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Signbox creates new social distancing signs and graphics for hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Signbox creates new social distancing signs and graphics for hotels

The signage company Signbox has adapted its portfolio to include stylish social distancing signage and graphics for when the hospitality industry reopens…

As many venues start to reopen their doors to their employees and guests in readiness for the ‘new normal’, Signbox, the award-winning signage designer and manufacturer, is helping them ease back into business with a collection of exciting new social distancing signs and graphics.

The Hey! Collection of social distancing signs, graphics and stickers are ideally suited to hotel environments where staff and visiting guests can be welcomed calmly and coherently whilst allaying any potential stress following the restrictions imposed due to COVID-19. The collection represents a series of vital, yet informal reminders to stay alert and keep social distancing in mind as part of the national effort to keep the R below 1 and save lives.

The Signbox exclusive Hey! collection of signs and graphics for social distancing is backed by the organisation’s specialist wayfinding and safety signage design expertise that are designed to help hospitality venues welcome their workforces, visitors and guests back, safely and without stress.

Social distancing signs to reassure and inform

The Hey! Collection comprises fresh, vibrant design and typography and a friendly style that makes for an intuitive, reassuring user journey. The whole range of social distancing signs and graphics cover every touchpoint to create a socially distanced flow of people who can move seamlessly across any built environment.

The Signbox social distancing graphics collection can be used as a complete signage, messaging and safety package across any hotel and hospitality environment. The key for employers and building owners is getting the right safety messaging in place as early as possible in the process to ensure everyone knows what to expect when they return to their venue.

They Signbox Hey! messaging is calming and straightforward – the range includes guidance from workstation cleaning and hygiene advice, safety information and precautions, safe movement directions and safe distance guides that can be fitted and displayed across the hotel or hospitality venue. These social distancing signs and graphics are designed to motivate those in the hotel industry to adhere to government guidance in order to keep themselves and their colleagues and guests safe and protected.

Safety messaging floor stickers, spray-on stencils and ‘welcome back’ graphics 

The Hey! collection includes digitally printed, laminated and anti-slip, self-adhesive vinyl safe distancing floor stickers with UV protection. You can also use social distancing stencils by spraying them directly onto walls and floors along with social distancing graphic signs for stairways and ‘welcome back’ safety messaging for welcoming reception areas.

Signbox has covered everything in this collection, including the integration of branding and corporate identities across the entire social distancing sign scheme – this presents a familiar, reassuring boost at a time when most workplace behaviour is far from seeming normal. Personalised signs can also be designed and, if and when the government’s guidelines are updated, Signbox can modify any signage schemes with a quick refresh to ensure compliance continues to confirm to new rules. All Hey! social distancing signs can be NFC (Near Field Communication) enabled with tags and links to website URLs to give real-time information through a straightforward, safe and contactless tap on a smartphone.

Signbox 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: Signbox

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Getting ready to reopen your hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Getting ready to reopen your hotel

To start the week with a positive mental attitude, Hotel Designs understands more about how The Fine Cotton Company is looking at the practical aspects to consider – beyond the lobby and public areas – when it comes to re-0pening hotels after the pandemic…

It’s not a case of ‘if’, but ‘when’ the hotel industry can reopen its doors to guests.

Smart hoteliers who are ready to hit the ground running are taking a strategic view on reopening, and are looking for ways to redefine cleanliness while supporting guests’ personal wellbeing to give both their staff and guests confidence to return to their hotels.

Hospitality linen experts, The Fine Cotton Company are using their textiles expertise to support their boutique hotel clients by advising on specially selected products that offer guests confidence and reassurance as they return to enjoy your hotel.

So if, like many of their hotel clients, you’re hoping to welcome back guests as soon as possible, we asked them to share their recommendations to help you to ease back into business. 

1) Protecting the guestroom on arrival

 Naturally, you’ll want your staff and guests to feel safe, confident and protected during their stay with you.

 So look for products that are designed to improve guest room cleanliness to reassure you and your team as you welcome them back. 

 Jane Robson, founder of The Fine Cotton Company says: “ The luxury experience guests expect from hotels will always be key. So it’s important that guests feel that you’ve thought about their every need for safety during this new season. It can be an opportunity for hoteliers to really review their guests’ experience”

Washable reusable three-layer face masks

Offering reusable three-layer certified face masks to guests to use is one way to enable them to feel secure in your hotel. The masks can be a gift left for them to take home and reuse. The Fine Cotton Company’s face masks can be made in any colour and even be branded with your hotel logo, which means they make a professional-looking option for spa staff and your cleaning team too. 

Slippers to greet them at their door

Encourage your guests to remove their shoes as they enter their room with a shoe bag and slippers that greet them as they enter their guest room. Not only will they stop dirt from shoes being trailed around your room and protect your flooring, but it’s a thoughtful gesture that won’t go unnoticed.

Luggage mats to protect your bed linen

How many of your guests put their suitcase or overnight bag on your beautifully made bed to unpack? It’s probably a high number, often with dirty wheels that can mark and more worryingly, transfer bed bugs to your bed. Fortunately The Fine Cotton Company has a simple solution. A luggage mat. There’s are heavy-duty cotton sateen and washable at 60°C . Adding luggage mats to your housekeeping routine is reassuringly easy too, simply place on your beds as guests check-in, launder after unpacking then on check out day place a clean luggage mat back on the bed for packing.  

2) Protecting your beds and mattresses

 Large or small, Mattresses and bedding are huge investments for any hotel, it pays to ensure they are protected.

 Choose encasement mattress protectors

Image credit: The Fine Cotton Company

These are waterproof, dust mite proof and bed bug proof and zip around the whole mattress to form a complete protective barrier. Be sure to look for a quality product though, The Fine Cotton Company’s encasement mattress protectors are made with a patented allergen barrier fabric and have just been certified to block viruses.

Protect your mattress, duvet and pillows with moisture-proof protection

If mattress and pillow protection makes you think of sweat-inducing, plastic crinkly feeling products you’ll be relieved to hear that The Fine Cotton Company’s team have sourced a collection of mattress, duvet and pillow made of Tencel with a breathable waterproof backing. Tencel is a super soft and naturally hygienic fibre that wicks away moisture to keep guests cool. It is more absorbent than cotton making it ideal as a waterproof layer between your bedding and linens.

The Fine Cotton Company recommend using zip-fastening pillow and duvet protectors to keep your pillows and duvets clean and fresh. Mattress protectors are like a waterproof fitted sheet, which simply need covering with your regular sheets, all can then easily be removed and laundered after each guests’ stay.

Washable duvets and pillows

If you wish to give your guests that extra reassurance with freshly cleaned duvets and pillows for each stay, look for light weight easily laundered products such as the Microfibre Duvet from The Fine Cotton Company to keep your laundering and drying costs down.

Opt for cotton throws you can wash at 60°C

Image credit: The Fine Cotton Company

With good reason, guest will look for every reassurance that their room and furnishings are clean. Heavy eiderdowns or blankets aren’t the best choice right now, opt for easy to clean, yet stylish cotton throws that can be laundered quickly and easily. The Fine Cotton Company have responded to their client’s requests and introduced a range of washable cotton waffle cotton throws that are easy to care for and come out the dryer ready to use.

3) In the bathroom

Image credit: The Fine Cotton Company

 Lighter-weight towels and bath robes

Opt for lighter-weight cotton towels and bath robes which are designed to launder more regularly and cut down drying time. Consider offering smaller size guest towels for general hand washing in your bedrooms too instead of full-size hand towels with faster drying capabilities.

Image credit: The Fine Cotton Company

The last few months have been the most challenging our industry has ever known. We can now work together to build our reputation and kickstart the season with enhanced levels of cleanliness and hygiene to attract guests again. With unchartered territory ahead it’s reassuring that experts like The Fine Cotton Company are here to help and support you as you take steps to reopen.

The Fine Cotton Company 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: The Fine Cotton Company

IN VIDEO: Preparation and design solutions for a post-pandemic world

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN VIDEO: Preparation and design solutions for a post-pandemic world

Hotel Designs took over the Montgomery Group Series yesterday, interviewing Design Equals’ Katie McCarthy to understand how how the hospitality industry should be preparing for a post-pandemic world…

“Who would have predicted this time last year that we would be here, giving you [the audience] live webinars and putting Preparation and Design Solutions for a Post-Pandemic World under the spotlight,” explained editor Hamish Kilburn when he introduced the next episode in the Montgomery Group Series. “But, we are here, and we are not afraid to put it under the spotlight.” Kilburn then introduced Katie McCarthy, Founder and Design Director of Design Equals to the hundreds of individuals who tuned in for the live discussion.

If you missed the live session, here’s the full interview:

The 40-minute interview covered all angles, including common pitfalls to avoid when designing on a budget, the realities of re-opening after lockdown measures become more relaxed and the long-term impact of COVID–19. In addition, Kilburn asked McCarthy about Design Equal’s innovative initiative ‘Design = in a Box’, an industry toolkit that the design studio has launched that addresses the main areas of priorities, which are safety, space and style.

The session came as Hotel Designs prepares to go live to its international audience on June 23 with Hotel Designs LIVE, a virtual conference that will include four engaging seminars with world-renowned designers, architects, hoteliers and developers on the global hospitality and design scene.

Montgomery Group Series is a cluster of weekly webinars with Q&As from leading industry figureheads, aimed to help keep the community updated, inspired and motivated during these difficult times.

Main image credit: Hotel Designs/Design Equals

A textile brand is manufacturing non-medical masks during pandemic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A textile brand is manufacturing non-medical masks during pandemic

Hotel Designs learns more about how textile brand Backhausen is doing more than its bit, by designing non-medical masks, during the fight against the spread of COVID–19 coronavirus…

As COVID-19 started to spread around the globe, businesses in all industries started adjusting to the “new normal” by assessing core functions, as well as contributing and assisting positively to their communities.

Backhausen became conscious of the need for non-medical face masks in early March 2020, after the COVID–19 pandemic hit the company’s home country of Austria and other parts of the world. The company wanted to do something significant for its community – something that would take advantage of its expertise and craftsmanship and would benefit other people and businesses without forgetting about the environment and the planet.

“Our design and production teams adapted the manufacturing facilities at our textile mill in Hoheneich, in the heart of picturesque Waldviertel, to create a new quality fabric,” explains Maria Florencia Caruso from the brand. “We have carefully selected premium quality cotton yarn that is ÖKO-TEX certified and developed a 100 per cent cotton fabric that is sustainable and durable for reusable non-medical masks for everyday wear.”

Image credit: Backhausen

The company has designed a mask that provides comfort, protection and is aesthetically pleasing. The double overlap in the design allows the mask to be worn comfortably with glasses. The double tie bands allow the mask to be adjusted and fitted for wear.

Its aim has been to create a mask that is washable, comfortable, sustainable and customisable, from the beginning of its development. Backhausen’s mask is for individual customers, and the retail, hospitality and service industries. “We encourage and aspire to create a more comforting and assured return to the work environment and make this “new normal” less daunting and intimidating for everyone,” added Caruso. “At Backhausen, our strength and value has always been to provide flexibility, as a business and with our fabrics. The masks have been designed, focusing on their seamless incorporation into everyday business, with an option for customisation. The masks can be customised by colour and/or logo designs can be either embroidered or woven on the fabric.”

During these difficult times, Backhausen is donating €1 for every mask sold to the Austrian charity Lebenshilfe. This charitable organisation supports more than 11,000 people with pre-existing medical conditions and intellectual disabilities at 500 locations throughout Austria. The charity aspires to re-establish their independence after the COVID–19 pandemic, which has been so disruptive to their day-to-day lives. It will enable people with disabilities to select their own development opportunities in all phases and areas of life, reshape their lives independently, choose their support freely and take advantage of social offerings confidently and in line with their personal needs.

Please contact info@backhausen.com or call +43 2852 502 for the purchase of face masks, (minimum pack of five), for larger quantities and for customisation enquiries. From May 13, 2020, the non-medical grade masks will be also available for purchase at Backhausen’s Design Shop.

Backhausen 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: Backhausen

Do you have the exclusive report on what your staff want post-lockdown?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Do you have the exclusive report on what your staff want post-lockdown?

Gradually countries and businesses around the world are starting to think about life post-lockdown and smart hotels are looking to their employees to drive a successful bounce back, writes Planday’s industry expert Oskar Karlsson

The hotel businesses I speak to everyday tell me COVID-19 is still continuing to make waves across the industry, but smart operators are looking to the future and finding ways to prepare for what may come.

While there is still a way to go — and the whole tourism industry will have to adapt to a new-kind of normal — smart businesses are looking to their staff to get the tips to a successful bounce back.

I think it’s important to remember the old adage that if you don’t treat your customers right, someone else will. Post-lockdown, consumers will be even more discerning about where they choose to go, and outstanding customer experiences — delivered by the best asset in your business, your people — will be what sets you apart from your competitors.

“We spoke to 1,822 people from around the UK, across all parts of the hospitality sector, with more than half of them having worked in the industry for more than a decade.”

It’s also worth remembering that your staff will also give better service when things do reopen if you treat them right now. Make sure you take the time to communicate with them regularly, be open about your plans and the challenges you are facing as a business. Keeping the strength of a good team must be a vital part of your reopening plans.

So to help Planday customers get a better understanding of what their staff expect, and how to keep them happy, we partnered with our friends at the HRC Show to undertake the UK’s largest hospitality worker survey. We spoke to 1,822 people from around the UK, across all parts of the hospitality sector, with more than half of them having worked in the industry for more than a decade.

Based on their feedback, here are my three key tips to make the most of your best asset now so your business can bounce back stronger post-lockdown.

1) Pay people properly

More than ever, the impact of shift cancellations means those who work in shift-based industries like yours are struggling to get by. You can’t check a customer in, work behind the bar, give customers a memorable experience or make a memorable meal for hundreds of people from home.

For 70 per cent of those we surveyed a “fair salary” is the most important factor at work. Paying people properly not only means abiding by the minimum wage, it’s a smart investment on your part to reward and incentivise above it for the people who make your business work.

Image credit: Planday

2) Invest in training and development

The best chefs, concierges, sommeliers, cleaners and check in staff didn’t get there by chance and nor will your staff grow and develop without your ongoing investment in making them better at their jobs

50 per cent of the hospitality workers we spoke to think more training and development is important and will help them grow their careers — and your business — along with it. Right now is a good time to think about plans to increase this once you reopen. Plenty of online training programs and courses are available now, so have a look at what’s around and see whether this can work for your business.

Image credit: Planday

3) Flexibility is your friend

With more demands on people’s time through multiple shift-based jobs, family commitments or study, it’s not surprising that 41% of those we spoke to think flexibility is something businesses like yours should embrace more. A recent HSBC study shows 89 per cent of workers think flexible working can motivate them to be more productive.

Image credit: Planday

Flexibility is more than a buzzword and something people are being forced to do now because of COVID-19. Being responsive and agile to your employees’ changing needs — as well as the global and industry ones – is what will keep your staff motivated and more likely to help you grow your business for longer as you come together again and navigate your way through the COVID-19 bounce-back.

Image credit: Planday

What does this mean for you?

Smart operators must change the way they work to keep good staff for longer by understanding that better customer experiences go hand in hand with better staff experiences. You can’t have a good business without good staff. In order to bounce back stronger post-lockdown, people will be your best investment.

Register here to get your free copy of this exclusive report

Planday 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: Planday

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Coming back from COVID–19

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Coming back from COVID–19

As the UK lockdown measures show (slow) signs of relaxation, Hotel Designs checks back in with Gary Corsbie from Interefurb lists how hotels can come back from coronavirus…

In my previous article, we looked at the mothballing of your property, the checks and steps to take.The four main areas we looked at were weather, escape of water, pests and vermin and vandalism.

We are now seeing light at the end of the tunnel, and you want your business to emerge being the best version of itself. In addition, and arguably more importantly, your guests want to be assured that they are going to be staying in a safe and clean environment. The COVID–19 pandemic has made us very much more conscious of cleanliness and hygiene.

Duncan Stewart Operations Director for Town House Hotels says it is imperative that statutory health and safety requirements, are completely up-to-date and follows this up with the strongest message you can send to your guests is “You are the first to stay in this room” there is nothing that beats the smell of fresh paint.

But first let’s look at the basics and the Health and Safety items.

Basic safety items

The following should ideally be evaluated by property experts:

  • Structural integrity of the buildings – Visual checks, walk around both inside and out. Is there anything hanging off? Damp patches on ceilings, strange smells, new cracks or debris on the floors.
  • Electrical system damage- including high voltage, insulation, and power integrity- Fluke tests
  • Wastewater system – blocked drains, perhaps carry out a CCTV survey.  do this BEFORE you re-fill the water.
  • Water distribution system damage – Prior to re-fill if drained down.
  • Fire emergency systems operations – Service
  • Air conditioning and ventilation system – Service

Re-commission the property – prepare for opening

Step 1: Risk assessments, method statements and COSHH – all needs to be reviewed, in place and communicated with the team. Appropriate PPE needs to be made available. Open the windows and doors. Not only to check they work, but to help ventilate the building. Remove any items which have visible mold growth or damage. Inspect AC and ventilation system (motors, duct work, filters, insulation). Ensure you disinfect, and be prepared to repair and replace if necessary.

Wastewater – The last thing your guests want to find in their room is a blocked toilet. Sometimes, surprisingly, guests don’t take the same care in a hotel as they do at home. Without regular use drains become dry and debris becomes solid quickly, causing blockages when put back into use. If not emptied prior to shut down, kitchen grease traps and gullies need to be cleaned, fats solidify. Sink and Shower traps are another potential problem area, good practice is to physically clean them out. I know it sounds obvious but make sure the drains are clear before you start on the water system.

Water system (cold and hot water, sewer drainage, steam delivery, chillers, boilers) with special attention to shower heads. There is a British Standard BS8552:2012 and BSRIA BG29/2012 which sets out a full guide to the flushing, commissioning and treating of a system including water sampling.

If the system has been drained down, it is best practice to refill and commission by a qualified plumber and heating engineer, there will be leaks and air locks.

FF&E OS&E

Disinfect furniture with non-porous surfaces and salvage. Discard upholstered furniture, drapery, and mattresses if they have been under water or have mold growth or odour. Deep clean carpets upholstery and curtains. Vacuum the mattress and change any covers or protectors.

In my opinion a bathroom should be designed with no hidden traps or exposed pipework where muck can gather. A pet hate of mine is neglecting to clean the “triangle of doom”…the bit behind the door which is only exposed when you’re in the room with the door shut behind you. If you want to impress your guests, it should feel completely clean and new, perhaps fresh silicone? and don’t forget to clean the ventilation grille.

Back-of-house areas

Kitchens that haven’t been used for some time are a great attraction to pest and vermin. Most properties have a regime in place for regular cleaning. Take particular focus that drains and gullies are running freely. Pest Control traps should be checked and changed as appropriate.

Exhaust hood systems – Improve ventilation and reduce risks of kitchen fire by deep cleaning of the exhaust ducts, plenum, and roof exhaust fan. Kitchen equipment – Check electrical and gas safety checks have been carried out and maintenance is up to date.

External

Check that any external lighting is working, and signage is all in place.

General

Tell your insurers the hotel is back in operation, and check the WiFi and phone lines are working, not only for guest convenience but your own, when you take payments electronically. And finally, in light of the current situation, that extra care around infection control is prudent.  We have found installing omni sensors to self-check and remotely report on the requisite temperature parameters leaving one less thing for you and your staff to worry about. The HSE states: “It is important that water is not allowed to stagnate within the water system and so there should be careful management of properties left vacant for extended periods”.

Finishing touches – attention to detail.

One of the biggest barriers in carrying out a refurbishment is when you have been running at good occupancy there is reluctance to refurbish because of the loss of revenue. Now is the perfect time to carry out any works to make your property sparkle.

Now is an ideal time to make a few changes without the disturbance to your guests, have a think about some little jobs which can add a great deal to the guest experience?

Re-grout and silicone bathrooms. Decorate the entrance door put down a new mat. Replace door handles. Look at changing light bulbs so they are all the same colour- another of my pet hates…

Interefurb 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: Interefurb

Art logistics company helping to reconfigure offices post-lockdown

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Art logistics company helping to reconfigure offices post-lockdown

Momentous Global, a leading art logistics company, has announced that it will help offices to reconfigure their workspaces so that they are adhering to social distancing measures…

There are whispers that the the UK government will ease the current lockdown measures from next week onwards.

With workplaces, such as design and architecture studios, preparing to open their doors post-lockdown, companies will need to adhere to new social distancing measures following the COVID–19 pandemic.

Many brands are already thinking about adopting agile working, flexible collaborations, and creating new ways for employees to work seamlessly between the office and remotely.

Art logistics company Momentous Global’s workplace team have been helping organisations to reconfigure their offices to meet the demands of today’s agile workforce and COVID-19 working. The company has been offering the following: 

  • Internal re-shuffle or re-stack of floors
  • Office moves and crate hire
  • IT relocation and desktop decom/recom
  • Floor box moves
  • IT sanitising (cleaning of equipment post move)
  • Flexible storage
  • Home working set up including delivery and collection
  • Space occupation studies
  • Furniture audits and up-recycling

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

Main image credit: Pixabay

Architect designs hotel prototype of the wardrobe purifier

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Architect designs hotel prototype of the wardrobe purifier

A new battery-powered wardrobe purifier that is suitable for hotels has been designed by Carlo Ratti Associati, which uses ozone to help remove most micro-organisms, bacteria, and viruses from clothes…

It is anyone’s guess as to what the ‘new normal’ will be like after the COVID–19 pandemic has passed. And while it is, for some, too far-fetched to suggest that hotels will permanently introduce new hygiene measures, others believe that the pandemic has opened the hotel door to welcome in innovative new hygiene products.

One architect who has taken the lockdown as as an opportunity to create something purposeful is Carlo Ratti, who is the brains behind a new battery-powered wardrobe purifier.

Currently developed as a prototype, Pura-Case is a portable wardrobe purifier that uses ozone to remove most micro-organisms, bacteria, and viruses from clothes and fabric. The project aims to address the needs of the “new normal” – that is, the emerging changes brought forward to our domestic life by COVID-19. The product was commissioned by Scribit, the tech startup which recently converted part of its production line to respond to the current pandemic. Once a piece of garment is hung inside the case, an air purification system by ozone treatment cleans and deodorises the fabrics.

render of modern wardrobe

Image credit: Pura-Case/Scribit

Viruses or bacteria can survive on clothes for long periods. Ozone, a naturally-occurring triatomic form of oxygen (O3), is commonly used in the health and textile industry to sanitise fashion items, objects, and spaces. Pura-Case brings this technology safely into the household. It uses ozone to sterilise clothes while reducing the need for unnecessary washing and thus the consumption of water. Employed together with public health guidelines of the World Health Organisation, Pura-Case would help contribute to a more hygienic environment in the house.

“As the entire world adjusts to a new normal in terms of health and hygiene, Pura-Case aims to promote top sanitation standards in the key interface between us and the environment – clothes,” says Ratti. “Pura-Case is an alternative to large-sized devices currently being used in hospitals. It can play a vital role in the post-pandemic world next year as we regain our old social life.”

The product can be installed in a domestic setting and complete a cycle of purification in about one hour. Users can place the clothes inside the case, which accommodates up to four hangers and close it with an air-tight zipper. Using only a small amount of power, an imperceptible discharge will activate the ozone to penetrate the fabric and purify it while at the same time removing its odour. Once the cleaning cycle is completed, the ozone is reduced to oxygen through a natural decay process, ensuring the case is safe to open. The entire process can be started and controlled either via the LED-lit top panel or remotely through the Pura-Case mobile app.

Main image credit: Pura-Case/Scribit

Signage company designs protective screens to help fight COVID––19 spread

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Signage company designs protective screens to help fight COVID––19 spread

Signage company Archers has kept its factories running throughout the pandemic in order to safely manufacture protection/sneeze screens…

Protection/sneeze screens, manufactured by Archers  to help prevent the spread of COVID–19, have made from a premium clear Perspex with polished edges, rounded corners and cut-outs for payment termina.

The protective screens come in standard sizes and are made to any bespoke size and style, and have been designed and manufactured in-house using a premium finished clear acrylic, high-polished edges, rounded corners and various cut-outs for PDQ machines. The protection/sneeze screens allow the customer to see the retail staff and vice versa whilst also allowing the customer to pay electronically using the PDQ machines.

Image caption: The protection/sneeze screens from Archers

By installing these types of screens you are preventing the transmission of air particles between customer and staff. “These screens will go a long way to reassuring staff and protecting them during these uncertain operational times,” commented Paul Newman, sales director at Archers. “Our social distancing floor stickers are also a highly effective tactic to grab attention and provide direction / instructing to people on any site as they can be used on just about any surface, these are made from a high grade self adhesive vinyl with removable adhesive so this doesn’t damage flooring when these are not required or need updating, they also have an applied anti slip laminate to protect the print. These stickers can be made to order or choose from one of our standard sizes.”

Social distancing is high on the agenda of those operating in the hospitality industry at the moment as the government prepares to announce its plans for coming out of lockdown. While many businesses are currently closed at the moment, taking this time to adjust public areas accordingly to ensure a safe environment is a responsible way to help prevent the spread of COVID–19.

Archers 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: Archers

In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Robert Whitfield, GM of The Dorchester

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Robert Whitfield, GM of The Dorchester

With the UK hospitality industry drastically adjusting its strategy during lockdown, Hotel Designs takes the opportunity to re-connect with one of the world’s most prestigious hotel brands, Dorchester Collection. Editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to Robert Whitfield, the brand’s Regional Director (UK) & General Manager of The Dorchester

For centuries, Mayfair’s leafy Park Lane has been the epicentre of London’s luxury hospitality scene. At present, though, the streets are bare and the extravagant entrances into opulent lobbies and extraordinary lifestyles remain (for the time being at least) sealed shut – and its not the kind of lock-in one is familiar with.

Among the five-star (currently empty) shells stretched along the east side of Hyde Park is The Dorchester, an iconic place that really does define its destination. Since its grand opening in 1931 – the same year the Empire State Building was completed in New York – the hotel, designed by architects William Curtis Green and Sir Owen Williams, has been setting new standards in premium hospitality.

89 years from when the famous doors first opened, the hotel stands majestically as ever having adapted sensitively to meet the demands of modern luxury travellers while also retaining its illustrious character. However, it, along with the rest of the hospitality industry, is facing unprecedented times, as the COVID–19 pandemic sends hospitality into paralysation.

To learn more about what the hotel is doing during lockdown, as well as celebrating its recent successes, I speak to the man at the helm, Robert Whitfield, who is the Regional Director UK of Dorchester Collection and General Manager of The Dorchester.

Hamish Kilburn: Robert, can you tell us a bit more about how The Dorchester is coping during the global health crisis, and how are you staying connected with your community?

Robert Whitfield: There is no denying that the global crisis has hit everyone hard, and sadly the hospitality industry is one of the worst to be affected. However, what it has re-affirmed for me is the true connection our team members have, keeping morale high and each other in good spirits. If you work in hospitality you have a natural instinct to want to be around people and make them feel at home, it’s in our DNA. So, we have channelled that passion into further helping our community.

Image caption: The living room inside the Harlequin at The Dorchester-

Image caption: The living room inside the Harlequin at The Dorchester

The Dorchester is very proud to have established an ongoing partnership with Manorfield Primary School in East London, working closely with pupils and staff on a number of initiatives since 2019, including helping raise funds to go towards developing their learning kitchen and donating furniture for areas of the school. As part of our continued partnership and as a response to the current global health crisis, we are providing chefs from The Dorchester’s staff restaurant to cook for the faculty and children of parents who are part of the essential workforce. We are also offering recipe classes to the pupils of the school to help keep them engaged and interested in cooking.

Every evening, The Dorchester illuminates in bright blue as a ‘thank you’ to the NHS and essential workers. Employees of The Dorchester, 45 Park Lane, and Coworth Park have pledged their support to the NHS and are assisting in the donation and distribution of food and necessary supplies to those impacted by COVID-19.

Image caption: During the COVID–19 pandemic, The Dorchester illuminates in bright blue each evening as a nod and ‘thank you’ to the NHS and essential workers

Executive chef Stefan Trepp and executive pastry chef Daniel Texter, along with chefs Jordan Champions and Sanjam Nagpal, handcrafted Easter Eggs for distribution amongst patients and staff of Great Ormond Street Hospital to help them celebrate the Easter weekend.

Dorchester Collection has also donated £25,000 on behalf of its UK hotels to Hospitality Action, a non-profit who supports hospitality workers who are in need and to help feed their families. Several colleagues have also signed up to the Golden Friends scheme via Hospitality Action and are making regular check-in calls to hospitality retirees in isolation due to the crisis.

Image caption: The living room inside The Dorchester's Terrace Penthouse

Image caption: The elegant living room that captures a unique London skyline vista inside The Dorchester’s Terrace Penthouse

HK: How do you stay connected to guests when they aren’t able to physically come to visit the hotels?

RW: Several of our team members have fostered great relationships with our guests over the years and are in regular contact with them via calls and email. We are also engaged with our most loyal guests to keep them in touch with news and updates from the hotel.

One of the best ways for us to stay connected to our guests after they have stayed with us is through our social media platforms. We are transferring our team’s talents online, showcasing our chef’s recipes and how-to’s, as-well-as expert tips from our sommelier or florist. This is a fun way for our social community to still see the smiley faces of some of our team members and hopefully learn a thing or two.

Quick-fire round:

HK: What is your favourite luxury item that you own?
RW:
My MGB sports car

HK: What was the last hotel you stayed in and what was the purpose of the trip?
RW:
The Pendry in San Diego meeting up with my kids for the Presidents Day Holiday weekend.

HK: In three words, can you describe the Dorchester Collection family?
RW:
Caring, passionate, fun-loving! 

HK: What superpower would make your job easier?
RW:
Teleporting.

HK: Why is Britain such a hub for luxury hotels?

RW: The hospitality sector contributes hugely to the British economy, with the hotel industry in particular a significant contributing factor. The growth of the hotel market over the last few years here, and indeed looking at what’s to come over the next couple of years, clearly demonstrates how important Britain, and London in particular, is a world class destination for leisure and business travellers.

“You also cannot deny that certain charm Britain has, which lends itself perfectly to hotels at the luxury end of the market.” – Robert Whitfield, Regional Director UK & General Manager of The Dorchester.

It makes sense, then, that some of the world’s most renowned luxury hotel brands are opening their doors in Britain. You also cannot deny that certain charm Britain has, which lends itself perfectly to hotels at the luxury end of the market – travellers are drawn to the rich history and heritage of a quintessentially British experience. Combine that with the fact that Britain occupies a vibrant position on the world stage and it’s a winning destination for the luxury traveller.

It is not just London at the forefront of luxury hospitality; across the country you have the best hotels in the world. Coworth Park in Ascot celebrates its 10 year anniversary this year and from the moment it opened became one of the world’s best country house hotels and remains at the top a decade later.

HK: How does The Dorchester differentiate luxury on the London hotel scene?

RW: There are many hotels that claim to provide the best in luxury, whether it’s the biggest pool, or most expensive wine list, but for The Dorchester our definition of luxury is: service. How do you feel when you come to stay with us? How can we go above and beyond what you were expecting? That is what is most important, everything else is just a given, and for us to be world leaders in service really is a testament our talented people.

HK: How has luxury changed since you started in hospitality?

RW: The biggest change has to be the level of competition, especially in London where all the global luxury players want to have a presence. And that’s a good thing. It has kept London’s hospitality scene at the top of its game.

Luxury used to be about the physical elements of a hotel. The décor, the facilities and this has evolved away from the material to the experiential. Personalised service and recognition is more valued. The guest is also more sophisticated and knowledgeable. Search engines allow access to so much information our team members need to stay up to date and have an intimate knowledge of the very best experiences that might appeal to our guests.

We look for ways to surprise and delight our guests with small and meaningful touches. Often, it is the small things that make all the difference.

“Before I started my role at Dorchester Collection I spent ten years at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai in Hawaii, and prior to this I worked for the company in California and Nevis in the Caribbean.” – Robert Whitfield, Regional Director UK & General Manager of The Dorchester.

HK: How has travel enriched your life and made you into the hotelier you are today?

RW: I have been lucky enough to work in some of the most beautiful places in the world. Before I started my role at Dorchester Collection I spent ten years at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai in Hawaii, and prior to this I worked for the company in California and Nevis in the Caribbean. Having that experience, learning how other countries approach service and operate day-to-day, has really helped inform my management style here in London. I was able to travel to a wide variety of locations from Bora Bora, to Bali, to Jackson Hole in Wyoming to the snowy peaks of Whistler.

I have developed an appreciation for different cultures and for diversity and the strength that this can bring to a business. It has also told me that service is about humility and caring for others. I am so proud to have worked with some extraordinary people who have shaped my career and taught me so much. Many lessons have come from my bosses, but also from the employees I have worked with.

HK: There has been a huge buzz around the re-launch of The Grill at The Dorchester. Why did you choose to relaunch?

RW: The Grill has been an integral part of The Dorchester since the opening in 1931, in order to keep the restaurant busy you need to ensure its identity and offering is relevant to your guests. We appointed Tom Booton, who happens to be our youngest ever head chef of The Grill, to lead the next chapter of the restaurant, supported by a fantastic team of fresh talent. The idea of creating an experience that would juxtaposition away from people’s  more traditional expectations of The Grill at The Dorchester was exciting and Tom was the perfect catalyst that made this come to life.

Image caption: Head chef of The Grill, Tom Booton and a few of his  special dishes on the new menu

Our aim was to create a more relaxed dining experience for guests through the development of new menus and a series of interior updates. The most prominent interior change is our statement ‘Pudding Bar’, which adds an element of theatre to the dining experience. Guests are invited to dine here for their final course to watch the pastry chefs in action.

HK: How will the newly adapted restaurant embrace the legacy of the 89-year-old hotel while also reflect the future of luxury F&B offerings?

RW: Our rich past matched with our ability to embrace ‘the new’ is deeply rooted in The Dorchester’s culture, and our guests are charmed by that.

At its core, The Dorchester has always been a hotel to celebrate. The new chapter of The Grill is no exception, and Tom’s dishes alone are a reason to come back to visit. Original features of the restaurant have remained, but new elements such as The Grill Bar, with a cocktail menu by award winning senior bartender Lucia Montanelli, and the Pudding Bar concept offer something new.

HK: You have, for the first time, a physical florist boutique within the hotel. Can you tell us more about this project?

RW: The Dorchester has become world-famous for its floral arrangements, all to the credit of our in-house designer florist Philip Hammond and his fantastic team. It is also a place of celebration. Guests come to celebrate, birthdays, anniversaries and all kinds of milestone moments in their lives. Flowers are a wonderful sign of celebration. We wanted to create a physical space where guests and visitors to the hotel could buy flowers and we found the perfect spot at the entrance to The Promenade.

Image caption: Philip Hammond, the Florist at The Dorchester

Image caption: Philip Hammond, the Florist at The Dorchester

We coincided the boutique opening with the launch of ‘The Dorchester Rose’, which is a really beautiful new variety of rose. The rose took seven years to make and was created by Meijer Roses, a family company with a long tradition of creating the highest quality roses who selected The Dorchester to carry the name of this new variety. The rose now fills the entirety of The Promenade and the colour is perfect to complement the interior tones of The Dorchester.

Main image credit: Dorchester Collection

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Designing fitness spaces after the pandemic

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INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Designing fitness spaces after the pandemic

Hotel Designs continues putting ‘Spas’ under the spotlight by asking Flair Studio how the design of fitness spaces will change post-pandemic…

The fitness industry has been badly hit as a result of the COVID–19 spread and in the current situation it is exploring innovative ways to save itself from being irrelevant through online apps and zoom sessions from home.

And while training equipment sales for the private consumer are booming, gym clubs, fitness and wellness studios are all going to remain closed for the foreseeable future.

In fact, going to a club and exercise is no longer safe for obvious reasons as people couldn’t use the same equipment unless everything is wiped out, the air conditioning is turned off and some distancing measures are put in place.

The current situation could give designers the opportunity to reimagine the fitness experience and the spaces in which it will take place after the Virus has become more contained and manageable. Obviously, exceptional hygiene measures have to be put in place and paired with air treatment systems which favour the usage of outside air ventilation and the increase of air exhaust.

empty fitness studio

Image credit: Pixabay

At the beginning, design opportunities will probably start from smaller, independent and community integrated boutique fitness centres rather than the larger clubs. This is also due to most of the large clubs being usually located into dark basements wit forced air systems and artificial lights, something that was well epitomised by Simon Rawlings, creative director at David Collins Studio, even before the lockdown: “I want somewhere that feels inspiring,” he explained. “I don’t want to work out somewhere that’s like a nightclub but spend time somewhere that’s calming. I like daylight – it soothes my brain.”

Another important design aspect will be to bring in residential elements into these spaces not only to smooth the transition and create a sense of comfort but also to provide wellness experiences that the users can feel their own. As personal training and one-to-one sessions will be probably more common during the short term, the environment will focus more on authenticity, easiness, intimacy and understatement, rather than on brand awareness and bold, theatrical features.

I am sure people will go back to exercise together at some point as doing the same work out from your living room can become a bit boring and the weather to exercise in the park can be unpredictable.  I am also confident that initially, smaller boutique wellness and fitness centres which are more integrated within their communities will be able to regain business sooner by reconnecting with their customers and delivering a more comforting ant authentic experience.

Flair 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: Pixabay

Rosewood launches relief to support communities during pandemic

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Rosewood launches relief to support communities during pandemic

The luxury hotel group has launched Rosewood Raise, a relief initiative to support associates and communities that have been affected by COVID–19…

Rosewood Hotel Group has launched Rosewood Raise, a comprehensive relief initiative developed in support of the Group’s associates who have been impacted by the COVID-19, as well as the communities in which the Group operates.

Rooted on the foundation of Relationship Hospitality, a belief that true hospitality springs from the nurturing and building of strong and lasting relationships with associates, guests, partners and communities, Rosewood Hotel Group has always recognised and revered the power of people in creating the exceptional experiences that drive the industry. Developed in dedication to these very individuals that have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the Group’s hotels and destinations, Rosewood Raise supports an associate relief fund and community-focused efforts, including donated hotel rooms and meal preparation and supplies for essential workers.

Managed by the Emergency Assistance Foundation, Inc., a 501c(3) charity created to design and operate multiple employer-sponsored disaster relief and employee hardship funds, the Rosewood Raise Relief Fund aims to assist staff in corporate offices and managed hotels across its three brands – Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, New World Hotels & Resorts, KHOS. The fund will support associates whose jobs were amongst the first and most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, prioritising those facing financial difficulties due to health-related needs, as well as local communities that have been especially affected by the pandemic. Upon the containment of the current crisis, the relief fund will continue to support the Group’s associates against future adversities and hardships.

In its first two weeks since formation, the fund has received initial pledges of close to USD $2 million from Rosewood Hotel Group’s corporate executives and associates, including salary contributions and a commitment from the company to match all employees cash contributions to the fund.

“We wish to stand in solidarity and with gratitude for our associates, and in support of the local communities that are so deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.” – Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group.

On the property level, several of the Group’s hotels and resorts are supporting the local communities in which they operate, engaging in Rosewood Raise efforts across the globe. Among the first properties in the portfolio to be affected by COVID-19, New World Hotels & Resorts’ hotels in Wuhan and Guiyang saluted their cities’ medical workers by providing complimentary accommodations. Across the ultra-luxury Rosewood Hotels & Resorts brand, many properties throughout Asia Pacific, Europe and North America are supplying necessities and meals to medical associates, first responders and area hospitals, as well as to local organisations and charities aimed at assisting families and individuals in need. Both Rosewood Bangkok (Bangkok, Thailand) and Rosewood Miramar Beach (Montecito, USA) have created Rosewood on the Move food delivery services to offer complimentary comfort meals to frontline workers in the hotels’ respective regions. Rosewood Miramar Beach, specifically, has already served over 1,500 meals to essential personnel throughout Santa Barbara, CA, ranging from police officers and fire fighters to waste handlers and grocery store attendants. Additional properties preparing meals for key workers at their local hospitals include Rosewood London (London, UK), Rosewood Hong Kong (Hong Kong, SAR), and Rosewood Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi, UAE).

“I have always believed that people are the beating heart of the hospitality industry,” said Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group. “Through Rosewood Raise, we wish to stand in solidarity and with gratitude for our associates, and in support of the local communities that are so deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our hope is that through this initiative we can provide assistance to our associates and communities who are facing serious hardship and let them know their Rosewood family is here to support them through this unprecedented time.”

Through the launch of Rosewood Raise, Rosewood Hotel Group is committed to continuing to identify and execute future opportunities to support its associates and the global community through multi-layered fundraising activities and community service projects in the years ahead.

To read Hotel Designs’ exclusive virtual roundtable on how the pandemic will impact the industry, which includes comments from Rosewood London’s Managing Director, Michael Bonsor, click here.

Main image credit: Rosewood Hotel Group

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Mothballing your property during the pandemic

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INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Mothballing your property during the pandemic

With the current slump in trade, operators are being forced to close sections of their properties or indeed whole buildings. Hotel Designs asks Interior Refurbishment Contractor, Interefurb, how hotels can best utilise this quiet spell during the pandemic. Gary Crosbie explains…

The COVID–19 pandemic continues to halt the hotel design and hospitality industry. While some properties are being transformed into temporary accommodation for the sick, homeless and medical workers, other buildings lie bare.

If it’s any conciliation, we have been in a similar situation before. In 2001, the Foot and Mouth outbreak and the wake of 9/11 left the industry on its knees. After the lull of activity and an anxious period for investors and operators, the market recovered. Here are some tips that we learned during that time. 

One of the largest barriers when carrying out refurbishment is the loss of revenue whilst rooms and areas are out of action. But back then, several of our clients took advantage of quiet and empty properties and carried out their refurbishment and maintenance works, stealing a lead on the competition when business returned. Which it will.

Plan ahead

How long  are you expecting the building to be unoccupied for? Do you have any special features that require special protection? The most important threats to a vacant building are:

  • Weather – our weather patterns currently are unpredictable and extreme. If building elements are not properly secured, the high winds may damage many building elements and leave others open to further damage. Likewise, heavy rains may cause flooding on the lower levels of the building and water penetration in other unsecured areas.  
  • Escape of water – Escape of water and moisture will cause the decay of materials, leading to wood rot, growth of mold and fungi, and provide a hospitable environment for insects.  Water can gain direct access to the building through windows, doors, roof openings, damaged mortar joints, blocked gutters and condensation caused by temperature and humidity shifts within the building.
  • Pests and Vermin – When birds, bugs, and rodents make your vacant building their home, it increases the likelihood of structural damage and compromises the integrity of decorative elements.  New openings in the building may be made by these vermin.  Birds’ nests can be a fire hazard and their droppings, a disease threat.  Rodents may chew on the building’s wiring, and insects may bore into wood structural supports. Old food left in rooms and dare I say staff accommodation
  • Vandalism – Caused when local opportunists force entry, any opening then allows the direct entry of vermin, wind, and water.  Vandals may also damage the interior or start fires in the building. 

A well a thought-through and implemented plan will help eliminate disaster, especially whilst there is nobody around to regularly monitor and will also make the recommissioning easier.

Create a checklist

A simple checklist can help to prevent many of these conditions from exacting their toll on your investment: 

  • Roof – Repair all leaks. Ensure all flashing is secure, and gutters run freely.
  • Ventilation – A securely ventilated building prevents the damage that can be caused by condensation. Ventilate the building so that air enters at ground level and leaves at the attic level. 
  • Windows and doors – Entry points, such as windows and doors, should be secured to prevent damage and entry from vandals. Remove any debris, such as loose bricks, that could be thrown at the building to provide entry. 
  • Plumbing and heating – Plumbing in an unheated building should be protected by shutting off the water supply and draining the pipes, contact your insurer regarding their requirements for and sprinkler systems.  Seal WC lids to prevent accidental use.
  • Finishes and furniture – If safe storage can be provided elsewhere, it may be prudent to remove and store valuable items. Photograph the items in their original location before removal.
  • Notifications – notify your insurers, alarm monitoring companies and appropriate local authorities of the vacant building, consider providing keys to the police and Fire and Rescue.

Interefurb 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.

Edinburgh hotel donates 1,000 free nights to medical staff during pandemic

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Edinburgh hotel donates 1,000 free nights to medical staff during pandemic

Workers of the pandemic frontline in Edinburgh have booked 1,000 free nights and meals at the Best Western hotel, Ten Hill Place… 

Owned by The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RSCEd), Ten Hill Place in Edinburgh has donated 1,000 of its rooms to NHS medical workers during the COVID–19 pandemic.

Located three miles from the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and less than a mile from the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, the hotel is providing much-needed nearby accommodation and meals for key workers tackling the pandemic.

This has proven invaluable to guests facing tiring commutes between expanding shifts or to help workers isolating from vulnerable family members.

“The response to our decision to accommodate medical and clinical workers has been astounding, and we want to encourage more staff who are working at the city’s hospitals to get in touch with us to find out how we can help support them,” said Scott Mitchell, Managing Director at Surgeons Quarter. “It’s a privilege to play our part in helping make the lives of medical workers a little easier during one of the most difficult times the country has faced.”

The Best Western Ten Hill Place has 129 guestrooms available for hospital staff, as well as packed continental breakfasts and complementary evening meals courtesy of its award-winning catering team.

Frontline workers have praised the hotel for its continued support during the pandemic.

A Tripadvisor user posted: “I cannot explain how grateful I am to them. All social distancing respected and we are well looked after – not to have worries about cooking or cleaning plus a calm comfortable night’s sleep is great. This will be my top hotel in Edinburgh forever.”

Professor Michael Griffin, President of the RSCEd and one of the UK’s leading surgeons, said: “We’ve heard and seen directly from our colleagues how severe the impact COVID-19 is on our health service.

“Having accommodation near hospitals to rest and recover from allows our colleagues to be looked after, at a time when they need the most support. We’re incredibly proud of the team at Surgeons Quarter and their invaluable efforts to help the health service.”

As well as the commitment to accommodate staff, the RCSEd has been engaging with interim Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gregor Smith to declare its willingness to temporarily convert the hotel, should hospitals overflow.

Surgeons Quarter promotes, sells and manages all commercial activities held within the RCSEd campus. All profits support the charitable aims of the College which are education, assessment and advancement in surgical standards worldwide.

Main image credit: Ten Hill Place

BREAKING: Independent Hotel Show 2020 forced to cancel

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BREAKING: Independent Hotel Show 2020 forced to cancel

The organisers of Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam have made the difficult yet responsible decision to cancel this year’s physical show in response the global pandemic of COVID–19…

The Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam 2020, which was originally due to take place in March 17 – 18 but was then postpostend until June 24 – 25, has now been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement, the show organisers said: “It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we must inform you that, due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam 2020 is cancelled and will no longer take place on 24-25 June at RAI Amsterdam, as planned.

“We hoped that postponing the event until June would have provided enough time for life to return to normal, but unfortunately this has not been the case. We understand the significant impact coronavirus (COVID-19) is having across the entire hotel and hospitality industry and offer our support in these challenging times.

“Please rest assured that all paid for tickets will be refunded in due course so please bear with us as we get these processed.

“We are truly in awe of the resilience, innovation and kindness that we have seen by so many within our industry.”

In order to keep in touch with its audience, the show has said that over the next few months, it will be sharing stories from suppliers and hoteliers that are thinking differently and offering advice on how to stay ahead in this current climate. In addition, on June 24, the date Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam should have taken place, the event will be running a free one-day online webinar series, featuring many of the speakers who were due to speak at the event. If you are interested, you can register your interest on the website. 

Main image credit: Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam 2019

The hospitality social media campaign sweeping the nation

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The hospitality social media campaign sweeping the nation

James & Cranwell, a luxury hospitality headhunters company, has presented the ‘Hospitality 4 Heroes Challenge’ in aid of NHS workers during the COVID–19 pandemic…

The Hospitality 4 Heroes Challenge is a simple social media champaign that has emerged during the COVID–19 pandemic with the aim to raise funds for the NHS front line workers.

Set up by Warren James and Matthew Cranwell, the campaign asks the nation to upload a short video on social media doing something related to hospitality. Viewers will then be able to click a link which will direct them to a GoFundMe page that has been set up to support the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Appeal.

“This is our way of giving back to the incredible superheroes at the NHS,” explained Warren James in the video that launched the initiative.

How to join the campaign:

  1. Upload a short video to introduce yourself, followed by a ‘how to’ video of your chosen hospitality-related challenge
  2. Share on your social media accounts, including the GoFundMe link and the hashtag #hospitality4heroes
  3. Tag three people in the post who then have 24 hours to complete their own challenge

The target is to raise £10,000 through the Hospitality for Heroes Challenge. “Whilst everyone’s priority is staying home and staying safe, we know that everyone is looking for ways to help,” the duo explain on the GoFundMe page. “We believe the Hospitality for Heroes Challenge is a powerful way to do that, whilst having some fun in the safety of your own home.”

The duo nominated Michael Bonsor (Managing Director of Rosewood London), Tom Booton (Head Chef of The Grill at The Dorchester) and Thomas Kochs (Managing Director of Corinthia London). Other individuals who have completed their challenges include Vincenzo Arnese (Head Sommelier at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal) and Martin Siska (Director of Scarfes Bar). The campaign is attracting the wide-spread attention of the industry as social media continues to play a crucial role during the COVID–19 pandemic.

The NHS Charities Together represents 140 member NHS charities throughout the UK, and funds from its COVID–19 appeal will help support the health and wellbeing of NHS staff and volunteers supporting COVID–19 patients in ways above and beyond that which NHS funding can ordinarily provide, including wellbeing packs and costs associated with travel, parking, accommodation and volunteer expenses.

Main image credit: Hospitality 4 Heroes

1 million room nights donated across America during COVID-19 Pandemic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
1 million room nights donated across America during COVID-19 Pandemic

Hilton and American Express will donate one million hotel room rights across the USA to frontline medical professionals leading the fight against COVID-19 pandemic…

Beginning next week, Hilton and American Express will make rooms available without charge to doctors, nurses, EMTs, paramedics and other frontline medical staff who need a place to sleep, recharge or isolate from their families through the end of May.

Hilton is initially working with 10 associations who collectively represent more than one million healthcare workers to provide access to the program, designed to support individuals who would otherwise have to spend their own money on accommodations.

“During this crisis, we have seen so many examples of medical professionals working in the most challenging circumstances, sacrificing their own needs for the greater good. They truly are heroes,” said Hilton President and CEO, Christopher J. Nassetta. “We are honored to extend our Hilton hospitality to them during this difficult time.”

American Express, Hilton’s long-standing strategic partner, is investing alongside Hilton in the donation of the hotel rooms, which will be provided at or below cost by Hilton’s network of independent owners and franchisees.

“Our medical workers who are courageously and selflessly serving on the frontlines in the coronavirus crisis represent the best of who we are,” said American Express Chairman and CEO, Stephen J. Squeri. “We’re honoured to support this initiative with our longtime partner, Hilton, to provide the heroes in our communities a place to rest, recharge and help keep their loved ones safe during this time.”

William Jaquis, MD, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said the room donation will be welcome relief for the thousands of medical staff enduring long hours under challenging circumstances.

“Knowing that there is a safe, clean and comfortable hotel room waiting for you at the end of a long shift can make all the difference in the world right now,” Dr. Jaquis said. “The kind of compassion and caring that Hilton and American Express are offering has never been more welcome.”

Rooms will be available across a variety of Hilton brands, including Hampton by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, DoubleTree by Hilton and others. Hotels will be staffed by Team Members who have received additional training on relevant health and safety measures to safeguard their own and their guests’ well-being. Hotel rooms and common areas will continue to be sanitised using industrial grade cleaners and updated cleaning protocols. In some high-demand locations, room availability may be limited at times. Nassetta credited owners from Hilton’s portfolio for joining the effort. “Across the United States, owners of Hilton hotels of every brand are eager to support their communities and be part of the solution. They have been instrumental in making this response possible.”

Main image credit: Hilton/American Express

FEATURE: COVID–19 pandemic is forcing an evolution in wellness

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FEATURE: COVID–19 pandemic is forcing an evolution in wellness

When we eventually return to ‘normal’ life following the worldwide pandemic of COVID–19, we will all have become acutely aware of how Mother Nature can rapidly alter the status quo and severely affect each and every one of us; where we go, who we see, what we do. Room to Breathe gives Hotel Designs an insight on what might change…

There’s no doubt about it, the personal and commercial effects of the current outbreak will be felt for years to come.

Personal and social hygiene awareness has increased exponentially, with a growing scepticism of what and what is not clean.

Whether we are at our workplace, attending leisure facilities or travelling for business or pleasure, we all now have a heightened awareness of how we interact and will now expect and demand a higher level of service from providers that takes cognisance of the perceived risks as a result of this. Put simply, COVID–19 will change the way we work, how we live and how and where we travel.

Image credit: Room to Breathe

Few markets have felt the full force of this pandemic more than the hospitality sector. It has decimated trade, scattered the labour force and threatened the very existence of the supply chain. Travellers, holiday makers and businesspeople alike will now become even more difficult to satisfy and will seek to be given as much reassurance as possible.

A single night stay becomes your biggest issue as each and every night your new customer requires that peace of mind that your room is as safe as possible for them to stay in. Failure to address these new concerns could result in the long-term repeat visitor more likely to ‘go somewhere else next time’.

“By taking steps to show your commitment to your customers’ health and wellbeing is now, more than ever, of paramount importance.”

Family on bed

Image credit: Room to Breathe

Capturing this feeling of assured safety every time must be seen as the focal point for Customer Satisfaction.

What can be done?

So what can the hospitality sector do to insulate itself from the aftershock of COVID–19 and prepare for the inevitable increase in customer demands? What can be done to provide that ‘peace of mind’ that is desired?

Is carrying out the same cleaning protocols more frequently by an already stretched housekeeping department going to provide the reassurance required? In a word, no.

By taking steps to show your commitment to your customers’ health and wellbeing is now, more than ever, of paramount importance.

Image credit: Room to Breathe

A cleaner solution

A new approach to a new problem must be the way forward. It needs to address the worries and concerns of your customers but must, just as importantly, be cost effective. Imagine the cost of a ‘deep clean’ between every guest. This is neither practical nor affordable.

This is where Room to Breathe comes into its own. By providing a room that can demonstrate continuous and permanent ‘self-cleaning’ provision, you can provide customers with an unrivalled level of service and commitment to their needs and concerns.

“Room to Breathe also kills 99.99 per cent of viruses and bacteria, including coronaviruses.”

Originally developed to provide safe, clean accommodation for the millions of travellers who have a hypersensitivity to various toxins, pathogens and allergens, Room to Breathe also kills 99.99 per cent of viruses and bacteria, including coronaviruses (incl. influenza, SARS, MERS).

Step One – deep clean

An initial industrial air purge followed by a combination of steam cleaning above 40℃, ultra-low-penetration air (UPLA) vacuuming and the application of our unique decontamination fluid which is deadly to pathogens (but is safe to all higher living organisms) is fogged into the area ensuring every surface coated.

Additionally, by using innovative UV technology we can rid mattresses, pillows and soft furnishings of undesirable micro-organisms within seconds.

Fogger in room

Image credit: Room to Breathe

Step Two – Anti-microbial coating

Once the area has been decontaminated, our antimicrobial coating ‘BioTouch’, will be is applied. The BioTouch formula bonds to a clean surface and when viruses and bacteria land on the protected surface, the cellular structure is ruptured (not poisoned) and becomes defunct.

The only way BioTouch can be removed is by it being chipped off. Where there is a risk of this, on door handles, light switches for example, we can easily reapply to maintain the coatings efficiency.

Step three – Bedding and soft furnishings

Using our own unique formula, Protext solution provides a layer of invisible protection which permanently interrupts the life cycle of dust mites and bed bugs.

Our method avoids the use of toxins so whilst lethal to bugs and mites does not pose a risk to the client. This is also applied to all fabrics and soft furnishings.

Step Four – continuous air sanification. 

Installing filterless air sanifiers provides the final level of protection. Using technology originally developed by NASA, our sanifiers seek out contaminants and pathogens within the air and on surfaces and neutralise them.

By applying this four step process, we not only eradicate 99.99 per cent of viruses and bacteria, we also provide a continuous level of protection in between our Deep Clean processes.

Certification

On completion certification is provided and displayed either outside or within the room to provide that peace of mind to Customers and employees alike.

A Room Information Pack is provided for guests to simply explain the RTB system, providing that peace of mind. In order to maintain the certification, Steps One and Two are carried out every four months in accordance with our terms and conditions.

On-site training is also provided to Housekeeping staff in order to ensure the efficacy of the RTB system is maintained. This is no more onerous to staff and in fact will simplify their cleaning protocols.

Cost 

Based on an occupancy of 72 per cent, our cost model demonstrates that a ROI of 100 per cent can be achieved in the first year with a surcharge of just £15 per night per room.

We truly believe Room to Breathe is the next step in the evolution of the hospitality market. Our processes not only provide protection from unseen pathogens but are also proven to improve cognitive function, enable better quality of sleep and promote overall wellbeing.

So whether you are wanting ensure the highest level of protection for your customers or are looking to capture the untapped market for those travellers with intolerances or allergies then Room to Breathe could well be the answer.

Room to Breathe 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: Room to Breathe

BREAKING: Salone del Mobile postponed until 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
BREAKING: Salone del Mobile postponed until 2021

The 2020 edition of the Salone del Mobile.Milano has been suspended to 2021 due to the COVID–19 pandemic…

Just weeks after Salone del Mobile.Milano was postponed from April until June of 2020, due to the outbreak of COVID–19, the organisers of the event have now announced that the event has been further suspended until April of 2021. 

Salone del Mobile.Milano, which is the world’s largest and arguably most visible furniture fair in the international design calendar, will now take place between April 13 – 18 2021.

The decision to postpone was made by the Board of the Salone del Mobile.Milano in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that is spreading to almost every country in the world.

In a statement, the show’s organisers said: “Although we were determined to keep to the June date, to allow the annual event to take place as planned, the present, unprecedented circumstances and medium-term uncertainties now mean that this year’s Salone can no longer go ahead.

“The 2021 edition, which will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Salone, will be a special event for the entire sector. For the first time ever, all the biennial exhibitions will be held in conjunction with the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the International Furnishing Accessories Exhibition, Workplace3.0, S.Project and SaloneSatellite. This means that EuroCucina, FTK – Technology For the Kitchen and the International Bathroom Exhibition will also take place next year, along with Euroluce, which was already scheduled for 2021.” 

The sector-wide trade fair is said to represent a fresh opportunity to pull together to revitalise our businesses, the entire supply chain that works in synergy with the Salone, and Milan. 

This is breaking news, more to follow…

Main image credit: Salone del Mobile.Milano/Andrea Mariani

Hotel Designs launches new initiative to help businesses through uncertain times

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs launches new initiative to help businesses through uncertain times

The industry’s leading online platform, Hotel Designs, has launched a three-month introductory offer for companies, as the leading international hotel design website continues to support the hospitality industry…

In direct response to the COVID–19 pandemic, Hotel Designs has launched an ‘Industry Support Package’ to help brands to engage with the hospitality sector spanning designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and those that supply to the industry during the testing months that lie ahead.

“The aim of this three-month package is to simply support businesses that have been effected by the COVID–19 outbreak and that require a springboard of support,” explained publisher Katy Phillips. “While the hospitality market adapts, the ‘Industry Support Package’ will enable brands from all sectors of the market to share their latest news to our highly engaged readers via our various online platforms.”

The Industry Support Package, which is just £99 + VAT, includes: 

  • A comprehensive company profile page on Hotel Designs website to include full company details, contact information, product imagery etc.
  • Editorial coverage on the Hotel Designs website for a three-month period
  • Contribution to Hotel Designs’ ‘Spotlight On’ monthly editorial features
  • Social media support across all social channels – reaching more than 20,000 users
  • Exposure within Hotel Designs weekly e-newsletter sent to more than 12,000 recipients

The package is only available to new clients, and to take advantage of the offer, companies will need to be book by EOP on Friday, April 3, with activity commencing no later than Monday, April 13. 

If you would like to take advantage of this offer, please email Katy Phillips or call +44 (0)1992 374050.

Editor Checks In: The hospitality industry fights back

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor Checks In: The hospitality industry fights back

In his monthly column, editor Hamish Kilburn, like others, is self-isolating. He is reflecting on where it all went wrong – and, crucially, how we can make it right again for the hospitality industry. In the eye of the COVID–19 storm, which will pass, he finds himself praising the hospitality industry for showing compassion and versatility in uncertain times…

It’s amazing – and equally devastating – to witness just how quickly things can change on the international hospitality scene. Just a few weeks ago, I was on stage at HRC in London presenting to a crowded audience how, because of new technology and the evolutions of social media, competition is no longer just on a hotel’s doorstep. And here I am, writing my monthly Editor’s Letter, as the United Kingdom, like other countries around the world, is in lockdown following the Pandemic outbreak of COVID-19. The doors into nations are firmly closed, social distancing guidelines have been set and new measures are being put into action in order to slow down the spread of the virus.

“Mother nature has simply had enough – she has sent us all to our rooms to think about what we have done.”

Meanwhile, face-to-face interactions, which have been a key element for our socially driven industry since the dawn of time, are restricted, and we are all well and truly on our knees. Major events such as Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam, Clerkenwell Design Week, Salone del Mobile in Milan and Hotel Summit were all compelled to postpone when the outbreak became a pandemic. Even the Olympics, the largest sporting event on the planet, is stuck in the traffic jam of uncertainty and will not make it time for 2020.

Mother nature has simply had enough – she has sent us all to our rooms to think about what we have done ­– and it’s time to reflect on how we can respond to the global catastrophe.

Lessons for the wellbeing of earth can surely be learned from this. In just days of the countries closing their borders and going into lockdown, both China and Italy recorded major declines in nitrogen dioxide – a serious air pollutant and powerful warming chemical – as a direct result of reducing industrial activity and car journeys.

Elsewhere, locals in Venice noticed a significant improvement in the water quality of the iconic canals that flow through through the city as the area was cleared of tourists.

With millions of people now in isolation around the world, social media and technology is playing a leading role in order to help people interact, entertain and be kept informed of news as well as vital government instructions.

“In times of crisis, we become stronger than we thought we were.”

Neighbours have united once more, with residents seen singing and applauding health workers from balconies. As I type, my best friend, who owns her own tattoo studio, is currently delivering vital medicine to the sick and elderly in and around her community in the wake of having to temporarily close down her local business. In times of crisis, we become stronger than we thought we were.

The selfless acts of kindness don’t end there. The hospitality industry, despite being one of the most affected in this crisis, is fighting hard to prevent the spread of COVID–19, and I am totally overwhelmed with pride to see how adaptable our market is. One by one, hotel chains, brands and boutique independents are unveiling how they innovatively plan to help fight the invisible enemy of COVID-19.

The last few weeks have raised a lot of questions about the future design of hotels: should we encourage guests to gather in public spaces, should we introduce working-from-home measures and is touchless technology the way forward? As things are changing day-by-day as we are all told to #stayhome, this will no-doubt make us think deeper about how we can meaningfully design and open better social spaces for all.

To be honest, I am at a loss for words, which, for anyone who knows me, is really saying something. I cannot predict what happens next, but from all of us at Hotel Designs HQ, we wish for you all to remain safe during this unpredictable period. And remember, storms don’t last forever. If it’s any consolation, the whole world is going to need a holiday when all this is over.

Feel free to keep in touch with our team on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, and let us all distribute the weight of this disruption evenly, because we are all in this fight together.

Editor, Hotel Designs

How the hospitality industry is responding to COVID–19 pandemic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How the hospitality industry is responding to COVID–19 pandemic

As the world settles in to the realities of lockdown, editor Hamish Kilburn has noticed a number of hospitality brands going above and beyond to help prevent the spread of COVID–19…

The industry may be on its knees financially, with hotels having to remain shut following the outbreak of COVID–19, but the spirit of hospitality around the world has arguably never been stronger.

With borders to nations closed, and new measures being put in place to further extend social distancing, the tourism and hospitality industries have suffered most – hotels, restaurants and other venues have had to temporarily lock their businesses down.

In this time, however, the true spirit of hospitality has led to hotels and hotel chains to do amazing things. Here are just some of the ways in which the hospitality industry is selflessly helping to prevent the spread of COVID–19.

Offering free rooms to the NHS

Image credit: Stock Exchange Hotel

One of the first in the hospitality sector to offer its help, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs announced that they were temporarily closing their two Manchester-based hotels in order to offer their rooms to the NHS for free. Hotel Football and Stock Exchange Hotel, which will shelter MEET UP North on July 6, have started a trend for other hotels, brands and chains to follow on from.

“The company is working with its team to put a package in place for all staff members for the months ahead, following which the hope is that things would have returned to normal,” they said in a statement. “While health and safety remain the company’s primarily concern the economic situation of each individual team member is also being given utmost priority.”

Lighting up communities with symbols of hope, and offering rooms to the homeless

The meaningful plot thickens daily with the IHG. Firstly, the major hotel group reacted amplified a statement of hope by lighting up many of its empty rooms with signs of love as the world faces prospect of lockdown. In addition, the group then announced that it was going to waive cancellation feels until the end of April. Most recently, though, the hotel group is working with the Mayor of London and the government to offer 300 of its hotel rooms to the homeless to self-isolate during the COVID–19 crisis.

Transforming hotels into hospitals

Following the recent outbreak of COVID-19 in the UK, major hotel chains are in discussions with the government about transforming their properties into temporary NHS hospitals, The Guardian reports. Best Western, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Travelodge and Whitbread’s Premier Inn chain are among the operators discussing  the logistics of closing their hotels to the public so that spaces can be given to vulnerable groups who are at a heightened risk of contracting the virus in the coming months.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, ILUNION Hotels has placed its hotel chain at the disposal of the Community of Madrid’s political and health authorities to take in patients across its three Madrid properties with mild cases of coronavirus, who need to isolate themselves during the coming weeks and cannot do so in their own homes. ILUNION believes that “at this time society needs every institution and company to rise to the occasion.” Moreover, ILUNION Hotels are planning on presenting the same proposal to other regions across Spain, offering a safe place for patients to spend their isolation, without putting friends and family at risk.

Donations of food and space

In order to help local communities to battle through the coronavirus crisis, brands and hotels such as Handpicked Hotels, Michel Reybier Hospitality, Ocean House and Bespoke Hotels have also welcomed in the community by donating food and offering safe spaces for the elderly as the outbreak of COVID–19 progresses.

Ocean House in Rhode Island has said it will deploy its Ocean House Management Food Truck, which will go to the same place three times a week, until May 31.

Meanwhile, back in the UK, Bespoke Hotels’ Cotswolds House, The Lyndene Hotel, Oddfellows Chester, Branston Hall Hotel, Green Dragon on Herford and Ennerdale Hotel are all offering food bans and/or afternoon teas for local care homes. “Given the current circumstances, we cannot let our food and beverage go to waste without helping those in need”, commented Robin Sheppard, CEO of Bespoke Hotels. “We have an active community and local charities in each region – we must work together and be kind to one another during these unprecedented times.”

Please email Hamish Kilburn, or tweet us @HotelDesigns, if you have a story you would like us to share about a hotel or brand that is doing something incredible in order to help fight the spread of COVID–19.

Main image credit: Pixabay

Spain has closed all hotels to fight COVID–19 spread

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Spain has closed all hotels to fight COVID–19 spread

Today, for the first time (in well) ever, Spain has ordered all hotels and tourism accommodation in the country to close as it ups its efforts to fight against the spread of Coronavirus COVID–19…

Spain has taken further measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus COVID–19 by announcing that all hotels in Spain will close today.

Spain is among the European countries that has been worst affected in the ever-evolving coronavirus pandemic, with 33,098 cases recorded cases and 2,206 deaths so far.

The virus has now spread to all Spanish regions, with Madrid suffering the highest number of cases with 9,702 people. The impact in the northern regions of Catalonia and Basque Country was also significant, with 4,700 thousand and 2,000 cases respectively.

Like the UK government, the Spanish authorities have been reported to be planning on turning empty hotels into temporary hospitals, to help ease pressure on the country’s healthcare system.

The country has been in lockdown since March 14, which restricts people from leaving their homes other than to buy food, medicine, to seek medical help or travel to and from work.

Main image credit: Pixabay

Hotels that are self-isolating in style (part 2)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotels that are self-isolating in style (part 2)

While the entire world continues to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hotel Designs is turning up the temperature on the editorial desk. Part two in the series ‘Hotels that are self-isolating in style’ takes editor Hamish Kilburn on a journey of discovery without his feet even leaving the ground… 

The industry has really taken a hit from COVID-19. While some hotel groups are in talks to transform their hotels into hospitals, others are shining as beacons of hope for locals in lockdown.

The outbreak is also taking its toll on the major trade events that the industry was looking forward to attending; MEET UP London and Clerkenwell Design Week are the latest events that have been forced to postpone until later in the year.

Following on from part one in this series, Hotel Designs has taken the baton in this unfair relay to maintain a steady pace of inspirational stories in order to keep moral in the industry high. If you are understandably lacking Monday motivation, just think that once all this is over everybody is going to be booking – and needing – a holiday. Here are a few gems that are naturally self-isolating in style.

Aristi Mountain Resort & Villas, Greece

‘Off the beaten track’, and then some, Aristi Mountain Resort and Villas is the perfect location for travellers who are looking for some adventure as well as some relaxation – think the opposite of a Greek package beech holiday. Situated in west Zagori, Epirus in north-western Greece, Aristi Mountain Resort & Villas is home to luxurious accommodation set within a wild and rugged landscape.

Hotel Lou Pinet, Saint Tropez, France

Soft-lit guestroom

Image credit: Hotel Lou Pinet

Captivated by the location to this day, the Pariente family, which recently opened Le Coucou in Meribel, took over the Hotel Lou Pinet in 2017 and completely transformed it with the help of the ultimate dream team. Charles Zana was invited in to be responsible for the architecture, landscape designer Jean Mus was called up to work his magic in the gardens, while the restaurant BeefBar was imagined and created by Riccardo Giraudi. The result is a luxury boutique hotel that works in harmony when it comes to both style and service.

Marbella Elix, Corfu, Greece

Greek interiors inside suite overlooking sea

Image credit: Marbella Collection

The soon-to-open Marbella Mix will become MarBella Collection’s first property to open outside the mainland of Greece. Like all motherships when it comes to leaving the nest, its children (of hotels in this case) can’t fly too far from the nest. The new hotel will find its home in the rugged mountains within the resort-studded shoreline of Corfo.

Eclipse at Half Moon, Montego Bay, Jamaica

Large, spacious and locally sourced lobby

Image credit: Eclipse at Half Moon

Opened earlier this month, and nestled on the 400-acre Half Moon property, between the lush rolling hills of Montego Bay and the glistening Caribbean Sea, Eclipse at Half Moon is a celebration of authentic Jamaican culture and its surrounding natural beauty. The most luxurious addition to the Caribbean in a generation, the resort features 57 new beautifully appointed accommodations, a natural swimming cove, seven bars and restaurants, and a stunning infinity-edge pool with views of the Caribbean Sea.

The heart of the resort is the Great House, the property’s new reception area, marked by a large Gaungo Tree which was carefully replanted to ensure natural and mature surroundings. Inspired by traditional Jamaican design and the history of the property, the Great House is decorated with elegant shutters, vibrant colours and vintage photographs from Half Moon’s founding families.

Joali Maldives

Pool overlooking endless ocean in the maldives

Image credit: Joali Maldives

One of the Maldives’ few independent luxury hotels, Joali was designed around each and every palm tree on the island of Muravandhoo in the unspoilt Raa Atoll. A collective of young international artists from all over the world including Porky Hefer, who has worked with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, and Misha Kahn, were commissioned to create an array of eco-inspired pieces of immersive art for Joali, made from natural and sustainable materials and each with an environmental message. Guests receive a map to the resort’s ‘art trail’ on arrival, including an underwater coral mosaic museum that can be experienced when snorkelling, a giant Manta ray shaped treehouse among the palms for sunset cocktails and special dinners and a hanging, woven heron’s head on the beach that guests can sit inside and read a book.

 

Mullion Cove Hotel, England

Indoor pool with glass overlooking bay

Image caption/credit: The main indoor pool of the spa | Mullion Cove Hotel/Hart Miller Design

The clifftop retreat, Mullion Cove Hotel, with its infinity pool and stunning sea views enhances the hotel’s existing offering and marks a new chapter in its history. Hart Miller Design were selected to create a distinctive spa experience, unique to the South West of England. At the heart of the project is a contrast of scale – placing intimate human sensory experiences within a jaw-dropping natural location of rock, sea and elemental power. Japanese mountain retreats were taken as a key inspiration, grounded in ritual and symbolism.

Main image credit: Joali Maldives

Talks for hotels to be turned into temporary hospitals

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Talks for hotels to be turned into temporary hospitals

Hotels are in logistic talks with the Government about giving up empty hotel rooms to vulnerable groups or medical professions…

The hospitality industry has proved time and time again that it is both adaptable and resilient. Following the recent outbreak of COVID-19 in the UK, major hotel chains are in discussions with the Government about transforming their properties into temporary NHS hospitals, The Guardian reports.

Best Western, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Travelodge and Whitbread’s Premier Inn chain are among the operators discussing  the logistics of closing their hotels to the public so that spaces can be given to vulnerable groups who are at a heightened risk of contracting the virus in the coming months.

The brand Best Western’s first hotel to be turned into a hospital support site is reported to open in south London next week, with every guestroom used to house lower-risk patients and NHS staff.

With 270 properties, Best Western is the largest independent hotel chain in the UK. Although details of the location of the first hotel to open next week are still confidential, The Guardian reported that a Best Western spokesman said: “However we are in conversations with a number of NHS hospitals and local authorities around the country to see if we can do something similar for them, to help provide accommodation for NHS staff, care workers, lower-risk patients and vulnerable people at this time, such as elderly and homeless people.”

The news comes after Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester, which will host MEET UP North on July 6, opened it’s doors free of charge to health workers, freeing 176 beds for NHS employees and other medical staff. Meanwhile, IHG lit up its empty hotel rooms to display a symbol of love for locals in lockdown.

This is just the latest development on the UK hospitality scene as hotels around the country remain empty, while operators are thinking of resourceful ways to help the community, which after all is what true hospitality looks like.

Main image: Pixabay

IHG’s display of hope and love for locals in lockdown

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IHG’s display of hope and love for locals in lockdown

The major hotel group IHG has amplified a statement of hope by lighting up many of its empty rooms with signs of love as the world faces prospect of lockdown. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Last night, while the majority of hotels around the world remained empty as the industry suffers the consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak, IHG put out a sign of ‘love’ and ‘hope’ across many of its properties.

Locals in destinations such as Davos, Amsterdam and Berlin watched as heart symbols were formed from guestroom lights in the windows of empty properties.

The display came after the hotel group, which has more than 5,900 hotels and approximately 884,000 guestrooms in its franchise, updated its cancellation policy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The group has now waived cancellation fees for existing and new bookings at all IHG hotels globally for stays between March 9, 2020 and April 30, 2020.

If you are a hotelier looking for answers, please read our recently published feature on how hotels can stay above the surface in uncertain times like these.

While the industry has temporarily fallen to its knees, as more and more nations announce lockdowns and self-isolation regulations, there is hope that the industry will bounce back eventually. After all, the world will need a holiday once this passes.

Image credit: Instagram/ems_at_cherries

SPECIAL FEATURE: Crisis mitigation – gaining back control of your hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPECIAL FEATURE: Crisis mitigation – gaining back control of your hotel

COVID-19 has attacked, and crisis is looking through the door. What are the smart ways to manage your hotel during this crisis? How did we recover when something similar hit the industry in past? The experts at STAAH and the team at Guestjoy explore further… 

The occupancy rates in hotels have taken a hit, hotels are experiencing a dip, and major international events are being put on hold. Meanwhile, the travel industry has been grounded. The headlines surrounding COVID-19, and the daily updates from the Government, are worrying for the hospitality industry, which unsurprisingly sparked a petition doing the rounds.

However, we’ve been through things like this before, except the media coverage wasn’t so extensive and panic-inducing. Where is the swine flu, SARS or H1N1 now and how did hotelier deal during those outbreaks? Remember, websites often implement a pay-per-click rule, therefore spreading hysteria is beneficial for them.

Recessions naturally happen in economic cycles, however, and investing during a recession is an old ‘trick’ to make it through to the recovery period. If you want a quick course on that, check out Investopedia – investment during recession.

For our industry that we love serving, here are our tips to stay on top of your business

  • Stay flexible, give your guests what they ask for and provide an easy way for them to cancel their booking.
  • Don’t lower your rates too much, it will hurt your business. Focus on your extras and add-ons to make their stay better and exciting, and to encourage them not to cancel but reschedule where possible. (eg: Mother’s day is coming up!) As Sherri Kimes – Revenue Management Expert puts itWhile the pressure to reduce rates is understandable, hotels should exercise caution in manipulating rates because of the potential negative long-term effects on profitability and the hotel’s image.
  • Try new technologies. This is exactly the right time to invest and implement things that can potentially strengthen your presence on the market. You can still conduct business through the internet, e-mail, video conferencing, telephone and by other means.
  • Maintain high employee morale: Keep them enthusiastic and happy so your quality of service does not suffer. Keep all your employees informed about your decisions.
  • Invite your local community: Domestic travel could also provide you with revenue.
  • Create strategic partnerships – especially with your distribution channels (travel agents, OTAs, they might be willing to share a higher proportion of their business to you)
  • Focus on your loyalty program: Send out a newsletter to them, offer rewards or reduce the number of nights needed for a free stay. This will keep your loyal guests connected and encourage them to spend more in other outlets. Acquiring new customers can cost so much more, cut the coin on attracting new people and invest in your existing customers or domestic market.
  • Stop cutting costs! It will hurt customer satisfaction and the quality of the service. “Don’t reduce standards but add added value; guests are very sensitive to changes. Bad time is not forever and it could take a longer time to recover if you cut corners to save a buck!”
  • Keep your guests healthy. Take a look at how this Hong Kong-based hotel is informing guests.
  • If there is nothing else to do, and you have free time on your hands then train your staff, refurbish, or deal with those issues you have been putting on hold. Try to implement new technology and improve your hotel.

We hope these tips help you, let us know how you are coping and how is the current situation at your location! Tweet us @HotelDesigns

STAAH 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: Pixabay

Petition for Government to support UK hospitality industry

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Petition for Government to support UK hospitality industry

A petition has appeared online to call the government to support the UK’s hospitality industry through the Coronavirus crisis…

The hospitality industry, the third largest industry in the UK, is calling the Government for support as the Coronavirus crisis continues to affect individuals and businesses.

The petition, which can be signed here, states that the petition has been set up in the wake of the Government’s “total lack of responsibility” for the hospitality industry regarding the knock-on effects from the COVID-19 outbreak on individuals and businesses operating in the sector.

You can support the campaign and sign the petition here. 

It asking for a review of the following:

  • A clear support – financial and practical – laid out by the government for both staff and business owners alike
  • A decision from the government – because if we take the decision to close any form of insurance is no longer an option
  • Clarity for guests to ensure their safety
  • Transparency on timeline so businesses can prepare logistically and rationally for times ahead

Main image credit: Pixabay