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Product watch: Facet lighting by Studio Waldemeyer

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Facet lighting by Studio Waldemeyer

Hotel Designs learns how lighting designer Moritz Waldemeyer bent glass to its will in order to create FACET…

In all its beauty and variety, glass is essentially an amorphous material with no regular crystalline structure.

Yet through a design vision and mastery in glassmaking craft, the material can come to mimic its opposite, creating highly organised and consistent structures.

As if trying to systematise the chandelier-making tradition, Moritz took the geometrical shape of the Classic chandelier outline and turned it into a diamond-like hexagonal glass building block. On its own, with just single pendant, or in combination of multiple items into a large chandelier, the FACET modules stand out as clear, disciplined and geometrical.

The light source included inside every block allows the FACET system to be universal and almost unlimitedly extendable.

Moritz Waldemeyer is an internationally renowned London based designer who’s work occupies a diverse range of creative spaces. 2004 saw his debut into the design world with an interactive chandelier for Swarovski. With a forward thinking approach and a philosophy of playful experimentation Studio Moritz Waldemeyer is forging links between technology, art, fashion and design.

Led by Waldemeyer, the studio has taken on projects for Audi, Intercontinental Hotels, Rinacente and Wallpaper Magazines 2014 Handmade issue. Studio Moritz Waldemeyer has also created bespoke light studded costumes for Will.I.AM, Rihanna, Take That and the 2012 London Olympics handover Ceremony performers. Under Moritz’s direction the studio strive to create innovative concepts incorporating his signature aesthetic into each piece.

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

Main image credit: Studio Waldemeyer

Burlington injects art deco grandeur in new range

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Burlington injects art deco grandeur in new range

As part of our editorial series exploring the wider context of Burlington’s Bespoke Collection, Hotel Designs understands more about the 1920s and ’30s, art-deco inspired pieces that the bathroom brand has launched to the market…

Characterised by the unmistakable shapes and colours synonymous with the 1920s and 1930s style, the Art Deco range by Burlington was inspired by architecture and vintage tableware.

Charleston

Drawing heavily on the linear and geometric designs of the early modern art movements, the elegant fan-like shape of the Charleston pattern creates an eye-catching focal point. Complementing the traditional silhouette of Burlington’s ceramics, the delicate monochrome illustration is ideal for those wanting to add a unique embellishment to their bathroom interior.

feature in a basin

Image credit: Charleston, Art Deco collection by Burlington

Vienna

A design that exudes confidence and charm, the vibrant appearance of the Vienna pattern blends a classic retro colour palette with the geometric shapes reminiscent of the Art Deco era. Inspired by the yellow ochre and black shades in vintage tableware, Vienna brings a playful nod of the roaring twenties into today’s bathroom.

Vienna, Art Deco collection by Burlington

Image credit: Vienna, Art Deco collection by Burlington

Martinez

Inspired by the iconic Martinez Hotel balcony in Cannes, the hand-illustrated pattern fuses both linear and circular detailing, resulting in an exquisite and attention-grabbing decoration. A subtle incorporation of gold echoes the distinctive balcony design, leaving a lasting impression.

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

Main image credit: Burlington

First look: the ‘different by design’ vision of Japan’s debut Aloft hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
First look: the ‘different by design’ vision of Japan’s debut Aloft hotel

W Design International has completed Aloft Tokyo Ginza, which is scheduled to open in October 2020. Before then, Hotel Designs got a sneak peek inside…

Showcasing innovative creations of Japanese and international artists under the concept ‘different by design’, Aloft Tokyo Ginza, which will open in October 2020, will mark the brand’s arrival in Japan.

W Design International (W/D/I), assigned by Sankei Building, initiated the overall design and realiastion of Aloft Ginza by combining old-school aesthetics inspired by Ginza’s social stories and industrial design. The new 16-storey boutique design hotel with rooftop bar is filled with radiant and iconic works by select artists. W/D/I curated a total of 11 artists whose installation-art was allocated to embody the ambience at Aloft Ginza.

With more than 16 years of experience on hospitality design projects across Japan and the Asia Pacific region, W/D/I is specialist firm in the hospitality design sector, providing strategic and creative solutions for projects in Japan and beyond.

“The guestrooms, including four suites, have been designed with a relaxing, rock-chic vibe.”

True to its ‘Ginza Vogue’ flair, the eclectic style of the 205 loft-like guestrooms, including four suites, have been designed with a relaxing, rock-chic vibe. The hotel is the ideal accommodation for global travellers who love open spaces and stylish boutique design. “Ginza Vogue” also pays homage to Toshiro Mifune’s 100th birthday, a legendary Japanese actor who was loved by film fans internationally.

The ‘different by design’ scheme has been achieved largely by W/D/I collaborating with lightning, audiovisual and music design by WORKTECHT to create one-off meaningful experiences. The atmosphere created was inspired by the Miyuki-Zoku movement from 1964, where Japanese teenagers expressed a cutting-edge and sophisticated style (the suffix “zoku” means “subculture” or “social club“). Meanwhile globally in 1964, pop art changed the art world. Artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein became superstars, and many of them collaborated. W/D/I visualised this Ivy-fashion and rock spirit for “Neo Miyuki-Zoku” in 2020.

Aloft Tokyo Ginza is located less than a five-minute walk away from both Ginza Station and Higashi-Ginza Station, and will open aptly while the city is preparing to face the greatest sporting event in modern times, the Olympics Games, ideal for savvy international travellers who are expected to attend.

Main image credit: Aloft Hotels/Marriott International

Inside Selina Brighton, a new rough-edged boutique jewel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside Selina Brighton, a new rough-edged boutique jewel

Selina Brighton is a 31-key boutique hotel that is about to open its doors to an experience-led hospitality adventure on the South Coast. Ahead of its opening, editor Hamish Kilburn takes a peek inside…

Selina, the experience-led hospitality group for the modern nomadic traveller, has opened its third property this summer with the launch of Selina Brighton in the heart of the vibrant, boho city centre.

The timely arrival of Selina Brighton offers what is describes as the ‘ultimate staycation in 2020 and beyond’, and boasts unparalleled sea views from each of its 31 uniquely designed private rooms, suites and shared rooms. 

Playful, colourful and just a little bit cheeky is what we seem to be gathering from the hotel’s style – we’ve also been told to expect the unconventional.

Image credit: Selina

“We’re thrilled to bring our unique Selina concept to one of the most exciting cities in the UK, and in such a thriving and bohemian neighbourhood full of culture, individuality and a place to cultivate hedonism and escape social restrictions,” said General Manager, Hugo Carvalho. “We can’t wait to open our doors and provide a new hub for the Brighton community; a fairground for daring and unadulterated fun.” 

Selina sign above the entrance

Image credit: Selina

Designed to reflect Brighton’s ocean-front location and the city’s creative spirit, interior designer Tola Ojuolape collaborated closely with Selina’s workshop team, using materials that represent and embrace the community. As a result, each of the rooms has been given a quirky and whimsical twist, offering something new and unique to the accommodation sector in the city.

31 rooms range of categories including lofts, suites, family rooms that accommodate up to four, standard and micro-sized double rooms, with a further 19 opening in 2021 including shared community rooms which fit up to six guests. 

Social spaces are inherent in each of Seina’s properties, and the brand will be hosting specially curated programming, engaging workshops and unique pop-ups throughout the year in its Brighton property that are in-line with new social distancing guidelines.

The aptly named restaurant, The Old Pier, is set to become a Brighton favourite, serving a range of delicious dishes with a side of sea views, including sourdough focaccia with whipped burrata and fermented honey, Mexican style cactus salad and mac’n’cheese croquettes with truffle mayo. 

The understated lobby area will also be utilised as a social space for guests and locals alike, offering a grab and go coffee shop for your morning pick-me-up, as well as a sizable retail space selling products from local brands.

In addition, and to answer modern demands, a co-working space will also be launching for locals to use as a community hub with artwork created and curated by local artist Amy Isles Freeman, whose work themes around female sexuality, freedom and joy.

Selina currently operates +70 urban, beach, jungle and mountain-side locations across 20 countries worldwide and is developing a global infrastructure for nomads and remote workers who want to make the world their classroom, office, and playground.

Main image credit: Selina

5 minutes with: the founders of Avenue Interior Design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: the founders of Avenue Interior Design

Following the completion of a handful of luxury hospitality projects in the States, Avenue Interior Design has become known for its refusal to be defined by any one style, as editor Hamish Kilburn learns when he interviews the firm’s founders…

Avenue Interior Design, led by founders Andrea DeRosa and Ashley Manhan, has positioned itself as a small yet mighty powerhouse in an industry full of giants.

Most recently, the firm spearheaded the design for Palms Casino & Resort’ renovation ‘From Dust to Gold’, and brought their skills to boutique properties such as The Ramble in Denver, La Serena Villas in Palm Springs as well as SLS Baha Mar.

With the world of hospitality slowly re-opening, there remain concerns and hesitations among operators and travellers on what will become of the industry. I speak to DeRosa and Manhan, two level-headed designers who understand and respect how design evolves around cultural shifts, in order to explore how the pandemic has affected hotel design decisions.

Hamish Kilburn: Let’s dive straight in, how will public areas look in the post-pandemic world?

Ashley Manhan: Business and convention travel will likely lag compared to leisure travel as we see safer at home orders lift. Convention travel has been a critical component for many hotels as occupancy and F&B revenue are strongly tied to properties located near convention venues or for properties that have large meeting facilities.

A luxury F&B interior area with plants and cute seating

Image credit: SLS Baha Mar

Andrea DeRosa: Accommodating large groups and conventions may require smaller breakout rooms with improved air circulation and potentially live streaming speakers to these smaller rooms. On the F&B front, buffets and family-style plating will likely be put aside for individual plates or packaged meals.

HK: What new/different materials might go into hotel builds now?

AD: Given that COVID-19 transmission has found to be primarily airborne, much consideration is going into upgraded air filtration systems. Increased ventilation and better filtration will be essential components of healthy building strategies. Additionally, we may see the use of mobile and handled UV disinfection systems for sterilisation and disinfecting of high use spaces. In terms of interior finishes and materials, and those selected for FF&E, designers will face the added challenge of selecting materials that can withstand more frequent cleaning and disinfecting.

AM: In terms of lobbies, our current clients are requesting short-term solutions for partitions and countertop shields at transaction points, check-ins, and other places social distancing may not be feasible.

Fitness spaces will likely decrease in size- a trend for some properties already in major urban areas with access to specialised gyms and studios. Look for more in-room fitness options and equipment like yoga mats and lightweight dumbbells.

Restaurants face some of the largest obstacles in terms of social distancing and the use of PPE by diners. Restaurants will surely seat fewer guests to accommodate for social distancing protocol. Menus may go digital or restaurants may offer apps to place orders from your own device. Larger service counters for pickups or extended “grab and go” options maybe also be more prevalent as people warm up to the idea of eating out again.

Modern interior design in a clean open bar area

Image credit: SLS Baha Mar

AD: In the short term, we are seeing many hotel brands unrolling programs to build guest confidence and implementing quick, sometimes temporary solutions now while permanent solutions are analyzed and explored. Long term, we anticipate pandemic related measures to be modifiable to give operators the option of adjusting to meet current health risk levels. Such modifications may include digital occupancy signage, movable partitions, and digital projections indicating recommended social distances in queuing areas. A large part of the equation is understanding guests’ demands, expectations, and associations with these changes. There will certainly be varying levels of concern depending on where in the country/world the guest is traveling from. Those guests from the hardest-hit areas are likely to expect greater measures than those traveling from areas less affected. Ongoing observation of guest behavior will inform decisions owners and operators make for long term modifications to their properties.

HK: How can hotels shelter these new hygiene protocols without disrupting the design or the experience?

AM: Taking into consideration that guest safety and wellbeing is, and always has been, a top priority for any property, the next priority remains firmly rooted in good design. Ownership teams require that our commitment to creating a hospitality quality experience remains the top priority just as it was pre-pandemic. Modifications to properties should be subtle, flexible and well-intentioned. This includes careful consideration to the function of the space, the circulation of guests through the space as well as more obvious elements like materials, furnishings and even wayfinding. Creating more space for guests to comfortably, and naturally, socially distance may be as simple as removing a few clusters of lounge chairs in a lobby or replacing a communal table with a series of smaller, movable tables that can be situated individually or easily paired together.

AD: Incorporating decorative, movable screens or drapery also allows for social distancing flexibility while providing a thoughtful, well-designed element to the space. Graphics, signage, and font styles can be utilised in a way that provides informative guidance on precautions or protocol in a way that is consistent with the design language of the brand or property. For new build properties, especially food and beverage venues, you will likely see more fluid floor plans with fewer permanent features to allow for flexibility in furniture layouts and the function of a space.

A blue interior scheme inside a junior king room

Image credit: The Ramble Hotel

HK: Have you already begun incorporating any changes into the hospitality projects you’re working on?

AD: Many of the modifications we’ve made for our current projects have been temporary or short term solutions that will allow our clients to adhere to guidelines as outlined by local jurisdictions. Before making more costly or broad-sweeping modifications, our clients are waiting to gauge guests’ expectations and behaviours to ascertain what long term modifications should look like. For instance, the addition of automated faucets and hand soap dispensers seem like a logical move, however, for many properties that have been without revenue for the last few months, the expense of a modification requiring any construction or electrical work may be out of the budget. Scale is a monumental consideration as well. The cost of making such a change in a hotel with 50 keys is likely more feasible than making that change in a hotel with more than 1,000 keys.

HK: Have you made any changes to guestrooms in the projects you are working on?

AM: Guestroom size, function, and programming have also been a hot topic amongst designers and Ownership teams. In recent years the emphasis was on creating public spaces so dynamic and engaging it drew people out of their rooms and into the lobby, restaurant, bar, pool, etc. Guestroom sizes were generally shrinking and the furnishings were becoming paired down and multi-purpose in their design. It will be interesting to see if guestroom sizes increase to become more of a mini-sanctuaries that offer personalised guest experiences.

Hotel Designs will be discussing topics such as adding personality in public areas and reassuring the post-corona consumer at Hotel Designs LIVE on October 13. If you are a designer, architect or hotelier, click here to participate for free.

Main image credit: Avenue Interior Design

Case study: Bentley & Studio Waldemeyer’s fresh approach to lighting design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Case study: Bentley & Studio Waldemeyer’s fresh approach to lighting design

To celebrate its 100 year anniversary, Bentley Motors approached Studio Waldemeyer to help the brand create all aspects of illumination on the most sophisticated concept car in the company’s history…

The vehicle Bentley Motors showcased to mark its 100 anniversary displays the future of luxury craftsmanship with seamless fusion of materials and intelligent curation of technology, whilst introducing light as a new luxury material – all highly relevant when centering the focus back to lighting solutions for tomorrow’s hotels.

Bentley, which is a brand that has flirted with hotel design for many years with a handful of luxury hotel brands sheltering ‘Bentley Suites’, approached Studio Waldemeyer to join their design team and help design and engineer all aspects of illumination on the show car.

The car manufacturer’s challenging design brief required a completely new approach to light design and engineering. Studio Waldemeyer created an innovative tool chain, seamlessly merging the latest in parametric design tools from the world of computational architecture with electronic circuit design software. This approach not only allowed the perfect 3D integration of light in the complex surfaces of the car, but also the turnaround of the project in record time.

Close up of the centre console of the Bentley car

Image credit: Bentley Motors

The Bentley EXP 100 GT is by far the most complex and challenging project for Studio Waldemeyer up to date and represents the perfect combination of artistic expression and technical innovation the studio is know for.  Entering a new creative discipline the studio has yet again helped to raise the bar of innovation, in this case producing the most sophisticated illumination in the history of vehicle design.

Starting at the very prominent front grill, the illumination continues along the central spine into the interior space and finishes off with the sophisticated treatment of the rear horseshoe panel and 3D rear light clusters. While the approach to the project was that of a holistic 3D body of light, each area had its own challenges – be it the exotic materials, complex curvatures and the interaction with specialist design teams and craftspeople.

Attention to detail was paramount – the flying B logo required a weeks worth of hand polishing before receiving the tiny bespoke LED component that illuminates its wings. Different approaches were taken for every material – be it the hand woven silk or the 5000 year old river wood. The interior contains two hand blown crystal pieces that visualise the inner workings of the car’s AI. Collaborating closely with Cumbria Crystal, Studio Waldemeyer worked on the 3D design, implementation and illumination of this central feature.

The champagne cream interior with led lighting of the car

Image credit: Bentley Motors

The biggest research effort went into the external illumination. Starting from the sculpted surfaces of the car’s exterior, thousands of LEDs had to be placed at precise locations, requiring large numbers of different bespoke circuit board designs. This is a unique problem for an industry that is normally geared to make large numbers of a single design. Since no design tools existed for this task, the studio created their own: merging parametric 3D software with PCB design programmes. The manufacture of these unique pieces of electronics was done in Italy – a country famous for its long tradition in fine craftsmanship.

The concept car created a splash far beyond the automotive world and continues to receive praise in the press – garnering coverage in publications such as Wallpaper and Forbes – whilst collecting some of the most prestigious design awards in the process.

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

Main image credit: Studio Waldemeyer

Luxury outdoor terrace

The Luxury Collection debuts in Abu Dhabi

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Luxury Collection debuts in Abu Dhabi

Luxury in the desert, Al Wathba, A Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa’s Arabian-style resort celebrates Emirati culture through design, cuisine and memorable desert experiences…

The Luxury Collection, part of Marriott International, has welcomed Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa to its unique ensemble of iconic hotels, marking the debut of the portfolio in the UAE capital.

Luxury outdoor terrace

Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa is located deep within the expansive landscape of Abu Dhabi. With a design reminiscent of a historic desert village, it is an intimate retreat suffused with natural beauty, unique tranquillity, and rare experiences.

Pool overlooking the desert

Image credit: Marriott International

“We are delighted to welcome Al Wathba, Desert Resort & Spa to our ensemble of hotels that define the destination and offer our global explorers an authentic desert experience alongside warm Arabian hospitality,” said Guido De Wilde, Chief Operating Officer, Middle East, Marriott International. “Abu Dhabi’s legacy as an international cultural destination with a rich history and heritage, together with the diversity of its dramatic landscapes, offers a unique opportunity for us to guide our guests on transformative journeys that touch their spirits and enrich their lives.”

Inspired by native architecture and the destination’s rich history, the resort’s 103 guestrooms and villas feature traditional Arabesque flourishes, mashrabiya detailing, and Bedouin accessories. Understated interiors and neutral tones sit in harmony with the desert landscape that wraps around this extraordinary hideaway. The villas come with spacious indulgence, private plunge pools and a patio that boasts unlimited views of the surrounding Arabian Desert.

Luxury Arabian-style suite

Image credit: Marriott International

Six dining venues and bars lend themselves to a range of unique epicurean experiences. Bait Al Hanine offers a generous menu, including a wide selection of Lebanese classics, for all-day dining. Al Mabeet features authentic Emirati cuisine in an understated desert setting. Hayaakom, a Bedouin inspired lounge serves afternoon tea and sandwiches. Terra Secca is a trattoria-style, classic Italian restaurant that offers guests a theatrical view of the kitchen and chefs. Al Mesayan, an intimate rooftop bar serves as an ideal spot for stargazing or dune watching, while Panache offers a relaxed pool respite.

Arabian style F&B area

Image credit: Marriott International

Nestled within a picturesque garden, the hotel’s spa is seen as the pinnacle of the entire hotel experience. Guests at Al Wathba can enjoy a range of health and wellness rituals in a contemporary setting, whilst harnessing age-old techniques. With 11 treatment rooms, the spa also boasts relaxation areas including a healing crystal salt sauna, traditional Turkish hammam, unique cryo experience, an open-air yoga pavilion, invigorating ice shower as well as steam rooms, plunge pools, and snow caves.

Luxury pool with palm trees in the desert

Image credit: Marriott International

Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa joins The Luxury Collection brand’s rapidly growing portfolio in the UAE which includes iconic hotels such as Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai, Grosvenor House, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Dubai and Ajman Saray, a Luxury Collection Resort, Ajman.

Main image credit: Marriott International

Inside the latest luxury lifestyle hotel in Mayfair, London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside the latest luxury lifestyle hotel in Mayfair, London

From the people who brought us the renowned Cliveden House and Chewton Glen comes The Mayfair Townhouse, which is slated to open this Autumn…

Curious, engaging and witty, The Mayfair Townhouse is said to deliver the unexpected and redefines what it means to be a London hotel – think  Oscar Wilde meets Alice in Wonderland.

Part of Iconic Luxury Hotels, this will be the fifth property in the portfolio, but promises to offer a new unexpected personality from what the brand is traditionally known for. Bringing a new lifestyle product into one of London’s most distinguished neighbourhoods – The Mayfair Townhouse is the new charismatic ‘kid on the block’ – a product that has never been experienced in Mayfair.

“We’ve created a product – a personality – that’s exceptionally unique to our collection at Iconic Luxury Hotels.” – Andrew Stembridge, Executive Director of Iconic Luxury Hotels.

“There is nothing like The Mayfair Townhouse,” said Andrew Stembridge, Executive Director of Iconic Luxury Hotels, who has been instrumental in developing this outstanding lifestyle hotel for London’s Mayfair. “When the property debuts in Autumn 2020, you will see something that has not yet been done. We’ve created a product – a personality – that’s exceptionally unique to our collection at Iconic Luxury Hotels. We’re looking to give London and travellers from all over the world, something fresh, something totally different and something totally unexpected. This is a new and exciting chapter for Iconic Luxury Hotels, and as we welcome our second property in London, we look forward to creating remarkable memories in the heart of Mayfair.”

Render of the entrance to the bar

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

A carefully stylish, imaginative home for the modern traveller – the essence of the new Townhouse invites discerning travellers who appreciate an intuitive, perceptive level of service and a guest who above all, has a refined palette for curiosity. Without the traditions of a regular hotel, there is no room at the Townhouse that has not been thoughtfully curated. The hotel bridges the gap between ritzy high-end lavish hotels and the corporate enterprise properties that currently stand in Mayfair.

When guests walk through the doors of this new Townhouse, expect the unexpected. Moments of surprise await around every corner of the fifteen connected Georgian buildings that line Half Moon Street, which was once the setting for Oscar Wilde’s most famous play, The Importance of Being Earnest. Built from 1730, Half Moon Street was a colourful haunt for bachelors, bohemians and artistic types in Victorian London. During this time many of Half Moon Street’s townhouses were split into residential apartments for the elite to live before marriage. Iconic fictional characters, Oscar Wilde’s Algernon Moncreiff and Bertie Wooster in P. G. Wodehouse’s comedies resided here. Moments of this history and culture are immersed throughout The Mayfair Townhouse’s discreet address, and quickly become the central pillars of design and personality of the eclectic house.

A refined Mayfair restaurant inside the hotel

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Dandy is the cornerstone theme and design language of The Mayfair Townhouse – building on the historic connections with Oscar Wilde, Half Moon Street and the dandy lifestyle associated with Mayfair. Capturing this playful spirit to create a new era of the Dandy, Goddard Littlefair has helmed an authentic, quick-witted design of the Townhouse. Telling the tale of Oscar Wilde’s world through an imaginative design, Goddard Littlefair has revived the interiors of the townhouses of which seven are Grade-II listed, bringing to life the Georgian spirit and blending this with a contemporary rhythm. The fox, the hotel’s mischievous motif, is woven throughout the hotel, from the art collection showcasing a series of fox images, to intricate design elements throughout the property.

The design delves into the personalities of the original inhabitants of the area, taking inspiration from characters like Wilde and his contemporary aesthetes, and also the flamboyant aesthetic movement of that period. The result? A contemporary Georgian style interwoven with English eccentricities, capturing the adventurous mischief of the dandy. Twists of the unexpected, curiosities, and a humorous, playful design tone resonate throughout the hotel through various fabrics and colour palettes, to create a flamboyant dressing on the residential townhouse.

Luxe dining area

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

If the walls could talk. Art plays a pivotal part of the hotel, with Minda Dowling, a leading art specialist, curating unique and unusual pieces for The Mayfair Townhouse to further bring each space to life. The hand-picked collection includes both known names and emerging artists, to celebrate different creators of our time all with their own wow factor. Take Clarita Brinkerhoff’s peacock sculpture for instance – the piece sits at 67 inches high and is made out of 25,000 Swarovski crystals. Guests are invited to learn about the art through special QR codes that have been developed – so guests can scan and absorb details.

The aptly named Dandy Bar is the heart and soul of the Townhouse. This is where you’ll find refuge from the bustling streets of Mayfair. A theatrical, dimly lit atmosphere that creates a place to see and be seen. Dandy Bar epitomises bespoke cocktails. Take The Mayfair Dandy for example – an avant-garde take on the classic Dandy cocktail once enjoyed by hedonists of the area, or AR Lenoble Brut Champagne, Oscar Wilde’s favourite. Of course, the design evokes the dandy spirit. Lampshades have silk pleated shades, seating is covered in printed velvets and leathers with marble, brass and high gloss timbers adorn the room. The flamboyance of feathers in flapper outfits and the traditional gentleman’s pocket inspires the design of the Dandy Bar.

A London hotspot bar

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Flavours of whimsy yet practicality make its way through the Townhouse’s individually designed guest rooms and suites. From the functional Classic Rooms, to the indoor-outdoor living themed Garden Suites, to the Dandy muse ‘Penthouse Suites’ – every corner of each room is thoughtfully designed and appeals to what the discerning modern traveller is seeking today.

Super luxurious guestroom/suite

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Expect to find the highest quality linens and robes, superb bathrooms, luxury mattresses, his-or-her toiletries, good lighting and intelligent use of space. Little touches reflecting the hotel’s quick-witted personality include minibar contents from local artisans, flamboyant spare socks, takeaway mints and in-room cocktail kits using the dandy’s ingredient of absinthe.

A very plush yet minimalist bathroom

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

With no traditional restaurant at The Mayfair Townhouse, you’re invited to the Lower Ground floor – a vibrant space located downstairs off the entrance lobby. Appealing to the modern nomad traveller, this is a place to work, explore and connect with the personalities of the time, and enjoy breakfast. Take in the whimsical characters on the walls as you enjoy this convivial Library-esque space. Beyond the walls lies a further dining room, which instils a feeling that it belongs to the residence’s owner. Your own private versatile oasis which can be used for private dining, or a ‘meeting of the minds’ gathering place.

From Autumn onwards, The Mayfair Townhouse is where you’ll find both luxury and the joy of the unexpected. Guests come for the exceptional service and inspiring atmosphere and leave with a renewed confidence that choosing personality over conformity is always worth it.

Main image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Is this the most isolated hotel in Sweden?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Is this the most isolated hotel in Sweden?

Pater Noster, described as a ‘home on the horizon’, is an unedited destination in Sweden where no hotel designer has dared to design – until now, that is. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores how a team of entrepreneurs, hoteliers, restaurateurs, designers and professional sailors have given this island a new purpose…

In the outpost of the archipelago that form the Pater Noster islands – one of Sweden’s most windblown, barren and exposed places – you will find an unlikely hotel experience that rises from the point where two straits (The Skagerack and Kattegatt) meet.

It is marked by a lighthouse; a masterpiece that gave hope and guided seafarers safely for more than a century. Adjacent to it, the keepers and their families built their home, a small-scale community on an island dictated by the elements that had always been perceived as uninhabitable. Until now, that is.

A dramatic view capturing the lighthouse and houses surrounding them

Image credit: Pater Noster

A team of Swedish entrepreneurs, hoteliers, restaurateurs, designers and professional sailors have breathed new life into the lighthouse master’s old home, creating nine design-led guestrooms, accommodating up to 18 guests.

Entrance to the building

Image credit: Pater Noster

Award-winning design agency Stylt, which has completed projects such as Stora Hotellet and HUUS Hotel, in Gstaad, was responsible for the concept and interior design. “During my 30 years within the hospitality business, I have rarely come across such a unique destination”, says Stylt’s founder and partner in the lighthouse project Erik Nissen Johansen. “It’s all there – the remote location, the fantastic nature, the extreme weather conditions, the thrilling history – and soon, great hospitality with a dash of roughness and low-key luxury.”

With the project being so isolated in the middle of the sea, logistics were perhaps the main challenge. “The extra layer of freight combined with heavy winds made things interesting,” Nissen explains. “We had an incident when our new DUX beds arrived at the dock. It was a rough sea and we lost a large box in the water. It quickly disappeared, and all the legs to 24 beds were drifting towardsDenmark. Luckily, we managed to catch all of them with our smaller boats, but they will probably rust faster than normal.”

The interior design has completely been inspired by the destination, even down to the fruit bowl that is a repurposed piece of driftwood that washed up on the shores as the work was being completed. “When we were completing building the large dining table, a piece of driftwood just floated ashore,” Nissen tells Hotel Designs. “It was as if the island wanted to help.” The washed-up item was upcycled into a fruit bowl that now rests on a large dining table that was so large it had to be manufactured inside the property.

Image credit: Pater Noster

The artwork in the dining hall, shot by underwater photographer Christy Lee Rogers, hangs in a respectful bow to the hundreds of shipwrecks that surround the island. The photographic works together push the possibilities of movement, colour and light.

“This is a home, not a hotel, filled with history.” – Mirja Lilja Hagsjö, Chief of Operations at Pater Noster.

Ship and artwork in hallway

Image credit: Pater Noster

The entire site, which is only about 250 metres long and 120 metres wide, includes a restaurant, a bar and outdoor café. “The spirit of the old lighthouse master is all over the place” explains chief of operations Mirja Lilja Hagsjö. “This is a home, not a hotel, filled with history.”

Pater Noster is an apt example how to meet the new demands within the world of hospitality, offering genuine guest experiences with a strong cultural heritage. Depending on the weather, the island is reached by boat or helicopter. It’s perfect for smaller groups looking for a one-off experience, hosting meetings and private parties as well as a range of activities such as deep-sea fishing, sailing, kayaking, scuba diving and visiting the legendary lighthouse itself.

The property is the result of like-minded people, all of whom have different crafts and skills, coming together with a common aim: to put the island on the travel bucket list of all modern travellers and explorers. These individuals behind the project are entrepreneur Olle Langenius, Mirja Lilja Hagsjö (Chief of Operations), Zana ”Sassa” Usorac – (F&B), Frida Langenius och Carl Sylvan – transportation and sea adventures and Erik and Elisabeth Nissen Johansen (design and concept).

Throughout August, Hotel Designs is exploring inspirational hotel concepts from around the world. If you would like to be included in this editorial series, please tweet @HotelDesigns.

Main image credit: Pater Noster

TREND ALERT: 2020 outdoor/interior design styles

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
TREND ALERT: 2020 outdoor/interior design styles

Whether you are designing for a small patio, a city-sized rooftop area or a large piece of land, each outdoor living trend can be adapted to suit any interior/exterior style, writes Paisley Hansen…

Following on from predicting 2020 interior trends at the backend of last year, here are some ideas that will help designers and architects maximise their outdoor space in style.

Biophilic design

For years, the biophilic design ‘trend’ or ‘movement’ has been gaining in popularity. It began as a concept for commercial properties to bring nature indoors and has been expressed in the form of living walls and communal green spaces.

According to Stephen R. Kellert at Metropolis Magazine: “Biophilic design focuses on those aspects of the natural world that have contributed to human health and productivity in the age-old struggle to be fit and survive.” It is not enough to simply be outdoors; a purposeful design for an outdoor living space should complement and connect you to your outdoor space.

Hardscaping

The man-made features used in outdoor spaces are the basis for landscape design and generally are installed first. These include paths, walls, and patios. If you are not working with a professional landscape designer, it is wise to sketch your intended design and play with ideas on paper before you rent a bobcat.

Currently geometric designs for garden beds and patios are popular, however a curvilinear design is timeless. The style of your home will help you determine the design for your outdoor spaces.

Plant materials

It is wise to plan your garden on paper also, rather than plant, dig up and plant again. Make use of your public library, horticulture sites and the agriculture department of universities in your plant zone to compile lists of trees, shrubs and flowers that will grow in your area. Merely loving tulips will not make them grow well if you live in southern Texas. The biggest trend in plantings over the last decade is the installation of plants that are native to a climate instead of fighting to keep a plant alive in an inappropriate zone. Not only does this end up saving money it also discourages nuisance plants–especially those that become invasive.

More plant trends

Choosing a type of garden previously meant flowers or vegetables, but this has changed significantly in the last decade. Combination gardens are easy to grow and the variety of flowers, herbs and veggies that are available to home gardeners will help you create a beautiful garden for all your needs. Match plants according to the amount of sunlight and water for companion planting.

Furnishing outdoor space

The current trend in outdoor furniture is the use of natural materials like rattan, wood, or wood-like, along with wicker elements – just look at Minotti’s new 2020 collection.

Lifestyle shot featuring Minotti sofas outside

Image credit: Minotti

Styles range from mid-century modern and classic coastal to contemporary. The perennial favourite in outdoor furniture is the porch swing. The nostalgia associated with a big porch, a wooden swing and a warm summer night is classically American. With fewer front porches these days many people are finding alternatives to the hanging porch swing.

Furniture designs

Adirondack chairs have been fashionable for centuries and the style is popular even today, though many current pieces are brightly painted for a fresh new look. Egg chairs and barrel chairs are trending right now as is flexible outdoor seating. Furniture that can be moved around the yard for various occasions allows you to invest in a few quality pieces rather than buying furniture for every spot in the garden. When creating a fashionable outdoor area, choose what appeals to you. If an all-white garden gives you a sense of peace and harmony that should be your goal to create. For others, a riotous mix of colours may be your happy place.

Additional trends

The trends in lighting are currently focused on overhead string lights hung in outdoor-café style. Lights can also be strung on the perimeter of your space to give more definition to the area. Up-lighting beneath a specimen tree or shrub will highlight the structure of the special plant or vignette of plants. Fire features run the gamut from huge stone fire pits to small, gas-fuelled tabletop models. Water features are also available in a multitude of sizes and shapes.s

Current trends in outdoor design can be specific to a style or be an eclectic mix of styles. The most important part of outdoor design is making it fit your lifestyle.

Main image credit: Taylor Simpson/Unsplash

Insane hotel concepts for the post-pandemic world

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Insane hotel concepts for the post-pandemic world

To celebrate Hotel Concepts being this month’s ‘Spotlight On’ feature, here are some insane hotel renderings that offer drastic solutions for hospitality and hotel design in the post-pandemic world…

Let’s face it, it’s going to be a while before the industry reflects the same buzz and energy as it did before the Covid-19 outbreak. Protocols around cleaning and social distancing are inevitably changing the way in which hotels are used and perceived. With this month’s Spotlight On feature being on Hotel Concepts, we have decided to look past incredible architecture and have instead identified three new perceptions on how hospitality and hotel design can adapt post-pandemic.

A pre-warning: they are a little ‘out there’, but how else is the industry expected to develop, evolve and challenge conventional theories?

The human zoo hotel, conceived by Bill Bensley

Image credit: Bill Bensley

Earlier this year, the eco warrior Bill Bensley – who is confirmed as our headline speaker at Hotel Designs LIVE – responded to a hotel brief by designing a hotel where guests are caged while wild, exotic animals roam free. The ‘human zoo’ hotel concept, which will be targeted to luxury travellers who are seeking for unparalleled experiences, will shelter 2,400 ‘human cages’ that will actually look more like high-end, design-led guestrooms that frame an uninterrupted and uncorrupted view on natural the wildlife below.

The site where the hotel is being conceived is situated on a 2,000-hectare plot, which will reinstate wetlands to encourage biodiversity. With the concrete aim being firm to free wildlife from captivity, Bensley’s concept has recently reached a milestone, gaining approval from Southern China’s Communist Party to relocate abused animals from zoos in the country, to be released onto the roughly 2,000-hectare piece of land where the ‘human zoo’ will be located.

Although the concept was drawn up before the pandemic, it is an interesting idea nonetheless to flip the luxury consumer journey upside-down. By doing so, the Bensley has yet again put the emphasis on wildlife, nature and sustainability, all of which have experienced neglect amongst the chaos of Covid-19.

The hotel of the future according to Gettys Group

The (potential) future of hotel sleep, as imagined by Gettys Group

Image credit: RC Aradio of Blue Core Creative/Getty Groups

Since June of this year, Getty Group has been developing concepts that aim to address the significant industry-wide challenges posed by Covid-19. 325 hotel owners, designers, architects, and hospitality educators are participating in the research, including brands such as citizenM, Four Seasons, Hilton, IHG and Marriott.

Technology and personalisation (two topics we will explore in Hotel Designs LIVE) continue to play important roles. ‘BedXYZ’, which is described by Gettys Group as an “optimised and gamified sleep platform,” involves temperature-regulating engineered fabrics in the guestroom. Meanwhile, touchless technology will allow guests to control the room’s lighting, scent, sound, temperature and even the firmness of the bed via their smartphone.

Al fresco guestrooms

a room in the middle of nowhere

Image credit: Zero Real Estate/Appenzellerland

This isn’t anything new; Jade Mountain in Saint Lucia, for example, is an architectural marvel with its innovative concept to remove the fourth wall in order to open up the interiors to the natural elements. However, new hotel concepts have emerged recently that are showing completely open-air rooms in the middle of nowhere. One of the developers that is leading the way is the aptly named Zero Real Estate. The theory behind the layout, with the bed being perched on a wooden platform, is that the natural landscape becomes the backdrop. Removing surfaces altogether to eliminate boundaries is a drastic strategy in the post-pandemic world, which will not work for everyone, but it certainly works to deepen one-off experiences for luxury modern travellers.

If you have a hotel concept that you would like us to explore, please tweet us @HotelDesigns. If you would like to participate in Hotel Designs LIVE, where many of the above topics will be explored, click here.

Main image credit: Zero Real Estate

Inside the first ‘luxe lifestyle wellness resort’ in Grenada

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside the first ‘luxe lifestyle wellness resort’ in Grenada

Opening on October 1 2020, The Point at Petite Calvigny will be the first dedicated luxury lifestyle and wellness resort on the island of Grenada in the Caribbean. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

With just three design-led villas and 12 suites nestled on an 11-acre estate on the south coast of Grenada, The Point at Petite Calvigny is the island’s new ultra-luxury resort.

The resort, which slopes down to Benji Bay, features a privately accessed secluded beach, a state of the art gym and wellness centre including The Petite Spa, five swimming pools, a beach bar and restaurant and a private marina.

Chris Ashby, the property’s owner who, in collaboration with Adriana Hoyos Hospitality, took it upon himself to design the interiors following his extensive travel experience, fell in love with the raw, natural beauty of this part of Grenada and its stunning views. This ultimately inspired him to create the luxury ‘cloistered sanctuary’ where the outside world is left at the ‘entrance/gate’. “The Point is the first luxury resort in Grenada that is totally focussed on wellness,” Ashby explains. “We offer discerning travellers the perfect combination of luxury accommodation in a peaceful setting with the ability to design their stay exactly as they wish. I am proud to say that The Point is owned by a Grenadian, was built by Grenadians and is staffed by Grenadians.”

No effort was spared in creating the perfect ambiance, which included changing the orientation of the buildings following recommendations from a Feng Shui consultant who advised that they be aligned ‘with water in front and mountains in the background’. As a result, all the buildings stand in an optimum location in order to capture uninterrupted views of the waters of Benji Bay, the unspoilt marine sanctuary of Woburn Bay and the private resort of Calvigny Island.

Image caption: The hotel has been configured to capture uninterrupted views of the waters of Benji Bay, Woburn Bay and the private resort of Calvigny Island. | Image credit: The Point at Petite Calvigny

The Point at Petite Calvigny, which was developed by C.A.C Partners Ltd., has been built to the highest eco standards without compromising on comfort or luxury. There are many hidden eco-friendly elements such as environmentally compliant building materials; super insulated walls, UV filters on windows and doors to minimise energy consumption; rainwater harvesting to provide drinking water and a wastewater treatment system that produces water to irrigate the gardens.  All toiletries are vegan friendly and free from parabens, sulphates and phosphates while the spa incorporates local products such as scrubs made using natural, local ingredients.

“Designed in a contemporary West Indian style with warm wood finishes, all the rooms are spacious and bathed in natural light.”

Reflecting the wellness focus of the resort and Grenada, all accommodation has been named after crystals such as Citrine and Blue Lace. Designed in a contemporary West Indian style with warm wood finishes, all the rooms are spacious and bathed in natural light from floor to ceiling windows that allow for magnificent, unobstructed views of the bay and nearby islands. Inside the rooms, nautical artwork further reflects the property’s unique sense of location, as does the lighting and sensitively designed furnishings.

Image caption: The clean design of the interiors feature interesting lighting, natural materials and a large nautical map of the region. | Image credit: The Point

Image caption: The clean design of the interiors feature interesting lighting, natural materials and a large nautical map of the region. | Image credit: The Point at Petite Calvigny

Each of the three split level villas have three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a private infinity pool and deck with a grilling station. The 12 single-floor suites have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, private balconies and share two large free form swimming pools, a swim up bar and outdoor grilling station.  A selection of fresh herbs are available for guests wishing to add a little extra flavour to their barbecue.

Image caption: Exterior image of one of three villas available at the resort. | Image credit: The Point.

Image caption: Exterior image of one of three villas available at the resort. | Image credit: The Point at Petite Calvigny

Both the villas and suites have fully custom kitchens, dining and living rooms and internet-based TV. Extra touches such as oil diffusers, mood lighting, high quality hypo allergenic bedding, insulation to reduce sound and black out curtains help to enhance sleep performance.

The Point is specially designed to promote rest and rejuvenation. To take this up a level, and in order for the service to match Ashby’s aim, a complimentary consultation with the hotel’s ‘Vibe Director’ is available to each guest in order to create a stay that is perfectly attuned to their specific needs.

Places like this sanctuary within the Caribbean are highly coveted. The Point Private Residence Club is the first and only luxury residence club on the island of Grenada.

In conclusion, every detail of The Point has been specially designed and curated for the discerning eye – from the location and architecture of the residences to the carefully manicured tropical gardens and exceptional experiences – it is a paradise that is naturally self-isolating in its own unique corner of the world.

Main image credit: The Point at Petite Calvigny

A series of renders of W Sao Paulo

W Hotels to open second hotel in Brazil

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
W Hotels to open second hotel in Brazil

The 80-key W Gramado is expected to open in 2023 and will become the second W Hotels property to open in Brazil. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

For some months now, the highly anticipated – and Covid delayed – opening of W Ibiza has taken the spotlight. In June, Hotel Designs welcome the project’s designers and architects from BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERG to debate the future of public areas at Hotel Designs LIVE.

A series of renders of W Sao Paulo

While the noise amplifies as the hotel is finally able to open its vibrant doors, the cutting-edge hotel brand has announced its next venture. W Gramado will become the brand’s second hotel in Brazil and fourth in the Southern Cone of Latin America.

The news was announced after the brand signed an agreement with KJP Participaçoes LTD to bring the W Hotels brand to Gramado, a mountain resort town in the Brazil’s southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul.

“To have a cutting-edge W hotel in Rio Grande do Sul, a destination ready for the brand’s bold design, signature Whatever/Whenever service and innovative programming is exceptional,” said Laurent de Kousemaeker, Chief Development Officer, Caribbean and Latin America for Marriott International.

Renders of the hotel’s design scheme, or any information on which architecture/design firm has been appointed for the project, have yet to be announced – but here’s what we do know.

The 80 room hotel, W Gramado, will be located in the Swiss Village, the highest point of Gramado, known for exceptional views into the valley and hills beyond the city center. The property borders Orchids Park and is located less than one mile from the main attractions of Gramado. The property is planned to occupy a single four-story building with sustainable architecture with vegetation features that are indigenous to Orchids Park. The adjacent W Residences will be developed in a cluster of low-rise buildings within walking distance of the hotel.

The hotel is set to offer guests the world’s most lust-worthy resort experience in a wildly different way, and provide Brazilian visitors an exciting new lodging option that embodies the W Hotels brand’s “work hard, play hard” philosophy.

W Gramado will bring a lodging alternative that does not yet exist in the city, which will provide its guests and owners of W Residences an experience normally only offered in the most sought after global travel destinations. The hotel plans to provide several food and beverage options, both indoor and outdoor; an exclusive Wet Deck, AWAY Spa; FIT Fitness Centre, as well as a rooftop bar that will be at the highest point of Gramado, boasting a view across several surrounding cities. For corporate and social events, the stunning property will provide 500 square meters of meeting space and event centre.

“W Gramado will help put the city firmly on the map as a sustainable luxury destinations with the arrival of W Hotel & Residences,” explained George Brody representing the owners of the Swiss Village. “I believe the city is perfectly set up to welcome future generations of travellers with this exciting addition to Orchid Park.”

KJP Participaçoes LTD expects to begin construction in early 2021 and aims to complete and open the hotel in Q1 2023.

Main image caption: Renders of W Hotel Sao Paulo, expected to open in 2021 | Image credits: Marriott International

Building which will be the rosewood hotel in Shanghai

Rosewood announces new hotel in Shanghai

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Rosewood announces new hotel in Shanghai

Shanghai is a strategic addition to the Rosewood Hotels & Resorts brand, expanding its footprint in Asia. Rosewood Shanghai will join nine properties in operation and six in development across the continent…

Following recent announcements from the luxury brand to open hotels in St Barths, Madrid and Sardinia, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts has been appointed by Shanghai-based property development company, Lonsen Land Group, to manage Rosewood Shanghai.

Building which will be the rosewood hotel in Shanghai

The new 200-key hotel in mainland China, which will join nine properties in operation in the continent, is set to break ground in 2022, with an expected opening in 2028.

Ideally situated in the heart of Shanghai’s Jing’An District and Suhewan area, an emerging business and cultural hub, Rosewood Shanghai will offer travellers unparalleled access to the city. The announcement of Rosewood Shanghai underscores the brand’s careful, selective growth strategy in Asia and across the globe, as well as the strength of its impressive property pipeline, which is now the most robust in Rosewood’s history.

Occupying prime real estate within a mixed-use project designed by renowned international studio Foster + Partners, Rosewood Shanghai is set to transform the city skyline. Occupying the top floors of the site’s landmark building, which will be one of the tallest complexes in the city’s Puxi district at 320 meters, the hotel will deliver unique design conceived to showcase its expansive views of the metropolis. In keeping with the brand’s guiding A Sense of Place® philosophy, the destination’s storied history, rich culture and dynamic spirit will serve as additional inspiration for the property’s design ethos and bespoke programming.

“The country’s largest city and economic hub, Shanghai embodies several of our key brand values – innovation, creativity and originality.” – Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group.

“As we continue to grow the brand throughout Asia and specifically mainland China, Shanghai has long been a priority destination in which to plant the Rosewood flag,” said Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group. “The country’s largest city and economic hub, Shanghai embodies several of our key brand values – innovation, creativity and originality. We are thrilled to bring a new standard of luxury to the region and thank our partners at Lonsen Land Group for the opportunity they’ve given us to do so.”

Rosewood Shanghai will offer 200 guestrooms and suites, five food and beverage establishments and Asaya, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts’ revolutionary wellness concept.

“For many, Shanghai is known as “Mo Du”, the Magic City; cherished for its rich cultural heritage, modern lifestyle offerings and captivating social scenes,” says Mr Ruan Xingxiang, chairman of Lonsen Land Group. “With the brand’s A Sense of Place® philosophy and referencing to the success story of its trophy property in Hong Kong, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts makes an ideal partner of us to reinvent Shanghai’s charm as a destination to the affluential explorers from around the world.”

Rosewood Shanghai will join Rosewood’s collection of distinguished city and resort properties in Greater China, which currently includes Rosewood Hong Kong, Rosewood Beijing, Rosewood Sanya and Rosewood Guangzhou. Additional projects in development in the region include Rosewood Chengdu and Rosewood Ningbo, both set to open in 2023, along with Rosewood Shenzhen and Rosewood Taipei, which are planned to open in 2024.

Main image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

In Conversation With: Penta Hotels’ new MD, Rogier Braakman

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In Conversation With: Penta Hotels’ new MD, Rogier Braakman

In February 2020, weeks before the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a pandemic, the new Managing Director of Penta Hotels Worldwide was announced. Following what we can only imagine was a turbulent start to his role, Editor Hamish Kilburn catches up with Rogier Braakman to understand his plans for the lifestyle hotel group…

It’s hard to recall that a few months ago, before the words ‘furlough’ and ‘pandemic’ were being splashed across the daily news channels, the industry as a whole was feeling rather optimistic about 2020. New colour trends were being predicted, hotel groups were expanding, and, in February 2020, the news broke that Rogier Braakman would take over from Eugène Staal to become Managing Director of Penta Hotels Worldwide, marking a new era for the group. 

As regions were seeing record-breaking levels of development, Covid-19 sent its shockwave through all industries – arguably hitting hospitality the hardest – which decimated sales and marketing strategies as businesses went into survival mode. “It is the biggest burden of every business owner being forced to suspend operations for an undefined time,” explained Braakman in a press release that was released at the time. “Since opening, we have operated our hotels 24/7, 365 days a year, and hadn’t had to close for a single day. Yet, instead of carrying out our initial plans, we have been working around the clock to temporarily suspend operations in many hotels, restructure our processes and ask for many intense sacrifices from all team members and stakeholders. Despite all this, we have been putting a lot of effort in bringing in new innovations and improving our product throughout all hotels.”

Following the lockdown, and after what can only be described as one of the most challenging months for all hoteliers, I sat down with Braakman (virtually) to understand more about his role.

Hamish Kilburn: Where were you self-isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic?

RB: I make a weekly commute between our family home in the Dutch forest and our Frankfurt Penta office, always adhering strictly to all Covid-19 regulations. I feel privileged to be able to enjoy my family life and the positively contagious Penta-spirit!

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Berlin

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Berlin | Image credit: Penta Hotels

“But what sets us apart from other lifestyle brands is that our ‘neighbourhood’ promise extends to the wider community and environment, which we have committed to protecting through various initiatives and our goal of being carbon neutral by 2030.” – Rogier Braakman, Managing Director, Penta Hotels.

Hamish Kilburn: What makes Penta Hotels a unique lifestyle hotel brand?

RB: Penta Hotels are characterised by our lively neighbourhood brand that emits a happy camper ambience. The positive attitude of our staff and our unique interior design makes us a model host. We have created a comfortable environment for our guests with a relaxed atmosphere centered around our buzzing Penta Lounges in every hotel, which function on a 24/7 basis where all our guests’ needs are catered for in one space. But what sets us apart from other lifestyle brands is that our ‘neighbourhood’ promise extends to the wider community and environment, which we have committed to protecting through various initiatives and our goal of being carbon neutral by 2030. In keeping with the Penta spirit, we don’t ever do single acts of charity, but instead offer ways that our guests can take part in giving back so that they too can feel a part of our community. However, lately we have had the tendency of exchanging the word ‘lifestyle’ more and more with the word ‘lively’, which we believe nowadays is more spot on.

Hamish Kilburn: Can you explain a little bit about Penta Hotels’ plans for expansion?

RB: Our focus is to grow our brand in prime locations in secondary cities or secondary locations in primary cities across Europe. Expansion should arise as a result of our strategy, rather than the other way around.

Image caption: Suite inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Image caption: Suite inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: You mention that lockdown has allowed you to look at new innovations and improving your product throughout all hotels. Can you elaborate on this?

RB: With the pandemic we’ve had to adapt quickly to the new normal, or as I heard an entrepreneur recently say, a ‘temporary abnormal’. In just over a month, we managed to think up and execute our Between Us campaign, based on the notion that although Covid-19 has forced more physical distance between us, it can be seen as an opportunity for bonding and creating solidarity between people. Through this campaign we are allowing our guests to feel comfortable, safe, but also have fun with social distancing. It includes the VIP Rock Star Service where we’ve mapped out routes guests can take around the hotel and Penta Lounges that limit interaction with others, cashless payments, and introduced excellent hygiene training for our staff members that includes no housekeeping, but also exciting perks like free Take Care package on entry, and free bag of snacks every morning at your door.

The campaign sets us apart from our competitors because it shows we are seizing the pandemic as an opportunity to learn how to better accommodate our guests, by finding new ways to create a safe and comfortable space. So far, guest feedback has been really positive.

Image caption: Meeting room inside Penta Hotel Paris | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: What advice would you give the rest of the hospitality industry at this time?

RB: Unfortunately, COVID-19 is a predator and it will stay around for a while, so we are having to take a real ‘don’t crack under pressure’ attitude as we adapt to new circumstances. In order to do this, we have to stay strong and try our best to turn this crisis into a success by playing to our strengths, as well as recognising which things weren’t working well even before the crisis. Our strengths have always been a positive attitude and creative approach, and we are making sure to always be direct with each other, not beat around the bush, and take immediate actions to make our hotels safe.

Hamish Kilburn: How will lifestyle hotels, which typically focus heavily on utilising public areas, differ post-pandemic?

RB: This predator is going to remain for a long time – so we’re going to need to work with it. We have revisited our business operations and figured out how best to safely and securely reopen, and although we do not want our hotels to serve as extended intensive care units, we need to make sure that all hygienic measures are in place and that people feel safe. Luckily, we don’t have small lobbies and most of our Pentalounges are extensive spaces in which we’ve been able to encourage social distancing with our Between Us campaign, by mapping out distanced routes and introducing cashless payments.

We do not want our brand standards to vaporise due to all these extra precautions, so we had to redefine our new operating standards within the ‘temporary abnormal’. This means taking serious precautions that alter the Penta experience, including no more housekeeping, and training our staff on additional hygiene procedures. For example, when you check in, you’re given a ‘Take Care’ bag from Penta, and we’ve even made our own ‘Penta Pointer’ which is similar to a keyring that can be used to open all access points within the hotel, therefore reducing the risk of being contaminated. We’re also doing trials with heat cams to see how our guests are responding, and introduced the Penta Hotel app, which isn’t fully in place yet, but it means everyone can check in from home using their own device, or even chat to our reception team.

Image caption: Fitness area inside Pentahotel Leipzig | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: What does lifestyle in ‘lifestyle hotel’ mean to you?

RB: A lifestyle hotel means ensuring all our guests are happy campers, and however brief or extended their stay, they are made to feel part of our community. Instead of custom reception areas we have created social spaces in every hotel called the Penta Lounge, areas with 24/7 service where guests can check in, but also chill out, do some work or play on our games consoles. At our hotels, there is always an initiative that guests can take part in that benefits the wider community and environment, and our social staff members are always willing to engage with any problem a guest has

Hamish Kilburn: What do you love most about the hospitality industry?

RB: What I love best about hospitality is working with people, and I was drawn to Penta because it is an appealing and distinctive hotel brand centered around people, with a buzzing community spirit. I believe success comes from guest satisfaction and high-quality service, which is only possible when you have a team of brilliant staff members that communicate well with one another and our guests. I share Penta’s vision for a modern approach to hoteliering, where giving back to the community and providing a relaxed, neighbourhood feel is at the centre of its brand. Penta has had a rocky climb in the last year or so but our positive staff with their can-do attitude, have really helped with recent difficulties. Their team spirit and desire to truly make Penta a success has made me feel extremely supported and inspired my confidence that we will continue to succeed in the future.

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: Can you explain Penta Hotels in three words?

RB: Relaxed, positive, friendly

Hamish Kilburn: If money or development were not obstacles, where in the world would you like to open a hotel?

RB: Every self-conscious city with a sustainable, interesting and appealing backcountry deserves a Pentahotel.

Penta Hotels, which has 28 operating properties across Europe and Asia, represents a new generation of neighbourhood lifestyle hotels offering modern-minded individuals and business travellers comfort and style in a relaxed atmosphere. Known for its unique interior design and attitude, the lifestyle brand stands for true innovation in the industry’s upper- midscale segment.

Main image credit: Penta Hotels Worldwide

IN VIDEO: Parkside’s discussion about colour & wellbeing

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN VIDEO: Parkside’s discussion about colour & wellbeing

To officially mark the launch of the brand’s new Matrix collection, Parkside Architectural Tiles invited editor Hamish Kilburn to get comfortable on the virtual sofa to discuss colour and wellness in design, architecture and hospitality… 

If the pandemic was a colour, it would arguably be a dull grey. While hospitality is reopening its doors, and designers are making their way back into studio life, the need for colour has never been greater than it is right now.

Cue the launch of Matrix collection by Parkside Architectural Tiles, which was inspired by the brand’s desire to create a range of colours that would allow the design community to curate co-ordinated looks or mix and match colours to create striking design statements.

Its launch has allowed us to question colour and its relationship to wellbeing in and outside the hotel. To start the conversation, Parkside welcomed experts in the international design and architecture arena to participate in an exclusive panel discussion where all colourful opinions were welcome, and indeed encouraged.

Chaired by Joanna Watchman from workinmind.org, the experts on the virtual sofa were Ben Channon, associate architect and head of wellbeing at Assael Architecture; Constantina Tsoutsikou, founder of Studio LOST, who brought a hospitality and public space perspective; Hamish Kilburn, editor, Hotel Designs, who was able view the topic through editorial lenses; and Vanessa Konig, Konig Colours, who collaborated with the brand to create the new collection.

Here’s the discussion in full:

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

Main image credit: Parkside Architectural Tiles

Bathroom inspiration: 400 colours by Bette to choose from

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bathroom inspiration: 400 colours by Bette to choose from

German bathroom manufacturer Bette offers its baths, shower trays and basins in more than 400 colours – and also creates bespoke colours for large projects…

Bathroom brand Bette can create its baths, shower trays and washbasins in more than 400 colours because of the way its products are made.

Each item is individually manufactured in titanium-steel, before its durable BetteGlaze enamel finish is applied and fired. Bette mixes colour pigments into the BetteGlaze enamel finish, prior to application, which is why such a huge range of colours, including gloss, matt, shimmering and glittering options, are available.

Bette’s unique finish not only allows more than 400 colour options, but the glazed titanium-steel results in products that keep their good looks for many years, are easy to clean, 100 per cent recyclable and come with a 30 year warranty, making them ideal for both contract and residential projects.

22 matt colours

Some of Bette’s most popular colours are its 22 exclusive matt options. These colours are often selected for Bette’s flush-to-floor shower trays, as well as its baths and basins. The colours take their inspiration from natural stone colours, and also include matt white.

Bespoke colours

In addition, if customers working on large projects require a specific colour that Bette does not currently produce, the company offers the option of creating a bespoke colour.

Bette’s approach to colour

Sven Rensinghoff, head of marketing at Bette comments: “Our glazed titanium-steel baths, basins and shower trays can be given attractive visual depth through the colour selection. Our goal is to not only use colour as a decorative element, but to support the spatial effect of our products.

“Coloured products can provide eye-catching dashes of colour, for example, the spotlight can be put on the washing area by selecting the round BetteCraft washbasin in luminous green or a soft shade of blue. Eye-catching special effect colours, such as our Midnight black glitter colour, or the ever-changing Forest colour, can create impact and visual interest that changes as the lighting alters.

“In addition to innovative and eye-catching colours, Bette also offers a wide range of timeless, discreet shades including pastels, earth and stone colours and matt options. These can help to radiate a calming effect and convey a natural cosiness and are some of our most popular colours. For example, more than 40 per cent of Bette customers currently choose timeless, natural, matt colours for their Bette glazed titanium-steel shower floors.”

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

Main image credit: Bette

Six Senses to open second hotel in Italy

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Six Senses to open second hotel in Italy

Six Senses Antognolla, which marks the brand’s second opening in Italy, will shelter more branded residences than it will rooms…

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas has announced its latest project in the group’s expanding portfolio with Six Senses Antognolla, set in Umbria, the green heart of Italy.

Opening in 2023, the same year as the hotel plans to open its debut London property, Six Senses Antognolla will welcome guests to a rural escape against the backdrop of olive groves, vineyards and cypress-topped hills.

The castle, borgo and estate are being reincarnated with a sustainable focus. There will be 71 rooms and 79 branded residences, a diverse wellness and cultural offering, 18-hole golf course, equestrian centre, cookery school and organic farm. Encompassing a 1,335-acre (540-hectare) site, the surrounding contours and forest provide privacy and exclusivity, while the variety of facilities and activities make it a year-round destination. 

The redevelopment is being headed by VIY Management (VIYM), a London-based investment firm focused on luxury hospitality and mixed-use real estate projects and Alessio Carabba Tettamanti, an investor in Antognolla and the owner of the luxury Umbrian estate Tenuta di Murlo. The masterplan is by Woods Bagot, ranked sixth in the BD World Architecture 100. Interiors are by Tokyo-based Design Studio SPIN, known for transforming the interiors of renowned hotels and restaurants into the most luxurious venues. 

“We are delighted that our vision of the project is in line with that of Six Senses.” – Jim Ryan, development director, Antognolla

 “We are thrilled to start bringing our collaborative plans with Six Senses to life. Antognolla is a unique project in Italy in terms of its concept; combining a luxury hotel in a medieval castle, stylish serviced residential properties, an exceptional golf course and a luxurious spa complex – all of which will be operated by a world-renowned international hospitality brand,” said development director Jim Ryan of Antognolla. “We are delighted that our vision of the project is in line with that of Six Senses, and we have a truly unique opportunity to carefully preserve and develop this area of historical and cultural significance.”

A new chapter in this rich history has now begun. The 71 guest rooms and suites will be located within the historical castle and traditional old borgo buildings. The 79 residences, which will soon be available to purchase, range from apartments and two-bedroom villas to six-bedroom farmhouses, combining the heritage of Umbria with the comfort of modern living. All accommodations offer a unique home-from-home retreat thanks to the location, design features and abundant resort facilities. Old or new, everything blends seamlessly with the surroundings.

Six Senses Spa will be located within a contemporary wing of the new main building, and will offer wellness programming that incorporates sleep health, nutrition, movement and self-discovery.

Running through the centre of the estate, the 18-hole golf course has been designed by renowned designer Robert Trent Jones Jr. With long, cliff-lined fairways, undulating greens and pesky lakes, the course has been installed to provide year-round playability and quick-drying surfaces. Drainage water is captured and recycled, boosting the course’s eco-credentials.

The charm of Umbria’s ancient towns and villages is complemented by its cuisine, which is renowned for superb ingredients and authentically rustic dishes. Guests and residents will enjoy the very best of local produce, including herbs, olives, fruit and vegetables grown on the estate itself.

Main image credit: Six Senses

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: sustainable art in hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: sustainable art in hotels

Driving the industry to search for and specify sustainable art, Artelier explores sustainable artwork in luxury contexts…

The drive for sustainability has grown tremendously in the last few years, with individuals and businesses alike becoming committed to sustainable values.

The drive for sustainability has grown tremendously in the last few years, with individuals and businesses alike becoming committed to sustainable values. What once was more of a fashionable trend has rightly become a major cross-sector movement, and increasingly diverse industries are promoting eco-conscious practices. Most importantly, consumers are holding companies accountable for their claims, and want them to do more than swap out plastic straws or reuse cups. This has led to a push for innovative new concepts, uses of materials, and structural changes, so that the needs of projects are met in a significantly more sustainable way.

Within sectors such as luxury hospitality, a major question has arisen over how to deliver the exquisite interior design that a discerning clientele have come to expect, whilst also being sustainable. Naturally, the two do not need to be mutually exclusive – much of cutting-edge luxury design now favours natural materials and a stripped-back simplicity, which lends itself to sustainable products. A key way of sustainably creating adding luxury to these spaces are intelligently curated artworks. Sustainable artworks can bridge the gap between creating a stunning aesthetic experience and promoting environmentally responsible design.

As art consultants, Artelier have discovered first-hand how art can enhance and deepen a project’s focus on sustainability. Here, Artelier’s curators offer their insight into the dilemmas faced by luxury industries, and explore how inventive artists can create sustainable artworks by transforming humble materials into stunning installations.

The dilemma of decorating sustainably

After the architectural and engineering efforts in new-build projects, it is critical for the interior design to likewise be sustainable, whilst creating the right aesthetic impression. Few luxury items, however, can offer sustainability, since often they are made from materials like precious metals and rare marbles. Artworks are in themselves luxury items, and can meanwhile be produced with full sustainability in mind – artists can take basic and sustainable materials and through their craftsmanship make them luxury items. Rather than being a ‘token’ sustainable element, a newly commissioned artwork can reflect the owner’s own sustainable philosophy as each aspect of producing the artwork can be transparently low-impact.

The idea of bespoke items and artworks has long been at the height of luxury, and so many private clients have supported artists through commissioning artworks. In their pursuit of the bespoke and one-off, patrons have championed low-volume craftsmanship for their willingness to pay for artworks to be hand-made specially for them. In recent years, technology has advanced so much that a similar visual effect can be achieved – eye-catching surfaces can be cost-effectively created by companies with faux metals, resins and plastics. Whilst they meet the tastes of clients and can be seductively beautiful objects, the materials used to create these effects are not sustainable. When private clients instead choose to invest in commissioned artworks, they not only receive an ultra-bespoke interior feature, but a significantly more sustainable option.

Image credit: Artelier


Natural materials

While some contemporary artists actively use ancient craft techniques, more broadly many artists authentically engage with sustainability through using exclusively natural materials. Taking humble and widespread materials such as wood, they are able to creatively transform them into fine art. The artworks communicate the natural beauty of earth’s resources, and deeply connect viewers with the environment by making them experience nature in new and surprising ways.

One such artist is Christian Burchard, who creates wood sculptures from a tree species native to the area surrounding his studio in Oregon, USA. His expressive carving creates poetic and dynamic sculptural compositions. He aims to show viewers the essence of the wood’s natural structures, allowing the material to ‘speak its own language’, rather than imposing onto it. Artelier commissioned a collection of Burchard’s work for superyacht Pelorus (115m). The client and the interior designer used a neutral palette within the interiors, as they wanted a pure and natural design that utilised organic materials. They approached Artelier for us to identify artists that were in tune with their own materials, and would contribute to the sustainable feel of the overall design.

Artist Stuart Ian Frost’s creates site-specific installations from natural, and often foraged, raw materials. Each installation is created specially for its landscape, and Frost seeks to evoke the particularities of the individual environment. He draws inspiration from local geographical features and the raw materials themselves, but also often looks to incorporate the culture and architecture of the area. Like Burchard, Frost’s artworks seek to present nature in an unfamiliar, yet illuminating way, encouraging the viewer to challenge their own perceptions of the materials. His large-scale sculptures playfully incorporate pattern and organic shapes to transform the raw materials, giving them a newfound vitality. Meanwhile, his smaller scale artworks use foraged natural materials, such as bird quills, and represent them in expressive geometric designs.

Found materials are also central to British multi-disciplinary artist Sir Richard Long, who uses basic materials like mud or rocks to create sculptures, paintings, and installations. In so doing, he pushes the boundaries of which materials are typically considered suitable for fine art. Many of his artworks are created while on walks in landscapes, a primordial engagement between man and earth, and are left to be reclaimed by nature. His gallery artworks likewise present a visceral engagement with natural resources, such as his paintings created from mud from the Riven Avon in England; Long uses his bare hands to paint, preserving his gestures by leaving his hand and finger prints visible.

In such ways, many artists are naturally resourceful and low impact, by their use of foraged and natural materials. Conceptually, many of these artists are also inspired by how the natural world can be represented to viewers, in a way that emphasises man’s harmony with nature rather than dominance over it. Within a sustainable project, these artworks bear special significance, as they symbolise the objective behind incorporating sustainability – a re-evaluation of how humankind interacts with the environment, and how we can better preserve and respect natural resources.

Sustainability in the world of hospitality

As modern, eco-conscious people travel the world, they seek hotels that are likewise committed to sustainability. Hoteliers and hospitality designers must respond to this demand, and while efforts to promote environmentally conscious operations like reducing washing or plastic waste are worthwhile, sustainability has to be a key concern from the initial stages of hotel design to be more deeply effective.

However, when considering the sheer scale of hotels and how hotel areas will be used, ensuring sustainability throughout the hotel poses more obstacles than in private spaces. Many materials, for example, need to be more hard-wearing: carpets that use synthetic fibres are easier to clean, and often need to be synthetic in order to comply with fire safety regulations. Meanwhile, while materials like marbles or metals can be used sparingly in private properties, they are simply not sustainable at the quantity required for hotels.

Image credit: Artelier

For a hotel project to be truly sustainable, sustainability has to be a core consideration from the inception of the project. It has to be considered in everything from structural materials and utilising natural sun and ventilation, to being rigorous in sourcing reputable interior suppliers who prioritise sustainable production. In order to make sustainable hotel design more than simply tapping into a trend, new hotels have focus on longevity – much negative environmental impact comes from the waste of replacing worn-out features.

Considering this level of care to incorporate sustainability, it is essential that decorative aspects are not an afterthought to the project. After great effort has gone into sustainable design solutions, artworks can be overlooked, and in reality not be that sustainable. Whilst on an individual basis each artwork’s sustainability may not be a major source for concern, together they can make a significant impact. If every room features artworks as well as the lobby, stairwells, and spa areas, irresponsible sourcing and using even small amounts of unsustainable materials can quickly add up. It is essential, therefore, to work coherently with specialist art consultants who are able to make sourcing sustainable art straightforward, and curate the entire collection for minimal environmental impact.

In addition, sustainable artworks bring many benefits to the hotel project. If a hotel decides to compromise on luxury materials in favour of sustainability, and opt for a more neutral, pared-back approach to interior design, the artwork can become the accent or focal point in the space. Sourcing art is further a great opportunity for supporting local artists, as artworks can be created from local materials and shipping costs are minimised. Supporting sustainable artists also makes for an engaging way for the hotel to promote its values and reflect its context.

Image credit: Artelier

Communicating sustainability through art

With the move towards environmental concern, many mass-producing companies have tried to meet this demand by providing ‘sustainable’ products. However, is there really space for this in the future, when increasingly the move towards sustainability goes beyond natural materials, but also sustainable practices in the studio? Clients are trying to achieve a sense of connection in their projects, and so the individualism of makers is in itself becoming increasingly more valued. Bespoke artworks are a more authentic and personal way of decorating. A specially commissioned artwork can symbolically convey the central concerns of a client, and communicate their focus on sustainability.

Image credit: Artelier

Ever since artworks were created by ancient civilisations, artists have used their work as a traditional form of visual communication, that goes beyond simply decorative enhancement. Art engages the viewer’s attention and creates atmosphere, producing an immediate and non-verbal understanding. A basic material transformed into a large-scale art installation instantly conveys to viewers the artist’s commentary on man’s relationship with the natural world. For instance, in a commission for the headquarters of a company at the forefront of recycling innovation, Artelier commissioned a mobile sculpture that embodied the company values. Created from sustainable steam-bent wood, the mobile constantly evolves and transforms, representing the concept of recycling forms.

Art offers a way to combine luxury with truly sustainable practices, and is one of the few products to be able to do so. But it more than simply decoration – art is able to tell a story. It communicates the deeper essence of the project, and is an evocative way of representing its sustainable values. The skill of the art consultant is to be able to source artworks that stay true to the project’s commitment to sustainability, and curate them in such a way that conveys the message to a wider audience.

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

Main image credit: Artelier

Hotel Designs LIVE – what you missed

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs LIVE – what you missed

The debut Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place during lockdown on June 23, broadcasted four engaging virtual seminars. Editor Hamish Kilburn and publisher Katy Phillips share the highlights…

On June 23, hundreds of leading designers, architects and hoteliers from around the world tuned in for the debut of Hotel Designs LIVE.

The new one-day virtual conference, hosted by editor Hamish Kilburn from his hometown of Whitstable in England, broadcasted live conversations with industry experts on topics such as technology, public areas, sleep and wellness. In his opening speech, Kilburn explained how the concept emerged. “Hotel Designs LIVE (sponsored by Technological Innovations Group) was born in the chaotic realms of the coronavirus crisis,” he said. “It is our way – and we believe the most meaningful method – to keep the industry connected while also keeping the conversation flowing.”

Seminar 1: technology

To kick-start the event in a spectacular fashion, Jason Bradbury made a dramatic entrance, on a hover board (we wouldn’t expect anything less). The former presenter of The Gadget Show, who has built an international career as a futurology and tech-trends corporate speaker, took the microphone to start the conference’s debut session entitled: Technology’s role in tomorrow’s hotel.

The seminar included PRODUCT WATCH pitches from Hamilton LitestatTechnological Innovations GroupNT SecurityAir Reviver and Aqualisa.

Seminar 2: public areas

Following a quick-fire interview with Technological Innovations Group, the event’s headline sponsor, and after Jason Bradbury took the mic the debut session entitled Technology’s Role in tomorrow’s hotel, Kilburn launched the first panel discussion of the day, which was entitled: Will public areas ever be the same?

Emma King (Head of Design (Europe) IHG), Alon Barronwitz (Director at Baranowitz + Kronenberg) and Geraldine Dohogne (Founder of Beyond Design) got comfortable on the virtual sofa to discuss the difficult reality of public areas post-pandemic. The main takeaways were adapting as designers to meet modern consumer demands to create flexible and clean spaces, while embedding discreet technology to enhance the guest experience. The panel also discussed the need for intuitive public areas for ‘bleisure’ guests.

Stylo Graphics, which sponsored the session, asked the panel whether they have managed to implement directional signage controls and physical distancing measures to safeguard guest and staff wellbeing whilst maintaining great guest experience. King responded: “We have adjusted layouts of public areas and included social distancing measures in our hotels. To do this effectively, we have ensured that the colours and styles we have used are in keeping with our brand standards.”

The seminar included PRODUCT WATCH pitches from Inspired By Design and Falcon Contract Flooring.

Seminar 3: sleep

Up next, steering the conversation away from the pandemic, Kilburn focuses the editorial lens on sleep with a session entitled: Designing the guestroom to evoke a better night’s sleep, which was sponsored by Silentnight Group.

In order to explore this area of the hotel experience, he welcomed Darija Aziz, the in-house designer for Zedwell Hotels, to discuss one particular project that centres its entire model around sleep performance; Zedwell Piccadilly.

Zedwell has been designed with sleep at its core but also to promote health and wellbeing in every form,” Aziz explained. “Rooms were designed to eliminate clutter and remove anxiety, hence no TV or complicated controls. Interestingly, all the guestrooms have no windows in order to eliminate central London noise and bright lights.”

Adding context to the conversation, and bringing technology back into the discussion, Kilburn welcomes sound architect Tom Middleton into the seminar who explained that technology generically exposes the wrong frequency, and the fact that influences such a circadian rhythm needs to be more considered when designing the guestroom to evoke sleep performance.

The seminar included PRODUCT WATCH pitches from Silentnight Group, Atlas Concorde and Franklite.

Seminar 4: wellness

To aptly conclude the series of seminars, Kilburn hosted the session entitled: The future of wellness post-pandemic, and shared the screen with Beverley Bayes (Director of Sparcstudio), Michael Lahm (Vice President and COO of TLEE Spa and Ivaylo Lefterov (Hotel Development Director at Miris), which is the developer behind Svart, the world’s first ‘energy positive’ hotel.

As well as looking at hygiene, the panel discussed the demand for biophilic design, Covid-19 friendly materials such as copper and pushing the limits of wellness. In addition, injecting personalisation (and bespoke elements) in design and service.

Short-term, the pandemic has put a question mark on F&B in spa areas, but the general thoughts of the day were that healthy cuisine was a link that connects wellness and wellbeing.

When asked what each of the panelists look for in a spa experience, the general consensus was a meaningful treatment and seamless execution and experiences within the spa that balance indoor and outdoor spaces.

The seminar included an insightful PRODUCT WATCH pitch from hansgrohe.

Following the success of the inaugural virtual conference, Hotel Designs LIVE is back for a second edition, which will take place on October 13. The themes selected for the next event will include the evolution of discreet technology in hotel design, sustainability in design and architecture, reassuring the hotel consumer post-pandemic and adding personality in public areas.

Tickets for Hotel Designs LIVE will be available shortly. To discuss sponsorship opportunities for any of the sessions above, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

#HotelDesignsLIVE

PRODUCT WATCH: Chandelier by Buster + Punch

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Chandelier by Buster + Punch

With lighting playing a vital role in all first impressions, Hotel Designs takes a closer look at the modern interpretation of Chandelier by Buster + Punch

Designers and architects are often willing to think outside the box in order to evoke a lasting first impression.

When it comes to lighting in public areas, however, often opting for a simple, clean and striking design scheme can make the brightest statement. A pendant chandelier, for example, will complement a modern and contemporary interior design style.

Chandelier by Buster + Punch is an eye-catching lighting display that can work in many lifestyle and luxury settings. Designers can choose from classic diamond or cascade formation, as well as a 19-pendant drop or a 31-pendant drop.

The dimmable lighting product aims to immediately set the tone by allowing users to personalise the brightness so that they can achieve the right ambience in all public areas. As well as the lobby and dining areas, designers may wish to add the pendent chandelier in the stairwell in order to add a new layer while acting as a decorative feature that also provides much needed functional lighting.

The bespoke heavy metal chandelier is a stylish LED light for large stairwell spaces or living areas.  The chandelier is teamed with the brand’s critically acclaimed LED Buster bulbs available in gold, smoked or crystal finishes. The brand’s heavy metal solid metal pendants are available in smoked, bronze, steel or brass.

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

Main image credit: Buster + Punch

Mandarin Oriental to arrive in Vienna in 2023

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Mandarin Oriental to arrive in Vienna in 2023

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has announced that it will manage a luxury hotel and branded residences in Vienna, Austria that is scheduled to open in late 2023…

Mandarin Oriental, Vienna will be housed in a heritage building that originally served as the city’s commercial law court from 1912 to 2003.

Mandarin Oriental, Vienna is located in a peaceful street in District One of Vienna within the Ringstrasse. It is in easy walking distance of the city’s major attractions, including St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Imperial Palace, Vienna State Opera and a wide range of restaurants and bars.

“On completion, the hotel will comprise 151 guestrooms and suites.”

The conversion of the property is already underway, and the restoration will preserve many of the building’s original design elements. On completion, the hotel will comprise 151 guestrooms and suites surrounding a courtyard in the centre of the property, incorporating a restaurant, bar and outdoor garden. The property will also house a Spa at Mandarin Oriental featuring a series of treatment rooms, a swimming pool and a well-equipped fitness centre. A range of adaptable banqueting and meeting spaces will be available for events and social occasions.

The 17 Residences at Mandarin Oriental will be located on the top two floors of the building and will have private access to the roof, with several of the apartments offering outdoor terraces and stunning citywide views. These will be some of the most exclusive apartments in the city, with owners enjoying Mandarin Oriental’s legendary service and direct access to the hotel’s facilities.

“We look forward to extending the Group’s presence into one of Europe’s most popular destinations for art, music and culture and introducing the city to Mandarin Oriental’s exemplary quality of service,” said James Riley, Group Chief Executive of Mandarin Oriental. “This iconic redevelopment of a historic building in a prime location, will offer guests a truly memorable experience, and fits ideally within the Group’s increasing portfolio of central European hotels.”

The project is owned by Brisen Group, headquartered in Geneva and operating in the European real estate investment and wealth management sectors. London based designers, Goddard Littlefair, which recently completed Villa Copenhagen, have been appointed to create the hotel and residences interiors.

“We are delighted to partner with Mandarin Oriental, one of the world’s best luxury hotel brands, on this project. Mandarin Oriental’s reputation for providing an unparalleled level of luxury service and attention to detail, matches our own wish to create an exceptional luxury hotel and residences in the heart of Vienna,” said Mr Dimitry Vallen of Brisen Group.

Main image credit: Mandarin Oriental

Parkside launches Matrix ceramic wall tile collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Parkside launches Matrix ceramic wall tile collection

Designed in collaboration with a leading colour consultant, Matrix is the latest ceramic wall tile collection from specification company Parkside Architectural Tiles…

Inspiring creativity, Matrix offers an unprecedented portfolio of 23 tile colours, available in matt or gloss finishes, accompanied by matching grouts and trims.

With the Matrix collection, Parkside wanted to create a range of colours that would allow the design community to curate co-ordinated looks or mix and match colours to create striking design statements.

The Matrix colours were developed in collaboration with colour consultant Vanessa Konig, who wanted to ensure that they would complement natural materials as well as work across a range of environments; from warm, cosy restaurants and bars to more pared-back, minimalist designs.

Image credit: Parkside Architectural Tiles

The colours range from neutrals and pastels through to brights and jewels with some colours, such as Victoria Purple or Heritage Blue, being particularly on trend. Vanessa comments, “The deep, almost ultramarine, Heritage Blue would team up well with crisp white architectural details, used as you would a paint colour. For example, completely tiling a bathroom space floor to ceiling in this rich, elegant colour.”

Available in 148 x 148mm and 98 x 198mm, every Matrix colour is accompanied by matching straight edge and box trims, as well as grout, allowing the creation of a beautifully coordinated end result in solid colour, or to experiment with striking designs combining contrasting tiles, grouts and trims. Sample boxes are available that include all 23 tile colours, grouts and a selection of trims.

Image credit: Parkside Architectural Tiles

If Matrix doesn’t have the options to meet specific colour requirements for a project, then Parkside’s Design Lab can work to any RAL or Pantone reference for ceramic wall tiles in a variety of sizes. However, with 23 tile, grout and trim colours to choose from, Matrix is a wonderful place to start.

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

Main image credit: Parkside Architectural Tiles

GOING LIVE: Discussing colour & wellbeing with Parkside

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
GOING LIVE: Discussing colour & wellbeing with Parkside

Placing colour and wellbeing under the spotlight, editor Hamish Kilburn will join Parkside Architectural Tiles’ live at 16:00 (BST) today for the virtual panel discussion entitled: Curative Colour: the power to heal (click here to register)…

Parkside Architectural Tiles is hosting a webinar to celebrate the upcoming launch of its new ceramic wall tile collection. Inspiring creativity, Matrix offers a range of 23 colours, accompanied by matching grouts and trims, that will allow the design community to curate co-ordinated looks or mix and match colours to create striking design statements.

Click here to secure your virtual seats in the audience.

Chaired by Joanna Watchman from workinmind.org, experts in wellbeing in the workplace, key designers and industry professionals will discuss how colour can improve wellbeing and be incorporated into thoughtful design. Joining Watchman on the virtual sofa will be Ben Channon, associate architect and head of wellbeing at Assael Architecture; Constantina Tsoutsikou, founder of Studio LOST who will bring a hospitality and public space perspective; Hamish Kilburn, editor, Hotel Designs; and Vanessa Konig, Konig Colours.

The webinar will be recorded and sent out afterwards to all registered attendees. If you have a question in advance for our panel then please pop this in the ‘questions and comments’ box when registering or email the team here.

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

Main image credit: Parkside Architectural Tiles

Hyatt to expand Alila Brand in Americas

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt to expand Alila Brand in Americas

Expected to open in early 2021, Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas will become the brand’s debut new-build resort and will shelter innovative eco-design and authentic destination experiences…

Hyatt has announced plans for the first new-build Alila resort in the Americas, which will be located in Encinitas, Calif., a quintessential beach town in San Diego’s North County Coastal region.

Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas is being designed by San Diego-based Joseph Wong Design Associates with interior design by Mark Zeff Associates. Developed by JMI Realty and Fenway Capital Advisors, the hotel will add to Hyatt’s growing Alila brand portfolio, joining Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort, as the brand’s second hotel in California and the U.S., along with 14 other luxury properties worldwide.

“We are thrilled to announce the development of the first new-build Alila resort in the Americas, marking a significant milestone for Hyatt,” said Susan Santiago, Global Head of Lifestyle and Miraval Operations at Hyatt. “The Alila brand has long been a leader in crafted luxury and responsible tourism, and Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas will embody that same ethos when it debuts in Southern California.”

Situated along coastal bluffs and overlooking Grandview and South Ponto Beaches, Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas will be a luxury oceanfront hotel with 130 guestrooms, including 16 suites. The resort will offer an ocean-view restaurant with rooftop patio, a pool with pool bar and an infinity-edge hot tub, a luxury Spa Alila and spectacular wedding and events venues, all with panoramic Pacific Ocean and lagoon views.

The hotel will seamlessly blend into the bluffs with natural building materials and native plants, delivering on the brand’s reputation of innovative eco-design. With the hotel’s namesake, “Marea,” meaning “tide” in Italian and Spanish, the resort will provide a distinctly Southern California feel, with bespoke experiences inspired by the area’s natural landscape, as well as its vibrant surf and beach culture.

Main image credit: Hyatt/Alila

Mirror, mirror on the wall, how do I meaningfully design reflective surfaces?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Mirror, mirror on the wall, how do I meaningfully design reflective surfaces?

Reflective surfaces mirror a fascination for us all. Whether viewed across a becalmed lake or through an ornate framed reflection over the mantel place they each are seemingly a portal to another world. Designer Peter Mance, the director of MAAPS Design and Architecture, explains…

For interior design, mirrors and reflective surfaces are a material superpower and an integral component of how MAAPS reimagines and designs space.

Once solely a mystical surface and religious metaphor for divine interpretation by Scryers and Soothsayers, mirrors are seemingly a portal to another world. As such, reflection continues to carry a residual sense of visual mystery, fascination and wonder, whether viewed across a becalmed lake or through an ornate framed mirror above the mantel.

In the context of architecture and interiors, mirrors retain a magical ability to bend, extend, and morph our perception of and our relationship to inhabited space. Hovering between two and three dimensions, and in the fleeting moment of transparency, mimicry, and illusion, one’s imagination and perception of reality both instantly undergo four remarkable kinds of spatial transformation through a looking glass. This is what Plato refers to as a “visual spirit” which zips from the eye to a mirror, is reflected back to the observer’s face, thence to the mirror again, and finally back to the eye…

Compressed History

The first mirrored surfaces recorded are in found in polished artifacts dating back to 600BC. Hero(n) of Alexandria (15 to 75AD), a Greek mathematician and engineer who invented the steam engine, extols the many virtues and practical applications of refraction and reflection in his work of Catoptrica.

His explorations and observations form the philosophical foundations of perception and understanding of visual reality.

Later, and more menacingly, the power of reflected light was deployed in warfare by Anthemius (of Tralles) in ~500AD. Adopting a central hexagonal mirror and an encircling corona to guide the light of the sun to a single point of focus, Anthemius created the “burning” mirror – effectively the first analogue laser capable of incinerating approaching fleets or armies.

Greek explorations seeking answers to the secret of light and perception, and later taken up by Arabic scholars, were lost; then rediscovered and translated into Latin to be studied anew throughout Europe during the Renaissance period. Murano in Italy became the epicentre of glass and subsequently mirror technology during the 15th & 16thC. It is no coincidence that Venetian artisans evolve the highly coveted skill of applying tin backing to glass sheets

As Italy’s economic dominance wains during the 17thC, France’s unrelenting desire to acquire the secrets of mirrors finally succeeds when three Murano masters are bribed and transported into France. The Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles is the first dramatic spatial expression of this transfer of knowledge and breaks the Venetian monopoly of this magical surface. The captured technology of mirror making is here wielded by the Sun King as a regal platform, reflecting and multiplying the ornate splendour of this spectacular room and the expansive gardens beyond – representing a kingdom of infinite opulence.

Public/private view

Mirrors in a public place provide a collective shared view and simultaneous private view. We are constantly intrigued, anticipating what may happen consciously when these parallel views states and individual perceptions of realities collide. A tantalising, fractured kaleidoscope of splintered shards of illusionary reality are experienced as space and time are transformed by these glamourous and beguiling surfaces.

Humankind are one of the few species that can intellectually comprehend reflection and identify ourselves in a reflection. It is interesting to note that we often describe our internal mental landscape and moods using outward spatial perceptions – to reflect, to gain a sense of perspective.

The mirror is a unique facet of a noetic experience within the places in which we dwell and inhabit. Providing an internalised realm of calm meditation of what we see. Sometimes pleasurable, occasionally surprising or reassuring, often strangely disconcerting, the act of catching oneself in a reflective surface is so fundamental to our continual assessment of ourselves. The viewer, through their observation is necessary reflected, and the conscious moment of evaluation, place, and time, is instant.

Use in space

Designing with mirrors is to invite a space to transform and open. The use of a large statement mirror can make a small room appear much larger than it is, particularly if the mirror encompasses an entire wall, is placed in a central location, or even if it is shaped like a window to create the illusion of openness and space beyond.

Image caption: Jewel Hotel Guestroom, New York | Image credit: MAAPS/RHA

Depending on the size, shape, placement, and ornamentation of a mirror, it can serve a variety of different aesthetic and functional purposes in an architectural or interior setting. Mirrors can act as spatial camouflage, layering, collapsing, and disrupting the passage of light.  Within interiors mirrors can be considered as deliberate object, or as a mass surface, a portal, or as a focusing device.

Glancing views providing anticipation of approaching spaces, providing visual intrigue and pull, a sense of discovery, and self-animated movement. Mirrors positioned close to the line of the ceiling visually appropriate illusionary volumes and breath into the implied space beyond.

Image caption: Mirage installation for Hungary’s 2014 Sziget Music Festival | IMage credit: Studio Nomad

Ultimately, mirrors possess a chameleon quality and can dramatically transform a built space, where an interior either expands or dissolves and our visual experience of perception is shifted. Whether mirrors serve to accentuate an existing interior, lead you visually through to another space, tease and stimulate our curiosity, keep the imagination engaged, or simply to characterise a newly built space, they are versatile devices and instruments of light.

Mirrors in bathroom

Image caption: The Infiniti Bathroom | Image credit: MAAPS

Therefore, it is only natural as designers that we want to celebrate reflection within the interior as both a quality of physical and mental space. In a constrained bathroom, 900mm wide, we played the Infiniti game and applied mirrors to directly opposing surfaces. The smallest room transforms into a meditative space for expansive contemplation.

Sir John Soane’s Museum

Soane’s s use of light and mirrors is perhaps the most captivating aspect of the museum interior for us. Many of the principle rooms are delightfully augmented and subtly rendered with natural lighting effects and carefully positioned mirrors. Perhaps seen to greatest effect in the Library, Dining Room and Breakfast Room.

Soane’s use of light is a distinctive and consistent trait of his architecture and interiors. He produced complex, multi-layered effects with light and shade by innovatively deploying forms and structure to marshal the play of light. Creatively implementing devices, still in use today, such as top-lighting, strategically aligned mirrored surfaces and vistas, along with coloured glass to transform the experience of the spaces he designed.

Soane’s spatial techniques were instrumental and one of the contextual sources of inspiration for our use of mirrors with the guestrooms at Club Quarters Lincoln’s Inn Fields hotel.

Mirrors in modern guestroom

Image caption: Club Quarters, Lincoln’s Inn Fields Alumni Guestroom | Image credit: MAAPS

Perception of light

Lebbeus Woods’ notes on “Measuring Light” (April 30, 2012) are apposite when considering our relationship and engagement with the reflected self. As with Sir John Soane, it is the handling of light that is important. “Light is a natural phenomenon the complexity of which reveals the structure of human consciousness. Objects, including building, in their absorption and reflection of light stimulate a human’s neural networks, in effect activating the brain. The more complex and nuanced the stimulation the more the brain comes to life. Shape, edge, texture, colour, shadow, highlight – play with and against one another – effectively enable the brain to make the most subtle distinctions, thereby imbuing human experiences with a richness and complexity that defines it… the perception of light is central.”

The mirror can therefore be viewed as an instrument that reveals the presence of light and therefore giving it a precise measure and place in our conception of interior space. As designers for Zoffini we have taken to heart Woods’ sensibilities of light and aligned it with Anthemius’ articulated mirror instrument to create our own variant of a “Shift Mirror”. Breaking the reflected surface, to redirect light, and to offer an altered sense of perspective.

Image caption: Shift Mirror, Crown Mirror, and Sutton Fire Surround for Zoffini | Image credit: MAAPS

In conclusion, it is not at all surprising that we have come to appreciate the mirrored surface as such a wonderful and adaptive material in the world of design. The mirror is an oddly passive, introspective, intrusive, and energetic surface. Not just because it reflects the environments and people around it, but because by the very nature of its reflective quality transforms the way we see the world that surrounds us.

Though we may have rationally put away all mystical metaphors, mirrors will remain analogous with the stuff of magic and imagination – from mirrors on walls used by manipulative stepmothers to joining Alice with her Looking Glass portal to step through into a different world.

Written and pondered while listening too: The Beat – ‘Mirror in the Bathroom’, Benjamin Britten – ‘Narcissus from Six Metamorphoses after Ovid’, Need For Mirrors – ‘Reverie’, Maurice Ravel – ‘Miroirs III’, Harold Budd – ‘The Serpent in Quicksilver’, Bomb The Base – ‘So Special (Toob’s Special Special Mix), John McCarthy & Ken Currie, BBC Something Understood (06/03/2016) – ‘On Reflection’; Reading Mark Pendergrast – Mirror Mirror, Lebbeus Woods blog notes from Slow Manifesto, Jonathan Miller – On Reflection, Stefan Buzas & Richard Bryant – Sir John Soane’s Museum, Team Yellowtrace – Mesmerising Mirrors in Art & Architecture, David Hockney – Secret Knowledge… at home.

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

Main image credit: David Hockney – Viewers Looking at a Ready-Made with Skull and Mirrors

UPDATE: Sleep & Eat goes virtual for 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
UPDATE: Sleep & Eat goes virtual for 2020

This year’s Sleep & Eat, which was due to physically take place at Olympia London in November, will now happen in a virtual format…

The highly anticipated Sleep & Eat event, which year-on-year welcomes designers, architects and suppliers from across the UK and Europe, has announced that the 2020 event will go ahead, but in a slightly different format.

Instead of being sheltered inside Olympia London, the event will now be rebranded as Sleep & Eat Virtual 2020, following the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement, the organisers said: “For 15 years Sleep & Eat has been the place where the hospitality design community connects, and we understand the importance of this in the current climate. With Sleep & Eat Virtual we are excited to create an event which will enable the industry to continue to gain inspiration, source new products, expand their knowledge and network with contacts old and new.” 

Uniquely, Sleep & Eat Virtual 2020 will also co-locate virtually with Decorex with the aim to bring the industry together on November 3 – 5. This co-location is said to offer new and exciting opportunities for both events, which will attract new audiences.

“For the industry to bounce back quickly there is a real need for us to come together in 2020 and discuss our future,” said Sleep & Event Director, Mark Gordon. “There is still a huge desire for the industry to be united, to be inspired, share knowledge, and spark planned and ad-hoc conversations. Sleep & Eat Virtual will give all the opportunity to achieve this and we are very excited.”

Main image credit: Sleep & Eat

Technology talk with Technological Innovations Group

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Technology talk with Technological Innovations Group

Following lengthy debates regarding technology that took place at Hotel Designs LIVE, editor Hamish Kilburn caught up Technological Innovations Group’s Director of Hospitality, Leisure and Retail (EMEA) Christophe Malsot…  

Technological Innovations Group (TIG) was the headline sponsor of Hotel Designs LIVE, the new one-day virtual conference that was born out of the idea to keep the industry connected and talking during the pandemic.

Following my address to the audience of designers, architects, hoteliers and developers, I took five minutes ahead of going live to the first seminar of the day to speak to the brand’s Director of Hospitality, Leisure and Retail (EMEA), Christophe Malsot. In the quick-fire interview, I wanted to know more about the TIG ‘ecosystem of solutions’, understand how its meeting new demands of modern travellers and users as well as understanding Malsot’s view on where technology in hospitality is heading.

Hamish Kilburn: Christophe, in a sentence, what does Technological Innovations Group (TIG) do?

Christophe Malsot: We are an EMEA sales agency offering an ecosystem of brands at the forefront of leading-edge technology development – we provide a full range of AV, UC, IT and control solutions that work together to create superior smart spaces that transform your future!

HK: Your vision is to create smart spaces that transform the future. Define a smart space?

CM: Smart Spaces connect people and technology in new ways: they add real value and are created with the latest AV/UC solutions that work together seamlessly to provide a convenient, efficient and secure user experience. 

The term refers to a space that uses Internet of Things to connect every device with a simple, intuitive and user-friendly control solution. This significantly enhances the customer experience, and increases their loyalty to you.

For example, hosting a large group seminar or conference is easier than ever before. Guests will be impressed by the ease with which they can run their presentation and control the technologies in the room. Wireless presentation systems offer flexibility, enabling guests to stream uncompressed video from any laptop or mobile device, with just the touch of a button. Hosts can enjoy full control over the lighting, shades, temperature, and audio volume in the room through a simple touch screen. With cost-effective and energy-efficient technologies such as occupancy sensors and room scheduling software, the lighting and AV systems automatically shut down when the room is empty. And any system troubles can be remotely solved.

HK: On your website, you mention that TIG is an eco-system of solutions for smart spaces, can you explain what you mean by this?

CM: At TIG, we work hard to push the boundaries of technological integration for Smart Spaces. We offer a solutions-based approach to your current and future needs. There is no ‘one size fits all’, so our portfolio includes solutions that complement one another to create bespoke experiences. Our biggest technology provider is Crestron, and Crestron always sits at the heart of our ecosystem. But the other brands we represent work together to perfectly complete the desired user experience!

To help people understand how our ecosystem works, we have actually just launched a new Virtual Experience Space on our website, where visitors can see smart space examples, which demonstrate how the technologies integrate.

Our portfolio includes beautiful control hardware, AV and electricity remote management, applications and software, room booking, and furniture designed to fit in perfectly with specific technologies, making meeting rooms sleek and stylish.

“Technology will be a game changer for the hotel industry in a post-pandemic world.” – Christophe Malsot, Director of Hospitality, Leisure and Retail (EMEA), TIG.

HK: How has tech become more relevant since Covid-19?

CM: Technology will be a game changer for the hotel industry in a post-pandemic world, as it helps to cater to new habits and a different user experience.

“Customers will expect more technology to reduce the risk of contamination.” – Christophe Malsot, Director of Hospitality, Leisure and Retail (EMEA), TIG.

The hospitality industry will need to offer more contactless, but still very personalised, experiences for guests. For instance, their own smartphones will be used to manage most things, such as check in and check out, to open their room, control their environment and entertainment (Audio/Video), and get in touch with the staff or the concierge… with or without app downloading! Crestron uses QR code flashing to provide a beautiful HTML 5 layout on the phone or tablet.

Hotels need to review their existing service offerings so as to adapt to the changes in customer experience. Customers will expect more technology to reduce the risk of contamination. In order to maintain social distancing, virtual hotel tours will help to introduce the different spaces, and solutions will indicate the occupancy, availability and cleanliness status of the common areas such as gyms, restaurants, bars… For example, in meeting rooms and lobbies, expect to see fewer chairs and digital information about the last time they were used/cleaned.

Restaurants in hotels may start using contactless delivery for in-room-dining and digital menus… Paper will disappear!

HK: From a tech perspective, what will be the biggest change/evolution post-pandemic?

CM: The move to contactless control. For example, upon entering the hotel, the doors may open automatically, before you enter the elevator, you might tell it where you’d like to go with your voice, rather than pressing the many buttons. When you reach your room, you can enter with your smartphone instead of a key and sensors will turn the lights on…

Also, inside the guestrooms the learning curve must be close to zero… if you spend the whole evening understanding how the room works, you become frustrated. It needs to be quick and touchless for the guest to remain loyal.

These are just the changes the guest will see. Less noticeable in the post-coronavirus hotel would be more frequent cleaning policies, antimicrobial properties woven into fabrics and materials, amped-up ventilation systems, or even the addition of UV lights for more thorough disinfecting of the common areas at night.

Due to the reduction of travel and the increased usage of videoconferencing, the meeting rooms will have to provide an element of remote communication as well. TIG offers advanced remote collaboration tools from Hoylu.

HK: In a sentence, what’s the biggest innovation in technology in hotel design right now?

For a long period guests were able to find services they did not have in their home like international channels. Nowadays, hotel clients and international travellers have everything they need at home and they want to find the same experience in the guestroom. This means that BYOD connection is especially important. Hoteliers have to provide guests with the capacity to use their own devices to control the TV, to manage presentations in the meeting room, to connect to playlists for music, and communication apps such as Zoom, Teams… this is now a must have!

The perfect user experience will come from ergonomics and, to provide a perfect integration, the technology systems need to be built into the hotel’s design from the very beginning. Having the right networks (Electricity and IP) in place is hugely important! This is the only way to guarantee the perfect guest and staff experience.

Main image credit: Technological Innovations Group

The sleep brand that has provided quality solutions for decades

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The sleep brand that has provided quality solutions for decades

Silentnight Group is the home of the most trusted sleep brands in the bed industry, including Silentnight, the UK’s leading sleep brand and Sealy, the largest bed brand in the world. Sales Director David Lawernson explains more…

We, Silentnight Group, have been providing quality sleep solutions for the hospitality market for decades. During that time the UK Hospitality and contract market has been serviced by Silentnight Group via licence agreements with Sealy and Serta, one of the world’s leading hospitality sleep providers.

Cozy bedroom

Image credit: Silentnight Group

Our approach to innovation and sustainability has meant that new brands can now be launched which will target specific markets in the world of Hospitality with benefit led, functional sleep solutions. Developed with the client and sleeper in mind, across a portfolio of trusted brands. Silentnight Group are on a mission to help everyone get a great night’s sleep in the world of hospitality.

“Our awareness of the latest industry developments and maintaining a focus on quality, and a market leading customer service position, deliver true quality to our customers and clients.”

Through our trusted brands, expertise and scientifically proven products, we provide the right sleep solution for every hospitality occasion, whether it is a hotel, hostel, student accommodation, or the private rental sector. We also have IMO accreditation for marine based projects.

By constantly researching the science of sleep, through our in-house sleep researchers and partnership with the University of Central Lancashire we remain at the peak of sleep innovation. Our awareness of the latest industry developments and maintaining a focus on quality, and a market leading customer service position, deliver true quality to our customers and clients throughout their entire experience of working with Silentnight Group.

We recycle an incredible 90 per cent of the waste produced across our sites, for a more efficient, resourceful and responsible manufacturing process.  To ensure that we meet our stringent objectives and divert waste from landfills, all of our wood, foam quilt, foam-free quilt, paper and card, polythene film and metal waste go to local and national recycling companies.  However, we are not resting on our laurels and expect to be at 100 per cent by the end of 2020.

Black and white image of bed mattress filling

Image credit: Silentnight Group

We comply with the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) – a government-led energy assessment scheme that requires us to audit the energy-use on all of our buildings to improve external conditions for people and wildlife.  This helps us identify cost-effective energy-saving opportunities, as well as significantly reducing our carbon footprint.  This process has resulted in us ascertaining our Carbon Neutral status.

The Silentnight Group has also officially been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).  This ensures that the timber or fibre used in the divans and headboards comes from responsible sources, where trees harvested are replaced or allowed to regenerate naturally. Looking after the planet is the responsibility of us all, and we’re proud to play our part which is why we were also very proud to be the first bed company to be accredited under the Furniture Industry Sustainability Programme (FISP) – which aims to improve the furniture industry’s sustainability credentials.

When you buy from a Silentnight Group brand (including Sealy UK), you can do so in the complete confidence that the materials used have been replenished in an environmentally-friendly way, be it from how we source our raw materials to how we recycle any waste or old returned beds.

When manufacturing the beds, we respect the time-honoured lessons of traditional bed and mattress making, combined with innovation and new technology to deliver a product that offers the best of both worlds.

“Hygiene, cleanliness, fire retardancy and functionality are just as important as the comfort and support of a bed.”

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, there is a real need for hospitality properties to be able to demonstrate its cleanliness to customers and suppliers, now more than ever, need to step up and support the industry. Our innovation and new product development is very much focused on this. Hygiene, cleanliness, fire retardancy and functionality are just as important as the comfort and support of a bed and ours are provided by a team of hospitality bed industry experts. The products are also tested at the on-site state-of-the-art testing laboratory that is independently accredited and indeed is one of only ten SATRA and ISO: 9001 accredited labs in the UK. This ensures that each and every purchase from the Silentnight Group can be trusted, safe and procured in the knowledge that it comes from an ethical organisation that manufactures in a sustainable way from a team that endeavour to make the process as simple as possible whilst aiming to provide 100 per cent user satisfaction.

As home to the UK’s leading bed and mattress manufacturers, we are committed to working to the highest standards, and you can trust that our products are clean, safe and durable. This is how we deliver total peace of mind to all of our hospitality partners and their customers.

Main image credit: Silentnight Group

STAY luxury accomodation

FEATURE: How ‘hometels’ and long-term stays will thrive

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: How ‘hometels’ and long-term stays will thrive

The extended stay portion of the lodging business continues to see strong demand. But are extended stay brands doing enough to keep up with travellers’ evolving tastes and needs? Editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to Sam Ghosh, Vice President at STAY

A few weeks ago, during Hotel Designs LIVE, former presenter of The Gadget Show Jason Bradbury boldly told me that the hotel model as we know it will change forever in the post-pandemic world.

STAY luxury accomodation

With this in mind, I caught up with Sam Ghosh, who is the Vice President of STAY, a residential brand offering serviced apartments in iconic and well-connected locations that shelters the comforts and convenience of home, while combining the luxuries of a boutique hotel. With the recent opening of STAY Camden and with new properties on the horizon, Ghosh seemed like an apt person to speak to in order to understand the ever-evolving needs and demands of modern travellers.

Image caption: (Left) Sam Ghosh, Vice President, STAY. (Right) Image credit: STAY Camden

Image caption: (Left) Sam Ghosh, Vice President, STAY. (Right) Image credit: STAY Camden

Hamish Kilburn: Hi Sam! So, we have identified that there’s a growing accommodation trend of ‘hometels’, but how does STAY fit within this landscape?

Sam Ghosh: STAY is the residential brand from LABS Collective. Located in Hawley Wharf, STAY residences cater to extended stays offering access to LABS flexible workspaces, which is particularly beneficial for business travellers. The design led  apartments are created to optimise sleep, productivity, and play, ideal for the mobile workforce. 

STAY is a brand that was born with the hybrid ethos in mind – rooms are complete with kitchens with considered design. Guests can also enjoy a concierge service, housekeeping, and premium facilities such as access to a gym. Residents are actively encouraged to make use of the generous communal areas plus it’s on the doorstep of one of London’s most exciting new developments, Hawley Wharf, when it opens in late 2020.

As we emerge out of lockdown, we’re actually seeing a higher demand for serviced apartment living and flexible office space strengthening. Hawley Wharf offers this cautious half step between home and returning full time to offices. Cutting out the commute with STAY and offering a variety of community areas and programming in LABS, we are providing room for people to feel comfortable together again. With careful safety and hygiene adaptations to the space we are creating a comfortable environment for people to re-socialise and feel part of a community.

HK: Can you explain the design scheme inside a STAY property? 

SG: The head of architecture and design for LABS Collective, Yaara Gooner, is the creative eye behind our carefully designed spaces. She leads a team of dedicated in-house designers and architects that magically transform our properties, whether LABS workspaces or STAY residences, to create hubs of enterprise, designed for wellbeing, productivity, and growth. 

The design of STAY Camden holds the need for our long-term guests to relax, work and entertain. Each apartment has been designed to provide superior comfort to each guest, created by combining natural materials, including marble, stone and natural oak with soft furnishings and brass touches. The majority of our furniture has been sourced by Menu, a Scandinavian design brand providing a distinct Nordic influence across the property. 

Within the communal areas, plants also complement the warm colour palette. Nature is imperative to our design process and plants are used for their aesthetic quality and ability to increase productivity, memory retention and decrease stress. They’re also fundamental to creating safe and healthy spaces for our guests and members. Owing to their air purifying qualities we have selected greenery for our public spaces, known to absorb 75 per cent of airborne pollutants. 

Luxury room

Image credit: STAY Camden

HK: Can you tell us more about the new safety measures in place?

SG: As a business, our first priority is always the safety and wellbeing of our staff, members and guests and new standards have been incorporated into LABS Collective’s shared workspaces and serviced apartment environments. The measures in place remain so long as the threat of COVID-19 does, but also inform our strategic approach to design and operations in the long term. STAY Camden in fact remained open and operational since the pandemic began, accepting new bookings for guests seeking mid to long term accommodation, prioritising those categorised as key workers or those displaced from their primary place of residence. 

We have gone above and beyond the recommended Government guidelines, elevating our standards to ensure that members and guests can enjoy our spaces with total confidence and to support the wellbeing of our whole community. As an example, at Hawley Wharf, Camden where LABS members and STAY guests share the same entrance, visitor screenings are in operation on arrival as well as one-way systems to ensure seamless movement throughout the building for all.

For our STAY residences, we have totally reworked our guest protocols to translate the best practices in safety and hygiene standards to the apartments whilst providing comfortable accommodation that feels like home. These new measures include reduction of touch points across STAY’s three apartment buildings, including the use of a digital link to pay instead of the regular chip and pin machine, and digitising the guest registration form to reduce the proximity of interaction needed at the time of guest check-in.

A barrier spray is applied to all furniture that provides long term coverage to kill pathogens on contact. Upon guest check out, the apartments receive a 48 hour deep clean, including the use of Pro Zone machines to cleanse the air and eliminate bacteria. In preparation for new arrivals a ‘seal of reassurance’ will be applied to the front door of each apartment. Guests will have to physically break the seal to enter the apartment, safe in the knowledge it hasn’t been entered into after a deep clean.

“We also know that people are desperate for interaction after such a long time working at home.” – Sam Ghosh, Vice President, STAY.

HK: You mention an increase in the demand of guests/members wanting to use the Hawley Wharf campus due to the LABS and STAY offering. Are you doing anything further to aid this flexibility of working and living?

SG: With many central London offices remaining shut into the Autumn and beyond, we know that businesses are looking for shorter obligations and for safe spaces to bring their workforce back in comfort in residential zones. We also know that people are desperate for interaction after such a long time working at home.

Recognising the important part that flexible workspaces are playing in this transition to normality, LABS and STAY have launched a new membership which offer a cautious half-way step between working from home and returning fully to the office. Residential spaces like STAY which allow access to LABS flexible workspaces cut out the commute and the vast community areas provide ample room for people to feel comfortable together again. The STAY at LABS membership starts at £2,425 a month and includes a one bedroom apartment at STAY Camden and a Roaming membership providing access to all LABS workspaces. 

We are also working to put additional measures in place across all our LABS spaces in London where we have on-site provisions (such as showers and bike storage) for those walking and cycling to work. To support entrepreneurs and start-ups returning to the workplace successfully, LABS has set up a new incubator initiative which provides discounted office space for qualifying small businesses. Initiatives like this will be integral to a future generation of thriving companies and talent.

Main image credit: STAY Camden

Meet the team behind hotel design community, Design Equals

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Meet the team behind hotel design community, Design Equals

With a unique model based on bringing a network of creatives together, Design Equals is a community transforming hotel interiors. BAHA in The Lake District is just one of many examples…

Founder Katie McCarthy has an extensive career history including a long stint as Interior Design Director at The Resort Group. Here, she managed projects such as Midland Hotel, The Grosvenor, Michelin Star boutique hotel Hampton Manor and several 5-star resorts in Cape Verde.

With a lifelong ambition to operate her own design studio combined with a deep passion for supporting up and coming creatives, she founded Design Equals in December 2018 from her kitchen table.

With a uniquely holistic approach to interior design for hospitality and residential industries, Katie and her team exist to implement the power of design to make a business-critical difference. Katie said: “I founded Design= to capitalise on the freelance design community which in and around the UK, is incredibly talented and diverse.

“We believe that making interior spaces look fabulous is just the beginning; the end result should be nothing less than a transformed and multi-sensory customer experience, delivering your desired commercial outcome.

“We blend exceptional experience, deep knowledge and a wealth of resources to solve our clients’ business challenges. We back this up with dedicated support at every stage of every project. We are here to help you maximise your profitability and grow your business.”

One of the team’s first project after being founded is a fond memory and now, a huge success story.

Bar and restaurant BAHA. The team transformed a local bar in the Lake District to a must visit destination which jaw dropping interior, reflective of its surroundings with a modern twist and the ability to transition its atmosphere as the day goes on.

Floral eye-catching wallcovering in pink restaurant

Image caption: Asian Fusion restaurant, BAHA in the Lake District designed by Design Equals.

The business, BAHA, now boasts a unique offering of Asian Fusion food in surroundings you would expect to find in the heart of London. However, it is in the centre of Bowness-on-Windermere, a town usually known for its glacial ribbon lakes, rugged fell mountains and historic literary associations.

McCarthy said; “The concept for BAHA came from its surroundings. The Lake District is renowned for magical tales, wildlife and beautiful landscapes. We wanted to capture this whimsical feel with a modern twist for BAHA. Something quirky and fun you would find in a bustling city with a nod to the culture and heritage of the local area. The venue has three floors and offers everything from casual drinks to dining and events and the interior is suitable for each cycle of the day, from morning coffees to late, lively evenings.”

“Design Equals’ vision for us allowed us to be unique and different from the typical Lake District bar or restaurant which can be a little dated,” said owner Owner Stephen Hargreave. “We knew if we were to create a fresh exciting place to go in the lakes with good music and great food – creating the best atmosphere – then tourists, locals and passing trade would be drawn to us. Since the refurbishment we’ve seen an increase in footfall by 25 per cent.”

Birds and nature inspired interiors in restaurant

Image caption: The creative and characterful interiors inside BAHA, designed by Design Equals.

McCarthy added: “Since the start of our journey as Design Equals, we have been fortunate enough to work on some great hospitality projects.

“Working with Design= means joining the creative community that is right for your project.  A community in which everyone, supports each other through the good and the bad – and feels empowered to deliver the best outcome for you.”

Finding the right creative design solutions for you is the essence of everything we do: inspiring our community of professionals, making the difference every client desires, so you get a single source of outstandingly creative interior design solutions.

At Design = we blend exceptional experience, deep knowledge and a wealth of resources to solve our clients’ business challenges. We back this up with dedicated support at every stage of every project. We are here to help you maximise your profitability and grow your business.

To speak to the team about transforming your vision visit www.designequals.co.uk.

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

Image credit: Design Equals

Rosewood brand to arrive in Spain in 2021 as part of European expansion

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Rosewood brand to arrive in Spain in 2021 as part of European expansion

The iconic Hotel Villa Magna in Madrid is, in 2021, to become the first hotel in Spain to operate under Rosewood Hotels & Resorts…

Following the group’s recent announcement to take over Le Guanahani in St. Barth, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts has been selected by RLH Properties to manage the iconic Hotel Villa Magna in Madrid, Spain.

The hotel, which is situated in the heart of Madrid, on the revered Paseo de la Castellana, will  become Rosewood Hotels & Resorts’ first property in Spain and the fourth operation in Europe, where the group is sensitively expanding into other prime locations.

The beloved property will debut as Rosewood Villa Magna following a refurbishment, during which the property will remain open, that will incorporate a contemporary design, displaying an inspired interpretation of Spain’s capital city.

Exterior of Hotel Villa Magns

Image credit: Hotel Villa Magns

The hotel is centrally located, immediately neighbouring the prestigious Serrano shopping district, and other well-known nearby landmarks such as the Golden Triangle of Art, home to the Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza and Reina Sofía Museums. Villa Magna is currently closed as a precautionary measure due to COVID-19 and will reopen on September 1, 2020 operating independently until Rosewood assumes management once the refurbishment works have come to an end towards late 2021.

“As one of the world’s most alluring cultural capitals, Madrid is an ideal destination in which to raise the Rosewood flag, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to join together with our valued partners at RLH to breathe new life into one of the city’s most prolific properties, Villa Magna,” said Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group.  “A mecca for arts, culture and cuisine that perfectly balances the old with the new, Madrid offers the perfect canvas for our guiding A Sense of Place philosophy. We look forward to bringing our differentiated approach to ultra-luxury hospitality to Spain with this special hotel.”

With a refreshed contemporary sense of style and service that speaks to today’s travellers, Rosewood Villa Magna will feature 150 thoughtfully appointed guestrooms and suites, distinct dining experiences and an inspired Sense, A Rosewood Spa.

“The iconic Villa Magna plays an important part in Madrid’s history, and as such we are proud to embark on this new journey with our exceptional team at the Villa Magna and together with Rosewood Hotel Group towards enhancing this unique asset that enjoys an irreplaceable location and taking it to the next level of luxury. We are excited to add our third Rosewood property to the RLH portfolio, alongside sister resorts Rosewood Mayakoba in Riviera Maya, Mexico and the upcoming Rosewood Mandarina in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico,” said Borja Escalada, CEO of RLH Properties.

Rosewood Villa Magna will add to Rosewood’s network of distinctive European properties, which currently includes Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco in Tuscany, Rosewood London and Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel in Paris.  Additional properties set to open within the next three years include Rosewood Vienna (2022), Rosewood Munich (2023), Rosewood Venice (2023) and Rosewood Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London (TBD).

Main image credit: Hotel Villa Magna

Lighting Case Study: Designing The Bristol

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Lighting Case Study: Designing The Bristol

The 65-key hotel The Bristol, designed by Earl Swensson Associates (ESa), has a unique lighting story that includes specified pendants and chandeliers by Hudson Valley Lighting Group

The Bristol was born in 2015 when a commercial office building with historical character was marked for demolition. The Charlestowne Hotels group acquired it, hiring ESa (Earl Swensson Associates) to redesign and restore it, developing the eight-story brick building into a 65-key hotel.

Bristol is a town on the border of Virginia and Tennessee, and is commonly recognised as the birth place of country music: In 1927, Ralph Peer of Victor Records went out there to record some folks by the names of The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. The rest is history. That’s why the address of the The Bristol is 510 Birthplace of Country Music Way. With such an eclectic location and history, The Bristol was going to have to incorporate those influences into its design.

Luxury lighting in a residential style suite

Image credit: The Bristol Hotel/HVLG

The designers from ESa gathered together various pictures and mood boards that evoked the look and feel they were hoping to achieve and shared them with their HVLG source. The brand’s dedicated contract and hospitality representative in the area had a long-standing relationship with the lead designers, as well as a deep familiarity with the product.

As one of the standard products selected, Hudson Valley Lighting’s Humphrey pendants and chandeliers adorn many of the rooms. HVL’s contemporary classic feel meant these fixtures look as at home in the brand new rooms as they may have in the flourishing Art Deco period when the building was first constructed. Providing the ambient layer of light, these exquisite fixtures also contributed to a higher level of decorative sophistication for the space.

Corbett fixtures also enhance visitors’ experience; with their impressive scale and hand-applied leaf finishes, which the brand often says of its Corbett pieces that they have to be seen in person to be believed.

Additionally, the HVLG Contract Custom team got to work on designing a few special pieces, such as pendants for The Bristol’s awesome rooftop hangout, chandeliers for its banquet room, and a series of sconces for its conference room area. ESa reviewed initial drafts of the designs and made some adjustments. Once they were completely happy with the plan, the lighting brand proceeded to build these one-of-a-kind fixtures on time and on budget.

Sitting eight stories up in a town without a lot of high-elevation buidings, The Bristol’s special rooftop relaxation zone, Lumac, has a beautiful view of the surrounding environs — the painted brick sides of old buildings, the nearby hills, twinkling downtown lights, and the town’s charming entry gate. Originally built in the twenties, the whole thing feels almost like something out of a Baz Luhrmann film, with a distinct slice of heartwarming Americana. HVLG designed a custom outdoor pendant for this beautiful rooftop bar area, adding to its singular charm.

The Bristol Hotel is a good example of how HVLG can be your one-stop shop for a hospitality lighting project. Combining world-class standard product from across its four distinct brands (Corbett and Hudson Valley in this case) with custom pieces, the lighting specialists were able to satisfy this project’s requirements while providing lighting that elevated the environment.

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

Main image credit: Hudson Valley Lighting Group

Monkey Island Estate opens private residences

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Monkey Island Estate opens private residences

The six new private residences open at Monkey Island Estate in Bray amid post-pandemic luxury consumer demands expecting a surge of self-isolated escapes… 

YTL Hotels’ Monkey Island Estate, which Hotel Designs reviewed shortly after it opened last year, has unveiled six new private residences.

Endearingly named to reflect their individual nature, the residences blend classic style and the warmth of a period home with contemporary and luxury comfort, each with its own intriguing history and story to tell. Guests staying in the residences can enjoy the freedom, space and privacy of staying with loved ones, whilst taking advantage of the hospitality and services of the hotel, just a stone’s throw away.

The residences

Long White Cloud is an embodiment of homely elegance, where Edward Elgar is known to have stayed and composed some of his greatest works.  More recent residents include Formula One racing legend, Sir Stirling Moss. The magnificent 19th Century property has four large bedroom suites accompanied by an impressive kitchen and a charming garden, ideal for alfresco dining in the summer months. Sitting on the banks of the River Thames, Long White Cloud also offers a private pool and jetty, ideal for those who may wish to arrive by boat.

Brook House embodies another spacious offering with four generously sized suites, a lavish living room and a large garden with private outdoor/indoor swimming pool perfect for hot summer afternoons.

Sundial Cottage with its secluded secret garden is quaint yet spacious, steeped in the same exciting history as Monkey Island itself.  Sundial Cottage boasts three gorgeous bedrooms with a kitchen-diner and cosy living room. Those staying in Sundial Cottage will share the same four walls as the famed Sylvia Anderson, the creator of Thunderbirds.

Bray House is a bijou gem just steps away from Bray’s church, offering the ideal country bolthole for those looking to escape the city. The three-bedroom residence has undergone multiple transformations over the years from stable block to cobblers’ shop, antique centre and family home.

Dormer Cottage enchants guests with standout features including wooden beams, a welcoming open fireplace and a dramatic silk-clad wall. The 500-year-old one-bedroom residence offers guests immediate access to the heart of Bray.

Lavender House also sits in the heart of the village offering three bedrooms. With an impressive double fronted cottage façade believed to date back to the early 1700s, the impressive property was once home to several local families in three terraced cottages.

Monkey Island, with its intriguing history dating back 800 years, has been the haunt of monks, monarchs, aristocrats and writers alike. Surrounded by elegant gardens, Monkey Island is accessed only by footbridge, boat or helicopter, offering a secluded country venue, yet is conveniently located less than an hour’s drive from Central London. The addition of the Private Residences offers those who want to enjoy this historic landmark and the delightful village of Bray even more opportunity to do so, in true comfort, style and privacy.

Main image credit: YTL Hotels’ Monkey Island Estate

How hotels are keeping sustainability front and centre

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How hotels are keeping sustainability front and centre

To celebrate sustainability in practice, Hotel Designs asks Paisley Hansen to investigate what hotels are doing today in order to preserve tomorrow…

Everyone strives to be as kind to the environment as they can and hotels are no exception. As a matter of fact, with the amount of traffic they receive, hotels going green has been a significant inspiration for other businesses to follow suit.

To keep up with changing times, hotels have implemented many environmentally-friendly practices.

Utilising the power of the sun

There’s no doubt about it–solar energy is hot. If you’ve ever received a money-saving solar quote, or switched over yourself, you know how well it works. Hotels have made the same choice and decided it’s worth their while to invest in eco-friendly energy sources. Solar power is a no-brainer and it’s smart business to implement it now.

Image credit: Pixabay

Doing less laundry

Years ago when you’d book a hotel, you would get clean sheets and towels each day. Many hotels are now frowning on this wasteful practice, unless you specifically request it. Towels can be left to dry and reused the next day. This uses less water, detergent and saves the hotel money.

Lathering up in Bulk

Remember when you were a kid and hotels had all those fun little amenities? Although people loved to collect miniature bars of soap and tiny shampoo bottles, many hotels have opted to install bulk shampoo and soap dispensers. This is popular in Europe where each shower contains a press container that releases gel to be used as shampoo and body wash. These containers mean less packaging and plastic waste.

Economical lighting solutions

Hotels are changing the way they provide lighting to reduce their carbon footprint. Many have decided to install LED lighting throughout the property. You may also come across motion sensor lights that turn on as you walk down a hallway, much like what you see in a supermarket freezer section. You may even find these upon entering your room, which is a big help if you check in after hours.

Image credit: Pixabay

Watching waste

Many hotels offer a continental breakfast and the patrons love the money they save on a meal. In the past, a lot of trash was generated by the use of paper cups and plates, so now, many hotels use glass dishes and coffee mugs with a tub to collect dirty dishes. This reduces an incredible amount of trash. Hotels are also placing recyclable bins around the property to collect plastic, metal and glass items, so don’t throw them in your regular trash can!

Going Chameleon

In many parts of the world, you’ll find hotels that are virtual chameleons. What this means is that they blend in seamlessly with their surroundings for many specific reasons. These hotels have made a conscious decision not to mar the landscape and instead, keep the area looking pristine. This practice is also animal-friendly as it doesn’t disturb, or interfere, with the rhythm of wildlife in the area.

Recycling water

Along with doing less laundry, more hotels are opting to save water through a process called greywater recycling. This procedure allows lightly used water, such as that used in showers or sinks, to be reused again for non-drinking purposes like irrigation or toilet flushing. Other hotels worldwide also collect and reuse rainwater in much the same manner.

Cleaning with a conscience

All these improvements sound wonderful, but what happens at the hotel when you’re not there? Green practices are now taking place at hotels behind the scenes, as well. That’s where environmentally-friendly cleaning products come into play. Hotels no longer feel that they need to use harsh, caustic chemicals when cleaning rooms. Many products have been developed that are made of lemon, vinegar and plant-based sources that still kill germs and sanitise rooms.

It’s everyone’s responsibility

Environmentally-friendly practices in hotels are becoming the norm, as they well should. From solar energy, to water recycling and protecting natural habitats, looking for better options is everyone’s responsibility. Using hotels as an example, find out how you can live greener in your own home.

Main image credit: Pixabay

Exploring what makes design unique through the rich theatre of life

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Exploring what makes design unique through the rich theatre of life

With ‘Finding your lane’ being a topic that Hotel Designs will explore in the first episode of DESIGNPOD, we asked Samantha Crockett, Director of Harris Jackson Interior Design Studio, what makes her design unique…

Very recently an acquaintance of mine Jacqueline Goddard of Atticus Arts wrote an article for her blog & LinkedIn asking, “What was our USP?”.

It struck a chord with me as, while in lockdown, I have been trying to find a way to differentiate myself from other small Hospitality design studios out there.

What makes me unique in an industry that is saturated by designers that have been through the design school/University system? What can I offer my client that makes me differ from all the rest?

Jacqueline states: “What differentiates us from another is our life’s experiences”. Undoubtedly these experiences will be unique to every individual.  My instinct is that no client can decide whether they want to take on my services unless they can resonate with what I have to say. And by that, I mean, what is behind my passion for hospitality design? Why do I do what I do and how did I get here? What makes me? What makes me an informed designer that will create & inspire. Why should a hotelier approach me to design their hotel, members club, Golf club, show home to name but a few?

Firstly, my love on interiors and design stems back to when as a young child l would build Lego models of my ideal home which then shifted into creating my own interior design projects in sketchbooks, tracing textile designs from Colefax & Fowler and drawing differing scales of pattern to place into a space. This was usually my then minuscule bedroom in my family home in West London. I constantly had my head in a sketchbook drawing and sketching what I saw around me. I wish to this day I had the time to still do this.

However, alongside this love of anything design related was my passion for live performance, theatrical arts and film. I would devour the old black and white films from “To kill a Mockingbird “ to “12 Angry men” to Some like it hot”. I would sing and dance & memorise all the routines from the Hollywood film musicals such as “Oklahoma”, “Oliver “& “Cabaret”. My family would spend spectacular evenings in London to see the latest big musical show that had hit the West End. Even to this day I remember the feeling of excitement as, sitting on those plush red velvet seats, the lights dimmed, and the curtains drew back to reveal stunning sets and characters while the orchestra launched into their overture. Those days of peering over the seat in front, chin resting on hands, stays with me to this day.  That feeling of need to distance my actual surroundings and the story unfolding and the sheer joy that was beheld in that proscenium arch in front of me.

With a mother & grandmother, ballerinas in large scale Ballet productions pre and post war Europe accompanying Anna Pavlova & several other family members working as empresarios, my love of theatre and spectacle was entrenched in my psyche.

Rather than follow the traditional route into Interior design by studying at University or one of the established private schools such as KLC or Inchbald. I followed my heart by studying Set & Costume design combining my 2 passions design & theatre. Whilst studying, my Saturdays were spent working my way round every department of what was then Terence Conran’s Habitat. The interiors bug re-awakened.

What my studies taught me was that at every moment theatrical design has to resonate with the audience, to create an emotional reaction, depict a story, which in turn allowed for a longstanding memory. We had to work with the script to develop the character through setting, costume, texture, colour, sound & light. Create the world in which these characters lived & breathed. I can still recall so many details of the sets from the various productions I saw through the 80’s & 90’s down to the intricate detailing in the handmade period or contemporary costumes created for individual characters. My professional career took me to the worlds of Cole Porter & Bob Fosse musicals as well as French restoration comedies through to 1950’s American comedic theatre. They all have contributed over the years to this wealth of reference and the attention to detail stands me in good stead to this day when specifying the FF&E for projects I have worked and collaborated on.

Theatre is all about working as a team, it is a collaboration. One cannot work without the other. Just like in hospitality interiors. The designer cannot create without the client, the brand, the contractors and ultimately without the final experience that the hotelier/group want to impact on the guest. I learnt how to deal with personalities from directors to lead actors recently moved over from LA to tread the boards after decades of Hollywood film work. One cannot underrate the nerves that even the highest paid performers experience when stepping out onto that stage again. We had to reassure, understand & above all, listen. A skill often forgotten.

So, in hotel design how can we create these memories & experiences that will last a lifetime inspiring the guest to come back for more and how do we translate them into the hotel interior? We, the designer, have to tap into that unseen, sometimes un-describable reaction that we get from a given environment, location or atmosphere. Once we have succeeded, we are creating long lasting memories for hundreds of end users who we hope to entice back for another unforgettable stay.

Image caption: The Clubhouse Shanghai

Not only was my background in design and theatre a pre-cursor to my now passion for hospitality environments. But after graduating a stint in the Sales & marketing of luxury interior products instilled me with a desire to keep learning about innovative products & manufacturing. I learnt about the procurement process, what can be achieved by working alongside suppliers, manufacturers & crafts people to create a given look within a budget. It taught me how to design beautifully bespoke details that run through my work today. A move into Interior design in the early 00’s brought a number of years designing high end residential interiors, but it was always the hotels that drew my attention.

Image caption: The lobby inside St Regis Dubai

With this product knowledge came a sound sense of style and design history. I can be given any brief placed throughout time and place and produce an interior that demonstrates both a correct historical reference point but also empathy. Just imagine walking into a Lobby area where the whole effect takes your breath away! This is not just interior design but pure theatre!

One cannot realistically expect to understand what the client wants in a brand/Interior unless you understand human emotion, desires, ambitions, history, religion and culture. I often write about how important the locality and community are for a boutique hotel brand. Maximising on what is local to the property both geographically and naturally as well as culturally. My many travels and experience of living and working both in the Middle East (Dubai) and Asia (Hong Kong) have introduced me to many distinct and different design styles and cultures. How can I design an authentic space if I have no point of reference? How will my design be believed or resonate with the guest if I have not travelled to or experienced the culture? While designing luxury hotels across Asia I was called on to draw on my expertise in classical European interiors & architecture for a palatial project in Dubai. Whether right or wrong it was my heritage and European education that benefited this collaboration.

Image caption: Conclusion? This is me!

So, when considering what is “my” USP within this exceptional industry and what makes me distinctive, I quote another acquaintance Clare Farthing, business strategy coach, who I have had the pleasure of working with over the last few years: “You are your business”. My USP is my life’s journey and everything that is encompassed within that. No other individual will build on the same training, life experiences and responses. So, when I look back at what I have accomplished it is definitely with a sense of uniqueness that I am what I am and bring to the table a “rich theatre of life”.

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

Main image credit: Harris Jackson Design

Hotel Indigo arrives in Verona

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Indigo arrives in Verona

The 62-key property has stood as one of the most prestigious hotels in Verona for years, and was reopened following an exciting redesign under the Hotel Indigo brand…

IHG’s Hotel Indigo brand currently has 119 properties open globally, and a further 104 in the pipeline. It’s latest unveiling, following a tense lockdown period for the entire industry, is located in the heart of Verona, Italy, a destination that continues to attract travellers from around the world with its links to Shakesphere’s Romeo and Juliet.  

With 62 uniquely designed rooms, Hotel Indigo Verona – Grand Hotel Des Arts draws inspiration from the city’s passion of preserving history. With headboards throughout the bedrooms mimicking the beautifully preserved fresco paintings in the city, and the back panelling in the lobby that plays to the garden of Romeo and Juliet, guests will be able to find nods to the surrounding neighbourhood in the hotel’s design. Red marble native to Verona (Marmo rosso di Verona) throughout the public areas creates an elevated feel of a grand Italian residence – inspired by the most famous love story ever told. Hotel Indigo Verona – Grand Hotel Des Arts is a beautiful tribute to the city it calls home. 

Right when you enter, the reception area combines two elements that characterise the city: The Arena and the Shakespeare theatre. The architecture draws inspiration from the theatrical facades, its draperies, the arches of the Arena, and Juliet’s terrace. The Arena in Verona is a Roman amphitheatre built in the 1st century and is one of the best conserved amphitheatres in Italy. Made up of 44 levels holding up to 22,000 spectators, it is still used today and is internationally famous for hosting some of the world’s most spectacular large-scale opera performances.

“We are very proud to announce the renovation and reopening of Hotel Indigo Verona – Grand Hotel Des Arts, thanks to our affiliation with IHG and the Hotel Indigo brand of boutique hotels in the chain, commented Luca Boccato, CEO of HNH Hospitality Group. “This new opening joins art, culture and comfort at a top level and is the perfect destination for both Italian and international tourists, thanks to the attractions in Verona. In a difficult moment for our sector, we look toward the future with faith, confident that a good project in such an important location will be a success.”

Image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

Perhaps the quirkiest Shakespearean touch is the meeting rooms named after the duelling families in Romeo and Juliet, Montechhi, and Capuleti. The event spaces are easily adjustable for different uses – conferences and small functions. The hotel also has an onsite bar, Arya Bar & Mixology, with a selection of locally inspired cocktails and nibbles, perfect for guests to have an aperitif and relax after a day exploring the neighbourhood.

Eric Viale, Managing Director, Southern Europe, IHG, added: “With its iconic architecture and historical charm, Verona is the perfect neighbourhood for Hotel Indigo’s unique design and distinctive guest experience. Hotel Indigo Verona – Grand Hotel Des Arts is the fourth location for the brand in Italy, signalling significant interest in boutique, design-led hotels in the region. Partnering once more with HNH Hospitality, we look forward to being part of the tourism recovery in Italy and welcoming guests from across the country and beyond.” 

Image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

Inspired by the neighbourhood around each property, just as no places are alike, no two Hotel Indigo properties are the same. Each Hotel Indigo property features thoughtful design touches and vibrant restaurants and bars connected to the spirit of the local neighbourhood.

Main image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Dean Winter, Managing Director, Swire Hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Dean Winter, Managing Director, Swire Hotels

Following his recent appointment as Managing Director of Swire Hotels, Dean Winter sits down (virtually) with editor Hamish Kilburn to explain the brand’s change of direction…

Swire Hotels, which shelters luxury and lifestyle brands The House Collective and EAST, has recently announced a new Managing Director.

Dean Winter, who first started working with the hotel group in 2006, has more than 25 years’ experience as a hotelier and restaurateur in destinations such as London, Hong Kong and Singapore. Taking over from Toby Smith, who will now sit as Deputy Chairman for the group, Winter’s new role is part of a wider internal restructuring of management for the group with the aim to continue to inspire teams across the brands.

Following his appointment, I caught up with winter.

Hamish Kilburn: Dean, congratulations on your new role! What are you most looking forward to as Managing Director at Swire Hotels?

Dean Winter: People are central to what we do at Swire Hotels – both our guests and our dedicated team members – and their personal satisfaction is a main priority for me. By training our team and then empowering them to make decisions, we enable them to exceed expectations and build personal relationships with guests and other team members.

This dedication to service is core to our ethos at The House Collective and EAST, Hotels and I couldn’t be more excited to continue to support the people and guide the beliefs of a company that I’ve been part of for over a decade.

woman walking down modern staircase

Image credit: The Middle House, Shanghai

HK: How much does the design of the hotel affect the guest experience of Swire Hotels?

DW: Design lies at the heart of Swire Hotels and its brands. First impressions matter to our guests. When you walk into a hotel, its interior design can affect the way you feel and can influence your mood.

Each hotel within The House Collective all have their own identity, which boast some of the best design signatures in the industry. For example, behind The Opposite House’s unique design as an art gallery-inspired hotel there is visionary architect Kengo Kuma, who made our hotel one of Beijing’s hottest spots to visit.

HK: What are the key characteristic differences between Swire Hotels’ brands, The House Collective and EAST?

DW: All our hotels provide an extremely personalised service with each guest treated as a valued individual. The House Collective is all about design-led homes away from home, each with its own identity rooted in the destination, and a spirited, cultural soul. EAST is adapted to the new business traveller experience in destinations like Hong Kong, Beijing and Miami, blurring the line between business and leisure and enabling authentic experiences through art and design. At EAST, creating spaces that effectively accommodate guests at various points of life or of their day is also and important element. Examples of this would be the Domain spaces at our EAST hotels which function as cafés, meeting spaces, co-working zones and early evening bars; Sugar the rooftop bar is a popular nightspot for guests as well as locals and BEAST with well equipped gym, pool and wellness programmes helps keep our guest fit.

HK: Can you give us an overview of Swire Hotels’ commitment to sustainability?

DW: Swire Hotels is committed to making a positive impact on the environment and in order to manifest this change, we start from our people. What we envision is creating a healthy ecosystem of people who embody our values and care about our impact on the environment. We’re always looking to create meaningful initiative across our properties focusing on reducing water wastage, energy savings and better waste management. Some of these initiatives include removal of single-use packaging, amenities made of recyclable or biodegradable materials, paperless check-in and at EAST Miami, we have a smart pump that regulates water pressure throughout the hotel in order to reduce water usage. We are determined to find new ways to improve the sustainability of our properties, for our guests and the community around us. This way, we can continue delivering wonderful experiences not just for right now, but for many years to come.

“We have been taking advantage to accelerate some planned projects for both in terms of rooms and restaurants enhancements or systems development.” – Dean Winter, Managing Director, Swire Hotels

HK: What does 2021 look like for Swire Hotels?

DW: Overall I think everyone will have a more positive attitude towards travelling given how 2020 has unfolded. This year we’re celebrating the 10th Anniversary of EAST Hong Kong with new packages available to book directly from the hotel’s website and The Opposite House exciting new relaunch with the completion of an extensive renovation of the restaurant and bar spaces will have the celebration continue into the new year.

During the recent downtime, we have been taking advantage to accelerate some planned projects for both in terms of rooms and restaurants enhancements or systems development. So there will be more new spaces to reveal in 2021. We have also embarked on an expansion plan to grow both our brands, The House Collective and EAST, through management contracts throughout Asia Pacific and hope to have some announcement in 2021.

HK: Are you able to give us an insight into any new openings?

DW: We do have some evolving plans for new restaurant spaces next year. I’m excited by these opportunities and how we can continue to demonstrate our creativity on what is a core competency for the group.

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
DW:
Montenegro; I’m facinated by the history and the architecture. Followed by a drive along The Adriatic; ideally in a classic sports car!

HK: What’s one item you cannot travel without? 
DW: A great novel!

HK: Can you describe the Swire Hotels ethos in three words?
DW: Innovation, design, people.

HK: How have Swire Hotels and its two brands been preparing to welcome guests back following the health crisis?

DW: The relationship between The House Collective and EAST, Hotels and our guests have always been centred around trust – we are dedicated to providing the best for our guests, and will continue to uphold our standard of service moving forward from this pandemic. We have already been hosting guests from neighbouring cities to our destinations and are looking forward to welcoming guests from all over the world again. We have introduced various prevention and control measures since the very beginning of the health crisis, such as temperature and travel history checks for all guests upon arrival including our staff members, increased frequency of deep cleaning as well as preparing care kits for our guests with hygiene wet wipes, hand sanitiser and face masks.

Main image credit: Swire Hotels

GROHE achieves carbon-neutral production

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
GROHE achieves carbon-neutral production

Achieving carbon-neutral production is an important milestone in GROHE’s 360-degree sustainability strategy, and is now working to ensure that all sales offices are climate-neutral by 2021…

As one of the first leading manufacturers for full bathroom solutions and kitchen fittings, GROHE has now achieved carbon-neutral production, achieving its pledge the brand announced in November 2019, a pivotal milestone in its long-term commitment to sustainability.

“The initiative ties in seamlessly with the numerous measures in our plants that promote the reduction of the carbon footprint and conserve resources. We are very proud to be a pioneer in our industry with GROHE goes ZERO,” said Thomas Fuhr, COO Fittings LIXIL International and CEO of Grohe AG. “And we are directly aiming for the next step: by the end of 2021 we want to make all our sales offices worldwide climate-neutral.”

The initiative also contributes to a central goal of parent company LIXIL’s sustainability strategy, of which GROHE has been a part of since 2014: by 2050, achieve net-zero carbon emissions from housing and lifestyle solutions as well as operations.

In order to achieve its goal of carbon-neutral production, GROHE has been using green electricity since July 2019 at all five LIXIL EMENA production sites, which produce exclusively for the global brand, and in the German logistics centres. In addition, the brand is investing in solar technology, combined heat and power plants, and innovative manufacturing processes such as 3D metal-printing that save materials to ensure they are creating a value chain that conserves resources. In addition, its state-of-the-art dedicated testing laboratory in Hemer coupled with increased recycling of materials is also helping contribute to the steady reduction of its carbon footprint. As a result, GROHE has been able to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by around 40% since the introduction of its 2014 sustainability programme, while at the same time increasing its energy efficiency by 24%. As a result, the original targets of 20% respectively by 2021 have been significantly exceeded ahead of schedule.

To offset any CO2 emissions it has not yet been able to reduce, GROHE provides significant investment into two global compensation projects: operational support of a hydroelectric power plant in India, which eliminates the need for coal-fired power plants, and a project in Malawi, which involves the repair and maintenance of boreholes used for drinking water abstraction.

As part of its carbon strategy, the sanitary brand intends to pursue the proven three-pronged approach of “avoid, reduce, compensate” and increase its energy efficiency every year by its own means, thereby reducing the share of compensation.

GROHE’s approach for a reduction of CO2 in consumers’ everyday lives

GROHE always strives to increase sustainability, not only with regard to its own production but through its intelligent technologies which can also help consumers to minimise their personal carbon footprint:

#1: Saving energy starts at the wash basin

Eco-conscious products designed for the family bathroom not only save energy but can also be easy on the wallet. Technologies such as GROHE SilkMove ES allow solely cold water to flow from the tap when the lever is positioned in the middle. Unnecessary hot water consumption can therefore be prevented and, for a four- person household, save approx. 279kg CO2 and around 31,412 liters of water per year.

#2 Sustainable showering

For many, a refreshing shower in the morning is a great way to start the day. However, people often wait unnecessary lengths of time to start their shower until they have found the ‘perfect’ shower temperature – hence valuable energy and water are then wasted in the process. GROHE thermostats equipped with its TurboStat technology provide a more sustainable showering experience, delivering the desired shower temperature within a fraction of a second and maintaining this for the duration of the shower.

#3 Filtered drinking water straight from the kitchen tap

Bottled water is ubiquitous in everyday life, but it is certainly harmful to the environment. Up to 600g CO2 are emitted during the production and transport process of one litre of bottled mineral water. One solution for consuming water more sustainably is the investment of water systems for the home such as GROHE Blue Home, a kitchen tap that supplies you with filtered and chilled water in still, medium or sparkling options. A family of four using a Blue Home water system can save up to 800 plastic bottles each year and reduce their CO2 emissions by up to 61 per cent.

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

Main image credit: GROHE

SPOTLIGHT ON: The role of landscape architecture in ‘glamping’ resorts

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: The role of landscape architecture in ‘glamping’ resorts

A Glamping resort is usually sited within a picturesque location whether forest, beach, lake, mountain, botanical or even an urban rooftop with a primary focus of ‘back to nature’ experience. Bushtec Safari Asia explores landscape architecture…

As a designer we have come across seven main landscape typologies (however there are probably more or even subsets):

  • Traditional Resort compound with highly ornamental plantings, flexible lawns spaces, sculptures with drop-off, restaurant and lobby
  • Natural Aesthetic to blend with or be part of the natural surrounds
  • Animal reserves and Zoological parks providing the time past safari experience
  • Themed Landscapes – most recently we have been developing a pet focused tented resort with agility course, dog pool, sand hill and even a cat climbing gym
  • Botanical which typically focusses on organic farming practices, wellness lifestyle choices and communal gatherings
  • Urban settings such as on rooftops with spectacular views
  • Pop-up Glamping which responds to short term events and festivals where tents are stored and reused year on year.

Image credit: Bushtec Safari Asia

There is as much skill, if not more, to touch the ground lightly and create a landscape aesthetic which looks part of natural surrounds however even more important, landscape architecture critically allows the tents to sinuously bring the outdoors indoors through 4 of the senses

  • sight-siting of tents to maximise vista’s and even lighting for nighttime effects,
  • touch-directing natural breezes through the tents,
  • smell-carefully selection of aromatic scents of flora and
  • sound-bird attracting plants, flowing water elements and selecting rustling trees.

Image credit: Bushtec Safari Asia

To enable a greater understanding of the role of landscape in glamping resorts a case study has been selected – Tiarasa Escape.

The site is located in Janda Baik, Mukim Bentong. Janda Baik (incidentally means good widow) is a small village about 50 km from Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia.

The site included existing fruit trees (durian, rambutan, jackfruit and mangosteen), fish farm and located adjacent to a small river, Sungai Nerong and surrounded by vegetable gardens owned by the local villagers.

Image credit: Bushtec Safari Asia

Our approach is to take advantage of its special qualities, not imposing on the setting but enhancing and directing attention to the features of the landscape. The path, tents & buildings are sculptured fit into the site with minimum disturbance and embrace the rocks and slopes and trees, not see them as obstacles. The beauty and integrity of the landscape and its special qualities shine through each tent location. We have created the design for Glamping and treehouse within as an integrated construction process, adjusting pathway design as we discovered each rock and preserve the beauty of the natural site.

Creating places

As more travelers explore the world so does the expectation to create unique local experience. Our approach to any site is to take advantage of its natural qualities, not imposing on the setting but enhancing and directing attention to the landscape features. The buildings fit into the site with minimum disturbance and embrace the rocks, slopes and trees, not see them as obstacles. The beauty and integrity of the land and its special qualities shine through each concept. Tiarasa Escape resort is intended to “touch the earth” lightly, “teach the stories of the forest” and “discover the life withing a traditional kampung setting” all within a modern luxury escape.

Integrated within the site

Each of our glamping resorts has a design vision.  We take the basic elements we know make resorts work and mix them with unique elements as well as specific client requests to create one overall feeling through the landscape and outdoor spaces. The landscape is designed at multiple scales so a guest will get a certain feeling upon arrival and continue discovering special features throughout their stay. Private spaces and large scale gathering areas both envelop the guest in the landscape which surrounds.

Immerse in nature

We subscribe to the belief that plants make the space. Our planting design is based on extensive understanding of the local environments and the desire to enhance native communities while inviting human inhabitation and enjoyment. Native fruit trees, productive planting and a focus on endangered species create places and enhance the environmental significance.

The planting design at Tiarasa Escapes glamping, pictured here, is based on the concept of the ‘Rainforest Orchard.’ Previously a kampung orchard, the site has mature Durian, Longan and Mangosteen trees which were all protected during construction. Further planting of native rainforest fruiting trees supports the enjoyment of the guests as well as ecological benefits for the other floral and fauna communities.

Landscape is a sensory element and critical to a glamping resort’s design aesthetic. It is about curating a holistic outdoor experience and landscape must always have a purpose. It’s more than just eye candy. It’s important that it looks beautiful but it must also convey a story, an underlining purpose and make a great contribution to physical environments by emphasising the protection of natural character and cultural identity.

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

Main image credit: Bushtec Safari Asia

“You can’t touch this” – handsfree sensor taps by GESSI

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
“You can’t touch this” – handsfree sensor taps by GESSI

Bathroom brand GESSI has injected hygienic and antibacterial electronic hi-tech technology into its taps to cater to evolving modern traveller demands…

Inciso by David Rockwell, Rilievo by HBA, the gleaming steel of Gessi 316, Anello&Ingranaggio and Goccia, are all the latest multi-award winning creations from Gessi.

The sophisticated minimalism of the design by Gessi acquires an advanced technology that combines the beauty of the lines with the functionality of “no touch” electronics. The water supply doesn’t need to be handled or touched as it can be switched on by a movement as simple as the passage of the hand before the sensor.

Thanks to Gessi no-touch system, the beauty of the shape is pure and anti-fingerprint, achieving a better hygiene and avoiding possible damages to the tap.

For the first time, Gessi sensor taps bring the refined elegance of a sophisticated design in public space, where aesthetically simple electronic taps are used to be installed, providing endless finishings with the possibility to choose among a wide range of nuances never seen before. Splendid Gessi Sensor Taps suit also private environments, of course.

Here’s a closer look at some of GESSI’s products, which now feature touchless tech…

GESSI316

Image caption: The GESSI 316 range | Image credit: GESSI

Woven steel

Gessi’s Creativity and style infuse a total new perceptibility into steel itself, giving a material which is usually “technical” and cold, an unprecedented heat, and a special furnishing capacity. Gessi has indeed enriched the body of the faucet with aesthetic and decorative details, such as textures and patterns with different tastes; the steel seems thus “dressed” by the texture. Handles and distinguishable reed valves, finishes of contemporary charm, and an innovative

New technology

Gessi electronic taps are in the vanguard and come available with different technological solutions. The sensor can be incorporated into the tap body or into the very spout, otherwise it can fit into a proper remote plate. In the first two cases the water flow is automatically switched on or off by bringing the hands towards the spout. In the case of the remote detector, the flow is activated or turned off simply by the hand crossing over the detector: it’s almost like a magic move.

Aesthetic and smart

The technology of the electronic taps by Gessi not only makes life easier but it’s also environmental friendly. Thanks to the automatic activation of the flow, water is delivered only for the time it is actually needed. Without any waste.

The warm modern style of New York design

From surface and floor coverings to lighting and furniture, the firm celebrates pro-duct design as a natural extension of its immersive environments. Drawing on an encyclopedic knowledge of design, Rockwell Group creates flexible, transformable products that support new ways of living, working, and communicating. The collaboration with Gessi on the firm’s first-ever line of bath fittings and accessories was a thrilling challenge for David Rockwell. Defined by simplicity and possibility, the Inciso Collection weds modern style with heritage details and finishes that invite tactile discovery.

Pure beauty

Thanks to its no touch system, the beauty of shapes is pure and free from prints, guarantying the hygiene and avoiding tap’s damages. Gessi electronic taps first provide the refined elegance of most sophisticated design to public settings, where electronic devices have usually simply aesthetics. What is more they are available in many finishings, giving the possibility to choose different nuance for the first time in this field. Of course, these beautiful taps are suitable also for private space.

Subtle and elegant industrial details

The bathroom interior fit with the Inciso Collection was not intended to feel unapproachably minimal, but rather calmly chic and warmingly inviting. The goal was to create a design that be both timeless and timely.

RILIEVO

Image caption: The Rilievo range by GESSI | Image credit: GESSI

A concept of tidiness and harmony

If harmony, based on order, is dictated by a mathematical/geometric ratio between parts, the maximum expression of purity of form is probably the enrolment of a circle into a square. This geometric and architectural figure has been greatly evocative through time and across continents and cultures. The circle evokes eternal movement; the square symbolises eternity and immutability.

Discreet and low-impact

The electronic detector can be connected to the normal electricity network or to a lithium battery, ensuring in both cases a minimum water consumption. The electronic technology fits in a graceful way to the tap, preserving the perfect shapes of its studied design, or even better enhancing its essential and simple beauty.

Inspiration meets with innovation

A circle inscribed into a square is the theme that RILIEVO brilliantly brings to life. This design gives gracing touch and sight and it evokes that body and soul equilibrium take center-stage in the bathroom. A new balance between style, emotion and functionality.

GOCCIA

The brilliant beauty of water

Goccia demonstrates how creativity and innovation, together with a content of poetry and respect for the world can turn dreams into objects. This is all Gessi’s accomplishment, a company different by nature

Not only is Goccia a style and a product philosophy, it’s also an eco-friendly creation. All of the Goccia taps are equipped with a technology allowing for a 50% saving of water without compromising the functionality of the tap itself. Goccia is indeed the epitome of a more intimate feeling for luxury, one attentive to the elegance and glamour of the objects as well as to their impact on the environment.

Matter, shape, function

Goccia is not a mere complement, it’s the very distinguishing feature of the design of an interior. It’s an original concept that induces new gestures, new interactions with water, living space and the person. Goccia makes the beauty and usefulness of water available wherever it is needed or desired, with charming and fresh solutions.

ANELLO & INGRANAGGIO

Gessi succeeds in developing its own distinctive and characteristic design language: pure lines with an emphatic recall to primary shapes, like the suggestive ring shape. Symbol of continuity and perfection, Anello evokes the most sober and elegant pledge of a deep blend.

The precious mark of metal

Gessi offers new options to choose and finishing combinations that boost the strong design peculiarity with colours and materials through different architectural effects. As a result, the new living design trends will be conveyed in bathroom spaces, creating also innovative and original creative solutions. The new deep and warm polished brass version and the fascinating and elegant rough burned brass finishing represent a surprising change respect the typical metallic surface of taps. Anello gives also the opportunity to realize innovative look thanks to a prestigious velvet opaque black, besides chrome, copper, black metal, and brushed ones.

Beyond its time

Anello concept meets the desire of freedom in décor and customisation of the bathroom, even more than other Collection before.

RETTANGOLO

Image caption: Rettangolo by GESSI | Image credit: GESSI

Original and iconic

To bring to life this unprecedented aspiration – moving the flow of water to wherever we desired – Gessi thought up a radical design based on the purity of an absolute, strong and rigorous form: abstraction in its essence, like parallel lines traced on a designer’s sketchbook, in any form.

The sign

Rettangolo was born from an expression of creative freedom, from the original and ironic exploration of iconic symbols, in simple yet evocative forms. The rectangle is a surprising and unusual geometric shape for taps, a perfect demonstration of how design, with its ability to infuse art and liveability in consumer and everyday products, can enrich the spaces in which we live, transforming simple, everyday actions and places into something special.

Visionary innovation

With a long-standing, 100-year history of brass castings and round taps, Gessi created the world’s first tap built of solid brass, providing it with a square, almost sharp body; an explosive concept of innovation.

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

Main image credit: GESSI

Hamilton Litestat to sponsor technology seminar at Hotel Designs LIVE

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hamilton Litestat to sponsor technology seminar at Hotel Designs LIVE

As part of its ongoing support as a solutions provider to the hotel sector, Hamilton Litestat will sponsor Hotel Designs LIVE, a one-day virtual conference for the hotel industry, to be held on June 23, 2020…

Hamilton Litestat will sponsor the technology seminar at Hotel Designs LIVE, which takes place on June 23.

The online conference consists of a series of engaging seminars featuring leading figures from the international hotel design sector, covering hot industry topics along with innovations that support the guest experience.

Hamilton will sponsor Hotel Designs LIVE’s first seminar, ‘Technology’s role in tomorrow’s hotel’, where Jason Bradbury, tech influencer and former presenter of The Gadget Show, will be in conversation with Hotel Designs’ editor, Hamish Kilburn. The pair will discuss products and innovations, and how technology will influence hotel design in the future.

“For decades, Hamilton has been supporting the hotel industry with technology and solutions that enhance the guest experience, and we’re pleased to support this discussion of innovation and the future of hotel design,” says Gavin Williams, Hamilton’s Sales & Marketing Director. “There are so many simple, easy to use and effective solutions that can make all the difference to a guest and keep them returning time and time again.”

With hotel rooms working as a multifunctional space – accommodating relaxing, sleeping, and often working – Hamilton will present its technologies to support the guest experience in suites and communal spaces. Its Smart Lighting Control solutions aid the versatility of these rooms, helping to transform them between the functional uses with just the touch of a button or swipe of a finger. Lighting in a hotel reception can really make a statement and set the mood for a stay, while pre-set lighting schemes can create an ambience that takes dining areas from breakfast to cocktail hour and through to cosy evening meals.

Hamilton’s smart lighting and audio control solutions are supported by a vast portfolio of on-trend decorative wiring accessories that can be selected to suit any hotel design scheme or functionality requirement, with a bespoke service also available to provide just the right finishing touch.

Designers, architects, hoteliers and developers who wish to attend the free conference can do so by registering online here (registration closes June 19 at 5pm (BST)).

Main image credit: Hamilton Litestat

#HotelDesignsLIVE

5 Minutes With: F&B talk with Mark Bithrey, Founder & Creative Director, B3 Designers

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 Minutes With: F&B talk with Mark Bithrey, Founder & Creative Director, B3 Designers

There is a serious question being put to the industry on whether public areas will ever be the same again. In an exclusive interview with Hotel Designs, Mark Bithrey, the Founder and Creative Director of B3 Designers sits down virtually with editor Hamish Kilburn to discuss F&B design in a post-pandemic world…

In just a few days time, Hotel Designs will go live to the world with its debut virtual conference. The topics we will explore during Hotel Designs LIVE will include technology, sleep, wellness and whether public areas will ever be the same again. In order to understand the role of F&B areas, while also getting an access-all-areas deeper look into the inner workings of the studio, I caught up with Mark Bithrey, the Founder and Creative Director of B3 Designers. The award-winning studio has transformed many F&B hospitality projects, such as The Prince Akatoki, Marriott Hotel Budapest and Ritz-Carlton Geneva among many others.

Hamish Kilburn: Thanks for joining me, Mark. How are you feeling right now as a hospitality interior designer?

Mark Bithrey: The world has been through really tough times, but this one has definitely knocked the hospitality industry for a six. I have always believed in 2 things: that hospitality will forever have a strong place in the world in some form or other, and two, that design plays a pivotal role in shaping a changing world. So I’m feeling a mix of anxious and eager.

HK: When restaurants do eventually open up, we are still looking at reduced covers and therefore revenue. What are your thoughts there?

MB: We have been helping clients redesign their restaurants for social distancing, with beautiful screens and additional features like plants and cushions. But you are right, it can mean reduced revenue. Some of our clients have been really creative and opened up whole new streams of revenue.

Image caption: Design in F&B has spilled into the marketing and packaging of products with a rise in demand for deliver/takeaway service. | Image credit: B3 Designers

HK: There is obviously a lot of focus on takeaways at the moment. How can F&B businesses be more creative when adapting to the times?

MB: Quick service has immense potential. Think about kiosks where you are able to churn out dishes quickly. Our clients at Mei Mei are doing just that, with Michelin star winning Chef Elizabeth Haigh at its helm. Also consider Itsu/Pret style shops, with impactful branding and graphics on the floor. You can look into takeaway/delivery-only kitchens with creative food packaging. Extra brownie points for eco-friendly packing! We are working with a Vietnamese restaurant in London at the moment to use clever packaging to build out loyalty, repeat orders, and engagement.

Image caption: Mei Mei has adapted its offer during the pandemic to focus on takeaway service | Image credit: B3 Designers

HK: Speaking of food delivery, it does mean that restaurants are reliant on the large delivery services that eat into their revenue considerably. How can they move away from using the shared delivery systems?

MB: Yes, indeed! Have you heard of Mumbai’s dabbawalas? It’s an incredible concept. Think localised kitchens, subscription meals, and your own fleet of delivery folk racing food on bicycles. Typically, a kitchen will cook a few hundred meals a day. The subscription lunch will include food that can be batch cooked – so a lentil dish, a curry, rice, and perhaps some bread. This is then packed into stainless steel “tiffin” boxes, and delivered quickly, while the food is still hot. Because the kitchens are localised, nobody is travelling more than a couple of kilometers and they are often the service teams themselves. The previous day’s box is picked up and brought back – no packaging waste!

Food trucks are another way to circumvent delivery commissions. With all the right permissions, you could set up in a park/outdoor space and serve up anything you want to, really. Think also about drive-throughs or walk-past counters for food pick up. You can even offer an interesting experience (graphics/games) while they wait in line.

Image caption: Gourmet takeaway food truck | Image credit: B3 Designers

Image caption: Gourmet takeaway food truck | Image credit: B3 Designers

HK: What about fine dining, how can businesses integrate social distancing into this concept?

MB: Without a doubt, fine dining is going to change for a while. Restaurants that get very crowded are going to have to give customers more room – which can be quite cool if you think about it.

Smaller restaurants however, are quite fortunate and can use their spaces to offer truly caring experiences. We have worked with Michelin star winning Chef Tom Aikens in the past, whose restaurant Muse spans 950 sq ft. “Muse is very unique in that it is for guests not only looking for great food in a very special restaurant, but welcomes them as if they were in their own home. Guests will always get special care and now more than ever, of being looked after and pampered,” said Aikens.

If you have outdoor space, however small, milk it. Erect pods or beautiful temporary structures. Adapt for weather changes with fans and space heaters. You could also think about bringing your restaurant completely outside – are you on a street that could be pedestrianised, or do you have parking space that could be converted?

For indoor spaces, think gorgeous on-brand free standing folding screens. In hotels, use your banquet rooms as restaurants so you can offer more space between tables.

If you want to be really creative, as the rules relax more, consider catering services for small gatherings, or even a fine dining experience that you can take to people’s homes. We may follow off where you mention that Muse is small, and say that it is massive in experience.

HK: Is there a way for F&B professionals to go where customers already are?

MB: Supermarkets and the internet! This is a great time to consider creating your own line of sauces/pastas/food kits. Paired with solid branding and graphics, it could open up a whole new stream of revenue. Could you create barbecue kits for example, with recipes and ingredients?

We are spending a ridiculous amount of time on the internet now. Host cooking lessons and sell kits after. And remember to up your digital presence – it is the only way people will learn of your restaurant/hotel’s F&B offerings.

Main image credit: B3 Designers

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Visualising the future of F&B spaces in hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Visualising the future of F&B spaces in hotel design

Hospitality will awake from the pandemic to face new challenges when it comes to designing F&B spaces. Hotel Designs turns to the CGI experts at North Made Studio to try and visualise the future of these public-facing outlets…

With the industry on a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be some important future choices to make for hoteliers.

These choices will need to be made in all areas, but may become most stark within the F&B spaces of their hotels.

Until government guidelines are released, exactly how this sector of the hotel industry will proceed is a mystery. Dictating dates for reopening and the easing of certain measures will be crucial to define how the industry needs to adapt.

Should measures not be eased enough and distancing remain in place for the foreseeable future, questions will need to asked about profitably for certain spaces in a ‘socially-distanced’ world. Within the hotel sector F&B spaces may not be deemed a profitable use of available space.

From a visualisation perspective there may be more focus put on the finer details of a F&B space. Viewpoints centred around individual seating areas, up-selling the attributes of the table setting, rather then focusing on the overall aspect of the whole F&B interior area.

Some hoteliers my choose to get ahead of the game and move F&B spaces outdoors, allowing the potential for these spaces to open sooner. Over the last few years interior design for the luxury F&B sector has tried to bring the outdoors in, with Biophilia becoming a growing trend. This potential move of F&B spaces from indoor to outdoors would switch this around. Visually this could allow for outdoor F&B spaces to be depicted with extensive greenery, using the current trend and taking it beyond what was capable within an indoor environment. Or the alternative could happen, and a drive to bring the indoor aesthetic to outdoor spaces could become a trend.

The visualisation sector is geared up to work with both interior and exterior spaces, minimising any differentiation between the CG imagery produced in terms quality or realism.

Another possibly trend for F&B spaces within the hotel sector may be to move more than just the seating/eating areas outdoors. With the popularity of street food kiosks, van and trailers, There is the potential to move the complete catering service outside. Providing an innovative feature to the hotel experience that also opens up the F&B space to the general public, increasing potential custom.

Another great possibility of this is that the catering trailer/van can easily be switched out, to provide customers will different food and drink offerings on a regular basis. Incredible engaging visualisation can be produced for these kinds of external spaces. Creating the scene is just the start, population elements can be embedded within the scene to built a complete visual that includes food trailers, tables, chairs, different demographic of people. Finer details can also be added such as drinks on tables, litter bins. The more detailed the space is visualised, the more realistic and engaging it can be.

To further explore the future of F&B spaces in hotel design, we need to take things back to a pre-COVID stage. Many companies are simply waiting out the Coronavirus pandemic, putting projects on hold, in the hope that things will return to some semblance of normality. For these type of businesses the visual aspects of their F&B spaces will continue to follow current trends.

Experiential

Customers need to be enticed to utilise the F&B facilities within the hotel, creating engaging design with attractive styling is key. Sell these experiences during the early phases of a project with 360 degree viewpoints and visual reality tours can be a great way of boosting interest and getting designs approved.

Convenience

A core factor for F&B spaces in hotels is their convenience. Ensuring the spaces are easily accessible and positioned close to heavy footfall areas, will help to increase their usage. Positioning and ‘eye-catching’ features can be showcased via traditional still CG images, assisting the planing and development phases.

Variety

No two hotel customers are the same, with hotel spaces being used for both business and pleasure, the needs of specific customers will vary. Offering a variety of services with a F&B space will accommodate for ‘on the go’ customers as well as those customers who have more time to sit down and have a full meal. Showcase these innovative features via the use of cameo shot visuals.

Adaptability

The ability for a F&B space to be multi-purpose is vital. Catering for breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and drinks allows for the capture of more customers throughout the day.

With the core features of the space remaining the same, the F&B space can be created in CGI for visualisation purposes, and redressed several times to show the adaptability of the space.

Image credit: North Made Studio

Overall F&B spaces within hotels are facing some challenging times. But whatever happens in the future regarding reaction to COVID, these spaces will always be required  in some form. And the visualisation sector will be there to assist with what changes to the design ethos are needed. If new ways to communicate a space are required, the technological advancements in virtual reality could be the key to creating ongoing engagement in the future.

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

Main image credit: North Made Studio

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: ‘Togetherness’ is the new luxury post-pandemic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: ‘Togetherness’ is the new luxury post-pandemic

‘Togetherness’ is a new phrase emerging as self-contained serviced apartments are in high demand as old friends and extended family seek to reconnect as lockdown eases…

As travel restrictions begin to relax, serviced apartment brands have seen a spike in bookings as the demand for self-contained apartment hotels increases. As a result, a new trend is starting to emerge: “togetherness”, which is being seen as the new luxury.

One of these brands that are seeing their bookings rise in the wake of the pandemic is SKYE Suites, developed by Crown Group. The group’s Chief Operating Officer, Pierre Abrahamse said the emergence of the “togetherness as the new luxury” trend would replace the focus on experiential travel that had prevailed in the luxury hotel market over the past decade. “Togetherness is emerging as the biggest trend for 2020 and beyond,” he said. “People want to reconnect with those they have been separated from for the past few months and hotels are responding.

“Guests are calling to ask can they book co-joining apartments so that they can enjoy a holiday with their kids and the grandparents in the one place, or so they can have friends who live in regional areas finally able to join them in the city for restaurant or gallery outings,” he said.

Image credit: SKY Suites

SKYE Suites offer spacious one-bedroom and two-bedroom hotel apartments sized from 43sqm to 80sqm, in Sydney, Green Square and Parramatta, each with open-air balconies or courtyards to take in fresh air. Guests can do their own cooking and washing with SMEG appliances and Vittoria or Nespresso coffee machines, or head out to the array of restaurants that have opened their doors again in the city.

There are ‘virtual concierge’ tablets in each suite for guests to access hotel services. Guests can also catch a movie or watch Netflix by streaming their own content to huge in-room TV screens. Sleeping Duck bedding allows them to choose mattress firmness on each side of the bed.

SKYE Suites opened its third hotel above Green Square train station in April 2020, which offers 90 luxurious apartments in a precinct designed by globally renowned Koichi Takada Architects and offering 18 retail and dining offerings including Butcher & The Farmer, Nam2 pho, Bashan noodles, KFC, McDonalds and Gong Cha bubble tea.

Image credit: SKY Suites

The SKYE SUITES brand first launched in August 2017 with the opening of the stunning SKYE Suites Parramatta, part of a mixed-use residential, retail and hotel development, V by Crown Group.

The building was designed by Allen Jack + Cottier and Koichi Takada Architects and Crown Group’s signature resort facilities including a beautiful outdoor pool area, well-equipped gym and expansive foyer.

The second SKYE Suites opened in October 2018 as part of the stunning Arc by Crown Group residential tower at 300 Kent St. This luxe and inviting enclave in the heart of the city was also designed by Koichi Takada Architects whose “ice cave” themed lobby and lap pool have become one of Sydney’s most Instagrammed spaces.

The building has become known for its eye-catching brickwork and glass and steel towers that soar dramatically into the city skyline. It has 73 plush and inviting hotel apartments.

The Sydney and Parramatta hotels have earned accolades at the HM Awards two years running, for Best Serviced Apartment Property and Best Tech Hotel.  

Main image credit: SKY Suites

It’s a hat-trick! Ruby Hotels announces third hotel in London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
It’s a hat-trick! Ruby Hotels announces third hotel in London

Ruby Hotels, which only recently entered into the UK hospitality market, has announced that it will open a 173-key property in London’s Notting Hill area in 2023…

Just months after making its London debut with the launch of Ruby Lucy on London’s Southbank, and while construction is underway to open a 153-key hotel in Clerkenwell next year, Ruby Hotels has announced that its third property in London will be based in Notting Hill.

Ruby Zoe, which is being built in conjunction with UK investor and developer Frogmore, will shelter 173 rooms.

Led by founder and CEO Michael Struck, Ruby Hotels has set its sights on further international expansion with a third hotel planned for London. The new-build, 173-bed property will be in the heart of colourful Notting Hill and will include a spacious street-front public area combining retail and hotel elements.

“Based on the model of modern luxury yachts, we accommodate our luxury in a relatively small area and simply leave out the unimportant,” explains Struck. “We also organise ourselves using our own technical solutions in a very different way to the rest of the industry. We plan and build in a modular way, centralise more, and automate consistently behind the scenes. As well as helping us to make a luxurious and unique hotel experience affordable for our guests, this approach gives us a leaner and more adaptable cost structure and means lower risks for our real estate partners. This combination of advantages helps us especially in these unpredictable times.”

After the successful opening of Ruby Lucy on the South Bank earlier this year and Ruby Stella set to open in 2022 in Clerkenwell, expanding to the west of the city is the next logical step for Ruby in the thriving London hotel market.

Jo Allen, Chief Executive of Frogmore commented: “We are delighted to have secured Ruby Hotels as an occupier on our Notting Hill Gate Estate. When we asked Gerard Nolan and Partners to market the hotel opportunity in our West Block we received 13 bids from 10 different hotel operators. We really love Ruby’s approach and vision for the project which we believe will complement the area. The Ruby Team have been fabulous to work with, have convincing development and construction competence together with the financial resources to deliver something special which I hope will be enjoyed by many.”

Ruby Zoe follows Ruby Group’s Lean Luxury philosophy: a top location, high-quality fittings, and outstanding design. All of this is offered at an affordable price by rigorously cutting out the superfluous and focusing on the essential.

Main image credit: Ruby Hotels

LOCATION WATCH: Hot hotels opening soon in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
LOCATION WATCH: Hot hotels opening soon in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

Ever since Hotel Designs started the concept-to-completion article series with SB Architects to cover the honest journey to design and build Conrad Punta Mita, Riviera Nayarit has been on our editorial team’s radar. Here editor Hamish Kilburn discovers which other hotels are opening in the area soon…

Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, a remote 192-mile-long coastline that frames the majestic Sierra Madre mountains, is tipped to be in hot demand once travel restrictions have lifted. Later this year, the region will welcome two new five-star luxury properties for those looking for isolated remote escapes whilst keeping hygiene, health, and wellness front of mind.

Riviera Nayarit is welcoming two unrivalled luxury hotel openings (Conrad Punta Mita and One & Only Mandarina), that will complete its extensive luxury hotel offering, in preparation to be one of the most anticipated destinations of 2021.

Conrad Punta de Mita

Accepting reservations now and opening in October, Conrad Punta de Mita is a new 325-key property that will offer a tranquil retreat for guests, surrounded by palm trees and the Pacific Ocean. Explored by our team throughout its design and build, the hotel draws influence from Mexico’s rich history and unique culture, indigenous artwork integrates with the luxurious amenities to create an environment that will allow visitors to connect authentically to nature and to the sophisticated, contemporary architectural design.

Image credit: Conrad Hotels/SB Architects

Dovetailing with the dramatic scenery, resort bungalows, pavilions, and cabanas are nestled in coastal vegetation and all boast views of the aquamarine ocean, with suites offering fully-furnished kitchens and living rooms, perfect for larger groups, large patios, plunge pools, freestanding soaking tubs and outdoor showers.

Hilton’s first Conrad-branded resort property in Mexico will be set in the same private development as the Litibu Golf Course, an 18-hole experience designed by Greg Norman. 

One&Only Madarina

One&Only Mandarina is located just north of Punta Mita, on a spectacular cliff-side overlooking the Pacific Ocean with dramatic vistas and a lush rainforest setting. Blending chic interiors amid the lush jungle wilderness, the resort offers a combination of 104 free-standing villas that float above the treetops or perch against the cliffs – each with their own private plunge pool. 

Image credit: One&Only

Allowing nature to take centre stage, One&Only Mandarina has been designed and built to respect and blend with the environment. Experts were consulted on the development of the resort to minimise the effect on the existing natural landscape, and careful low-density planning has preserved the ecological importance of the destination. 

In addition, the resort will feature 54 Private Homes, among the first One&Only residences in the world. Available to own, One&Only Mandarina Private Homes offer privacy, seclusion, and comfort with unparalleled service – offering luxury resort living for a privileged few. 

The hotels will join an already thriving luxury hospitality scene and will sit alongside St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, Imanta Resorts Punta de Mita and other luxury hotels and villas.

Main image credit: One&Only