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SPOTLIGHT ON: 10 inspirational hotel bars and restaurants

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: 10 inspirational hotel bars and restaurants

To kickstart our Spotlight On topic of Bars & Restaurants, Hotel Designs has scoured the globe to highlight hotel F&B gems that deserve to be recognised. Editor Hamish Kilburn edits…

In 2018, according to Technomic, overall consumer spending for hotel food and beverage showed a solid 5.5 percent annual growth since 2011. In design, architecture and in service, there is a clear move to produce instagrammable F&B areas.

While the overall dining and drinking experience is becoming somewhat of a theatrical performance, we have identified 10 hotels going above and beyond – in both design and service – to ensure that they are entertaining their customers’ ever-evolving demands.

Joali – Mura Bar (Maldives)

Beach blue wallcovering with wooden roof

Image credit: Joali – Mura Bar

Overlooking a pearly beach and pool that meets the sea, The Mura Bar is designed to encourage guests to naturally relax and unwind. The hotel’s entire construction was designed to build around its natural landscape. As a result, 1,000 trees were preserved in the process, creating luscious green scenes in a natural paradise.

Gleneagles – The American Bar (Scotland)

close up of plush light blue seating

Image credit: Gleneagles

With the aim to bring back the glamour and decadence of fine dining experiences of the 1920s and ’30s and redesign a legend, Gleneagles will in May 2019 unveil the relaunch of its famous restaurant, The Strathearn following a design transformation by Ennismore Design Studio.

Conrad Malives Ranhgali Island – Ithaa Undersea Restaurant (The Maldives)

The awarding winning underwater Ithaa sits five metres below the surface, offering 180-degree panoramic views of the vibrant coral gardens surrounding it. Ithaa (meaning ‘mother of pearl’ in the Maldivian language of Dhivehi) serves contemporary European cuisine in a six-course set dinner menu.

Since its opening in 2015, the restaurant has become an Instagram sensation and its popularity led to the concept of opening the world’s first underwater hotel suite.

Hotel Gotham, Manchester – Club Brass (United Kingdom)

Image credit: Hotel Gotham

Poised to become the backdrop of Hotel Designs’ Meet Up North, Manchester’s Hotel Gotham, which opened in 2015 – read full review here, has been a major catalyst that has crowned the northern metropolis a major hot spot for hotel design and development. The jewel within the crown is located on the rooftop, at Club Brass.

Leading designers, architects, hoteliers and key-industry suppliers are expected to gather at the hotel’s exclusive members-only rooftop bar, Club Brass, for drinks and canapés above the city on July 1 for Meet Up North. Click here to purchase your exclusive ticket

Peninsula Paris – The Rooftop Bar (France)

Paris rooftop bar with curved windows overlooking a model plane

Image credit: Peninsula Hotels

Located on the sixth floor of The Peninsula Paris – and offering unparalleled views over the city – sits L’Oiseau Blanc, one of the most elegant and singular restaurants in Paris. The aviation-themed interior celebrates flying aces Charles Nungesser and François Coli who attempted to cross the Atlantic in 1927 from Le Bourget.

The Moxy, Chelsea (USA)

Dark-lit, open-planned room with lavish bar

Image caption/credit: The Fleur Room | Moxy Hotels/ Marriott International

Located on the 35th floor, the intimate rooftop bar, The Fleur Room, is open to hotel guests and locals alike. The alluring glow of light and color birth a heightened space of intimacy and mystery. The sofa material is embedded with a floral design and the bronzed furniture surfaces are smooth and polished. “Sink back into the comfortable couches and let your eyes settle on an incredible view of one of New York’s most recognizable charms – the Empire State building,” suggests journalist Hannah Kaplan who checked in to review the the kid on the block for Hotel Designs last week. Read the full review of the hotel here.

Soho House Istanbul – Club Bar (Turkey)

Refined interiors in a modern bar that is sheltered in a heritage building with bold lighting

Image credit: Soho House Istanbul, Club Bar

Sheltered within a striking 19th century mansion, which was originally designed for a Genoese merchant before becoming the US embassy for most of the 20th century. The Club Bar  is an oasis of calm, featuring decadent wallcoverings that are balanced with plush bar seating and thoughfully designed break-out areas.

Zuri Zanzibar – The Upendo Restaurant (Tanzania)

Sustainable materials - including furniture and lighting - make up the raw and rustic restaurant

Image credit: Zuri Zanzibar

Designed by Jestico + Whiles, the eco hotel’s Upendo Restaurant overlooks the entire resort. The restaurant’s laid-back Zanzibari style and live cooking shows make it the ideal place for breakfast and dinner, whilst its separate deck is ideal for private events or larger dinner groups. Peponi bar in the Zuri Zanzibar offers comfortable benches and sofas for a peaceful and relaxing ambiance.

Raffles – The Long Bar (Singapore)

Exterior of the hotel

Image credit: Raffles

Redesigned by Alexandra Champalimaud, the earthy decor of the two-storey Long Bar which will reopen this summer is inspired by Malayan life in the 1920s. The deep, rich colours and lush greenery transport patrons to the edge of a tropical plantation. In keeping with the relaxed atmosphere, guests are invited to brush peanut shells off the table and bar counter to the floor. In addition, and arguably thus making the hotel one of the early innovators for encouraging bar theatre, The Long Bar is quite possibly the only place in Singapore where littering is encouraged.

The Morpheus (China)

The sky bar, with sophisticated gold barriers between tables

Image credit: Melco Resorts & Entertainment

Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, Yí on the 21st-floor Sky Bridge at The Morpheus takes fine dining to new heights with a unique blend of regional Chinese cuisine served in tasting menu format. Yí is the first Chinese restaurant in Macau offering daily multi-course tasting menus.

Main image credit: Moxy Chelsea, New York

Gleneagles to redesign its famous restaurant

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Gleneagles to redesign its famous restaurant

The redesign of The Strathearn restaurant at Gleneagles is being led by Ennismore Design Studio and was inspired by the golden age of railway travel…

With the aim to bring back the glamour and decadence of fine dining experiences of the 1920s and ’30s, Gleneagles will in May 2019 unveil the relaunch of its famous restaurant, The Strathearn following a design transformation by Ennismore Design Studio.

The space – which has welcomed a host of famous faces over the decades, from Vivien Leigh, Sir Laurence Olivier and Sir Sean Connery, to John Travolta, Bob Hope and Her Majesty The Queen – is to unveil a new look inspired by an era when glamorous socialites would travel in style from London to Gleneagles to enjoy summer seasons of country sports and decadent dining.

The new designs will celebrate that elegant spirit through a setting that evokes the theatre of the outdoors, the beautiful flora and fauna of Scotland. The creation of a stunning mosaic-floored orangery will offer beautiful views of the estate and the Ochil Hills across the seasons, while a new stage for musical performances will complement the elegance and drama of the rich décor – evocative of first-class carriage journeys in the early twentieth century.  A new kitchen-style breakfast servery will also double up as an occasional private dining space – breathing fresh life into the area that housed Gleneagles’ kitchen in the 1920s.

“After years of meticulous planning, 12 months of interior design work and four months of careful renovation, we can’t wait to unveil the beautiful new look in May.” – Sharan Pasricha, CEO of Gleneagles and Ennismore

Dinner at The Strathearn will be an even more decadent affair, with traditional gueridon service from bespoke dining trollies bringing excitement and energy to the room as a selection of classic dishes are finished at the table. Personally attending each table, the team will add a theatrical flair to the evening, as they effortlessly carve Scottish smoked salmon, prepare and dress a salad, or flambé a ‘Steak Strathearn’ on request.

“As one of the final strands of our three-year design transformation, the renovation of The Strathearn restaurant was always going to be one of the most important phases of all,” said Sharan Pasricha, CEO of Gleneagles and Ennismore. “After years of meticulous planning, 12 months of interior design work and four months of careful renovation, we can’t wait to unveil the beautiful new look in May.”

“Originally known simply as ‘the Dining Room’, the restaurant has been a destination for decadent dining and lively celebrations since Gleneagles first opened nearly 100 years ago. It’s been cherished by generations of guests, so we didn’t want to radically change the fabric of the space or the spirit of the experience. Instead, we wanted to take the essence of The Strathearn and turn up the volume. By amplifying all the elements that are so well loved – the elegant décor, the history, the lively atmosphere, the culinary theatre and the exceptional food – the team has brought back the vibrancy, energy, playfulness and glamour of fine dining experiences a century ago.”

The Strathearn will be overseen by Restaurant Manager, Daniel Greenock, who has moved home to Scotland having honed his craft at Marcus Wareing’s Michelin-starred restaurant at the Berkley Hotel and the world-renowned three Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park in New York.

Now under new owner Ennismore, Gleneagles has enlisted the skills and expertise of some of the UK’s most acclaimed designers including David Collins Studio, Timorous Beasties, Macaulay Sinclair, Goddard Littlefair and Ennismore’s own in-house design studio – with the aim to create designs and spaces that celebrate the rich, glamorous heritage and beautiful architecture for which the hotel is famed.

The latest redesign announcement follows Gleneagles’ Conor O’Leary winning Hotelier of the Year at The Brit List 2018 for his unmatched leadership style.

Main image credit: Gleneagles/Ennismore

Top 5 stories of the week: Turning 50, Scottish jewels and one important countdown

678 574 Hamish Kilburn

As the sun sets on June, editor Hamish Kilburn wraps up on what has been a tech-driven month full of interviews and looking into the future…

It’s important in our industry to know when to celebrate. This month has been all about recognising significant milestones in both hotel groups and technology.

In this month alone, we welcomed a new hotel brand, voco, while we also celebrated THE Park Hotels’ 50th anniversary. From a tech point of view, we explored why there’s a growing demand for wireless power in hotel design, while also exploring whether or not Alexa was welcome in the guestroom (the jury is still out, it seems).

Wrapping up the month, here are our top five stories of the week.

1) 50 years young, THE Park Hotels and the woman behind the brand

Portrait of Priya Paul

Our most-read article of this week’s context is all about celebrating success. Priya Paul, the businesswoman with much to celebrate, joined me for a afternoon tea to discuss 50 years of THE Park Hotels and how the Indian hotel landscape has changed…

2) Checking in to Gleneagles, Scotland

Pastel palette in Legacy Suite

Intrigued to find out to what extent the power of interior design can lift a building, we checked in to review the one and only jewel of Scotland, Gleneagles… My first impressions to what I thought would be an overly stuffy and ‘far too posh’ hotel were immediately erased the moment I stepped foot in the building.

3) Competition watchdog puts hotel bookings sites under the spotlight

It’s all over the mainstream news, and the names of the bookings sites are yet to be released. Hotel booking sites are being advised by the UK’s competition watchdog to review the way in which they rank and display rooms online…

4) Leading design firms, hotels and suppliers to attend Meet Up North

Terrace of King's Street Townhouse

The countdown has started. With less than a month to go until the inaugural Meet Up North kicks off in Manchester’s King Street Townhouse on July 18, Hotel Designs has announced the stellar line-up of designers, architects, hotels and suppliers who will be attending.

5) Marriot International leads global hotel construction pipeline

Image credit: Marriott International - Cape Town

Image credit: Marriott International – Cape Town

The Lodging Econometrics (LE) global construction pipeline trend report suggests that Marriot is leading the franchises in the global construction pipeline.

The construction pipeline that compiles statistics for every country and market in the world, states that the total pipeline stands at 12,714 projects/2,139,002 rooms, up seven per cent by projects year-over-year (YOY).

Top 5 stories of the week

800 800 Hamish Kilburn

Here are our top five stories of the week…

  1. Gleneagles unveils Ochil House for meetings and events
    Open kitchen and pantry

    Our top performing story of the ween, the glorious playground of country pursuits Gleneagles, located just 40 minutes from Edinburgh, has launched Ochil House, a unique new meeting and events space.
  2. The Hotel Designs Brit List is back, this year launching 6 new awards
    Logo for Brit List Meet Up
    Following much anticipation in the industry after launching last year, Hotel Designs Brit List will return in 2018 with an evolved concept that will further amplify the best hotel design influencers in Britain. This year, as well as celebrating the Top 25 of the most influential hoteliers and the top 25 of the most inspirational interior designers, The Hotel Designs Brit List will also launch six coveted awards that are up for grabs.
  3. Grand Hyatt debuts in Abu Dhabi 
    Exterior shot of the hotel
    Hyatt Hotels has announced the opening of Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Residence Emirates Pearl, the first Grand Hyatt hotel to open in the United Arab Emirates’ capital city, Abu Dhabi.  The luxury property combines iconic brand elements and awe-inspiring design and architecture with a central location in the capital that offers easy access to world-class shopping, dining and cultural events.
  4. Westin Hotels & Resorts to debut in the UK
    Rendering of the hotel's pool
    Poised to set a new standard for wellbeing in the Heart of the Capital, The Westin London City, designed by Dexter Moren Associates, is scheduled to open in 2020…
  5. Swire Hotels announces official opening of The Middle House Shanghai 
    Large chandelier in front of green wall surfaces in lobby
    The latest addition from Swire HotelsThe Middle House, provides guests with an intimate and urban sanctuary in Shanghai, one of the world’s most dynamic cities in the world.