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Whitepaper: Sustainability enhancing 'competitive positioning'

Marriott unveils global sustainability, social impact plan

1000 479 Daniel Fountain

From human rights protections to sustainable hotel development, Marriott International has now launched a new sustainability and social impact initiative designed to foster business growth while balancing the needs of associates, customers, owners, the environment and communities.

Under Serve 360: Doing Good in Every Direction, Marriott’s new Sustainability and Social Impact Platform seeks to continue the company’s 90-year commitment to the communities it serves, the planet and people worldwide.[CRF_Form id=’1′]

“As the global hospitality leader with properties and associates across 125 countries and territories, Marriott International has a global responsibility and unique opportunity to be a force for good in all aspects of our business – from helping to reduce carbon and water use to providing our associates with human trafficking awareness training,” said Ray Bennett, Chief Global Officer, Global Operations at Marriott International and Serve 360 Executive Leadership Council Co-Chair. “We recognize that how we do business is as important as the business that we do. Incorporating environmental and social initiatives, including human rights awareness training, into our business is not only the right thing to do, it has a direct impact on our profits and beyond.”

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Guided by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, Marriott created Serve 360 to guide the company’s commitment and deliver positive results through four priority areas or “coordinates”:

– Nurture Our World – Advancing the resiliency and development of our communities.
– Sustain Responsible Operations – Reducing the company’s environmental impacts, sourcing responsibly and building and operating sustainable hotels.
– Empower Through Opportunity – Helping people prepare for jobs in the hospitality industry.
– Welcome All & Advance Human Rights – Creating a safe and welcoming world for associates and travelers alike.

Marriott’s new goals are being woven into the company across continents, from its global development organizations to its global supply chain networks. Some of the company’s commitments by 2025 include:

– Reduce water by 15%, carbon by 30%, waste by 45% and food waste by 50%
– Contribute 15 million associate volunteer hours, 25% of which will be skills-based, to capitalize on personal talents and core business skills
– Train 100% of associates to know the signs of human trafficking
– Embed human rights criteria in recruitment and sourcing policies

“Building off our 2007 Sustainability goals, Marriott is proud to issue our next generation of goals, inclusive of social and human rights targets to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges,” said Tricia Primrose, Global Chief Communications Officer at Marriott International and Serve 360 Executive Leadership Council Co-Chair. “Associates and customers want to work for and do business with a company that aligns with their values and drives positive community impact. We are proud to be part of the solution,” she added.

More details about Serve 360 can be found at marriott.com/serve360

Clevedon Hall, Somerset

Clevedon Hall, Somerset

1000 562 Daniel Fountain

On a recent editorial jaunt for Hotel Design’s sister publication (PA Life) I was invited to spend an evening at Clevedon Hall, a Victorian mansion conversion overlooking the Bristol Channel. My invitation was to experience their new corporate hosting (FULL REVIEW HERE), but the overnight stay allowed me to assess the considerable work that has been carried out on the property’s upper levels in recent years.

Originally used as office space for the venue’s long-thriving wedding hosting service, Jane Clayton & Company were tasked with restoring these upper floors to create 25 individually appointed bedrooms from the available space. It means that the interiors for each room have been uniquely designed and considered, taking into account size, aspect and architecture.

Clevedon Hall, Somerset

Speaking to Lawrence Dauncey, Clevedon Hall’s Corporate Concierge, he tells me that the firm have been careful to avoid a generic theme. Instead, and rather cleverly, Clayton and her team have kept a continuous theme running throughout the rooms through selection of furniture and furnishings and a subtle, nature-inspired colour palette.

Speaking of nature, my wonderfully-named ‘Peregrine’ suite is a gorgeous blend of greys, browns and cream and the attention to detail in the upholstery and accessories adds a luxuriously traditional feel – but having recently been completed, the room still retains a ‘freshly painted’ look. Both the bedroom and bathroom are spacious and a well-lit entrance hallway splits the two, a touch I particularly like as it keeps a degree of separation between the living and washroom areas.

Clevedon Hall, Somerset

The touches of luxury continue in the bathroom: an extremely hi-tech toilet in the Japanese style (which I’m reliably informed costs upwards of £6,000), a striking standalone sink unit, walk-in shower and generously-sized bathtub – it’s a shame I’m only staying for one evening. The colour scheme from the living quarters continue with light mink tiling and panels, with marble and mahogany adding touches of luxury.

Clevedon Hall, Somerset

The public spaces of the hotel where events are hosted – such as the Grand Library, Orangery, and Conrad Finzel and Dame Rosa Burden suites – are beautiful in the grand, traditional sense and (as I wrote elsewhere) ooze character and style. They boast stunning architectural features, including an old wood panelled library and many original features.

Clevedon Hall, Somerset

Plans have been approved and action is already under way to carry out a renovation of the ground-floor levels in a similar style to the guestrooms, bringing a contemporary feel to the Great Hall entrance area, which will bring the standard of this building inside and out to a very high level.

As I write, the hotel remains open to event or corporate guests only, and Lawrence tells me the owners plan to keep it that way. But the work already completed on the property, and considerable refurbishment to come on the ground floors (which I cannot wait to see for myself later in the year), make this an exemplary case study of interior design and using existing spaces well; so much so you might want to book an event just to try it for yourself…

Based on a stay in May 2016
Photos: Daniel Fountain
clevedonhall.co.uk

Hilton London Wembley

Hilton London Wembley

952 585 Daniel Fountain

The transformation of the Wembley area of north-west London in the last 15 years has been nothing short of incredible. The most obvious and celebrated symbol of that regeneration is of course England’s new national stadium. Indeed, tales abound of how run-down the antiquated-yet-iconic Empire Stadium at Wembley had become by the time it was unceremoniously bulldozed to the ground after an acrimonious send-off in 2000 — a depressing 1-0 England defeat to the Germans in the driving September rain.

A decade-and-a-half on and very much like the game of today it plays host to, the new stadium is a gleaming beacon of sanitised modernity and corporate hospitality heaven. The surrounding area has benefited from this gentrification too, which is most probably why hotel chains are queuing up to set up shop on the doorstep of a much-improved, internationally-renowned venue.

Hilton London Wembley Executive Lounge

Hilton London Wembley Executive Lounge

One such chain was Hilton; its London Wembley hotel has slotted into that business-like vibe surrounding the stadium perfectly since opening its doors in 2012. And make no mistake, this hotel is geared up unashamedly for hosting corporate guests and large-scale business get-togethers. Having spent a morning being shown around this 321-room hotel, it’s clear to see that it does it well.

From its exterior with its striking corner-point catching the eye as soon as you walk up to the hotel to the seemingly ceiling-less lobby with its bold use of greys and browns, this Hilton makes a statement-filled first impression. The neutral tonality of the lobby interior is broken up somewhat by the splash of colour brought about by beautiful light fixtures, an array of sporting shirts and jerseys plastered on a wall at the far end and by the wallpaper accompanying the escalator ride up to the second-cum-mezzanine level which depicts all the great sporting events held at Wembley — both old and new.

London Hilton Wembley Lobby

London Hilton Wembley Lobby

The second floor houses a fitness centre replete with a fantastic indoor pool, an added bonus for guests especially considering the locale and the restriction of space in such a built-up area. Aside from this, however, there is nothing else contained on the level except lift wells and another escalator going up to the Ballroom, Association Restaurant and Icons bar. My guide for the day, Gemma, assures me the space is used for overspill during conference registrations but I can’t help feel the space is somewhat wasted and a blip on what is otherwise a brilliantly designed and decorated hotel.

Indeed, the third floor bears all the hallmarks of a savvy designer throughout. The Grand Ballroom, where the majority of the conferences and meetings held at the hotel take place, is a fine example of an event space and is one of the better designed ones I’ve seen in the capital; the space has a feel of luxury about it thanks to lush carpets and grand light fixtures. With enough room for 900 delegates, the flexibility to be laid out in a variety of set-ups depending on the function as well as cleverly-placed exits and entrances to the restaurant and bar to keep delegates within the event space rather than wandering off elsewhere — this is an example of canny design.

Hilton London Wembley Pool

The Association Restaurant itself also contains pleasing touches of design; in a bid to remove the feeling of eating in a canteen it has been broken up into sections through good use of walls and dividers. And a London-themed wall display made up of custom-made plates marking major landmarks throughout the city was a particular favourite of mine. Again, the neutrality of the lobby’s colour scheme has been used in the Icons bar with browns, whites and pale greens dominating with the occasional accentuation of colour added by bright red, high-backed armchairs.

Hilton London Wembley meeting room

I’m next shown a more intimate meetings and events space on the fourth floor, which comes with guest rooms on the same level — all of which can be hired out by smaller groups looking to keep an element of privacy or exclusivity to their events. All meeting rooms have excellent AV capabilities and are decorated slightly more sumptuously than the Ballroom below, with well-appointed carpets and furnishings.

Guest rooms are a very generous size; their walls and carpets decorated with muted browns, deep purples and subtle yellows. Stunningly simple headboards above the beds frame the rooms perfectly on entry. As with the rest of the hotel’s spaces, the bedrooms are well-lit thanks to the large floor-to-ceiling windows which are simply dressed with delicate mesh and two-tone fabric curtains. In the suites, an extra living room also benefits from the generous natural light, and those built into the building’s pointed façade (often a nightmare for interior designers ‘gifted’ by the architects) have dealt with this issue by placing a prominent pillar to keep the space contained.

Hilton London Wembley guest room

The bathrooms I saw were tiled in brilliant black-and-white, with beautiful plain white ceramics and bold, statement taps. A very good-sized, LED-bordered mirror sits above the basin offering a reflection of the entire space.

The last spot on my whistle-stop tour is the executive lounge and Sky Bar 9 — appropriately located on the ninth floor — with both offering incredible views of Wembley Stadium and the cityscape beyond, especially from the outdoor terrace. These are stylish and elegant spaces, as expected from a Hilton property located in a capital. In the lounge, I particularly love the copper, fish bowl-shaped pendant lampshades and photographs of iconic artists who have performed at the nearby arena and stadium. And in the Sky Bar 9 I’m instantly drawn to the striking, gregarious yellow upholstery and cladding.

Where the designers may have had to work with an element of restraint in decorating the corporate spaces within the hotel, they were clearly given a lot more freedom to play with on the ninth floor. It’s the best designed and pleasingly decorated space in the whole hotel and marks the high-point of a fine piece of work by both design and architectural teams. From my lofty viewpoint, it was impossible to avoid seeing the numerous construction projects going up left-right-and-centre in the Wembley area and beyond. It won’t be long before this Hilton is entirely encircled by commercial and residential properties all around, but many will have a long way to go if they are to deliver a finished article as elegantly functional as this…

Hilton London Wembley executive lounge

Hilton London Wembley Sky Bar 9

Based on a visit in February 2016
Photos by Daniel Fountain // Hilton Media Centre (hilton.com)
www.hilton.com