Dexter Moren is the founding director of Dexter Moren Associates (DMA) and is recognised as an industry leader in the international hotel design sector. DMA is an award-winning hotel, hospitality and residential architecture & interior design firm based in London.
DMA’s most recent projects include The Curtain and Dorsett City Hotel in Aldgate. In addition to these, the firm is also working on The Westin, City of London, as well as a hotel development in Southwark.
Emma King leads the InterContinental Hotels Group’s (IHG) interior design team in Europe and is responsible for the design, development and product quality of all new openings and refurbishments. King is currently leading the design of IHG’s big capital investments including InterContinental London Park Lane, InterContinental Paris Le Grand and InterContinental Berlin, but also the launch of the hotel group’s new brand voco. She is also tasked with the integration of the innovation program at IHG, and has worked on the repositioning strategy and implementation of the new generation Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn and the Crowne
King and her team have been instrumental in positioning the Hotel Indigo brand with a ‘neighbourhood story’ led design for each site. No brand has been left untouched, with IHG’s long stay offering, Staybridge Suites, also being redesigned with investment potential in mind. An interior architect by training at Cardiff University and despite over 20 years’ hotel design experience, she believes that there is always more to learn.
Richmond International has designed some of the world’s most prestigious hotel designs in locations from London to Barbados. Fiona Thompson, as the Principal of the studio, is involved in all aspects of the company, and is responsible for both the projects and the day-to-day running of the company. As the recent headline speaker at Hotel Designs Meet Up North,
Thompson continues to be an influencer as the landscape of international hotel designs continues to evolve.
Having recently led her team to complete the £6 million refurbishment of the Radisson Blu Hotel Nice and the Radisson Blu Stansted airport, including new
guestrooms, restaurants and the iconic Atrium Space and Wine Tower Bar, Trevillion Interiors has proven time and time again that it is ahead of the curve of hotel interior design.
The firm’s impressive client list includes Best Western, QHotels, Radisson Blu, Royal Garden Hotel and IHG.
Working in collaboration with project developers Ugo Group Zagreb, London-based design firm HBA London has converted a heritage property dating back to 1923 into a boutique hotel full of residential charm and sense of place.
The new hotel, which was previously a bank, is located on the important thoroughfare of Jurisiceva Street. The property’s bespoke interiors combine the original and the new with a deft touch, embracing the building’s historic character as a significant example of Secessionist architecture and translating this into interiors that are light, fresh and elegant with a touch of romanticism.
“The colour palette is reminiscent of the charming rooftops of old Zagreb.”
The public areas take meaning from Gesamtkunstwerk, meaning that they are a work of art that makes use of many artforms. These include the original, classically carved mahogany-clad columns which were removed during construction and then reinstated, as well as listed ceiling features, light fittings and magnificent arched windows. The interiors also feature new pieces that reflect the influences of 20th-century design, such as softly draped curtains and a variety of seating collections, and some restored antique furniture discovered in the building, now joined by new seating, including plush banquettes.
Planned as a series of rooms, the public areas reinforce the suggestion of a private home overlaid with something of the winter garden, thanks to high ceilings, touches of Viennese-style detailing and an abundance of large pot plants. The colour palette is thoughtful, too, to the hotel’s location and are reminiscent of the charming rooftops of old Zagreb.
The lobby area has the ambiance of a refined and intimate parlour. The two small reception desks, for example, would be equally at home in a private residence. The soft colour palette begins here in reception, combining pale blue and greys with crystal and satin gold – and behind the desks’ custom-designed sliding doors with panels of opaque and patterned glass obscure the bar beyond.
“This has been a very special project because the client gave us creative free rein to think afresh and design a hotel that is different for Zagreb,” said HBA London’s Creative Director, Constantina Tsoutsikou who last month was confirmed as the headline speaker of IDAS. “We were blessed with the Secessionist and Art Nouveau heritage, and this lovely period for design infuses the new interiors which are fresh, playful and a little magical within a sometimes imposing architectural form. There will be something of a Croatian fairy tale to the guest experience.”
The bar is glamorous, yet also of a residential scale; the epitome of the Secessionist soul. A marble-topped bar with a sculptural tiled front sits in the centre of the space under three beautiful contemporary chandeliers and an elegantly decorated ceiling which gives a nod to the building’s Art Nouveau inheritance. Guests can choose to either sip their cocktails perched on leather-upholstered bar stools or to relax in comfortable wicker armchairs.
The café extends along one length of the façade and offers a variety of seating options from a marble-topped sharing table to deep armchairs arranged around low tables and dining tables with European brasserie style dining chairs. The colour palette is of soft green and yellow, velvets, trims and patterns predominate in the upholstery and there are multiple floor-standing pots containing large vertiginous plants. The café also doubles up as the hotel’s main event space with heavy velvet curtains that can be drawn across for privacy and carefully integrated technology.
“The original mahogany cladding of the old banking hall is imposing but softened by delicate original wall lights.”
Overscaled illustrations in the café are by David Doran, and the central artwork in the dining room is by the young Croatian artist, Mario Matakovic, who repurposes his old work into new compositions with an original aesthetic – a fitting allegory for the entire design vision.
The restaurant continues with a popular trend of an “indoor garden” narrative with generous amounts of planting all around on various levels. The original mahogany cladding of the old banking hall is imposing but softened by delicate original wall lights restored by HBA London and complemented by the continuing hues of fresh green and golden highlights. In the centre of the room, a large ceiling light suggests a contemporised version of classic European dining room luminaires.
Original, listed staircases lead up to light-filled bedroom corridors that wrap around a central courtyard. They are elegantly designed with details such as folkloric-inspired patterned carpets and punchy-blue guestroom doors.
Guestrooms are especially residential in feel with a pretty palette of pink, pale yellow and blue, and contemporary Italian timber flooring from Berti. These are joyful rooms, filled with natural light thanks to their large windows and high ceilings and with design details that give a nod to the rural past of this location. Bathrooms are classically styled with a marble topped vanity, checkerboard tiled floor and a walk-in shower with fittings by Hotel Designs Recommended Supplier Grohe.
Artwork in the guestrooms and corridors has been curated by HBA and Muzeo. It is composed of both handwritten and illustrative pieces as well as work inspired by textiles and crafts. Traditional, contemporary and contextual, the artwork lends insights into the heartbeat of the city, both past and present.
The Bel Étage shelters the grander suites. This historic floor is strictly protected so design changes were constrained and HBA London focused on the selection of new furniture and accessories.
The original building was designed in 1921 by Viennese architects Ernst Gottilf and Alexande Neumann who specialised in landmark bank buildings in central Europe.
Beginning with the cherished Song of Jerusalem ‘A timeless love song to the city’, the hotel’s interiors were inspired by the extraordinary layers of history, culture and artistry as well as the sheer beauty of the indigenous stone which bathes the city in a golden hue.
The Orient sits at the entrance to Jerusalem’s historically rich and increasingly cosmopolitan German Colony district. It combines two exquisite 19th century Templar houses, which have been restored and reinvented as a collection of more than 200 luxury guestrooms, with a modern nine-storey building crowned by an elegant rooftop pool and bar.
“We were particularly blessed with this project because we not only had the city to draw on, but the influences of the German Colony’s Swabian architecture,” said Inge Moore, the former Principal of HBA London. “Jerusalem is an amazing city for a designer to work in. Everything is embraced by the golden tint of the stone, interspersed with the green of foliage and plants and with bright punches of colour in the fruits, markets, textiles and ancient decoration. Over the centuries, Jerusalem has been a melting pot of peoples, each bringing their stories and crafts and leaving a great legacy of artisanal resourcefulness.
Artwork plays a key part throughout the hotel. Art curator Sharon Toval has emphasised Isrotel’s belief in the essential role that art has in creating spaces full of powerful associations and beauty. Like the interior design, the inspiration for the artwork was Jerusalem’s history and the land, reimagined into contemporary expression. The result is a collection of sculptures, watercolours, prints and etchings by acclaimed and emerging Israeli artists as well as by the students of Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design who undertook a year-long project to each create a sculpture relating to the city and the hotel.
The journey begins within a grand atrium of glass and Jerusalem stone. The high-glazed ceiling welcomes in an abundance of natural light, that is complimented by thoughtfully positioned lighting from Northern Lights. The public area is dressed with gently gathered drapery that lends elegance to the space while also shields guests from the midday sun while softening the acoustics. Inspiration for the illuminated mosaic tiles was taken from encaustic tiles found in the Templar buildings. The reception desk is of bronze and a chandelier with hand-blown local glass cascades through the central stairwell, suspended above a reflection pool two floors below, to captivate guests on arrival.
The grand lounge bar is designed to be the beating heart of the hotel and has, as such, become a favourite hotspot for hotel’s residents and locals alike. Located just off the entrance lobby, it is an atmospheric double-height space that is a symphony of reflective and textural surfaces. The bar itself is clad in a richly grained green marble, the pattern of which has been translated into the wall covering. A composition of framed verre églomisé mirrors, together with antiqued mirror to the back of the bar, play with movement and reflections within the space.
Plush banquet seating, elegant leather covered armchairs and local lace chandeliers soften the geometric pattering and beaten metal features, while screens on each side of the bar recall the many layered views to be found in the streets of Jerusalem. Through soaring arched windows, guests can access cosy balconies overlooking the delightful outdoor courtyard below.
The Smadar Dining Room and Courtyard Terrace
Jerusalem stone walls carry through from the exterior facade to meet silvered mirror clad walls and glass screens etched with the pattern of the old encaustic tiles, which together poses a play of reflection, transparency and opacity that is the experience of Jerusalem. Olive wood adds to the energy of the space and forms a striking assembly of suspended panels with acoustic insulation which manage the volume of sound in this imposing room.
The dining room flows out into the courtyard – an al fresco area designed to accommodate guests throughout day and evening. From here, guests can take in the architecture of both the new and old hotel buildings.
Guestrooms – The Templar Buildings
The guestrooms in the Templar buildings are each unique in their architectural form and detailing, representing, in effect, 39 individual projects for the designers. Within the idiosyncratic spaces, the guestrooms combine luxury with elements of local handicraft to bring the authenticity of these heritage buildings to life. The blue and ivory palette is both beautiful and meaningful. These are the colours of the national flag and the “tekhelet” blue recalls the biblical blue of Judaism which, when combined with ivory tones, captures the spirit of Jerusalem. Encaustic floor tiles that flow from the bedroom into the bathrooms are similar to those found in the original buildings during restoration. Crafted wrought iron bed frames are focal points in the bedrooms with a blue leather chaise longue at the foot of each bed adding a touch of opulence.
Locally crafted, antique-style mother-of-pearl inlaid cabinetry enhances the residential feel whilst the neutral palette, tiling and use of stone emphasise the simple beauty of the old architecture. Many of the bathrooms feature a large window through which light streams in, illuminating the fittings that include aged metal basins and mixer taps, as well as a traditional free-standing copper-clad tub by Cifal.
Guestrooms – The New Building
The 205 guestrooms and suites in the new building reference local heritage and craftsmanship but within the context of a contemporary background. Studded headboards hint at the old doors of the city, lamps are artisanal, and table tops are of olive wood. The naturally warm tones of the textural woven fabrics of the drapery and upholstery are instrumental in creating a sense of tranquil luxury. Sliding panels between bedroom and bathroom open up to allow guests to appreciate the balance of natural stone, olive wood, wrought iron and plush woven fabrics across the entire space.
The 24 suites bring even further materiality and detailing as well as the addition of a spacious sitting room with deep, comfortable sofas and, in some cases, a dining area or a terrace allowing outdoor lounging and dining. The 118 sq metre Presidential Suite enjoys a deep, fully glazed dual aspect outdoor terrace. Indoor and out, guests have uninterrupted views across the panorama of Jerusalem.
Carmel Forest Spa
Light, water and stone work in perfect harmony. It is as if the cavernous space around the pool has trapped the very source of “Jerusalem Gold” between its faceted ceiling and Jerusalem stone walls. The grand design statements of the rough-hewn lava stone feature wall with its cascading waterfall and the golden crystalline structure of the ceiling capture elements of the volcanic. Shimmering bronze chain-link is suspended along a glazed wall to obscure the gym.
In contrast to this grandeur, the seven treatment rooms, including a couple’s treatment suite, are simple and calming. They combine warm timber floors with a stone envelope and a light projection wall to create spaces where the focus is all on guest wellbeing.
Rooftop Pool and Orientop Bar
The rooftop pool and bar tops out the new building at 10th level. Guests can take full advantage of the spectacular 360 degree views over the old city walls whilst lounging in cabanas and pergolas by the poolside, or sipping cocktails in the glamourous, electric blue and white tiled bar, which has been decked out with artisan ceramic tables discovered by the designers in a local market.
“We approach every project with an open and curious mind,” explained Constantina Tsoutsikou, Creative Director of HBA London. “Our designers love to immerse themselves not just in the history and traditions of a place, but also the contemporary local culture, borrowing from both old and new to craft exceptional spaces that uniquely belong to their location.”
The Orient opens not as a contemporary hotel, but more a timeless masterpiece that has been sensitively designed in every detail to reflect the charm and character of the historic city it surrounds.