discreet cobblestone driveway, through monumental entry gates marking arrival, to a welcome pavilion that opens up to spectacular views of the Andaman Sea, there is an immediate unfurling of Rosewood’s A Sense of Place® philosophy. BAR Studio collaborated with Bangkok landscape architects PLA to curate a journey spanning multiple eco-systems, from untamed nature to gardens and ocean shore, with meandering walkways through tropical foliage connecting all facets of the resort hamlet.

Local teak, both sustainably sourced and recycled, is used extensively in structural elements, walls, floors and ornamentation, so a uniquely Thai material is woven through the fabric of the resort, enhanced by warm sandstone wall and floor finishes. All 71 pool pavilions and villas are designed to evoke the personality of a residential beach home – the Thai equivalent of a Hamptons summer retreat. Each features a private entry experience – be it bridge or gate and courtyard – that creates a connection between internal and external environments. Through plentiful floor-to-ceiling windows, each interior space blends seamlessly with the tropical surrounds, including outlooks onto private swimming pool, gardens, courtyard and ocean.

Rather than adopting obvious Thai decorative elements in the rooms, motifs, materials and art tell a story that is at once local and subtly international. The artwork and accessories are reminiscent of an international traveler’s collection, with a uniquely Thai attitude, that has been accumulated over time with a distinctive eye and sophisticated mingling of influences.

Rosewood PhuketMai poolside bar and The Shack rustic seafood eatery both feature recycled and raw materials, mixed with accents of color and detail that create a laid-back daytime atmosphere. Mai, a stand-alone pavilion, is screened by curtains of wood beads, while timber pallets with pulleys and exposed counter-weights form screen walls in The Shack. By day these two venues operate as separate, intimate environments. By night they transform and merge with the pool terrace to create one vibrant, expansive venue with sophisticated edginess.

Ta Khai, the stand-alone Thai seafood restaurant, feels as if it has existed within a rustic fisherman’s village for generations – an impression accentuated by the layout’s deference to the sacred ficus and Banyan trees situated along the shoreline. However, in contrast to the cultural mix of Red Sauce, and the day-night transformative nature of Mai and The Shack, Ta Khai is layered. At its core are rustic open pavilions formed from carved timber posts and recycled corrugated iron. These raw structures appear to then have been updated with red fabric-sail roofs, insertions of steel and glass, and contemporary furniture and lighting. The effect is that of a series of spaces that have naturally evolved over time.

At Asaya, the inaugural integrated wellness concept from Rosewood Hotels & Resorts®, the natural environment is the dominant element. Like the resort itself, with its series of pavilions Asaya is like a village blending into the landscape. Each Asaya component has its own sense of connection to the natural world with layers of privacy depending on the function of the space: the relaxation areas are screened outdoor enclosures, the walled Wellness Atelier overlooks charming herb gardens and treatment rooms are completely internalized with their own private courtyards.

Preservation of the landscape and a focus on sustainability have been critical environmental and aesthetic considerations for the design team throughout the conception and construction of Rosewood Phuket. Passive environmental controls include large roof overhangs, green garden rooftops, shading and reflective colors, as well as the use of recycled and reclaimed materials in many parts of the resort. Photovoltaic cells hidden on rooftops create the largest solar panel system of any Phuket hotel.

The multimedia art collection at Rosewood Phuket reflects the diverse cultural influences on the island and weaves quintessential Siam sensibilities into the design. Sculpturally, the majestic elephant at the hotel entrance, a water buffalo constructed from car parts in Ta Khai’s kitchen garden, the over-sized elephant bells strategically dotted around the resort, an enormous stainless steel compass inlaid into the beach lawn, and a fluid, bronze carp installation fittingly positioned by the swimming pool, become key sculptural moments in the guest journey, creating an accumulative experience of the island through artistic statements.

“Guests will be impressed by the grandeur and scale of the resort but also feel a very personal connection to it through the sense of romance, sense of place and sense of the unexpected that intermingle in the design,” says Stewart Robertson, director of BAR Studio. “Rosewood Phuket redefines all the expected elements of a luxury resort to create something that feels absolutely right in this unique setting.”

www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/phuket

COSI Hotel Samui

Centara’s first COSI Hotel opens in Samui

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The new COSI Hotel on Samui island is now officially open and welcoming independent, tech-savvy travellers. It is as different from a traditional hotel as a new smartphone is from the mobile phones of the 90s.

Centara completely re-thought what a hotel should be for the new generation of connected, freedom loving, pricey-frill-hating travellers. The result is an innovative and affordable lifestyle hub set in the middle of the shopping, eating, social and entertainment scene on Chaweng Beach. If it feels a little more like staying at the stylish home of a friend, and that’s the whole idea.

“COSI represents a lot of new thinking about what a modern hotel can be, based on what’s important and what’s not so relevant for today’s, youthful-minded, smart travellers,” explains Harry Thaliwal, Centara’s General Manager and Corporate Director of Operations for COSI. “You can create a very fresh and unique place if you’re willing to throw out the usual conventions,” he adds.

For starters, there’s no lobby counter or check-in queues. You can check yourself in and out at the digital self-service stations. COSI is designed to play well with the smartphones in the pockets of today’s travellers. You can book with your smartphone, check in with your smartphone, and play videos or catch-up with your latest boxset on your room’s 43-inch SmartTV screen, which can mirror your phone screen. Fast and free WiFi is everywhere.

COSI Hotel SamuiThe hotel’s Hub is a 24/7 social and media playspace where guests can watch the game, grab a sip or a bite, and connect with friends. You get free daily credits to use for food and drink any time you want at the integrated WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) Café. COSI’s 150 rooms are clean and streamlined. In addition to the hi-tech TV, they feature mega comfy king or twin beds, powerful showers, digital safes and fridges. Each room even has five USB ports so guests can recharge their devices without worrying about converters.

COSI Samui also features an 18-metre rooftop pool and all-hours laundromat. The minimalist mod look and feel of the hotel go well with the technology and service innovations. The “COSI Crew” are trained to help guests new to Samui discover its best places. Central Festival, the island’s main shopping centre, is up the street, and Samui’s airport is only 15 minutes away.

“Today’s young travellers want freedom, connections and shared experiences,” said Thirayuth Chirativat, Centara’s Chief Executive Officer. “They are interested in a simple, smart, fun lifestyle, rather than traditional or superfluous amenities. We designed COSI for them. We expect this will be the first of many.”

www.centarahotelsresorts.com/cosihotels/

Raffles Palm Jumeirah

Nakheel, AccorHotels to debut Raffles Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah

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AccorHotels has signed a management agreement with leading Dubai-based master developer Nakheel for the expansion of AccorHotels’ globally-renowned luxury brand, Raffles Hotels & Resorts.

The agreement, recognised by Nakheel Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah and Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO of AccorHotels at a signing ceremony at the International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) in Cannes (France) will lead to the opening of PALM360, a spectacular two tower development on the world famous Palm Jumeirah comprising of the Raffles The Palm Dubai Hotel and Raffles Residences PALM360.

Set to open in 2021, PALM 360 will be the first beachside resort for Raffles in Dubai and the tallest structure on Palm Jumeirah. At almost 260 meters high, PALM360 will offer unobstructed views of Palm Jumeirah, the spectacular Arabian Gulf coastline and Dubai skyline. Its centrepiece will be a 155 metre long sky pool, connecting the towers 170 metres above the ground, from where guests can also enjoy these stunning, uninterrupted views from a unique vantage point.

The hotel component will offer 125 hotel rooms and suites, whilst the 359 branded residences – including 16 branded penthouses that will each have their own private infinity pool, gym and cinema – will be available for purchase.

Raffles Palm JumeirahLocated on Palm Jumeirah’s 11km crescent Boardwalk, PALM360 is close to upcoming attractions such as The Palm Promenade, The Pointe and Nakheel Mall, with Dubai’s key business and leisure hubs within easy reach. The luxury property will offer guests a distinct resort feel with direct private beach access, a specialised private beach club along with thoughtful, personal and discreet service synonymous with the Raffles brand.

PALM360 joins 16 other hotels that form part of Nakheel’s $1.3 billion (£971 million) hospitality expansion programme that is set to deliver close to 6,000 rooms and hotel apartments across Dubai. The first two hotels, at Dragon Mart and Ibn Battuta Mall, opened last year, with the rest under construction or development.

Raffles The Palm Dubai and Raffles Residences PALM360 joins 11 Raffles Hotels & Resorts around the world, including Raffles Dubai. The remarkable collection of charming luxury hotels and resorts is located in many of the world’s largest cities and holiday destinations such as Paris, Istanbul and the Seychelles. Raffles properties feature distinct amenities including the Raffles Butler Service, Raffles Spa, Raffles Long Bar and Raffles Writers Bar.

www.raffles.com

Plans announced for Four Seasons Hanoi at Hoan Kiem Lake

Plans announced for Four Seasons Hanoi at Hoan Kiem Lake

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Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and BRG Group, the leading private multi-sector business group in Vietnam, will open a new Four Seasons hotel in the heart of Vietnam’s capital city.

Located within the historic downtown, Four Seasons Hotel Hanoi at Hoan Kiem Lake will offer the latest in luxury hospitality in this important global city.

Rich with history, art and culture, Hanoi attracts visitors from across the region and internationally, and is one of Vietnam’s top leisure destinations. The new hotel will offer views of Hoan Kiem Lake and the bustling streets leading to the Old and French Quarters. The hotel will be ideally located a short walk or scooter ride from many museums and galleries, shopping, and the city’s vibrant culinary scene.

Home to a number of foreign embassies, Hanoi is a busy commercial and diplomatic centre as well as a hub for those travelling onward to nearby Halong Bay and Sapa.

Designed by international award winning firms WATG Architects and SRSS Interior Design Studio, Four Seasons Hotel Hanoi at Hoan Kiem Lake will draw from the French Colonial inspirations that are characteristic of Hanoi and include 95 rooms and suites as well as a spa and fitness centre, pools, and event and meeting spaces. Joining the dynamic culinary landscape in the city, Wimberly Interiors, experts in cosmopolitan design, will develop the dining and lounge offerings, including an all-day restaurant, lounge and rooftop bar.

www.fourseasons.com/hoian/

Meet the Top 5-Star Hotel Brands in the Middle East

Meet the top 5-star hotel brands in the Middle East

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Forbes Middle East recently named its list of the top 5-star hotel brands in the Middle East, a group of 20 that was determined based on the status of their hotels in the region.

At the top of the list is the Swiss hospitality company, Mövenpick, which has 47 five star hotels spread throughout 10 countries in The Middle East, adding up to a total of 12,592 rooms. Mövenpick is followed by Hilton Hotels and Resorts, which has 29 hotels and 9,631 rooms spread throughout eight countries in the Middle East. In third place was Sheraton, which has a hospitality presence in 10 of the region’s countries.

Meet the Top 5-Star Hotel Brands in the Middle EastForbes reports that to formulate its list, associated researchers screened more than 800 five star hotels from 190 total brands, gathering their information primarily from those hotels’ websites as well as from some of the other major travel websites within the industry. They also determined three benchmarks to use in the ranking: the number of countries that a brand is represented in, the total number of estimated hotels and rooms, and equal weights. This list, however, did not take into account the revenue numbers that were generated by each brand, and it did not calculate the average price of the rooms there. Neither of those financial concerns were factored into this study, meaning that sheer quantity of properties and their spread were the backbone of this ranking.

Of the top 20 brands that landed on Forbes’ list, there were 375 hotels and resorts that added up to a grand total of 116,454 rooms in 17 total countries, those countries being: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Morocco, Qatar, Lebanon, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Tunisia, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Palestine, and Algeria.

The three most dominant countries were no surprise, with those being Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, which is home to the red hot tourism market of Dubai, one of — if not the most — popular markets in the entire world. Hotels and resorts in those three countries take up 66.4 percent of the list, adding up to 349 total properties and 71.9 percent of total rooms, with 83,711 rooms. These are numbers that are nothing to scoff at.

The other brands represented on the list include: InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, Rotana Hotels and Resorts, Radisson Blu, Le Meridien, Sofitel Hotels and Resorts, Marriott Hotels and Resorts, and Four Seasons, among others.

www.forbesmiddleeast.com

Duravit at the Louvre Abu Dhabi

Project Spotlight: Duravit at Louvre Abu Dhabi

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Jean Nouvel has created an architectural wonder in the desert. It includes products by Duravit, designed by Philippe Starck.

A commission that was unusual even for the French star architect and Pritzker prize winner Jean Nouvel – the creation of the first all-purpose museum in the Arab world – and the first in the twenty-first century, a building that is intended to stand as a symbol for Abu Dhabi.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi was officially opened on 11 November 2017. The spectacular building on Saadiyat Island will show 300 objects on loan from thirteen leading museums in France. However, the greatest attraction is the building itself.

Duravit at Louvre Abu DhabiBetween modernity and tradition
The architecture is modern but timeless, incorporating elements from Abu Dhabi’s architectural tradition. Jean Nouvel took inspiration from an Arab medina (old town) to create a building whose domed metal roof weighs as much as the Eiffel Tower in Paris but is supported by just four columns – a technical feat that is also an aesthetic experience.

A total of fifty-five different buildings form a museum city on the island in the Gulf, covered by a huge steel roof with a diameter of 180 metres.

Passages and corridors wind their way through this cool white labyrinth, with steps up to the flat roofs of some of the building blocks to enable visitors to see the spectacular domed roof from close up. This unique design consists of almost 8,000 stars of different sizes and angles, superimposed in seven layers.

Like a roof made of overlapping palm leaves, this structure provides shade and protection from the hot desert sun. The effect is breathtaking: “It produces a poetic, almost magical rain of light,” says architect Jean Nouvel. At night the effect is reversed when the internally lit building shines like a miniature night sky.

In the white bathrooms the works of another French architect and designer are on show: Starck 1 toilets by Philippe Starck.
Copyright: © Danica O. Kus

Nouvel, Starck and Picasso
In the white bathrooms the works of another French architect and designer are on show: toilets by Philippe Starck, designed for Duravit. Starck was also inspired by tradition in his design of the toilet. The Starck 1 toilet recalls its historical predecessor, a bucket – interpreted in a completely new way, of course.

Jean Nouvel’s building occupies a site of almost 100,000 square metres, with 8,600 square metres of exhibition space, including 6,400 for the permanent exhibition and 2,000 for temporary exhibitions. The first exhibition will feature Leonardo da Vinci’s “La Belle Ferronnière”, a self-portrait by Vincent van Gogh and works by Pablo Picasso.

Images: ©Danica O. Kus

OZO on Kata Beach, Phuket

ONYX announces new OZO hotel in Phuket’s Kata Beach

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ONYX Hospitality Group continues its portfolio expansion with the introduction of OZO Phuket in Thailand. Currently under development and scheduled to open in mid 2019, the hotel will offer 255 guest rooms and features which deliver the midscale OZO brand’s hallmarks of sleep, connectivity and exploration.

Located a short walk from the Kata beachfront on the western coast of Phuket, the hotel will offer guest rooms specifically designed for enhanced sleep, smart connectivity of personal devices in rooms and public areas, and curated destination tips by team members presented through interactive digital panels. The hotel will also feature the brand’s signature EAT all-day dining restaurant best known for energising breakfasts, the EAT2Go grab-and-go deli, TONE fitness centre and TALK meeting room. A unique highlight of OZO Phuket is its two separate pools – an activity pool designed for kids adjacent to a free-form main pool.

The brand is a smart, simple and savvy midscale hotel brand offering an enhanced sleep experience and seamless connectivity for travellers who are keen to embark on a deeper exploration of the destination. Since the opening of the first OZO in Hong Kong in 2013, the brand has generated consistently positive feedback and continues to exceed midscale accommodation expectations.

OZO is currently available in Hong Kong, Koh Samui, Colombo and Kandy, with new hotels being developed in Hoi An, Pattaya, Phuket, Johor, Penang and Xiamen.

Sherwood Suites opens as spacious new choice in Saigon

Sherwood Suites opens as spacious new choice in Saigon

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Sherwood Suites, a plush apartment-only property in a prime location near the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, aims to offer travelers luxury and flexibility as it celebrates its grand opening this month.

The new 20-storey property is positioning itself as a compelling new choice for travelers by offering five-star hotel service and amenities such as an outdoor covered pool, an international deli and restaurant and an expansive 24-hour gym with sauna and steam room alongside a range of self-contained luxury suites and apartments.

With an opulent design aesthetic that calls to mind the stately architecture in London’s exclusive Knightsbridge area, the property features a generous total of 157 apartments. Studios weigh in at 57 square meters, one bedroom units range from 61 sqm to 81 sqm while two bedroom apartments offer between 91 sqm and 118 sqm of space.

“More and more, people are looking for a home-away-from home experience when they set up for a stay overseas, whether for a night or a year,” says Janet Fitzner, General Manager of Sherwood Suites. “But you can’t quite persuade yourself that you’re having such an experience unless you’re in a spacious place.”

Sherwood Suites opens as spacious new choice in SaigonEach apartment features elegant, contemporary Italian designer furniture, luxe mattresses as well as fully-equipped kitchens, marble-clad bathrooms with rainforest showers and premium toiletries, floor-to-ceiling windows and free access to high-speed Wi-Fi.

Enticing trimmings, meanwhile, include walk-in closets, and flat screen SMART televisions as standard in both bedrooms and main living areas.

Similar attention to detail has been extended to the public areas of the property. The striking lobby, with its marble flooring, designer lighting and black and gold lines is home to a restaurant providing 65 covers. The dining component takes up the entirety of the left side of the open-plan lobby with guests able to watch as chefs craft Mediterranean and Vietnamese creations in an open kitchen.

Sherwood Suites is the latest offering from Windsor Property Management Group Corporation (WMC Group), a hospitality and property management company headquartered in Ho Chi Minh City. Its portfolio encompasses hotels and residences including some of the most prestigious addresses in the city. The new addition is virtually adjacent to Sherwood Residences, a polished 5-star property offering apartments and penthouses. Also part of the WMC family is The Reverie Saigon, an award-winning hotel acclaimed for its heightened sense of luxury.

InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong completes ‘rejuvenation’

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InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong is delighted to announce the completion of its $43 million (£32.4 million) renovation project and to unveil a rejuvenating look with 572 newly refurbished guestrooms.

Possessing more than 30 years of experience and having completed almost 100 hotel projects, veteran John Chan Design Limited was appointed to create the redesign and complete the transformation of all 572 guestrooms and suites with brand new, sleek design combined with efficient technology, ensuring the most modern and user-friendly experience for guests.

When entering the newly-redesigned guest rooms, one immediately notices that the exquisite upholstery, hand-tufted carpet and curtains are carefully chosen in a warm palette of earthy tones to establish a welcoming ambience. Taking the advantage of waterfront location, over 40% of guest rooms allow guests to get an eyeful as mirror panels in-room reflect the spectacular views of Victoria Harbour alongside the ceiling-to-floor windows.

InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong is delighted to announce the completion of its $43 million (£32.4 million) renovation projectThree types of suites are furnished with hardwood floors as an enhancement to its modernity. The new interior design is further adorned with the installation of LED mood lights to create a more inviting atmosphere. Discerning travelers can take advantage of the expanded work space with aplenty power outlets in addition to complimentary WiFi access.

To better appeal to the modern-day travellers and allow them to stay connected seamlessly, all rooms and suites are enriched with advanced technology including the USB ports and cutting-edge handy smartphone. The ‘Handy smartphone’ offers guests unlimited complimentary local and international calls up to 20 countries, unlimited 3G mobile Internet access as well as Wi-Fi hotspot & tethering.

www.hongkong.intercontinental.com/en

Andaz Singapore

Andaz Singapore opens as first Andaz hotel in south-east Asia

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Hyatt Hotels has announced the opening of Andaz Singapore, the first Andaz hotel to open in Southeast Asia.

Andaz Singapore furthers the brand’s mission to create inspiring, indigenous experiences that immerse guests in the local culture of each unique destination. The hotel marks the seventeenth property for the brand and joins other Andaz hotels in global gateway cities and top resort destinations around the world.

Andaz SingaporeLocated at the heart of cultural crossroads, where Kampong Glam, Little India and the Bras Basah Bugis arts and entertainment hub meet, the locally inspired boutique hotel draws inspiration from its lively surroundings – intimate alleyways filled with shop houses in vibrant colours and textures – and weaves this ambience into the hotel to offer guests fresh perspectives of the city.

Andaz Singapore opens in DUO, a striking pair of concave skyscrapers, 186 and 170 metres high, clad in a latticework of hexagonal windows. Designed by multi-award-winning German architect Ole Scheeren, renowned for his works with the China Central Television Headquarters in Beijing and Prada Epicenters in New York and Los Angeles, DUO is the largest integrated development in the Ophir-Rochor district and comprises of residences, retail spaces, offices and the new Andaz Singapore hotel.

Renaissance Hotels opens doors in Dubai

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Located in the thriving Business Bay district, which was recently listed in Lonely Planet’s ‘10 of the World’s coolest neighborhoods to visit right now,’ the new Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Dubai boasts 298 guestrooms, including 65 sprawling suites. Inspiring a sense of spontaneous discovery at every turn, the latest in the brand’s portfolio set the stage for inspiring stories that are worth retelling.

“The spectacular new Renaissance Downtown Hotel in Dubai is a highly anticipated addition to our rapidly growing portfolio in the region,” said Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “With its artful design, vibrant and eclectic dining scene and engaging experiences, the hotel embraces the spirit of Dubai as a one-of-a-kind destination and Renaissance as a global lifestyle brand that inspires guests to discover something wonderfully new every time they travel. We are confident it will soon emerge as the newest lifestyle destination for global travelers as well as local residents.”

Raw yet Refined: Renaissance’s Dramatic Design Shows a Different Side of Dubai
Led by the renowned interior firm WA International, the hotel’s design thrives from stark contrasts created through materiality, different textures and a dynamic color palette. Inspired by the fluidity of Dubai’s iconic sand dunes, matte hues of black and gold are woven throughout the public spaces and guestrooms – seemingly in motion when seen through pebbled glass and unfinished mirrored surfaces.

Upon arrival, a metallic art installation depicting the dynamic cityscape of Dubai takes center-stage. Overhead, an impressive hand-blown glass chandelier spans the length of the lobby, enticing guests to explore further. Floor to ceiling golden chains frame unpolished concrete at check-in, while a walk through the lobby reveals natural wood finishes, exposed ironwork beams, and an unexpected warmth fueled by the open fireplace.

Inspired Accommodations Provide a License to Play
Every moment thoughtfully-designed to tell a story: installations above each corridor appear as golden waves connoting the desert as wind passes through, juxtapose the wall coverings that have a dry and cracked effect. Each of the 298 spectacular guestrooms and suites boast floor to ceiling windows, allowing natural light and creating playful shadows against hues of deep blue and pale greys. The sumptuous fabrics, sandy color leather accents and natural wood finishes complement the matte gold and metal hardware that theatrically changes throughout the day with the movement of natural light.

Guests are greeted by a close-up black and white photograph of a camel smirking; and above the bed, Pablo Picasso’s famed camel sketch is reimagined into a cheeky, 3D iron rod sculpture – both playful jests to reframe your stay.

World-Acclaimed Chefs Set the Stage for Culinary Excellence
Culinary outlets at Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Dubai – BHAR, Grounded, BASTA!, Bleu Blanc and Morimoto Dubai – are set to become highlights of the city’s prominent and bustling food scene.

  • A contemporary dining experience offering indigenous Middle Eastern cuisine and shared dining atmosphere, BHAR, the Arabic word for spice, is designed to awaken the senses and will debut as the hotel opens its doors. Alongside the opening of BHAR, Grounded will serve as the hotel’s premiere coffee shop with unique brewing methods from a variety of international beans.
  • Launching in November, BASTA! and Bleu Blanc are two new contemporary concepts by David Myers. Bleu Blanc is a Southern French farmhouse-inspired restaurant where a large, wood-fired grill area takes centre stage, offering guests the chance of an up-close and personal chef’s table experience. BASTA! transports diners to an urban interpretation of a Roman trattoria, Florentine steakhouse and Neapolitan pizzeria, reflecting David’s personal travel memories from these regions. Both venues will showcase beverage programs designed by world-renowned mixologist Sam Ross.
  • Opening in December, Morimoto Dubai will display internationally acclaimed celebrity chef Masaharu Morimoto’s contemporary Japanese cuisine, infusing traditional dishes with Western ingredients and preparation methods. The restaurant’s expansive space will include three private dining rooms and terraces with undisturbed views of the Burj Khalifa.

In December, the hotel will also open the first of its kind, all-suite spa concept from renowned Six Senses. With a design rooted heritage of balancing all of the senses, Six Senses Spa will feature six treatment suites that are each dedicated to a different sense – sight, sound, touch, taste, smell and intuition – to offer the perfect balance of calm and sensory experiences in the bustling downtown area.

Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Dubai will feature all of the brand’s unique experiences, including Evenings at Renaissance where guests can connect, socialize, and experience the locale through nightly programming. For the true social discoverer, the hotel’s Navigators will help guests experience the neighborhood’s soul by highlighting hidden gems and handpicked local discoveries.

For more information about Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Dubai, visit www.renhotels.com/dubai and for more about the brand’s upcoming events visit www.renhotels.com/events.

Radisson Blu Bali Uluwatu Planned for Bali

Radisson Blu Bali Uluwatu planned for Indonesian island

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Just a 40-minute drive from Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport lies Uluwatu ­– a rural jewel in the crown of Bali’s Bukit peninsula.

On this south-western tip of the Island, Indonesia’s first Radisson Blu resort, Radisson Blu Bali Uluwatu reinterprets Balinese style for the modern travelers. Set to welcome guests from January 2018, the brand”s 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is evident in every dimension of the resort’s unique character.

Bali’s best surfing beach is on the resort’s doorstep, and many more pristine shores and popular ocean-side hangouts, such as Bali Collection in Nusa Dua, are within 25 minutes reach. The majestic, 11th-century Luhur Uluwatu Temple lies 6km to the west. A Cultural Park offering myriad Balinese experiences and a state-of-the-art 18-hole golf course designed by Ronald Fream, David Dale & Kevin Ramsey are also nearby, making Radisson Blu Bali Uluwatu an ideal base for the surfer, golfer, cultural explorer or serenity seeker.

Guest accommodation comprises 111 deluxe rooms in three categories, featuring private balconies on upper floors and private sundecks on lower floors, and 14 suites with stunning rooftop terraces giving guests views of the ocean, the pool or both in full panorama.

Moxy Tokyo

Marriott’s Moxy brand continues expansion with Tokyo opening

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Tokyo-based real estate developer Pacifica Capital has opened the Moxy Tokyo Kinshicho, the first hotel in Japan for Marriott International’s new lifestyle brand targeted at the Millennial generation.

Already off to a great start, the hotel was fully occupied on its third night of operations.

Located in the dynamic commercial district of Kinshicho, it is walking distance to Sky Tree and Asakusa, and only 8 minutes by train to Tokyo Station.

The hotel has 205 guestrooms, 24 hour food and beverage service, a complete gym and high-tech meeting rooms.

While guests can comfortably relax in their retro-style rooms, the first floor of the hotel offers plentiful space to eat, drink, talk and play table and board games.

Showcase: EDITION launching 8 hotels in 2018

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SHANGHAI | BODRUM | TIMES SQUARE | BARCELONA | BANGKOK | ABU DHABI | WEST HOLLYWOOD

With seven new properties scheduled to launch across three continents, and many more in the pipeline, 2018 will mark a pivotal moment for EDITION.

Created through a ground-breaking partnership between boutique hotel creator and innovator Ian Schrager and the global hospitality powerhouse Marriott International, the EDITION brand is slated to grow exponentially from a collection of four to eleven properties by the end of 2018.

2018 is expected to see EDITION firmly positioned as the travel industry’s first truly global luxury lifestyle hotel brand. With each hotel distinctive in its own right, EDITION will continue to break new ground and take the hospitality industry into bold, uncharted areas. Its timeless design, uncompromising quality, true originality and impeccable modern service, has defined the boutique hotel category.

Following The Sanya EDITION’s launch in December 2016, EDITION’s Asian presence is scheduled to expand with two additional properties launching in Shanghai and Bangkok in 2018. In addition, the brand’s second and third European hotels are set for launch in Bodrum and Barcelona. EDITION will launch its first outpost in the Middle East in Abu Dhabi, whilst EDITION’s plans to increase its US presence with two properties located in New York’s Times Square and West Hollywood.

The brand’s rapid expansion is expected to continue with the addition of nine further hotel launches planned across five continents by 2020, reaching a 20-strong property portfolio by the end of the decade and many more to come.

The Shanghai EDITION
LAUNCHING MID 2018
The Shanghai EDITION, to be located at the northeast corner of Nanjing Road East and Henan Road in Puxi, West of Huangpu River and just a 5 minute walk from The Bund, is a unique combination of two separate towers featuring 147 guest rooms. The hotel’s design includes 10 levels of public space including 5 meeting studios and 2 forums, totalling to over 2,800 sq. ft. Food and beverage outlets include a signature Japanese restaurant on the 23rd floor, a Cantonese dining venue featuring 5 private dining rooms, an all-day dining venue, a lobby bar, a member’s club bar with a screening room, an indoor nightlife venue and a rooftop bar. www.editionhotels.com/shanghai

The Shanghai EDITIONThe Bodrum EDITION
LAUNCHING MID 2018
The Bodrum EDITION will be located just 3 kilometers from Plamarina in Yalikavak at the western point of the Bodrum peninsula. The hotel features 99 guest rooms, suites and villas all with views of the Aegean Sea — some with private pools, balconies and gardens. The hotel’s design includes an infinity pool, garden lounge, state-of-the art spa facilities with Turkish Hammam and fitness centre, kids’ club and an exclusive beach club with jetty that houses private cabanas. Unique food and beverage outlets include a library bar, gourmet specialty grill overlooking the bay, night club, and an all-day dining venue. The hotel also has over 4,000 sq. ft. of indoor/outdoor meeting and event space including meeting studios, a ballroom and boardroom. www.editionhotels.com/bodrum

The Bodrum EDITIONThe Times Square EDITION
LAUNCHING MID 2018
The Times Square EDITION, to be located at 701 Seventh Avenue on the corner of 47th Street, features 457 guest rooms with four levels of public space including a 5,000 sq. ft. performance venue, a 1,900 sq. ft. meeting studio, state-of-the-art fitness centre and a lobby lounge at check in level. The hotel also boasts distinctive food and beverage outlets including a signature restaurant leading out onto a 5,800 sq. ft. beer garden and event deck overlooking Times Square, and an all-day dining venue also featuring terraces with views of Times Square. www.editionhotels.com/times-square

The Barcelona EDITION
LAUNCHING MID 2018
The Barcelona EDITION will be located in the Ciutat Vella District on the edge of El Born District, only 15 minutes from the beach. The hotel features 100 guest rooms, a signature restaurant, lobby bar/café., Sky bar, swimming pool and state-of-the-art fitness centre and a night club. www.editionhotels.com/barcelona

The Barcelona EDITIONThe Bangkok EDITION
LAUNCHING MID 2018
Known as Thailand’s tallest building, The Bangkok EDITION will be located along Naratiwat Road, close to North Sathorn Road junction. The hotel features 155 guest rooms and 5 levels of public space, offering over 5,500 sq. ft. of combined meeting space including a boardroom, main function room and outdoor banquet terrace. Food and beverage outlets include two signature restaurants, a lobby bar and pool bar. A pool, state-of-the-art fitness centre and spa with 4 treatment rooms will also be available for hotel guests. www.editionhotels.com/bangkok

The Bangkok EDITIONThe Abu Dhabi EDITION
LAUNCHING LATE 2018
The Abu Dhabi EDITION will be situated in the downtown district on the waterfront of Al Bateen in the Abu Dhabi Marina. The hotel features 244 guest rooms and 57 exclusive residences. Unique food and beverage outlets include 2 signature restaurants, a gourmet market, lobby bar, tea lounge, pool bar and 3-story nightclub. A pool, state-of-the-art fitness centre and spa with 7 treatment rooms are also available for hotel guests. The hotel also has over 107k sq. ft. of meeting and event space including several meeting studios, ballrooms and boardrooms. www.editionhotels.com/abu-dhabi

The West Hollywood EDITION
LAUNCHING LATE 2018
The West Hollywood EDITION, to be located at 9040 West Sunset Boulevard on the east corner of West Sunset Blvd. and North Doheny Drive, features 190 guest rooms, 20 luxury residences and over 5,200 sq. ft. of meeting space. Food and beverage outlets include a signature restaurant, a lobby lounge, rooftop venue and a nightclub/bar. Also available will be a rooftop pool/pool deck and a 4-treatment room spa. http://www.editionhotels.com/west-hollywood/