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The Other House in Covent Garden

The Other House: The new luxury/lifestyle brand ‘revolutionising hospitality’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Other House: The new luxury/lifestyle brand ‘revolutionising hospitality’

Naomi Heaton, CEO of The Portfolio Club, dropped the name of the company’s new lifestyle brand and residents’ clubs during a panel discussion at Hotel Designs LIVE. The Other House will launch in the Spring of 2022 with a stunning property in London’s famed Covent Garden neighbourhood. Editor Hamish Kilburn has more…

The Other House in Covent Garden

During a panel discussion at Hotel Designs LIVE, aptly themed ‘the new era of lifestyle’, Naomi Heaton revealed the name of her new residents’ club brand. To an engaged virtual audience, the developer announced that The Other House will launch in Spring of 2022 and will “blur the lines to create a cutting-edge type of new accommodation.”

Heaton, who is arguably most known for the acquisition of Harrington Hall Hotel in South Kensington, explained that the brand will disrupt the traditional sectors of hotels, serviced apartments and private rentals, effortlessly and elegantly combining home comforts with hotel style facilities, whatever the length of stay.

The brand, which refers to itself on the website as ‘your home from as long as you’re in town’, positions itself as a ‘second home’ for its guests – their other house. It will provide a unique experience for the discerning traveller who knows what they want, seeking style and experiences to remember, without a hefty price tag.

Interior design studio, Bergman Interiors, which won Interior Designer of the Year at The Brit List Awards, has been appointed to create iconic interior schemes for both the South Kensington and Covent Garden properties, led by co-founder, Marie Soliman. Soliman and her team are working alongside award-winning architects, Falconer Chester Hall on both projects.

“The Other House caters to consumers looking for flexibility, style and greater personalisation and who embrace responsibility and slow travel,” explained Heaton in a press release. “Our mission is to create spaces that enhance the overall guest experience and completely reinvent how people stay, providing a renewed sense of space, place, ownership and engagement. The concept paves the way for a new era of smart travellers.”

Each Club will offer around 200 ‘club flats’ with a beautifully designed living area, sleeping area and kitchen. There will be boldly stunning private spaces, bars and spa with fitness studios for residents and private members. A whimsical destination bar and a bistro-style kitchen with a constantly changing seasonal menu will welcome the public.

Moving away from large scale banqueting and conference facilities, each residents’ club will offer amenities that augment the club flats and guest experience such as private dining rooms, bookable meeting rooms and screening rooms.

The brand connects guests with on-demand services and limits touch points through the club’s bespoke tech platform and app. Features include automatic check in, keyless room entry, remote room controls, fingertip access to services, as well as booking and ordering at any of its restaurants, bars and other amenities.

Rolling out in prime central London neighbourhoods initially before expanding globally, The Other House highlights the best in British design, utilising green technology, with sustainability and positive social and environmental impact at its core.

Heaton added: “Now, more than ever, we need to embrace the travel revolution we see ahead of us – we look forward to opening our doors in 2022 and welcoming this new chapter of hospitality.”

The new brand is yet to release interior design renders of the projects, but rest assured that Hotel Designs will be ready and waiting as soon as we know more. For now, welcome to your other house, London and travellers alike.

Main image credit: The Other House

Product watch: CYO, new dynamic bathroom fittings series from Dornbracht

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: CYO, new dynamic bathroom fittings series from Dornbracht

CYO from Dornbracht reinterprets the archetypal C-shaped bathroom spout. It becomes the central design element and provides the extravagant contour and sculptural quality…

Dornbracht is introducing CYO as its new bathroom fittings series. CYO combines the brand’s origins and future, its clearly recognisable design claim with the current zeitgeist. Inspired by a design from the company’s archive from 1969, the fitting becomes a sign of this time – with a design language that seems familiar and yet appears new and forward-looking.

With CYO, Dornbracht reinterprets the archetypal C-shaped spout and finds the perfect combination of form and function. The striking basic shape of the circle defines the extravagant contour and sculptural quality of CYO. It defines the spout and handles and thus characterises the design right down to the water jet, which follows the shape of the spout.

The design concept is distinguished by extraordinary details. Bi-structural finishes combine glossy and matt surfaces. They skilfully emphasise the lines and – as a particularly subtle form of contrast – lend the design additional sophistication.

An innovative handle concept, which is operated by a rotating outer ring with finely tuned click-stop, reflects the high precision and quality of workmanship with its special function. Interchangeable handle inserts in a wide range of finishes and styles that can be combined individually and are easily replaced, offer unique options for individualisation. With six exclusive special surfaces made of precious natural stones and extravagant structures, and the extra service offer that goes beyond this, Dornbracht is expanding the possibilities of individual and particularly creative design concepts with CYO.

The many possibilities for individualisation and the adaptability of the design can be seen in the architectures of the CYO bathrooms “Metropolitan” and “Oasis”. Here, the bathroom becomes a living space, opening up to the inside and outside. Formally, the architectures adopt the circle and the curves of the design language. The desire for something authentic, genuine and natural is reflected in the use of materials, the touch and the feel of the bathrooms. At times, the CYO design blends in with confidence and at other times it determines the ambience.

The basic shape of the circle defines the complete product range of washbasin, bath and shower. Combined with the matching accessories, a harmonious overall picture of the bathroom applications is created.

Balanced proportions and uncompromising precision make up the progressive and unique character that gives CYO a strong personality. The design follows the defined Dornbracht design principles, which are the basis of every design and constitute the lasting quality of the products.

Image credit: Dornbracht

Stefan Gesing, CEO of Dornbracht AG & Co. KG. said: “With CYO, Dornbracht is once again demonstrating its high level of design expertise and its understanding of creative, individual architectural concepts, thus underpinning the brand’s claim to leadership, which is also expressed in our new claim: ‘Leading Designs for Architecture’”.

Main image credit: Dornbracht

Profile image of Joel Butler, Co-founder of HIX

In the HIX seat: Introducing HIX Works

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In the HIX seat: Introducing HIX Works

As you know, we love an exclusive at Hotel Designs. Joel Butler, Co-founder of HIX Event and our monthly columnist, explains all the exclusive details around HIX Works that will launch in November 2021…

Profile image of Joel Butler, Co-founder of HIX

As already established in this editorial series, HIX Event 2021 is all about understanding what your guests have just experienced in order to design your guest experience.

When it comes to our relationship with work, the ‘how, where and when? (and indeed for many  of us, the ‘why?’)’ have been irreversibly redefined. The HIX Event will jump into these questions, mind wide-open, exploring how hotels can be our workplace solutions and destinations. 

Following her recent involvement in Hotel Designs LIVE, Tina Norden of Conran and Partners, one of our four ‘HIX Works’ participating studios, muses that we’ve all had to design our own multi-use offices within our homes and have therefore become become designers by default, ‘Are we all now workplace experts, at least in our own little bubbles?’. And as we venture back to our ‘proper’ offices, Norden reflects on the ideals of a homely aesthetic, ‘having worked from home for so long, do we still want our office to be more like home?’

The HIX Team can directly relate to these questions. The event itself was conceived in a hotel lobby, we sold our first stand in an East End hotel bar (we lost the floor plan that evening but that’s another story), and our pre-pandemic honeymoon days were spent working in either Citizen M or the Hoxton, starting the day with carrot juice and finishing with beer, if we felt that we deserved it.  A year later, the Waldorf Hilton and Herman Miller have partnered to create a luxury work package within the iconic Edwardian hotel destination, complete with ergonomic furniture design, state-of-the-art meeting facilities and a record player. As people now bravely step out of their living rooms, sheds and kitchens to re-negotiate the way that they work there will likely be many more hospitality workplace options to fulfil our varying needs and desires. 

HIX will continue to focus on this topic as our conceptual deep-dive culminates in our ‘WFHotel’ session at HIX in November, hosted by Hotel Designs. We’ll explore four concepts, each presented by a leading hospitality or workplace design studio. These four big ideas will manifest as a series of seamlessly connected installations called HIX Works. To compliment this disruptive thinking, our exhibitors allow these design visions to become practical reality, with our edit of furniture, lighting, fabrics and technologies.

So for now, please do get back to work and we’ll announce the HIX Works studio line-up over the coming weeks, sharing our findings along the way. Whatever those findings might be, it’s clear that this work and hospitality opportunity will provoke consideration, creativity and opportunity amongst hotel operators and designers alike.

Head over to the website if you want to know more information about what other experiences will be sheltered at HIX Event. 

Main image credit: HIX Event

Weekly briefing: Hotel openings, Australian arrival & tile trends

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Hotel openings, Australian arrival & tile trends

Editor Hamish Kilburn here dropping in to serve you your weekly briefing, which today includes news from Kimpton Hotels, YOTEL and Four Seasons as well as a detailed look at the hottest hotel openings anticipated for May and more…

While this week’s news has been hot on our agenda, I have to say (teaser alert) the editorial desk this week have been busy planning ahead as we are days away from not only going live in the latest edition of Hotel Designs LIVE but also opening this year’s entries for The Brit List Awards – roll on Monday morning.

When we have managed to sneak away from the boardroom, we have covered some sensational hotel design and hotel development stories that we would hate for you to miss. So, just in case you have been as busy as – or simply just haven’t found time to scroll through our industry news section of the website – here are the hottest stories that we have published this week.

Kimpton Hotels scheduled to arrive in Australia this autumn

Image credit: IHG

As part of IHG’s boutique luxury brand’s rapid global growth, Kimpton Hotels will finally arrive down under this autumn. That’s right, Pro-invest and IHG have announced that they will reopen Primus Sydney as Australia’s first Kimpton Hotel in October 2021.


This month’s hottest hotel openings

Europe, Romania, Bucharest, The Marmorosch

Image credit: Marriott International

As we prepared to write the fifth article in our year-long editorial series, VIP arrivals, we are reminded of what makes a hotel incredible. And as such, in this chapter of our series, we searched for hotels opening that ooze personality, style, character and that will shelter unconventional yet extremely meaningful ways to connect locals and travellers alike with local culture.

Opening with the fierce aim to tease travellers to explore once more, here are some of the most interesting hotel openings that the editorial team at Hotel Designs have identified are set to take place this month.


Four Seasons to expand portfolio in Spain with project in Mallorca

Four Seasons Mallorca

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Following its arrival in Spain in 2020, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts has announced that it is working with private equity investment company Emin Capital to open a 110-key hotel in Mallorca.

Originally opened in 1929, the existing hotel will undergo extensive renovations before it is unveiled as a Four Seasons experience in 2023.All of the 110 rooms and suites will offer balconies with sea and forest views, allowing guests to soak in their beautiful surroundings. The renovations will be overseen by architects Estudio Lamela and SCT Estudio de Arquitectura, with interior designs by Gilles & Boissier.


Case study: Designing the bathrooms inside Scotland’s debut YOTEL

Modern, clean and slick guestroom inside YOTEL Edinburgh

Image credit: YOTEL

Scotland’s very first YOTEL, centrally located in Edinburgh’s bustling Queen Street, combines contemporary modern interiors with the classic design of the city’s famous ‘Old Town’ architecture. Its playful ‘cabin’ style rooms feature bathrooms using a bespoke solution and innovative solid surface material Surfex® exclusively from Roca.

The hotel has 276 compact cabin rooms, inspired by the feeling first class travel provides in terms of luxury and comfort. Each room is equipped with YOTEL’s signature features including luxury bedding, relaxing mood lighting and Smart TVs. This helps to enhance the smart experience YOTEL is renowned for and evokes contemporary style and convenience. The rooms are designed to have a modern feel, and its minimalist white interior highlights the brand’s close attention to detail.


While you’re here, why not catch the latest episode of DESIGN POD with tech guru Jason Bradbury? 

Interior design trends to watch – on the tiles

Image caption: Solid, durable and extremely versatile, RAK Ceramics Curton are stone-look porcelain tiles that make a highly attractive visual impact. | Image credit: RAK Ceramics

Image credit: RAK Ceramics

There we go again, dropping the ‘t’ word into your morning scroll of design-led stories. But while we’ve got your attention, here’s Ben Bryden, Sales and Marketing Director at RAK Ceramics UK, to cut through the noise and talk us through the latest tile trends that will transform the hotel interior design scheme of any project.


In pictures: The Grove shelters masterful revamp from Martin Hulbert Design

A loud lounge with biophilic walls

Image credit: The Gove, Hertfordshire

In just a few days time, on May 17, The Grove, which is a quintessentially British countryside retreat in Hertfordshire, will reopen its doors with a perfectly timed unveil of its most recent renovation to transform what was a tired interior design scheme into a light, bright and playful modern hotel experience. The complete redesign, which was masterminded by interior design studio Martin Hulbert Design, incorporates all three dining spaces – The Glasshouse, The Stables and The Lounges – as well as the lobby area and all 189 West Wing guestrooms.


And finally…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Main image credit: Marriott International

Heathfield & Co welcomes spring and ‘invigorate interiors’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Heathfield & Co welcomes spring and ‘invigorate interiors’

With days getting longer and the weather getting warmer, the newly arrived spring season brings with it new inspiration and the opportunity to reset and refresh. With their spring curation, Heathfield & Co embraces a sense of optimism and new beginnings…

In a delicate palette of natural blues, earthy greens and off whites, Heathfield’s Spring favourites invigorate interior spaces to create a lighter, brighter aesthetic.

With a softly fluted form, Heathfield’s classic Elenor table lamp (above left) captures the essence of Spring. Its subtle crackled glaze reflects the delicate veins running through petals and leaves. In the same delicate crackle finish, the Camellia table lamp (above right) is a petite rounded base, representing the beauty of the fine details found in nature.

A delicate colour gradient transitions Heathfield’s Laurel table lamp (above left) from a deep moss green at the base to a light spring white at the top. The hexagonal honeycomb structure on the surface features strong lines and deep ridges, mirroring the complex prism shapes seen on the surface of the Laurel leaf. Taking inspiration directly from spring flowering snowdrops, the Nivalis wall light (above right) features glass shades reflecting the classic bell shaped flower and pointed petals. In a beautiful white dappled finish, each glass shade is unique and complemented with considered metalwork in the form of a snowdrop stem.

06. Heathfield & Co Eden Table Lamp

Image credit: Heathfield & Co

Light fabrics, textured surfaces and neutral tones reflect the blossoming outdoors, transitioning interiors in a seasonal update that provides a warm and inviting atmosphere. Organic shapes paired with muted and soft details from Heathfield’s collection create a textural and tonal style; adding paired back simplicity to any interior scheme.

Heathfield & Co 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: Heathfield & Co

UFO hotel suite

Extraordinary hotel design – your weekly briefing has landed

758 565 Hamish Kilburn
Extraordinary hotel design – your weekly briefing has landed

Editor Hamish Kilburn here in the driving seat once again, coming in fast with your weekly briefing. As we round-off the month, and creep closer towards a ‘normal’ hospitality scene, we’re closing April with our favourite and most-read hotel design stories of this week, including news from the likes of Mama Shelter, Lore Group, Studio MK27 and more…

UFO hotel suite

As the sun sets on what has been a rather optimistic April – and before we wrap up warm and head to our local beer garden to celebrate this newly found freedom that is outdoor hospitality – we’re serving you this week’s top stories. From exclusive product launches to engaging features, here are our most-read articles from over the last few days.

19 incredible hotels from around the world 

Kruger Shalati — Kruger National Park, South Africa

Image credit: Kruger Shalati

We started this week with the aim to simply inspire creative thinking by sharing what we believe are the world’s most insane hotels that we will shortly be able to check back in to. From hospitality on the tracks to a UFO-inspired suite and urban jungles in many varieties, we found hotels around the world that will tantalise those travel senses. And to our delight, the story quickly became our most-read article of this week – here’s why…

Read more. 

In pictures: Lyle Washington DC, the second U.S. hotel from Lore Group

Image credit: Lore Group

Lyle Washington DC is now open – a brand new independent property from Lore Group, the international hospitality company behind Sea Containers London, Pulitzer Amsterdam and Riggs Washington DC, which was recently reviewed by Hotel Designs

Read more. 

In Conversation With: Architect Marcio Kogan, founder of Studio MK27

Architect Marcio Kogan is the founder of Studio MK27, leading a team of 30 talented individuals who he encourages to ‘rethink architecture’ and ‘place value on formal simplicity elaborated with extreme care and attention to details and finishings’. With the its breadth of experience in hospitality design, the studio was asked to design a new resort in the Maldives. The brief was to design a shelter for a radical living experience; a temporary home in the exuberant infinite blues, wild life and open skies. “The volumetric answers are extremely delicate, respectful to its surroundings, trying to provide shadows and coziness,” it is explained on the firm’s website.” The aim was to ‘capture and amplify the landscape’s strength.” Xenia zu Hohenlohe, Founding Partner of Considerate Group, caught up with Kogan…

Read more. 

First look: Burlington’s upcoming launch of the Riviera collection

image of mid-tone green bathroom with white and gold basin

Hot off the heels of launching the Bespoke collection, bathroom brand Burlington is preparing the sophisticated and rather elegant arrival of the Riviera collection. Ahead of its official launch this summer, Hotel Designs takes an exclusive sneak peek…

Read more. 

And finally… what’s in the spotlight this May on Hotel Designs?

Image of various landscape architecture projects

This May, Hotel Designs is serving up a plethora of stories that will be dedicated to landscape architecture and pools & spas; two pillars of international hotel design that emerge from the Covid-19 crisis with new roles in hospitality…

Read more. 

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

A modern bathroom with gold fittings and white and blue interior design scheme

Villeroy & Boch’s Finion introduces a touch of tech to the bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Villeroy & Boch’s Finion introduces a touch of tech to the bathroom

Spanning bathroom furniture, ceramics and accessories, Villeroy & Boch’s award-winning Finion range introduces technology to the bathroom in a subtle, user-friendly way – perfect for the new era of hospitality, says UK Bathrooms

A modern bathroom with gold fittings and white and blue interior design scheme

The bathroom has pivoted from being a purely functional wash space to a room of relaxation and soothing spa-style luxury. How the room is designed has also evolved, with its focus moving from cleanliness and efficiency to the overall bathing experience – how the room makes you feel, and its ambiance. Today’s bathroom is a private sanctuary, a unique space in the house to retreat to, wind-down in and a place to indulge in some alone guilt-free solitude.

In a world of constant multi-tasking, endless scrolling and too much screen time, the bathroom has generally remained the one room in the house where you can escape technology. While of course withdrawing from overstimulating notifications does wonders for wellbeing and mental health, when used in the right way technology can have a positive effect and play into creating a restful, restorative atmosphere.

Spanning bathroom furniture, ceramics and accessories, Villeroy & Boch’s award winning Finion range introduces technology to the bathroom in a subtle, user-friendly way. The gentle Emotion lighting – as its name suggests – taps in to the need for calming and easily controlled soft illumination throughout the space with the option to add LEDs to all Finion pieces, while the collection also sensitively incorporates music and charging points to the bathroom, all activated through a single remote control.

“The Finion collection from Villeroy & Boch cleverly integrates technology into the bathroom so that it is unobtrusive and invisible,” explains Graeme Borchard, MD at UK Bathrooms. “While boasting numerous technological innovations, the collection places a peaceful and holistic experience at its core, focusing on setting the scene for serenity before anything else.”

Image of modern bathroom design

Image credit: UK Bathrooms/Villeroy & Boch

The furniture

Customisation defines the Finion furniture collection. Select from 13 stylish finishes for the front and sides of vanity units – from real wood veneers, Glossy White and Matt Black Lacquer to sunny Gold and rich red Peony – and experiment with different shades for the internal shelf module to create an expressive display unique to your home. Like all Finion elements, vanity units, tall cabinets and shelf boxes can be further customised with the addition of LED lighting which illuminates shelving to make it an atmospheric feature within the space.

The bath

Cast in Villeroy & Boch’s unique, quartz-based Quaryl material which is incredibly durable, impact resistant and easy to clean, the freestanding Finion bath shows off slimline edges and a seamless contemporary curve which can be custom coloured with any RAL tone to perfectly match – or contrast – any furniture combination, tile tone or wall shade. Add Emotion lighting around the base of the bath to make it seems as if it’s floating on a ring of light, the most modern oasis.

The mirror

The Finion mirror may look like a classic, but it’s hiding a whole host of clever features. With a border of Emotion lighting illuminating it from every angle – which can be changed from warm white to cool white at the touch of a button to suit your mood – there are also options for a smart anti-fogging function, plus a premium integrated sound system to set the tone for the whole space.

The charging station

Power up while you zone out with the most discreet way to charge your phone – simply place it on the side cabinet or in the shelf unit to wirelessly charge the battery and stream your music without worry. Design-led, practical and intuitive, the Finion range is the bathroom’s most high-tech way to switch off.

UK Bathrooms and Villeroy & Boch are both Recommended Suppliers. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here

Main image credit: UK Bathrooms/Villeroy & Boch

Image of large coppy basin and touchless taps

Product watch: Sensor bathroom taps from Gessi

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Sensor bathroom taps from Gessi

High technology meets the elegance of touchless design. The iconic and renowned Rettangolo, Inciso, Rilievo, Goccia, Anello & Ingranaggio and the sparkling Gessi 316 challenge themselves once again, “dressing up” with a touch of high-tech…

Image of large coppy basin and touchless taps

Along with the refinement of the materials used, the sophisticated textures and the harmony of the shapes, “no touch” is integrated to create Sensor Taps. The shape of the iconic collections intertwines with the elegance of the gesture, thanks to a touch-less sensor that is able to adapt to the needs and rituals and make them even more pleasant.

Water becomes magic through technology, with an increasingly green and waste-conscious approach. Thanks to the no-touch system, the beauty of the shape is pure and fingerprint-free. Functionality, comfort, and hygiene are the main features of this line, which is able to satisfy the new market needs, also thanks to its technological side. Careful to the customer’s needs, Sensor Taps can be powered either by a battery or by electricity.

Image of duo basin sink in black room


The technological side is also matched with a practical one: the no-touch sensor not only reduces water waste but also improves hygiene, especially in public areas. The soft and sinuous shapes of Goccia are contrasted with a more industrial and worked style typical of Inciso or with a more geometric and architectural style such as Rilievo. Thus, creations by Gessi bring the refined elegance of sophisticated Italian design into a public space.

The avant-garde of Sensor Taps is highlighted, as an example, inside one of the most prestigious buildings in the world: the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. A majestic, prestigious and timeless place where architect Michael Vincent Uy, thanks to technology and attention to details, has been able to paint the public environment with shades of intimacy and privacy.

Image of sensor taps in modern bathroom

Image credit: Gessi

Pure lines and the elegance of Gessi 316 steel perfectly match the style of one of the most renowned theatres in the world, thanks also to the sophisticated Trame finishing.

The leading Gessi collections embrace innovation and timeless design, where Sensor Taps wants to be the perfect solution to different needs and tastes, in order to launch not only a new collection but a new product philosophy, a revolutionary concept of luxury and craftsmanship, characterised by hi-tech technology.

Gessi is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Gessi


Image of guestroom in Mama Roma

Mama Shelter arrives in Rome

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Mama Shelter arrives in Rome

Mama Shelter will arrive in Rome this summer, bringing the brand’s playful and energetic spirit – not to mention colourful design – to the Eternal City, while at the same time launching the its first ever spa…

Scheduled to open in July 2021, Mama Roma will be located in the elegant Prati district, on the right bank of the Tiber river – where the 217-key hotel will welcome guests (local and travellers alike) to experience its eccentric, fun and accessible approach to hospitality.

Image of guestroom in Mama Roma

Mama Roma will be a vibrant urban refuge, a gastronomic address for those looking for authentic flavours and a space for business, relaxation and fun, where different lifestyles and environments influence one another. At Mama Roma, the brand will be launching its first ever spa, home to an indoor swimming pool, sauna, hammam and minimalistic fitness centre. Attentive and extremely friendly service will also characterise the first Italian hotel of the brand. 

“Rome is the ultimate magical city. Its history, miraculously and entirely preserved, seduces us at each corner of the street,” said Serge Trigano, Founder of Mama Shelter. “And at the same time, the Romans have manners and a certain elegance which give it all its charm and its modernity. Since the beginning of Mama’s adventure, we dreamed of settling here and this will become a reality in the near future. Mama Roma will be located next to the Vatican and only three metro stops from the historical city centre. All aspects of our identity will be found in this Mama: the restaurants, the rooftop, the designed bedrooms, the colourful lobby and in addition: a spa and its indoor swimming pool. We have added a library to offer our customers a sample of the most magical Italian literature and art.”

The bold and cutting-edge design will be enjoyed by Mama Roma’s guests from upon entry into the hotel and the common areas, where mosaic floors and column capitals depicted on the walls meet the ceilings adorned with artwork by graphic designer and artist Beniloys, as well as contemporary geometric shapes throughout.

Generous and exquisite recipes of the typical Roman cuisine make up the varied menu of the Mama Roma restaurants, including delicious wood oven pizzas and Mama’s international signature dishes. The dining outlets – with their giant communal tables – invite conviviality and sharing, and will also be open to external guests through a separate access. 

Redner of restaurant in Mama Shelter in Rome

Mama Roma will offer a magnificent rooftop, open from morning to late at night, for guests to relax, with an aperitif or simply share new memorable moments overlooking glorious views of the Eternal City and the St. Peter’s dome. The rooftop will be equipped with a solarium, and will offer an island bar with homemade cocktails, a beer corner and a hot kiosk for snacks, light meals and drinks.

Spread over six floors, Mama Roma’s 217 rooms have been conceived by the group’s in-house design team, Mama Design Studio. All rooms boast a King Size bed, five-star Bedding, a 55” smart TV that can be controlled from a mobile phone and featuring a large selection of complimentary movies (including adult only), free Wi-Fi and organic bath products in collaboration with Absolution, the award winning French organic cosmetic brand. Mama Shelter’s signature masks of cartoon characters such as Spiderman and Darth Vader will hang on bedside lampshades bringing the brand’s playful character to the guestrooms.

Two Ateliers – meeting spaces with a maximum capacity of 50 people – will be illuminated by natural light and equipped with the most advanced technology in terms of video conferencing, LED screens and BOSE speakers, as well as a minibar and coffee machine. In addition, the “Breakroom” will feature a giant table-football and an outdoor space to play ping pong and bocce – a ball game loosely related to British bowls and French pétanque, with a common ancestry from ancient games played in the Roman Empire.

Main image credit: Mama Roma

Sneak peek: The Apartments by 11 Cadogan Gardens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sneak peek: The Apartments by 11 Cadogan Gardens

Luxury residential and hospitality design studio, Atellior, has completed the interior redesign of an imposing property in Kensington and Chelsea, creating six new apartments that will be serviced by 11 Cadogan Gardens hotel. Let’s take a look inside, shall we? 

Located just a stone’s throw away from the hotel, the six one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments that are sheltered under the iconic 11 Cadogan Gardens brand are designed as sanctuaries for guests to make their home in this most quintessentially English neighbourhood of central London.

The aesthetic is elegant and contemporary, combining residential style elements, such as contemporary lighting by Chelsom, luxuriantly thick bedroom carpets from West End Carpets and pale Havwoods timber flooring in the living areas, with marble topped tables, over-size bed headboards from Circus 25 and an exquisite selection of textured wallcoverings by Arte in the bedrooms depicting a leaf pattern – a connection with the gardens outside and a reference to the Royal Borough’s long association with things horticultural.

Lounge in 11 Cadogan Gardens appartment

Image credit: Bruno Rondinelli

The colour palette is intentionally quiet, bringing together pale greens, warm greys and white, the bathrooms are clad in white and grey tiles and kitchens have white composite stone tops. Breaking away from this neutral envelope, modern abstract artwork brings pops of vibrant blue and green in a nod to nature and the guest cloakrooms with their Calacatta Viola splashbacks and darkly painted walls are a moody contrast to the rest of the apartments.

“It was a privilege to work with Cadogan Estates on this very special project and give the late 19th Century property new purpose as The Apartments by 11 Cadogan Gardens,” says Una Barac, Executive Director of Atellior. “The apartments happen to be opening at a time when social distancing means that they are likely to be in great demand but I am sure that their timeless design will ensure their continuing popularity well into the future.”

Each apartment is differently configured; some enjoy floor-to-ceiling windows, others especially generous bathrooms with free-standing bathtubs, while the top floor apartment is opened to the rafters, creating a cosy pied-à-terre for two. All the lounges feature a restored fireplace and one apartment has a restored original ceiling. 

The apartments now stand elegantly in a neighbourhood that has become synonymous with luxury and quintessentially British hospitality standards. The narrative continues…

Main image credit: Bruno Rondinelli

19 of the most incredible hotels around the world

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
19 of the most incredible hotels around the world

We’re jumpstarting your Monday with positive energy as we remind you (and ourselves) why we fell love with incredible hotels and one-off travel experiences the first place. We’re doing this by teasing your travel senses with these extraordinary examples of architecture, design and hospitality. Edited by Hamish Kilburn… 

Whether it’s been the best hotels that self-isolate in style or tapping in to our contacts to find local journalists to review the latest gems, for more than a year now, we have been serving our readers with thought-provoking pieces on incredible hotels around the world while the hotel design and hospitality industry navigate through the difficult and uncertain situation presented in the likes of the pandemic  – we have all adapted to international travel restrictions, and all been affected in some way by the spread of Covid-19.

At Hotel Designs, to keep the industry on its toes, we have launched new online events and used this time to gather the thoughts of industry experts to do our best to futuregaze into the unknown. But while all these articles and conversations are important, the main lesson we have learned during a year of social distancing is to embrace what we love about the industry we narrate. Therefore, today we are starting the week with the aim to inspire creative thinking by sharing what we believe are the world’s most insane hotels that we will shortly be able to check in to.

Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia

With a distinct lack of right angles and by completely removing the fourth wall in all suites (or sanctuaries), Jade Mountain is at one with nature. The hotel, which was designed by co-owner Nick Troubetzkoy, is a timeless tropical paradise that’s clever architecture answers to modern demands for sustainable travel without compromising luxury. Each sanctuary features its own infinity pool that is part of an innovative water-saving system.

The living areas of the rooms are finished with more than 20 different species of tropical hardwood flooring and trims harvested in an environmentally sustainable way. The hotel’s technicians actually visited the rain forest of Guyana and personally chose which trees to be used. A multitude of hardwoods have been used including Purpleheart, Greenheart, Locust, Kabukali, Snakewood, Bloodwood, Etikburabali, Futukbali, Taurino, Mora and Cabbage Wood. In addition to locally made fine-tropical wood furniture, an eclectic collection of furniture has been placed in the sanctuaries giving each one of them their own individualistic ambiance.

Gleneagles, Scotland

The jewel of Scotland’s hospitality crown is located in the stunning Orchil Hills, just 50 minutes drive from Edinburgh. The hotel, which is known as ‘the glorious playground’ shelters a fascinating modern yet sensitive design narrative which includes characters from studios such as Goddard Littlefair, Ennismore, Timorous Beasties and David Collins Studio.

With its infamous doors scheduled to open again on April 26, the hotel, which has been welcoming travellers since 1924, will rise from the pandemic as one of the leading and most prestigious brands in international hospitality. Conor O’Leary, joint Managing Director of Gleneagles, said in a roundtable hosted by Hotel Designs last year: “One of the core aspects for me with sustainability is to think local. I think there will be huge shift in supporting and buying local, which is one of the pillars of sustainability. There has to be an element of trust, and I predict that consumers will want to know more about where things have come from.”

Inntel Amsterdam Zaandam, Holland

We can safely say that with its unique façade that is made of nearly 70 stacked typical houses from the area, there is nothing quite like Inntel Amsterdam Zaandam on the international hotel design scene. As well as the architecture being (well) just incredible, each room inside the hotel is inspired by the rich and storied hospitality of the colour city of Amsterdam.

Giraffe Manor, Nairobi

Considered by travel influencers as a number-one travel bucket list destination, Giraffe Manor epitomises the idea of bringing the outdoors in. The exclusive boutique hotel, owned by The Safari Collection is set in 12 acres of private land with 140 acres of indigenous forest in the Langata suburb of Nairobi – the hotel is sheltered in one of Nairobi’s most iconic buildings. The historic manor house has extraordinary appeal, that harks back to the 1930s when visitors first flocked to East Africa to enjoy safaris. With its stately façade, elegant interior, verdant green gardens, sunny terraces and delightful courtyards, guests often remark that it’s like walking into the film Out of Africa: indeed, one of its twelve rooms is named after the author Karen Blixen.

One of the most fascinating things about Giraffe Manor is its resident herd of Rothschild’s giraffes who may visit morning and evening, poking their long necks into the windows in the hope of a treat, before retreating to their forest sanctuary.

treehotel, Sweden

Combining ecological values, comfort and modern design, treehotel in Sweden offers an unparalleled hospitality experience. With accommodation that is camouflaged into the forrest (the Mirrorcube cabin) to one that is designed to look like a birds nest – and even one that replicates a UFO, the hospitality experience allows guests to self-isolate from the outside world in style and comfort.

The Mandrake, United Kingdom

Inside The Mandrake Hotel

Image credit: The Mandrake Hotel

Located steps from London’s bustling Oxford Street, The Mandrake is a different world from the one outside. The award-winning hotel is emerging from its hospitality hibernation ready to welcome guests back into its evergreen heart.

Every aspect of The Mandrake has been curated and designed by Tala and Rami Fustok to offer an immersive and unforgettable experience – from the three-storey-high surrounding walls of jasmine and passionflower that form the living heart of the hotel to the hotel’s priceless and eclectic art collection that includes works from the likes of Salvador Dali, Francesco Clemente and Jonas Burgert.

Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, Oman

As one of the world’s highest hotels, and sheltering 82 canyon view rooms, 33 private pool villas, including one of Oman’s most luxurious three bedroom pool villa, Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort has been designed with the stunning landscape of the fabled Green Mountain in mind – think elevated luxury in every sense of the phrase.

Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô, Vietnam

Image of pool and suite inside Zannier Hotel Bai San Ho

Image credit: Zannier Hotels

The hotel, which was designed by Geraldine Dohogne, is described as the “ultimate refinement in a part of Vietnam still largely undiscovered.” Sheltering 71 spacious standalone villas are tucked away in 98 hectares of lush vegetation, along a pristine white beach with majestic coral reefs. As such, Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô is the perfect embodiment of the Zannier Hotels philosophy, and yet totally different to every other Zannier-branded hotel.

Inspiration for each of the three villa types – Paddy Field, Hill Pool and Beach Pool – is rooted in the Vietnamese tradition of architecture as an art form. A modern reinterpretation of the traditional abodes typically found in Vietnam’s tribal cultures, the villas have been ecologically built using age-old techniques to authentically replicate different architectural styles, whilst offering a more contemporary way of living. The pared-down interiors feature natural colours and textures, with a collection of Vietnamese paintings and silk prints gracing the walls. Soft furnishings incorporate traditional materials such as raw silk, woven rattan and hessian, whilst the elegant furniture is cleverly handcrafted from reclaimed wood and bamboo.

Soneva Kiri, Koh Kood, Thailand

Unparalleled luxury meets eco-friendly design. Nestled within lush tropical rainforest on an unspoiled island with some of the best beaches in Thailand is Soneva Kiri, Koh Kood is a tropical paradise. From the sprawling Six Bedroom Sunset Ocean View Pool Reserve perched atop cliffs or find yourself right on the sandy shores in one of our Beach Pool Retreats.

One&Only Le Saint Géran, Mauritius

A luxurious white guestroom overlooking the ocean

Image credit: One&Only

With one of the natural beauty and authentic charm of island life, Mauritius has become a major luxury travel hotspot – it has one of the largest concentration of five-star hotels of any island in the Indian Ocean, according to Conde Nast Traveller.

Since the island’s secret got out, the luxury hotels in the area have faced the challenge to effortlessly and sensitively stand out from the crowd. As one of the original hotels luxury brands to arrive on the island, the property’s unmatched location and heritage has been garnished with One & Only’s esteemed reputation for barefoot tropical luxury. The hotel first opened in 197, and was taken over and rebranded in 2002 by One&Only).

Manon Les Suites, Copenhagen

A jungle environment inside Manon Les Suites

Image credit: Manon Les Suites

Smack-bang in the middle of Copenhagen is a bohemian-chic traveller’s dream. Manon Les Suites takes the Guldsmeden Hotels concept, to shelter luxurious simplicity and an unpretentious atmosphere, to a new level.

Matetsi Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Reviewed by Hotel Designs where it was concluded as being ‘Zimbabwe’s answer to luxury,” Matetsi Victoria Falls sits blended into its location on the bank of the Zambezi river, in the heart of the African bush. Designed by young local interior designer Kerry van Leenhoff, the hotel was conceived to sensitively reflect its unique sense of place and culture. “It was really important for us to work with skilled craftsmen and women from our culture,” van Leenhoff said. “We have such a diverse culture with about 16 different tribes and languages. We mainly focused around the Tonga tribes as we were by the river.” The result is that from the far side of the river, you can’t actually see where the hotel starts and ends, which suggests even further that the whole property has been created with nature in mind.”

Ett Hem Stockholm, Sweden

Public area inside Et Hemm hotel is naturally one of the most incredible hotels in the world

Image credit: Ett Hem

Described on its website as ‘more personal than the luxury hotel’, Ett Hem Stockholm is the orignal home-from-home, designed by the one and only British designer Ilse Crawford. A former private residence built in 1910, the building now shelters 12 authentic rooms.

The success in intricately transforming the house into a hotel, whilst still retaining the individuality and personality of the original, is a testament to the tenaciousness Crawford who was involved in the project since the start.

Ett Hem is not the usual hotel. Ett hem is a place where guests are treated as friends of the family, a place that allows guests to become part of it and feel at home.

Kruger Shalati — Kruger National Park, South Africa

Kruger Shalati — Kruger National Park, South Africa is one of the most incredible hotels in the world

Elevated above the Sabie River, looking down on Kruger National Park, Kruger Shalati is often referred to as ‘the train on the Bridge’. It is formed of 24 glass-walled rooms that are sheltered within original carriages that balance on former train tracks. The boutique (in every sense of the word) hotel offers unparalleled views that stretch over the national park and wellness nods such as a plunge pool in order to enhance its luxurious feel.

D-Maris Bay, Turkey

Nestled on the underdeveloped and raw Datca Peninsula, where the Aegean and Mediterranean seas both meet, D Maris Bay is a hidden gem that is camouflaged by jagged mountains. The hotel, which is a European favourite jewel among modern travellers, is sheltered in a large, stone-coloured 1970s building – planning permissions restrict the hotel from making structural changes. The interior design reflects exotic elements of the East and modernity of the West through its minimalistic style. Its light and airy ambiance, radiates a touch of grandeur with marble surfaces and modern Turkish artworks adorning the walls

COMO Uma Punakha, Bhutan

Image of outside space in mountains

Image credit: COMO Hotels and Resorts

The second COMO property is Bhutan is located in the far western end of the lush Punakha Valley. From its picturesque base overlooking a snake-like bend in the Mo Chu river, Uma Punakha is ideally located for those who wish to explore the remote Himalayan Kingdom. In true COMO style, the hotel’s design is scaled back and shelters a harmony of traditional style with contemporary details.

The Upper House, Hong Kong

The creative brainchild of interior designer André Fu, The Upper House, Hong Kong recently made it on to Hotel Designs’ agenda after it was announced that the hotel was to open the André Fu Suite – the ultimate compliment for any interior designer working in the hospitality arena. The property itself is described as ‘the hotel that floats above the city’ and conjures a sense of tranquility with the warmth of a private residence. Overlooking Hong Kong’s bright lights from above Admiralty’s Pacific Place, the House shelters 117 rooms that incorporate the design aesthetic based around the ‘Upward Journey’ , resulting in timeless serenity that flows through the different areas of the hotel.

Iniala Beach House, Thailand

Iniala Beach House offers one of the most prestige luxury villas in Thailand. Comprising of three beachfront villas and a spectacular penthouse, the hotel was built on the site of Mark Weingard’s former holiday home in Phang Nga after he was struck with the idea to create an exceptional concept that combined the imagination, inspiration and innovation of renowned designers.

The Brando, French Polynesia

Overhead exterior shot of The Brando, which is considered one of the world's most incredible hotels

Image credit: The Brando

The Brando is a unique luxury resort on French Polynesia’s breathtakingly beautiful private island of Tetiaroa – an atoll composed of a dozen small islands surrounding a sparkling lagoon 30 miles northeast of Tahiti. The Brando offers carefree luxury in the midst of pristine nature. With access to the island by private plane, the resort features 35 villas on white-sand beaches frequented by sea turtles, manta rays and exotic birds. The resort was designed to reflect Polynesian lifestyles and culture.

Standing proudly as the first resort in the world to obtain LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)’s highest accolade, the Platinum certification, the brand’s innovative and conscious traits, which don’t compromise on luxury but instead enhance it, are in the DNA of its success.

As well as solar panel installation and the use of coconut oil biofuel for its powerstation, the resort uses Sea Water Air Conditioning (SWAC), for example, harnesses the cold of the ocean depths to provide low-energy, highly efficient cooling for all the buildings, which reduces energy demands by almost 70 per cent.

Main image credits: Zannier Hotels/Anantara Hotels/The Brando

Product watch: TwistFlush – more cleanliness, less water consumption

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: TwistFlush – more cleanliness, less water consumption

The TwistFlush by Villeroy & Boch is an innovative toilet flush with vortex power, resulting in a more hygienic bathroom solution that uses less water consumption…

The new TwistFlush toilet flush delivers extra clean and hygienic flushing results while being exceptionally water efficient. The secret: the patent-pending TwistFlush technology uses the physical force of a controlled water vortex, which flushes almost all of the inside of the toilet bowl while carrying waste away. In turn TwistFlush uses the flush water much more efficiently and saves precious water every time the flush is activated.

Economical yet powerful

A sustainable lifestyle includes the conscious use of resources. A TwistFlush toilet that saves precious water every time it is used plays an important role in this. The toilet only needs 4.5 litres for a large flush and a mere three litres for a small one. And as the flush is so powerful, one flush is usually sufficient. This way, a four-person family can save up to 19,700* litres of water a year. Moreover, the patent-pending flushing technology far exceeds standard requirements: the controlled water vortex generates a very strong pull in a conic bowl. It reaches almost all of the inside of the toilet bowl while well and truly carrying waste away.

Practically brushless and easy to clean

Annoying toilet brushes are a thing of the past: TwistFlush thoroughly flushes the entire inner pan, and the smartly designed bowl with its steep and super smooth walls makes it difficult for dirt to stick.

One more hygienic advantage: thanks to the sophisticated rimless shape, a TwistFlush toilet is quick and easy to clean. CeramicPlus and AntiBac make it even cleaner while reducing bacterial growth by 99.9 per cent.

Prevents spray and aerosols

The controlled vortex power deploys the flushing water exactly where it is needed. This prevents spray and significantly reduces the formation of aerosols. Another advantage: TwistFlush is significantly quieter than a standard flush.

Villeroy & Boch is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Villeroy & Boch

HD : HoteliersGuild

Hotel Designs announces partnership with HoteliersGuild

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs announces partnership with HoteliersGuild

With the aim to strengthen both brand’s relationships within the international hotel design and hospitality industry, while continuing to serve their readers with quality content, Hotel Designs and HoteliersGuild have entered into a media partnership that will include editorial and event collaboration…

HD : HoteliersGuild

With the aim to share engaging and relevant content beyond its already existing loyal readers, Hotel Designs has formed a media partnership with HoteliersGuild, the private society for discerning luxury hoteliers.

“There are so many different strands to this partnership, which is what makes it so exciting,” explained Katy Phillips, publisher, Hotel Designs. “What’s more, with hospitality starting to awake from the the Covid-19 pandemic, we hope that by working with HoteliersGuild it allows us to form even stronger relationships with leading hoteliers and developers globally in order to continue to create conversations on Hotel Designs like no other.”

The partnership, which will include event and editorial collaborations, has been designed to enhance both brand’s authentic identities, while strengthening editorial integrity. “One of Hotel Designs’ key pillars as a brand is meaningful collaborations,” added Hamish Kilburn, editor, Hotel Designs. “Therefore, it was only when speaking to the editorial team at HoteliersGuild when the alliance was truly formed. Since our rebranding in 2018, Hotel Designs has evolved with the industry it serves. Partnerships like these are integral, especially during times like these when togetherness is a key theme.”

As a partner, and with the continued aim to establish an international voice, Hotel Designs has invited Frank M. Pfaller, Founder President of HoteliersGuild, to become a judge for The Brit List Awards 2021.

With nominations and applications opening on May 10, 2021, this year’s awards campaign will include eight awards, including the Rising Star of the Year award, which will make its debut with the purpose to support and celebrate young professionals who are exceptional.

This year’s categories for The Brit List Awards 2021 are:

  • Interior Designer of the Year
  • Architect of the Year
  • Hotelier of the Year
  • Best in Tech
  • The Eco Award
  • Rising Star of the Year
  • Best in British Product Design
  • International Award
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry

In addition to the individual awards, the top 25 entries in the interior designer, architect and hotelier category will be profiled in the annual publication, The Brit List, which will be released at the awards ceremony on November 3, 2021 at Proud Galleries London.

DESIGN POD EP3 - Jason Bradbury

LISTEN NOW: Episode 3 of DESIGN POD is now live

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
LISTEN NOW: Episode 3 of DESIGN POD is now live

In the third episode of DESIGN POD, editor Hamish Kilburn and co-host Harriet Forde welcome technology guru Jason Bradbury as their special guests to discuss tech’s role in design and architecture…

DESIGN POD EP3 - Jason Bradbury

With technology’s role being questioned partially as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic in meaningful hotel design, hospitality and general living, in episode three of DESIGN POD, Jason Bradbury, the former presenter of the The Gadget Show who once reviewed a hotel for Hotel Designs 30 years in the future, was invited to explore technology’s role in design and architecture.

Listen to the full episode here:

“In the future, AI is going to move to exceptionally complex issues such as reinventing physics.” – Jason Bradbury.

In association with Bathroom Brands Group, the episode explored where Bradbury saw technology being injected in tomorrow’s hotel experience, delved into the new possibilities of CAD software, questioning the current conventional process of design and architecture in residential and hospitality and explained the concept of ‘the democratisation of everything’ when discussing the future of Artificial Intelligence (AI). “We are already living in an Artificial Intelligence era,” Bradbury explains, “It’s evolving trading, architecture challenges, predicting weather patters. In the future, AI is going to move to exceptionally complex issues such as reinventing physics and providing technologies that we haven’t even dreamt of.”

The next DESIGN POD episode, which will drop next month, will invite designer and artist Jack Irving to discuss fashion in design.

Product watch: Form follows function in bathroom design with RAK-Des

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Form follows function in bathroom design with RAK-Des

Bringing spa-inspired luxury to the domestic bathroom design, RAK-Des from RAK Ceramics is a collection that ensures this most private of areas is as comfortable and relaxing as any of our living spaces, while never compensating on practicality…

With clean, minimal lines for a sleek and streamlined finish that emulates the hotel feel, one of the many highlights of RAK-Des is the versatile range of bowls and freestanding washbasins, ensuring a solution for every bathroom. Freestanding, wall-hung and countertop basins all feature beautifully ergonomic shapes crafted from quality ceramic.

The washbasins can be combined with RAK-Joy vanities and RAK-Precious countertops for perfect harmony in the bathroom. RAK-Precious provides a luxurious alternative to the functional ceramic white, with surfaces that emulate the natural properties of materials such as stone, marble and cement, bringing the trend for industrial styling into the bathroom in a functional way.

RAK - image of basin from above

Image credit: RAK Ceramics

With hidden fixations, the RAK-Des WC can be wall-hung or installed back-to-wall and features the latest in flushing technology for the ultimate in bathroom hygiene. RAK Ceramics WCs set new standards of hygiene and water efficiency, with uniquely engineered water flushing systems that effectively remove waste, helping to keep bathrooms fresh and hygienic. Using just four litres for the full flush and 2.5 litres for the half flush, water usage is reduced by a third and with no rims to harbour germs, cleaning is quick, easy and more hygienic.

All in all, RAK-Des provides a complete sanitaryware solution for the modern bathroom that successfully combines form with function and gives designers creative freedom in this more personal of spaces.

RAK Ceramics is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: RAK Ceramics

Inside out – are your outdoor spaces ready for the post-pandemic world?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside out – are your outdoor spaces ready for the post-pandemic world?

When you consider art for bars or art for restaurants, the first thing that springs to many people’s mind is the interior spaces, but with the demand for outdoor spaces following the pandemic set to rise what are the possibilities of outdoor art? Elegant Clutter’s in house art consultancy Art Story discuss how art can still tell a story when the party moves outside…

Until recently the outdoor spaces in the UK have been reserved for smokers and the sparse days of good British weather.  As experts in art for bars and restaurants, Elegant Clutter have been occasionally asked to install mirrors into the outdoor spaces to aid the inside outside feel but largely the outdoor spaces have not been an art playground, until now. With lockdown easing and outdoor hospitality spaces being the first to open. Art Story suggest that there is now a wonderful opportunity to capture the imagination of guests and tell the hotel’s story through clever and impactful art choices. These previously neglected spaces are long overdue a makeover and we are excited to see how these spaces transform over the coming years.

In Hard Rock Hotel Budapest, the Art Story team installed their largest artwork ever. ‘Liquid Music’ is 20m high, unashamedly loud, and runs the height of the internal atrium of the hotel. It was so large that it had to be expertly installed by abseil. Designed by in house digital artist Tegan, the statement artwork was inspired by Budapest’s local street art scene where whole building facades are painted with murals. Street artists offer an abundance of inspiration when is comes to considering art outside. They demonstrate the limitless possibilities of eye-catching artwork that durable enough to withstand the great British weather. ‘Liquid Music’ flows through the decades of popular music, from the 1950s on the 7th floor down through to the experimental digital music of today.

Since you’re here, why not read our exclusive interview with Harry Pass, Creative Direction, Elegant Clutter/Art Story?

Working with experienced and prominent artists on site adds massive value to a project and often gains valuable press coverage. Art Story boasts a global network of artist collaborators that can be commissioned to freehand an original design on site. Martina Nehrling’s colourful mural Emily’s Bees was installed in Kingston New York as part of the O+ festival and instantly caught the attention of the passing crowds. Similarly, Katy Binks is a confident mural artist and has completely many notable public murals including Box park in Shoreditch which featured a bold hand-painted monochrome design. As most outdoor spaces are visible to the public it is a terrific way of boosting kerb side appeal and getting people excited about frequenting their new and improved terraces and beer gardens. To this effect, the Art Story team also installed a giant suspending sculpture of stars that flowed down towards the street in a colour gradient into Hard Rock Hotel Budapest. A real head-turner and a beacon to drive people to find the fun filled hotel.

Image credit: Hard Rock Hotel Budapest, Stars

Image caption: Hard Rock Hotel Budapest, Stars

Having artists work on site isn’t always an option and for those on a tighter budget, pre-approved artwork can be printed on weatherproof vinyl and expertly installed onto external walls to give the same visual impact in a lot less time. Using this method opens a whole host of opportunities to tell the story of the venue or create a striking focal point. This also allows the hotel to benefit from artists whose original work might be too delicate to be installed outdoors. An added benefit to vinyl is that it can also be installed on glass so if wall space is non-existent, the windows and glass doors can offer a great opportunity to make a visual impact.

Image caption: Ettienne Bing Bang sculpture.

Image caption: Ettienne Bing Bang sculpture

The obvious solution to art outdoors is sculpture.  Art Story have collaborated with some incredible sculptors like Etienne Krahenbuhl in The Circle in Zurich. The Bing Bang sculpture was installed inside for that project but has been installed outside previously to profound effect. The team are also proud to represent Michael Speller who is well known in the gallery artworld for his distinctive figurative work and public sculptures. They also champion the work of steel artist Rick Kirby who has worked on countless public commissions. The beauty of working in steel allows Rick to create large scale installation pieces at a fraction of the cost of more traditional bronze. Steel can also be polished to a high shine or left unfinished to create a sculpture that will change over time. Art Story is actively growing their portfolio and specialise in sourcing the right talent for every project and working collaboratively to ensure the entire process is as stress free as possible.

Image caption: Rick Kirby Brave New World

Spring is in nearly in full bloom, after a year inside we predict there will be a greater desire to be outside even when indoor meetings are possible. As an industry we now need to consider these spaces not just from a functional standpoint but how can art help add value to the guest experience. Biophilic design often talks about bringing the outdoors inside to amplify a sense of nature within the walls of hospitality but now is it time that we also consider bringing the inside out?

Image caption: Martina Nehrling, Emily’s Bees mural

Elegant Clutter is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Black Friday package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here

Image credit: Elegant Clutter

Weekly briefing: EDITION soars & Tom Dixon strikes again

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: EDITION soars & Tom Dixon strikes again

Ahoy there! Hamish Kilburn here with your weekly briefing – if you only read one of our editorial pieces this week, make it this one as its jam-packed full of our most-read news stories and features that we have published over the last few days…

This week’s round-up comes after the UK reaches an important milestone on the nation’s roadmap out of the pandemic: hospitality (outdoors) is allowed to open while non-essential shops have dusted off their shelves to finally be able to welcome their adoring customers once more. This significant moment for the UK is not without its concern for other nations as elsewhere in Europe the Covid-19 crisis continues to wreak havock for destinations that depend heavily on a tourism footfall. And it is in these times when Hotel Designs’ intel becomes socially distanced companion for designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers who wish to establish new projects and developments that are emerging on the international hotel design landscape.

So, without further a due, here are this week’s editor’s picks, which includes news from Tom Dixon, EDITION Hotels and even a carpet collection that was inspired by the tranquility craved during the Covid-19 pandemic – genius!

British designer Tom Dixon joins interior design team for Pan Pacific London

The acclaimed British designer, Tom Dixon, has been appointed by Pan Pacific to to create a destination bar in Devonshire House, with the aim to design a ‘home from home’ in the city of London. “We have recently spent a lot of time designing spaces all over the world so it’s a great pleasure to find ourselves with a project on our doorstep commissioned by our friends at Pan Pacific London, who are showing their commitment to London and to Bar Culture just when most of the sector is frozen,” explained Dixon. “We look forward to creating an exciting new location in the middle of the city at breakneck speed. We’ll see you all for a cocktail in Autumn 2021!” 

Read more.

Hotel Designs updates in-house events calendar for 2021 & 2022

The entire team at Hotel Designs and Forum Events have been working tireless throughout the Covid-19 pandmeic, reacting to the latest government guidelines, in order to organise premium networking events that are safe and effective for designers, hoteliers, architects, developers and key-industry suppliers. In this time, we have launched new events, such as Hotel Designs LIVE, in order to keep the conversation flowing, while amended dates and concepts around our much-loved networking events. Here’s the latest amendments to our in-house event calendar – think of it as the ultimate ‘save the date’.

Read more.

EDITION to open 8 new hotels by 2022

The Dubai EDITION Final Rendering Hi Res- Edition_Lobby_R4

EDITION Hotels has announced its further international expansion by the end of 2022, with the expected openings of eight new properties across three continents. The new openings include sites in Rome, Madrid, Dubai, Reykjavik, Tampa, Doha, Mexico’s Riviera Maya at Kanai and EDITION’s second property in Tokyo. With 11 hotels worldwide currently, these planned unveilings underscore the brand’s strong growth and will bring the portfolio to a total of 19 properties globally.

Read more.

The carpet collection inspired by Covid-19

TSAR Retreat Collection—Shoreline Axminster Carpet

We have always been impressed with the relevance of TSAR Carpets’ collections, but this is something else… The carpet brand launched a collection during that oozes tranquility and harmony for designers during the Covid-19 crisis. Grab a coffee and let’s take a look.

Read more.

Hotel Designs LIVE: Less than 1 month to go

Main image Hotel Designs LIVE

Time is running out for designers, architects, hoteliers and developers to secure their complimentary tickets to attend Hotel Designs LIVE on May 11, the one-day virtual conference designed to keep the conversation flowing and the industry connected throughout the Covid-19 crisis.

Read more.

How will hotel public spaces overcome Covid-19?

To kickstart ‘public spaces’ being placed under the editorial spotlight this month, Emma Cook takes the reigns to explore how the pandemic will evolve hotel lobbies, hotel arrival and the hospitality experience in general once more.

Read more.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

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Product watch: Parkside Tiles and the great outdoors

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Parkside Tiles and the great outdoors

Parkside Architecture Tiles has updated its outdoor tile portfolio, expanding its popular Vista20 line. Let’s take a cheeky look…

Providing tiles suitable for external use, Parkside’s outdoor tiles portfolio has been updated to include even more options for specifiers and designers looking to bring the indoors out.

With brand-new granite, travertine, concrete, marble and terrazzo effects, as well as expanded wood and slate looks, Vista20 provides a wide choice of 20mm thick, vitrified porcelain slabs for the authentic look of natural materials without the maintenance. Hard wearing, frost, mould and stain resistant, the Vista20 collection comes with a high slip-resistance of PTV 36+ barefoot, making the tiles suitable for year-round use. With selected designs available as 10mm options, Vista20 allows a seamless flow from indoors out.

All stone and marble designs in the Vista40 collection are available in indoor (10mm) and outdoor (40mm) versions. The 40mm outdoor versions feature a 30mm Serafoam layer, for a lightweight 600 x 600mm PTV 36+ barefoot tile that eliminates the need for a concrete base layer, making installation simpler and possible in almost all conditions. Both Vista20 and Vista40 are stocked in the UK for fast despatch.

The outdoor tile portfolio also includes Dawson, available in a range of sizes up to an impressive 1200 x 2400mm. In four colours, Dawson is a contemporary concrete effect 20mm tile that’s also available in 10mm for indoor use, bringing an elegant transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. The textured finish adds authenticity with the Smoke and Tarmac colours featuring 20 per cent – 40 per cent recycled content.

Parkside also offers a full range of supporting outdoor installation accessories including pedestals, trims and outdoor-ready easy brush-in grout. Some of the collection’s 20mm thick tiles can also be installed with Parkside’s exclusive QuiKer system, an ideal solution for pub and restaurant terraces. This steel backing plate provides a higher impact resistance and can be installed directly onto pedestals.

The outdoor tile portfolio is also home to steel pedestals, for external wall systems as well as balconies on high-rise buildings. Parkside’s flat head pedestals are available in flat head adjustable heights (eight options) and slope corrector with adjustable heights (six options), and are compliant with A2-s1, d0 rated or Class A1 under BS EN 13501-1.

The outdoor tile portfolio is reviewed in a new brochure that’s now available from the trusted tile specification company.

Parkside, which won Best in British Product Design at The Brit List Awards 2020, is one of our recommended suppliers and regularly feature in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Parkside

The Dubai EDITION Final Rendering Hi Res- Edition_Lobby_R4

EDITION to open 8 new hotels by 2022

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EDITION to open 8 new hotels by 2022

EDITION Hotels has announced that it will open eight new properties by 2022, these include new hotels in Reykjavik, Tokyo, Rome, Dubai, Tampa, Riviera Maya and Doya…

The Dubai EDITION Final Rendering Hi Res- Edition_Lobby_R4

EDITION Hotels has announced its further international expansion by the end of 2022, with the expected openings of eight new properties across three continents. The new openings include sites in Rome, Madrid, Dubai, Reykjavik, Tampa, Doha, Mexico’s Riviera Maya at Kanai and EDITION’s second property in Tokyo. With 11 hotels worldwide currently, these planned unveilings underscore the brand’s strong growth and will bring the portfolio to a total of 19 properties globally. 

The hotel brand, which has redefined the concept of luxury through offering an unexpected collection of one-of-a-kind hotels, was conceived by hotel visionary and cultural icon Ian Schrager and Marriott International. The commitment to uncompromising quality, true originality and impeccable modern service continue to challenge traditional perceptions of luxury and entrench EDITION’s position as an industry leader. Every EDITION hotel is unique, reflecting the social and cultural milieu of the time and place of its creation. Each new property is individually developed in collaboration with one of the world’s most eminent designers chosen specifically for that location, and introduces original food and beverage concepts from internationally renowned chefs. The end result offers the best of dining and entertainment, modern luxury services and amenities “all under one roof.” 

“I’ve always been committed to being involved in special projects on a global scale that reach new heights,” said Schrager. “I’m thrilled to work together with Marriott, and the opportunity to see these hotels come to life across the world is a dream come true.”

Let’s take a closer look at what to expect in the EDITION pipeline…

The Reykjavik EDITION – launching mid 2021

Image caption: The Reykjavik EDITION – Harbor entrance. | Image credit: Edition Hotels

The Reykjavik EDITION is anticipated to launch in summer 2021 in one of the world’s most sustainable capitals. Located in the historical, scenic heart of downtown Reykjavik by Old Harbor port, the hotel is just steps away from  Laugavegur Street, the city’s vibrant shopping district, and the Harpa Concert and Conference Center. The hotel is the perfect jumping off point for exploring the wonders of the region, with the renowned Blue Lagoon within driving distance and the Northern Lights visible in the city during the winter solstice.

Ian Schrager Company has collaborated with architects T.arch and designers Roman & Williams to introduce EDITION Hotels to Iceland. Poised to offer 253 guestrooms and suites, The Reykjavik EDITION will house a rooftop, nightlife, spacious meeting and event spaces (502 sqm/5,402 sqft) and a spa. In addition, the hotel is expected to offer guests and locals a diverse culinary offering with a signature restaurant, destination bar and a café. 

The Tokyo EDITION, Ginza – launching late 2021 

Image caption: Rendering of the entrance of Ginza Maya EDITION. | Image credit: Edition Hotels

Image caption: Rendering of the entrance of Ginza Maya EDITION. | Image credit: Edition Hotels

Following the successful launch of the first Japanese EDITION hotel with The Tokyo EDITION, Toranomon in late 2020, the opening of the The Tokyo EDITION, Ginza will further strengthen the brand’s position as one of the most exciting lifestyle pioneers in Asia. Slated to open in late 2021, The Tokyo EDITION, Ginza will be situated just off Chuo Street, one of the largest upscale entertainment and shopping destinations in the city.

The newly constructed property will include 86 guestrooms and suites, three incredible food and beverage destinations including rooftop bar, together with meeting studio and a state-of-the-art fitness centre.

The Rome EDITION – launching late 2021 

Image caption: A rendering showing the biophilic entrance of Rome EDITION. | Image credit: EDITION Hotels

Image caption: A rendering showing the biophilic entrance of Rome EDITION. | Image credit: EDITION Hotels

Expected to open late in 2021, EDITION Hotels’ first Italian property will feature 95 guest rooms and suites, including a Penthouse suite with a private 130 sqm (1,399 sqft) terrace. The Rome EDITION will offer uniquely designed food and beverage outlets, including a signature restaurant with outdoor dining space that will make locals and visitors fall in love with its cuisine and all that comes with it; a Punch Room Bar with exceptionally crafted cocktails; and a Rooftop Terrace where guests can have the choice of a seasonal bite, a drink overlooking the city, a private gathering with friends, or all of the above.  In addition to customisable indoor and outdoor event spaces, the hotel will also be home to a rooftop swimming pool, a very spacious hi-tech gym, and two treatment rooms including a couple-massage experience.   

With its central location a few steps from Via Veneto and Bernini’s Tritone Fountain in Piazza Barberini, The Rome EDITION is within a short walk of all the best that the city has to offer, such as the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Borghese Gardens and Gallery, and many other wonders that make Rome a must-see destination.  At the corner of modern luxury and history, the hotel is housed within a historical striking building designed by Cesare Pascoletti in collaboration with architect Marcello Piacentini, one of Italy’s most famed architects of Rationalism in the early 20th century.

 The Dubai EDITION – launching late 2021

The anticipated opening of the The Dubai EDITION in late 2021 will mark a significant expansion for the brand into the Middle East’s most popular travel destination. Situated in downtown Dubai, the hotel will be located in one of the city’s most popular locations, opposite the world-famous Dubai Mall.

Designed with LW Design Group LLC, the hotel will feature 275 guestrooms and suites. The property will also be home to multiple food and beverage outlets, pool, spa and fitness center, in addition to dynamic events spaces boasting meeting rooms and a flexible ballroom.

The Madrid EDITION – launching early 2022

Image caption: Rendering of the entrance to Madrid EDITION. | Image credit: EDITION Hotels

The Madrid EDITION will showcase 200 beautifully appointed guestrooms and suites, some with terraces, and five unique food and beverage outlets including a signature restaurant, cocktail bar, Sky Bar and rooftop terrace, together with an outdoor pool, state-of-the-art fitness centre and spa. Flexible studios with over 350sqm (3,767 sqft)  of dedicated space will host creative meetings and events for large or small groups.

Set in a tranquil square surrounded by historic buildings, The Madrid EDITION is near Puerta de Sol in the heart of the Spanish capital, one of the city’s most famous sites, and within walking distance to The Golden Triangle of Art – three of the most important art museums in Madrid. 

Slated to open in early 2022, the hotel will reflect the people and the culture of the city and will become a stunning microcosm of one-of-a-kind food, beverage and entertainment offerings, innovative design, and luxury service. The Madrid EDITION will be the second EDITION Hotel in Spain, following the successful opening of The Barcelona EDITION in 2018.

The Tampa EDITION – launching early 2022

Image caption: Render of entrance for The Tampa EDITION. | Image credit: EDITION Hotels

Image caption: Render of entrance for The Tampa EDITION. | Image credit: EDITION Hotels

Planned to open in early 2022, The Tampa EDITION will become the fifth US property from EDITION Hotels. Situated within the new 56-acre Water Street Tampa neighbourhood, the hotel will be home to 172 guestrooms and suites and six food and beverage outlets, including a signature restaurant, rooftop bar and terrace. The property will also feature a 204sqm  (2,195 sqft) Penthouse Suite, expansive spa, fitness center and over 550sqm (5,920 sqft)  of flexible meeting and events space. Bringing some of the world’s best talents together into one project, design is care of the acclaimed New York-based architecture practice Morris Adjmi in collaboration with Florida-based firm Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe & Associates; with interiors designed by the renowned Roman & Williams. The hotel is situated within immediate proximity to the best that Tampa has to offer in terms of cultural institutions, entertainment, recreational, dining and shopping options. 

The Riviera Maya EDITION at Kanai – launching mid 2022

The Riviera Maya EDITION at Kanai is expected to open in mid 2022. With 180 guestrooms and suites, the hotel will be situated within the luxurious Kanai development, and home to six food and beverage outlets including a signature restaurant, pool bar and beach club, destination spa and an expansive 206sqm (2,217 sqft) Penthouse Suite. In addition to multiple meeting spaces, the hotel will also house an extensive outdoor deck for large scale events and parties.

Located on a pristine beachfront site, EDITION Hotels’ first property in Mexico will find its home in the blissful stretch of Caribbean coastline. Riviera Maya is known for its mangroves and lagoons, ancient Mayan cities, tropical beaches, ecological reserves and the world’s second largest coral reef.

The Doha EDITION – launching late 2022

The Doha EDITION is anticipated to open in late 2022 in Doha’s central business district, West Bay, which edges the Persian Gulf. The hotel will have 200 guest rooms including 29 suites, two restaurants, three bars and a nightclub and nearly 929 sqm (10,000 sqft) of event space. The hotel tower will punctuate the already eclectic Doha skyline and will house 167 EDITION branded residences.

In addition to these new properties, EDITION Hotels expects to announce further expansion later in 2022. 

Main image caption: Render of lobby inside The Dubai EDITION | Image credit: EDITION Hotels

Main image Hotel Designs LIVE

Hotel Designs LIVE: Less than 1 month to go

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs LIVE: Less than 1 month to go

Time is running out for designers, architects, hoteliers and developers to secure their complimentary tickets to attend Hotel Designs LIVE on May 11, the one-day virtual conference designed to keep the conversation flowing and the industry connected throughout the Covid-19 crisis…

Main image Hotel Designs LIVE

In less than one month, the team at Hotel Designs will host the fourth Hotel Designs LIVE event, which will virtually take place on May 11, 2021. The event, which was recently shortlisted shortlisted in the ‘Best Webinar Series’ category at the Digital Event Awards, will welcome world-renowned designers, architects and hospitality professionals to take part in four targeted panel discussions. And the best part? If you qualify as a designer, architect, hotelier or developer, then attending the event is completely free.

Simply click here to secure your complimentary ticket(s) to Hotel Designs LIVE* (booking form takes less than two minutes to complete).

In addition to the live interviews and panel discussions with handpicked industry experts – and to ensure that the event is bridging the gap between hospitality suppliers and designers, architects, hoteliers and developers – the conference also included structured ‘Product Watch’ pitches around each session, allowing suppliers the opportunity to pitch their products and services in a ‘live’ environment to the hospitality buyers that are tuned in.

The agenda for the day and confirmed speakers



If you are a designer, architect, hotelier  or developer and would like to secure your complimentary seats in the audience, click hereIf you are a supplier to the hotel design industry and would like to promote your latest product or services to the Hotel Designs LIVE audience, please contact Katy Phillips via email or call +44 (0)1992 374050.

Main image credit: Oladimeji Odunsi/Unsplash

TSAR Retreat Collection—Shoreline Axminster Carpet

“A Designer’s ‘Retreat’ – the carpet collection inspired by Covid-19

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
“A Designer’s ‘Retreat’ – the carpet collection inspired by Covid-19

We have always been impressed with the relevance of TSAR Carpets’ collections, but this is something else… The carpet brand launched a collection during that oozes tranquility and harmony for designers during the Covid-19 crisis. Grab a coffee and let’s take a look…

TSAR Retreat Collection—Shoreline Axminster Carpet

In Autumn 2020, months after governments around the world closed their boarders and populations were instructed to work from home, TSAR Carpets innovatively launched the Retreat collection, which translates ink-on-paper artworks and biophilic water motifs into new Axminster carpet designs.

TSAR Retreat Collection—Ocean Song Axminster Carpet (blue carpet)TSAR’s Melbourne-based Head Designer, Ross Cleland, channeled his creative exploration during Covid-19 lockdown into a series of soothing and biophilic floor covering designs. Centered around the concept of “The Future of Hospitality,” TSAR’s Retreat Axminster carpets use natural bodies of water as inspiration to add visual movement and flow underfoot.

By using interchangeable colours, each design can take on a new meaning and purpose, as the fluid designs are responsive to a building’s architecture and add a bespoke element to an interior context.

Available since October 2020, the collection is sold exclusively at TSAR’s studios in Melbourne, Sydney, New York, London, and Shanghai.

The Retreat collection joins the brands impressive and dynamic ranges of carpets, including the Chromatic collection and the Sierra Collection.

TSAR Carpets, which is an Industry Support Partner Hotel Designs, is a Melbourne-based design brand with more than 30 years of expertise in the manufacturing of luxury custom carpets and rugs. A family-owned business founded by David and Kerrie Sharpley, it is now a global company recognised for its passion for textiles and its profound knowledge of the handtufted technique. TSAR delivers bespoke floor coverings for high-end residential, hospitality, and commercial environments worldwide.

Main image credit: TSAR Carpets

image of restaurant with parquet wooden flooring

How designers can create comfort through flooring

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How designers can create comfort through flooring

“For hotel interiors, the Covid-19 pandemic will leave a lasting impression on design, as specifiers look to surfaces and flooring to create a comfortable, safe space for guests,” says Sarah Thorpe, Amtico’s hotel specialist…

image of restaurant with parquet wooden flooring

When you walk into a hotel, your eyes are quickly drawn to the different design elements; a contemporary piece of art, ornate chandeliers, or even an impressive staircase. But it’s what is under your feet that plays an important role in hospitality interiors.

Flooring has a multitude of roles to fulfil in a hotel, from guiding guests to the reception and creating the base element for the interior design, to providing a relaxing and comfortable environment in the bedrooms. As hospitality venues re-open and we begin to travel again, hotels will want to make their guests feel as relaxed and content as possible when they stay. We’re already seeing interior design evolve from simply creating extravagant aesthetics, to also actively contributing to positive wellbeing and an improved experience.

While the flooring design enhances the overall aesthetics and mood, resilience is the fundamental quality to ensure the surface can stand up to heavy footfall. It also needs to simultaneously resist scratches, stains or scuffs from heels and suitcases. For these reasons, one of the most popular types of commercial flooring is Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT). Indeed, this is one of the most versatile, durable and hardwearing products available and it offers complete design freedom – presenting a commercially attractive alternative to other flooring materials, especially natural wood, stone, sheet vinyl and laminates.

LVT is also acoustically superior and offers sound reduction benefits, which helps create a peaceful and quiet atmosphere so that guests can relax. Indeed, the acoustics of an environment can have just as much an impact on a guest’s stay than the hardness of a mattress. At Amtico, we understand the need to reduce noise without compromising design aesthetics; we developed Amtico Acoustic, an enhanced 1mm PVC foam backing layer that works across standard planks and tiles in our Signature, Form and Spacia collections; it enhances the LVT to reduce sound transmission by up to 19dB. This layer also helps to provide enhanced comfort for guests by reducing sound transmission to rooms below, while minimising noise from passing footsteps in a hotel corridor.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also affected how we view the cleanliness of the environments around us. Even when restrictions are lifted and hotels re-open to the public, concerns about infection will remain indefinitely and there will be an even greater need to reassure guests of their safety. Certainly, the concept of promoting positive wellbeing has extended beyond peaceful and calming aesthetics, and LVT safety flooring complements this on a practical level.

The control of bacteria is increasingly important, as is reducing the risk of slips and falls. Our safety flooring LVT products – from the Signature 36+ and Spacia 36+ collections – encompass antimicrobial technology, in addition to near invisible particles that increase friction levels between feet and the surface. As a result, it can offer exceptional levels of slip resistance and prevent the growth of potentially harmful bacteria and fungus while adhering to specific design scheme requirements.

Of course, safety flooring and interior design are not always considered together, with many product specifications focused solely on one element or the other. Part of the design limitations in recent years have been linked to the proliferation of sheet vinyl safety flooring, which is often one-dimensional and lacks natural details. In hotel bars and restaurants, there is growing demand for safety floors with more design variety and a higher quality finish. To offer specifiers greater design scope, our Signature 36+ and Spacia 36+ collections are available in 37 Woods, 12 Stones and three Abstract designs across 11 plank and tile sizes, plus the classic Parquet laying pattern.

The design of a space makes it possible to evoke an emotional response in an individual, which can range from a sense of excitement seeing the room for the first time, through to making them feel relaxed and comfortable in the restaurant. While comfortable upholstered furniture and ambient lighting are naturally considered the first factors to evoke such a response, flooring is also integral to this, as it can convey to occupants how an area should be used. However, the right choice of floor product – provided with a generous commercial warranty – goes a long way in terms of meeting the practical needs of the hotel and its guests, while ensuring durability, long-lasting performance and, importantly, comfort.

Amtico is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Black Friday Deal. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here.

Main image caption: Image credit: Amtico

How will hotel public spaces overcome Covid-19?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How will hotel public spaces overcome Covid-19?

To kickstart ‘public spaces’ being placed under the editorial spotlight this month, Emma Cook takes the reigns to explore how the pandemic will evolve hotel lobbies, hotel arrival and the hospitality experience in general once more…

Hotels: the home away from home. Except, now, we want to be anywhere but our homes! Endless lockdowns have left people craving to escape the confinement of their house, and where are modern travellers desperate to escape to? Hotels is where!

Since the late 1980s, unique experience in hotels has taken over, and the desire to have an authentic experience has changed the way in which hotels are designed. Travellers becoming more savvy – and just general interest in culture – has seen hotels use the local vernaculars as concept for their design: both physical and experience. Brand standards are slowly being taken over by distinctive boutique hotels which encapsulate the local identity – creating a more immersive experience.

The experience of a hotel is arguably more influential than the design when creating repeat business; although, the two go hand-in-hand. When you enter a space, you don’t remember the colours of the flooring or the warmth of the lighting, instead you remember if you felt excited, uncomfortable or inspired. One can appreciate a great looking hotel on Pinterest, for example, but when they walk into that same hotel in real life, the feeling they get may be completely different. Design becomes experience when the senses are stimulated. Touch, sound, and human interaction are all part of the design experience and can completely change the way someone feels in the space. However, in the face of Covid-19, how will the lack of touch and interaction impact the hotel experience?

More often than not, designers and hoteliers are aiming to achieve a sense of the hotel’s brand and ethos when guests enter the building. If the public spaces are particularly open plan and airy, the space will feel sociable and will have a ‘buzz’ about it. On the contrary, if a hotel has more corridors, soft music, and a luxurious feel, you could hazard a guess that it will probably be an older demographic with more middle-class desires. This initial representation comes in the service too; a long marble check-in desk compared to a person carrying a tablet, both give off a very different ambience. Once hotels can open to the public again, it’ll be interesting to see which types of hotels people are more drawn to. The open plan and social hotel may now be stark and empty whereas the more private hotel may feel too much like being back in lockdown.

Image of lively public area inside W Osaka

Image caption: Stylish interior design scheme inside W Osaka, conceived by Amsterdam-based studio concrete

In the last decade, the amount of human contact we get has reduced massively. Thanks to technology, everything can now be done and ordered at the touch of a button. Since Covid-19, the importance of human connection has become very apparent, and we may see a reversion to more face-to-face service by choice of the guest. There is a strong argument between the convenient hygiene of self-check-in stations vs. the sought-after human interaction of desk staff. The flexibility of allowing the guest to do what makes them feel more comfortable will make for a successful hotel check-in experience.

Hotel public spaces host a wealth of activities: arriving, waiting, working, meeting friends, eating, and departing. Factoring flexibility into the design can give space to these activities and allow them to cohesively work in one room to fulfil the needs and wants of guests. Larger, more flexible spaces also allow for more people in one room, whilst maintaining a safe distance. This retains the social aspect that guests will crave yet continues to keep them safe. Creating lots of small breakout spaces will make potentially longer waiting times feel more pleasant but also creates places for people to grab a coffee or work. Savvy designers may be able to manipulate human traffic within the spaces by creating subtle boundaries. A simple change in lighting or furniture can define spaces and flooring materials can create ‘pathways’ for guests to subconsciously follow. Gone will be the days of ‘one way’ signs and ‘2m apart’.

Interior visualisation of ADP's new hotel in Kyiv

Image caption: A hotel concept in Kyiv, conceived by ADP Architecture with the aim to create a deeper connection with the local vernacular.

Hygiene will be at the forefront of hospitality design. After being cooped up in the safety of their own homes, people need to feel comfortable in knowing that the place they are staying is clean. However, being surrounded by service people cleaning 24/7 wont exactly create a warm and inviting environment. Minimalism tends to give off a sterile aesthetic which can lead people into thinking the surfaces are cleaner than they look – this comes with both materiality and form. Brass and other copper alloys have antimicrobial properties and materials like these, that not only look amazing but also help tackle some of the bacterial issues, can be used at touch points like handles and railings. If people feel safe in an environment, they will feel more comfortable engaging with others in the same room, increasing sociability and the overall experience.

Ventilation is key and hotels with open spaces are bound to do well in the future. Whether it’s a courtyard, outdoor eatery or a guestroom balcony, people want to know that the air around them is fresh and clean. Greenery in indoor spaces is an easy way to make a room feel fresher and cleaner, even if it’s not, and planting can also be a way of dividing spaces and creating clear pathways. Architectural science may see a big movement into breathable technology. Long gone will be air conditioning; façades that can breathe and act like skin will become the new way of ventilating and cooling/heating a building.

Image of beach-side reception in the Maldives

Image caption: An open-air public area experience at Seaside Finolhu in the Maldives, conceived by Muza Lab. | Image credit: Seaside Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

More than ever, people are aware of their own personal wellbeing and the idea of routine will be extremely important for a lot of people now. Hotels can take inspiration from Japanese architecture which implements ritualistic elements into design which has been proven as an architectural way to increase mental wellbeing. Simply adding a few wash basins to the entrance of a hotel lobby can incorporate ritualistic elements to the design and let guests know that the hotel is a clean space. The sinks don’t need to look unsightly either, the Address Hotel, Dubai Marina, has beautiful sinks which are a feature of the entrance.

After a year of lockdowns and restriction, people have become very adapted to working from home and communicating through virtual means. Those who once travelled for business may not need to anymore yet flexibility in where people can work from may increase numbers of remote workers. Meeting rooms may become dormant as working from the bedside is the new norm and an increase in communal workspaces will be required. The flexibility to choose where to work from will be high on the priority list for remote workers and they will be looking to enjoy working from a poolside, quiet café, or lounge seating area. Although hotels should not want to become the new workplace, in fear of jeopardising leisure travellers’ experience. Will a new generation of workplace hotels be born, as a result, to keep definitive boundaries between work and play?

It will be a challenge for both designers and hoteliers to allow guests to feel comfortable in public spaces again, without removing the human interaction that people crave and need more than ever right now. New priorities of guests will have inevitably changed since Covid-19 but the experience they desire will remain the same. Hotel public spaces need to offer the same amount of uniqueness as they already do but need to also respond to the heightened concerns of visitors.

Main image credit: Edition Hotels

Image of W Osaka guestroom

W Hotels arrives in Japan with opening in Osaka

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
W Hotels arrives in Japan with opening in Osaka

World-renowned hospitality design firm concrete Amsterdam was appointed to design the interiors of W Hotels’ first property in Japan. The hotel has just opened and Hotel Designs managed to get a sneaky peek inside…

Image of W Osaka guestroom

The wait is over. W Hotels Worldwide, part of Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of 30 extraordinary brands, has lifted the curtains on Japan’s first-ever W hotel. Making its debut along vibrant Midosuji Boulevard, W Osaka will redefine the local hotel scene with the brand’s spirited spin on luxury as the perfect addition to this electric city.

“Osaka’s mix of culture and bold, high-energy lifestyle makes it the ideal setting for the debut of W Hotels in Japan,” said Rajeev Menon, President, Asia Pacific (excluding China), Marriott International. “We are excited to once again be partnering with Sekisui House to welcome W Osaka to the luxury hospitality landscape here, and know international travellers and locals alike will be drawn to the hotel and its playground of possibilities.”

Image of lively public area inside W Osaka

Image credit: W Hotels

The hotel asserts its presence in the city’s busy urban streetscape with a black monolith façade designed by Osaka-born, world-renowned architect Tadao Ando. The hotel’s intriguing design concept is expressed as a minimalist exterior concealing colourfully exuberant interiors, a nod to the Edo period when excessive displays of wealth were prohibited, and merchants were said to have dressed modestly in public. However, in private, flamboyance and opulence were free to be expressed, and W Osaka typifies this transformation. The interior design was conceptualised by concrete, the Amsterdam-based design studio behind the extraordinarily chic W London and W Verbier and who will join the Hotel Designs LIVE speaker line-up in May. The design narrative shines a spotlight on the contrast between Japanese minimalism and the limitless excesses of urban life, illuminated by Osaka’s bright neon lights at night.

Upon arrival at W Osaka, guests enter an illuminated tunnel inspired by the Japanese art forms of cutting and folding paper, origami and kirigami, with images of nature and seasons reflected on its walls. On the third floor, the hotel’s social hub LIVING ROOM (W’s signature take on the lobby) greets guests with vivid colors and a show-stopping design featuring an original interpretation of whimsical Kawaii Kokeshi wooden dolls which celebrate the diversity of W Osaka’s international guests.

Bright spaces, clean lines and bold colour schemes are inspired by Osaka’s blazing streetscapes and reflected in the hotel’s 337 guestrooms and suites. Floor-to-ceiling windows frame stunning views of the skyline, while spacious bathrooms with rain showers and luxe amenities invite guests to retreat and recharge. For an unexpected touch, a surprise is locked away behind the closets: a unique “pixorama” of Osaka, a graphic filled with the city’s famous landmarks, designed by pixel art group eBoy. To represent Japan’s famous pink cherry blossoms and Osaka’s azure oceanside, colour themes and neon light accents shine either pink or blue on each alternate floor.

Situated atop the hotel’s 27th floor, the Extreme WOW Penthouse Suite (the brand’s take on the traditional Presidential Suite) is 200 square meters with a 4.5-meter-high ceiling and five sequenced rooms divided by oak portals that merge traditional Japanese home design with the W spirit. The “Garden Room” marks the entrance to the suite, with its zen-inspired garden providing a refuge from the bustling city life below.

The EWOW suite in W Osaka

Image credit: W Hotels

The bedroom features dreamy artwork by Sigrid Calon, a Dutch textile artist whose works have been exhibited around the world, including at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) in New York. In the bathroom, the large, 1.9-meter-diameter chrome tub is a reimagined champagne bucket, and invites guests for a surreal soak. The suite features an open kitchen and a built-in DJ booth – the first of its kind in a hotel room in Japan – that’s perfect for entertaining and soundtracking any stay.

W Osaka’s two bars and four restaurants tempt guests with unique, unexpected offerings and an unforgettably gourmet experience. Global flavors merge with iconic Japanese cuisine to tantalise the tastebuds in unexpected ways.

On the fourth floor of W Osaka, FIT offers the latest in fitness equipment, as well as a yoga room with a view. WET is the hotel’s indoor pool space with an LED ceiling to illuminate and amplify the fun. For guests who live by the brand’s ‘Detox.Retox.Repeat’ philosophy, AWAY SPA awaits to restore and revive, with five private treatment rooms.

Purple-lit pool inside W Osaka

Image credit: W Hotels

The new hotel has a total of four event and meeting spaces, including the GREAT ROOM, a 390-square-meter ballroom, with high ceilings, deep oak pillars, and champagne-gold metallic details. With WED YOUR WAY, guests can customise the wedding of their dreams on an entire private floor at W Osaka.

“The energy and eclecticism of Japan, particularly Osaka, make it the perfect backdrop for a W hotel,” said Jennie Toh, Vice President of Brand Marketing and Brand Management, Asia Pacific, Marriott International. “From unforgettable dining experiences and live music sets to the thoughtful design rooted in the history and culture of the city, W Osaka is a destination within a destination where international jetsetters and local tastemakers meet and make magic.”

Main image credit: W Hotels

Image of floral wallcovering

Product watch: A look the latest wallcovering collections from Arte

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: A look the latest wallcovering collections from Arte

Arte, founded in 1981, is known for creating sophisticated, luxury wallcoverings, showcasing a clear love of design and exploration of innovative materials and techniques. Hotel Designs takes a close look at the brand’s latest collections…

Image of floral wallcovering

Every year, an in-house team of experienced designers at Arte work on developing new collections, striving for perfection and trendsetting design whilst simultaneously surprising the design industry with what’s possible to achieve with wallcoverings.

Arte is constantly researching and developing new production techniques, with the production and design team sometimes spending over a year perfecting the techniques used in manufacturing a collection before it’s released to the market. With the world of wallcoverings becoming increasingly more exciting, Arte continues to inspire and challenge, setting the bar for innovative design. Arte’s wallcoverings can be found adorning the walls of both residential homes, as well as commercial interiors in over 80 countries worldwide.

This season sees Arte launch a number of diverse new collections utilising varied techniques from heat embossed textiles to large scale prints and even wall tiles made from shell. These include the beautiful ‘Manovo’, collection inspired by and named after the largest national park in Central Africa, incorporating an eclectic mix of botanical prints, geometric shapes and animal patterns, the fashionable ‘Les Tricots’, inspired by haute couture with five designs offered in an explosive colour palette of blue, green and red as well as earthier tones, the refined and elegant ‘Cameo’, designed to celebrate the beauty of imperfections and perfect for bringing the outdoors in, as well as the maximalist ‘Decors & Panoramiques’, with its lively eye-catching large scale murals and bold patterns which achieve a dreamy world of painterly scenes.

Arte - Manovo_Savanna_22020_Roomshot_Print_UPPR

Image caption: The Manovo Collection was inspired by and named after the largest national park in Central Africa. | Image credit: Arte

Arte’s new collections feature a wide range of influences and styles to suit both traditional and classic, as well as modern and contemporary interiors. The inspiration and colours of the designs in ‘Les Tricots’ explore the power of fashion in design, inspired by the recent revival of haute couture and thanks to the combination of unique printing methods and the use of velvety soft yarns, creates the illusion of rich fabrics and opulent textiles adorning the walls. The vibrant ‘Chintz’ design is a particular favourite and a real showstopper, which will work well for statement walls as well as for an all over-scheme for lovers of maximalism.

Taking inspiration from natural materials and textures, ‘Cameo’ is an elegant and paired-back collection of non-woven wallcoverings offered in a selection of neutral, nudes and earthy tones, making it easily suited to any interior space, with a lustrous, minimalist feel. Within the collection, Arte have eight designs, inspired by the textures that we see all around us from wood, stone, raffia and sisal, with all designs finished in glossy relief inks in which asymmetry, varying shapes and structures provide an unexpected harmony and this appreciation of the ‘imperfect’ we see in nature. The demand for sleek and modern minimalist interiors has grown with the Japandi trend currently on the rise, and an increasing appreciation for craft, natural materials and textures, as well as the idea of ‘clean design’, making this collection a perfect ode to the beauty seen in nature.

Manovo, one of the newest additions, honours Central Africa with influences taken from the savanna woodlands and grassy lands, resulting in woven jacquard designs celebrating textures and details seen in the natural landscape, to the more distinctive patterns seen in traditional African carpets and fabrics, allowing for graphic and geometric detail. With a palette of bold blues, graphic greens and earthy warm yellows, this collection will create a warm and inviting interior, perfect for relaxing spaces.

For those ready to embrace maximalism head on, ‘Decors and Panoramiques’ will be the perfect choice with its offering of lively eye-catching patterns and dreamy painterly scenes. 11 designs in total, with scenic hand painted panels, complemented beautifully by lavish and vibrant prints will allow for layers of bold colour, pattern, print and texture in an interior scheme; it’s perfectly suited for adding drama and interest in larger commercial spaces as well as residential interiors.

Image caption: Decors and Panoramiques is an eye-catching, lively wallcoverings collection. | Image credit: Arte

Image caption: Decors and Panoramiques is an eye-catching, lively wallcoverings collection. | Image credit: Arte

Arte have always offered a wide range of designs across their collections ensuring there is a design for every aesthetic and the SS21 offering is no different. Pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with a wallcovering, each collection offers endless design and colour options that will be easy to incorporate into any room and any scheme, either as the textural base or the main talking point.

Arte is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Arte

Interior visualisation of ADP's new hotel in Kyiv

Should hotels do a better job of reflecting their communities?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Should hotels do a better job of reflecting their communities?

To conclude our editorial series with ADP Architecture, Studio Director Amrit Naru looks at how a hotels and their design can sensitively reflect a locations local culture…

Interior visualisation of ADP's new hotel in Kyiv

Ask someone to name a place they’re looking forward to visiting once lockdown eases, and there’s a wide range of answers you might hear. They might mention a local pub or café. They might be looking forward to getting back to the gym, seeing a sports team play, or popping in to see a friend. They’re unlikely to mention a hotel.

And there’s a perfectly good reason for that: hotels aren’t typically designed for their local community. They’re arguably designed for everyone but the local community: tourists, business travellers, visitors for one reason or another. In contrast with the back-and-forth of a transport hub, we look at hotels as a one-directional interface between a specific locale and the wider world, where the wider world touches down for a few days before returning home. The only transport hub that seems to bear comparison here is a docking station for UFOs.

This kind of view fits the traditional way of looking at hotels – but of course, it neglects the wide range of purposes that hotels can actually serve. Very few hotels are simply places to stay: they can include bars, restaurants, conference centres, spas, and plenty more. It’s easy to look at these facilities simply as added value for guests, but they’re just as likely to be used by locals.

Explore these opportunities further, and you open up a whole new way of thinking about what a hotel can be. Far from a semi-private site with clearly defined boundaries – like a house or an office building – it becomes permeable, integrated with its community, with spaces which are as much defined by their surroundings and local flavour as by the people who travel to them. This kind of approach can reverse the (un)popular image of a hotel, making it the beating heart of a neighbourhood that benefits everyone.

Take, for example, a recent ADP project on a former industrial site in Scotland. When several plants closed in the 70s and 80s, hundreds of local workers lost their jobs, and the area lost key places that had given it purpose. It’s the sort of post-industrial community that’s been crying out for regeneration of the genuinely beneficial kind, providing spaces that benefit and support an existing community rather than driving them out. So when we were appointed to design a new hotel there, we saw an opportunity to create real value for local residents and businesses.

Our public consultations confirmed this: many locals voiced their worries that a hotel of the traditional sort could detract from the area, and that a radically different approach was needed. We took these concerns on board, asking consultees what sorts of facilities would be useful to them, and designing a scheme which is as much a community hub as a hotel. The proposals include a range of spaces open to the community, such as a gym, restaurant and bar. Public realm was also key to our designs, and we explored various ways to bring local residents onto the grounds, giving the landscape an open, accessible feel that interacts sensitively with the riverbank bordering the site.

The very flexibility of this approach means that it can work for any community, in any location. We’re currently delivering a hotel for Radisson in Kyiv, Ukraine, which includes a hybrid lounge/coffee/restaurant space with an open design – reflecting a wider openness to the surrounding neighbourhood. By breaking down the boundaries between types of spaces – and using the ground floor of a hotel as a fuzzy threshold – it’s possible to encourage the kind of unplanned interactions and sharing of spaces on which communities thrive.

Of course, embedding a hotel in its locale isn’t just down to the architects and engineers who design it. Marketing teams have to strike a careful balance between promoting the hotel’s brand and responding to the spirit of a place, the unique “vibe” that defines a district. The most effective way to do this is to make flexibility central to your brand: Hotel Indigo, an IHG brand that I’ve worked with in the past, does this particularly well by using the sights and sounds of their urban locations to inform every detail of the hotel’s design, from public spaces to private rooms. IHG is certainly not the only client I’ve worked with to take this approach, with companies such as Radisson and Hilton offering similar “lifestyle” brands.

The risk here is that a design can simply mimic its environment, becoming a pastiche rather than a reflection. Again, engagement with the community is key. It’s impossible to tap into what makes a city like Newcastle or Marrakech, Sydney or New York special without taking cues from the people who call those cities home – especially when clichés about “the typical New Yorker” are so widespread. Our redevelopment of Oxford Castle – including a Malmaison hotel converted from a Victorian prison – is a classic example of this, reflecting a part of the city’s culture and history which has very little connection to the more famous university, and integrating hospitality with bars, restaurants, shops and a visitors’ centre.

Getting this right means paying attention to the details, and taking a holistic approach. Employees aren’t just brand ambassadors: they’re community ambassadors too, trained in the kind of local knowledge that adds serious value for guests looking for hidden gems nearby. A local hiring policy takes this a step further, ensuring that your staff have a genuine connection to the hotel’s surroundings while creating jobs that support the area’s economy. Bookable spaces for businesses and a local supply chain complete the picture – transforming an out-of-place visitor from out of town into a place in its own right, with the town’s blood running through its veins.

“Staying local” has taken on a whole new meaning in the last year, and it’s sure to be a phrase that resonates with us for many years to come. By bringing hotels into a deeper, richer conversation with their surroundings, we can help give a much needed boost to communities which have suffered through lockdown. It’s also a surefire way to protect our industry from relying too greatly on travel – making it stronger, more adaptable, and better equipped to deal with an uncertain future.

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

Image caption: Interior visualisation of ADP’s new hotel in Kyiv. | Image credit: ADP Architecture

image of guestroom overlooking city of Madrid

INNSiDE by Meliá Madrid Gran Via opens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INNSiDE by Meliá Madrid Gran Via opens

The new 117-key hotel in Madrid is the result of the total renovation of the old TRYP Cibeles Hotel, which is situated in one of the liveliest districts in the capital, with an abundance of local art and culture that connects with the essence of the INNSIDE by Meliá brand…

image of guestroom overlooking city of Madrid

At number 34 on the Gran Via in Madrid, just a few metres from Malasaña, one of the most unconventional and dynamic districts in Madrid, the youngest of the Meliá Hotels International brands is preparing to arrive in the Spanish capital at the beginning of spring. Meliá Hotels International, which is Spain’s largest hotel group, has announced the opening of INNSiDE by Meliá Madrid Gran Via.

The property in which the hotel be sheltered by is a historic building dating back to the 1920s, designed by Antonio Palacios Ramilo and renowned for its innovative nature. The building was inaugurated in 1923 as the Alfonso XIII hotel, and was always known as the Hotel Avenida. In recent years it was renamed the TR YP Cibeles hotel, and it will now be changing its name to Gran Via due to the fact that its façade is now part of the history of Madrid and one of its most popular streets.

INNSiDE By Meliá Madrid Gran Via will house 117 guestrooms, all of which will be designed to meet the needs of modern travellers and providing all of the brand’s key attributes, such as sustainable sheets, bathrobes and amenities with a low environmental impact, no single-use plastics, and strict compliance with the new Stay Safe with Meliá health and safety programme.

image of large modern suite

Image credit: INNSiDE by Meliá

In order to connect with the city itself, the hotel will also have different spaces with work by urban artists thanks to a partnership with the Madrid Street Art Project, an independent organisation which supports art and local urban artists by exhibiting their work to a larger audience, in addition to taking part in the Pinta Malasaña festival, a breakthrough event in the world of art and culture in Madrid.

In addition to a spectacular rooftop area, the hotel will have an open living lounge on its seventh floor, which will be a space for work or play in the order that every visitor decides. This space will host the reception, artistic spaces, the bar, restaurant and DJ area.

INNSiDE By Meliá Madrid Gran Via aims to become a fashion and dining icon for both locals and tourists in Madrid thanks to the Abica group and “A Ollo”, a dining space with a Galician flair and international influences, as well as an incredible rooftop bar, “Le Tavernier”, an oasis in which to enjoy cocktails and the sky over the centre of Madrid.

INNSiDE by Meliá Madrid Gran Via opens after a major renovation and rebranding, reinforcing the commitment of Meliá Hotels International to its youngest brand. The brand is expected to be the fastest-growing brand in the company’s portfolio over the coming years, prioritising sustainability and respect for the environment.

Meliá Hotels International has also used the hotel renovation to implement its new Stay Safe with Meliá health and safety programme certified by Bureau Veritas, which has been very well received during the pandemic and reinforced the trust of customers in the group’s hotels.

2021 is expected to be an exciting and important year for the INNSiDE by Meliá brand, as it plans to open new hotels in Amsterdam, Liverpool, Newcastle and Luxembourg, adding to the brand’s current portfolio of 33 hotels open in Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, the United States, Vietnam, China and Peru.

Main image credit: INNSiDE by Meliá

VIP arrivals: Hottest April hotel openings

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP arrivals: Hottest April hotel openings

The industry is gearing up for a summer of hospitality, is the feeling the editorial desk at Hotel Designs has as it selects the most exciting hotel openings expected in April 2021. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Blink and you will miss it! With vaccine updates, hotel re-opening strategies being across social media and conversations moving towards re-engaging with the post-corona consumer, all signs on the editorial desk lead to a summer of hospitality – whether that be abroad or enjoyed domestically.

This prediction follows a flood of press releases, together referencing hope, optimism and prosperity for international hotel design and hospitality. Regardless on whether we will be allowed to travel ahead of the summer boom, hotels are being developed in preparation for the travel demand that is shortly inevitable as we reach the one-year anniversary since many nations closed their boarders in order to fight against the spread of Covid-19.

We have been sharing our VIP arrivals now for four months, but it seems as if many brands have waited until now when it comes to unveiling new arrivals. Following an in-depth look at the landscape, here are our VIP arrivals for April.

Iniala Harbour House & Residences

Image of bar in curved tunnel-like structure

Image credit: Iniala Harbour House & Residences

Spread across four exquisite Maltese townhouses and their ancient vaults, dating back to the 1600s, Iniala Harbour House & Residences has 22 uniquely designed rooms and suites, and will be the latest opening from philanthropist Mark Weingard. The hotel, which overlooks the famous Grand Harbour, will set new standards for eye-catching urban design.

Iniala Harbour House & Residences, which is slated to open its doors in April, mixes tradition with more contemporary touches offering an eclectic mix of design concepts that subtly reflect Valletta’s unique heritage and charm. Created by three world-class design studios – Autoban from Turkey, A-Cero from Spain, and Malta’s DAAA HAUS – the hotel’s historical details will be beautifully preserved, with each townhouse having a distinctive identity. Using three different designers offers a true variation of interiors for all guests’ tastes.

Kalesma Mykonos

An image of infinity pool in Mykonos hotel that is opening this April

Image credit: Kalesma Mykonos

Set to elevate the desirable island of Mykonos to new heights, Kalesma is a 25-suite and two-villa luxury hotel, which is expected to open in late April. ‘Kalesma’, meaning ‘inviting’ in Greek, is perfectly suited to the ethos of this boutique, privately-owned property. The whitewashed collection of houses have been created to resemble a charming Mykonian village, tumbling down a slope to Ornos Bay, just a short walk from the beach. The look and feel of a traditional village is deliberate, as Kalesma is all about making guests feel at home and encouraging a neighbourhood vibe, enhanced by laid-back weekly supper clubs. Inspired by Cycladic architecture, combining tradition with contemporary elements, Kalesma is a design aficionados dream – offering sleek and minimalist interiors using locally-sourced materials, evident at every turn.

Ca’ di Dio, Venice

Ca’ di Dio, which is expected to open in April, is located in a unparalleled position, at the entrance to the Arsenale area, known as the Contemporary Art District of Venice, a place linked to the prestigious Biennale. The fascinating history of the building dates back to 1272, and the project has been curated by the studio of the internationally renowned architect Patricia Urquiola, with the aim of creating an original and distinctive concept: a Venetian “house”, linked to the history of the city. 

Although contemporary in style, which is unusual for Venice, when strolling through the common areas, guests will be able to admire the bright travertine and perfectly preserved frescoes. The hotel features many places for guests to relax whilst staying in Venice; an ‘altana’ – covered roof-terrace, common in medieval Venice, which is the perfect place from which to admire the sights of the city, two internal courtyards, which will be home to one restaurant serving light and quick snacks throughout the day, and a spacious reading room. There will be a second, outdoor restaurant overlooking the lagoon, towards the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. 

Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

Sophisticated deluxe room inside Mandarin Oriental Madrid

Image credit: Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

Following the most ambitious and extensive renovation to take place in its 110-year history – it took three years for Spanish architect Rafael de La-Hoz and the French designer duo Gilles & Boissier to complete their collaborated masterpiece – Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid is ready to serve its guests. The 153-key luxury hotel is expected to appeal to both local and international guests, while preserving the striking Belle Époque character of the original building in keeping with the original spirit conceived by Cesar Ritz.

In addition to the Spanish arrival, Mandarin Oriental will also be opening properties in Luzern, Switzerland and on the Bosphorus in Istanbul in 2021.

W Algarve – look out, Portugal!

Render of private pool overlooking Algarve in hotel that opens in April

Image credit: W Hotels

W Hotels is about to land in the Algarve, which marks the brand’s debut in Portugal. Located just outside of Albufeira and perched on the iconic cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the hotel is a combination of urban glam meets beach life in a region famous for its beautiful, secluded coves, year-round sunshine and enticing cuisine. Guests can expect pulsating beats, vibrant flavours, and bright contemporary design.

The hotel will shelter 134 guestrooms and suites plus 83 residences, all ocean facing and boasting spacious balconies. Atlantic colours and asymmetrical forms that mimic the nearby cliffs define the design; it is the Algarve reinterpreted by W. 

Facilities will include a state-of-the-art fitness centre ‘FIT’ and an ‘Away’ Spa with seven treatment rooms, plus outdoor pools. To refuel and replenish there will be an authentic Portuguese Algarve-inspired dining restaurant, plus a classic and modern Italian restaurant.

Taking the luxury up an additional notch are the ‘Extreme WOW Suites’ with a rooftop terrace where luscious gardens surround an elevated lounge seating spot, DJ booth, dining and bar area, and an infinity pool from which guests can soak up the incredible sunset views over the Atlantic Ocean. The bedroom design is inspired by the beautiful Benagil cave and the picturesque Algarve fishing villages.

Berkeley Park Hotel, Miami 

On April 1, 2021, Berkeley Park Hotel will rise as the newest member of the MGallery Hotel Collection, and the first MGallery property in Florida. A highly anticipated four-star boutique hotel, the 80-key property sits along one of Miami Beach’s most coveted sectors known by locals as the Collins Park “Arts Corridor” for its direct access to world-renowned art institutions, and just steps from white sand beaches. With a timeless Mediterranean façade from 1936, the hotel pays homage to the city’s architectural roots with all the modern amenities that discerning travellers expect.

“We are thrilled to continue expanding our North American portfolio with the addition of the Berkeley Park Hotel – MGallery,” said Heather McCrory, CEO, Accor North & Central America. “With its ideal location, striking architecture, and vibrant spirit, the hotel is a tremendous addition to Accor’s Miami portfolio, which also includes Faena Hotel Miami Beach, SLS South Beach, SLS Brickell, SLS LUX Brickell, Hyde Midtown Miami, Mondrian South Beach, Novotel Miami Brickell, and Pullman Miami Airport.”

Main image credit: Iniala Harbour House & Residences

*Some dates as listed above may be subject to change due to travel restrictions following Covid-19 and national lockdown developments.

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Image of bedroom at Great Plains Mara Plains

Great Plains to open two new design-led camps

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Great Plains to open two new design-led camps

Leading conservation brand Great Plains, led by photographers and filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert, has announce new ‘sensational safari accommodations’ in two different design-led camps, which both open this summer…

Image of bedroom at Great Plains Mara Plains

Great Plains has unveiled that it will open two new design-led safari camps, Mara Toto Camp and Mara Plains Camp, this summer in Kenya.

The brand-new Mara Toto Camp, which is perfectly suited for families and intimate groups traveling together, will open its doors to guests on May 25, 2021. Meaning “baby” in Swahili, Mara Toto Camp will be located just two kilometres away from big sister Mara Plains Camp, which is also scheduled to re-open on June 1, 2021, after a full camp refurbishment, including introducing an exquisite new private honeymoon suite. The eagerly anticipated Mara Jahazi Suite is scheduled to open at Mara Plains Camp at the same time. The exclusive use villa will include a private game drive vehicle, guide, butler and chef. It will be ideal for groups and multi-generational travel looking for an exceptional private safari experience.

Situated along the Ntiakitiak River banks on the border of the Maasai Mara Reserve, the new Mara Toto Camp is hidden in the forest, offering guests privacy and wonderful game-viewing opportunities with access to both the Maasai Mara Reserve and the adjacent Mara North Private Conservancy. Accommodating up to eight guests, the intimate Mara Toto Camp is perfectly suited to be hired out exclusively for intimate groups, couples, and families. Designed by co-founder Beverly Joubert, the new camp will boast tranquil blue coloured interiors with leather and canvas touches harmoniously blending a feeling of comfort and adventure. Mara Toto Camp will consist of four canvas tents with spacious brass baths, along with a communal relaxation area, and indoor and outdoor dining options.

Situated in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy – one of the most iconic wildlife destinations on the planet with unrivalled access to more than 100,000 acres of exclusive land as well as access to the 375,000 Maasai Mara Reserve – Mara Plains Camp, will re-open to guests at the beginning of June after undergoing a full camp refurbishment. Located upriver from little sister Mara Toto Camp, the refreshed camp is completely elevated on high-rise decks and will now offer couples a brand-new honeymoon suite on a peninsula island. The new Honeymoon Suite can only be accessed via suspension bridge offering couples their own oasis of exclusivity and privacy. Designed by Great Plains CEO and co-founder Dereck Joubert, the new honeymoon suite at Mara Plains will have large wooden Swahili doors, paying homage to East Africa’s essence. The spacious open-plan design and décor of the honeymoon suite, also designed by Beverly, will have a colonial influence with wooden floors, big antique brass chandeliers from the original South African Blue Train, red-hued interiors and fine brass furnishings, offering an elegant yet comfortable atmosphere that complements the abundant surrounding wilderness.

Mara Plains will also be introducing the eagerly anticipated Mara Plains Jahazi Suite, an impressive new private two-bedroom villa, which will open at the same time as Mara Plains. Featuring big wooden Zanzibar doors, large teak Mahogany desks and exquisite luxurious red coloured interiors, the spacious open plan exclusive villa residence consists of a two-bedroom suite, shared lounge and dining area including the services of a private game drive vehicle, guide and chef.

“Our new camps will encapsulate that period and yet encourage living in the moment and being present. I know you will fall in love here. I do each time.” – Dereck Joubert, CEO of Great Plains.

“That allure of safari started in East Africa, and our plans this year are to expand our offering in Kenya, but to do it with an eye to that original East African safari with a greatly improved standard,” said Dereck. “I’ve always felt that our guests want to come to Africa to see wildlife, and experience that spirit of the continent- to be seduced by its romance and warmth of our communities. Guests stay with us to have their hearts, and their minds stimulated. At Great Plains, they come to step into a movie script where everything is perfect, stylish and breath-taking. Our new camps will encapsulate that period and yet encourage living in the moment and being present. I know you will fall in love here. I do each time.”

As well as sheltering stylish accommodations and public areas that effortless reflect sense of place, Great Plains inherently in its hospitality nature. For example, all of its properties are solar-powered. In addition, a local sapling is planted for every guest that stays at a Great Plains Kenya camp as part of the Great Plains Foundation’s Replacement of Shade Programme; a sustainable travel initiative that aims to restore indigenous trees to Kenya’s vast landscape.

Main image credit: Great Plains

Image of villa overlooking sea from bathroom

MINIVIEW: Finolhu, where Ibizan style meets Maldives hospitality

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: Finolhu, where Ibizan style meets Maldives hospitality

Hotel design goals! Following a show-stopping kaleidoscope-inspired transformation, Finolhu emerges from the pandemic with a new status: the first member of the Design Hotels in the Maldives. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores what sets this hotel aside from its distant neighbours…

Image of villa overlooking sea from bathroom

There is something comforting and familiar about the Maldives. One has come to expect a barefoot luxury experience on each of the various islands that are dotted around the Indian Ocean. It is fair to say, I think, that is is one of the few places you can travel to on earth where you feel as if you have totally escaped from life as you know it.

The region is naturally stunning, and has over the years attracted luxury hospitality brands to arrive in order to shelter sanctuaries by the water’s edge. And as beautiful as these hotels are, there are few that stand out from the rest.

Finolhu, which first opened in 2016, is a unique jewel that is one of the few exceptions in the region and has, as such,  become a travel bucket list destination in its own right  – international model Cara Delevingne and singer Rita Ora are among celebrities and influencers who have previously raved about the destination’s playful spirit. It is therefore no surprise that the five-star hotel recently became Design Hotels’ first member in the Maldives.

Image of beach-side reception in the Maldives

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

For many reasons – one of which being it sheltering a distinct european-style energy – the hotel is what modern travellers have come to expect when checking in to to the post-pandemic hospitality scene – think casual beach club vibes with an exceptional entertainment programme in one of the Indian Ocean’s most stylish settings.

The naturally beautiful private island of Finolhu, which translates to “sandbank”, was acquired by Germany’s Seaside Collection in 2019, and is guided by a distinctively European-style hotel philosophy that embraces the types of carefree, beachside get-togethers that we know from the likes of Ibiza and Mykonos. Pairing European hotspot nostalgia with cool contemporary surroundings on a paradise island, Finolhu is the ultimate hangout – and it is this effortless, non-curated style and energy that sets it apart from other hotels in the same region.

“Each Seaside Collection property celebrates individuality, and Finolhu is no exception,” explains Gregor Gerlach, owner and Managing Partner of Seaside Collection.

Image of luxury pool in the Maldives

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

The hotel, which was already a luxury travel hotspot, has recently undergone a transformation in order to further blur the line between luxury and lifestyle. This refurbishment was overseen by award-winning London-based design studio, Muza Lab, which has previously designed interiors for brands like Belmond and Ritz Carlton. Founder Inge Moore created a kaleidoscope design concept, taking inspiration from the fragmentation of light on the blue-toned water and the many purple, pink and apricot colours of the sunset. “In translation, the word ‘kaleidoscope’ means ‘seeing beautiful forms’,” explains Moore. “This playful alternation of patterns, geometry and colours is what guests will now experience when they visit Finolhu.”

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

Each of the 125 guest villas have been redesigned, embracing the kaleidoscope concept that is featured throughout the resort, characterised by a mesmerising blend of colours and symmetrical patterns that complement the island’s natural beauty.

The two spacious two-bedroom Rockstar Villas, which are the most sought-after villas on the island, are bright and colourful, and are perfect for large families or groups of friends. They come equipped with their own private wine cellar, bar and a guest experience host.

Image of stylish Ibiza style suite in the Maldives hotel

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

The Beach Villas and the new Beach Pool Villas are a great option for those seeking more space and privacy; all of the villas have their own beautifully landscaped gardens, and many have now been upgraded to feature their own private swimming pools.

Another distinguishing feature of Seaside Finolhu is its iconic Beach Bubble. The first of its kind in the Maldives, the bubble is located in a secluded spot along Seaside Finolhu’s marvellous sandbank, and is exclusively available for guests wishing to enjoy a uniquely romantic night under the stars.

The freshly designed Fehi Spa (Fehi meaning green), consists of 10 treatment rooms, each surrounded by the lush greenery of the island. Guests can expect to journey back to nature with treatments that use local ingredients, such as coconut oil and coconut milk, which can be found on the spa menu, including Fehi’s signature Maldivian Healing Treatment, that involves a coconut oil massage, a warm sand poultice and a coconut milk polish.

Fehi’s east-meets-west approach includes a range of holistic treatments, like crystal chakra balancing, Ayurveda treatments and singing bowl massages, which can be found alongside more traditional restorative treatments.

The hotel’s newly appointed Michelin-trained chef, Memo V. Hernandez, will lead Finolhu’s culinary experiences across each of the resort’s four restaurants, where every table comes with a spectacular view. The culinary team brings an exquisite mix of artisanship, individuality and international flair with fresh produce and ingredients being a key focus behind the cuisine.

Image of western style interiors inside restaurant in the Maldives

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

Guests are taken on a gastronomic journey with modern Japanese and Asian cuisine at Kanusan; flavours of the Middle East and North Africa at the Arabian Grill; Italian, Asian, Maldivian and fresh seafood dishes at Beach Kitchen; and fresh seafood platters at Crab Shack.

The Beach Bar is the heart of the resort, bringing European beach club vibes, where laid-back beats and exotic cocktails can be enjoyed throughout the day and late into the evening, and weekly white parties, DJ sets and monthly full-moon parties take place along the sandbank.

By injecting Maldivian-inspired touches with ultra-luxury modernity, Moore and her team were able to redesign the hotel in order to showcase contemporary design mixed with a distinct organic edge. Natural raw materials such as ropes, clay and timbers are being incorporated into Seaside Finolhu’s refreshing new colour palettes to create a visual harmony that enhance the hotel’s unique style.

Main image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

Image of luxury Marriott f&b arae

Marriott signs agreement to bring three new hotels to Saudi Arabia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott signs agreement to bring three new hotels to Saudi Arabia

Among the anticipated new hotels that Marriott International will be opening include the debut of Renaissance Hotels in the Kingdom, the world’s largest Aloft Hotel, and a Courtyard by Marriott in Makkah…

Image of luxury Marriott f&b arae

Marriott International, which recently celebrated the opening of one of its brand’s 100th property as well as opening its 800th hotel in the Asia Pacific region, has signed an agreement with leading real estate company Al Saedan Group, to open three hotels by 2025 across Saudi Arabia. The multi-project agreement includes the country and territory’s first Renaissance Hotel, the world’s largest Aloft Hotel and a Courtyard by Marriott in the Holy City of Makkah.

“We are pleased to build on our fantastic relationship with Al Saedan Group and further expand our portfolio across Saudi Arabia with these milestone signings,” said Satya Anand, President for Europe, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International. “These agreements underscore Marriott International’s commitment to supporting the growth of the Kingdom’s tourism sector and reinforces the continued demand we are seeing for our portfolio of brands across the country.”

“As a company, we are focused on developing projects that support the growth and development of the Kingdom,” said Sultan Al Khudair, CEO of Al Saedan Group. “We are excited to collaborate with Marriott International to open two new properties in the Holy City which will be ideal destinations for those visiting for Umrah and Haj, and to debut Renaissance Hotels in the country. These three new agreements were signed in line with our commitment to bring the highest standards of quality and design to our assets and to provide a premium experience to our guests.”

Marriott International is one of the largest hotel groups in the world, encompassing a portfolio of more than 7,600 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 133 countries and territories.

Main image credit: Marriott International (no images or renders of the three new properties have yet been released)

An armchair in front of glass window

Product watch: ILIV launches the Kelso & Harlow textiles collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: ILIV launches the Kelso & Harlow textiles collection

The Kelso & Harlow textiles collection by ILIV has been woven in a charming village on the border of Lancashire and Yorkshire and draws on the centuries-old tradition of British textile weaving…

An armchair in front of glass window

The Kelso & Harlow collection by ILIV has been born out of traditional craftsmanship. Manufacturing to high ethical standards, from all-natural, wool fibres without the use of harmful chemicals, the brand proud to be using many traditional machines that do its fine work in the time-honoured way.

Despite its traditional manufacturing process, the new collection is completely suitable for modern-day commercial use. With its highly durable make-up natural dirt repellence, acoustic absorbance properties and its superior fire resistance, Kelso & Harlow is the environmentally friendly choice for all types of furniture and interiors, offering a sophisticated and organic look.

Image caption: The Kelso collection is available in 51 colours. | Image credit: ILIV

Image caption: The Kelso & Harlow collection is available in 51 colours. | Image credit: ILIV

“We are committed to minimising the impact of our business on the environment from our energy consumption and carbon emissions to our waste management and recycling facilities,” explains the ILIV in a press release. “By weaving our 50 per cent British wool collection, Kelso, here in the UK, we have reduced our carbon footprint, whilst offering our support to local British farmers.”

Kelso & Harlow is available across 51 colours, constructed using a mix of melange and greige woven yarns from commercial greys to corporate greens and vibrant blues to striking yellows and oranges.

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

Main image credit: ILIV

Siminetti Seasons Collection

Product Watch: The Seasons Collection by Siminetti

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product Watch: The Seasons Collection by Siminetti

During Hotel Designs LIVE on February 23, Siminetti, which was a Product Watch Pitch Partner at the event, unveiled the sustainable and luxurious Seasons Collection…

Siminetti Seasons Collection

Hotel Designs LIVE was a fantastic experience for us; seeing the best the hospitality industry has to offer all in one place,” said Simon Powell CEO of Siminetti. The leading sustainable surface brand held a presentation during the sustainability segment during the one-day virtual conference event. Discussing the importance of sustainability in the luxury sector and how the brand’s new Seasons Collection is both sustainable and luxurious. For those who were unable to attend; below is an overview of the collection and how Siminetti strive to provide luxury surfaces that are not damaging to the planet.

Since its founding in 2010, Siminetti has strived to provide their clients with luxury surface solutions that are not only beautiful but kind to the planet. The process began with establishing relationships with suppliers who could ensure only the finest raw materials with respect for the environment and the communities who inhabit the source locations. Every supplier is carefully selected to ensure the brand’s processes meet strict ecological standards and their materials are sourced from sustainable, farmed locations wherever in the world they are grown.

Image credit: Siminetti

Image credit: Siminetti

Siminetti now has a prospering network of suppliers all over the planet. The brand’s Saltwater Pearl is sourced from Pacific communities who depend on sustainable relationships with the ocean lagoons in which they farm pearls or harvest them as a food source. Harvesting is done in line with local Government Fishery laws and a constant communication with our suppliers ensure we are informed and accountable.

Siminetti’s freshwater mother of pearl is primarily sourced from Asia. They are the largest producer of freshwater pearl in the world! producing some 1,500 metric tons per year. The farms traditionally harvest the shellfish that produce our mother of pearl for the food industry, the shells are then discarded as waste to landfill, due to being incredibly hardwearing the shells would take many generations to breakdown.

Siminetti’s expert artisans take these raw shells and transform their rough appearance to create stunning decorative surfaces. In their latest innovation, Siminetti has transcended the expectations of mother of pearl by producing their seasons collection. A series of patterns with shapes previously perceived to complex to be crafted from mother of pearl.

The collection has been designed in conjunction with Chrisanna of London, it is truly the next generation of mother of pearl sustainable decorative surfaces. Consisting of twelve designs inspired by nature, available in either their Golden Promise saltwater pearl or Innocence saltwater pearl on a Bianco freshwater base. Below is a selection of never before seen close up photos of the seasons collection showcasing the expert craftsmanship that goes into every one of their handmade decorative surfaces.

Siminetti’s Mother of Pearl Mosaics and Decorative Panels decorate some of the Worlds leading hotels, resorts, private residences and super yachts. From the Burj Khalifa, to Hollywood Boulevard and Harvey Nicholls, the brand supports some of the world’s leading brands ensuring they remain at the top of their industry. With an enviable history in designing and supplying one of the world’s most luxurious, sustainable, surface materials, Siminetti is renowned for supporting architects and designers with technical know-how and testing documentation, ensuring their clients complete peace of mind whilst embarking on their stylish journey.

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

Main image credit: Siminetti

Design Studio in Cotswold

Clerkenwell and Leicester Design Studios to reopen

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Clerkenwell and Leicester Design Studios to reopen

As of Monday April 12 2021, Design Studios for the Commercial Business unit of Topps Tiles Plc will re-open fully, marking a welcome return to normal business…

Design Studio in Cotswold

Home to Parkside and Strata Tiles, Clerkenwell and Leicester Design Studios will return to normal operation in line with government guidelines on Monday 12 April 2021, once again welcoming local architecture and interior design communities to share in the knowledge and expertise of the companies.

Parkside Design Studios in Chelsea and the Cotswolds will also re-open on Monday 12 April, resuming full service and continuing to be destinations for commercial interior professionals in the area.

With the Design Studios central to the Commercial Business Unit’s service to specifiers, architects, project managers and interior designers, the news is welcome in what has been an extraordinary 12 months for the entire industry.

Tina Hughan, Head of Marketing – Commercial, comments; “We’re delighted to be able to return the Design Studios to normal operation with all the social distancing recommendations in place. It’s been an extraordinary period of change for the industry and there are undoubtedly challenges ahead, but as we once again freely welcome our local professional communities back to the Design Studios we’re eager to share all the product developments that have occurred during their temporary absence.”

These developments include new recycled and natural content sustainable collections, a range of specialist anti-bacterial tiles and an updated outdoor collection, as well as many striking new porcelain and ceramic wall and floor tile designs as presented in the company’s recent edition of its brochure.

Parkside, which won Best in British Product Design at The Brit List Awards 2020, is one of our recommended suppliers and regularly feature in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Parkside

Product watch: Seating collection by Hommés Studio

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Seating collection by Hommés Studio

Hommés Studio crafts its own identity with precision and challenges existing interior boundaries. From its natural look and textures to highly polished and coloured versions, all seating collections are a tribute to craftsmanship, honouring the art of creating soulful pieces with handmade techniques…

The heart of every home depends on its owners. Some consider the living room, others the entryway, and still others the dining room. One thing is for sure, the seating composition wanders throughout the space creating a welcoming and functional space. A sectional here, an armchair there, and a bench somewhere create a different vibe in the space. With a bit of creativity, a perfect collection of chairs, sofas, armchairs, and benches can transform any room for the better.


From vintage armchairs, retro armchairs, mid-century modern armchairs to more modern and contemporary armchairs, this is the best collection to incorporate in any interior space.

Image credit: Hommés Studio

AJUI Armchair

Ajui Armchair is a luxury armchair that features an artsy interpretation of a cactus and a swivel base. This accent armchair is a conceptual piece and the perfect choice for a modern living area.

MAX Armchair

Max Armchair is a mid-century style armchair. This armchair brings details from the old days to contemporary design. Its shape and exquisite materials make it an outstanding accent armchair.

ALICE Armchair

Alice Armchair is a luxury armchair composed of exquisite materials. This eclectic armchair is perfect for a contemporary interior design project. It features the most comfortable materials that anyone can ask for in an armchair.


The dining room is a showcase of every house because it is the center of meetings with family and friends. Sometimes it is not easy to choose the perfect furniture for your interior, but HOMMÉS Studio has a suitable chairs collection.


Scille Dining Chair is a luxury armchair that features an asymmetric seat composed of curvilinear panels that intersect each other. An original and comfortable chair, ideal for a contemporary dining room project.

PINA Chair

Pina Dining Chair is an art deco-style armchair whose shape provides the best comfort for guests. Perfect for modern dining room projects that aim for a classic-chic vibe.


Karmen Dining Chair adds instant class and contemporary chic to the home. A genuinely stunning seat, the velvet palette works well alongside creamy marble tables.


Seating Collection_23

Image credit: Hommés Studio

Daybeds are pieces of furniture that can be used for sitting, reclining, and sleeping. They feature fabric or leather cushions, as well as both curved and more streamlined silhouettes. The small size also makes them a versatile piece for narrow spaces.

VOLARE I and II Daybed

Volare Daybed is a luxury daybed. It features an ergonomic shape and exquisite details. It will provide the accent piece to a modern master bedroom or luxurious living room project.


Jagger Chaise Longue is a luxury chaise longue that aims to relax the body and mind and break routines, ideal for contemporary garden designs.


The sofa is the main element of living room furniture.  Find everything from shiny, contemporary sofas to cozy corner sofas and much more. All products offer extraordinary comfort and excellent.


Gyvaté Modular Sofa is a sectional sofa with an elegant curvy silhouette. With an iconic aesthetic, this contemporary design piece allows a customizable composition to be a feature in a high-end interior design project. This curved sofa is the perfect place for entertaining as its incomparable shape enlivens your luxury living room.


Lunarys Sofa is a contemporary style sofa that features a glamorous aesthetic look. It is an outstanding sofa that amazes everyone with its powerful presence. A stunning piece that disrupts commonly seen shapes, transitioning its admirers to another dimension.


Ajui Sofa is a modern rounded sofa that combines an artsy interpretation of a cactus shape with the comfort expected from a luxury sofa. The perfect choice for a modern living room design or a unique retail project.


Hommés Studio’s wide selection of benches spans the modern design spectrum combining the perfect materials with bold shapes and colours.


Cadiz Bench combines bold shapes with extreme attention to comfort. A Memphis style inspired bench, ideal for any modern seating area.


Fifih Bench is the perfect luxury bench for a minimalist and modern interior architecture project. Elements from the past mixed with a futuristic vision.

MOA Bench

Moa Bench is an accent bench. Its base and seat express a solemn geometry that accent a modern identity in any contemporary interior design project.

Hommés 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.

Main image credit: Hommés Studio

Atlas Concorde interview image

In Conversation With: Atlas Concorde on surface design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Atlas Concorde on surface design

In the wake of Hotel Designs’ spotlight on surfaces throughout the month of February, editor Hamish Kilburn gets a behind-the-scenes perspective of one of the leading ceramic surface brands in the industry. Matteo Martini, UK & Northern Europe Sales Director at Atlas Concorde, joins Kilburn to explore surface trends, creative materials and sustainability…

Atlas Concorde interview image

With each collection that Altas Concorde launches – from the Boost Pro Collection to the colourful Prism Collection and Marvel Shine – the Italian ceramic surface brand solidifies its place as one of the leading names in surface design. Aside from launching sensational products, though, I want to investigate the research and development that goes into each new line. To do this, I have caught up with Matteo Martini, UK & Northern European Sales Director at Atlas Concorde, who’s passion for innovation and stylish surfaces is unmatched.

Hamish Kilburn: Welcome Matteo… Let’s get straight into it. We recently published a piece about Atlas Concorde’s Prism Collection. Can you tell us more about how you came up with these 13 colours?

Matteo Martini: Prism is the latest project born from the collaboration (began in 2018 with the capsule collection  Canone Inverso) between Atlas Concorde and Piero Lissoni, famous Italian archistar with a long-lasting career within furniture and design.

The concept behind Prism comes from Lissoni’s imagination and his great sensitivity to colour variation: the hues of the range represent the light’s refractions while crossing a prism, going to create a rainbow.

Colour is a key part of our lives, conveys our emotions, our moods, it influences the way we approach to everyday experiences, it defines the spaces that we choose to live in. Prism combines sic neutral colours (Cloud, Cotton, Cord, Suede, Fog and Graphite) with seven bright, characterful and contemporary ones, perfect for wall application in both the 50x120cm ceramic wall tile version and the 120x278cm large porcelain slabs in 6mm thickness.

Prism offers to architects and designers the chance to transform their feelings into actual architectural surfaces that convey emotions, granting soul and character to residential and commercial spaces.

Image caption: The Prism Collection is available in 13 different colours. | Image credit: Atlas Concorde

Image caption: The Prism Collection is available in 13 different colours. | Image credit: Atlas Concorde

HK: We’re seeing huge demand at the moment for the ‘imperfect’ surface; a rough, industrial-looking product that still performs exceptionally. What challenges do brands like Atlas Concorde face when delivering such a look?

MM: Porcelain tiles are a tactile product defined equally by colour, graphics and surface, which together create its soul. In the last few years we have witnessed the massive spread of digital printing technology which on one hand has enormously scaled up the decorative possibilities, but on the other one it has put at a disadvantage the tactile aspect of the products, which have become progressively more flat and bi-dimensional.

Atlas Concorde has chosen to take the opposite route, studying natural and imperfect surfaces and faithfully recreating them.
Texture and structure are key components to give depth and integrity to the porcelain tiles. In order to achieve this goal, it is essential to invest in research on new and alternative sources of inspiration.

Let me explain better: for the Aix collection, inspired by a limestone stone typical of the French region of Provence (Aix en Provence), our laboratory has recovered an original 18th century flooring, studying into details all its imperfections and the wear and tear effects that make this material so unique and fascinating.
To create Raw, a scraped plaster/concrete effect, our technicians and researchers went scouting for worn out surfaces among the historic and fascinating buildings of Milan.

This is certainly an expensive and time consuming activity, but we do believe it is crucial in order to differentiate our products and make them unique. Also, what makes the surface so important isn’t only the aesthetic appeal, but also the technical aspect. The experience gained on the contract market enabled us to exploit our extensive research to develop highly technical surfaces that meet the anti-slip performance requirements demanded by designers around the world, including the Pendulum Test (PTV) according to British Standards, essential for combining design and safety in commercial spaces.

Image caption: The Marvel Collection has, in Matteo’s words ‘set the standard’ for marble-looking porcelain tiles. | Image credit: Atlas Concorde

HK: Your products are ideal for all areas of the hotel, but for me it’s really exciting to see them specified in the bathroom, a space where personality has been lacking in the past. How important is colour becoming in the bathroom?

MM: The bathroom is a fundamental part of the customer experience within a hotel, and its design can indeed have a huge impact on the guests and their stay.

Over the last few years we have developed worldwide partnerships with major international chains such as Marriott, Hilton and Radisson and we have seen how a successful refurb project of the bedrooms, and especially of the bathrooms, actually translates into an increase of positive reviews on the most famous sites (Booking.comHotels.com), by as much as 30 per cent. The main challenge for designers is to combine colours and trends into durable, if not timeless, concepts. To meet this need, Atlas Concorde has launched two collections, Marvel Edge and Marvel Dream, inspired by the world of natural marble, which combine neutral and elegant colours along white and grey hues, with some more lively shades ranging from red to gold, from green to blue.

The neutral colours, typical of the prestigious natural stones like Calacatta Gold, Calacatta Vagli, Bianco Covelano and Grigio Carnico, are a perfect background to elegant spaces with a classic and timeless look, that acquire character and freshness through the use of colour for niches, feature walls and vanity units.

The most successful accent colours are the variegated Agata Azul and the electric blue Ultramarine, inspired by precious stones such as Agate Stone and Lapis Lazuli.

Recently we are seeing a throwback of warmer shades, which are absolute protagonists in our Boost Pro collection, concrete effect in 6 colours, and Marvel Shine collection, a marble look inspired by prestigious Italian stones like Apuano marble, widely used by Michelangelo, and Calacatta Macchia Vecchia.

Image caption: To meet the demand for luxe bathrooms, Atlas Concorde has To meet this need, Atlas Concorde has launched two collections, Marvel Edge and Marvel Dream. | Image credit: Atlas Concorde

Image caption: To meet the demand for luxe bathrooms, Atlas Concorde has To meet this need, Atlas Concorde has launched two collections, Marvel Edge and Marvel Dream. | Image credit: Atlas Concorde

HK: Let’s talk about sustainability. What interesting materials go into your surfaces?

MM: Sustainability is a key aspect for the future of our planet and the tile business makes no exception: accurate sourcing of raw materials, responsible energy use and recycling are extremely important aspects to us. Let’s not forget that porcelain tiles are a man-made product manufactured with natural raw materials, like clays and feldspars. Atlas Concorde uses 100 per cent eco-friendly raw materials, carefully selected not only for their quality but also for the environmental impact of their sourcing, with the whole supply chain strictly adhering to our environmental policy and code of conduct.

Our manufacturing plant in Fiorano Modenese is completely energy self-sufficient, thanks to a cogeneration unit that allows us to recover the heat produced during the firing process and reuse it for the dryers; furthermore, we completely reuse the waste water produced during the manufacturing process and our packaging is entirely made of recycled and recyclable material.

Most of our products have up to 40 per cent of pre-consumer recycled materials and contribute to the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) environmental certification system for green buildings and all our production facilities are PEF (Product Environmental Footprint) and EPD (Environmental Product Declaration) certified.

The latest project that we started a couple of years ago is the construction of a completely automatic warehouse that will reduce CO2 emissions by 60 per cent and will be fully operational in the summer.

HK: Surfaces are becoming much more creative thanks to advancements in manufacturing technology. What’s the latest tech development that our readers should be aware of?

MM: The hottest trend in the tile industry is definitely large formats, not only for wall and floor application but also for new and alternative destinations of use like kitchen worktops, tables, furniture, vanity units, etc.

Atlas Concorde decided a few years ago to invest in the latest cutting-edge technologies launching a dedicated brand, ‘Atlas Plan’, for large format porcelain slabs with different looks, sizes and thicknesses.

We offer solutions for wall cladding in 6 mm thickness (1200×2780 and 1600×3200 mm) but also not rectified slabs in 1620×3240 mm in 6, 12 and 20 mm thickness that are gaining popularity in the UK.

This new technology allows us to offer a versatile solution in terms of look (concrete, stone, marble, etc) with outstanding performances: Atlas Plan is stain resistant, scratch resistant, easy to clean, unabsorbent, ideal for infinite applications in every hospitality project, from table and counter tops in bars and restaurants to vanity units and striking feature walls in hotel bathrooms and reception areas.

But the real deal are two new patented technologies, that we’ve called ‘Natura Vein Tech’ and ‘Natura Body Tech’.

The Natura-Vein™ Tech technology offers the possibility of industrially recreating the typical veining of a natural material such as marble. Through-body vein technology thus increases the freedom of design for designers because it makes the marble look even more realistic, lending each project continuity of surface, edge and corners.

The Natura-Body™ Tech technology, on the other hand, reproduces the aesthetics of natural stones both on the surface and in the body of the slab. Material continuity between the surface and edges of full-body porcelain slabs is an aesthetic advantage that meets the highest design standards, both indoors and outdoors.

These are ground-breaking technologies that open up a new world of possibilities to architects and designers and we are very proud to announce that these exciting products are readily available on stock in the UK thanks to our distribution partners.


HK: Can you describe the brand’s attitude in three words? 
MM: Innovation, quality and passion

HK: What surface trend do you hope will never return?
Terrazzo…it reminds me of my grandma’s kitchen floor. I loved my grandma with all my heart and cherished her delicious pasta but her kitchen was awful!

HK: What’s the biggest pitfall designers fall down when specifying surfaces?
Anti-slip regulations are a tricky topic, in particular in hospitality projects as the requirements change depending on the destination of use. We are the experts, ask us for help and advice!

HK: Can you give us a sentence to tease us on what next to expect from Atlas Concorde?
MM: We have the ambition to be perceived not only as a tile manufacturer but more and more as a design brand and our next project will be a further confirmation of this ambition.

Image caption: A public area featuring Marvel Dream. | Image credit: Atlas ConcordeHK: What advice would you give to designers who are working on a tight budget?

Think about the visual impact that surfaces that cover walls and floors have within your projects, compared to other products.. Choosing the right surfaces is crucial for creating and defining the concept,  the look and the identity of the space we want to develop.

Quite often the choice of surfaces is left to the final stages of the project specification, when a significant amount of the budget has already been allocated for furniture, sanitaryware and bathroom fittings, with the real risk of compromising the final result. My advice is therefore to think ahead, giving surfaces the role, the importance and the budget they deserve.
Atlas Concorde is working along these lines by developing a ‘total look’ concept, which forsees the use of ceramic surfaces for furniture, tables, counter tops, washbasins, vanity units, promoting a whole and complete design package.

This said, we are also able to offer more cost-effective options with the Atlas Concorde Solution contract range which, thanks to some more streamlined series, offers a wide range of products at more competitive prices, without compromising on quality.

HK: Your latest collection, Marvel Shine, is said to ‘take ceramic marble tiles beyond replication to a whole new level.’ How does it achieve this?

MM: For years now the Marvel collections have set the standard for marble-looking porcelain tiles. To further expand the range, Atlas Concorde sought out the assistance of SAVEMA, Italian leader in the marble industry, which made available all its experience for the selection of the purest and most precious white marbles to be used as a source of inspiration for this collection.

With Marvel Shine Atlas Concorde have achieved an unprecedented level of authenticity, going beyond replication. Marvel Shine is inspired by the white marble of Italian artistic tradition, exploring new surfaces that are unique in their purity, color, and brightness. The range is made of four light tones inspired by the finest varieties of Calacatta and Statuario marbles and distinguished by a bright white background.

The polished finish brings out the luminosity of the tile and reproduces the slight unevenness of the original marble. Ideal for commercial spaces, the matt finish offers an excellent technical performance. The new silk finish, on the other hand, gives ceramic tiles an unprecedented tactile sensation: a silky, soft effect that also reflects the light subtly.

With its exclusive technology, Marvel Shine offers the possibility to replicate the traditional bookmatched pattern of natural marble with 16 slabs in the size 750×1500 mm to create compositions measuring 6×3 meters. Furthermore, the 1200×2780 mm and 1600×3200 mm large formats offer the continuity of the veins from one slab to the next to reproduce the effect of a single block of marble.

Atlas Concorde was a Product Watch Pitch partner at Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on February 23, 2021. Read more about the virtual event here. The next Hotel Designs LIVE will take place on May 11 2021. 

Main image credit: Atlas Concorde

Image of Riggs Wet bar

Hotel review: Checking in to Riggs Washington D.C.

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel review: Checking in to Riggs Washington D.C.

Sheltered in a former bank in the capital city, Riggs Washington D.C. is emerging from the pandemic as a statement hotel that offers a new kind of luxury on the east coast. Writer and cine​matic storyteller Ollie Wiggins checks in to the Caroline Harrison suite and interviews interior design legend Jacu Strauss in order to understand the hotel design narrative that is not what it first seems…

Image of Riggs Wet bar

The highly anticipated Riggs Washington D.C. opened its doors in early 2020, but considering the unforeseen circumstances around the pandemic that shortly followed, the hotel’s grand opening period was cut short as hospitality worldwide hunkered down for a turbulent year. So, for the sake of this review, I am prepared to erase 2020 from our memories in order to instead celebrate the arrival of what has already become one of Washington’s most exciting hotel openings of the decade. This 181-key hotel aims to offer unparalleled luxury and a breath of fresh air to the thriving and modern metropolis. 

Sitting down with Jacu Strauss, the Creative Director of Lore Group and the brainchild behind Sea Containers London and Pulitzer Amsterdam, it becomes immediately apparent how important the setting was and is to him – he is clearly passionate about DC. “It’s just a really beautiful city,” he says. “Great architecture, and noticeably lacking skyscrapers, it has a certain rhythm to it.” With Jacu’s projects across the world, he’s famous for putting time, energy and resources in to research an area and its needs. Keen to avoid what he describes as a “cookie cutter approach”, it is about the neighbourhoods, the greater contexts of the city and its people. With D.C., he felt he’d found a real gap in the hospitality market. “You have lifestyle brands as well as more traditional, institutional luxury hotels that are really established here and do what they do perfectly,” Strauss explains. “But we wanted to bridge that gap between lifestyle and luxury and become an institution that sits alone.”

It would have been all too easy to make this imposing gothic building into another institutional hotel. And there is no escaping the fact that it is sheltered in what used to be a bank – the ceilings are enormous for starters. The name of the hotel is synonymous with banking throughout DC; many presidents banked with the brand and it even provided the bank loan the US government needed to buy Alaska. Strauss freely admits that he is not the first to turn a bank into a luxury hotel, citing The Ned in London as a prime example. It is perhaps for this reason that he is keen to make sure the building is not tied to its former use. “We really wanted to depart from banking and make it about other things as well,” Strauss explains. “We wanted to celebrate both the legacy of the building and history of the city through unexpected details and a thoughtful approach to guest experience.” So it is perhaps no surprise then that he says he wants to evoke the spirit of the bank, preserving and restoring much of the beautiful old building with playful nod’s to it’s rich and storied past. It is in this way he hopes that the building will reflect a sense of timelessness, which he hopes will give the hotel longevity. 

Upon entering the hotel on F street, I am immediately struck by how authentically period the building feels. Whilst Strauss said he was keen to avoid the sense that the building was stuck in the past, it is hard to imagine the entrance hall has changed at all in the 130 years since it was built. The original marble floors and columns, for example, have not lost their shine or luster. The intricate recessed carvings on the arches of the barrelled ceiling have been meticulously restored and the gold trim on the American eagle that presides over the entryway is as bright and splendid as one would hope.

Image caption: The lobby/reception area has been designed to give a sensitive nod to the building's past. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: The lobby/reception area has been designed to give a sensitive nod to the building’s past. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

To the right, the commanding entrance hall is replaced with a warm and welcoming check-in area. There is still the impressive sense of space and grandeur from the high-vaulted ceilings and federalist columns, but the marble floor has been replaced by a luxurious blue carpet. Comfortable arm chairs and soft furnishings help temper the building’s stark gothic feel without taking away from the majestic first impression. On the wall hangs an enormous medallion of Juno Moneta, the Roman goddess of money, modelled on an insignia Strauss discovered when first exploring the building. It gives the impression of inventing without betraying that the designer was keen to create; whilst a new addition to the building, the medallion feels timeless and totally in keeping with the property’s past. Behind a desk and a gold trimmed screen are the friendly reception staff. Whilst a new safety feature for the current pandemic, the gilt edged dividers feel true to the former use of the building and one can imagine the bank’s customers standing in front of them as they discussed the handling of their finances.

“The wooden parquet flooring gives the air of a stately home, where marble would have felt too austere and carpet too subaltern.”

Upon checking in, I am taken first to the Riggs suite, once the boardroom of the bank, now an impressive function room with enviable views of the city. Here, a room that could have felt stark with its hard lines and gothic arches has been made to feel luxurious and comfortable. The wooden parquet flooring gives the air of a stately home, where marble would have felt too austere and carpet too subaltern. Upholstered chairs around a long dining table reinforce this feeling of luxury and recall the room’s former use. On the walls of this room, no doubt once occupied exclusively by men, now hang the portraits of inspirational looking women in a variety of styles and from different cultures. In fact, the room is full of feminine touches including the soft green carpet, delicate oak furniture, copious plants and plush velvety sofas and cushions. It is part of Strauss’ efforts to neutralise what he sees as the overly masculine world of banking with feminine touches.

“Riggs is the only hotel in the area that has chosen to name its suites them after first ladies.”

I am fortunate enough to be staying in the Caroline Harrison Suite. The general manager proudly explains that whilst many hotels in the city have suites named after presidents, Riggs is the only hotel in the area that has chosen to name its suites them after first ladies – yet another example of the way Strauss has injected elements of femininity into all aspects of the hotel’s design. The room is a rich blue with sumptuous, heavy-velvet curtains, a sofa and pillows with a design that calls to mind the ornate patterns of the dividers that separated customers from tellers. The carpet, whilst pristine, has been made to look distressed as though it is itself part of the building’s history.

Image caption: The living room inside the Caroline Harrison Suite. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: The living room inside the Caroline Harrison Suite. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Throughout the room are an eclectic collection of objets; lampshades in the form of dogs, contemporary takes on classical urns, a porcelain lantern with an Asian feel. Strangely, they help anchor the building in its Washington location by creating the sense that these pieces may have been gifted to the first lady by visiting dignitaries on some state visit from long ago. This feeling is complemented by the Jasperware plates and medallions hanging on the wall that celebrate significant events in the nation’s history; the signing of the declaration of independence and the start of JFK’s ill-fated presidency. Behind the luxurious four-poster bed is a feature wall with fun and quirky wallpaper that calls to mind the illustrations in a children’s book or the work of Ken Done. It contrasts aptly with the block colours and bold design choices in the rest of the space. 

The other three first lady suites, named after Ida McKinley, Louisa Adams and Angelica Van Buren have their own distinct styles and decor. The Van Buren is particularly striking with its rich red walls and velvet curtains complimented by ornate gold furniture. Of particular interest, too, are the classical busts that adorn the shelves, all of classical female deities, as well as contemporary artwork inspired once again by the profile of Juno Moneta. 

Each of the hotel’s other rooms are designed to offer something personal and unexpected. Whether it’s the colour of the wall or the shape of the space, each one feels different and offers something unique to the guest so that no two stays are ever quite the same. 

Image caption: Jacu Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create the unique headboards in the guestrooms. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: Jacu Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create the unique headboards in the guestrooms. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Perhaps most striking in each room are the custom made headboards, the shape suggestive of the ripples of theatrical curtains. To achieve this unique style, Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create these stunning pieces. The abstract swirling pattern used on both the headboards and wallpaper is inspired by a detail on a painting Jacu saw whilst at the Met Gallery in New York and was created by Benson’s company Voutsa specifically for the hotel. It adds a fun and cheeky dimension as well as a sense of movement to what were once the bank’s offices. Eagle eyed guests may spot that the pattern is also used on the inside of the bespoke umbrellas that are provided in each room. 

Next to the bed are small oak bedside tables with green leather inlay designed to feel like the writing desks that would once have been used in this building. To achieve a strong and timeless lighting scheme, Strauss collaborated with bespoke lighting brand Chelsom in order to ensure that each space was effortlessly lit in order to radiate the hotel’s luxe style and distinct personality. For example, gilt desk lamps sit on top of the bedside tables to reinforce the writing desk association and invite you to imagine the bank clerks hunched over their work in the previous century. Each room also contains a replica bank safe complete with the insignia of Juno on the outside and housing the minibar and room’s safe inside. It is the most overt reminder of the building’s former life as well as a fun talking point for guests. 

Since you’re here, why not read about Chelsom’s Edition 27 lighting collection

“I can’t help wondering if the powerful rain shower head is a nod to Obama’s request that one be added to The White House for the duration of his incumbency.”

Inside the bathrooms, the Italian Carrara marble tiles on the floor and walls create a sense of grandeur and security. Even the shape of the shiny metallic taps is reminiscent of the handle of a safe and reinforces the idea that one has walked into the bank’s impregnable strong room. The deep free-standing bath makes for a luxurious bathing experience and I can’t help wondering if the powerful rain shower head is a nod to Obama’s request that one be added to The White House for the duration of his incumbency. 

Image credit: Luxurious bathrooms inside the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image credit: Luxurious bathrooms inside the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Strauss said that he wanted each of the rooms to feel like a safety deposit box, with the contents of each being unique and valuable. This certainly comes across and is particularly evident from the door to each room. Every door features the front of a safety deposit box, complete with a non-working keyhole and golden circular medallion bearing the likeness of Juno Moneta. On the walls and floor, the sumptuous, rich, red carpets evoke a feeling of warmth. They contrast directly with the imposing lobby of the building and give the sense that you are exploring a more intimate and sequestered part of the hotel. On the walls of the corridors are a collection of paintings, some depicting classical figures and others in a more contemporary style as if these pieces have been placed here by customers trusting the bank to protect their artistic investments. The lifts too are worthy of note, featuring marble floors and mirrors covered in silver leaf, which gives them an opulent antiquarian aspect. 

In the bar and restaurant it is clear that Strauss has attempted to bring something new to the city. “There may have been a certain standard of food and beverage outlets here that became quite institutionalised, and not necessarily in a good way,” he admits to me.  “So, it didn’t have much diversity, and going against that convention – especially in an area of the hotel that is typically most criticised – was really changing. DC is becoming a real foodie city.” Strauss’ aim was to provide something “bright and elegant, inspired by the grand cafes of Europe,” and that is certainly case here at Riggs. The high-vaulted ceilings provide a massive sense of space and the circular marble tables together with the trendy wooden and velvet chairs would not feel out of place in a continental eatery. It is no coincidence that the chairs themselves are the colour of money, in America at least. It would have been easy to use an overabundance of green throughout the hotel for its pecuniary associations and the decision not to do this in the rest of the development feels remarkably restrained. 

The luxury of space in the bar area has provided one of the largest  challenges in converting this part of the building. With the huge height of the room, Strauss and his team were keen to make sure the scope of the space was being fully utilised. To that end, Strauss installed massive velvet curtains, so weighty that their use necessitated reinforcing the wall. He also commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine – its bright colours and whimsical design are suggestive of the works of Lewis Carroll or Edward Lear. Yet despite their sheer scale (they come in at an eye-watering two storeys high) everything in the room feels perfectly in proportion. Even the six foot four inch gilt chandeliers that Strauss designed himself help to make the space feel intimate without taking away from the sense of grandeur. 

Image caption: Jacu Strauss commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine, which has become a statement piece in the public area of the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: Jacu Strauss commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine, which has become a statement piece in the public area of the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

I journey downwards to the subterranean Silver Lyan bar, described by the hotel manager as an adult playground. It’s not hard to see why, the theming is fun without being gimmicky and the low ceilings, dark lighting and deep red chairs give the air of that most uniquely American thing: a speakeasy. There are also an array of fun little touches around the bar; secret messages hidden as optical illusions in the wall panelling, lighting inspired by classical Asian designs and hundreds of sporting trophies in cases across the walls, which Strauss is quick to tell me were all won by female athletes. 

Across the hall is the gym and fitness area, which perhaps rather tauntingly has an oversized gumball machine outside, which feels uniquely American and once again helps to play with the sense of scale and disrupt the sense of solemnity in the building. Despite the restrictions currently in place due to Covid-19, I can’t resist sampling one or two. The gym itself has enough equipment to ensure that even the most ardent of fitness fanatics can ensure they get a good workout and the marble pillars hardwood floors provide a sense of decadence as you sweat your way towards your fitness goals. There are also fun touches around the room, like the leather punching bag, that invites one to imagine a circus strongman with a handlebar moustache hard in training. There is also the door to what once would have been the bank’s strongroom, with its intricate mechanism, bolts and rivets on display.

As I check out, I am reminded of something Strauss said to me, that a hotel should provide an elevated experience rather than simply being “a home away from home” and Riggs Washington D.C. is certainly not that. It is a building that has always been about showmanship that has left lasting impression of strength and security.

Strauss’ next project, the Lyle in D.C., will be much more about calm and comfort – think mattresses like marshmallows that he describes as the “most comfortable” he has ever slept on. Yet here, the way The Lore Group has managed to turn what could have been a stark and austere building into something welcoming without losing any of the sense of grandeur is impressive. To summarise, Riggs DC embraces its past whilst remaining pitch perfect for its current use, ensuring its future place in the city for years to come. 

Main image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Product watch: Bette introduces BetteEve bath

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Bette introduces BetteEve bath

The new BetteEve from Bette is said to create a “harmonious bathing experience for two”, and is available in 400 colours…

With the new BetteEve bath collection, the organic, ellipse shape makes its way into the bathroom. Inspired by nature, Bette has made the transition between the edge and the inner body of the bath silky and smooth. Made from durable glazed titanium-steel, it is as if the gentle force of water has smoothed the material over millions of years

At the beginning of the 17th century, the astronomer, Johannes Kepler discovered the elliptical shape of the planetary orbits. The Baroque artists and architects enthusiastically took up this discovery and celebrated the elegant and balanced shape of the ellipse in buildings, parks, jewellery and picture frames. For BetteEve, designer Dominik Tesseraux (Tesseraux+Partner) has interpreted this form in a modern way to create harmony and sensuality in a glazed titanium-steel bath collection.

The aim was to achieve a perfect ellipse, and also to give the impression that the bath had been smoothly hollowed out by running water. Bette was able to achieve the fine curves and jointless transitions in the extremely hard material because of its expertise in the forming and enamelling of steel.

The BetteEve, which is 100 per cent recyclable, is a natural and comfortable bath, that is also comfortable for two to bathe together, because the ellipse has two focal points. The units are a generous 180 x 100 cm, with symmetrical back rests on both sides, a central waste outlet and the option to include sound insulation.

Three versions and more than 400 colours

BetteEve is available in three versions: a freestanding bath, an oval built-in bath and a built-in bath with a rectangular surround – and all come with a 30 year warranty which guarantees the quality of the material and of Bette’s manufacturing in Germany.

The freestanding BetteEve is eye-catching, especially when chosen in one of Bette’s many colour options. It is available in over 400 colours, including matt white, glittering midnight and flattering blue satin.

The rectangular built-in BetteEve allows flush-mounted, integrated installation as the glazed titanium-steel forms the surface around the bath. It is also particularly easy to clean, as any excess water can be wiped off into the bath.

The BetteEve oval built-in bath can be almost completely integrated into the bathroom furniture, as it has an extremely fine, 20 mm rim.

Bette is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Image credit: Bette

smart shower from Roca

Product Watch: Roca shines with new smart shower

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product Watch: Roca shines with new smart shower

Keeping in mind that no shower experience is the same, Roca has developed a smart shower to revolutionise this daily routine. Let’s take a look at the brand’s new, sleek and simple smart shower…

smart shower from Roca

The latest innovative shower launched by Roca uses smart technology to provide a truly unique showering experience. With its customisable settings and ease of use, the Smart Shower is a beneficial addition to any bathroom design.

The intelligent control has a sleek, simple interface and allows up to three users within the same household to pre-set their desired settings. They can set their shower duration, maximum temperature and flow rates all based on their own individual needs.  The interface features a colour LCD display and touch sensitive controls with soft turn dials to ensure it is extremely easy to use and control. The Smart Shower system can install two or three outlets including a Raindream showerhead, handset and Puzzle Square Jets. If homeowners select the three outlet option, the clever design allows two of them to work simultaneously.

One of the smart benefits to the digital shower is that it can be controlled via an app. This means that users can simply use their phone or tablet from a bedside to conveniently turn on the shower and activate the warm-up function. The app also helps with energy and water saving, enabling users to monitor their water and energy consumption, to run your shower more efficiently.

For young families, the shower is equipped with a child safety mode so children can only turn the shower off and also allows for the control of flow, temperature and duration to provide peace of mind. This is reinforced by the temperature monitoring system which measures the temperature to eliminate the risk of scalding.

The Smart Shower solution also includes a Legionella cleaning programme to eliminate bacteria without the use of chemical products and a cleaning program to remove any impurities.

“It may seem like a luxury, but the Smart Shower is not just for convenience,” comments David Bromell Head of Marketing at Roca. “In addition to providing a luxe showering experience, the intuitive system will actively work to reduce water wastage, making it a sustainable and eco-friendly choice for the bathroom design.”

Roca is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Roca

Industry insight: Elevate the guest experience with flooring

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: Elevate the guest experience with flooring

Specifiers can easily achieve unique designs with the versatility of LVT, from combining colour and pattern combinations, to working with flooring manufacturers to produce bespoke creations, says Gemma Passantino, Design Services Manager at Amtico

Flooring is one of many products that can bring a touch of style and quality to hospitality environments, and opting for products that offer design flexibility opens up a world of possibilities. While the word ‘unique’ is often overused, it isn’t uncommon for it to appear in a client’s brief. However, instantly reflecting a brand and its desired aesthetic can be challenging! So, it’s important to work with a product and company that can help produce designs that will make a hotel stand out.

“We also have more than 100 predefined floors in the Designers’ Choice collection.”

Bespoke designs can be created in many ways and as a British flooring manufacturer we offer a variety of services from made-to-order, completely unique concepts and creations, to tailoring our Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) products and laying patterns to produce custom floor designs. Working with a manufacturer ensures that a client’s requirements for acoustic backing or other technical specifications can also be taken into account. In addition to our service offering, we also have more than 100 predefined floors in the Designers’ Choice collection; these exclusive laying patterns make it easier for specifiers to select stunning floor designs and colour combinations.

The expertise of a manufacturer’s in-house creative and CAD teams is invaluable, and its advanced knowledge of the product range and cutting capabilities is essential, as these can be utilised to create an intricate design or feature floor area. Whether it’s an eye-catching emblem and splash of colour, or a bespoke laying pattern, a manufacturer can also advise on product choice and suitable finishes to fulfil a project’s requirements.

The chosen colours, textures, and patterns set the mood and prepare guests for their stay – and flooring ticks all the boxes, whether it’s a colourful, patterned floor design that enhances the vibrancy of a hotel bar, or a classic Parquet in Oak hues for a home-from-home feel in a bedroom. Consider the many roles that flooring plays – does it reflect the desired mood, do the colours complement the textures in the room in question? And does the laying pattern make a visual impact and guide guests through an area?

Of course, achieving this relies on the flexibility, adaptability and durability of the flooring material. While natural woods and stones have their place, selecting Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) is a forward-thinking decision for a hotel; after all, they can provide the shapes, angles/geometry and scale needed to optimise a space, while remaining incredibly durable and meeting VOC requirements for wellbeing and air quality. However, you can combine the charm of woods and stones with the unrivalled performance of LVT. For instance, we have launched Amtico Form, a new nature-inspired collection that recreates the tactile beauty and authentic textures of natural materials. Designed in Britain by our in-house creative team, the 36 Woods and Stones harness the natural colours and variations that can be seen in real marble or timber.

Ever-popular, LVT also provides complete resilience and design freedom while withstanding heavy traffic and resisting scuffs, scratches and stains. Importantly, our LVT products are made with recycled content and offer the same aesthetic years after installation, all while maintaining its integrity. So, it is no surprise that it is rising above ceramics and timber to become the flooring material of choice in hospitality.

Interior design trends are slowly moving away from simple, minimalistic schemes to more considered and characterful looks that enhance the mood of guests and provide the ultimate experience. As hotels re-open, we foresee a greater emphasis on wayfinding and zoning being incorporated naturally into designs with flooring choices, and with this we will see even more experimentation, with distinctive patterns and bold colours.

The design of a space makes it possible to evoke an emotional response in an individual, however, the right choice of floor product – provided with a generous commercial warranty – goes a long way in terms of meeting the practical needs of the hotel and its guests, while ensuring durability, long-lasting performance and, importantly, comfort.

Amtico is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Black Friday Deal. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here.

Main image caption: Pacific Grain, DC338 Parquet Small | Image credit: Amtico

Image of pastel coloured wash basins

Product watch: Ideal Standard launches Atelier Collections

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Ideal Standard launches Atelier Collections

Bathroom brand Ideal Standard has introduced its brand-new, design-led range, Atelier Collections, created in collaboration with renowned Italian studio PS+A

Image of pastel coloured wash basins

The premium latest premium collections by Ideal Standard look back to its heritage while shaping the bathrooms of the future. The products bring together the unmatched skills of Palomba Serafinia Associati (PS+A), through its founder Roberta Palomba, with Ideal Standard’s broad manufacturing expertise. 

The ranges draw inspiration from iconic Ideal Standard products of the past to create exciting new collections for the present. Roberto Palomba, a master of international design with over 25 years of experience in design innovations for the bathroom, has created unique collections that include an exclusive range of ceramics, brassware and furniture. The bold designs work in harmony to allow complete customisation on every project.

At the centre of the new collections is the Conca range, which nods towards the iconic Ideal Standard basin, offering stunning minimal designs. The Blend range of WCs has been created to perfectly complement these basins. Both Conca and Blend are inspired by Ideal Standard’s leading product lines from the past, reinvigorating the brand as a leader in design.  

Core to the Atelier collections is colour. PS+A have created a new, bold colour palette, some of which draws on colour influences that can be found in Ideal Standard’s design heritage, and others which reflect and define new colour trends. Launching in March, the colours have been applied to the Ipalyss range of super slim washbasins, designed by Robin Levien. Incredibly striking in colour and design, new shapes and sizes are also being introduced, creating an extremely durable and versatile range, made possible by Ideal Standard’s Diamatec technology.

Additionally, there is also new brassware, with two new lines of mixer taps, Check and Joy. They are available in chrome and PVD finishes to offer a stylish simplicity.

Commenting on the new collections, Roberto Palomba said: We are particularly proud of the results of our partnership with Ideal Standard. We maintain a very simple approach for our creations: quality paired with intuitive design that also keeps an eye to the past, while ensuring the levels of practicality, purity and elegance meet the needs of modern society.”

Torsten Türling, Chief Executive Officer at Ideal Standard added: “Throughout our history, we’ve worked closely with the leading designers of their era. Master designers have a unique ability to capture the essence of the time and translate that into designs that shape the evolution of society and influence the culture of design beyond the bathroom. This essence of design is what we wanted to capture again and this is reflected in Atelier Collections.”

The Atelier Collections will be available exclusively through independent retailers, with Ideal Standard committing significant investment into showroom and marketing support for the collections.

David Barber, Managing Director for Ideal Standard UK and Ireland said: “The Atelier Collections mark a new era in Ideal Standard’s design journey and we understand the importance of these ranges for our retail partners. Not only are we committing to a consumer advertising campaign to drive footfall to showrooms, but we are also working with retailers to provide support and tailor-made packages to ensure they are fully equipped to serve their customer base.”

Ideal Standard 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: Ideal Standard

Render of guestroom inside Alila Hotel

Hyatt opens 1,000th hotel worldwide

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt opens 1,000th hotel worldwide

With the opening of  Alila Napa Valley in St. Helena, Hyatt, which arrived with its first property in 1957, has officially opened the brand’s 1,000th hotel worldwide. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Render of guestroom inside Alila Hotel

We love a milestone at Hotel Designs! For any brand to claim that they have opened 1,000 hotels is an enormous feat, but considering we are in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis – and the hospitality industry is climbing its most challenging mountain to date in order to thrive once more – the news that Hyatt has opened its 1,000th hotel worldwide is nothing short of extra ordinary.

Marking the expansion of Hyatt’s luxury lifestyle Alila brand portfolio with the brand’s second property in the Americas, Alila Napa Valley offers guests crafted luxury, innovative design, and bespoke experiences in one of the world’s most famous wine regions. The 68-key, adults-only restorative retreat is surrounded by the pristine Home Vineyards of the Beringer Estate and features an outdoor pool overlooking adjacent vineyards and distant mountains, a seasonally driven restaurant and bar with a local, sustainable menu and Spa Alila and Fitness Centre with transformative, customised treatments.

Founder Jay Pritzker purchased the first Hyatt hotel in 1957 with a new vision for hospitality, built around people. Since then, Hyatt’s purpose to care for people so they can be their best has driven groundbreaking hotel designs, the award-winning World of Hyatt guest loyalty program and strategic brand acquisitions. Today, this milestone reinforces Hyatt’s continued commitment to intentional growth in places that matter most to guests, members, customers, and owners.

“Hyatt’s thoughtful journey to 1,000 hotels has been grounded in listening, growing, and innovating along the way to meet guest, member, customer and owner needs,” said Jim Chu, Hyatt’s executive vice president of global franchising and development. “Today, we remain focused on expanding our global footprint and building our business based on where we can best extend care and make a positive impact on our guests and the communities in which we operate. With a strong pipeline of new openings and developments, Hyatt continues to offer differentiated experiences that will cater to the growing demand for leisure destinations our guests are seeking as they get back to travel.”

Planned 2021 Hyatt property opening highlights

In 2021, Hyatt plans to welcome several properties to its portfolio in key global markets. Highlights across brands include:


The Alila brand features luxury hotels in unique locations, distinguished by innovative eco-design and a strong commitment to sustainable tourism. Alila means “surprise” in Sanskrit, which suitably describes the refreshing character of Alila hotels and the impression guests feel when they stay as a guest. alilahotels.com


Global in scale while local in perspective, the Andaz brand of luxury lifestyle hotels weave the sights, sounds, and tastes of each property’s surroundings for a distinctively local experience. Every Andaz hotel is a unique expression of the culture that surrounds it and enables guests to go beyond the familiar and satiate their curiosity. andaz.com

Destination by Hyatt

Destination by Hyatt is a diverse collection of independent hotels, resorts and spacious residences that are individual at heart yet connected by a commitment to embody the true spirit of each location. Ranging from upper-upscale to luxury, each property is purposefully crafted to be a place of discovery through immersive experiences, authentic design, and genuine service. destinationhotels.com

Grand Hyatt

Grand Hyatt hotels celebrate the iconic in small details and magnificent moments. Drawing inspiration from each destination, Grand Hyatt hotels provide superior service and signature experiences within a backdrop of dramatic architecture, world-class restaurants, luxury spas, and spectacular meeting and event spaces. grandhyatt.com

Hyatt Centric

Hyatt Centric is a brand of lifestyle hotels located in prime destinations around the world that inspire discovery for savvy, millennial-minded travelers with an adventurous spirit. Each Hyatt Centric hotel is in the heart of the action with passionately engaged team members always on-hand to serve up insider knowledge and provide local expertise. hyattcentric.com

Hyatt House / Hyatt Place

Hyatt House hotels are designed to welcome guests as extended stay residents. Apartment-style suites with fully equipped kitchens and separate living areas remind guests of the conveniences of home. Hyatt Place hotels offer a modern, comfortable, and seamless experience, combining style and innovation to create a casual hotel environment for today’s multi-tasking traveler. From the lobby to the guest rooms to in-hotel dining, every touchpoint is designed with the high value business traveler in mind. hyatthouse.com / hyattplace.com

Hyatt Regency

Hyatt Regency hotels are intuitively designed to make travel free from stress and filled with success. Conveniently located in urban and resort locations in more than 30 countries, Hyatt Regency hotels offer seamless experiences for any occasion, from energizing vacations to personalized, high-touch meetings. hyattregency.com

JdV by Hyatt

A community for the spirited, light-hearted, and young-at-heart, the JdV by Hyatt brand offers a collection of vibrant, independent hotels that are true reflections of the urban neighborhoods they call home. Each hotel provides an experience that is inclusive in spirit and space, welcoming all vibes, tribes and unique souls—effortlessly bringing people together with joy-driven service. jdvhotels.com

  • El Capitan Hotel (114 guestrooms) in Merced, Calif.
  • Mission Pacific Hotel (161 guestrooms) in Oceanside, Calif.
  • The Anndore House (113 guestrooms) in Toronto, Ontario
  • The Walper Hotel (92 guestrooms) in Toronto, Ontario
  • Additional JdV by Hyatt hotels expected to open in 2021 include Story Hotel Riddargatan (82 guestrooms) and Story Hotel Signalfabriken (83 guestrooms) in Stockholm, as well as Story Hotel Studio Malmö (96 guestrooms) in Malmö, Sweden

Park Hyatt

Park Hyatt hotels provide discerning, global travelers with a refined home-away-from-home. Guests of Park Hyatt hotels receive quietly confident and personalized service in an enriching environment. Located in several of the world’s premier destinations, each Park Hyatt hotel is custom designed to combine sophistication with understated luxury. parkhyatt.com

Thompson Hotels

Founded in 2001, Thompson Hotels is a collection of award-winning luxury hotels with timelessly original properties in urban and resort destinations. Each hotel delivers a new take on modern luxury and tailored stays for guests with connections to world-class culinary offerings, arts and entertainment, and groundbreaking design. thompsonhotels.com

The Unbound Collection by Hyatt

More than a compilation of independent, one-of-a-kind hotels, The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand offers a thoughtful curation of stories worth collecting. Whether it’s a modern marvel, a historic gem or a revitalising retreat, each property provides thought-provoking environments and experiences that inspire for guests seeking elevated yet unscripted service when they travel. unboundcollectionbyhyatt.com

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

What’s in the spotlight this April on Hotel Designs?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
What’s in the spotlight this April on Hotel Designs?

This April, Hotel Designs is serving up a multiple stories that will be dedicated to public areas and architecture & construction; two areas in hotel design that go hand-in-hand when looking at meaningful solutions for tomorrow’s hotel design scene…

Throughout April, Hotel Designs will be putting both public areas and architecture & construction under its editorial spotlight in order to continue to define the point on international hotel design.

Public areas 

There has been a seismic shift in attitudes towards public areas in the last year. The pandemic, and as a result of hygiene creeping up on the modern traveller’s agenda, designers and architects are now being presented with a challenge to make public areas safe without looking and feeling too clinical. With some brands merging into one – while others do everything they can to stand alone – boundaries in design and architecture being stretched further than ever before and modern traveller demands now meaning that experience is key. But what will that look like? We will spend the month speaking to the designers, architects and heavy hitters in hospitality to find out.

Architecture & construction

2020 thought us on the editorial desk that there is no situation too extreme for modern architects and designers. Through the uncertain times of lockdown, the creative forces of leading studios around the world took their work home. One year since the Covid-19 outbreak forced us to change our approach to life as we knew it, the team at Hotel Designs are starting to see, through the renders that are being unveiled, how the cultural shift changed our designs (for the better). To celebrate the boundless possibilities in architecture, we will spend the month crediting the internationally acclaimed pioneers.

Main image credits: ZHA/Jestico + Whiles/AMA Design/Dorchester Collection

Profile image of Joel Butler, Co-founder of HIX

In the HIX seat: Developing and designing for the post-pandemic world together

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In the HIX seat: Developing and designing for the post-pandemic world together

With the UK road map, outlined by the government, showing signs of recovery, our columnist Joel Butler unveils the six discussion points that HIX Event will focus on when it welcomes the design community to London in November…

Profile image of Joel Butler, Co-founder of HIX

A week ago, I return home from dropping my daughter off at school for the first time in five months – a milestone that feels like that first daffodil head springing up in March. You knew it was going to happen, nevertheless the joy it brings is palpable. 

You would have thought that a week later the novelty would have passed. It hasn’t. So please excuse my fanciful prose and humour me, allow me to muse on the wonderful parallels between our literal and metaphorical Spring times. I’ve just had a coffee, you see, and as I said I’m not having to struggle through primary school math today. Here goes…

“And right on cue, indoor hospitality appears with its luscious shades of interiors, drinks and meals are scoffed and slurped with grateful abundance.” – Joel Butler, Co-Founder, HIX Event.

As the cherry blossom of a nation’s beer garden falls into its half-full pint glass, design showrooms bloom at once, Clerkenwell, Chelsea, Angel, Wigmore Street open up in unison. And right on cue, indoor hospitality appears with its luscious shades of interiors, drinks and meals are scoffed and slurped with grateful abundance. Ideas, real conversations, and even more ideas climb the walls like the illustration of Max’s room in ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, and then we celebrate the opening ceremony of a youthful summer, the full wonders of life sway and dance with a gentle breeze as all social restrictions cease.

I really can’t wait for the above things to happen across the UK, the rest of Europe and around the world. We’ve designed HIX around the way people are likely to feel once varying restrictions have been lifted from their lives and I’ll be exploring these topics within this column in the run up to the event in November.

The pandemic has been a challenging time for all and a truly horrific one for so many. The six discussions that define HIX 2021 will recognise this, often starting in a place of anxiety and darkness. With help from our speakers, contributors, and audience we’ll then journey towards opportunity and something better. 

Our six discussions focus on how hotels can develop and design around their guest’s feelings in a post-pandemic world. 

  • Financial Anxiety towards meaningful value 
  • Solitude towards shared experience 
  • Masks, gels and distance towards safety
  • Misinformation towards truth 
  • An existential office dilemma to the hotel as our brave new workplace 
  • Collective mental and physical health pressure towards self-compassionate design

Between now and November, we’ll invite discussion, debate, opinion and solutions to these challenges. For now, though, I’ll have another quick coffee before school finishes.

Main image credit: HIX Event

Image of tiger on walls in warehouse

Wallpaper goals: Adding personality in public spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Wallpaper goals: Adding personality in public spaces

With all this talk around hygiene and reassuring the post-corona consumer, to avoid spaces looking too clinical we need to start talking about how we inject personality back into the public areas. Cue the arrival of Arte’s latest wallcoverings collections that give off some serious haute couture vibes and a splash of wallpaper goals…

Image of tiger on walls in warehouse

Many hotel spaces have now evolved to become community hubs, appealing to not only business guests and tourists, but equally people looking for an experience, whether that be a spa day, a business breakfast or a social lunch. Consumers are savvier and more informed, looking for something more substantial than a comfortable stay, so it’s important to ensure any public space is decorated in a way that appeals to all senses and creates a unique, stand out interior.

Gone are the days where a hotel lobby was acting merely as a transitional space for check-ins; this is the first place guests will see when they arrive and the last place they will see before they leave, therefore it’s important to make a lasting impression. This is an area with the highest traffic in the entire hotel; it’s one that guests will move through many times, therefore it needs to be both functional, but also stylish, atmospheric and vibrant.

Hotels are recognising the value in utilising and maximising their large spaces to attract footfall above the guests staying at the hotel. Interior designers are experimenting with different aesthetics and textures to add interest to these spaces, elevating not only the design, but also the common perception of what a hotel should like; dreary walls, covered in a singular paint colour or outdated wallpaper are being swapped for statement designs, playful patterns and distinguished textures.

From small boutique hotels like the art deco inspired Hotel Victor Hugo in France, with interiors by Laurent Maugoust featuring the gorgeous, hand-embroidered Crane pattern in their lobby to larger hotel groups such as the Hilton Tanger City Centre in Morocco, designed by Jaime Beriestain Studio featuring the geometric Sapphire Maze in one of their restaurant spaces, Arte’s designs have been expertly used by interior designers in hotel lobbies, bars and restaurants around the world for over 40 years to transform public spaces into places with character and personality.

Wallpaper is one of the simplest ways to refresh and add interest to a space, yet, it can be one of the most impactful. With materiality and texture at the heart of Arte, many of their wallpaper designs push boundaries of what is known as ‘traditional wallpaper’ and incorporate innovative techniques and finishes from heat embossed 3d fabrics, printed textiles and natural materials including silk, raffia and sisal to denim, velvet and leather, the possibilities in both texture and design are endless.

Lush and rich, jungle and tropical foliage designs such as Palmera, Abanico, Java or Silk Road Garden, as well as the more paired back florals of Wildflower or Grow will work equally well for an all-over scheme or a statement wall to give a sense of comfort by bringing the outdoors in through motifs and colours seen in nature, adding life and light to a space and allowing us to maintain that connection to nature.

Image caption: Java | Image credit: Arte

Many interior designers are abandoning the traditional rules of decorating and embracing the idea of combining different wallpaper designs in the same space, mixing textures and bolder designs with different colours across the walls, layering with other decorative items in the space, for a dramatic, maximalist scheme. Arte’s collections are designed in a way that offers a comprehensive palette of colours, ranging across a wide range of textures, prints and patterns – allowing for designs to be combined and mixed in a way that results in a playful, but cohesive scheme.

Intreguing and interesting textures can be found across the collections, including heat embossed 3d patterns as seen in Intrigue, Enigma and Eclipse, as well as the rich velvet, suede and leather textures of Velveteen, Les Cuirs and Lush. The 3d, heat embossed Caisson design from the Eclipse collection was used by designer Gensler to dress the walls in the Baton Rouge Hotel, resulting in an interior that not only looks elegant and gives the illusion of French panelling on the wall, but one that feels warm and comforting. Aside from being extremely durable and long-lasting (with the added bonus of acoustic qualities), these heavier textures are a great way to add both flair and warmth to a space, be it a restaurant or a hotel bedroom; creating a relaxing, yet stylish space.

Arte’s wallcoverings are not only creative and innovative, but each collection offers a myriad of possibilities for transforming a public space, be it through colour, pattern or texture, making it easy for designers to create spaces that are sophisticated, impactful and engaging.

Arte is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Arte

Main image for virtual roundtable on bespoke possibilities in luxury design

Virtual roundtable: Bespoke possibilities in luxury design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: Bespoke possibilities in luxury design

To specify or not to specify, that was the initial question that editor Hamish Kilburn put forward to our expert panel of designers and lighting masterminds for our latest roundtable, in association with bespoke lighting brand Dernier & Hamlyn, on bespoke possibilities in luxury design…

Main image for virtual roundtable on bespoke possibilities in luxury design

There are a plethora of well-documented benefits linked to selecting bespoke products in a luxury brief – it eliminates the need to flex or drastically change the interior design scheme, for starters. Bespoke is therefore, in many if not all scenarios, the best and most preferred solution among leading designers where budget is no barrier. Or is it? In association with the bespoke lighting experts at Dernier & Hamlyn, we recently invited a cluster of leading interior designers and world-renowned lighting experts in order to explore the bespoke possibilities in luxury design. As well as understanding today’s perception of ‘luxury’ among clients and guests alike, we were intrigued to also understand the pitfalls designers should avoid when deciding to go bespoke.

Meet the panel: 

Hamish Kilburn: How have hotel operators’ perception of luxury design changed over the past few years? Is what used to be considered luxury now standard? And what does this mean for designers in ensuring their schemes exude luxury?

Justin Wells: We pontificate over luxury so much – it’s just like defining colour! Firstly, it’s very important to know your audience – and that includes understanding cultures and demographics. In our experience, luxury in North America has been around legacy brands. In more perhaps progressive markets, such as South East Asia, for example, they are certainly trying to reposition luxury to be more lifestyle. In the region of the Middle East, which is where I am now, the perception of luxury is to make up for lost time. Elsewhere, in more mature markets, such as Europe, there’s certainly a reinvention happening at the moment, which is very exciting.

HK: You talk about perception, which makes me want to bring in social media and this demand for ‘accessible luxury’ into the conversation. Has that damaged the integrity of luxury hospitality?

Simon Rawlings: It’s interesting, we’re finding that luxury is becoming more standardised, certainly when it comes to peoples’ expectations of luxury. With many brands and experiences that are global, we’re really seeing that each region’s differences are disappearing, which is actually quite boring when you want to emphasise differences.

 “Authentic luxury has to be very particular to that project, and to standardise luxury is dangerous.” – Simon Rawlings, Creative Director, David Collins Studio.

Luxury is a difficult thing to pinpoint and it can be as simple as beautiful service in an ordinary space. Authentic luxury has to be very particular to that project, and to standardise luxury is dangerous.

Also, we will never get a brief that says ‘we want to be a luxury hotel’. Instead, it will be the ideas and thoughts around sustainability, aims to stand out from the crowd that, combined, lead spaces and projects to look and feel more luxurious. The idea that luxury is lavish and excessive is an outdated mindset. For us, it’s been an interesting and exciting time recently because a lot of the briefs we have received in the last few months show that people are really willing to invest in good design.

“The luxury element 10 – 20 years ago would have been more around the materials and finishes, but it’s less and less about that now.” – Kirsten King, Design Director, Bergman Interiors.

Image caption: Interiors inside Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, designed by David Collins Studio, which features bespoke lighting from Dernier & Hamlyn | Image credit: Jack Hardy

Image caption: Interiors inside Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, designed by David Collins Studio, which features bespoke lighting from Dernier & Hamlyn | Image credit: Jack Hardy

Kirstin King: For us, the luxury element 10 – 20 years ago would have been more around the materials and finishes, but it’s less and less about that now. Instead, it has become much more about lifestyle. We have to think more intelligently to really understand the local craftsmen, and in doing so we need to pair things back to allow the ambiance to naturally reflect luxury.

Paul Nulty: For us, luxury lighting design is something that fires all the senses. Whether it’s visual or a composition. If it’s heightening the senses and the emotional connection with that space, then it feels luxurious.

HK: Similarly, how have guests’ perceptions of luxury design changed over the past few years?

Hamish Brown: We have always worked with private clients, and our understanding on what luxury guests need and demand stems from experience in residential. The key difference that consumers are expecting now is that sense of place. Across all brands, the industry went through a brief moment of standardisation, but now we are seeing brands really understand and celebrate cultural difference. For example, if you take two Four Seasons properties in two locations within one country. By both capturing the local flavours of their unique destination, it sets them aside from each other. That in itself becomes luxurious, bespoke and individual. And then, what happens is that the brand’s DNA gets threaded into the design scheme through consistent service – it’s no longer a look or an aesthetic but much more a feeling.

HK: With the sheer number of options that suppliers offer in their standard ranges these days, why is the demand for bespoke design in luxury projects still growing?

Jo Littlefair: I think that bespoke design, both in hospitality and high-end residential, gives you the flexibility to respond to a project individually – it’s a great way to bring in local vernacular. It’s really important for us to give a strong identity. In our studio, nothing is a cookie-cutter approach. Instead, we respond to everything individually – and I think bespoke design gives you that ability to scale and size things perfectly. It allows us to really craft interiors as opposed to just select them.

Mayfair Townhouse peacock entrance

Image caption: a 67-inch peacock sculpture adorned in 25,000 Swarovski crystals sits inside the Mayfair Townhouse, designed by Goddard Littlefair | Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

SR: We’ve started specifying more than we have ever done. Yes, of course, there’s still the demand for bespoke, but there are so many incredible designers who are creating some really awesome things that we love to embrace and collaborate with them on. With the Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, for example, one of our goals was to specify as many statement pieces as we could. As someone who has always championed bespoke everything, I don’t think by specifying you get a lesser product, and I don’t think the clients think anything less of it either. It’s changing, and there are a lot of us who have our own collections so we will specify our own products for certain projects.

“The quality of the end bespoke product is not necessary as high as something that has been crafted over many years.” – Tina Norden, Partner, Conran and Partners.

Tina Norden: I would say that there are regional differences. Particularly in Asia, clients may believe you can get the product cheaper but sometimes the quality of the end product is not necessary as high as something that has been crafted over many years. Therefore, you have to be extremely careful as an interior designer. You need the right manufacturer you can trust that allows you to see the prototypes – we have all been there when that simply isn’t an option.

With the late Sir Terence Conran traditionally being a furniture designer, we have always had – and shown huge respect for – the work that furniture designers do. I guess that sometimes people don’t appreciate how much time specifiers take to get products just right.

HK: You’re right, Tina! Trust is vital – and the relationship now between quality suppliers and designers is stronger than it has ever been, is it not?

Mark Harper: We are seeing and contributing to more artisan people who are being specified. For us, as a bespoke lighting manufacturer, we do what we do to the highest level of quality.

HK: At what point in the design process do you decide bespoke is the best option?

PN: Designers go bespoke when they cannot find a product on the market that achieves the look, feel and quality that they are looking for. Perhaps the bespoke product will give a slightly different glow, but for me it comes back to the senses. It’s relevantly simple, and yet extremely complex at the same time.

Shayne Brady: At the end of the day, it is a case-by-case basis – and it depends on different factors. We often have clients come to us with a specific vision. In Bob Bob Cite, for example, the client wanted to create a full suite of bespoke wall and ceiling lights. Bespoke is great when you are working in a space that has high volume because you can customise each product to fit the space.

Image caption: Bob Citi Citi diner, designed by Brady Williams Studio, which includes bespoke lighting from Dernier & Hamlyn | Image credit: Bob Citi Citi

Image caption: Bob Bob Citi diner, designed by Brady Williams Studio, which includes bespoke lighting from Dernier & Hamlyn | Image credit: Bob Bob Citi

HK: Do bespoke projects always have to be the statement design pieces?

TN: In lighting terms, quite often it is. Ultimately, it is really coming down to the client and the location. Quite often in Europe, making something bespoke can actually feel a lot more special. Whereas in Asia, it feels more luxurious to select something from a high-end brand as a feature piece.

HK: And surely if you have a really ambitious idea that is pretty unconventional, bespoke becomes your best and sometimes only option – and Kirstin I am thinking about your project, The Engine Room…

KK: It was a really interesting project for the team here. The idea was an indoor rowing club that was sheltered in a converted church. The budget was low and therefore we recycled a lot. For example, the juice bar was made out of church pews. I would say 60 per cent of that project was lighting. As the guests were working out, the lighting would move and react in order to enhance performance. We worked very closely with the lighting designers to create that effect.

Image caption: The Engine Room, designed by Bergman Interiors | Image credit: The Engine Room

Image caption: The Engine Room, designed by Bergman Interiors | Image credit: The Engine Room

HK: That is a great example of using the demographic of where you are and thinking outside the box, and elevating the five senses. Are designers now approaching projects more holistically with sound and smell in mind?

“For me, sound and lighting are very closely linked – maybe that’s me going back to my clubbing days.” – Tina Norden, Partner, Conran and Partners.

TN: Yes, very much so. A few weeks ago, at Hotel Designs LIVE, we discussed how sound was being used in experience. For me, sound and lighting are very closely linked – maybe that’s me going back to my clubbing days. It’s all enhancing the overall ambiance.

PN: Multi-sensory lighting and design is the future! We started offering sound design in some projects. Going beyond acoustics, we are very interested to understand how sound can help enhance the consumer journey and we are seeing this now in hospitality. The third element of that is smell, which is becoming really important. Lighting, sound and smell work together, almost as a set of sub-consultants in design and architecture.

A bespoke lighting scheme by Nulty Lighting for the Earth Hotels concept at Downtown Dubai | Image credit: Nulty Lighting

A bespoke lighting scheme by Nulty Lighting for the Earth Hotels concept at Downtown Dubai | Image credit: Nulty Lighting

HK:  That’s extremely difficult to get right when all of those elements are very personal.

PN: Absolutely, and that’s why you have to really understand the brand from the outset of the project and what you want that user experience to be.

TN: That’s the key, it’s about being specific and designing for the demographic. You are not trying to please everyone.

“There will be dialogue about creating separation – which removes barriers and planning. In many ways, that’s allowing brands to reinvent themselves.” – Justin Wells, CEO, Wells International.

Blue co

Image caption: The Maximilian Hotel in Prague, designed by Conran and Partners

SR: I was doing an interview recently where I was asked when we come out of this pandemic whether or not people are going to struggle with noisy areas, and it’s an interesting point. At the same time, I met a sound identity designer. There are so many people listening in on podcasts these days. Ultimately, it made me realise that you can close your eyes but you cannot close your ears.

JW: We are trying to create thriving spaces and there were a lot of social collisions in these areas before the pandemic. However, now there will be dialogue about creating separation – which removes barriers and planning. In many ways, that’s allowing brands to reinvent themselves.

“Our clients reported that spend was greater on the tables that had more space.” – Shayne Brady, Director, Brady Williams.

SB: In between the second and third lockdown here in the UK, the guests were really appreciative and enjoyed the restaurants that had more space – not from a Covid perspective, but more from a luxury point of view. Actually, our clients reported that spend was greater on the tables that had more space. Perhaps we don’t need as many covers as we used to have.

HK: Do you therefore think that F&B spaces will be larger and take up more space?

SB: It will be more of a dialogue, for sure. There are more questions around capacity and what the sense of luxury means. Not being confined is luxury to me because that makes the experience far better.

“When we come out of this, there will be a need to decompress even more.” – Jo Littlefair, Co-Founder and Director, Goddard Littlefair.

JL: Pre-pandemic we were thinking about de-compression. We are very aware that people need that disconnect. The pandemic has definitely amplified that. When we come out of this, there will be a need to decompress even more.

Image caption: W Abu Dhabi Yas Island, designed by Wells International | Image credit: W Hotels

Image caption: W Abu Dhabi Yas Island, designed by Justin Wells | Image credit: W Hotels

HK: And now for a word that brings shivers down our spines: trends… what are the topics and movements that are dominating your conversations at the moment?

MH: We have seen an increase in enquires and requests for natural materials and clean lines with a traditional twist. What we are going to see now is the bigger picture; it’s about longevity and sustainability. Also, you cannot ignore the fact that LED technology has come on leaps and bounds and I expect that to evolve further and faster than perhaps ever before.

SR: LEDs are a nightmare, though, because the colour temperature on every single LED is different. So, trying to marry the interior design is very difficult. We still end up using filament bulbs because you just can’t rectify it.

PN: One big trend we are seeing is towards wellness – certainly towards business hotels and using lighting to mitigate jetlag. Lighting using circadian rhythm has a huge role to play in that. There’s a hotel in Reykjavik where the lighting is tied in to the alarm clock, and it illuminates before the sound of the alarm clock goes off in order to wake the guest up gently.

HK: Is that extremely expensive? For me, the benefits of circadian rhythm in lighting is so obvious, so why is it therefore not in more hotel design schemes?

PN: It’s more expensive and of course if you’ve got a 300-key hotel then it adds up. However, the benefits of that technology are being more and more proven.

HK: Do you worry about suppliers copying a bespoke design after seeing it in your projects? Does anyone have any examples of this they can/would like to share?

HB: Yes, you see that in parts of Asia and it’s not ideal, but it’s unfortunately part of our work that is always there.

 TN: I think there’s an opportunity there. If we work together with the manufacturer on a product going forward then it beats them at their own game.

HK: The ‘Norden’ chandelier, you heard it here first! Other than the ‘Norden’ collection, what’s lacking in lighting at the moment?

HB: Being able to visual prototypes in lighting is very important and be able to adapt and mold them in that creative process allows us to do more things.

SR: I agree. The first thing we want to know is what type of light the product will give off. If there was a tool to establish that, it would help us understand which light a fixture will give. For me that comes before what the product looks like. Some way of understanding the type of light the fixtures give off would be so invaluable.

“The issue is that designers love the materiality of stuff. It’s trying to engage with the intangible stuff.” – Paul Nulty, Founder, Nulty Lighting.

SB: That is interesting. We are working on a project at the moment where they have that already for furniture, but something similar in lighting would be very helpful.

PN: I agree with you. The issue is that designers love the materiality of stuff. It’s trying to engage with the intangible stuff. So many people disregard the quality of light. Quality of light and quantity of light are independent and are, I believe, misunderstood.

KK: From my experience, this should happen before we get fully into a project. Maybe it should happen even earlier!

striking bar with marble surfaces featuring distressed mirrors

Image caption: Worlds away from the hustle and bustle of London life above, The Spa at The Lanesborough was sensitively designed by 1508 London | Image credit: 1508 London/The Lanesborough

HK: Let’s finish by talking tech. The advancement of render software is incredible; it has given designers a tool to be more accurate and as a result allowed them to make informed decisions ahead of purchasing. However, it does also mean that clients now expect to see sharp renders in pitches. Does this ever narrow the window for new ideas to come into the project once it has been won?

HB: It’s such a hot topic at the moment within our studio and we have invested in a lot of technology at the moment to really confront this. You are correct in terms of narrowing down the window – and there is always a debate in our minds as to how far you go in the pitch. Right now, I think renders should happen later in the process and there has to be a visualisation tool that is a half-way house. That journey has to be a process – and that’s how you get a perfect space.

HK: And you are all competing against each other to win projects… Does it require across the board, designers stating that they will only present sketches?

HB: It would be amazing to have a conversation with designers to establish how far we should all be going in a pitch.

HK: It’s catch 22. As tech improves and the clients and consumers’ knowledge of design expands then so too does the demand for wanting to see more in a pitch.

KK: I agree totally. Sometimes the client demands a minimum of three renders in the pitch and it is a huge cost. You want to win the project and you know that everyone else will be producing renders.

SB: It depends on the client. Some clients do not understand the concept of your pitch unless it is a perfect CGI. More and more, these days, the client is very involved and there is a collaboration from start to finish. If you can hook a client with a great idea that is where it should be won.

JW: We always go quite analogue in our pitches. We use vignettes to highlight certain areas. We then, during the pitch, talk about these spaces and elements, which become frameworks. The aim of the pitch is for the client to establish how we think and how we work. If we win a pitch, we will then produce more emotive non-photo realistic renderings. The next set of renders will be marketing quality.

Dernier & Hamlyn, the sponsor of this roundtable, 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.

More than 12,000 designers & architects tuned in to ‘GROHE X’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
More than 12,000 designers & architects tuned in to ‘GROHE X’

Dubbed the ‘industry’s answer to Netflix’ – and we can see why now – GROHE X launched this week and attracted more than 12,000 visitors to explore the Grohe hub. Following the impressive start, things are just getting started as editor Hamish Kilburn prepares to host two sessions today on the portal…

‘Discover what’s next’: With this guiding theme, LIXIL EMENA successfully launched its digital experience hub, GROHE X, for its GROHE brand earlier this week. The comprehensive brand platform offers informative and inspirational multimedia content to both GROHE’s professional business partners and consumers. Tailored to the needs and interests of the respective target groups, a customised programme of content is available, which includes how-to videos, inspirational articles, and 360° virtual rooms that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the latest product highlights. In addition, there are exciting video formats such as ‘A Glass of Water with…’, in which various GROHE experts offer behind-the-scenes glimpses of the global brand, or ‘Wow of the Week’, in which a particularly inspiring project or topic is presented each week. While visitors to the brand hub can explore the world of GROHE on their own, GROHE X also opens up new ways of interaction. Business partners can use the platform to make appointments with their sales representatives and thus exchange information directly about the innovations that have just been introduced.

Register here to access GROHE X content on-demand.

“GROHE X is a milestone in our brand history. It opens up unprecedented opportunities to experience GROHE and to discover our products and the issues that drive us,” said Jonas Brennwald, Leader LIXIL EMENA and Co-CEO Grohe AG. “You can connect with GROHE X wherever you are and whenever you want. GROHE X is thus bringing us closer together in a time when we need to stay physically distant. The positive feedback I have received from customers all over the world has reconfirmed that we took the right decision eight months ago. The digital journey we have embarked on with GROHE X has only just begun. The platform is here to stay and will constantly evolve over the next months. My biggest thanks go to the team who made all this possible while working remotely. I’m extremely proud of the courage and leadership they demonstrated in transforming an idea into GROHE X.”

A new milestone in GROHE’s sustainability journey

For the launch of GROHE X, various event formats, both live and on demand for invited guests are available on the platform in addition to freely available editorial content. The highly anticipated GROHE X launch week commenced with a premiere keynote, which gave the global brand the opportunity to once again prove its status as a sustainability pioneer in the sanitary industry and announce its latest achievement: its four best-selling products as Cradle to Cradle Certified ® variants. In contrast to the linear Take-Make-Waste model, Cradle to Cradle stands for continuous material cycles. A product is manufactured in such a way that, at the end of its life, the components can be used to create new products. To achieve certification a product is evaluated in terms of the following five categories: material health, material reutilisation, renewable energy, water stewardship, and social fairness.

“Achieving Cradle to Cradle certifications at Gold level is a huge step in our sustainability efforts,” explained Thomas Fuhr, Leader Fittings LIXIL International and Co- CEO Grohe AG on the importance of the circular approach within the brand’s sustainability strategy. “I am very proud that we are one of the first brands in the sanitary industry to once again make a clear commitment to sustainable transformation and set a new benchmark. Since the building sector accounts for more than 50 per ent of worldwide material consumption, the moving away from a linear model in favour of a circular economy is essential to stop the exploitation of natural resources. We need to transform our business model towards a circular value creation and start considering products at the end of their life as valuable material banks instead of using new resources.”

The significance of initiating a paradigm shift in the construction industry and putting a focus on green buildings based on Cradle to Cradle® design principles was also the key issue in one of the platform’s panel talk discussions, when Dr. Christine Lemaitre, CEO DGNB (German Sustainable Building Council), Dr.-Ing. Peter Mösle, Partner Drees & Sommer SE and Managing Director, EPEA GmbH, and Fuhr discussed how sustainable architecture can be thought and implemented both today and in the future.

During the keynote, GROHE also introduced the new ‘GROHE Installer Vocational Training and Education’ (GIVE) programme which strengthens the social dimension of the brand’s sustainability engagement. GROHE is already collaborating with 26 institutions to date, offering plumbing training across the EMENA region. As part of the GIVE programme, the brand will support plumbing schools in creating a state-of-the-art training framework by installing modern training facilities and providing learning material and experienced technical trainers. Students will complete a specific product training designed by GROHE, for which they will receive an internationally recognised certificate. Given the shortage of skilled installers in the sanitary industry, it is more important than ever to offer an attractive training programme that helps young people build the foundation for a prosperous future.

Image caption: As part of the launch, GROHE unveiled the latest innovations in the GROHE Spa collection

Image caption: As part of the launch, GROHE unveiled the latest innovations in the GROHE Spa collection

Relevant innovations for the living spaces of tomorrow

Another determining theme of the keynote was the reclaimed customer-centricity. This focus on the customers’ expectations and needs is not only reflected on GROHE X or in the brand’s new commercial approach, which offers a differentiated product portfolio and dedicated services tailored to target groups, but is also a guiding principle when developing new products.

This was impressively underlined with the presentation of the relaunched bestseller GROHE Eurosmart. With the fourth generation of the tap range, the brand reinvented one of its core products, making Eurosmart the most versatile line in the brand portfolio. Users can now choose a hybrid tap, which combines manual operation and touchless hygiene, or different lever variants such as the loop lever, which simplifies gripping thanks to the cut-out centre, or the long lever which allows users to operate the tap with the elbow, thereby minimising the contact with surfaces – ideal for healthcare settings.

“When we design a new product, our first question is always: Who are we designing this product for? Human- centric thinking and a deep understanding of consumers are key to developing meaningful products that improve and add value to the daily lives of people around the world”, says Patrick Speck, Leader LIXIL Global Design, EMENA. “With our products, we want to respond to changing consumer needs and react to social trends. In our product development, we are guided by three key macro trends: Urbanisation, Health & Wellbeing, and Sustainability. In the last year, for example, the idea of the bathroom as a spa or wellness area has really accelerated. Consumers are looking for bathroom products which help them create memorable experiences, and want to transform the bathroom into a space where they can take good care of their body, mind, and soul. Our response to this trend is the new GROHE SPA collection which we curated to include the most exclusive products from our portfolio to allow users to enjoy unique moments of bliss.”

What to look out for today on GROHE X. 

At 11:00 CET (10:00 GMT), the platform will go live with the session GROHE X Deep Dive Session – GROHE SPA Health through water. In this session, editor Hamish Kilburn will welcome Speck and Karl Lennon, who is Leader, Projects Channel – A&D, LIXIL in the EMENA region, to discuss the latest innovations of the new GROHE SPA line and how the technology behind each product goes beyond the five senses.

At 11:45 CET (10:45 GMT), straight after the deep dive session, Kilburn will return to host the panel discussion entitled strategies for future living. This session will welcome Cristina Laurijssen (Senior Director of Design for Rosewood Hotel Group), Constantina Tsoutsikou (Founder, Studio Lost), Hamish Brown (Partner, 1508 London) and welcome back Lennon to explore how the pandemic is forcing the industry to rethink wellness and how the increasing demand for ‘safe’ spaces, especially within luxury residential developments and hospitality venues, can be answered.

GROHE will also celebrate the launch of its platform with various event formats throughout the launch week. In the future, GROHE X will be expanded to include hybrid and mobile brand experiences in addition to the digital offering.

GROHE is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: GROHE

Pink room with TSAR carpets

Product watch: TSAR launches the Chromatic carpet collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: TSAR launches the Chromatic carpet collection

Talk about taking art outside the frame… the Chromatic carpet collection by TSAR distills feelings of otherworldly escapism into new Axminster carpet designs…

Pink room with TSAR carpets

With the A/W 2020 Chromatic collection debut, Melbourne-based TSAR Carpets offers end-users reprieve from a troubled world through a synesthetic experience that evokes feelings of optimism and delight.

Centered around the concept of “the future of hospitality” – a theme explored during Hotel Designs LIVE last month – the state-of-the-art collection is an experiential approach to defining transitional public spaces in a socially distanced landscape, filtered through playful prisms of surrealism, futurism, and fantasy.

Available since November 2020, the collection is sold exclusively at TSAR’s studios in Melbourne, Sydney, New York, London, and Shanghai.

Rooted in digital abstraction and translated into reality by TSAR’s 30 years of manufacturing expertise, the Chromatic collection comprises six distinct patterns that feature both harder-edged geometric patterns as well as organic liquid forms — each utilising signature gradients and the integration of a full-spectrum of mood-altering colour, thoughtfully selected to emphasise the characteristics of each design and naturally compliment the designs.

Image of blue funriture on blue/green/purple carpet

Image credit: TSAR Carpets

Drawing inspiration from visions of futurism and fantasy, this surreal and abstract collection supports an emerging design trajectory in the world of high-end hospitality, and is suitable to a wide variety of highly-trafficked public spaces including hotels, corporate offices and event centres.

“With Chromatic, my objective was to create a visually-intriguing collection that elicits a sense of elation and happiness, offering an aspirational escape from the current state of the world,” said Andrew Cenita, TSAR’s New York-based designer who created each digital pattern in Adobe Illustrator. “For this collection TSAR’s goal was to introduce a new experimental aesthetic into our ready-made offering, providing our customers with a high-quality product that serves various hospitality interior applications and beyond.”

long corridor in a hotel with blue/green carpet

Image credit: TSAR Carpets

In the wake of Covid-19 mitigation strategies, the Chromatic collection’s unique ‘gradient mapping’ attributes provide interior designers with new tactics in the creation of human-centered spaces. Leveraging TSAR’s Axminster broadloom custom-carpet design workflow, designers may apply these custom-colour gradients to create bespoke floor-based way-finding systems and social distancing markers, demarcating private zones from transitional spaces like corridors and circulation areas. Specification, colours, and image scale can also be customised to suit any project scheme.

In bringing the collection’s launch to life, TSAR partnered with 3-D Artist Joe Mortell and creative director Charlotte Taylor to develop a suite of digital stills and animations depicting the collection within a series of futuristic hospitality and interior environments. Following a successful collaboration with Joe on the visual assets for TSAR’s Spring 2020 Circ collection, Andrew re-approached Joe, as well as Charlotte, during the design and conceptualisation process of the collection. Attracted to each designer’s ability to balance realism with a fantastical and otherworldly design approach, the visuals represent a seamless shared vision between Joe, Charlotte and TSAR’s creative team. Generating a compelling universe of realistic spaces, each image expresses a captivating and colourful digital world that compliments abstract objects and furniture vignettes with each Chromatic rug design.

The collection is available in the following patterns: Reveal, Ripple, Ember, Aurora, Neo and Lucid.

TSAR Carpets, which is an Industry Support Partner Hotel Designs, is a Melbourne-based design brand with more than 30 years of expertise in the manufacturing of luxury custom carpets and rugs. A family-owned business founded by David and Kerrie Sharpley, it is now a global company recognised for its passion for textiles and its profound knowledge of the handtufted technique. TSAR delivers bespoke floor coverings for high-end residential, hospitality, and commercial environments worldwide.

Main image credit: TSAR Carpets

Image of rug in a lounge-like setting

Product watch: Wilton Carpets unveils the Vignette collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Wilton Carpets unveils the Vignette collection

Close working relationships with clients has meant Wilton has always produced bespoke rugs for specific projects, but increased demand has inspired them to put together this collection of stylish commercial rugs…

Image of rug in a lounge-like setting

Designed to look great and wear well in commercial environments, Vignette from Wilton Carpets is available with short lead times and with attractive volume discounts.

The cool, contemporary rug collection includes a suite of 14 dynamic rugs offer flexibility for the design scheme and usable, durable colourways. At the start of the brief, Design Director Damian Roscoe reached for original inspiration.“When looking for inspiration for a rug collection the designers at Wilton decided to go back to the very origins of the art form, he explained to Hotel Designs. “No matter where a rug would have come from, all told a story and as such all had symbols, motifs and meaning. The Figurine, The Amulet and the Tree of Life are just three of many such concepts. Our designers took these ideas and developed themes, colourations and patterns that embody these origins.”

Anchored to carpet heritage, but looking to the future, Wilton wove these stories into modern design and palettes, drawing inspiration from Pantone colours of the year; a vibrant yellow and the strong warmth of the most enduring grey, and the re-emergence of bold abstracts in pattern design. As design turns away from the trend for minimalism, and re-engages with the ‘more-is-more’ philosophy of design, the rugs are striking abstract pieces featuring vivid colours and unique shapes, in line with that design direction.

While brave tones and abstract shapes are red hot for the coming year, the enduring appeal of calming, restorative natural neutrals offers balance in this collection. Inspired by the natural and ethereal, there are elements of this collection which encourage a connection with landscape, imagination and wellbeing.

Woven to order in its Wiltshire factory, this rug collection is manufactured in contract quality, offering superb lifetime value. Customisable, and ready for delivery when you need them, the Vignette range provides a cost-effective lift to your interior scheme.

Wilton 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: Wilton Carpets

Promo image of Ep 2 of DESIGN POD

DESIGN POD episode 2, with Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, has landed

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
DESIGN POD episode 2, with Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, has landed

LISTEN NOW: For episode of two of DESIGN POD, in association with Bathrooms Brands Group, editor Hamish Kilburn and co-host Harriet Forde invite Christos Passas, Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, to discuss architecture beyond boundaries…

Promo image of Ep 2 of DESIGN POD

Hosted by editor Hamish Kilburn and co-hosted by designer Harriet Forde, DESIGN POD’s latest episode, entitled ‘Architecture Beyond Boundaries’, is now available to listen to all major podcast platforms such as SpotifyAmazon Music and Acast – and welcomes Christos Passas, Director of Zaha Hadid Architect (ZHA), as the guest professional for the episode.

As well as discussing how ZHA stretches what is possible in design and architecture, the episode also dives deep into the legacy that the late Zaha Hadid left behind, whose outstanding contribution to the architectural profession has been acknowledged by professional, academic and civic institutions around the world, including (but not limited to) the Forbes List of the ‘World’s Most Powerful Women. “It is no coincidence that this episode has been released in the wake of International Women’s Day,” explains Kilburn. “Hadid’s vision was one that captured the imagination of more than industry professionals; her unapologetic, pioneering mindset continues, to this day, to resonate with every individual on the planet who believes in and strives for equality in all sectors.”

“When it comes to younger generations, I always look for people who are not afraid to work hard.” – Christos Passas, Director, Zaha Hadid Architects.

Passas, who first joined the international architecture and design studio 23 years ago and recently won Architect of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2020, agreed to be interviewed by Kilburn who was keen to understand more about how the studio has changed since the passing of Hadid as well as getting the low-down on the studio’s latest project, The Opus in Dubai, which Hotel Designs exclusively reviewed the design of last month. In addition to this, Passas describes what he looks for in  the young talent that walks through the ZHA doors. “The collaborative nature within our team is something to be learned from,” explains Passas in the interview. “We have always found a certain amount of pride and encouragement to be a company that is very much proactive on an individual level. When it comes to younger generations, I always look for people who are not afraid to work hard and for those who are able to test their ideas with others while working for the good of others.”

Listen to DESIGN POD on SpotifyAmazon MusicAcast, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

Product watch: Hamilton Litestat’s Paintables collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Hamilton Litestat’s Paintables collection

Following Hamilton Litestat sponsoring a session at Hotel Designs LIVE, we take a look at the expanded Paintables service that delivers highly durable, colour-matched wiring accessories with accurate colour reproduction…

Consumer demand for personalisation continues to grow in all aspects of our lives. Today there is an expectation that products and services will meet our exact needs – if an available solution doesn’t tick all our boxes, we want to customise it simply and cost-effectively and make it our own. And if that’s not possible, we’ll find another supplier that can make it happen. Hamilton Litestat provides bespoke solutions to fulfil these customer demands, including its popular Paintables colour-matching service.

Accessories can be painted to blend in with a colour taken from a wallpaper, or to contrast it with a hue from the room’s soft furnishings. Popular colours are heavily influenced by the paint manufacturers, so Dulux’s Colour for 2021, Brave Ground, is set to have a major impact on the finish of wiring accessories in current interior design schemes. The company is giving the designer the ability to make every flick of a switch feel unique while ensuring ease-of-ordering and minimal hassle for wholesalers and installers.

“We pride ourselves on going the extra mile to ensure a client’s vision can be executed, and our Paintables service is helping deliver that with accurate colour matching to interior design schemes,” explains Gavin Williams, Sales & Marketing Director at Hamilton. “Today, people expect options to be tailored to them rather than selecting off-the-shelf solutions, and Paintables delivers that experience in a simple and cost-effective solution. We’ve seen demand double in the past 18 months, and to keep ahead of the market have increased our capacity for this service at our Bristol facilities.”

Image caption: Paintables Service Hotels by Hamilton Litestat

Hamilton has long offered colour-matched switch plates and sockets from its factory at Mere but with this rapidly rising demand it has relocated and doubled the size of its Paintables Department, which now sits at its headquarters in Bristol, delivering a 40 per cent reduction in current lead times.

The Paintables service is a powder coating process and is available on Hamilton’s popular and versatile Hartland CFX and Sheer CFX designer plate collections, which offer a wide range of functionality and configuration options. So, whether a customer wants a USB switched socket in BS 114 Rail Blue, so it blends seamlessly with a deep on-trend wall colour, or a Wide Rocker Switch in RAL 6000, a leafy green to complement a jungle mural feature wall, it’s possible quickly, simply, and cost-effectively.

Colour selection

For accurate colour matching Hamilton recommends using colour reference systems RAL, British Standards or the Natural Colour System. While Pantone is often a go-to system, its accuracy is limited in metal powder coating applications, so all Pantone colour-matching requests need to be individually accessed to avoid disappointment.

coloured switch plates

Image credit: Hamilton Litestat

Yet with RAL having 1,625 options and the Natural Colour System having 1,950, customers will not be short on colour choices! In addition to the vast colour possibilities, Hamilton’s Paintables solution is available in gloss, matt, and even a metallic finish.

“Colour influences our emotions and behaviours, so getting the right colour scheme and coordinating accessories and soft furnishings is really important. After the difficult times we’ve faced lately, there’s a great craving for change and to get away from our daily routines. Colour can help us reset, recharge and refocus, and Paintables wiring accessories can ensure that these schemes are cohesive and personalised to the customer’s exact colour requirements.”

FREE production service

All of Hamilton’s wiring accessories receive a decorative coating of some kind – whether that’s to achieve a standard Matt Black option or a metallic finish such as Antique Brass. For bespoke, colour-matched Paintables finishes, the cost of the spray coating process is already considered, so Hamilton only charges for the dry powder coating required. Purchased in bulk, this means that on-trend colour requests may be very competitively priced due to market demand.

“Many orders we receive from wholesalers are bespoke, so thanks to our expanded Paintables capacity we can provide colour-matched finishes with minimal impact on anticipated lead times,” explains Williams. “Moreover, as we already take into account the spray coating process in the unit price, the cost implications are minimised. Although niche colours may have a minimum purchase quantity, we can offer more popular colours cost effectively.”

Flawless finish

The Paintables powder coating results in a high-quality finish, ensuring the paint adheres evenly and the colour is consistent. It is resistant to chipping, scratching, and fading, which is particularly important for these high-wear wiring accessories.

Powder coating makes use of pigment and resin that are statically charged and sprayed onto the electrically grounded surfaces of the wiring solutions. The paint coating is then cured in an oven, resulting in a finish that is far more durable than other paint options.

Should it not be possible to select a colour ahead of time, Hamilton also supplies primed plates for painting on site. While not as durable as they haven’t been cured, they provide a flexible alternative for achieving the colour-matched aesthetic.

Hamilton Litestat, which was a Session Sponsor at Hotel Designs LIVE, is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Hamilton Litestat

Miniview: Inside Italy’s natural wellness hotel, Terme di Saturnia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Miniview: Inside Italy’s natural wellness hotel, Terme di Saturnia

Design firm THDP’s recently completed project is situated in Tuscany, Italy. As a natural wellness hotel and retreat, Terme di Saturnia has been part-inspired by the elements of earth, air, and water. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Surrounded by beautiful Tuscan countryside, Hotel Terme di Saturina is a luxury golf and spa resort, which is located 3km from both Le Cascate del Mulino waterfall and the village of Saturnia in Tuscany, Italy.

Design firm THDP was responsible for refurbishing both the guestrooms and the public area. The inspiration behind the concept is formed around a ‘super natural’ condition; how elements such as the earth, air, water transform as well as the light and temperature. THDP used terms such as reflection, corrosion, erosion, layering, ripples to create the visual and emotional language of the interior design.

Image credit: Terme di Saturnia/Giorgio Baroni

Light installations with glass spheres were created by Gomiero, who had the intuition to ripple the spheres to create the same reflection of water on the walls.

Botanical wallcoverings and lights that look like waterfalls in the lobby

Image credit: Terme di Saturnia/Giorgio Baroni

The waterfalls of the Mill were the inspiration behind the design of the lobby/lounge area, created together with local artisans such as the Ragnini workshops of Pitigliano who have created oxidised tables and bronzed handles and with experienced craftsmen such as Ramiro Contract and design such as Materica who work metals in a contemporary way, using them liquid to transform them into corroded metals, as well as sulphur dense water.

The selection of four colour palettes resulted from the observation of the resort’s surroundings. The colours have been declined in diverse shades in line with the different areas, from the reception with the ethereal hues of the waterfalls of the Mill, to the patio with the central olive tree embodying the Tuscan countryside, up to the bright tones of turquoise and petrol blue of the handmade glazed terracotta tiles of the bar counter coating, found after a long search, in the colour ‘The Fondale’, from Pecchioli Fierenze.

In order to maintain an ideal continuity with the classic and elegant original style, but more importantly with the conscious intention to adhere to a sustainable approach to renovations, some wooden furnishings have been preserved both in rooms and common spaces.

The hotel, which sits above Italy’s most famous thermal spring dating back 3,000 years, is naturally a safe and quiet place – think home-away-from-home – that is conducive to wellbeing as we enter a new era of wellness.

Main image credit: Terme di Saturnia/Test Srls

Weekly briefing: Nobu exclusive, Rosewood footprints & sustainability explored

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Nobu exclusive, Rosewood footprints & sustainability explored

Editor Hamish Kilburn here with your weekly briefing. This week’s round-up includes an exclusive lighting feature, details about Rosewood’s second hotel in London and how to watch out latest panel discussion on sustainability beneath the surface…

2021 is shaping up to be an extremely exciting year on the hotel design front. Already this quarter, we have seen Zaha Hadid Architects complete an incredible architectural marvel in Dubai, watched Moxy Hotels turn up the volume with a landmark opening in Miami and we have even published plans for hospitality to launch into space.

As impressive as that all sounds, this week, the international development plot has thickened, with Hotel Designs leading the narrative around sustainability and the future of hospitality at Hotel Designs LIVE, Rosewood dropping yet more news around its second arrival in London and a study being launched that cuts through the noise to reveal new demands from modern traveller following the pandemic.

So, without further a due, here are the top stories from the last few days.

The industry comments on International Women’s Day

Gif of strong women for International Women's Day

Our nod to International Women’s Day is more of a formal bow or curtsy. For this year’s IWD, we heard from leading female designers, hoteliers and architects about how far we have come and, crucially, how far we have still got to travel in order to operate in an equal and fair global arena.

Read more. 

EXCLUSIVE // Case study: The bespoke lighting narrative inside London’s Nobu hotel

Image credit: Jack Hardy

Inside Nobu Hotel London Portman Square – a hotel that has caused a lot of noise recently on the international hotel design scene – there is a bespoke lighting narrative that flickers unlike any other. We exclusively caught up with Lyn Newcombe, Head of Projects at Dernier & Hamlyn and Lewis Taylor, Design Director at David Collins Studio, to capture the full story.

Read more. 

Nearly half of Brits surveyed expect air purifiers in tomorrow’s hotel

A navy blue air purifier next to a navy blue bed

Blueair, which produces air purifiers that remove air pollutants like smoke, mold and allergens, recently participated as a Product Watch Pitch Partner at Hotel Designs LIVE. Here, the brand shares insights into how consumers feel about visiting hotels in a post-pandemic world.

Read more.

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Sustainability beneath the surface

Collage of speakers for Hotel Designs LIVE Sustainability talk

On February 23, designers, architects, hoteliers and developers from around the globe tuned in to watch Hotel Designs LIVE. Following an engaging panel discussion on the future of hotel design and hospitality, the spotlight for the second session of the day landed on leading design and hospitality figures to debate sustainability, a topic that continues to be weighed down by heavy stigma. Sponsored by Grohe, a brand that inherently has sustainability running through its DNA – if recent accolades are anything go by – the panel was inspired by the recent Q&A between Hotel Designs LIVE and eco warrior, Bill Bensley.

Read more. 

Industry insight: Biophilic spa & wellness design

maggies by thomas Hetherwick

Image credit: Thomas Heatherwick

As wellness evolves as we enter a new era of hospitality, we invite Beverley Bayes, Creative Director at Sparcstudio, to discuss the growing trend for biophilic design in spa and wellness properties. It is inevitable that spa and wellness, post-pandemic will become an ever more important and integral part of our lives. We are entering a new era where ‘Health is the New Wealth’ and a healthy lifestyle is recognised as an important part of preventative medicine.

Read more.

In Conversation With: Lucienne Walpole, Vice President, SB Architects

Image of Lucienne Walpole

Since joining SB Architects in 2007, Lucienne Walpole has played a valuable role on the design team for a number of the firm’s most exciting hospitality projects. Combining her dual backgrounds in interior design and architecture, Walpole brings to the firm strengths in space planning as well as architectural design. Following Walpole’s participation in Hotel Designs LIVE conference, we caught up with the architect to learn more.

Read more.

The Chancery Rosewood, arriving in London in 2024

Render of Rosewood London in former US Embassy

Image credit: DBOX for Qatari Diar

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, which currently manages 27 luxury properties in 16 countries with a further 21 hotels under development, has announced that its second hotel in London will be sheltered in the former US Embassy and will be named The Chancery Rosewood.

Read more.

And finally… 

If you haven’t yet had a change to listen to DESIGN POD, here’s the latest episode. Entitled ‘Choosing Your Lane’, we invite interior designer Constantina Tsoutsikou to join us as our first guest. Episode two, with guest Christos Passas, Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, goes live on Monday!

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Image of natural looking hotel room

Product watch: Sustainable luxury surfaces from Siminetti

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Sustainable luxury surfaces from Siminetti

As we have already established in our editorial series with the brand, Siminetti is renowned for its hand-crafted mother of pearl decorative surfaces. In the unprecedented circumstances of 2021, the brand’s products offer a unique form of decoration with qualities that enhance both public and private areas…

Image of natural looking hotel room

Siminetti produces luxury surfaces that are crafted with passion and viewed with awe. As explained in a Product Watch Pitch at Hotel Designs LIVE, all of its raw materials are sourced from ethically farmed and sustainable sources. This is to ensure our impact is with respect to the traditions of the people who inhabit the areas and ensure the environment is protected. Typically the shellfish industry farm foodstuffs, cosmetics and pearls for jewellery. Leaving the shells as waste material which is discarded to landfill. Siminetti takes this jewel in the rough to remove the harsh exterior and reveal the undisputable beauty within, resulting in not only a minimal environmental impact but a positive one reducing waste to landfill.

Image of bed in hotel room with Siminetti wallcovering

Image credit: Siminetti

The process in which the brand’s raw product is transformed into their beautiful surfaces however is not straightforward. All products are handcrafted with a key attention to detail. Rough imperfections are removed to reveal the stunning nacre. This is then cut into individual tesserae, hand-placed by artisans onto either mesh backings or paper sheet faces – for mosaics – or applied to one of their panelling substrates to create our inspiring decorative surface. Finally, the mosaic tiles and decorative surfaces are polished to bring out the stunning qualities of mother of pearl then sealed for increased strength, an enhanced finish and ease of cleaning.

Following the events of 2021, hoteliers and designers are looking for solutions to growing hygiene concerns. Siminetti’s decorative surfaces come made to measure up to a size of 1200mm x 2400mm with a strong panelling substrate. The substrate options include aluminium honeycomb, magnesium board or PVC foam in varying depths depending on your requirements. This results in an exact fitting solution that requires no grouting and is easily wiped clean in high traffic areas. The grout typically used with bathroom tiling can cause a bacterial build-up or capture viral pathogens. The brand’s paneling solution mitigates that risk whilst providing a luxurious aesthetic.

Image of luxury textured sustainable wallcovering from Siminetti

Image credit: Siminetti

This year, Siminetti unveiled its Seasons’ Collection. A series of decorative surfaces inspired by nature and kind to the planet. The collection consists of 12 designs which are all currently available in two colourway options; Innocence saltwater pearl or Golden Promise saltwater pearl with a Bianco freshwater base. These timeless designs will tie your décor back to nature, provide a hygienic – easy to clean surface, and inspire your customers.

The seasons’ collection entails a range of designs to complement any luxury setting. Breaking the traditions of what is assumed possible with mother of pearl. The inclusion of geometric, organic and abstract patterns sets the collection apart from any others on the market. Explore the twelve stunning designs on their website or their new brochure.

It is important to look at what can be taught by the disruption of 2020. Siminetti’s next generation of decorative surfaces present opportunities in the development of both luxury hospitality aesthetics and hygiene demands of more demanding guests. This benefit of improved maintenance and aesthetics, over traditional tiling, is furthered also by the surfaces ease of installation compared to traditional tiling.

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

Main image credit: Siminetti

PENT Fitness collection in hotel

Product watch: PENT. launches stylish hotel fitness solutions

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: PENT. launches stylish hotel fitness solutions

Following PENT.’s Product Watch pitch at Hotel Designs LIVE during a panel discussion on the future of hotel design and hospitality, Hotel Designs takes a look at the brand’s latest stylish fitness accessories…

PENT Fitness collection in hotel

On February 23, during Hotel Designs LIVE first panel discussion of the day, PENT., which was established in 2011 on the base of experience and know-how gained in previous years as a supplier of fitness solutions for professional fitness clubs, unveiled details about two of its latest collections that are suitable for the hotel and hospitality market.

Recently, hospitality demanded a product that not only responded to the change that the world has been going through over the last year but also allowed hotel guests to use fitness equipment at a comfort of their rooms. Both the SOPHIA and COMBO Hotel collections were inspired by the ever-changing role of fitness spaces within the hotel experience.


The SOPHIA collection includes a set of dumbbells, kettlebells, exercise mat and essential yoga and fitness accessories. Placed on a niftily designed cart, it can be delivered straight to a guest’s room. It is the true evolution of modern solutions for the hotel industry in times of pandemics and beyond.

PENT Sophia collection

Image credit: PENT.

SOPHIA has been created by specialists for professionals and enthusiasts as a complete set for the most demanding guests. The ergonomic design includes drawers for smaller but important accessories such as a jump rope or push-up bars. There’s a place for towels, water and an IPad.

COMBO Hotel 

If, however, a hotel prefers a more stationary solution then PENT. also provides a permanent set of fitness equipment. The COMBO option can be placed inside a chosen room or a suite to provide hotle guests with even more privacy and hassle-free experience.

COMBO Collection by PENT Fitness

Image credit: PENT.

All PENT. fitness equipment is designed and manufactured in Poland and the brand prides itself on the fact that the entire production process is performed in-house.

Even the smallest wooden, steel or genuine leather components are made by PENT. employees – not a single production process is outsourced, which means that the company has the opportunity to fully customise and quickly develop new products. All product components are made by hand, and where it is impossible, the elements are made on the most modern CNC machines.

PENT. was a Product Watch Pitch partner at Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on February 23, 2021. Read more about the virtual event here. The next Hotel Designs LIVE will take place on May 11 2021.

Main image credit: PENT

Image of Lucienne Walpole

In Conversation With: Lucienne Walpole, Vice President, SB Architects

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Lucienne Walpole, Vice President, SB Architects

SB Architects recently appointed Lucienne Walpole as the firm’s new Vice President. Following Walpole’s participation in Hotel Designs LIVE conference, editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with the architect to learn more…

Image of Lucienne Walpole

Since joining SB Architects in 2007, Lucienne Walpole has played a valuable role on the design team for a number of the firm’s most exciting hospitality projects. Combining her dual backgrounds in interior design and architecture, Walpole brings to the firm strengths in space planning as well as architectural design. She lends a unique perspective while contributing a strong sense of creative vision and attention to detail and has played a crucial role in many high-profile hotel, resort, and multi-family projects.

So when it was revealed that Walpole had been appointed as a new Vice President of the firm, we at Hotel Designs were not surprised. I caught up with Walpole to understand her passion for design and architect, her position on wellness post-pandemic – following the panel discussion the architect took part in during Hotel Designs LIVE last week – while also learning what a typical day looks like in Walpole’s shoes.

Image credit: Conrad Punta de Mita/SB Architects

Image credit: Conrad Punta de Mita/SB Architects

Hamish Kilburn: What attracted you to work in architecture?

Lucienne Walpole: I always knew I wanted to have a career rooted in creativity, but I didn’t seriously set my sights on architecture until the end of college. I initially studied Interior Design but then went straight on to pursue a Masters in Architecture. I think the seed was always there though. I was born, raised, and currently reside in Coral Gables, Florida where we have a wealth of beautiful Old Spanish homes, one of which I grew up in. I watched as my parents transformed the run-down 1920s house into a home full of detail and beauty. They taught me about vision and being able to see past a neglected exterior or a blank page.

Hamish Kilburn: What has been the highlight of your career so far?

LW: Working at Baha Mar in the Bahamas in conjunction with SB Architects has afforded me the opportunity to lead the design of two amazing restaurants. Since Baha Mar is known for its spectacular, out of the box ideas, the client was keen to pursue ideas that might have otherwise been disregarded initially for budgetary or feasibility reasons. Not only did I get to lead the design, but I was able to be a part of the construction administration process. The sweet finale was being able to finally enjoy a meal and a margarita in one of the over-water dining pavilions we designed.

Image caption: The Sky Bar at Baha Mar, designed by SB Architects

Image caption: The Sky Bar at Baha Mar, designed by SB Architects

HK: How do you keep your designs fresh from one project to another?

LW: I’m inspired by the site and local history of each project I work on. Every location has different opportunities and every market demands a different experience. I love looking at imagery for inspiration and revisiting my initial sketches and thoughts.

HK: How has your voice as a designer evolved since joining SB Architects?

LW: I started at SB Architects straight out of graduate school at the age of 24 and I’ve been here ever since. I’ve been lucky to work under great mentors who taught me the ins-and-outs of the hospitality design world, as well as the qualities needed to be a good leader. As I’ve stretched my wings, I’ve learned not to be afraid to throw out ideas in meetings even if they seem a little crazy. I strive to always think outside of the box and not let go of the original design intent too easily.

HK: Describe a typical working day for you…

LW: I wake up before anyone else in the house in order to squeeze in a quick workout before jumping in the shower, making lunches, and getting myself ready. After I’ve dropped off our two young boys at school, I rush off to the office to start my day. These days I’m doing a mixture of working from home as well as working in the office. Once in front of my computer, I dig right in since time without the distraction of two little ones is limited these days. I’m usually designing in AutoCad and sketching, completing image research, and taking Zoom calls with clients and my team. A good podcast, audio book, or music is a must.

HK: What advice do you have for younger generations of women wanting to get into design leadership positions?

LW: As women, and often mothers, we are great multi-taskers and time managers. Don’t wait for the opportunity but instead speak up about what your goals are. Also, know that it’s ok to offer up ideas and speak up in every setting. Most of the senior leadership I work with are so busy that I think they appreciate it when someone else is willing to take the reigns on a new initiative.

Image credit: Conrad Punta de Mita/SB Architects

Image credit: Conrad Punta de Mita/SB Architects

HK: Where do you see hotel design 10 years from now?

LW: I think hotel design will evolve into a space where wellness isn’t just a line item in the program, but instead infused into each space touching all five senses, wellness will become as commonplace, and as considered as lighting. I think operations and hotel design will begin to be more closely tied, especially considering all the last 12 months has taught us. Not just from how the back-of-house spaces work, but how an operator can customise an experience for the guest and how the design can support that.

HK: You joined us on the virtual sofa at Hotel Designs LIVE a few weeks ago for a session on wellness. What will wellness’ role be post-pandemic?

LW: I feel wellness will not only be about the physical but the mental too. We need to move our bodies, but we also need to rest our minds. The wellness experience should also extend from adults, all the way to the youngest of children. I think this theme of inclusivity will push travel to become more meaningful and provide more teaching opportunities.

HK: Are you working on any upcoming projects that you can tell us about?

LW: I’m working on an urban retreat, Al Yosr Clubhouse, located just outside of Cairo, Egypt. We’re designing the space to be an urban sanctuary for the surrounding community and those looking for a wellness experience. The clubhouse will have a large spa component, a few F&B venues, as well as a sunken garden that stretches the length of the site providing different pockets of space to relax, meet, and play.

HK: What design/architecture trends are you seeing for 2021?

LW: Meaningful travel, intention, less public spaces, more outdoor spaces. Providing more spaces for those working remotely. More local travel. Curated experiences and personalisation. Sustainability and wellness will move away from being a buzz word, but an expected feature… at least within the luxury market space.

Main image credit: SB Architects

maggies by thomas Hetherwick

Industry insight: Biophilic spa & wellness design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: Biophilic spa & wellness design

As wellness evolves as we enter a new era of hospitality, we invite Beverley Bayes, Creative Director at Sparcstudio, to discuss the growing trend for biophilic design in spa and wellness properties…

maggies by thomas Hetherwick

It is inevitable that spa and wellness, post-pandemic will become an ever more important and integral part of our lives. We are entering a new era where ‘Health is the New Wealth’ and a healthy lifestyle is recognised as an important part of preventative medicine.

UK hotel spas are set to provide an alternative to holidays abroad as staycations are expected to boom. There has been a 1,900 per cent increase in searches for ‘when do spas open? ‘ post road map announcement, as reported in Googles search trends.

Image of two people in pool overlooking nature outside

Image credit: Sparcstudio

“Excellent design will be absolutely key in the creation of destination spas that are unique, have heart and soul, capitalise on the best aspects of their location in linking to a beautiful landscape or view,” says Beverley Bayes, Director of Sparcstudio. “Many of the trends in spa design this year and beyond relate to our collective desire to connect with nature.”

Biophilic design: Reconnecting with nature

2020 saw the entire country embrace the great outdoors and spas followed by extending their spa gardens, making use of outside space to help social distancing which created a true connection between the spa and nature.

This ‘biophilic’ approach to design is already evident in our own homes, offices and hotels  right now and we expect them to explode in spas in 2021. Spas are realising the full potential of converting outside terraces and underused gardens to useable spa relaxation and wellness spaces.

Nature has always been a key inspiration in the design of the spas that Sparcstudio creates which includes Calcot Spa, Dormy House, The Spa at South Lodge Spa, Sopwell House Spa and the Aqua Sana spas. The Sparcstudio HQ is based by the river at Richmond and we are lucky to have Kew Gardens close to hand for natural ‘inspiration’.

Exterior shot of The Spa at South Lodge Spa

Image credit: The Spa at South Lodge Spa

Location, location, location

 When creating a new build spa, careful positioning is key if you want to take full advantage of the vistas, natural light and links to outside spa space, whether this is via gardens or a even a roof terrace. Thankfully spas have largely emerged from being consigned to the hotel basement, reflecting their increasing importance as part of a hotel’s overall wellness offer and the rise in global spa tourism where spas are destinations in their own right.

The Aqua Sana Forest spa concept that we helped develop, transformed the Aqua Sana space – planning model from inward facing experiences, to experiences that reached out into the forest with the inclusion of in-out pools and panoramic saunas surrounded by trees, as can be seen at the new build Center Parcs Longford Forest Aqua Sana spa in Ireland. At the Sherwood Forest Aqua Sana, we created the first sauna on stilts which takes ‘Forest bathing’ to a new level.

Exterior Spa experiences can also include a yoga deck or dedicated area for ‘Forest bathing’, curved seating around a firepit, a circular walk through herb garden, or bathing in a natural pool. Natural swimming pools offer a sense of freedom and escapism whilst tapping into the popularity of ‘wild swimming’. These fresh water, naturally filtered pools and ponds are set to become an essential element for any forward thinking, eco-conscious spa developer.

We are also designing stretch and personal training zones that extend to an outside deck beyond the interior gym spaces.

Not all sites of course are blessed with an inspiring mountain top, edge of the ocean location or a  view of pristine countryside or even a glacier, but with good design it’s very possible for a building to ‘transcend’ the location and benefit from a biophilic design approach.

Take the inspiring example of Thomas Heatherwick designed wellness centre ‘Maggie’s  in Leeds (a charity that provides support for people affected by cancer). Set in the midst of medical buildings, almost on a traffic island, the studio created a series of beautiful interlocking organic buildings that seem to grow out of the garden and provide a relaxing haven which has central top lit space and roof terraces that features native English species of plants, alongside areas of evergreen to provide warmth in the winter months.

Top lighting

‘Top lighting’ of spaces with the integration of skylights or slots and integration of internal courtyards is a very effective way of providing a connection to nature in spas, framing sky views and allowing light to penetrate into the heart of spa. An example of this can be seen at  Spa Vilnius Lithuania, where we formed an organic shaped top lit winter garden in the heart of the treatment space.

Image of lighting in sauna

Image credit: Champneys Spa Mottram Hall

Interior spaces will also continue to have a strong Biophilic feel and visual link to natural surroundings. I love the Japanese concept of ‘Yukimi-shoji’ meaning ‘Snow viewing Shoji’, which is a type of window made so the bottom half slides upwards, often to reveal a beautiful view. Taking inspiration from this concept, we often frame a view with a single pane of glass in a treatment room or even a heat cabin (such as the Organic Sauna at South Lodge Spa), which features organic forms looking out onto the curving South Downs.

Biophilic form: Curves, waves and organic forms

Curved soft cosseting forms will be a strong theme in spa design offering a comforting embrace to spa users. These will be evident in many elements ranging from curved organic pools (such as the ‘wild swimming’ pool at South Lodge). Bespoke joinery and furniture (for example the statement curved sofas that we created for Champneys Mottram Hall) or the bespoke organic sauna designs and ice feature that we designed as part of the new pool there.

Biophilic design for the senses

Natural light, planting, fire and water are key elements to incorporate into a biophilic wellness interior. But surprisingly  ‘Aroma’ whilst often being a key part of the spa treatment experience itself, can be  overlooked in the physical design of the spaces.

As spa designers but we like to be mindful of Aroma as an integral part of the sensual experience, imbedded in the spa  materials and finishes and experiences.  Thermal and heat experiences offer an opportunity to create little ‘micro climates of aroma’. Cedar is one of my favourite timbers within saunas for its soothing slightly exotic smell.  We have also designed many plant based aroma rooms  including the ‘lavender aroma room’  heat  cabin that we designed as part of the heat experiences at Dormy House Spa utilising local lavender from a nearby farm.

At Sopwell Spa, Cottonmill Club, we created a ‘Rose Relaxation room’ inspired by Moroccan Riads whose central courtyards provide serene sheltered relaxation spaces infused with a Moroccan rose aroma, and rose tinted glass panels create private relaxation niches.

As part of our design of Third Space fitness club at Tower Bridge we created one of London’s first dedicated hot yoga studios. We lined the walls with fragrant Juniper logs and fitted with state-of-the-art anti-bacterial technology, enabling members to enter deep stretches and poses, and detoxify through perspiration, in a hot, cleansing biophilic environment.

Since you’re here, why not read out Guide To Hotel Design article on spa design in the new era of wellness?

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

Image caption/credit: Maggies by Thomas Heatherwick