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Boutique Hotels

STR delivers engaging year in review at the Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
STR delivers engaging year in review at the Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam

STR Global delivers a special report on independent hotel performance across the Benelux and Western Germany at the inaugural Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam. Editor Hamish Kilburn reports… 

Capturing an overflowing audience to kick-start the inaugural Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam, STR Global delivers its findings on the most investible locations for hotel development as well as releasing the current hotel pipeline across Benelux and Western Germany.

Samantha Mardkhah, Business Development Manager at STR Global, took the stage to unveil its latest relevant findings. “Overall 2018 performance for the Benelux region re ects year-over-year growth in all three countries,” she said. “The highest RevPAR percentage change was achieved by Belgium, which led the region with almost 10 per cent more growth than 2017. This growth was supported by a healthy increase in room demand (six per cent increase), showing that the market has fully recovered after the terror attacks of March 2016. Belgium’s occupancy level of 73.8 per cent was the highest for any year in STR’s database for the country (dating back to 1996).

During the presentation, Mardkhah explained that Luxembourg is the only country in the region that ended 2018 with decreasing room demand (down three per cent), but the country achieved positive RevPAR performance thanks to moderate growth in rates (increase of two per cent). Occupancy, however, decreased by more than four per cent.

Following the same trend of the region, the Netherlands closed 2018 with a six per cent increase in RevPAR fuelled by rates, and it was the country with the highest number of new rooms coming to the market with two per cent growth in supply. “The first quarter of 2019 began with slightly negative performance,” explained Mardkhah. “Gures as the Netherlands ended Q1 with a RevPAR decline of 1.8 per cent, mainly driven by loss in rates (decrease of 1.6 per cent). While supply keeps increasing with new rooms entering the market, demand has maintained at a moderate growth level and increased 3.5 per cent in the rst three months of the year.”

Luxembourg’s room demand comparisons returned to positive territory with a four per cent rise more than the previous year, which helped the country achieve almost seven per cent growth in RevPAR to a level of EUR96.

Belgium’s booming performance continued in 2019 and RevPAR grew 6.5 per cent, fuelled by growth in rates (4.3 per cent increase), while occupancy grew by 2.1 per cent.

In addition, the report looked at the various locations’ supply and demand trends – and the future is bright from the statistics, it seems. RevPAR is expected to grow for the next three years in Brussels, which is largely fuelled primarily by ADR growth.

The session also highlighted key trends in the race between boutiques, independents and larger hotel groups. The analysis of performance for all three segments did not show any major diferences. However, it is clear that independent properties performed better in all three KPIs over both branded and boutique brands.

Looking at ADR, boutique brands held the second position after independent properties with a EUR13 difference and an overall ADR of EUR120. Brands, meanwhile, held the lowest position at EUR111.

Occupancy remained at the highest level with 75 per cent for independent hotels, while branded hotels reported similar levels around 73 per cent.

The evolution of rooms supply for boutique brands reached a peak in 2018 with 11.7 per cent growth over the previous year, followed by a similar trend in room demand, which grew by more than 12 per cent and led to positive RevPAR change.

Hotel Designs is an official and proud media partner for the Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam. The show continues…

Duravit launches solution for cluttered bathrooms

500 326 Hamish Kilburn

Duravit launches new furniture range specifically designed with small hotel bathrooms in mind… 

A comfortable bathroom doesn’t need to be spacious. Creativity and the right products can ensure additional storage space and create a hotel for everyday bathroom items.

Vanity units are true classics and can be found in almost every bathroom. These handy pieces of furniture mean that bathroom utensils of all shapes and sizes can be stored in drawers or practical compartments. Organiser systems inside drawers not only keep things tidy, they look great.

Bathroom furniture from Duravit

Image credit: Duravit

Mirror cabinets are a real eye-catcher. Even shelves can work miracles when it comes to storage. Not only do they have the effect of creating space, they enable apparently unusable areas to become useful. Wall areas are frequently overlooked or unused. Yet, wall-mounted shelves can create practical space for bottles, tubes or towels and also be used for decorative purposes.

Mirror cabinets offer an additional light source and give the visual impression of a larger, more open room. They are also the perfect place for storing all manner of essential beauty accessories without dominating the room and as such are the ultimate all-rounder in the bathroom.

Duravit is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, click here.

Main image credit: Duravit


Row of derelict Liverpool townhouses transformed into boutique hotel

Hamish Kilburn
After a two-year renovation, Lock & Key, a 14-key hotel, has breathed new life into listed Georgian buildings in Liverpool’s Ropewalks neighbourhood…

Ropewalks is an area in central Liverpool known for its long, straight cobbled streets that run in parallel lines, which allowed rope manufacturers to lay ropes out lengthways during production. Today, the area is well known for its creative businesses and independent shops, bars, cafes and restaurants. Most recently, though, a row of townhouses that have been converted into a boutique hotel is helping the area thrive.

Time has preserved its excellent location — now a strategic position for a hotel – on the main thoroughfare of Duke Street between Liverpool One shopping district, the bars and restaurants of Bold Street, and the cathedrals and theatres of the city’s Georgian Quarter.

The building was purchased by local developers Andrew Spencer, Tom Bower and Michael Connolly in 2015. They opened Lock & Key bar in Autumn 2017, and the hotel is due to open a year later in early December 2018.

“We fell in love with the character and history of the property,” explains Spencer, whose previous projects have been for the residential market; “and have worked hard to retain as many of the original period features as possible. The central location is ideal for tourists and business travellers”.

It has taken hard work and dedication to preserve the building’s character – not to mention a lot of cash. The Georgian shop windows have been faithfully restored, along with the original staircase, and, for as much as is possible, the layout. Fourteen bedrooms are spread across three floors, with petite wet rooms cleverly tucked into the eaves and wardrobes occupying cubby holes and dead spaces.

The decor is somewhat of a departure from the city’s current hotel offering of dockland-chic; minimalist apart-hotel; and hen-night-glam styles. With deep skirting painted in deep Farrow and Ball shades, peacock coloured velvets and brass hardware, the interiors evoke a sense of contemporary heritage that Liverpool has been long missing. It’s fair to say that what the hotel lacks in facilities (guests will find no guest lounge, pool nor gym here), it makes up in aesthetics.

The front entrance is rather modest – it’s completely separate from Lock & Key Bar, whose entrance is more prominent on the corner of the block. From the reception area, a staircase – enrobed in a thick-pile, chevron-patterned carpet – leads to eight bedrooms above, while a further six are to be found along the ground floor corridor and up the rear staircase. The rooms vary in size from little to large. All feature bespoke velvet headboards; some are clad in wallpaper sourced from the likes of House of Hackney and NLXL; and most offer a brass cocktail trolley loaded with local spirits and cut crystal glasses. Bathrooms are concealed behind pocket doors, and feature rainfall showers and full-size toiletries.

Breakfast is taken in the bar next door. Already established, the bar – which operates under the same name – is another small-but-perfectly-formed space that attracts locals and passing visitors with a bistro-type menu, good cocktail list and calendar of events that includes jazz nights and whiskey tastings. As in the rest of the hotel, its staff are friendly, attentive and confident.

Behind the design are local interiors duo House of Sloane. Gemma Tate and Lea Sloane are based between Liverpool and Manchester, and have worked on a number of residential and commercial projects across the UK. They are also accomplished furniture designers, with a small range of bespoke-made sofas and chairs under their belts. Their signature velvet cocktail chairs can be found in each guest room, and their unique approach and thoughtful touches are evident throughout the hotel.

“We were immediately struck by Lea and Gemma’s true passion for design. They were different to other interior designers, and have gone the extra mile in every aspect of their work,” says Spencer, who is delighted with the aesthetic outcome of the project; “they have realised our original vision and enhanced it far beyond what we thought was possible given the nature of the building, as well as budget and time restraints.”

To achieve all this, the owners have invested some half a million pounds. That is a lot of money to spend on a hotel in a regional city — but Liverpool is no ordinary place. The Albert Dock has recently been awarded royal status and is home to a Tate gallery, the independent scene is thriving, and the city is consistently named as one of the top ten best places to live in the UK. While tourists flock to visit the Beatles museum, Cavern Club, and haunts of the fab four, creatives are pulled in by affordable work spaces, world-class exhibitions and a vibrant digital economy.



One Devonshire Gardens unveils refurbed guestrooms and suites

800 487 Hamish Kilburn
The hotel’s renovation, led by Anita Rosato Interior Design, results in 49 newly designed guestrooms and suites…

One Devonshire Gardens by Hotel du Vin has recently completed a transformational refurbishment, cementing its status as one of Glasgow’s most iconic and best-loved hotels.

The refurbishment encompasses the hotel’s 49 rooms, including its six luxurious suites, and the result is spectacular. Inspired by the flora and fauna of the nearby botanical gardens, as well as Hotel du Vin’s long-standing association with excellent wines and champagnes, the guest rooms boast fresh colour schemes, accented by rich, seasonal colour features to add brightness and vibrancy.

“One Devonshire Gardens is a truly unique hotel which brings centuries of heritage together with today’s modern life, and I’m delighted that the guestrooms reflect this,” said Guus Bakker, CEO EMEA Frasers Hospitality. “The final result is 49 beautiful spaces which marry together the old and the new, creating a warm space which is not only steeped in history but is also functional for today’s traveller. We’re delighted with the result and can’t wait for Hotel du Vin’s guests to relax and enjoy these lovely spaces.”

Image credit: Hotel du Vin

With the hotel’s heritage in mind, the original fireplaces, original ornate cornices and mouldings, along with the magnificent windows, have all been preserved and worked into the overall design. The beautiful style is elevated by sculptural lighting and curated mid-century and re-invented antique furniture, which come together to create an eclectic, original style.

Anita Rosato, Owner at Anita Rosato Interior Design, added: “One Devonshire Gardens is such a special place and it has been a real privilege to work with the team to take this part of the hotel forward into the next chapter. Inspiration for the concept of the guestrooms came from the Hotel du Vin brand and its close association with great wines and champagnes as well as from the beautiful Botanical Gardens nearby, where boldly coloured flora and fauna have really informed the move to a more vibrant colour palette. We’re so pleased with the result and are really excited that the rooms are now available for guests to experience.”

Image credit: Hotel du Vin

Following the refurbishment, the hotel now boasts two Luxury Townhouse Suites – Krug and Toques & Clochers. The Krug Suite has been completely reconfigured and now features a dining area (which can also serve as a meeting room) and a luxury bathroom which comprises a free standing roll top bath and large shower. Toques & Clochers has been elevated to a sumptuous Luxury Townhouse Suite, and now has the potential to be either a one or two bedroom suite.

The project was spearheaded by Hotel du Vin’s Group Development Director Jonathan Livesey, supported by well-known interior design business Anita Rosato Interior Design.

Located in the Glasgow West-end district, the stunning One Devonshire Gardens by Hotel du Vin is made up of five grand 19th century Grade B listed houses connected on the ground floor and first floors, and boasts 49 guestrooms each with its own distinctive architectural character.

Four statement features for your boutique hotel

600 399 Hamish Kilburn

Alex Jones, content creator for specialist antiques and collectibles auctioneer Featonbys explains how to bring character into your boutique hotel…

The word ‘boutique’ is symbolic of something that extra bit special. Therefore, when looking to create memorable rooms, making sure each of them features a design, theme or piece of furniture that aids their originality is key to transforming your residence from a basic place to stay to a special boutique hotel.

We’ve explore four different ways to incorporate statement features into your hotel guestrooms – no matter your style – in order to make the most of the space and experience your hotel has to offer.

1) Implement a theme for every room

When searching for a hotel on an online site such as Booking.com or Trivago, one of the main criteria your guests look to before even considering your residence is how it appears within the first few images – and, in particular, the rooms they could expect to stay in. This makes it crucial to grab potential guests’ attention with an interior that surprises and intrigues them into clicking through to your hotel. A recent article in Hotel Designs explains just how technology is now allowing guests to ‘step in before check in’.

By having each room host a different style or colour scheme under a wider theme, your boutique hotel is highlighted as an interesting and unique place to stay – with character to match the city guests are visiting. Give your guests some context about the local area by making each room’s decor synonymous with different time periods of that area, city or even country.

Swap paintings with photographs dating back to your seaside town in the 1950s, or switch the flat screen TV hanging on the wall with a television set from the 80s – as giving your room a historical touch will not only interest your guests, but make them feel more comfortable in their surrounding area.

2) Upcycle for a modern twist

Upcycling old furniture and home features offers a cost-effective solution for creating a bespoke interior, while minimising waste. Instead of replacing old – and arguably unfashionable – furniture, utilise its frame to create something better suited to your hotel’s particular style.

Old shutters and window frames act as solid structures that can make impressive feature pieces to hang up on walls. Because of their size, this works well as a renovated and painted stand-alone feature – however, it can also be used as a frame to house paintings, photos and other pieces of quirky art as a replacement for the old panes of glass. Alternatively, inject their practical purpose back into them by replacing their old glass with a mirror that not only acts as a necessary addition for your guest’s experience, but allows the room to both look and feel bigger and brighter.

3) Incorporate an industrial feel to your cosy room

Surface experts have predicted a rise in industrial-chic in international hotel design trends for later year year and beyond.  A simple way to accentuate your hotel rooms’ comfortable qualities is to contrast them with more industrial features. Not only does this allow your guests to embrace the centrepiece of most rooms – the bed – but it gives your room a fresh and unique feel.

Image credit: Dekton by Cosentino

Strip your room back to its bare bones by exposing brickwork to create a strong statement wall that compliments cooler tones in your room. Don’t stop there: instead of neatly hiding away light fixtures and bathroom piping, expose it in a tasteful, safe way that works with your cosy interior to provide a perfect balance between a warm home and a quirky industrial setting. Don’t be afraid to alter it further if the brassy tones don’t coordinate with the rest of your interior. Paint your pipes in bold colours and decorate your hanging bulbs with vine leaves to add your own unique touch to this modern and much-loved technique.

4) Contrast old and new with antique gems

Provide your guests with a home-away-from-home by creating a glorious ‘lived in’ feel in their rooms. By making use of antique items as decorative ornaments, your room is lifted from somewhere associated with short stays, to a room that tells its own story.

Including antique furniture in your modern room can create an instant luxurious feeling in your hotel room, as guests appreciate the stark contrast between their velvet-covered chaise lounge and the minimalist lighting fixtures. Get creative with antique items and use old clocks to tell the time from destinations all over the world while using vintage signs to tell a story about the place your guests are visiting.

When it comes to tailoring a room for your boutique hotel, there is only one rule – there are no rules. The beauty of boutique means that the concept of symmetry can be abolished and, instead, each one of your rooms can feature obscure design elements and quirky colour schemes that highlight each room’s individuality – thus ensuring your guests fall in love with your hotel from the moment they walk through the door.

Image credits: Unsplash


Map and illustration of boutique hotel

Heritage Bathrooms launches nationwide search for Stylish Stays in Britain

800 485 Hamish Kilburn

Luxury bathroom brand – and Hotel Designs Recommended Supplier Heritage Bathrooms – has launched a nationwide search for boutique bathrooms that wow…

Heritage Bathrooms has launched a search for Britain’s best boutique bathroom spaces and is s calling on boutique hotels and luxury rental properties to submit their guest bathrooms for a chance to win a spot on its online Stylish Stays hub.

Featuring a hand-drawn map and a water colour illustration of each hotel, designed by British designer and illustrator Eleanore Longhurst, the hub will feature on Heritage’s website, as well as being included in PR and social media campaigns – encouraging consumers to visit the gorgeous properties and experience a Heritage Bathroom during their stay.

Properties wanting to be included in Heritage’s Stylish Stays hub will be in great company, with hotels including The Raeburn in Edinburgh, Alrewas Hayes in Staffs, and Harbour Lights in Cornwall just some of the locations already set to be included.

The only requirement to secure a spot is for the property to feature Heritage products in their guest bathrooms.

“We know that Heritage Bathrooms products are specified in many boutique hotel bathroom spaces, so we thought the creation of the dedicated ‘Stylish Stays’ hub was an ideal way to share the gorgeous interior spaces that guests can experience, as well as help hotel owners showcase their properties,” Commented Sophie Taylor, national specification manager for Heritage Bathrooms. “We know many homeowners take inspiration from hotel interior design too, so by encouraging guests to visit and see how Heritage products have been used, we hope that we can help inspire their own designs and showcase the quality of our products in an exciting new way.”

With 30 years of experience in bathroom product design, Heritage Bathrooms’ newly launched initiative will further celebrate striking hotel bathroom designs within the boutique hotel market.

Heritage Bathrooms are one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, click here.

Boutique special: five fabulous floors that won’t blow the budget

1024 768 Hamish Kilburn

From stunning multi-tone herringbone to classic black and white ‘tiles’, we’ve rounded up five fabulous (and affordable) floors that are suitable for boutique hotels on a budget…

Today’s manufacturing techniques mean the latest laminate and vinyl floors are almost impossible to tell apart from real stone, wood and ceramic – which puts luxe-look flooring within reach even of those of us on the tightest of boutique hotel design budgets. Here are five fabulous and affordable floors.

1) UK Flooring Direct Series Woods 12mm Liguria Oak Laminate is a gorgeous chocolate-toned wood-effect floor that will add instant warmth to any space. Meticulous attention to detail in the design, including a textured surface that follows the ‘grain’ of the surface layer and classic-length planks with bevelled edges, give this handsome and hardwearing floor an incredibly authentic look and feel, but as a laminate, Series Woods Liguria Oak offers a wealth of practical benefits, too. Its AC4 Heavy Domestic rating makes it suitable for areas of traffic such as living spaces, kitchens and hallways, and it requires minimal maintenance – just vacuum regularly and wipe off any marks with a damp mop or cloth.

Image credit: Series Woods 12mm Laminate Flooring Liguria Oak, £12.99 per square metre, UK Flooring Direct. 02476 012 840. www.ukflooringdirect.co.uk

2) An eye-catching mix of dark coffee and latte oak tones, Avenue Ultimate Timber PU Pamera vinyl flooring puts a fresh spin on herringbone, 2018’s hottest flooring trend. Capturing the beauty of wood through its subtle grain markings and authentic textured surface, it offers the additional durability and ease of maintenance you’d expect from a quality cushion vinyl, and includes a Superguard top layer that gives protection against spills and stains. While a genuine herringbone wood floor is one of the most expensive floors to fit, Pamera vinyl comes in two-, three- and four-metre lengths that are a breeze to install, giving you a wow factor floor that’s refreshingly easy on your wallet.

Image credit: Ultimate Timber Pamera, £18.99 per square metre, Avenue Floors. www.avenuefloors.co.uk

3) For a high-end, sophisticated look that screams ‘luxury’, few materials can beat polished stone – but it comes at a hefty price. With a textured surface that mimics the feel of real stone, Factory vinyl flooring from Leoline’s Luxury Trends Collection is both good looking and hard working, offering enhanced noise-reducing and thermal benefits (namely a 20db Super acoustic rating and a TOG rating of 0.36). With added R10 slip resistance, it’s ideal for kitchens, bathrooms, or anywhere in the home that spills are common place.

Image credit: Luxury Trends Factory, £19.99 per square metre, Leoline. www.leoline.co.uk

4) Cheat your way to a classic chequerboard tile look with Siena vinyl flooring, from Belgian manufacturer Avenue’s popular Bubblegum & Liquorice range. With plenty of ‘give’ it offers a more comfortable (and warmer) feel underfoot than ceramic tiles, and unlike real tiles, it won’t chip or crack if you drop something heavy on it. The ultimate fit-and-forget floor (there’s no need to worry about re-staining or replacing any grout, for instance), it comes in sheets of varying widths to suit any space, and is delightfully speedy – and simple – to fit.

Image credit: Bubblegum & Liquorice Siena, £17.99 per square metre, Avenue Floors. www.avenuefloors.co.uk

5) When it comes to looks, there’s really no difference between a solid wood floor and an engineered one – but engineered wood certainly trumps solid wood when it comes to price. UK Flooring Direct Home Choice Engineered European Rustic Oak Flooring 130mm Brushed & Oiledfeatures a 2.5mm real wood wear layer in a gorgeous honey tone, complete with delicate grain markings, that will bring a laidback, welcoming vibe to any room. Its sturdy three-layer construction makes it more stable than a solid wood floor and less liable to shrink or expand when the temperature fluctuates, while its 5G click system allows for fast, easy DIY installation; there’s no gluing or nailing required – just put down underlay and get fitting.

Image credit: Home Choice Engineered Rustic Oak, £29.99 per square metre, UK Flooring Direct. 02476 012 840. www.ukflooringdirect.co.uk

Featured image credit: Saint B Boutique Hotel STB

How to design a boutique hotel

Guest Blog: ‘How to design a boutique hotel’

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Lillian Connors is Senior Digital Marketing Strategist at Bizzmark – a hub for business journalists and bloggers – and here she shares her thoughts on how to design the perfect boutique hotel…

The two main features of boutique hotels are luxury and individuality. These are achieved through style, practicality and attention to detail. The style needs to tell the story of the hotel or its owner, and make it one of a kind. Everyone designing a boutique hotel should take the following six advices into account.

Checking in
The moment the guests step inside, they need to feel welcome. A pleasant lobby houses a well-designed and well-lit reception desk – it is the heart of the hotel, where both the first and the last impressions are created. If the space allows for it, always incorporate a seating area within the reception lobby. It will become the favourite meeting place for your guests and their friends.

To the guestrooms
The lift lobby is another important area to consider, as guest often spend a lot of time there and therefore have an opportunity to inspect the details and décor closer at hand. As the lift lobby is often the busiest area of the hotel, make sure that it is spacious, and that you provide adequate signage. This is also where stunning floor, lighting and wall design can be most effectively used to impress everyone passing through. As this is the showcase area, try to incorporate a special piece of artwork, a unique wall finish or even a piece of vintage furniture from the owner’s personal collection.

Forest Side Hotel - guestroom
Smart corridor design

Well-designed corridors are the marriage between style and utility. The access points to mechanical and electrical services should be cleverly incorporated into the design, perhaps hidden behind a large piece of artwork or the wall finish. The floor has to be durable to withstand the constant luggage and housekeeping trolleys being pushed up and down. Muffle the traffic sounds by a fabric backed wall covering or a quality carpet which can also help break up the long corridor feeling. As for the corridor lighting, it needs to be sufficient to take guests to their door, but also low enough to infuse a comfortable ambience.

Full hosting experience

In a boutique hotel, guest bedrooms are far more than just places to rest. Rather, they are ultra-personalized multifunctional spaces, where guests can work, dine, relax and sleep. However, no matter how well-designed the room is, if a guest has a sleepless night, there is little chance that they will return. A sturdy and comfortable bed paired with good blackout curtains, soundproofing and a temperature control is the formula for sound sleep. As far as the bathroom is concerned, your guests will expect nothing less than a mini-spa experience within their room. If the location allows, include a feature like an oasis plunge swimming pool, an external shower, or a bath with a splendid view.

Dining and catering
One of the traits of boutique hotels that sets them apart from chain or branded hotels is their size. Luxury and large scale rarely go hand in hand, so designers are often challenged to make the dining areas as efficient as possible. By smart utilization of furniture, fixture and equipment, an all-day dining area can be transformed into a breakfast room or a breakout room during a corporate event. If possible, try to incorporate an open buffet counter with a large storage below. This way you can accommodate all kinds of multi-use gatherings.

Forest Side Hotel - Restaurant

Checking out
You will make your guests happiest if you send them on their way without too much hassle. The checkout needs to be efficient and time saving. On the other hand, this is the last visual memory of the hotel for your guests. You should provide a good luggage storage area in case the guests want to explore the surroundings before they depart.

Whether it’s a quiet sanctuary within a densely populated polis or a secluded place on a remote beach, it is the attention to detail, the quality of workmanship as well as the unmatched service and accommodation that separate a boutique hotel form run-of-the-mill brand names. Use these tips and make your hotel be one of the design-led properties

Lillian believes that the question of business goes far beyond the maximization of profit through different money-grabbing ploys. Instead, she likes to think that ethical principles should be at the core of every commercial venture, paving the way for much more balanced distribution of wealth on a global scale. As a seasoned business consultant, she tends to advise her clients to always focus on sustainability, rather than on some questionable get-rich-fast schemes.