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Pool at Four Seasons Lodge

Hotel concepts: 3 hotel pools that will blow your mind

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel concepts: 3 hotel pools that will blow your mind

Editor Hamish Kilburn continues to enjoy this month’s spotlight on ‘hotel concepts’ by sharing three hotel pools that he discovered recently…

Many would argue that the sign of a quality hotel can be measured by the quality of its pool – we’re talking more style over size.

Pool at Four Seasons Lodge

With my wellness hat on – in sync, I hasten to add, with modern traveller demands as we start to emerge from the pandemic with a hunger for wellbeing – I have been on a quest to find unconventional design pools – and here’s what I found.

Villa Vedas at The Luxe Nomad

It’s not strictly a hotel (forgive me) but Villa Vedas, which is exclusively managed by The Luxe Nomad, is a prime example of a property that decided to tear up the rulebook when designing its interiors. Villa Vedas is designed and engineered to feature a breathtaking 22-metre span without any supporting columns in order to provide an unobstructed view right through the property and out to sea. The villa itself represents approximately 1,800 square metres of construction, and is a modern architecturally designed home that is unique and unequalled, with many interesting design features, most of which have been meticulously fabricated on site. The property features a large living area, dining areas, a bar, a media or snooker room, and two bedrooms downstairs, and three bedrooms upstairs. The living area can be opened to benefit from the regular breeze off the ocean, or alternatively enclosed and air conditioned by deploying the Häfele glass sliding wall system, and turning on the Daikin VRV central air-conditioning system.

“I am the Robin Hood of building. Not only do I clean Indonesia and help solve the worlds plastic problem, I feed the poor doing it.” – Designer Stuart Bevan.

But that’s not all. The designer behind this wonderful project, Stuart Bevan, has recently taken a turn towards a sustainable future with an innovative approach to pool design and management. “I was also the builder and the local designer in collaboration with an Australian architect for Mrs Sippy Bali, Bali’s premier pool club that featured Bali’s biggest saltwater pool, Bali’s first and only high dive tower with 4m deep pool and the first pool in the world to to use my new newly developed 100 per cent recycled plastic pool finish. EcoLuxe is a beadcrete made from recycled water bottles. The average pool uses 150,000 water bottles. That’s 150,000 bottles off the beach, out of the rivers and landfill. I take plastic out of the system, not just recycle it. I swap rice with local villages, kilo for kilo to collect waste plastic for my product. It is taking Bali by storm! And  I am about to start international export. Indonesia only recycles two per cent of its plastic. I have an unlimited supply of raw material, only it needs to be hand collected. Hence my rice swap program. I am the Robin Hood of building. Not only do I clean Indonesia and help solve the worlds plastic problem, I feed the poor doing it.”

The Spa at 45 Park Lane

It’s impressive all on its own that 45 Park Lane, a luxury hotel that was once mistaken for sitting in The Dorchester’s illustrious shadow, has recently unveiled a new spa that now shelters the longest pool on Park Lane – the real estate alone in that leafy corner of London usually mean that spa facilities are limited in place for large revenue-generating F&B outlets. But against the odds, 45 Park Lane, which is part of The Dorchester Collection, can now boast itself as a place that nurtures both wellness and wellbeing in style. What makes this project even more extraordinary is the fact that the new spa is located underground, which created a challenge for designer  Jouin Manku and developer Clivedale London. The answer on how to bring the outdoors in was to adorn the walls with hand-placed mosaic tiles to inject a sensitive nod to biophilic design. The result is an enchanting space that feels far removed from the hustle and bustle of London.

Four Seasons Safari Lodge

It’s all in the location for our next property, which is strategically situated next to a watering hold in the Serengeti, Africa. Perched on a series of elevated platforms and walkways, the Lodge allows guests an unparalleled view of the local safari wildlife from the comfort of the pool.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Collage of interior images of inside the Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Now open: Inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Now open: Inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Following our cheeky sneak peek inside the hotel that was published earlier this year, Ace Hotel Brooklyn is open – with interior design by Roman and Williams , and architecture from Stonehill Taylor

From the brand who shook up conventional public areas and encouraged the rest of the hospitality industry to open their doors to the community as well as travellers, Ace Hotels has officially arrived in Brooklyn.

Collage of interior images of inside the Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Located in Downtown Brooklyn, the hotel stands on the cusp of Boerum Hill, above the ever-evolving intersection of everything: a geographical Venn diagram of intersecting energies, from the tree-lined streets and brownstones of Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens to the art and culture clusters of Fort Greene, and all the way down to the restless East River. The property offers 287 guestrooms, an expansive in-room art programme, a public lobby with multiple bars and an art gallery, plus additional food and beverage outlets on the horizon. Designed by Roman and Williams, with architecture by Stonehill Taylor, Ace Brooklyn’s unique facade welds seamlessly with interiors inspired by the raw artist studio spaces of the European modernists — with soothing and stylish custom furnishings outfitting its every alcove.

> Since you’re here, why not read a roundtable on the new era of lifestyle hospitality, featuring Stonehill Taylor’s Sara Duffy?

“We see Brooklyn as it’s own city, filled with so much hope, possibility and excitement for the future,” said Brad Wilson, President, Ace Hotel Group. Ace Brooklyn has been a labour of love — a gorgeous building in many ways a reunion and a reinvention, and one we’re delighted to share with our guests and neighbours as the evolution of Ace Hotel. We’re proud to have filled its spaces with the talents of many collaborators across art, design and culture; it’s a testament and tribute to the irrepressible creative energy of the borough, and a firm investment in its future.”

Made up of metal, glass and precast concrete elements, the building’s rough-edged façade celebrates the natural beauty of its materials, along with the rugged handiwork of the builders who brought them together. The facade’s dramatic centrepiece is a custom ceramic mural crafted by iconic modernist Stan Bitters, coupled with a sculptural light installation designed by Roman and Williams in homage to the Hotel Okura in Tokyo — a beacon of modernist hospitality designed by Yoshiro Taniguchi, which was sadly demolished in 2015.

Inside, interiors marry exposed concrete with other naturally textural elements — surfaces of douglas fir, oak, plywoods and leathers — to form organic, open shapes throughout. The lobby features vintage and custom seating throughout, with half moon windows illuminating the lobby bar in natural light. The bar is finished with an original wall sculpture from RW Guild artist Verdan Jakšić, and a discreet, large scale drawing by Tara Geer.

“After seven years, we are proud to unveil one of our most comprehensive architectural and interior commissions to date for Ace Hotel Brooklyn, our third collaboration with Ace Hotel,” added Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, Founders and Principals, Roman and Williams. “We aimed to embrace a solid muscular design vocabulary, employing confident lasting construction methods and materials, ones with gravity and strength. A primitive modernist philosophy guided us, it is expressed in the tactile spirit of the design. From the building’s strong and unadorned facade, to the celebration of raw old growth timber in the public screens, to the honest plywood furniture collection in the bedrooms, we aspire to be as energetic and untamed as Brooklyn itself.” 

Drawing significant inspiration from Le Corbusier’s beloved workspace retreat Le Cabanon, the guest rooms at Ace Hotel Brooklyn were imagined as cabins of creative refuge: elegant and efficient, with the kind of breathing room that stirs up all sorts of possibilities. The furnishings are handcrafted from raw, understated materials — including custom sofas and chairs, classically-loomed cotton bedding and purpose-built, minimalist fixtures. Custom bed covers were crafted by Maine Heritage Weavers; bath products are from uka; in select rooms, acoustic guitars are provided by D’Angelico Guitars; turntables are made by Music Hall, with vinyl record selections courtesy of our friends at Rough Trade. Ace Brooklyn’s in-room art programme was curated by artist Niki Tsukamoto, and brings together a dream-woven assortment of original textile and fibre pieces from roughly two dozen artists, many based in the borough.

Guestroom inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Image credit: Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Throughout the rest of 2021, The Gallery at Ace Hotel Brooklyn will showcase works by artists featured in the guestrooms, starting with a show of textile works by Cynthia Alberto and Weaving Hand in July and August 2021. The hotel lobby’s Ace Shop will also be featuring custom home goods and jewellery from a number of the artists on an ongoing basis.

Main image credit: Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Hotel Designs events not to miss in August

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs events not to miss in August

In just a few days time, Hotel Designs LIVE will return (on August 10) and entries for The Brit List Awards 2021 will close (on August 6). Editor Hamish Kilburn explains how you can attend and apply, free-of-charge, for both…

Following what has been the most stressful 18 months in the hospitality and hotel design industry in living history, Hotel Designs is gearing up for a jam-packed August, which will include the return of Hotel Designs LIVE – the virtual conference for all designers, architects, hoteliers and developers – and the deadline for industry professionals and brands to apply/nominate for The Brit List Awards 2021 is fast-approaching.

The Brit List Awards 2021Click here to apply/nominate free-of-charge (entries close on August 6)

The Brit List Awards is back for another year to identify the leading interiors designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers operating in Britain. The applications/nominations process is free-of-charge – but hurry because entries close on August 6. After that, entries will be handed over to our expert panel of judges before the winners and the top 25 designers, architects and hoteliers in Britain will be unveiled at the Awards Ceremony on November 3 at PROUD Embankment, London.

Here’s a reminder of this year’s categories:

  • Interior Designer of the Year*
  • Architect of the Year*
  • Hotelier of the Year*
  • Best in Tech
  • The Eco Award
  • Best in British Product Design
  • The Rising Star Award (NEW FOR 2021)
  • International Award (NEW FOR 2021)
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry

*In addition to the individual awards that are up for grabs, the top 25 entries in the interior designarchitecture and hospitality categories will be profiled in the prestigious The Brit List, Hotel Designs’ annual publication that references the top 75 most influential individuals in British design, architecture and hospitality.

You can now purchase your tickets to attend the live awards ceremony, which takes place on November 3 at PROUD Embankment (designers, architects, hoteliers & developers, click here. Suppliers, click here).

Hotel Designs LIVE – August 10 | Click here to attend.

Exclusively open to designers, architects, hoteliers and developers, Hotel Designs LIVE was first launched in June 2020 to keep the conversation flowing and the industry connected during the pandemic.

For the fifth chapter of Hotel Designs LIVE, the event will shelter four engaging panel discussions on topics such as sensory design, sleep performance, surface trends and social areas, with world-renowned hotel design experts joining us throughout the day in order to ensure the conversations we start are meaningful and unlike any other.

Here’s a reminder of the agenda for the day:

Click here to read more about the various panel discussions and speakers who will join us at Hotel Designs LIVE. Click here to secure your space in the audience (limited places available).

Sneak peek: Inside Tembo Great Plains in Zimbabwe

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sneak peek: Inside Tembo Great Plains in Zimbabwe

Great Plains, the iconic eco-tourism company led by wildlife filmmakers and conservationists Beverly and Dereck Joubert, is expected to open Tembo Plains Camp on August 1, 2021, which will become Relais & Châteaux’s debut property in Zimbabwe. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

In the heart of Africa, Great Plains is putting the finishing touches on what will become its latest luxury safari camp, which will also mark Relais & Châteaux’s debut in Zimbabwe.

As we have been following the story of Great Plains and Beverly and Dereck Joubert – and the fascinating lives they carve out for themselves and the community around their meaningful camps – it’s hard not to anticipate what the film makers-turned-hoteliers will do next. We last spoke to the couple a few months back when they teased us and our readers about two camps that were expected to arrive in the summer. Mara Toto Camp and Mara Plains Camp, both of which are now open in Kenya.

For those who know the Jouberts, though, will understand that their brand’s narrative is a never-ending, ever-evolving portfolio of authentically designed camps – after all, there is still so much of Africa to explore. The latest plot twist in what is no-doubt a difficult chapter for hospitality worldwide, is the entrance of Tembo Plains Camp, which will make its entrance in August as a proud member of Relais & Châteaux. Although, at the time of publishing, we are limited to how many images we have, you can see how the camp will, in true Great Plains style and substance, naturally blend into working around nature’s rhythm.

With four spacious guest tents, an exquisite two-bedroom family unit and a private guide tent, the camp, designed to frame African wildlife in all its majesty, will be ideal for couples, families, multi-generational travellers, and those looking for an exclusive personal safari experience.

The beautiful family unit, with interiors designed by Beverly, comprises two tents with a shared lounge and dining area and pool and will accommodate up to four adults, two adults and two children. Each guest tent offers an indoor lounge and outdoor dining area, private plunge pool and exercise bikes, in addition to expansive en-suite bathroom facilities, indoor baths, showers and double vanities. Guests have access to professional Canon cameras and Leica binoculars throughout their stay to capture the many special holiday moments.

“When I designed Tembo Plains Camp, it was with a view to reference the famous Grean Zimbabwe ruins but not lose sight of our love of canvas and exploring,” explained Dereck. “So we ended up with a unique combination of canvas and stone walls. The semi-circular walls inside each tent isolate the bath and shower from the bedroom and indoor lounge areas bringing that architectural reference inside. Outside, this pack-stone wall design continues along the back of the guest bedroom, and that really gives you a greater sense of privacy, often an issue in tents. I didn’t want a completely ‘built room’. Hence, the front has these uninterrupted views of the Zambezi flowing just meters away from the canvas ‘tented’ portion.”

‘Tembo’, meaning elephant, pays tribute to the animals frequently seen around Tembo Plains Camp along with painted dogs, buffalo, lions and leopards. The Sapi Private Reserve borders the Mana Pools National Park and is recognised as one of Africa’s finest wildlife destinations today. Twitchers will be spoiled for choice as Tembo Plains is situated in a prime bird-watching country, ideal for photographers and nature enthusiasts. Activities at Tembo Plains include day and night wildlife-viewing drives, walking safaris, canoeing and boating on the Zambezi River.

Tembo Plains will join the Réserve Collection of camps, the highest-level brand at Great Plains, alongside sister properties Zarafa Camp, Selinda Camp, Duba Plains in Botswana, and Mara Nyika, Mara Plains and ol Donyo Lodge in Kenya.

Both Beverly and Dereck will join as speakers at Hotel Designs LIVE on August 10, where the pair will discuss the role of surface design in the camps they develop and design. If you are a designer, architect, hotelier or developer, click here to secure your complimentary tickets in the audience.

Main image credit: Great Plains

Four Seasons Sicily

A legend returns in Italy: San Domenico Palace reopens as a Four Seasons hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A legend returns in Italy: San Domenico Palace reopens as a Four Seasons hotel

Just in time as travellers around the globe start planning their first post-pandemic trip abroad, and as we approach the much-anticipated return of the high season in southern Italy, a landmark hotel is debuting a fresh new look and feel. San Domenico Palace, Taormina, A Four Seasons Hotel is now open – let’s take a look inside…

Four Seasons Sicily

Currently operating 120 hotels and resorts, and 45 residential properties in major city centres and resort destinations in 47 countries, and with more than 50 projects under planning or development, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, which recently announced new plans for a hotel in Puglia, Italy, consistently ranks among the world’s best hotels and most prestigious brands in reader polls, traveller reviews and industry awards. It is, therefore, no surprise that a storied hotel in southern Italy has reopened, with new interiors and now wearing the Four Seasons brand with pride – and it fits perfectly.

“The legendary San Domenico Palace was already very well known to us at Four Seasons,” notes Christian Clerc, President, Global Operations at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “It is an exceptional property in every way, and we are honoured to have been chosen once again by our owner-partners Gruppo Statuto to manage such an important property, and to add to our growing collection of transformed historic hotels in Italy and around the Mediterranean.”

exterior image of Four Seasons in Sicily

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

With spectacular views in every direction, San Domenico Palace is uniquely situated between the majesty of Mount Etna above, the deep blue waters of the Ionian Sea below, and the beautiful south-eastern coast of Sicily as far as the eye can see.

“Everything past guests have always loved about San Domenico Palace has been restored, with familiar faces and vistas at every turn,” says General Manager Lorenzo Maraviglia, who has returned to his home country following years abroad to introduce Four Seasons to Sicily for the first time.

“It’s been a meticulous evolution that honours the site’s past while elevating every aspect to a new level of personalised service, extraordinary experiences, and the opportunity to create memories to last a lifetime. We are incredibly grateful to Gruppo Statuto for their investment and proud of the fact that it’s an Italian company that undertook this massive renovation project using only local craftspeople. This is Italy at its best.”

With just 111 guestrooms and suites, the atmosphere is intimate, as though returning to a treasured friend’s seaside home each year. The most coveted room is the Royal Suite, with principal rooms all opening onto a large terrace and plunge pool with views of Mount Etna, the ancient Greek Theatre and the Ionian Sea. Terraces are lined with glass for infinity views, and in all, there are 19 rooms with private plunge pools.

Image of guestroom at Four Seasons in Sicily

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Built on the site of a 14th century Dominican convent, the San Domenico Hotel first came to life in 1896 with the addition of a new building in Italian Liberty style (today’s Grand Hotel Wing) adjacent to accommodations converted from former quarters in the Ancient Convent Wing. It soon became a highlight on the Grand Tour, favoured by royalty and nobility and increasingly, a colourful cast of artists, writers and Hollywood stars. Set amid lush gardens reimagined by acclaimed Italian landscape architect Marco Bay with sweeping sea views, the Hotel pairs contemporary art with antiquities and architectural relics throughout.

Travellers will find that most of Sicily has reopened, from the designer shops and charming outdoor trattorias in the town of Taormina to artistic venues such as the steps-away ancient Greek Theatre, where a full calendar of musical performances are planned throughout summer. Beach clubs are also open, with guests of Four Seasons receiving special access to one of the most popular clubs.

The rebirth of the San Domenico Palace also heralds the return of Principe Cerami to Sicily’s thriving culinary and viticulture scene, where Executive Chef Massimo Mantarro’s menu is inspired by the very land where he grew up on the slope of Mount Etna. True to his roots but always experimenting, Chef Massimo’s genius can be savoured best in his #FSMasterdish, pasta e seppia. This clever combination of fresh ingredients marries sea and earth in marinated cuttlefish tagliatelle perched atop homemade spaghetti with cuttlefish ink afloat courgette blossom fondue. Paired with a glass of local wine selected by Head Sommelier Alessandro Malfitana, it’s Sicily on a plate.

Additional dining experiences include Rosso, where a large terrace affords panoramic views of Mount Etna and Taormina Bay as a setting to enjoy local specialties and international classics; and the poolside Anciovi, where the menu celebrates the bounty of the sea, and where creative cocktails can be enjoyed long after the sun goes down. In the garden setting of Bar & Chiostro, drinks are best paired with light fare, including the must-try pennette served in the local “Norma” style with aubergine and ricotta cheese.

Not to be missed are the exquisite creations of Chef de Patisserie Vincenzo Abagnale, who joins Four Seasons following four years with Chef Mauro Colagreco at three Michelin-starred Mirazur in France, that was ranked #1 on the list of World’s Best Restaurants in 2019.

In the captivating setting that combines hundreds of years of history with the drama of an active volcano, events at San Domenico Palace are always memorable. Now, with the expert touch of Four Seasons event planners and the catering team, it’s a fantastic choice for inspired corporate retreats, fairy-tale weddings or simply gathering family and friends for a much-needed reunion in the sun. More than 1,700 square metres (18,300 square feet) of indoor-outdoor event spaces can be tailored for gatherings from a dozen to several hundred guests.

 

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

The Brit List Awards 2021

The Brit List Awards 2021: FAQs (applications/nominations close soon)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Awards 2021: FAQs (applications/nominations close soon)

Your chance to apply or nominate someone, free of charge, to enter The Brit List Awards 2021 is running out. Ahead of applications/nominations closing on August 6 – and to ensure that you are fully in-the-know about your opportunity to enter and join us at our largest networking event in this year’s calendar, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions…

The Brit List Awards 2021

The Brit List Awards is Hotel Designs’ annual awards campaign to identify and celebrate Britain’s best interior designers, architects, hoteliers and brands. What started as a list of the top 25 designers and architects has evolved into a full-on awards ceremony that crowns individual winners as well as profiling, in a printed publication, the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers.

Since opening applications and nominations for this year’s campaign, we have received many emails and social media messages – so we thought we would share some of the most frequently asked questions for those who are still considering whether or not to apply/nominate someone deserving.

Click here to apply/nominate (free of charge) for The Brit List Awards 2021.

Q: What is The Brit List Awards?
A: The Brit List Awards is our nationwide campaign to find the top designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers operating in Britain. After nominations/applications have closed on August 6, the winners of the individual awards and The Brit List 2021 will be unveiled at the awards ceremony, which takes place this year on November 3 at PROUD Embankment.

Q: What are this year’s individual award categories?
A: This year’s campaign include TWO new award categories. Below are the individual awards you can apply/nominate for?

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

Q: Aside from the Individual awards, what is The Brit List?

A: The Brit List is the annual publication that we unveil at the awards ceremony, which profiles the top 25 entries in the interior design, architecture, and hospitality categories. The aim of the publication is to celebrate the top 75 most influential people who are keeping Britain a design, architecture and hospitality hub.

Q: How much does it cost to apply?
A: Nothing!! The whole application process is completely free! What’s more, shortlisted finalists (designers, architects & hoteliers) will receive a complimentary ticket to attend the awards ceremony on November 3 at PROUD Embankment. Suppliers can purchase tickets here for £150 + VAT, or email Katy Phillips to discuss limited sponsorship opportunities.

Q: Can I apply on behalf of somebody else?
A: Yes. To ensure there are no boundaries in our search, we allow people to nomination others. In short, if you know someone who you believe is deserving, we want to hear about them!

Q: I’m a designer who is not part of a large studio, should I still apply?
A: Yes! We are looking for Britain’s best designers, architects, hoteliers and brands – and that does not mean that only the brands with deep pockets can or should apply.

Q: How are the winners selected?
A: In order to ensure that The Brit List Awards is a fair campaign, we have selected an individual judging panel. The shortlisted designers, architects and hoteliers will receive complimentary tickets to attend the awards ceremony on November 3 at PROUD Embankment.

Q: How can I attend the awards ceremony if I not want to submit an entry?
A: 
The Awards ceremony has over the years become known for being a premium networking event. If you qualify as an interior designer, architect or hotelier, you can purchase tickets here for just £20+VAT each (the price of a London cocktail). For anyone else wishing to attend, you can purchase tickets here for £150 + VAT.

Morgan seating

A look at Morgan’s latest product launches

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A look at Morgan’s latest product launches

British contract furniture designer and manufacturer Morgan has let us in to take a look at the brand’s latest new products, which arrive to add further choices to its already successful Porto and Kyoto collections…

While the streets of Clerkenwell start to echo with life again, we are excited for the plethora of brands in the neighbourhood that have opened their showrooms to shelter the latest designs and innovations in the market. One of those brands is Morgan, which continues to unveil products that are eco-friendly, ahead of any trend and timelessly suited for the hospitality industry.

Morgan seating

Following the launch of new table tops to the Goodwood and Rakino collections, get comfortable as we share what else in new in the London showroom.

The Porto collection is light, minimal and versatile. Ergonomically designed to ensure comfort in both dining, lounge and work configurations. Customisable by design, the newest addition to our Porto collection expands its versatility even further; introducing the Swivel base. Available across the five Porto dining chair options, the light aluminium base compliments the minimal upholstery to give a modern luxurious feel to any working environment.

Image caption: Porto collection from Morgan has unveiled a swivel-based chair to the range.

Image caption: Porto collection from Morgan has unveiled a swivel-based chair to the range.

Featured at their London showroom, Morgan have now made their seat pads a standard offering within the Kyoto collection of dynamic linear intersecting benches. These simple, yet striking seat pads are highly versatile, turning window sills, steps and other surfaces into seating areas.

Morgan 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: Morgan

Gif James Dilley and James Ingram

A young architect’s Q&A: Jestico + Whiles’ James Dilley

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A young architect’s Q&A: Jestico + Whiles’ James Dilley

In collaboration with our friends at NEWH UK Chapter, we have launched an editorial series that is aimed to bring together established designers and architects with those who are at the beginning of their career. For our first Q&A in the series, we invited young architect James Ingram to interview James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles

Gif James Dilley and James Ingram

Students who are graduating from university are lost like rivers running into unknown seas. The salt water is unfamiliar and the waves are turbulent and unrelenting. And all of a sudden, as Covid-19 hit the shoreline, even the most established design studios globally were drifting uncontrollably off course.

Casualties were inevitable as the industry tried to stay afloat during the treacherous storm but even we were surprised to see leading hotel design and hospitality studios such as Wilson Associates and most recently RPW Design go under.

Hotel Designs and NEWH have teamed up to cast life rafts out to the upcoming designers and architects who have struggled to place themselves into studio life as a result – a transition that should be smooth and seamless after years of education and preparing for the long journey.

In a unique collaboration, we are working together in order to connect young designers with the industry, all while producing engaging and insightful content for our readers. In this editorial series, we are calling on young designers and architects to come face-to-face with leading industry figures in hotel design and hospitality – and no question is off limit.

To kickstart our chapter, we invited James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles, who has led teams on hotel projects both in the UK and internationally, including completing projects in territories, such as Malta, Marrakesh, Berlin, Amsterdam, Tbilisi and Kyiv, to be interviewed by James Ingram, a young, hungry and talented architect who won the NEWH Ideology Award in 2019. Ingram joins Dilley following his graduation from Ravensbourne University and having just returned from an internship in Prague.

James Ingram: How do you find inspiration to make unique narratives and experiences in your designs? 

James Dilley: For me, now, I find inspiration in the people I meet. It’s wonderful that in hotel design, a lot of the owners don’t have a hotelier background. They love hotels and often it’s those people who are the visionaries. We deal with people from all walks of life – and they have entered into hospitality because they have a real passion for the industry.

When I was younger, the experience of a chain hotel was special, it was a posh, upmarket experience and it was very different to today. The very uniform style of those hotels was born out of the USA, post-war, and it was a very international (with a small ‘I’) mindset.

Overtime that would become a dated hospitality concept, and hotels began to respond to their surrounding culture and climate. These days, a hotel’s design tends to be born of locality and with the aim to create a unique sense of place.

Brand books used to be incredibly specific. Thankfully, that’s not the only way to proceed any more – and more creative concepts in hospitality are being created as conventional ideas are challenged.

“I started learning once I was flipped out of the spaceship of education and parachuted into the real world.” James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles.

JI: In your early career, how did you contend with adversity and coming across hurdles in the workplace that couldn’t be mimicked as a student?

JD: To be honest, I started learning once I was flipped out of the spaceship of education and parachuted into the real world. I graduated at a time when many teachers were not designers or architects , they were teachers lecturing on design and architecture. I was passionate about interesting people and travel. Call it serendipity, but that’s the route I chose, or that chose me….

“The best design comes from challenging convention and doing things that haven’t been done before.” – James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles.

JI: What’s something you wish you’d known when you first started as a designer?

James Dilley: That there isn’t a right way to do something. The best designs come from challenging convention and doing things that haven’t been done before. Innovation and creativity are therefore key. Design is not an exam where you get a tick or a cross next to your answers. It just doesn’t work like that.

JI: How do you stay up to date with current trends? 

JD: By surrounding yourself with good people. You can read, you can collect as many direct experiences as you can, but the breadth of what you need to be aware is so great that you can’t cover it all as an individual. You need to surround yourself with a team who, ideally, think differently to you,the best teams are made up of different people.

JI: Is it easier or more challenging these days to specify with more options to designers?

JD: When it comes to product design, it’s exciting to see new innovations, but over time you find yourself going back to products you specified in the past and to brands that you trust. There’s always a red line running through your design Usually you are designing similar styles so the same products fit in nicely. Designers have a responsibility to ensure they are sourcing materials ethically. Stone is an excellent example. You can select stone from anywhere in the world – you can buy blue marble from Brazil or purchase limestone from Italy for the price of wallpaper. The choice is huge but we are now more conscious around sustainability, things have to be ethically sourced, and people are becoming more innovative when sourcing these items.

Image caption: James and his team at Jestico + Whiles are currently working on designing The Island Quarter, a £650m mixed-use development in Nottingham that is set to become a new landmark for the city and the Midlands.

Image caption: James and his team at Jestico + Whiles are currently working on designing The Island Quarter, a £650m mixed-use development in Nottingham that is set to become a new landmark for the city and the Midlands.

JI: Do you tend to have favourite suppliers?

JD: One of the most important thing, for me when specifying a product, is the after service – the parts of the relationship suppliers don’t get paid for. Using stone as an example again, it’s a difficult material to work with at times. And if you have a problem then you want the supplier you sourced it from to rectify it without too much discussion. After care will certainly swing things for me when we are specifying.

JI: How do you think hotel design will change as a result of the pandemic?

JD: I hope it won’t change too much – a big part of hospitality is about sociability. You’re very rarely in an environment where you want to be isolated. Social distancing, in a basic sense where you simply distance yourself socially is not for me.

Having said that, there are some exciting things that have emerged during the pandemic, and that’s around how people live. Everyone at the moment seems to be socialising outdoors – they are having a great time, and I see brands utilising every piece of outdoor space in an imaginative way as being an exciting step forward in hospitality.

“People do not necessarily expect [nor want] indulgence if sustainability is the cost.” – James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles.

Image caption: Understanding sense of place, Jestico + Whiles' design for a new-build hotel on Paul Street, London, responded directly to the area’s architectural and cultural context in the heart of Shoreditch.

Image caption: Understanding sense of place, Jestico + Whiles’ design for a new-build hotel on Paul Street, London, responded directly to the area’s architectural and cultural context in the heart of Shoreditch.

JI: Many would argue that consumers, in general, are looking for more of a premium experience. How do you balance that with incentives to become more sustainable in design and architecture?

JD: The luxury experience does not always come at a premium. Affluent people choose to stay in less traditionally “luxurious” places , not because they can’t afford to go elsewhere; people are looking for authentic experiences. This is a big move, and people do not necessarily expect [nor want] indulgence if sustainability is the cost.

A few years ago, we opened Zuri Zanzibar, for example. The social attitude to that hotel, in design and operation, is extremely important. Local people are brought into the operations in order to help them live a better life. If you are bringing in a fresh water supply or power to a part of the island that previously didn’t have one, then why wouldn’t you share that with the village?

I think there are other areas that are harder to justify. In some more traditional hotels, you will see a limo going back and forth to pick up individual guests from the airport and this is just not sustainable. Going back further, a lot of hotels and hospitality models rely on travel, which largely is not sustainable either – we can plant trees to offset the carbon that’s come from the flights but it’s not quite balanced out yet. I’m a designer of hotels, but this is a fundamental issue. Travel needs to become sustainable from top to bottom.

“Sadly, there is a lack of people in the industry wanting to give young designers and architects a chance.” – James Ingram, architect.

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: Who were your design idols at university?

JI: Wassily Kindinscky and in general I was inspired by forms, shapes and expression

JD: Landscape artists, such as Richard Long, Richard Serra and Andy Goldsworthy. And of course, the maestro, Carlo Scarpa.

HK: What would you both say are the most overused words at the moment?

JD: ‘Post-covid’ and ‘technology’

JI: I would say ‘technology’ too, particularly ‘parametricism’

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?

JI: Realistically, somewhere within the UK, like Cornwall. Long term, I’d like to experience India and South East Asia – I want to get of this cultural bubble.

JD: Georgia is an amazing country – and also Malta.

HK: And finally, James Ingram, what is it currently like at the moment for young designers and architects graduating?

JI: Sadly, there is a lack of people in the industry wanting to give young designers and architects a chance. The job market maybe picking up but there is a reluctance for studios to help part 1 students. For example, they are all asking for a year or two experience, which is just not realistic for freshly graduated students.

JD: That’s simply not fair on the students James and I am embarrassed that the industry is taking that position. Getting cheap labour is simply not the point for Part 1 students. It should be a mutually beneficial relationship with give and take both ways. We need to allow students to learn in a live environment and we find we also have a lot to learn from our best students.

This interview is the first in a dynamic editorial series that aims to help shelter many meaningful conversations and bridge the gap between generations in architecture, design and hospitality. Thanks to NEWH, we are able to identify talented designers and architects who are currently at a disadvantage, due to the pandemic, graduating from university with a lack of opportunities. If you would like to contribute to this series, please email the editorial desk.

Main image credit: James Ingram/James Dilley/Jestico + Whiles

Hospitality brand edyn to launch Cove

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hospitality brand edyn to launch Cove

Answering the demands of modern travellers with ‘soulful hospitality’, edyn has launched Cove, a ‘next generation’ serviced apartment brand that will embrace the new future of travel, providing fresh growth opportunities for the breakthrough hospitality brand…

From the brand that launched Locke, which recently opened its first property outside the UK, Cove launches to underscore both edyn’s resilience and optimism.

Cove embodies the notion of flexible living – combining considered design with seamless technology to enable life in all modes. The adaptability of Cove’s business model will also provide exciting new growth opportunities for edyn, which is rapidly expanding its presence throughout the UK and Europe. In the first half of 2021, the group built upon its resilient 2020 performance when it achieved an average occupancy exceeding 70 per cent – making edyn the ‘one to watch’ in the new future of travel where guests are increasingly planning to stay for longer and experience more, whatever the reason for their stay.

“Cove will embrace new ways of living, offering travellers security, comfort and sanctuary.” – Steven Haag, Managing Director of Cove.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to evolve and grow edyn at a time when flexible, thoughtfully designed accommodation has never been more in demand,” explained Stephen McCall, CEO of edyn. “Combined with the foresight of our investors behind us and a world class team leading the brand, the launch of Cove will allow us to transform the traditional serviced apartment model and bolster our portfolio.”

Cove’s thoughtfully designed apartments will continue to serve a base of corporate clients looking for extended stays, while refocusing on leisure travellers – including families – seeking self-contained, spacious, and flexible accommodation. Each versatile apartment will feature super-fast, private Wi-Fi; fully fitted kitchens and living rooms; as well as signature sofas and bespoke kitchen tables suitable for dining, working or hosting.

“Our mission is to create the next generation of serviced apartments, which cater to travellers seeking carefully designed spaces in central city locations across the UK and Europe; suitable for a business trip, city escape or family holiday,” said Steven Haag, Managing Director of Cove. “Cove will embrace new ways of living, offering travellers security, comfort and sanctuary, which is aligned with edyn’s ethos and vision.”

Image credit: Cove Paradise Street, Liverpool ONE

This month, edyn will transform eight of its existing Saco properties to Cove, with new fixtures and furnishings, branding and an innovative, digitally focused guest journey. The first full Cove opening will be a new acquisition in the Liverpool ONE development.

Cove Paradise Street will comprise 77 contemporary one- to three-bed apartments, boasting panoramic views of Liverpool city centre and a large communal courtyard. Located in the heart of the city, Cove Paradise Street is a stone’s throw from excellent transport links, as well as Liverpool ONE’s diverse retail, leisure, and dining offering.

Saco properties in Reading, Nottingham, London (Covent Garden, The Cannon, St. Martin’s Lane), Cardiff, Bristol (West India) and Manchester will all transform to Cove. Properties that are not part of the initial transformation will continue to operate under the Saco brand and be available to book alongside partner properties on the Saco website.

Main image credit: edyn

Virtual roundtable: How F&B hospitality is evolving in 2021 & beyond

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: How F&B hospitality is evolving in 2021 & beyond

For all brands working in hospitality, shutting up shop due to Covid-19 was a hard pill to swallow. But could F&B hospitality emerge from this crisis evolved and better shaped for the new demand of modern travellers and locals alike? Editor Hamish Kilburn, in association with LUQEL, gathers some of the UK’s leading figures in the industry to find out…

After months of forced closure after Covid-19 brought the UK hospitality scene to its knees more than a year ago, F&B spaces recently took on a new role as the industry showed signs of recovery. With the aim to reconnect, following a brutal recharge, hotels up and down the country re-emerged with purpose, amplifying new trends and sheltering new concepts, to ultimately confront a new chapter in the industry.

Brands of all shapes and sizes did what was necessary in order to innovatively convert their outdoor spaces into exceptional dining experiences. In this exclusive and time-appropriate roundtable, in collaboration with LUQEL, which provides hospitality businesses with state-of-the-art water solutions, we have brought together a handful of the industry’s finest in order to explore how the challenges of today are forcing brand’s to bring to the chef’s table new F&B models, which will essentially help tomorrow’s thriving F&B hospitality landscape.

Meet the panel:

Hamish Kilburn: UK hospitality has been open now for a few weeks, what’s the mood been like in your establishments?

Mario Perera: For us at The Dorchester, we didn’t stop during the pandemic– we were running the hotel with residents living here and when were able to inviting certain people to come and stay. What made the pandemic particularly challenging was that we are currently celebrating our 90th anniversary, so we wanted to make a statement. We decided to open the roof terrace – we are following all the guidelines and doing everything we can to make each guests’ experience memorable – which is something completely new for The Dorchester.

The Dorchester rooftop terrace

During the easing of lockdown measures in the UK, The Dorchester utlised its outdoor space and opened its rooftop as an F&B outlet for the first time in its nine-decade history.

Marco Palazzo: The Kingston 1 and its Solo restaurant have just opened, and it’s been undoubtedly a slow start. While government’s restrictions still in place don’t help us, we’ve been getting a great response from our first guests, which is a reassuring signal for what’s to come that keeps us optimistic for the future.

Conor O’Leary: Touch wood, we have been fortunate with very high demand here at Gleneagles. People tend to come and stay with us in order to escape the city. Over half term, we were running at 95 per cent capacity and we are looking forward to a busy summer. There are restrictions, of course, which we are managing and people are booking less impulsively, but guests do, in general, understand.

Also, this situation has allowed our team to think more creatively. We have installed pop-up bars and ice-cream shacks, for example, in order to encourage guests to be outdoors, which has allowed us to also offer something different and unique for our locals too.

“I think Covid-19 has given more of a thirst for interesting experiences, and to be more mindful as to how and where they will spend their money.” – Josed Youssef, Founder, Kitchen Theory.

James Green: You mentioned the offering increase, have there been areas where the offiering has changed?

COL: We have had to change a few things. We were very well-known for our breakfast buffet before Covid-19 and for the time being that has had to stop. Instead, we are serving 400 a la carte breakfasts a day, which as you can imagine is a challenge in itself. Strathearn restaurant, a classical Franco-Scottish fine dining restaurant, is well known for its table work and trolleys which we have had to limit somewhat but we have compensated with other offerings. With large restaurants, however, we are able to adhere to those restrictions. I have also noticed that interior designers are not just designing F&B spaces that look good anymore, but they are really designing experience concepts and developing from the ground up.

Jozef Youssef: I’d say, now more than ever, we are in this experience economy – I think Covid-19 has given more of a thirst for interesting experiences, and to be more mindful as to how and where they will spend their money. We were moving in this direction anyway, but I see more experimental themes coming out of this. Of course, this is largely driven by social media. There are a lot of hotels and restaurants in London, but I do wonder how many of them are a great once-in-a-lifetime experience – and I think consumers will be demanding that in the near future.

Ivaylo Lefterov: SVART is very unique and F&B plays a massive role in our guest journey experience. We are trying to keep this as bespoke as possible. There are certain challenges that come with that aspiration– for example, we are looking to introduce individual menus for our guests in order to monitor their nutrition from check in to check out. The menu will be based on how their nutrition is changing from a day-to-day basis.

HK: Does everyone see personalised menus being a reality in the future? 

JY: From the research we carry out, I don’t think it’s a question of reality, I think it’s going to become a demand – and kitchens will have to adapt. You can see it happening already. Small personalisations, such a allergens and dietary requirements, that didn’t really come into conversation 15 or 20 years ago, are now an unavoidable reality. Also, back then, chefs were less sympathetic to it. Operations are going to have to adapt to be more flexible to this consumer behaviour.

“The reason why hotels have evolved from simply sheltering the steakhouse or Italian restaurant is that you don’t just have that option on the high street anymore.” – Conor O’Leary, Joint Managing Director, Gleneagles.

HK: So much effort and resources go into pairing food with the best compliment such as wine – it can really enhance your experience, is this still important? Do you see a market for a healthier alternative?

COL: When we re-opened the hotel, Scotland’s regulations prevented us from offering alcohol. The sale of non-alcoholic beverages, on top of water, was vast. Nearly every table ordered non-alcoholic beers, wines or the cocktails we had created. We therefore definitely feel as if there is a need for healthier alternatives to alcohol.

HK: Also, it’s important to remember, with a rise in hotel development outside the city, more customers will be driving to these venues and therefore will be restricted on how much alcohol they consume anyway.

Mario P: For those who want an experience and education in wine, we now offer a very exclusive package for guests. We allow a select few down to the dine in the wine vault and the chef’s table. We also do masterclasses – and this is something we introduced and has been very successful.

JY: Water is the healthiest drink that you can consume and surely there is a way to make that market more premium to those who are going out and experiencing a luxury meal. There should be more of a ritual around water and water choices.

The slick water station by LUQEL is particularly suitable for the hospitality industry and offers users 30 different recipes with individual mineralisation.

The slick water station by LUQEL is particularly suitable for the hospitality industry and offers users 30 different recipes with individual mineralisation.

HK: Conor, you obviously worked in a number of establishments in London before heading up to Gleneagles. What have been the major changes since then and now?  

COL: The overall answer is that the audience is more aware – they go out more than they did before and there’s a lot more understanding around food in general. The reason why hotels have evolved from simply sheltering the steakhouse or Italian restaurant is that you don’t just have that option on the high street anymore. The dining experiences are curated and easily available. Hotels slowly caught up to this. Good businesses are offering something unique – and the dining experiences are different from other areas, such as the lobby, of the hotel. Personalisation is a tricky space, because the best dining experiences are in the hands of the restauranteur – many guests don’t want to think in order to enjoy their dining experience. And that’s before even considering that your guests are international. We have to be relevant nowadays.

Our guests are also changing. We spent a lot of time softening our reputation, and the experience is on their terms.

“Being an architect myself, we tend to be quite arrogant to the usage of the spaces.” – Ivaylo Lefterov, Development Direcotr, Miris

HK: Do you think it’s important for chefs to have exposure of the design plans before their completed?

Marco P: A restaurant represents the personality and style of a chef; I am very lucky to have started at Solo restaurant before it opened as it gave me the opportunity to have a voice in contributing to the creation of the venue’s identity, based on what my vision was. Today, we have a relaxed yet elegant dining venue which is unique in its area, and offers locals a high-quality neighbourhood restaurant with a fine-dining touch.

JY: Traditionally, chefs would work in a private space away from the guests and all the theatre would be performed on the restaurant floor. But then something interesting happened. Restaurants started to open up the kitchens, which became part of the whole aesthetic. Now, for many businesses, chefs are integral to the overall brand and concept. So, moving forward, I do think that chefs should have exposure of the design – certainly the layout of the Kitchen – because it has to be operational. I predict that there will be more collaborations between chefs and designers and other experts in order to create new experiences.

COL: I think we all bring work and life experience into our roles. I think it’s only relevant to bring in chefs into the design stages if they have experience in that area.  It’s important that the design process matches the concept.

IL: Chefs are vital. Being an architect myself, we tend to be quite arrogant to the usage of the spaces. Genius architects in the past have completely ignored functional areas, especially the kitchen and back-of-house spaces. Therefore, you do require knowledge in that area and everyone has to thinking in the same language. For SVART, I chose to bring everyone to the table before the architect in order for us to discuss exactly what we want from a functional element.

Mario P: I agree. Designers are integral but if you can’t get the food right then you have a big problem. In a branded property, everyone is important and everyone should be working together.

“Five years ago, we had signs saying ‘keep off the grass’ and now we have 100 dining tables, chairs and seafood shack on the lawn.” – Conor O’Leary, Joint Managing Director, Gleneagles.

HK: In between lockdowns one and two in the UK, there were less covers in restaurants, due to social distancing, but many reported that average spend per table increased. Could this be a solution in the future?

Mario P: People are happy to pay if their experience is matched. I think a lot has changed, and we too have softened our image. For example, I am more than happy to be out on the floor to pour wine and interact with guests and I think people love that. There’s also more of a dialogue between the consumer and the waiter/waitress. People are asking questions about the menus and just enjoying being out again.

COL: The hardship we have been in has forced that creativity. Five years ago, we had signs saying ‘keep off the grass’ and now we have 100 dining tables, chairs and seafood shack on the lawn We have also seen an increase in average spend per table. I don’t think there is a link between space and spend – I think people are just desperate to enjoy hospitality again.

HK: We have seen a big shift when it comes to sustainability and reduction of carbon emissions, there have been many changes with government legislations around single use plastics, what are your plans to meet the ongoing legislations going forward?

COL: We were sourcing locally anyway, but [during Covid] we were able to really focus heavily in this area. We are opening a small townhouse in Edinburgh later this year and huge part of that concept will be around how we engage and source locally. Everything is looking inwardly and instead of price first, it is community first.

Mario P: I have been practicing this for a while and it something I am very passionate about. It’s really important for me for us to use local farmers where we can.

IL: As you know, the concept for SVART is to offer a personalised menu for our guests around their nutrition but everything we do will be limited to what we can source locally. Part of our concept is to produce a lot of the goods ourselves. We already have a fish farm and we will also have a green farm that will be powered by the waste and energy that we will produce. This is all part of the holistic process.

Also, as we design SVART, we are looking at the source of the material of each and every product that we specify in the hotel – that is very important for this meaningful development.

HK: In other areas of hotel design, the sensory experience is being explored as a meaningful way to shelter a deeper experience. Can you see this working in F&B hospitality?

JY: Undoubtedly. A lot of research we have done over the last few years, that we published recently, the sensory touchpoints are being explored far deeper than ever before on the influence they are having. Your senses are constantly ticking away, helping you to structure your surroundings or the experience you are in. What’s interesting from our research is that there are strong correlations with how sound effects the environment. If you are in a restaurant, for example, and the sound level is above 70 – 80 decibels, the noise level physiologically suppresses your ability to taste sweetness. What we are trying to understand is how colour, shape and sound can help to enhance the experience that guests are having.

IL: With our development, we are engaging with all these senses, subconsciously, to create a meaningful hospitality experience.

HK: Are there any F&B eras you hope don’t re-emerge as trends? 

IL: All-inclusive hotels, globally!

Marco P: Rediscovering simple ingredients and flavours that are good to the soul and bring people together, which is what we try to do at Solo.

JY: It comes back to personalisation. In august of last year public health England announced an obesity crisis. Over the next 10 – 20 years, the population will become even more health aware. I’m of a generation when James Bond smoked, but you wouldn’t think of that in movies released today. Maybe in the future, James Bond will have a lighter drink – or LUQEL water even – at the bar. I think, personally, there will be much more education on healthier alternatives in regards to ingredients.

COL: I think there’s going to be a slight move back towards sophisticated dining. We would have to pay a bit more but I think customers will accept that. And the dining experience would link in to a more meaningful and thoughtful journey.

IL: In comparison to Europe, hospitality brands operating in Bulgaria already offer a vast choice of waters and brands for guests to select from. I can see there being a demand for more interesting water flavours in the future, and I do see that becoming a demand from guests.

Since you’re here, why not read our feature on personalised water for all?

Clearly, this is just the start of the conversation around how F&B will evolve in 2021 & beyond. Hotel Designs will be putting particular emphasis on this topic over the next few months, and may even make a stage appearance at a show or two with hand-picked guests in order to explore the future of F&B in more delicious detail. Stay tuned…

Morgan table tops

Product Watch: Furniture brand Morgan launches new table tops

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product Watch: Furniture brand Morgan launches new table tops

Morgan, the furniture brand perhaps most known for – but not limited to – its innovative hospitality seating designs, has announced the launch of multiple new table tops to its Goodwood and Rakino collections. Let’s take a look…

Known for its eco-sensitive DNA and its authentic and organic collaborations with the likes of Tim Rundle and Mehran Gharleghi, Morgan is a British furniture brand that believes the design and manufacture of truly original, high-quality furniture is the result of passion, care, design integrity, experience, craftsmanship and an unfaltering dedication to quality.

Morgan table tops

With this kind of commitment, the brand does not take product launches lightly – and to compliment its family of seating in the Goodwood and Rakino collections, it has recently unveiled new table tops to add texture to the already striking range of products.

From timber, glass and Carrara marble tops, to a unique geometric collaboration with artist Mark McClure, and now two further options – including a traditional cane detail and new technology recycled plastic tops, offered in both a neutral or colourful option, the new table tops launched by Morgan are both 100 per cent recycled and recyclable.

Rakino chair with table tops

Image credit: Morgan

The new cane Goodwood table sits perfectly next to our cane back Kaya lounge chair, adding a delicate, natural detail to the timber frame. But that’s not all. The brand has also added two striking terrazzo top options on our Rakino nesting tables.

Morgan 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: Morgan

RPW Design: A look back on its iconic hotel design projects

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
RPW Design: A look back on its iconic hotel design projects

In case you haven’t heard, leading hospitality design firm RPW Design became the latest casualty of the pandemic recently after its Managing Director Ariane Steinbeck announced that she had put the company into administration. With Steinbeck’s blessing, editor Hamish Kilburn reflects (past and present) on some of the hospitality design studio’s most iconic projects…

Over the course of 31 years, RPW Design earned its title as one of the leading international interior design practices within the realm of hospitality. Having created unique interiors for luxury hotels, cruise ships and private members’ clubs around the world, the studio has helped steer hospitality, from many perspectives, into several new eras of luxury and lifestyle. With an impressive portfolio of projects and awards, the firm became renowned for its technical prowess and sensual alchemy. In short, each project RPW Design undertook become memorable for its coherence and elegance.

During the pandemic, the studio helped us narrate as much as navigate the ever-evolving hotel design and hospitality scene – Ariane Steinbeck herself joined us on several virtual roundtables, including discussions on hygiene, wellness and sleep.

“While we mourn the loss of RPW Design Ltd, our team will remain a [resourceful and] reliable force in our industry.” – Ariane Steinbeck, Managing Director, RPW Design.

Over the weekend, however, Steinbeck, who in 2015 was passed the reins by Jan Wilson to become Managing Director – I still remember the fabulous Octoberfest-style event she arranged to mark her arrival – took to social media to share that the company had gone into administration. “It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I must announce the closure of RPW Design Ltd after three decades of serving the hospitality industry,” she wrote. “Try as we might, we could not overcome the compounding effects of Covid-19 on our business… While we mourn the loss of RPW Design Ltd, our team will remain a [resourceful and] reliable force in our industry – some of whom have already found new ‘homes’ elsewhere.”

Our heartfelt, respectful nod (more of a bow actually) to the studio’s legacy comes as we look back to some of RPW Design’s iconic projects that added colour, texture and deep meaning to the hospitality landscape worldwide. From one of my first features I wrote as a design journalist – the unveil of London Marriott Hotel County Hall – to its most recent projects that are still in development, including working on what will be Sofia’s tallest building and the much-loved Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, here’s an edited selection of jewels that, thanks to considered interior design approaches, boldly put (and kept) RPW Design on our radar.

London Marriott Hotel County Hall
Design team: Elizabeth Lane, Heather McLellan and Alessandro Tessari

In 2014, RPW Design was tasked to take one of London’s most iconic riverside buildings, which first opened in 1933 opposite the Houses of Parliament, into its next chapter in hospitality. The studio steered the London Marriott Hotel County Hall through its multi-million pound renovation under the watchful eye of Elizabeth Lane, Heather McLellan and Alessandro Tessari.

Re-emerging and re-opening with crisp, new interiors – far removed from the maroon and green colour scheme that the hotel brand was once known for – while also appropriately making sensitive nods throughout to the building’s colourful past. In short, RPW Design helped the hotel take back its status as one of London’s finest hotels, while showcasing a modern and contemporary Marriott International brand.

Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire
Design team:
Elizabeth Lane, Poppy Lindley (now at Martin Brudnizki Design Studio), Richard Snow and Alessandro Tessari

Image credit: RPW Design/Four Seasons Hampshire

Last year, RPW Design unveiled the renovation of Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire’s conference and banqueting spaces. The refreshed interiors of the hotel’s meeting and event spaces seamlessly breathed fresh life into the historical Georgian property, adding a stylish sense of sophistication. In order to appeal to both the social and business clientele at the hotel, the design studio artistically designed different identities for each of the conference and banqueting rooms. To ensure the hotel remained quintessentially British, the team chose to specifically work with British manufacturers and suppliers.

The Capital Suite inside InterContinental London Park Lane
Design team: Ariane Steinbeck, Richard Snow and Poppy Lindley

RPW Design designed The Capital Suite

Image credit: Will Pryce

Designed to suit the needs of todays’ top executives and boasting state-of-the-art facilities, the inspiration for the design concept for The Capital Suite was drawn from the nature and history of Hyde Park, which surrounds the hotel and its storied location. Accompanying the use of natural materials, every detail has been individually designed to adhere to the leitmotif. Design touches contain tasteful homages to London’s greenery such as bespoke bronze handles evocative of tree branches for the cabinetry. Artwork and accessories draw on Hyde Park’s equine traditions and the historic location of the hotel. Bespoke stitching details of the Plane, the tree that populates and represents London’s Royal Parks, are incorporated into the headboard design. The green landscape of the park even inspired textures, patterns and themes within the carpet designs and artworks.

The suite, spanning 335sqm on the first floor, is the ultimate haven for the international business and leisure traveller a like – you feel taken away from the Capital, which is somewhat ironic considering its majestic name and non-cliché British design touchpoints and references.

Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa
Design team: Elizabeth Lane, Alessandro Tessari and Poppy Lindley

Earlier this year, RPW Design unveiled the new Presidential Suite of Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa, which, following an investment of more than €30M, epitomises the splendour and elegance of the recently renovated five-star St Julian’s property. Not only has RPW Design created a harmonious atmosphere but functionality was also at the forefront of the design process to form a space that is adaptable to modern travellers’ transition from daytime business meetings to leisurely evenings.

Situated on the 12th floor of the hotel, guests can enjoy unique panoramic views of Balluta Bay, which are visible from the entire 170 sqm suite. These vistas can be enjoyed on the expansive terrace, balconies and windows which run the whole length of the spacious room.

Sheraton Schiphol Airport (under construction)
Design team: Elizabeth Lane, Alessandro Tessari, Richard Snow and Heather McLellan

The project, which is still in motion, is a full refurbishment of the guestrooms and corridors in the airport hotel. It was integral to hit the right notes as this project is an early adopter of the new branding for Sheraton. The team were inspired by aerial views of the tulip fields and surrounding Land Art Park Buitenschot, built not only for recreations but also to reduce noise from the airfield. 

Sofia Marriott (under construction)
Design team: Ariane Steinbeck and Heather McLellan

Sofia Marriott will become the tallest tower in Sofia, Bulgaria. Unfortunately, we are unable to share much more than that at the moment – we don’t even have images to tease you with for the time being. All that we can confirm is that the talented individuals at RPW Design will be responsible for the contemporary interior design scheme that the building will eventually shelter.

Madrid Historic Apartment (expected to complete in 2022)
Design team: Ariane Steinbeck, Richard Snow and Alessandro Tessari

Image credit: RPW Design/Smallbone Kitchens

Image credit: RPW Design/Smallbone Kitchens

It may not be a hotel, but it does give you an idea of what the team are currently working on. The ‘piano nobile’ in a stately, Haussmannian-style building on one of Madrid’s most revered boulevards, is located steps from the Prado Museum and Retiro Park in the Salamanca neighbourhood. Built in 1919, and having had only a few owners in its history, the team at RPW Design are in the process of restoring and carefully re-shaping the “villa” into a spatial arrangement that makes sense for today’s lifestyles. The designed have put a large emphasis on the kitchen as a centrepiece as preparation of food and the joy of cooking and entertaining is paramount for this client. Assisted by Smallbone of Devizes, Steinbeck (who’s passion for cooking, I’m told, comes close to her love of design) and the former RPW Design team have come up with a solution that is adaptable to the family’s needs and unconventional in its approach.

Although this is a sad farewell to a company who has, for three decades, led with such poise, precision and passion, I can’t help but feel optimistic for Ariane Steinbeck, Heather McLellan, Alessandro Tessari,  Poppy Lindley, Richard Snow and Elizabeth Lane. As we close the door on this unforgettable chapter, I urge you to keep your eyes fixed on the corridor to see which other doors creep open. Behind them will no doubt be more masterpieces from the talented individuals – perhaps sheltered under different studios  – who together were RPW Design. Watch this space.

Main image credit: RPW Design

Weekly briefing: Rediscovering British hospitality & unveiling Rosewood’s plot twist

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Rediscovering British hospitality & unveiling Rosewood’s plot twist

You’re just in time to catch today’s performance of the Weekly Briefing. My name’s Hamish Kilburn, and allow me to show you to your seat. This week’s cast of stories includes our latest podcast episode that explores creativity crafted, nhow taking unconventional design and art to a whole new level, our latest hotel review that took us on a trip down memory lane and all you need to know (and more) about Rosewood’s latest venture into the private members’ arena. “Talent to the stage, talent to the stage, please…”

If Hotel Designs was a theatre production – and what a show that would be – the main theme of the overall performance this week would be variety. The editorial team’s inbox has been flooded with vibrancy, colour and stories that have simply put a smile on our face. Although many of the travel industry’s audience members haven’t quite made act one, as Covid-19 continues to put pressure on hospitality globally, we have been reassured that the narrative will improve by the development that continues to happen during these turbulent times.

This week, as well as recording out next virtual roundtable that explores the future of F&B hospitality (stay tuned), I was able to publish my first hotel review in a while – I checked in to The Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire following an incredible renovation by British designer Martin Hulbert – which made me realise, thanks to a nudge from good friend and PR queen Lara Good (Grifco PR), that local performances in British hospitality aren’t all that bad after all.

Work perks aside, here are our top stories from the week… but first, why not read this article while listening to the latest episode of DESIGN POD, which welcomes the ladies from Carden Cunietti to take the mic?!

Hotel review: Checking (back) in to The Grove Hotel, Hertfordshire

Image caption: In one of the lounges, the designer even commissioned a large gold beam to hang on the ceiling because, well, why not? | Image credit: The Grove Hotel, Hertfordshire

Image caption: In one of the lounges, the designer even commissioned a large gold beam to hang on the ceiling because, well, why not? | Image credit: The Grove Hotel, Hertfordshire

Socially distanced from London’s hustle and bustle, but still within 20 miles of the city, The Grove is a country estate set within 300 acres of glorious Hertfordshire countryside. Its most recent renovation, led by British designer Martin Hulbert, answers only to nature and ushers the hotel into a new era – perfect for those seeking a luxury staycation within reach of the Capital – as I learns when I become the latest Hotel Designs editor to check in…

Read more.

Rosewood Hotel Group launches ‘new breed’ of private members’ clubs

The Reading Room

Image credit: Rosewood Hotel Group

Rosewood Hotel Group, which has been loudly expanding its global portfolio during the pandemic period with hotel development in destinations such as RomeAmsterdamLondon and most recently Mexico City, has just changed the narrative once more by announcing the opening of Carlyle & Co., a landmark private members’ club in Hong Kong designed by British designer Ilse Crawford. Here’s what we know…

Read more.

Editor checks in: What it’s actually like for young designers

In my latest column, I addresses an issue that is resulting in young designers and architects missing out on a fair opportunity to succeed. Can we do more to help students to become the next generation of A&D professionals? You tell me…

Read more.

nhow Brussels Bloom Hotel opens with a colourful twist

Van in lobby inside nhow Brussels

Image credit: HD Hotel Group

NH Hotel Group’s unconventional lifestyle hospitality brand, nhow, expands its portfolio with the launch of its seventh hotel; a contemporary hub that has been designed with a different art form on every floor, including a floor designed by London designer Jessica Thacker. Sunglasses on, folks things are about to get colourful…

Read more.

Meet the women who are pioneering a new wave of design-led motels

The June April Brown and Srah Sklash

Image credit: Lauren Miller Photography

With a penchant for ‘great wine and good vibes’, The June is a female-led motelier that was founded by best friends, April Brown and Sarah Sklash. Following our bow to International Women’s Day, I sat down with Brown and Sklash to learn more about how the due are using design into to evolve The June into a leading lifestyle brand…

Read more.

And finally… we unveiled our speakers for Hotel Designs LIVE

Hotel Designs LIVE - speakers

Following four successful virtual events, Hotel Designs LIVE, which is completely free for designers, architects, hoteliers and developers, will return on August 10, 2021. In order to confront ‘zoom fatigue’ with meaningful content, we have just announced the global line-up of speakers who will appear in a series of four engaging panel discussions throughout the day…

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.

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: A new era of lifestyle

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: A new era of lifestyle

To kickstart Hotel Designs LIVE on May 11, editor Hamish Kilburn invited James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles; Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House and David Mason, Head of Hospitality at Scott Brownrigg for a panel discussion entitled: A new era of lifestyle (scroll down for full video of the discussion)…

On May 11 – while UK hospitality took a long stretch and awakened from its forced hibernation – designers, architects, hoteliers and developers from around the globe tuned in to watch the latest edition of Hotel Designs LIVE. The event, which first launched in June 2020 to keep the industry connected while keeping the conversation flowing, took place virtually and included four engaging panel discussions with world-renowned hospitality and design experts on the following topics:

  • A new era of lifestyle
  • Bathrooms beyond practical spaces
  • Art outside the frame
  • How workspace trends will impact hotel design

The first session of the day was designed to look beneath the surface of a topic that has sparked much debate recently in the hotel design and hospitality arenas. “Backed up by a recent roundtable, it is conclusive that lifestyle in hospitality is mutating, partly as a result of the pandemic but more accurately in order to meet ever-evolving demands of modern travellers.” explained editor Hamish Kilburn who hosted the session entitled ‘A new era of lifestyle’. “With brands merging into one, boundaries in design and architecture being stretched further than ever before and modern traveller demands now meaning that experience is key, the lane for lifestyle in hospitality worldwide has widened. But what does that new era look like, and just what are tomorrow’s modern traveller demands? That’s exactly what we are going to explore in this session.”

On the panel: 

  • James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles
  • Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House
  • David Mason, Head of Hospitality, Scott Brownrigg

The conversation began with Kilburn asking the panel to explain when it become desirable for travellers to use the term lifestyle. “I think it’s all aligned with the concept around experience,” James Dilley said. “It’s when hospitality providers were looking beyond simply beds and showers… we are hunters and collectors of our experience now (we upload them onto our Instagram channels) and it [the hotel stay] becomes the thrill of discovery and memorable experiences.”

To do the topic justice, it was important to look beyond how the recent pandemic has impacted hotel design and hospitality, and instead cast back to what was happening before Covid-19. “Pre-pandemic we were looking at urban resorts and the activation of city centres,” added David Mason. “A lot of the hotels we were working with were making their guests part of the experience where you could become part of the story.”

Perhaps one of the biggest unveil of the session came from Naomi Heaton, who used the platform to unveil the new brand, The Other House, which will shelter two new hotels in London, with hints that more properties will join the portfolio at a later date. The two new hotels, one inside Harrington Hall in Kensington and the other inside the Wellington block at Covent Garden, will open with the aim to disrupt hospitality and conventional luxury/lifestyle, drawing on her experience in the private residential sector launch something totally new. “What we see is a convergence between the tradition hotel offering, the serviced apartment offering and the high-end residential,” she said when explaining the DNA of the new brand. “What we want to do is bring them all together to create a completely new category in the market. We want our guests to feel like residents so that they feel local and part of the community.”

In addition to exploring the depths of ‘experience’ in the lifestyle sector, the panel also debated thoughtful hospitality, authentic design solutions for the luxury/lifestyle sector, safety as the industry emerges from the pandemic and the demand for meaningful social interaction in what is the new era of lifestyle.

Here’s the full video of the panel discussion (on demand), produced by CUBE, which includes Product Watch pitches from Hamilton Litestat, Atlas Concorde, Bette, Mosaico+ and hansgrohe.

The full recordings of the other three sessions (‘Bathrooms beyond practical spaces, Art outside the frame and Workspace design trends’) will be available on-demand shortly.

SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a fourth edition on August 10, 2021. The topics explored will include surfaces, sleep, senses and social and speakers will be announced shortly. Once these have been announced, tickets for Hotel Designs LIVE will be available. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused Product Watch pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

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.

Duravit 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: Duravit

Product watch: HygieneFlush by Duravit

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: HygieneFlush by Duravit

The new ‘HygieneFlush’ flushing system from Duravit provides ‘perfect flushing performance’ and maximum antibacterial protection. Twice the hygiene, HygieneFlush flushing system plus HygieneGlaze antibacterial ceramic glaze are ideal for a post-pandemic hospitality world…

Duravit 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: Duravit

With its maximum antibacterial protection and perfect performance Duravit’s new ‘HygieneFlush’ flushing system is set to revolutionise the toilet market. By combining the new flushing system with Duravit’s antibacterial ceramic glaze, HygieneGlaze, it delivers double protection in any washroom or bathroom.

The unique feature that makes the HygieneFlush so effective is the extremely powerful force of the flush which flows simultaneously from two carefully positioned openings.  Independent tests show that this new flushing technique cleans the entire inner surface of the toilet most effectively.  Keeping water usage to a minimum – only 4.5 l is used per flush – the flow is perfectly attuned to create a vortex and it is this that guarantees the ideal flushing action every time.

This new technology ingeniously combines the concept of a rotational flush with Duravit’s Rimless flushing technology whilst deploying two parallel flushing actions.  In addition to this the openings have been repositioned ensuring that the area at the front of the toilet is cleaned flawlessly every time, whilst avoiding unwanted splashes.

Cleanliness and excellent sanitation is further guaranteed as all new HygieneFlush toilets come with Duravit’s HygieneGlaze ceramic glaze as standard. HygieneGlaze eliminates bacterial growth; six hours after use, 90 per cent of bacteria (e.g. coli bacteria) are eliminated, with 99.9 per cent eliminated after 24 hours.

The antibacterial glaze is baked into the inner bowl of the toilet during firing; this makes it particularly effective in areas that are highly susceptible to the accumulation of bacteria. The combined action of these unique Duravit features – HygieneFlush and HygieneGlaze – provides maximum protection in terms of hygiene and cleanliness in the bathroom.

The ME by Starck wall hung WC range is available with the HygieneFlush flushing technology and the highly effective antibacterial HygieneGlaze ceramic glaze there is also a SensoWash® shower-toilet option available with HygieneGlaze available as standard.

Duravit 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: Duravit

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 South Kensington. Then, in 2023, London’s famed Covent Garden neighbourhood will welcome the brand’s next hotel. 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 for 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

The Brit List complilation

The Brit List Awards 2021: Nominations now open (and free)!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Awards 2021: Nominations now open (and free)!

FREE TO APPLY: Hotel Designs’ The Brit List Awards is back, and bigger than ever, as the nationwide search to find Britain’s best designers, architects, hoteliers and brands introduces two new individual awards to this year’s campaign…

The Brit List complilation

The free nomination/application process for The Brit List Awards 2021 is now officially open, as Hotel Designs’ nationwide search to identify the true leaders operating in the hotel design and hospitality arena in Britain begins. The awards, which has become a major campaign to support diversity and raw talent that stretches across the British design, architecture and hospitality landscape, is expected to be bigger than ever before – climaxing with a live awards ceremony that will take place on November 3 at Proud Embankment, London.

FREE TO ENTER: Simply click here to apply/nominate for The Brit List Awards 2020.

To remain Britain’s most meaningful design and hospitality awards ceremony, this year’s campaign will debut two new awards, The Rising Star Award and the International Award, which editor Hamish Kilburn says will elevate and diversify this year’s awards. “It’s been a challenging year for everyone operating in the industry we love to serve, and I am delighted that these two new awards position our editorial lens on young talented individuals who are fiercely climbing the ranks as well as making a nod to international superstars who are pivoting the international hotel design into a new era,” Kilburn, who will host the awards ceremony on November 3 in London, said. “And yes, following our successful virtual awards ceremony in 2020, we are doing everything we can in order to make sure our awards ceremony, which will be sheltered inside Proud Galleries in London, is the biggest and best yet.”

This year’s individual categories are:

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

In addition to the individual awards up for grabs, the top 25 entries in the interior design, architecture and hospitality categories will be profiled in the prestigious The Brit List, Hotel Designs’ annual publication that references the top 75 most influential individuals in British design, architecture and hospitality.

“We have made the decision to postpone all of our other networking events this year until 2022 in order to pour all of our attention into The Brit List Awards Ceremony which will welcome this year’s shortlisted finalists – AKA, the best in British product design, architecture and hospitality – under one roof for a party unlike any other,” said Katy Phillips, Publisher at Hotel Designs. “As a brand, Hotel Designs has confronted the challenges of Covid-19 by being a safe space that incubates new discussions – whether that’s publishing thought-provoking articles, hosting conversations like no other in our Hotel Designs LIVE events, amplifying innovative people on our podcast platform DESIGN POD or by championing the pioneers who are taking our industry forward via The Brit List Awards.”

For the third consecutive year, Crosswater, which is sheltered under the parent company Bathroom Brands Group, has been confirmed as the Headline Partner for The Brit List Awards. In addition, Hamilton Litestat and Duravit return as Event Partners while Schlüter Systems returns as Showcase Partner. Also returning to this year’s awards, the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) will once again be an Industry Partner for the awards ceremony and its upcoming President, Lindsey Rendall, will join this year’s judging panel alongside Lester Bennet, who is the institute’s current president. In addition, NEWH has also been confirmed an Industry Partner for the event.

If you would like to discuss various sponsorship packages available, please contact Katy Phillips via email, or call 01992 374050. Tickets to the live awards ceremony at Proud Embankment, London on November 3 will be available to secure shortly. 

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.

READ MORE.

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.

READ MORE. 

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.

READ MORE.

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.

READ MORE.

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.

READ MORE.

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.

READ MORE.

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

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

Girl playing with mobile phone on hotel bed

Industry insight: Is this the end of WiFi in hotels?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: Is this the end of WiFi in hotels?

A recent Which? survey found that over 14GB of data on average is going unused each month. Could your hotel be missing the opportunity to utilise this data network rather than invest in new WiFi Equipment? Following an impressive pitch at Hotel Designs LIVE, Gary Yeames-Smith, Director of Yeames Hospitality believes so…

Girl playing with mobile phone on hotel bed

The race to bring faster and bigger WiFi to Hotels has been ongoing for the last 20 years as more and more devices come online through business use as well as everyday lives. What started as a need for business laptops, was quickly followed by mobile phones, tablets and now smart watches from both business and leisure Guests.

Hoteliers have been charged with installing the infrastructure to support WiFi at the beginning and continue to do so. Why? Because they had to. Given the choice between a Hotel with or without WiFi the Guest would always opt for the former even if it cost more to stay per night. Since then every hotel now offers WiFi and the Guest pays for that though higher room rates.

But this was the need 10 years ago, when internet demand was exploding and the only way to provide it was through a wired or wireless connection because mobile data was slow and patchy at best but also very expensive to the end user. 

Fast forward to 2021 when 4G coverage is mainstream and 5G is being rolled out already to major cities. The cost of mobile data is at an all time low, yet a lot of the data also goes unused. With more speed and capacity available on mobiles that though conventional Broadband networks, isn’t it time your hotel thought of a different way?

Yeames Hospitality provides a Ofcom-regulated Mobile Coverage Solution that will increase signals on all four UK networks throughout the hotel and provide you the opportunity to give your guests amazing mobile coverage but also cut the cord on high cost leased lines in the future.  

business, people, technology, media and team work concept - close up of creative team with smartphones and tablet pc computers sitting at table in office

Image credit: Adobe Stock/Yeames Hospitality

The company, which offers a number of tech-driven solutions, can work with your hotel for fast and effective deployment on build or part of your refurbishment plans.

Yeames Hospitality 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: Unsplash

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

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs updates in-house events calendar for 2021 & 2022

In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, Hotel Designs has made a few amendments to its in-house event calendar for 2021 and 2022. Editor Hamish Kilburn explains everything you need to know…

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.

Now that the UK government has given us a clearer indication on when social distancing measures will ease, here are the latest updates regarding all of our events.

Hotel Designs LIVE | May 11, 2021 | Virtual event

Main image Hotel Designs LIVE

The next Hotel Designs LIVE will take place on May 11, and will look at topics such as lifestyle, bathrooms, art and workspace.

In addition to the live seminar sessions – 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.

What’s more, designers, architects, hoteliers and developers attend free of charge – click here to secure your complimentary ticket(s).

The inaugural Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place online on June 23, 2020, defined the point on international hotel design’s most relevant topics with the help of some of design, architecture and hospitality’s leading figures as well as identifying the latest product innovations on the market.

Following this event, Hotel Designs LIVE will return on August 10, 2021 and December 7, 2021 to explore more relevant topics with with world-renowned designers, architects, hoteliers and developers (topics and sessions for future events will be available shortly).

#HotelDesignsLIVE | Participate here.

Interior Design & Architecture Summit | June 30, 2021 | Hilton Canary Wharf

The next Interior Design & Architecture Summit (IDAS) will take place on June 30, 2021 at Hilton Canary Wharf

IDAS is Hotel Designs’ premium meet-the-buyer event for designers, architects and suppliers.

If you are a senior designer and/or architect and would like to attend the 2021 event, please contact Alex King on 01992 374082, or email a.king@forumevents.co.uk. If you are a supplier and are interested in attending the 2021 event, please contact Jennie Lane on 01992 374098, or email j.lane@forumevents.co.uk.

Retail & Hospitality Design Forum | September 6 – 7, 2021 | Radisson Red, London Heathrow

To help the industry enter the new era of retail and hospitality, Forum Events has launched a new meet-the-buyers hybrid event for senior professionals who are directly responsible for the interior design and fit-out of retail stores, leisure and hospitality establishments and those who provide products and services to these industries.

The Retail & Hospitality Design Forum, which takes place from September 6 – 7 at Radisson Red, London Heathrow (virtual attendance options are also available), will be a highly focused event that will consist of one-to-one, pre-arranged business meetings, interactive seminars and valuable networking opportunities over the two days.

If you are a supplier to the industry looking to meet top retail and hospitality professionals, email Courtney Saggers – or click here to request more information. If you are a hotelier and would like to attend the Summit for free, please email Victoria Petch – or click here to book your place.

Hotel Summit |  September 27 – 28 | Radisson Red, London Heathrow

For more than two decades, the Hotel Summit has been bringing together senior hospitality professionals with key-industry suppliers. The meet-the-buyer event include:

  • Pre-arranged, one-to-one meetings between hospitality professionals and suppliers
  • Exceptional speakership programmes
  • Gala dinner

If you are interested in exhibiting at the 2021 event, please contact Jennie Lane on 01992 374098 or email j.lane@forumevents.co.uk. If you are a hotel operator, general manager or procurement manager and would like to attend the event free of charge, please contact Victoria Petch of 01992 374099 or email k.naumburger@forumevents.co.uk.

The Brit List Awards 2021 | November 3, 2021 | Proud Galleries, London

Following last year’s virtual awards ceremony, The Brit List Awards is back for another year to identify the leading interiors designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers operating in Britain.

This year’s categories are:

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

Applications and nominations (free to apply/nominate) will open on May 10, 2021 and will close in August. More information on the event can be found here.

MEET UP London | March 24, 2022 | Minotti London

Sheltered safely inside Minotti London’s premium and spacious Fitzrovia showroom, MEET UP London will welcome designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers. With the aim to support young talent as we emerge from unprecedented and challenging times, the theme MEET UP London will be ’30 Under 30′ where we will unveil the leaders and visionaries of tomorrow’s hotel design and hospitality scene. Applications/nominations will open shortly.

MEET UP North | May 5, 2022 | Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester

MEET UP North, which is Hotel Designs’ leading networking evening in the north, will take place at Stock Exchange Hotel in the heart of Manchester on May 5, 2022.

Designers, architects, hoteliers and developers, click here to attend (booking form takes less than 2 minutes to fill out).  Suppliers, click here to attend (booking form takes less than two minutes to fill out).

Considering the vast amount of hotel projects currently on the boards in the north – many of which are slated to complete and open this year – the theme of MEET UP North will be Manchester ‘Inspiring Creativity’. The city, which has hosted the concept since its launch in 2018, will once again welcome leading designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers for the industry’s leading networking event in the north.

If you would like to discuss or be part of any other our hospitality and hotel design events, please do not hesitate to email Hamish Kilburn and/or Katy Phillips.

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“Individuality with a splash of colour,” says UK Bathrooms about hansgrohe’s FinishPlus range

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
“Individuality with a splash of colour,” says UK Bathrooms about hansgrohe’s FinishPlus range

“hansgrohe’s FinishPlus range of modern tones for taps, mixers and showers means brassware can now make a statement in the bathrooms while seamlessly blending various styles,” says Graeme Borchard, Managing Director at UK Bathrooms

The bathroom of today is taking on many of the traits of other rooms in the house, becoming a space dependant on style and comfort as well as practicality and purpose – a lifestyle area providing sanctuary, solace and a chance for self-care. Design plays a key role in the room’s new function, and the way the bathroom looks now has the power to evoke moods and impact mental wellbeing, be it comfort and calmness in darkest black, energetic and eager in zingy sunshine shades or powerful and present in slick monochrome.

As the bathroom adapts to its creative design credentials, the objects found within it have also evolved, and customisation and personalisation have never been more important. While decorative options for surfaces, ceramics and bathroom furniture have become never ending, brassware choices generally remained limited – until now.

Image caption: hansgrohe white shower and taps in the FinishPlus range. | Image credit: hansgrohe/UK Bathrooms

Image caption: hansgrohe white shower and taps

Gone are the days of chrome dominating the bathroom. hansgrohe’s FinishPlus range introduces five forward-thinking finishes, reimagining tones that were once unusual in the bathroom and making them easy to apply across the space. The innovative finish collection coats an array of showers, taps, accessories and (soon to be launched) drains, in bold, unconventional shades and textures which are incredibly durable and scratch resistant, demonstrating hansgrohe’s dedication to unparalleled quality and its view that the movement of water is not only as part of the daily routine, but something to be enhanced, modernised and made more beautiful.

“hansgrohe’s FinishPlus challenges preconceptions of the role brassware plays in bathroom design, and elevates taps, mixers and showers to become key features within the space,” says Graeme Borchard, Managing Director at UK Bathrooms. “The spectrum of finishes offered in the collection have a transformative power over the entire bathroom, offering endless opportunities for individualism and self-expression.”

Hansgrohe’s FinishPlus offers five finishes in bold and contemporary tones which coat some of the brand’s leading designs, such as the angular Metropol and smooth Talis E basin mixers and bath fillers. The finishes are also applied to practical elements such as valves, rails and pipes to create an all-encompassing, seamless aesthetic, with fittings large and small crafted with the same precision engineering the German brand has been perfecting for 120 years.

Matt Black

Welcoming both black tones and texture into the bathroom, the FinishPlus Matt Black surface brings a sense of moodiness and edgy style, its light absorbing matt quality highlighting the shape and silhouette of that which it covers, creating a sculptural feel. Introduce Matt Black into an on-trend all-black bathroom to create an immersive, soothing retreat.

Image caption: hansgrohe matt black shower taps and bath. | Image credit: hansgrohe/UK Bathrooms

Brushed Black Chrome

Dark with a muted shine, shadowy FinishPlus Brushed Chrome is at once dramatic and understated. Team with bright whites to highlight its slick-yet-subtle sophistication and moody impact, add to monochrome schemes to highlight its discreet shine, or juxtapose it against a coloured or patterned background to showcase the brassware’s shapely outline.

Matt White

While white is a staple for bathroom ceramics and surfaces, FinishPlus brings the bright shade to brassware, where it at once makes a bold statement and delicately blends with the room’s surroundings. Camouflage white-coated taps, mixers and showers against a pale backdrop for an ultra-fresh feel and to extend the visual impact of basins and baths, or style it as a statement point of difference against other colours, where the matt surface will create a sleek, contemporary feel.

Polished Gold Optic

One for the extravagant bathrooms, a touch of gleaming Polished Gold Optic will transform a piece of brassware into an elegant, Midas-inspired art object. Go all out with coordinating taps, mixers and showers, or have one statement item as the pièce de résistance to bring glamour and luxury to the space.

Brushed Bronze

Hovering between soft gold and copper, Brushed bronze is a gentle take on the metallic, channelling a calming, neutral feel with its soft sheen and muted colour. Pair the shade with natural materials and hues to create a bathroom that’s serene with a design-led edge.

Image caption: hansgrohe polished gold optic shower and taps in the FinishPlus range. | Image credit: hansgrohe/UK Bathrooms

Image caption: hansgrohe polished gold optic shower and taps in the FinishPlus range. | Image credit: hansgrohe/UK Bathrooms

Stay tuned this year for the launch of the FinishPlus Accessories range, which will complement the existing brassware tones and offer ever greater freedom of expression within bathroom design.

UK Bathrooms is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package and hansgrohe is a Recommended Supplier. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here

Main image credit: UK Bathrooms/hansgrohe

Image of suite inside Six Senses Ibiza

Sneak peek: Inside Six Senses Ibiza

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sneak peek: Inside Six Senses Ibiza

Catapulting the Balearic Island into a different league, Six Senses Ibiza will offer a way of life that embraces music, culture, art, spirituality, fashion, wellness and sustainability. Hotel Designs gets an early check-in before it officially opens in July…

Image of suite inside Six Senses Ibiza

Following the opening of the brand’s latest hotel in Botanique in Brazil, Six Senses has unveiled images of its highly anticipated hotel in Ibiza. Said to be one the Mediterranean’s most anticipated openings this year, as outlined in our 2021 Hotel Openings SeriesSix Senses Ibiza is located on the peaceful northern tip of the island, the village-like resort will capture the authentic essence of the Balearic island both in look and feel. It will be set over 20-acres, with unrivalled sea views and will benefit from direct access to one of the most beautiful bays in Ibiza, Cala Xarraca. Live layers of programming and experiences will constantly evolve to celebrate music, art, sustainable fashion, spirituality, pioneering wellness, culinary exploration and culture, all synonymous with the island.

Guestroom overlooking sea at Six Senses Ibiza

Image credit: Six Senses

Six Senses Ibiza will be the first sustainable BREEAM certified resort and residential community in the Balearics. The resort will offer 116 guest accommodations, villas, suites and beachfront caves and a number of Village Residences with intimate terraces, lush gardens and pools – perfect for those looking for a permanent hideaway in the Mediterranean.

“Our vision is to capture the authentic Ibiza experience of community, spirituality and celebration,” Jonathan Leitersdorf, the architect and developer, explains. In the hot season (May to October), the community celebrates. From lazy days soaking poolside, enjoying the natural beauty of the bay or meeting an extended family of islanders, to gathering at night on long tables to explore new culinary delights, festive pop-up events and full moon dinners.

In the cool season (November to April), the community shares deep spiritual experiences. Six Senses Ibiza is gearing up to feature a series of immersive teaser weekends and longer-stay retreats, initially yoga, cleanse and fitness.

Surrounded by beautiful unspoiled coves and groves, Six Senses Ibiza is symbolic of the light, beauty and natural rhythms of the seasons that draw people back again. The tactile Finca-style aesthetic has a modern and sophisticated design and finish, and the architecture is built and inspired by locally sourced materials. The Farm at Six Senses Ibiza is a 400-year-old olive press and agricultural estate, where guests will take part in growing the abundance of organic produce that will also supply the resort’s restaurants, café and bars.

“This vision captures an authentic Ibiza experience that really resonates with me on a personal level,” says Neil Jacobs, Chief Executive Officer of Six Senses. “It is aligned with our set of beliefs, particularly around emotional hospitality. Sustainability is a huge part of our company ethos. And when you find a magical place such as Cala Xarraca, it’s something that you work really hard to both showcase and respect. In the case of Six Senses Ibiza, this is what shines so brightly.”

Six Senses Ibiza will be the first European outpost for celebrity chef Eyal Shani, founding father of new Israeli cuisine. His sublime menus will follow the Eat With Six Senses guiding principles of organic, seasonal, nutritious and delicious, gathering guests at the exquisite long tables of the Farmers’ Market. Other signature venues including The Orchard, The Piazza, Farmacy Bar and Live Cave will be complemented by grow-your-own veg, chef’s table and cooking lessons at the Farm.

The Six Senses Spa houses single and couple’s treatment rooms, a steam room, hammam and state-of-the-art fitness area, café and juice bar. The Rose Bar offers night owls a chance to roll back the years through a range of healing and preventative longevity programmes combining diagnostics, biohacking, nutrition and beauty treatments. Outdoors there is an impressive yoga deck and boxing ring on the roof. There will also be immersive retreats at the resort which will be facilitated by Friends of Six Senses, Visiting Practitioners and partners.

 

Six Senses Ibiza will add an enticing new setting to the vibrant Ibiza music scene. Directly on the shorefront, the Beach Caves music venue is the heart of the resort. Hosting live shows, events, emerging artist sessions, and an expansive vinyl collection, the Beach Caves features avant-garde technology from McIntosh and Sonus faber through a partnership with McIntosh Group. There is also a Cave Royale guestroom with a secret door leading to the Recording Studio for when creativity strikes in the middle of the night.

The hotel celebrates sustainable fashion at the Agora, a new retail concept – part entertainment, part education and part shopping experience. Curated by the renowned fashion editors Daniela Agnelli and Tiffanie Darke, it seeks to tell a story in a series of chapters: Reduce, Recycle, Rent and Restore. Highlights of the store will be a “live magazine” experience, a “Cinderella Room” for dress up nights, and an Intention Tree for customers to remember the change.

Arts and culture are central to the Six Senses experience. As they wander through the resort’s galleries, guests will enjoy displays by Magnum photographers, curated by Elaine Groenestein to reflect Ibiza’s core themes. Along with photography events and workshops, a larger selection of fine prints is available through the Magnum Gallery. There is also a beautiful library for guests to relax and unwind in and expand the mind.

Main image credit: Six Senses

West Wing Lobby

Hilton London Metropole to ‘radically’ transform guest experience

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hilton London Metropole to ‘radically’ transform guest experience

Hospitality design firm Perkins&Will have been appointed to completely refurbish Hilton London Metropole, which is the largest Hilton outside of the USA…

West Wing Lobby

As part of a multimillion-pound renovation, Hilton London Metropole has briefed design firm Perkins&Will to ‘radically transform the guest experience’.

The renovation, which due to be completed by summer 2021, is expected to provide guests with a completely new and upgraded stay – no element of the hotel will be left unchanged.

The 1,096 guestrooms and suites have undergone a striking transformation, designed with a contemporary and bold aesthetic that sensitively reflects different London boroughs. The venue’s four restaurants and bars will be relaunched with exciting new drinking and dining concepts, including an all-day British brasserie, serving locally sourced ingredients, and a new suitably relaxed market-style dining outlet, that celebrates London’s street food scene. The refurbishment will also see the opening of a state-of-the-art 200sqm (2,153sqf) fitness studio. 

Executive Bedroom inside the Hilton hotel

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

Extensive renovations are being made to the hotel’s 35 event spaces and meeting rooms, including two dedicated hybrid meeting rooms and three ballrooms, which total over 4,600sqm (49,500sqf) in size, from the 1,062 Square Metres (11,431sqf) Richmond Suite to the Kensington Suite, with its open private foyer and space for up to 1,350 guests. Hilton London Metropole also operates Hilton EventReady with CleanStay, which ensures the hotel delivers event experiences that are clean, flexible, safe and socially responsible.  

“Our ambitious multimillion pound renovation will maintain Hilton London Metropole as Europe’s leading conference and events hotel,” said Remco Norden, Area General Manager. “The refurbishment will radically transform every element of the hotel, from our restaurants and bars to our bedrooms, suites and meeting and event spaces. It will elevate the guest experience and continue to make us the venue of choice for business and leisure travellers and corporate and private events of any scale. 

“The refurbishment celebrates London and our hotel’s wonderful history. Despite the challenges the industry has faced in 2020, our hotel has an incredibly bright future and this renovation is our opportunity to invest in it.”  

The hotel has embraced the latest in technology to ensure a seamless stay, from upgraded Wi-Fi to the introduction of Digital Key, which allows Hilton Honours members to check in and choose their room using their smartphone via the Hilton Honours app.   

The design project celebrates the best of the capital, with the new design weaving the city’s storied history into the hotel. Guests will experience engaging touchpoints from London’s rich heritage, its vibrant art, culture, music and diverse food scene throughout.  

The new, elevated aesthetic will take guests on an immersive experience through the capital. The architecture, design, restaurants and bars showcase purposeful acknowledgements to East, Central and West London’s heritage as the hotel tells the story of this ancient city with nods to iconic areas including Borough Market, Covent Garden and towns on the Thames. 

Sustainability is at the heart of Hilton London Metropole and its refurbishment. From the team members’ uniforms, made from sustainable materials, such as recycled plastic, to the green kitchens serving locally grown produce, the hotel has collaborated with a wide range of businesses and manufacturers to create an ethical and environmentally conscious space. 

Guests staying in the Suites or Executive Rooms will enjoy complimentary breakfast and access to the exclusive and contemporary Executive Lounge, which has a dedicated arrivals area and check in facilities. The lounge serves a carefully curated food and drink offering throughout the day alongside monthly tasting and live cooking experiences. When booking their future stays, guests can also feel confident that their health and wellbeing have been taken care of thanks to Hilton CleanStay, an industry-defining standard of cleanliness and disinfection delivered in Hilton properties worldwide. 

The hotel’s radical developments will retain Hilton London Metropole’s position as the perfect choice for the business traveller, from its central location in the heart of the city to its impeccable transport links, seven different bedroom options and four suite categories to choose from, a seamless check in process, a wide choice of food and drink dining experiences and an impressive on-site fitness studio. 

Since you’re here, why not watch our recent Hotel Designs LIVE panel discussion, featuring Neil Andrew, Head of Hospitality at Perkins&Will?

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

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

Render of the DoubleTree by Hilton in Pakistan

DoubleTree by Hilton to expand its portfolio into Pakistan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
DoubleTree by Hilton to expand its portfolio into Pakistan

An agreement signed with Dhabi Hospitality will see Hilton’s upscale DoubleTree by Hilton brand launch in the city of Islamabad in 2025. Here’s what we know…

Render of the DoubleTree by Hilton in Pakistan

The DoubleTree by Hilton brand, which currently has more than 600 upscale hotels across 48 countries, will arrive in Islamabad in 2025, following a signed agreement between the global hotel group and real estate company Dhabi Hospitality.

“This is a landmark agreement for Hilton that signals our re-entry to the Pakistan market,” said Carlos Khneisser, vice president of development, Middle East and Africa, Hilton. “We are doing so as part of a groundbreaking development in the country’s business capital and one which will offer unparalleled convenience for travellers to the New Islamabad International Airport, which is ultimately expected to handle around 25m passengers on an annual basis.”

Featuring 167 guestrooms, including 10 suites, the property will form part of a residential and commercial development. It will sit alongside newly built residential apartments in a suburban complex containing healthcare, education and recreational facilities as well as a number of commercial outlets. Guests will be able to enjoy four restaurants, including a rooftop pool café, as well as on-site fitness facilities.

Muhammad Sadiq, CEO, Dhabi Hospitality said: “We aim to blend the comfort of suburban living with the convenience of city life, offering our customers an unrivalled lifestyle and the very best in modern amenities and services. We are proud to be bringing the DoubleTree by Hilton brand to Pakistan as part of this project and are excited to complement our offering with its world-renowned upscale hospitality and service.”

The hotel will be located to the West of Islamabad city centre, on the Srinagar Highway, which connects the city with New Islamabad International Airport. Just 4km from the airport terminal, it will become the most convenient option for travellers looking for high-end accommodation and meeting facilities in proximity to the airport. It will be equipped with three state-of-the-art meeting rooms and a 518sqm ballroom suitable for weddings and large events.

Hilton is yet to confirm the architecture and interior design studios who will be responsible for this milestone project.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

 

Artful guestroom inside The Glenmark Hotel

HBA Los Angeles complete interiors inside The Glenmark Hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
HBA Los Angeles complete interiors inside The Glenmark Hotel

Design firm HBA Los Angeles has completed the interior design project of The Glenmark, Glendale, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel, which is the first lifestyle boutique hotel in Glendale, California. Let’s take a look inside…

Artful guestroom inside The Glenmark Hotel

Designed by creatives for creatives, The Glenmark Hotel is a gem in the Jewel City, deeply rooted in the heart of Glendale and a hub for the healthcare and entertainment industries in Los Angeles. Its interior design dances along the fringe, flirting with natural materials, texture and geometric forms. Thoughtful public spaces and amenities, 85 artfully designed guestrooms, signature restaurant Olia, Mila Rooftop, Olia Coffee Café, a lobby bar, and 7,900 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting and event space mold The Glenmark Hotel into a true community that is a hidden Los Angeles hideaway.

HBA Los Angeles designers drew inspiration from Glendale’s vibrant diversity, the city’s innovative and creative industries, and its geographical intersection amongst its neighbours to offer a microcosm of the city with pockets of discovery throughout the hotel, much like the city of Los Angeles itself. A casual-chic aesthetic is juxtaposed with architectural gestures and playful, impactful art by local artists to create sophisticated yet approachable environments with comfortable and stimulating moments.

The art-filled lobby inside The Glenmark Hotel

The lobby serves as the epicentre of energy, bathed in natural light and with visual surprises to entice all who enter. A gallery wall of rotating artwork flanks one side of the voluminous space while wood slats wrap from floor to ceiling on the other, defining the lobby bar and reception areas. Sculptural lighting, accent furnishings and decorative elements combine with custom rugs and inviting seating groups for a relaxed, residential feel.

In the guestrooms, tailored detailing and mixed materials are realised in a neutral colour palette of white, taupe and warm browns.

Twin beds in hotel room

Image credit: The Glenmark Hotel

An intricate geometric installation composed of rich dark tilework acts as a backdrop behind the headboard while a large-scale wall mural makes a bold statement and adds a splash of colour. Streamlined technology and state-of-the-art connectivity in the guest rooms and throughout the hotel allow guests to plug in and get to work and unplug when it’s time to relax.

Main image credit: The Glenmark Hotel

A minimalist bedroom setting in Ruby Lucy

Industry insight: Redesigning an already ‘recognisable’ hotel (part 1)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: Redesigning an already ‘recognisable’ hotel (part 1)

Do owners and the project designers feel the pressure of redesigning an established hotel where a previous brand had found its rightful place in an area of a city? Tom Bishop, Director of Project Management at Concert, explores…

A minimalist bedroom setting in Ruby Lucy

Taking a popular hotel and creating a new chapter of the story through either ‘hard’ re-positioning or simply a ‘soft’ face lift must come with added pressure or perhaps the pressures will always be the budget that weighs heaviest on everyone’s shoulders! New identities that are led by the brands and/or operators must release any pressure but with life style brands that are more flexible, especially that invite a wide range of clientele must focus owners and designers to tease the best out of an existing hotel building.

Biophilic publis area in Dolce Sitges

Image credit: Dolce Sitges

Externally the façade reflects the culture and aesthetics of a hotel. It is an identity on which the hotel’s theme is based on. The façade is the visual connection of what the public observes and what image they perceive in their heads. Altering a façade on a recognisable building can create a big impact but will come with buildability issues.

The orientation (zoning and layout) of an existing Hotel is already set so internally the question needs to be asked if the existing or previous brand had found its rightful place i.e. did it have a specific style that just needs updating? If it had not then a full redesign is the way forward and ultimately gives designers expression to provide a genuine experience with representation of the place. The opposite is the cost manager led re-touch, rather than reinventing a hotel’s DNA.

A comfy bedroom setting

Image credit: Hilton Canopy

Designers are and can be restricted by existing services (including elevators, escalators, fire staircases, ramps, electrical system core, plumbing system, and HVAC system etc.) and cores which are already defined with structural solidity. The structure is designed and operates the critical operations as well as entertaining guests. Any redesign is not just meant for aesthetic purposes, but to improve the service that the hotel can provide the guest and their experience. 

Sustainability – hotels are massive energy consumption facilities, depending on their size, technology or location. Redesigning an existing Hotel gives the opportunity to provide new plant and equipment that is more efficient in terms of energy consumption and sensor connectivity. 

Through lifestyle there are no fixed ideas so a designers role is to guide and advise for a brand to evolve. If a hotel already captured the essence and soul of the area that surrounded it through design, extending the cultural experience and further establishing a true sense of belonging to the place then there must be a fine balance that designers have to achieve in taking on a ‘golden goose’ and not over-designing.

Part 2 in this editorial series will be available shortly. Concert 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: Concert

Image of shop with Retail & Hospitality Design logo

New event alert: Retail & Hospitality Design Forum

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
New event alert: Retail & Hospitality Design Forum

Forum Events, the parent company of Hotel Designs, has launched the Retail & Hospitality Design Forum in order to bridge the gap between retail and hospitality designers and suppliers…

Image of shop with Retail & Hospitality Design logo

To help the industry enter the new era of retail and hospitality, Forum Events has launched a new meet-the-buyers hybrid event for senior professionals who are directly responsible for the interior design and fit-out of retail stores, leisure and hospitality establishments and those who provide products and services to these industries.

Confirmed delegates already include the likes of the Group Construction Director at WHSmith, a senior representative from Pentland Brands Limited and the shopper design manager at Berghaus.

The Retail & Hospitality Design Forum, which takes place from September 6 – 7 at Radisson Red, London Heathrow (virtual attendance options are also available), will be a highly focused event that will consist of one-to-one, pre-arranged business meetings, interactive seminars and valuable networking opportunities over the two days.

For suppliers, the event will guarantee:

  • An audience of pre-qualified buyers
  • Selected and ‘matched’ meetings
  • No time wasters
  • No hidden costs
  • Just one-to-one sales meetings throughout

For senior retail and hospitality professionals who qualify, the event will guarantee: 

  • Pre-arranged meetings with solution providers of your choice
  • 25 minute meeting slots will be relaxed and civilised, with no hard sell
  • Attend a tailored programme of inspiring seminars
  • Easily compare and benchmark potential products, services and solutions
  • You will be one of just 65 VIPs at the event, ensuring that you get personal attention

How to attend

If you are a supplier to the industry looking to meet top retail and hospitality professionals, email Courtney Saggers – or click here to request more information.

If you are a hotelier and would like to attend the Summit for free, please email Victoria Petch – or click here to book your place.

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

image of shower toilet from Geberit

Product Watch: AquaClean shower toilet by Geberit

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product Watch: AquaClean shower toilet by Geberit

Geberit, which recently presented a Product Watch Pitch at Hotel Designs LIVE, has unveiled the AquaClean shower toilet, which offers hotels the very latest in washroom smart technology and guest wellbeing…

image of shower toilet from Geberit

Washing with water technology has always been at the heart of Geberit’s product innovations. The original Geberit shower toilet, the ‘Geberella,’ launched back in 1978, and brought groundbreaking technology to the market, with an innovative WC enhancement solution and built-in spray functionality. Its revolutionary toilet seat was designed to fit virtually any ceramic bowl and came in a range of on-trend, bold colours, so could be perfectly matched to the bathroom furnishings of the day.

Geberit’s AquaClean shower toilet as we now know it was introduced back in 2011 and continues to pave the way for the washing with water revolution today.

Enhancing guest experience

From odour extraction technology that purifies the air to an automatic lifting seat that rises when the user approaches, Geberit’s AquaClean range incorporates a range of features that have been carefully designed to improve guest experience with wellness and hygiene front of mind.

At the touch of a button, the shower toilet’s integrated spray function provides guests with a fresh-out-of-the-shower feeling, with premium models also offering a cutting-edge features including orientation lighting and heated seating.

Designed by renowned London-based architect, Christoph Behling, each model brings a contemporary, compact wall-hung design to perfectly complement any guest washroom.

Hygiene front-of-mind

AquaClean shower toilets also incorporate other solutions that help maximise hygiene in the washroom space. Geberit’s KeraTect Glaze, for example, makes cleaning easier with a non-porous, smooth surface, helping prevent staining of the ceramics and creating a high-gloss effect.  Other innovations also make cleaning and maintenance easier, with rimless design and TurboFlush technology eliminating tricky corners and hard-to-reach areas around the pan.

Selling experiences

As the trend for selling ‘experiences’ and creating an escape for guests continues, so too does the value of creating a unique, positive guest experience to help build stronger memories and ensure customers keep coming back.

As we focus ever more on physical and mental health and wellbeing to help combat the stresses of modern life, it’s clear that good design in the bathroom or washroom space could be the key to unlocking better lives. And it is critical for hotels and designers to be aware of this opportunity.

Geberit 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: Geberit

Image of large containers

Saving energy: Utility Team launches ‘game-changing’ software

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Saving energy: Utility Team launches ‘game-changing’ software

Utility Team has officially launched its new ARC (Automated Response Command) energy efficiency software. The energy-saving solution was designed and built to optimise the cooling loads of commercial and industrial chiller plant…

Image of large containers

Utility Team has launched its new ARC energy efficiency software following live field tests of the new ARC software from across a range of sectors revealed impressive reductions in energy usage of between eight and 20 per cent. As cooling loads often account for some 60 per cent of the total energy site consumption, the savings ARC delivers profoundly benefit a business’s commercial and environmental performance.

How it works

ARC is a self-learning software that constantly monitors and logs plant output, total energy consumption, and common header temperatures. ARC then uses this data to predict what is going to happen within the plant, based on historic events under the same ambient conditions and then recommends optimal adjustments accordingly. The software constantly monitors its own performance to account for seasonal demand changes and adiabatic conditions. It is important to note that ARC does not replace the existing controls on the plant but rather uses them to optimise performance.

What’s its purpose?

For more than a year now, Hotel Designs has been working with Utility Team and amplifying the brand’s passion about helping businesses use less energy and create a net zero world. The brand is uniquely positioned to help customers realise the benefits of achieving their net zero goals.

“Sustainability is a core pillar of the business and why we invested in the idea of ARC,” explained Delvin Lane, CEO, Utility Team. “Having identified that commercial and industrial chiller plants are often inefficient and waste both energy and money, we set about finding a solution to this challenge. The potential energy savings ARC could deliver was clear from the outset, as was the positive impact on reducing carbon emissions globally.”

Who’s it for?

ARC will deliver savings wherever an organisation is using commercial or industrial chiller plant delivering a positive impact both commercially and environmentally. Installing the software solution could be a game-changer for many sectors, including manufacturing, healthcare, commercial buildings and data centres. In addition to this, as the world returns to a more normal way of life throughout the remainder of 2021, ARC can deliver significant savings to businesses operating exhibition space or sporting stadia. The installation of ARC at the Ricoh Arena for Wasps Rugby has already delivered a 14% reduction in energy consumption.

“The ease and speed of installation was impressive,” said Sarah Roberts, Operations Director at Wasps. “The solution was fitted with little impact on our day-to-day maintenance operation, which was especially important during the current COVID pandemic and the associated security protocols we have in place.

“The really exciting thing about the ARC solution is that while we have already seen a reduction in energy usage, we are not yet at a point in the year when its performance will be most beneficial. As we head into the summer months and our air conditioning systems are running at their optimum, we are really looking forward to seeing the energy usage and financial savings that ARC delivers.”

Adam Benson, Chief Commercial Officer at Wasps, added: “The introduction of ARC to the Ricoh Arena has not only helped decrease our energy consumption but also delivered a meaningful commercial saving. At a time when we need to find ways to minimise expenditure, the 14% reduction in energy consumption has been a welcome boost. This has been delivered with no impact on the quality of comfort levels and helped us lessen our impact on the environment.”

ARC delivers savings immediately

Often with new energy efficiency solutions, there is a requirement for upfront investment on the customer’s part. ARC is a Software as a Service (SaaS) licence and delivery model. This means that there is no upfront investment required by the customer, and they see a financial saving from day one. With so many businesses hit hard by the pandemic, especially in the hospitality sector, the ARC SaaS model allows businesses to access the solution easily and benefit from the savings immediately.

Christopher Toze, Managing Director of ARC and Head of Energy Services at Utility Team, said: “During the development process, we were excited about the anticipated energy savings ARC could deliver. Having undertaken months of real-world testing, the efficacy of ARC has exceeded all expectations.

ARC is a fully packaged solution that is simple to install, is backed with performance guarantees and robust measurement and verification and, with an innovative Software as a Solution (SaaS) model that removes barriers to investment.

Whilst initially launching in the UK, the ARC team has global ambitions as we believe ARC will have a significant positive impact in the fight to combat climate change by reducing the energy usage of commercial and industrial chiller plant as demand for cooling increases.”

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

Main image credit: Utility Team

Gif of strong women for International Women's Day

International Women’s Day: Leading hospitality design figures comment

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
International Women’s Day: Leading hospitality design figures comment

Our nod to International Women’s Day is more of a formal bow or curtsy. Editor Hamish Kilburn hears 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…

Gif of strong women for International Women's Day

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’ve collected the thoughts of women who have and are breaking boundaries in international hotel design. While we have come so far to champion equality in our industry, a recent report published by the BIID strongly suggests that there is a long way to go in order to create a equal opportunities in this global arena.

Let’s hear from our leading ladies on what the next step towards equality in design, architecture and hospitality needs to be.

Jo Littlefair, Co-Founder and Director, Goddard Littlefair

Image caption: Jo Littlefair

Image caption: Jo Littlefair, Co-Founder and Director, Goddard Littlefair

“While women have made great strides in forging careers and have tremendous support within our industry, unfortunately there remains a difference to how we are perceived professionally and there are prejudices which some still hold on to therefore perpetuating their existence. Without being so utopian as to be unrealistic, my personal view is that at every opportunity presented to us we should learn to celebrate our differences, try to be tolerant and inclusive of one another to realise the best initiatives we can, together. It’s like chipping away at a founding stone of a pyramid – it’s going to take a while! Being a designer means questioning and thinking creatively is second nature, I always try to channel energy in finding a solution and not being content with a closed door.” 

Una Barac, Executive Director, Atellior

Image of Una Barac

Image caption: Una Barac, Executive Director, Atellior

“Sadly, there is still a way to go for women, and minorities, in the hospitality design sector across the world. If you look around, you find very few women at senior board level. Yet, studies repeatedly show that diversity is not only good for an organisation’s culture but results in better business outcomes.

At Atellior we are now 35 people across two offices, 22 of whom are women, and we pick our people based on their talent. Having grown up in Eastern Europe when it was governed by socialist ideology, one positive result was that I completely believed in gender equality. That’s why I eventually set up my own business!”

Harriet Forde, Founder, Harriet Forde Design and co-host of DESIGN POD.

Image caption: Harriet Forde, President, BIID

“We have come far but not far enough. Each generation moves forward and sadly this will take time. Whilst women now hold 30 per cent of all board roles in the UK, we are still faced with a system that doesn’t accommodate or value the fact that as women, we bear the children who will be our future. This shouldn’t be a juggle but embraced for the challenge it is and be met with inclusive solutions for all.” 

Sarah Murphy, Architect, Jestico + Whiles

Image of Sarah Murphy

Image caption: Sarah Murphy, Architect, Jestico + Whiles

“Now is the best time ever to be a woman in the design industry. I love what I do and rarely feel as though my gender is a factor. While Jestico + Whiles is full of talented and amazing people and the company works hard to ensure equality and inclusivity is tackled day to day, not annually, we remain aware that there is work to be done internally and throughout the industry.

“I have been fortunate to work with inspirational female designers, associate directors and directors both in my company and client side. However, I recognise that my experiences are my own and that it might be different for other people – I haven’t got children yet for example. But undoubtedly, things have come a long way in even the decade I have been in the industry.

“It’s been a tough year for everyone, but I hope the shift to flexible working is here to stay. Allowing the individual to be more in control of their own structure and time might see a subtle change in inequality, through a more balanced way of life.”

Geetie Singh-Watson, Owner of The Bull Inn in Totnes

And image of Geetie Singh-Watson standing outside The Bull Inn in Totnes

Image caption: Geetie Singh-Watson outside The Bull Inn in Totnes | Image credit: Rachel Hoile Photography

“I was living in a commune and at primary school as the feminist movement took off. Surrounded by wonderful women and men working out what it meant to them and society. It was such an exciting time, but mostly in silo. There were mountains to climb. Men thinking they could touch you whenever they felt like it, the language used, the pay expectations let alone basic working and domestic rights.

“We have come so far in my life – it amazes me, and we must never forget that. But, that doesn’t mean we still don’t have more mountains to climb before equality. But these days, I can correct any male centric language, with anyone I work with, and its taken seriously. It feels like such progress. I have real hope for my daughters future. We must be alert though. We must keep up the fight and take our political responsivities seriously. Learn about our politicians and what they stand for. Or we could slide backwards so fast if we are in the wrong hands.” – the Bull Inn in Totnes was recently reviewed by Hotel Designs.

Marie Soliman, Co-Founder, Bergman Interiors

Profile image of Marie Soliman

Image caption: Marie Soliman, Co-Founder, Bergman Interiors

“My message this International Women’s Day would be to choose to challenge, choose to engage, choose to stand out of the crowd and choose to build and maintain meaningful relationships. A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. This year we are celebrating: The work of female creatives and elevate visibility for commercial projects and commissions; the female athletes and applauding when equability is achieved in pay, sponsorship and visibility; the digital advancement and championing the women forging through technology and leadership while uplifting women to pursue goals without bias or barriers. Above all, celebrating being a mother, a sister, a best friend and a life partner, supporting our families the most precious, are the most cherished and treasured gifts of all.” – Marie Soliman, Co-Founder, Bergman Interiors.

Geraldine Dohogne, Founder, Beyond Design

Headshot of Geraldine Dohogne

Image credit: Geraldine Dohogne, Founder, Beyond Design

“Gender equality in design continues to be an evolution in the world. As a woman, in many parts of the world people are not always used to seeing a woman as a figure of authority, and even in countries where it’s more common there can still be this sub-conscious thinking. Construction, building and of course architectural development are all very important parts to designing a hotel. Roles and industries that have been pre-dominantly male, though in recent years are seeing more women every day.  It’s been exciting to be in this moment of history. 

Design processes have always been driven by intuition and feeling, as soon as you discovery a place or an existing building. The hiring processes in design follows this same rhythm. Each is taken on as an individual with a unique soul and character and the creative styles either come together organically or not. From a designer point of view –  this allows a much more level playing field.  

As a designer with a more ‘masculine’ style (so people tell me!) it’s an interesting balance that plays out in my work.”

Pinar Harris, Vice President and Principal, SB Architects

Image of Pinar Harris

Image caption: Pinar Harris, Vice President and Principal, SB Architects

“There has been a surge of women taking on leadership roles, but we still have a way to go. We need to make sure we have women in ‘decision maker’ roles and strive to maintain an equal seat at the right tables to effect change and make an impact in the field. Women are currently achieving this goal, and it’s evolving one meeting at a time, one day at a time.  

“We’re working on closing a gap spanning centuries of continuous inequality, so, we still have a way to go, but, personally, I’m hopeful that our daughters are being raised with a mindset of absolute equality, with some fantastic role models in front of them in every field.”

Hotel Designs is proud to support and celebrate equality in design. Following a recent report published by the BIID, it is clear that much more needs to be done in order for us to operate in a truly democratic and equal international hotel design and hospitality scene. Happy International Women’s Day!

Smashing Supplies: a go-to stop for all hospitality supplies

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Smashing Supplies: a go-to stop for all hospitality supplies

Smashing Supplies aims to bring the best products to the hospitality industry in order to meet requirements and facilitate the safe opening and return of hospitality guests…

With the Roadmap that has been laid out by the Government, giving a level of certainty for hospitality that hasn’t been see for many months, and has been welcomed by all. Smashing Supplies offers products to equip the industry for the post-pandemic world.

Some key points to remember:

  • Equipment is serviced and ready to use, with many machines having been turned off for a very long time now is the time to ensure that they are all serviced and can function properly, you don’t want to find out that there are issues with your machines the night that you reopen!
  • A extra deep clean is carried out through the whole facility, dust and dirt unfortunately have a habit of getting into every nook and cranny particularly when there isn’t the usual traffic around. The only way to ensure safety and that your facility really sparkles is to give everywhere a through deep clean.
  • All small items of both front of house and back of house are cleaned, including but certainly not limited to;
  • All Glassware (even if it hasn’t been used to get it off the shelf and clean it ensures safety and that they have that extra bit of sparkle)
  • All Crockery – not just what has been used
  • Glassware & Crockery are checked for any chips and damages and these are disposed of, including worn chopping boards, wooden serving platters that are damaged due to knife marks.
  • All machines are run through a full cleaning cycle, and if like beer lines they have food or drink in contact with them, then they are thoroughly cleaned/purged
  • Ensure all your procedures are up-to-date and cover off all appropriate rules and regulations including but not limited to – remember ignorance is not a defence (social distancing, wearing mask rules, rood prep rules)
  • Stocks of PPE for staff are in place including masks, aprons, test kits & more are available, in date, up to specification and ready to use.

PLates with breakfast onEnsuring that your guests are not welcomed into such a clinical-like facility that they feel like they have come to the dentist, but are welcomed warmly but in a safe manner, will be key to ensuring success. Getting this balance right is essential, and here at Smashing Supplies we are here to assist in getting this balance right.

Smashing Supplies 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: Smashing Supplies

birdseye view of pool from above

IN PICTURES: Inside Moxy South Beach

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IN PICTURES: Inside Moxy South Beach

Moxy South Beach has arrived in Miami’s Art Deco District. Lightstone, the developers behind three award-winning Moxy hotels in New York City, worked with design firm Rockwell Group and architect Kobi Karp to create a stylish, playful open-air concept celebrating Miami’s cosmopolitan culture…

birdseye view of pool from above

Moxy South Beach has opened with a design that blends the glamour of midcentury Havana, the artistry of contemporary Mexico City, and a tropical vibrancy that’s unmistakably Miami. 

The 202-key, eight-story hotel, featuring two pools and the nearby Moxy Beach Club, will be the first resort-style property under Marriott International’s Moxy Hotels brand, marking a new chapter for hospitality in Miami Beach. Moxy South Beach is upending the way travellers experience hotels in the new year, from contactless check-in to indoor-outdoor lounging, meeting, fitness, and dining spaces.

Birdseye image of pool from above Moxy Miami South Beach

Image credit: Moxy Hotels

The highly anticipated opening of Moxy South Beach comes at a pivotal time for Miami Beach, which is repositioning its traditional entertainment district as the new “Art Deco District” — a reimagination of the historic neighbourhood with Moxy South Beach at the forefront. 

“In a way, the design anticipated the needs of the current environment, so we’re able to accommodate what people are looking for right now.” Mitchell Hochberg, President, Lightstone.

 “Opening the hotel during this unprecedented time presented Lightstone with a unique challenge,“ says Mitchell Hochberg, President, Lightstone. “Moxy South Beach isn’t a response to the pandemic, even if it feels like an antidote to it. In a way, the design anticipated the needs of the current environment, so we’re able to accommodate what people are looking for right now: contactless check-in, outdoor spaces, and a do-it-yourself ethos. But we always stayed true to the roots of the Moxy brand, letting guests curate their own experience while they escape reality for a few days in South Beach – and the icing on the cake is that it’s all at an attractive price point. That’s an idea with timeless appeal.”

Moxy South Beach’s interiors are designed by Rockwell Group (public spaces and bedrooms) and Saladino Design Studios (Serena, Como Como, and Mezcalista), while exteriors are by Kobi Karp Architecture in collaboration with Rockwell Group. Guests can customise their level of interaction as they move from the sanctuary of their bedroom to public spaces designed for socialising on demand. The majority of spaces are open-air and blend seamlessly with indoor areas. Public areas are peppered with private and semi-private enclaves — including poolside cabanas, open-air meeting studios, and sequestered dining tables — that let guests be in the mix and on their own all at once. 

 Guests enter the hotel through the main walkway on Washington Avenue or the modern porte-cochère at the east entrance. The sun-drenched lobby features several relaxed seating areas with amusements such as a foosball table whose players are vintage pinup dolls brought into the modern era as a women’s soccer team as well as a carnivalesque, Zoltar inspired, pay phone that provides complimentary horoscope readings from resident astrologer Bassfunkdaddy. The lobby’s three flexible meeting studios and restaurant all converge around a large, open-air courtyard. The space is surrounded by glass walls that can open or close as the weather allows.

The indoor-outdoor spaces continue with a fitness centre inspired by nearby Muscle Beach; an outdoor movie screening room on the rooftop; and the Moxy Beach Club on Miami’s famous South Beach. The 72-foot, cabana-lined pool on the second-floor terrace maximises see-and-be-seen sightlines with tiered lounge seating, benches in the water, and luxury private cabanas. A circular communal shower invites flirtatious interaction, with flamingoes peeking through the surrounding hedge.

Image of pool at Moxy Miami Beach

Image credit: Moxy Hotels

Swimmers in the pool can peek down directly into the lobby through an eight-foot, see-through cutout at the bottom of the pool, adding up to an exhibitionistic vibe that embodies South Beach. The hotel’s eighth floor rooftop features a shallow lounging pool with chaises submerged in the water and daybeds shaped like lily pads. 

The 202 thoughtfully-designed guestrooms include King, Double Queen, or Quad Bunk options, as well as residentially styled suites. All rooms are dressed in vivid Miami hues and bathed in sunlight thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows.

Image of lifestyle guestroom in Moxy Miami

Image credit: Moxy Hotels

Inspired in part by the Clyde Mallory Line, an overnight ferry service between Miami and Havana that operated in the 1940s and ‘50s, the rooms resemble ocean liner staterooms with ingenious, space-maximising storage solutions. Oceanview rooms on higher floors offer unobstructed vistas of the Atlantic, while other rooms feature expansive views of South Beach’s pastel-hued architecture. Bedrooms feature custom art by Miami artist Aquarela Sabol depicting iconic artists — Frida Kahlo, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Pablo Picasso, and Salvador Dalí — visiting South Beach.

“To capture the bright, carefree sophistication of South Beach, we blurred the boundaries between indoor and outdoor amenities.” – Greg Keffer, Partner and Studio Leader at Rockwell Group.

“Our design concept for Moxy South Beach celebrates Miami’s uniquely multicultural style, from eclectic Art Deco motifs and Miami Modernism, to Cuban and other Latin American influences,” says Greg Keffer, Partner and Studio Leader at Rockwell Group. “To capture the bright, carefree sophistication of South Beach, we blurred the boundaries between indoor and outdoor amenities, and created light-filled guestrooms that have a feeling of openness.”

For the dining and drinking venues, Lightstone tapped the Miami restaurateurs behind the uber-popular Coyo Taco and 1-800-Lucky to create six new exclusive concepts, drawing on Mexican, Caribbean, and local flavours. 

Starting at the signature Bar Moxy, guests can simultaneously check-in contact-free and order a handcrafted cocktail. Retro-style swivel barstools surround the oval-shaped bar, while an infinity mirror installation above contains the phone number of El Floridita, the legendary Havana watering hole, paying tribute to Miami’s Cuban heritage.

Image of bar at Moxy Miami South Beach

Image credit: Moxy Hotels

Facing Bar Moxy is Los Buenos, the all-day bodega and taco stand, which will dish up tacos on hand-pressed tortillas and burrito bowls, as well as breakfast items and a variety of specialty coffee drinks by La Colombe.

On the second floor, an open-air rooftop restaurant and bar, Serena, channels the enchanting rooftop and patio restaurants of Oaxaca and Mexico City. Located on a vibrant, lushly planted terrace, Serena has a laid-back yet sophisticated vibe that’s like none other in Miami. Lounge and table seating — plus an enticing menu of shareable dishes and hand-crafted cocktails — create an inviting atmosphere for sunset cocktails and nibbles, leisurely lunches and dinners, or buzzy brunches accompanied by live music.

The hotel’s eighth-floor rooftop bar, aptly named The Upside, has a shallow lounging pool, alfresco movie screening area, whimsical seating options, and 360-degree panoramic views of the ocean and Miami Beach. Available exclusively to hotel guests and for private events, The Upside will become a coveted space for parties, film screenings, and pop-ups. A sinuous canopy on the rooftop provides shade during the day, while showcasing a brilliant, geometric mural by New York artist Edward Granger when illuminated at night. The piece is a nod to the thriving street art scene in nearby Wynwood and acts as a colorful beacon for the hotel.

Opening April 2021 is Como Como, a marisqueria (seafood restaurant) and raw bar centred around the “fuego,” a wood- and charcoal-fired grill utilising ancient Mexican techniques. The open-cooking concept allows diners to watch the culinary process firsthand, while a “tequila tree” sculpture theatrically dispenses the agave spirit from hand-blown glass spheres. The restaurant also serves diners in its outdoor courtyard, a lush space layered with coloured tilework, hanging plants, and a sign reading “Besos De Mezcal,” hinting at the night to come. 

Also opening in April is a sexy and mysterious mezcal lounge, Mezcalista, accessed either from the back of the marisquería or through a discreet entrance on Washington Avenue. 

 

“We’re creating concepts that give people a lot of choice,” says Sven Vogtland, co-founder of Coyo Taco Group. “You can head up to Serena for a sunset drink and a bite, sit down for an elegant meal at Como Como, or enjoy the intimate energy of Mezcalista while the DJ spins. Or you can have all three in one night. We’re providing a variety of vibes and environments, which in turn will attract a real intermingling of different types of guests.”

An energetic mix of cultural and lifestyle programming will roll out at Moxy South Beach, including several exclusive partnerships. Adapting the notable #SWEATatMoxy program from its sister properties in New York, Moxy South Beach will have guests working up a sweat with “Glutes Check” classes from local fitness guru Starr Hawkins, taking part in restorative sessions from NYC-based BeRevolutionarie, or joining a Surfing Bootcamp from Surfrider Foundation, an organisation dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean waves and beaches. The Surfrider Foundation collaboration continues with Silent Disco beach cleanups and surf-inspired movie screenings on the rooftop. The rooftop will also host biannual screenings in partnership with the Miami Film Festival.

Exterior image of Moxy Miami South Beach

Image credit: Moxy Hotels

On the rhythm front, Prism Creative and Tigre Sounds are curating a weekly live music series with emerging musicians. The hotel is also partnering with heralded genre-bending Miami orchestra Nu Deco Ensemble to share frequent live streams of their sold-out concerts. These partnerships continue on the small screen via Moxy South Beach’s in-room TV channels, including Nu Deco Ensemble’s “Orchestra Reimagined” performances. Hotel guests will also receive special perks at cultural institutions like the Bass Museum, Rubell Museum, Superblue Miami, and the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM).

Main image credit: Moxy Hotels

Image of man fitting carpet inside a Travelodge

Hotel SOS: Falcon are on the case

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel SOS: Falcon are on the case

It would be hard for anyone to say Covid-19 has not affected their business. With three national lockdowns in the UK, events being cancelled and tourism at an all-time low, hotels need to be ready to welcome guests back into their establishments when restrictions are lifted. Falcon Contract Flooring explains…

Image of man fitting carpet inside a Travelodge

Some financial reviewers are stating it may take up to four years for hotels to fully recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. The truth is, we at Falcon Contract Flooring can be flexible and can support any hospitality business at any desirable pace they require.

Falcon understands the importance of hotels keeping rooms online 24-7 to cope with supply and demand, which is why we offer a reactive and maintenance service whereby we receive a call out, attend site, repair or replace the flooring in that area and have the area back online to be sold within a 24-hour period. An offline/sold damaged room means a loss of revenue to any hotel. So, the faster the room or area can be repaired and back online the better for hotel revenue and customer satisfaction.

Forklift in a warehouse

Image credit: Falcon Contract Flooring

As a nationwide flooring contractor, Falcon have professional, trusted and highly skilled installers working all over the UK. The installers work alongside our reactive department who are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With two warehouses spanning over 25,000 sqft, we can store all your specified products and materials, so they are available at the point of any request. The best thing about this is you do not have to pay to stock them or worry about storing them, as we take on the procurement and distribution so you can concentrate on running your hotel and we will focus on what we do best!

With the effects of Covid-19 very much at the forefront of people’s minds, business owners know cash is king, so liquidity is the main focus of every daily decision they make. This said, it is unlikely hotels will be preparing for a pricey renovation project right now. With Falcon’s reactive and maintenance service, full refurbishments are not entirely necessary. Getting rooms back online and available to improve revenue will be beneficial in the long run and an option that may not have previously been considered.

It is not just hotel bedrooms that Falcon can attend. Bars, kitchens, manager’s accommodation, corridors; they are all vital aspects of a building and must be maintained. If the site needs surveying before installation, Falcon can provide this free of charge. This is not an operation that has been manifested overnight. In 2019, Falcon attended more than 2,500 callouts over the hospitality sectors, bringing hotels and bars back to life: whilst saving them further loss of revenue. Falcon have worked hard to build this service and work alongside well-known brands such as Premier Inn, Marriott, Travelodge and Whitbread for many years.

Close up image of a man installing a carpet

Image credit: Falcon Contract Flooring

A review from Travelodge states: “We have been very impressed with the service standards, speed of service and account management. The speed and customer service is second to none compared to any of our outsourced contractors.”

Falcon’s values rest on transparency. We work hard to build good working relationships with our partners and will be clear and precise every step of the way. If we can help by bringing your hotel rooms back to the high standards they deserve and help you to achieve 100 per cent occupancy and customer satisfaction, then at the end of a day we feel very proud to have played an integral role within your organisation.

We ensure minimum disruption to your business and your revenue whilst we work to strict SLAs and health and safety guidelines. All our installers have the appropriate PPE and stick to all government guidance when working. Falcon have a coronavirus policy in place that is followed to the letter and all necessary procedures are in place to make sure if installers are visiting your site, we are respectful and safe throughout.

This is the service you need to have, that you didn’t know you needed. It’s like the first time you tried Netflix; you thought you had all the channels and films you could ever wish for, and suddenly there was a service that offered so much more. That’s us at Falcon. We’re worth reaching out to, because once you’ve tried us, you’ll never look back.

If you would like any further information regarding our reactive and maintenance service, please contact us and we would be happy to help.

Falcon Contract Flooring 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: Falcon Contract Flooring

Profile image of Joel Butler, Co-founder of HIX

In the HIX seat: recovering from Covid ‘all together now!’

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In the HIX seat: recovering from Covid ‘all together now!’

Wearing his most comfortable slippers – working from home really does have its perks – our columnist Joel Butler, co-founder of HIX Event, explores the power of ‘all together now’. Can the events industry and the hotel design community work in tandem to recover and reopen following the Covid-19 outbreak? Let’s talk about it…

Profile image of Joel Butler, Co-founder of HIX

A quick scan of this morning’s headlines gives us the three Rs of this young and already-challenging decade; ‘Risk, Reopening(?) and the R Number’.

As an event organiser it’s important to read beyond the headlines, to consume the full story and then ‘crack on’ with a stoic, pragmatic optimism. Because in all my years of making design events, this is the most starkly reflected and shared challenge that I’ve faced together with our community. Put simply, events and hotels are currently closed and recovery from Covid is needed.

So once the risk factors are mitigated and the global creaky chorus of the opening of event and hotel doors sings out, it’s the next R that remains the goal; Recovery.

Of course re-opening and recovery are not the same thing, the former can lead to the latter but true recovery will likely call for real change in the way we design our experiences. The fact that both the events and hospitality industry rely on people means that perhaps a good place to start is with our personal recoveries.

It’s too early to understand how the pandemic has changed us, but a year of social distancing, lockdowns and wearing slippers for 95 per cent of our waking hours must surely change us, right? 

Social commentators have spoken about a shift towards self-compassion as a resource for managing stress during and after the pandemic. Not the same thing as self-pity or self indulgence, Dr. Kristen Neff describes self compassion as “a connected way to relate to ourselves…a recognition that it can be hard for all of us.”  This is relatable to all of us right now and the challenge for hotels is to create spaces and experiences which allow for and encourage self compassion.

Another element of our shared personal recovery relates to safety and comfort. As well as our health and wellbeing, we’ve worried about friends and family, about global political unrest, and about which tier we’ll find ourselves in when we get back from the shop. It’s not surprising that our homes have become bubbles of comfort and security. So how will hotels create an experience that feels like home, working with the paradox of making a truly ‘special and memorable’ stay whilst designing the cosiness the guest’s living room? 

“The return to events and hotels represents the chance for joyous, communal celebration and togetherness. Imagine that; being all together now.” Joel Butler, Co-Founder, HIX Event.

Thirdly, ‘All together now’. Since the first few weeks of Lockdown 1.0 we made this our theme for HIX. An event for the hospitality community is always going to be about warmth, celebration and togetherness and the long wait to get back to face to face will only accentuate this. However, a sense of absence, isolation and often loneliness have been experienced during the pandemic with friends, families, colleagues and communities being kept apart. The return to events and hotels represents the chance for joyous, communal celebration and togetherness. Imagine that; being all together now.

By understanding our guest’s personal recovery we begin to understand and plan our industry’s recovery. Self-compassion, safety and comfort, and ‘all together now’ are just a few of the topics we’ll be exploring at HIX in November, applying these conversations to hotel development and design. By which time the headlines should be infinitely more positive, with the front pages being dominated by the new 3xR’s; ‘Recovery, RevPAR and Refurbs’.

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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Main image credit: HIX Event

Sandals remembers Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart (1941 – 2021)

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Sandals remembers Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart (1941 – 2021)

It is with regret that we report on the passing of Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, Company Chairman and Founder of Sandals and Beaches Resort. The master marketer made Sandals a household name and brought opportunity to the Caribbean…

Legendary Jamaican entrepreneur Gordon “Butch” Stewart, one of the hospitality industry’s most vibrant personalities and founder of Sandals Resorts International, the world’s leading all-inclusive resort company, has died at the age of 79.  An unstoppable force, who delighted in defying the odds by exceeding expectations, Stewart single-handedly built the world’s most awarded vacation brand from one resort in Jamaica to over two dozen distinct resorts and villas throughout the Caribbean.

A son of Jamaica, Butch Stewart was born in Kingston on July 6, 1941 and grew up along the island country’s North Coast, a tropical paradise that now boasts several of his Luxury Included® Sandals and Beaches Resorts and where his love of the sea, dominoes and free enterprise were sown.  Certain from the start that he wanted to run his own company, at the tender age of 12, Stewart first stepped into the hospitality industry selling fresh-caught fish to local hotels.  His success got him ‘hooked’ and his enthusiasm for entrepreneurship never waned.

After completing his secondary education abroad, Stewart returned home to Jamaica where he demonstrated his innate talent as master salesman at the renowned Dutch-owned Curaçao Trading Company, quickly rising to the position of sales manager but itching to start his own company.  In 1968, Stewart took his chance. With no collateral but recognising the comfort that would make air conditioning an essential service, Stewart convinced American manufacturer Fedders Corporation to allow him to represent their brand in Jamaica.  With that, Stewart’s foundational business – Appliance Traders Limited (ATL), was born and he was on his way.

At ATL, Stewart developed a simple business philosophy he articulated many times: “Find out what people want, give it to them and in doing so – exceed their expectations.”  This would become the standard for every Stewart enterprise and practiced by every employee of the many companies Stewart would go on to found, including and perhaps most importantly, Sandals Resorts International.

Stewart Founds Sandals Resorts

In 1981, with a gift for recognising opportunity, Stewart found one in Bay Roc: a rundown hotel on a magnificent beach in Montego Bay, Jamaica.  Seven months and $4 million in renovations later, Sandals Montego Bay would open as the flagship of what is today the most popular award-winning, all-inclusive resort chain in the world.

Sandals Montego Bay_Swim Up Suites

Image credit: Sandals

While Stewart never laid claim to inventing the all-inclusive concept, he is recognised worldwide for his tireless effort to elevate the experience, delivering to his guests an unsurpassed level of luxury, and to share his certainty that a Caribbean company could successfully compete with any organisation in the world.  He accomplished both.

“I had heard of the concept, yet at the time, the services and rooms were very basic. Contrary to that, I envisioned we could bring forward a luxury resort to offer customers so much more. So, we perfected it. Only the most comfortable king size four poster beds, fine manicured gardens, cozy hammocks and the kind of warm, refined service the Caribbean has become known for. Just as important was to be located on the absolute best beach, because that’s what everyone dreams of.”

Where other so-called “all-inclusives” offered meals and rooms at a set rate, Sandals Resorts’ prices covered gourmet dining options, premium brand drinks, gratuities, airport transfers, taxes and all land and watersport activities.  The competitors’ meals were buffet-style, so Stewart created on-property specialty restaurants with high culinary standards and white-glove service.  Sandals Resorts also was the first Caribbean hotel company to offer whirlpools and satellite television service, the first with swim-up pool bars and the first to guarantee that every room is fitted with a king-size bed and a hair dryer.  More recent innovations have included a signature spa concept – Red Lane® Spa, signature luxury suites designed for privacy and ultimate pampering, complimentary WiFi, and signature partnerships with iconic organisations such as Microsoft Xbox® Play Lounge, Sesame Workshop, PADI, Mondavi® Wines, Greg Norman Signature Golf courses and the London-based Guild of Professional English Butlers. And in 2017, Stewart introduced the Caribbean’s first over-the-water accommodations, which were quickly expanded to include Over-the-Water bars and Over-the-Water wedding chapels.

By steadfastly adhering to the “we can do it better” principle of pleasing his guests, Stewart fostered a company free to imagine and free to consistently raise the bar.  This ethos earned him the title of “King of All-Inclusives,” changing the face of the all-inclusive format and establishing Sandals Resorts as the most successful brand in the category – boasting year-round occupancy levels of more than 85 percent, an unequaled returning guest factor of 40 percent and demand that has led to unprecedented expansion including the creation of additional concepts such as Beaches Resorts, now the industry standard for excellence in family beach vacations.

Butch Stewart loved Sandals.  At the time of his passing, he was hard at work on plans for the recently announced expansions to the Dutch island of Curaçao and St. Vincent.

Stewart As Statesman

Stewart’s leadership helped resurrect Jamaica’s travel industry and earned him the respect of his peers and the admiration of his countrymen.  He was elected President of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica in 1989 and was inducted into its “Hall of Fame” in 1995. He served as a Director of the Jamaica Tourist Board for a decade and as President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association in the mid-80s, ably balancing government and private sector priorities, reconciling the concerns of large and small Jamaican hotels, and raising public understanding of the tourism industry. In 1994, Stewart led a group of investors to take leadership of Air Jamaica, the Caribbean’s largest regionally based carrier.  It was a daunting task – planes were dirty, service was indifferent and on-time schedules were rarely met, causing market share to plummet along with revenues.

When Stewart stepped in, he insisted on a passenger-friendly approach: on-time service, reduced waiting lines, increased training for all personnel, and signature free champagne on flights to accompany an emphasis on better food.  He also opened new routes in the Caribbean, brought on new Airbus jets and established a Montego Bay hub for flights coming from and returning to the United States. Just as with ATL and Sandals Resorts, Stewart’s formula proved successful and in late 2004, Stewart gave the airline back to the government with an increase in revenue of over US$250 million.

It was not the first time Stewart would come to the aid of his country.  In 1992, he galvanised the admiration of Jamaicans  with the “Butch Stewart Initiative,” pumping US$1 million a week into the official foreign exchange market at below prevailing rates to help halt the slide of the Jamaican dollar.  Dr Henry Lowe, at the time president and CEO of Blue Cross, wrote to Stewart saying: “I write to offer sincere congratulations to you for the tremendous initiative which has done so much, not only for the strengthening of our currency, but more so, for the new feeling of hope and positive outlook which is now being experienced by all of us as Jamaicans.”

Less well-known may be the extent of Stewart’s considerable philanthropy, where for more than 40 years he has helped improve and shape the lives of Caribbean people.  His work, formalised with the creation in 2009 of The Sandals Foundation, offers support ranging from the building of schools and paying of teachers to bringing healthcare to the doorsteps of those who cannot afford it. This in addition to his tireless support of a wide range of environmental initiatives. Beyond the work of the Foundation, Stewart has given millions to charitable causes such as celebrating the bravery of veterans and first responders and helping those in the wake of devastating hurricanes.

In 2012, Stewart founded the Sandals Corporate University, aimed at providing professional development for employees through reputable education and training programs. With access to more than 230 courses and external partnerships with 13 top-ranking local and international universities, every staff member can apply, broaden their knowledge, and advance their career.

Stewart’s successes in business and in life have earned him more than 50 well-deserved local, regional, and international accolades and awards including Jamaica’s highest national distinctions: The Order of Jamaica (O.J.), and Commander of the Order of Distinction (C.D.).  In 2017, Stewart was honoured with the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Caribbean Hotel & Resort Investment Summit (CHRIS), hosted by the Burba Hotel Network, marking his significant contribution to the hospitality industry.  “The success of Sandals has helped to power the growth of the tourism industry and economies not only in Jamaica but throughout the Caribbean,” said BHN president Jim Burba.  “The word ‘icon’ certainly applies to Butch Stewart.”

It delighted Stewart whenever he was dining anywhere in the world and an excited staff member would share with him, “Thank you.  I got my start at Sandals.”

Butch Stewart, The Man

With his easy pace, infectious warmth and trademark striped shirt, Stewart exuded an approachability that belied the complexity of his character.  While he was an acute businessperson, who at the time of his death was responsible for a Jamaican-based empire that includes two dozen diverse companies collectively representing Jamaica’s largest private sector group, the country’s biggest foreign exchange earner and its largest non-government employer, he was an extremely private man whose deepest devotion was to his family.

His greatest test came in 1989 when his beloved 24-year-old son Jonathan was killed in a car accident in Miami. Stewart recalled the incident in a 2008 interview, “For two months after he died, I was absolutely useless, and after that I was sort of running on remote control. Things were a blur. It’s every parent’s nightmare.  After a year or so, I started to see things in vivid detail. You have to get busy, be close with your family. It did a lot in terms of me getting closer. There’s a lot more satisfaction.”

Stewart was able to return to his relentless pace, and the consensus among those who knew him best is that he did it by leading by example. “If you are going to lead, you have to participate,” Stewart was fond of saying.  He believed that if everyone in the organisation recognised that the man in charge was working as hard as they were, they’d have an infinite amount of respect and motivation. “It’s about instilling a spirit of teamwork, defining a purpose and then rolling up your sleeves to get the job done better than anybody else,” Stewart said.

The company Butch Stewart built remains wholly owned by the Stewart family, who, in honor of Mr. Stewart’s long-term succession plans, has named Adam Stewart Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, extending his formidable leadership of the brands he has shepherded since he was appointed CEO in 2007.

Speaking on behalf of his family, Adam Stewart said, “our father was a singular personality; an unstoppable force who delighted in defying the odds by exceeding expectations and whose passion for his family was matched only by the people and possibility of the Caribbean, for whom he was a fierce champion.  Nothing, except maybe a great fishing day, could come before family to my dad.  And while the world understood him to be a phenomenal businessman – which he was, his first and most important devotion was always to us.  We will miss him terribly forever.”

Gordon “Butch” Stewart is survived by his wife, Cheryl, children Brian, Bobby, Adam, Jaime, Sabrina, Gordon, and Kelly; grandchildren Aston, Sloane, Camden, Penelope-Sky, Isla, Finley, Max, Ben, Zak, Sophie, Annie and Emma; and great grandchildren Jackson, Riley, Emmy and Willow.

A private funeral service will be held. Those wishing to share memories, condolences or personal stories may do so at AllThatsGood@sandals.com, and a tribute video can be found on the Sandals website

Main image credit: Sandals

Headshot of Daniel Fryer and image of a lobby

Is it really ‘in with the new’ for the hospitality industry?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Is it really ‘in with the new’ for the hospitality industry?

“Out with the old and in with the new,” but what do you do in hospitality, when what’s about to come looks exactly the same as what’s just gone? Luckily, we have hear from psychotherapist, expert speaker and author Daniel Fryer to help hospitality through…

Headshot of Daniel Fryer and image of a lobby

It’s that time of year where we all wish one another ‘Happy New Year’ and we keep on wishing it until we can safely say we’ve wished it to everyone we wanted and needed to wish it to. This usually ends around late February, or early March at the latest.

This year, however, many people are expressing their new year greetings tinged with concern and trepidation as the pandemic tosses up the cards! Some people even wince when they say it. And with good reason. Covid-19 has not gone away. In fact it’s mutated. In many places it’s spiralling out of control again. Vaccines are here but are being rolled out too slowly. Local restrictions are being updated weekly and, in some cases, even daily. Advice changes regularly. England has just gone into another full lockdown. All this uncertainty is hard to swallow and makes life difficult to deal with. That goes double for the hospitality industry and 2021, just like it its predecessor, is keeping both individuals, businesses and brands on the back foot.

This is not nice and it’s not good for anyone’s bottom line. It can even adversely affect your mental health. But only if you let it. Life is how it is; and things are how they are.

You can blow those things out of proportion and make them worse than they are or keep a sense of perspective and see them exactly as they are. You can take 2021 on the chin, or you can crumble and fall apart in the face of it.

After all, we’ve had worse years, right? I mean, historically speaking. And we survived those.

As with most things in life, history teaches us a lot. Ancient wisdom tells us a lot about how to live today. Mindfulness and mindfulness-based therapies, for instance, turned to Buddhism for content. Whilst cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT) turned to Stoic philosophy.

REBT says that it’s not the events in life that disturb you, but what you tell yourselves about those events that disturbs you and it based that nugget of wisdom on the teachings of a specific Greek Stoic philosopher called Epictetus.

Stoic philosophy was born out of a challenging period in history, where pillaging and plundering were rife. It was perfectly normal to go to sleep easy, only to wake with your house on fire, and your family sold into slavery.

And so the Stoics asked a very important question: “What can we tell ourselves that will keep us reasonably sane as we deal with these daily challenges?”

As a famous saying goes, “pain is inevitable, but suffering is not.” Trying to function normally during a pandemic is a pain. Wearing a facemask is a pain. Lockdowns are a pain. Trying to keep your business afloat is a massive pain. But it does not mean you have to suffer these pains. It does not mean you have to fall victim to what Shakespeare called the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

The Stoics believed that all human beings suffered because they were always trying to control the uncontrollable. And yet, very little in our lives is under our control. Realising this is a good thing. No, really, it is.

What if you just gave up your notions of control? I don’t mean completely. I don’t mean everything. That would be chaos! But, we can contain some of our concerns and let others go completely. We could create two circles within our minds (or on paper), one within the other. We can call the outer circle a circle of concern. And, in it we can place all the things that worry us, but that we have no influence over whatsoever. And then we can resolve to worry about them no more. This will free up some very valuable mind space. Space for us to focus on the inner circle, which we can call the circle of influence. In this we can place all the things that worry us, but which we can exert an influence over. Things we can control to some degree or other. And then we can resolve to focus our attentions there.

I didn’t make these circles up by the way. This exercise is a valuable psychotherapy and coaching tool. It features in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R Covey.

Just think of it. Everything inside those circles is important to you but, you free up some very valuable mental real estate but focusing only on those things you have control over. All of your reasonable worries, all your plans, and all your resolutions can be targeted solely on the circle of influence, rather than the wider, unwieldy and unmanageable circle of concern.

How helpful would that be?

This brings to mind (or to my mind at least) The Serenity Prayer, which was written by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in 1932. It typically goes like this: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Wise words indeed

The prayer spread rapidly and was even adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other 12-step programmes. You can use words and concepts such as life, the universe, or the inner self if there are no gods that you worship.

It’s a great mantra for modern living; it echoes what those Stoics were on about all those years ago and, more importantly, as we move further into 2021, it’s an excellent maxim not only for peace of mind but also for strategic planning.

And so, for this new year, on a personal and professional level, instead of wishing you every health and happiness, I wish to mitigate your suffering. I wish you the serenity to accept those life conditions that you cannot currently or ever change, I wish you the strength and courage to focus your energies on only those things you can change and, above all else, I wish you the wisdom to know the difference.

Main image credit: Unsplash/Katarzyna Urbanek/Daniel Fryer

Hypnos issues a message of reassurance for hospitality

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hypnos issues a message of reassurance for hospitality

Bed manufacturer Hypnos puts planning and communication front and centre with its hospitality partners…

Hospitality businesses are currently operating in a new landscape, as they adapt to overcome the unique set of challenges that the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have thrown at them, coupled with more cautious guests.

However, one thing that remains universal is the need for high-quality and environmentally friendly products and trusted brands with hassle-free service experiences, either as part of a refurbishment project or the opening of a brand-new property.

Barry Owen-Smith, Area Sales Manager at Hypnos Contract Beds (HCB) outlines the benefits of the historic British bed manufacturer and its specialist hospitality team working closely with and supporting the industry as many of its partners, big and small, face a difficult landscape.

“2020 was extremely challenging for all our hospitality partners, whether international hotel chains, independent boutique hotels or serviced apartments – not only in the UK but across Europe and the rest of the world. However, we’re continuing to work even closer than ever before with these brands and their interior design and procurement teams to understand their challenges and help them move forwards.

“There can be no hiding from the fact that both the practical needs of the hospitality guest and the mindset which they have at the point of purchase has significantly changed from where it was this time last year. Guests are looking for even more reassurance from their hospitality accommodation provider but the core need at the heart of the industry is providing supreme comfort and a memorable night’s sleep. Indeed, it’s one of the few things that has remained consistent when it comes to guest satisfaction.

“Hospitality accommodation providers, whether operating a boutique hotel with 40 bed rooms or an up-scale international branded hotel with 400 bed rooms, all need to manage refurbishments and new bed installations in a seamless and efficient way – both in terms of cost, safety, timings and logistics.

“We know that there are a range of issues facing every hospitality business when they tackle large scale renovations or refurbishments and need to kit out bed rooms and suites. Lots of these centres around: cost, design specifications, staggered delivery, health & safety during installation & disposal and keeping disruption to guests to an absolute minimum – all of which can be managed with prior planning and detailed preparation.

“Providing a bespoke yet structured project plan and solution is key to ensuring that any of our hospitality partners is able to receive exactly what they’re looking for and with complete satisfaction. At the heart of this is two-way communication, regardless of the size or complexity of the product and service solution. Hypnos has a step-by-step process to manage this and seeks to be part of their team – from initial enquiry right through to product aftercare.”

Hypnos’ eight step sleep plan:

  • An individual project manager is allocated, who then works with the brand to pull together a detailed set of requirements for the job including products, sizing, design influences. This is used to create a timeline and schedule of delivery with a programme of all costs
  • HCB then produces a bespoke design specification encompassing the likes of headboards, mattresses, divans with hidden underbeds, zip and link beds, sofa beds and whatever else is required
  • Importantly, as cashflow can be an issue for hospitality businesses at this time, an alternative finance agreement such as leasing over the life of the bedroom can be made available, enabling HCB to provide relief to its partners
  • HCB works with the partner brand to agree a sleep system covering a choice of comfort, with all products conforming to Crib 5 Fire Retardancy Standards. All of this is then backed up with a five-year quality guarantee to ensure absolute peace of mind
  • The project manager works in partnership with the site personnel to create a meticulously planned logistics and delivery plan for the provision, taking into account all safety and efficiency elements to ensure installation and old bed disposal with minimal disruption to guests
  • Providing an end of life solution for old beds is crucial for the sustainability of the industry and HCB takes old products away to secure waste transfer sites, so 100% can avoid landfill and be recycled back into materials that add value and benefits to other industries
  • Hypnos does not stop at product delivery, as there are a range of essential extras that can provide an added layer of sustainable sleep comfort, such as pillows, mattress protector’s and toppers. HCB works with the partner on any additional provisions needed to enhance the sleep experience of guests
  • Finally, HCB works in partnership with clients once the provision is completed in order to constantly provide sleep support – whether that’s with the addition of sofa beds, new bedding, upgrades for superior suites or from a marketing perspective in terms of sharing their brand and sustainability story with guests

Owen-Smith said: “Whether it’s with smaller boutique hotels or large hotel chains, we’ve seen similar trends emerge across our partner portfolio.  There is an increased level of consideration going into the configuration of rooms and how these are set out in terms of social distance, with people often staying in these rooms with family or friends within their ‘bubble’. Therefore, hospitality accommodation providers are needing to manage higher occupancy with space saving pull out underbeds and sofa beds.”

As restoring confidence in the hygiene and safety of their properties is of the utmost importance, hospitality providers should be actively involving their suppliers and installers in the process, creating proactive and robust new measures to meet and go above and beyond both government and industry guidelines for health and safety.

Owen-Smith continues: “We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from clients who appreciate the lengths we’ve gone to, particularly in terms of provision of Personal Protective Equipment for delivery teams. For instance, our team will arrive wearing face and shoe coverings as well as protective outerwear, which has been very well received by our hospitality partners. As well as this, our team has received training in social distancing and contactless interaction and this is something which could be a long-term impact of the pandemic on our practices moving forwards.”

“Whilst our processes have of course been adapted slightly due to the pandemic with further risk assessments needed for example, the foundations of our process – communication and co-operation – have become even more pertinent.

“As we look to the future and the evolving landscape of the hospitality industry, we look forward to continuing to adapt to be able to support our partners in the most sustainable and long-lasting way.”

Hypnos 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: Hypnos

Hamish Kilburn

Editor Checks In: don’t make me round-up 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor Checks In: don’t make me round-up 2020

“For someone who always tries to see the positive in everything, this year has been a challenging and turbulent journey that has been full twists, turns and dead ends,” editor Hamish Kilburn writes when trying to round-up 2020…

Hamish Kilburn

It’s 21:00 GMT on a stormy evening in December. The eyes of the world are fixed on my home county following a new super strain of Covid-19 that was found, mutated they say, in Kent. There’s literally nothing to do apart from curl up on the sofa with a glass of red wine to write this, which is my last article of 2020 (hurrah!).

Just when this year couldn’t really get much worse, my phone lights up beside me and my stomach immediately drops. The sender is a freelance journalist who is supposed to be in Dubai taking full advantage of this ‘air corridor’ we had been granted. For any editor right now, it’s a pretty big deal commissioning an international trip, as travelling anywhere at the moment feels like undertaking a covert operation (even when you’re not the one actually boarding the plane).

“If the last 12 months have taught us anything on the editorial desk at Hotel Designs, it’s perspective and being grateful for what we have.” – Hamish Kilburn, editor, Hotel Designs.

The text message read: “Hi Hamish, I’m really sorry but I’m stuck in Zanzibar, now self-isolating for 10 days having tested positive for Covid-19, and will not make it to Dubai to review the hotel.” And this, my friends, is the new world we are living in. What a way to end to 2020? Not only am I now living in a place that is being branded by the media as ‘the new Wuhan’, but I also feel part responsible for a journalist and friend being struck down by ‘the virus’, with no option but to lock himself down in a hotel, over Christmas, that wasn’t budgeted for – talk about disruption! But if the last 12 months have taught us anything on the editorial desk at Hotel Designs, it’s perspective and being grateful for what we have. Fortunately, our writer and his wife who he is travelling with are showing no symptoms and are recovering safely and comfortably in the confides of their hotel room.

This situation is a stark reminder of how shaken our market is, even now, more than 10 months after coronavirus first emerged in the headlines. While other industries wake up from a forced hibernation, unfortunately hotels around the world are still taking a battering, and the majority are still performing with less than 50 per cent occupancy due to the pandemic. Major cities that were once dominating tourist hotspots have found themselves in unfamiliar territories; vacant and on the surface without purpose – and there was me in January thinking this was all just a sensational story that will blow over…

The hotels within these metropolis’ that were designed to cater for substantial demand are currently uninhabited. And yet, the magic and power of hospitality has kept the industry’s spirits alive.

During the peak of lockdown – and even after we entered the dreaded tiered system here in the UK – wonderful and innovative initiatives emerged from hotels up and down the country. With the unanimous aim to support key workers during turbulent times, hoteliers utilised the situation and started to focus their attention locally, and as a result produced new and improved sustainable ways to operate.

Meanwhile, designers and architects were able to exhale from travelling and attending back-to-back client meetings and pitches. Instead, although being away from their creative studios was less than ideal, they were able to focus on drawing up new purposeful spaces suitable for a post-pandemic world.

It is therefore more important now than ever before to recognise and celebrate the individuals in Britain who are leading the way in international hotel design and hospitality, as we did last month when we went live with The Brit List Awards 2020.

Just when Covid-19 slapped us across the face with a wet fish – I was on the floor howling with laughter when a designer used this line earlier this year in a panel discussion – we opened the applications and nominations process for the awards. And with each completed application form that landed in my inbox, the team and I were reminded why Britain is – and will always be – regarded as a leading hotel design and hospitality hub.

There’s a lot of anticipation building around what 2021 will bring. If Pantone’s Colour of the Year is anything to go by, we’re in for a mixed 12 months that will require yet more forward-thinking to harmonise our industry. From our side, we will continue to keep the conversation flowing and the industry connected with our Hotel Designs LIVE series and the anticipated arrival of our podcast. We will also continue publishing strong editorial features (look out for that Dubai hotel review), and we will maintain our position as the leading international hotel design website by listening to the designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers who are all helping to shape our industry.

I would like to sign off 2020 by sticking two fingers up to the past and instead welcoming in new perspectives that we will amplify on the pages of Hotel Designs. I wish you all a safe and refreshing festive period and our team looks forward to reconnecting in the New Year – at least it can’t be as bad as the one we have just endured!

Editor, Hotel Designs

Main image credit: DJP Portraiture

The Brit List Hoteliers of 2020

Meet The Brit List Hoteliers of 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Meet The Brit List Hoteliers of 2020

Each year, Hotel Designs unveils The Brit List, a publication that lists the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers who are operating in Britain. Following the official unveiling of The List at this year’s virtual award ceremony, please meet The Brit List Hoteliers of 2020…

The Brit List Hoteliers of 2020

For more than four years now, The Brit List Awards has given a platform to the designers, architects and hoteliers who are proving to be trendsetters on the international hotel design scene. Earlier this year, Hotel Designs’ 2020 search began and turned into what was the most meaningful campaign in the publication’s history.

This year’s panel of judges– and of course our sponsors and partners – went above and beyond to support The Brit List Awards as the difficult yet responsible decision was made to organise the judging process and deliver the awards ceremony in virtual formats.

During the in-depth judging process, we all discovered a new meaning of hospitality as we read how designers, architects and hoteliers are continuing to push conventional boundaries. But no more so was this more evident than in the applications in the hotelier category.

Following on from unveiling this year’s designers and architects please meet (in alphabetical order) The Brit List Hoteliers of 2020…

Ayo Akinsete, Area Managing Director – Treehouse Hotel London

Located on Langham Place, steps from the BBC headquarters, Treehouse Hotel London was founded on the ideas that inspire a child to build a treehouse. Adventure, independence, cozy spaces and repurposing crafty things are what make a place warm and special. That’s why every Treehouse Hotel – owned by SH Hotels & Resorts – celebrates found objects, nostalgic tunes, handmade details and locally sourced treats.

Ayo Akinsete, the Area Managing Director, joined the team in 2019 following his hospitality experience in Los Angles and New York.

Barry Sternlicht, Founder and CEO of SH Hotels & Resorts said: “The concept for Treehouse Hotel has been living in my soul for many years. A special place that feels more “home” than “hotel”…cozy, welcoming, warm, and somehow familiar…an oasis after a long day that at once refreshes, inspires, and delights.”

Carl Davies-Phillips, General Manager – Hotel Indigo Stratford upon Avon

Carl Davies-Phillips has been a great asset to Hotel Indigo Stratford upon Avon, and has worked extremely hard through the first year of trading since opening in April 2019 – especially with all the struggles the hospitality industry has faced this year.

Davies-Phillips is very caring of the team, and always ensures that staff morale is high. He has helped so many people develop their careers with his skills and knowledge in the hospitality industry and working for IHG.

In the heart of this Shakespearean market town is the home of the boutique hotel, surrounded by the wealth of culture this idyllic town has to offer.

Steeped in history and home to William Shakespeare, Hotel Indigo shares the neighbourhood with his 16th-century birthplace, as well as one of the most famous theatres in the world; Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Chris King, Co-Founder – Birch

Birch is an intervention from the judgements, expectations, and constraints of daily life; an escape for the explorers and a catalyst for the curious.

Founded by Chris King and Chris Penn, Birch creates spaces where you can rest, explore, connect, work, taste, move, or dance as you wish – all in one place.

For the Birch hotel project, a 140-key hotel that is set within 55 acres of nature just outside of London, architecture and design firm Red Deer deconstructed the meaning of a hotel and pieced it back together to ensure that no element was intrinsic without careful consideration. The obvious need for a bed and bathroom are present, however, more attention was given to the contemporary ‘luxuries’ such as a TV, telephone and smart lighting systems to ascertain their place in a luxury hotel for an increasingly younger generation of guests.

The hotel encourages guests to disconnect from the rigours of mainstream daily life, and reconnect to the things that matter most: more walking, talking, touching and tasting.

Conor O’Leary, Joint Managing Director – Gleneagles

Since being crowned Hotelier of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2018, Conor O’Leary has continued to perfect the luxury address that is often referred to as ‘the glorious playground’. Gleneagles remains one of Scotland’s – if not Great Britain’s – most adventurous luxury hotels.

Set beneath the Ochil Hills, in the heart of Perthshire, it has been the must-go destination for travellers for nearly a century. Beginning its life in the glamorous age of travel when guests arrived in great style at Gleneagles’ very own train station, the 850-acre estate epitomises the natural beauty for which Scotland is famed.

Now under new ownership with 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.

Elli Jafari, General Manager – The Standard London

Housed in the former Camden Town Hall Annex in London’s thriving King’s Cross neighbourhood, the 1974 Brutalist building has been meticulously restored and sets the perfect stage for The Standard’s first hotel outside America.

The Standard London shelters 266 guestrooms in 42 unique styles ranging from Cosy Core rooms to terraced suites with outdoor bathtubs overlooking St Pancras station. The lobby lounge, with a carefully curated library pays homage to the building’s original use, with a sound studio hosting weekly live music and talks.

Founded in the late 90s, The Standard’s irreverent and playful sensibility, combined with a careful consideration of design, detail and service, have formed its DNA as a pioneer of hospitality, travel, dining, nightlife, and beyond.

Gary Neville, Co-Founder – Stock Exchange Hotel

 The Stock Exchange Hotel, co-owned by Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, opened in November 2019 as a new luxury address in Manchester.

The former Manchester United footballers were among the first hoteliers to go above and beyond in the Covid-19 crisis, closing the two properties within their portfolio and offering them, free of charge, to NHS workers. The hotel also vowed to not make any staff redundant or place them on unpaid leave for the duration of its closure.

“We have taken this decision as we believe in being proactive and decisive,” said Neville, who added that the hotels would reopen once the pandemic has passed. “We feel that we have a responsibility to protect our team members and as shareholders we have put together the resources to put us in the best position to do this.

“Our company’s success is all down to our team and we feel it is critical that we look after everyone in these challenging times.

Grant Campbell, General Manager – Nobu Hotel London Portman Square

Earlier this year, Grant Campbell was appointed General Manager at Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, which was due to open in July. Campbell moves in as the 249-key hotel’s pre-opening General Manager, Matthew Beard, becomes the hotel’s Managing Director.

Campbell joined Nobu Hotel London Portman Square from Sanderson London, where he led the strategic development of the hotel for more than six years.

In his new role, Campbell oversees the opening of the L+R-owned hotel, which will feature a Nobu restaurant, bar, ballroom for up to 600 guests, gym, wellness facilities and meeting spaces.

George Westwell, CEO – Cheval Collection

Cheval Collection, the luxury hospitality company with serviced apartment residences across London, announced in February 2020 that The Cheval Gloucester Park, Kensington had reopened following two years of full-scale, multi-million pound refurbishments.

The luxury all-apartment residence, has become the collection’s iconic west London property. Cheval Gloucester Park features a combination of one, two and three bedroom apartments, as well as three spectacular five-bedroom penthouses on the upper floors, aptly named Gloucester, Cromwell and Kensington.

The building was stripped back to brick by architecture firm 3D Reid and Cheval’s design team has collaborated with London based design studio 1508 on the complete interior re-design of Cheval Gloucester Park, with a focus on 1920s London. The property shelters modernised design and upgraded features, including a beautifully renovated ground floor reception, a new 12-seater ‘cinema room’ for film screenings and private bookings as well as an enlarged fitness centre.

Guillaume Marly, Managing Director – Hotel Café Royal

Guillaume Marly became the Managing Director of Hotel Café Royal in 2017 following on from stints as hotel manager at The Ritz, The Connaught and senior positions at Claridges.

Consistently referred to as “London’s grand hotel”, the property is part of The Set: a cluster of luxury hotels in the UK and Europe. The sophisticated hotel straddles the elegance of Mayfair and the raw energy of Soho.

Having worked in some of London’s most admired and notable hotels, including Chiltern Firehouse and The Dorchester, Marly brought with him the level of expertise and experience necessary to take on a property of Hotel Café Royal’s size and reputation.

Howard Hastings, Managing Director – Hastings Hotels Group

Established by Sir William Hastings in the late 1960s, Hastings Hotels is a family-owned company and the largest independent hotel group in Northern Ireland.

Howard Hastings, now Managing Director, joined in 1989 as Operations Director. For the past 25 years, he has been Managing Director of Northern Ireland’s foremost hotel group, representing as they do, 1,100 bedrooms in seven hotels and continuing the clear set of values for which Hastings Hotels has become synonymous. These values encompass not only a strong work ethic, but a focus on heavy yearly investment with the local community, staff and suppliers at the heart of the business.

Hastings has been particularly passionate about not only Hastings Hotels but the promotion of tourism in Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland, as well as representing the sector in the wider business such as the Institute of Directors.

Jannes Soerensen, General Manager – The Beaumont

Jannes Soerensen, the General Manager at The Beaumont, is a familiar figure on the luxury hotel scene in Europe. In under two decades, he has worked in some of the finest hotels including Hotel George V Paris, Hotel Arts Barcelona, The Connaught and Le Bristol Paris.

In 2014 – the same year as the hotel opened – Soerensen stepped into the role as General Manager to lead The Beaumont into a new hospitality era.

Six years later, London’s hotel scene has been drastically impacted from the Covid-19 crisis, and Soerensen is currently using this period as an opportunity. Taking advantage of this unpredictable environment, he is coordinating long-planned work on an extension to the hotel. The renovation will include a soft refurbishment of the Cub Room, the Bar, the Colony and the Spa.

Javier Beneyto, General Manager – COMO Metropolitan London

Javier Beneyto has been General Manager of COMO Metropolitan London since 2018, taking over from the previous General Manager who managed the property for almost two decades.

Beneyto, born in Madrid, joined COMO Hotels and Resorts in 2012 and has managed a selection of the brand’s international portfolio before taking on his role at COMO Metropolitan London. Beneyto was instrumental in the redevelopment of the hotel’s residences in 2019, which are adjacent to the hotel. These 10 luxury residences were designed by architects and interior designers, Forme UK. During this process, Beneyto worked with numerous UK suppliers, builders and contractors – and being relatively new to the London hotel scene and only a year in the job, this was an enormous project to undertake which came with many challenges along the way.

The result is a chic and contemporary cluster of residences in the heart of Mayfair. Beneyto kept his cool throughout the process to bring his European flair to the project and the hotel team who adore him.

John Scanlon, General Manager – 45 Park Lane

Since his arrival at 45 Park Lane as General Manager in 2015, John Scanlon has been committed to ensuring that guests have the best possible stay experience, and has a proven track record of maintaining an enjoyable environment for employees.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Scanlon’s leadership saw a number of initiatives quickly come into fruition. Several colleagues became involved in the Golden Friends scheme via Hospitality Action, making regular check-in calls to hospitality retirees in 12-week isolation. Employees have also pledged their support to the NHS and assisted in the donation and distribution of food and necessary supplies to those impacted by Covid-19.

45 Park Lane, along with sister hotels The Dorchester and Coworth Park, also donated £25,000 to Hospitality Action, to help support hospitality workers who are in need and to help feed their families.

Justin Salisbury, Co-Founder – Artist Residence

When Justin Salisbury dropped out of university to help out with the family B&B on Brighton seafront, he unexpectedly caught the hospitality bug, and set out to improve the business with very little budget.

Inspired by the Brighton art scene, he sent out an ad for artists to decorate rooms. Hundreds of artists soon descended on the place revamping the walls, floors and ceilings with unique murals…and so, Artist Residence was born.

Joined by then girlfriend (now wife) Charlie, the pair set about making the concept and hotel a successful business. Three years later, the duo set their sights on their next project, a manor house in the seaside town of Penzance in West Cornwall.

The heartwarming business story is mid-chapter, now with five hotel properties (all of which are sheltered inside interesting buildings that have played significant roles within their location).

The formidable duo are advocates for upcycling, and the team are regularly invited to discuss his authentic design and hospitality approach at major hospitality events.

Marco Novella, Managing Director – The Lanesborough

With its enviable location at the heart of London in prestigious Knightsbridge, and framing panoramic views of Hyde Park, The Lanesborough, managed by Oetker Collection, has long been considered one of the world’s most luxurious hotels. The hotel’s legacy lies with it having been built on the former home of Viscount Lanesborough and remains one of London’s most revered Regency landmarks. The elegant surroundings, exquisite cuisine, unsurpassed attention to detail and world-renowned service are second to none. The Lanesborough captures the sense of a grand residence and offers 93 guest rooms, including 43 suites, and a personal butler service for all guests across all room categories.

Marco Novella joined as Managing Director in 2018. His first position as Hotel Manager at the St. Regis Grand in Rome in 1999 led him to become the General Manager of another Starwood Hotels & Resorts property, The Gritti Palace in Venice. In 2010, Marco became Managing Director of Villa San Michele in Florence, part of Belmond. Prior to joining The Lanesborough, his most recent position was as Managing Director of Brown’s Hotel London in 2016.

Marie-Paule Nowlis, General Manager – Sofitel London St James

Marie-Paule Nowlis, who brings with her 30 years’ experience with the Sofitel brand, and a career shaped by international roles, joined Sofitel London St James as General Manager in April 2019.

Nowlis led an extensive multi-million pound transformation in 2019, which extended throughout the hotel’s 183 guestrooms and suites, restaurant and bar. The property is a flagship hotel for the Sofitel brand and a cornerstone of London’s luxury hotel scene, with the transformation and refurbishment overseen by Pierre-Yves Rochon ensuring it remains one of the most sought-after destinations in the city.

Prior to joining the team at Sofitel London St James, Nowlis was most recently Hotel Manager and Acting General Manager of Sofitel New York, responsible for operational and strategic execution of the 400-room flagship property. She held the position as of February 2016, during which time she was also Acting General Manager for 20 months.

Michael Bonsor, Managing Director – Rosewood London

Michael Bonsor is not only at the helm of one of London’s most successful luxury hospitality establishments, The Rosewood London, but he in his own right is an authentic influencer on the global luxury hospitality scene.

During the Covid-19 crisis, he led the hotel to launch a competition, giving NHS workers a chance of winning a dream wedding. This initiative formed part of Rosewood Raise, a relief initiative launched by Rosewood Hotel Group developed in support of the group’s staff who have been impacted by Covid-19, as well as the communities in which the group operates. The relief initiative included donating hotel rooms, meal preparation and supplies for essential workers.

Other initiatives the hotel was involved with included the Hospitality4Heroes Social Challenge, where Bonsor and his team helped to raise more than £10,000 to support the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Appeal, while head chef of Holborn Dining Room Calum Franklin and his team have been cooking hearty pies and meals for NHS staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital, a charity that the hotel has supported for many years.

Michael Struck, Founder & CEO – Ruby Hotels

Although not UK-based, Ruby Hotels has taken the UK market by storm, following the successful launch of its first London hotel, Ruby Lucy, and the announcement of two further London hotel openings in Clerkenwell and Notting Hill.

Set in London’s vibrant Southbank, Ruby Lucy, which enjoys a fun carnival theme running throughout the hotel, offers guests the ideal opportunity to explore the area’s entertainment and theatre scene.

Unique to Ruby Hotels is Struck’s innovative ‘lean luxury’ philosophy which focuses on providing guests with the essential – a top location, high-quality fittings, and outstanding design – rather than the superfluous, ensuring that travellers are offered a luxurious and unique hotel experience, all at an affordable price point. The model includes a self-check-in system which makes use of tablets to reduce check-in time to under one minute. Additionally, guests have easy access to all of their needs in total privacy, with Ruby Hotels’ galley kitchens and vending machines. The open plan bars, movie lounges, private yoga rooms and spacious rooftop spaces replace traditional spa and gym facilities.

As a result, Struck’s fresh and modern take on urban hospitality is challenging the conventional hotel model.

Olivia Byrne, Director – Eccleston Square Hotel

To optimise the wellbeing of hotel guests, Eccleston Square Hotel, winner of the Best in Tech Award at The Brit List Awards 2019, now offers complementary Levoit Air Purifiers; these quiet, portable, in-bedroom air filters protect against a wide variety of contaminants such as air pollution, allergens and bacteria including airborne viruses. Designed in California the True HEPA filter is 100 per cent ozone free, offers a whisper-quiet setting and delivers fresh air that’s clean, natural and healthy to breathe. This is in addition to the hotel’s 65-point anti-bacterial surface and point of contact sanitising programme.

All bedrooms in the hotel already benefit from HVAC Air Conditioning with air taken from an outside source, it is filtered and cleaned and then directly distributed to each room. Air is simultaneously removed by a centralised mechanical extraction and expelled above the roof. Guests can also be encouraged by the fact that each hotel room benefits from anti infiltration flaps under the door when closed and mattresses are sealed in an Allerguard (TM) anti allergen sack.

Being a small, independent boutique property, Eccleston Square Hotel can adapt swiftly to the fluctuating needs and demands of travellers.

Olivia Richli, General Manager – Heckfield Place

Winner of The Eco Award at The Brit List Awards 2019, Heckfield Place is a Georgian family home, lovingly restored from its classic origins and rewoven into a luxury hotel, which stands in 400 acres of secluded Hampshire landscape.

During a review by Hotel Designs, it was described as a ‘home from home’, somewhere you can simply fall into bed and enjoy a peaceful retreat.

Olivia Richli, the hotel’s General Manager, is a breath of fresh air, who along with owner Gelard Chan who plucked Richli from semi-retirement in Sri Lanka, has brought the property into a new era. The hotel’s opening made a lot of noise in the press, receiving a wave of positive reviews and features, highlighting and commending its DNA of sustainable design and conscious hospitality.

Most recently, the hotel has completed its certification as a Bio-Dynamic Farm, which is a a major milestone for the estate, and the completion of a four-year purposeful process.

Ray Goertz, General Manager – The Prince Akatoki London

As General Manager, Ray Goertz was asked to sketch out his ideas of how he would transform a quintessentially British boutique hotel in Marylebone into a luxury Japanese inspired hotel. This ambitious concept was to take into consideration how the flow of the hotel design would complement overall guest experience and optimise the daily operation.

Collaboratively, Goertz created 19 unique selling points that cannot be found in any other luxury hotel in London, varying from service elements to amenities and other unique features.

Every element from the colour palette and furniture, to the materiality and lighting has been chosen to emanate luxury, and feel in accordance with nature.

Goertz’s role as General Manager on this project afforded him the opportunity to take part in the design of the hotel that would operationally make sense and stand out as something new in the London luxury hospitality arena.

Robert Richardson, General Manager – The Cave Hotel & Golf Resort

After reaching success as General Manager at The Grand in Folkestone – where he led the hotel to win a plethora of national awards – Robert Richardson is now General Manager of The Cave Hotel & Golf Resort in Canterbury.

Regarded as a young trailblazer, Richardson’s fresh approach on hospitality and leadership makes him the ideal person to lead the new tech-savvy, custom-built luxury hotel. The 40-key boutique property takes its inspiration from the best modern luxury hotels operating across the world.

Richardson’s plans include repositioning the property for the luxury staycation market whilst developing its reputation for the overseas market, post-Covid.

In addition, Richardson is an elected Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality, and a regular speaker at industry events and author of several well-regarded industry articles.

Robin Hutson, Chairman & Chief Executive – Lime Wood Group & Home Grown Hotels (THE PIG)

Starting in 2009 with the opening of Lime Wood, Robin Hutson set about creating something a little bit different. The aim was to make their guests feel at home wherever they are – from the peaceful New Forest, to the breathtaking mountain scenery of Courchevel Moriond and the stunning beaches of Studland Bay in Dorset.

Home Grown Hotels is possibly the most talked-about group of hotels to emerge in recent years. THE PIG is really a restaurant with rooms and the kitchen gardens are at the heart of everything the group does.

The concept of THE PIG was created in 2011 and has since been recognised with many accolades and industry awards. The group now consists of seven hotels with the latest additions joining THE PIG, THE PIG-in the wall, THE PIG-near Bath, THE PIG-on the beach, THE PIG-at Combe, THE PIG-at Bridge Place and THE PIG-at Harlyn Bay, with a new addition coming in 2021.

Robin Sheppard, President – Bespoke Hotels

 Robin Sheppard, winner of Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry at The Brit List Awards 2018, co-founded Bespoke Hotels in 2000 and has since grown the business into the UK’s largest independent hotel group. The company now has more than 200 properties spanning the length and breadth of the country and overseas. This has provided him with a platform from which to work tirelessly in the promotion of accessibility within tourism and hospitality, culminating most recently in the launch of the Bespoke Access Awards in April 2016 alongside RIBA and the Design Council. In 2019, the Bespoke Access Awards and the Blue Badge Style Awards merged to form Blue Badge Access Awards (BBAA), with the support of charity Leonard Cheshire.

Earlier this year, Sheppard made his vision of cutting-edge accessible hotel design a reality with the launch of Hotel Brooklyn. Opened in February 2020, Hotel Brooklyn is a trailblazer in championing accessible, sexy and modern design for all. Of the hotel’s 189 rooms and suites, 18 are adapted for guests with a need for accessibility: a huge leap beyond the industry norm – providing outstanding accessibility in rooms that are almost unrecognisably different from standard rooms.

Sheppard’s championing of quality design in accessible hospitality and tourism has inspired an entire industry to think bigger and stretch further, revolutionising the way we think about accessibility and radically altering the experience of disabled people in the UK tourism and hospitality industry.

Thomas Kochs, Managing Director – Corinthia London

Winner of Hotelier of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2019, Thomas Kochs is a familiar name and face on the London and international luxury hospitality scene. Kochs joined the brand in 2017 and has been flying its flag sensitively ever since.

The hotel, which remains Corinthia Hotels’ flagship property, shelters 283 rooms, an award-winning ESPA spa and a public area that works hard to adapt to modern consumer demands.

Kochs is rightfully considered one of the best in his field. With an acute eye for detail, and a calm, collected yet dynamic approach to leadership, the hotelier has seen – perhaps it’s more accurate to say led – the evolutions of many hospitality trends driven by consumer behaviour and demands. “Design has evolved,” Kochs told Hotel Designs in an exclusive interview. “10 – 15 years ago, hotels had more opportunities to impress through design. However, a good design formula alone is no longer enough in today’s market. There are some design-driven brands where the customer only checks in because of the design and aesthetic, but we don’t consider ourselves one of them.”

The Brit List 2020 is Hotel Designs’ nationwide search to find the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers operating in Britain. This year’s campaign came to a close on November 13, when the virtual award ceremony unveiled The List as well as the individual winners

To attend The Brit List Winners’ Party, which takes place on April 29, 2021 at Minotti London, please click hereApplications and nominations for The Brit List Awards 2020 will open Summer 2021.

Profile image of Dereck and Beverly Joubert, founders of Great Plains in Africa

In Conversation With: the filmmakers who designed Great Plains

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: the filmmakers who designed Great Plains

Having spent more than 40 years exploring Africa as photographers and filmmakers, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, the founders of Great Plains, have new standards in sustainability, hospitality and humanity. Editor Hamish Kilburn catches up with the dynamic duo to understand authentic luxury hotel design through a wider lens, capturing a broader perspective when it comes to hospitality in the wild…

Profile image of Dereck and Beverly Joubert, founders of Great Plains in Africa

There is something about Africa – the woodlands, wetlands, and seemingly never-ending grasslands in-between – that gives life deeper meaning. I’ve noticed that the sun sets differently here, almost feeling like you’re closer to the sun than any other continent on earth is.

My experience in Africa is a millisecond, though, compared to the time that Dereck and Beverly Joubert have invested in order to learn about this great natural world. Having spent more than 40 years’ exploring these plains as filmmakers and photographers – the pair have produced more than 25 films for National Geographic – to call these two wildlife and conservation experts is an unruly understatement.

In 2006, to fund their wildlife conservation work, Beverly and Dereck channeled their wisdom and love of nature and started a new hospitality venture. Their inspirational journey – which went on to challenge the cookie-cutter approach in safari travel, architecture and design – began when they set up Great Plains, an authentic and iconic tourism conservation organisation.

Today, the brand shelters 16 safari properties, in Botswana, Kenya and Zimbabwe, each designed through the director’s lens to tell unique stories that enhance each camp’s very special sense of place and built to celebrate each destination’s individual character.

Despite being award-winning filmmakers, world-renowned hoteliers and selflessly good human beings through their ongoing charity work, there is not a shred of haughtiness about Beverly and Dereck, as I learn when I catch up with the husband-and-wife team to understand how they, through a purposeful and sustainable approach to luxury hospitality, are helping travellers to capture one-off experiences from a slightly different perspective.

Hamish Kilburn: What initially made you audition for the roles of ‘hotelier’?

Beverly Joubert: We’re explorers, conservationists and filmmakers. As we started the Big Cats Initiative at National Geographic, we soon realised that saving lions one at a time was futile and we needed to conserve large landscapes to save everything in them. To afford this, we decided on high-end tourism as opposed to philanthropy.

Dereck Joubert: To be honest hospitality runs deep in Africa; in our DNA where of course we were all born, so we were inspired by that spirit of coming home and being welcomed. As a result, as I design our camps, I do it with two ’stories’ in mind: the three act ‘ welcome home’ one and whatever story I want to tell through the design of that unique place.

Dereck and Beverly Joubert, filmmakers and wildlife photographers, in a 4x4 with an elephant in the background

Image caption: In 2006, to fund their wildlife conservation efforts, filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert launched Great Plains.

HK: What amendments have you made to the existing script of safari in Africa?

DJ: Oh, I don’t think we have amended the African safari – it transcends us! It may have been about the physical journey (safari being quite simply a journey in Swahili) but if anything I hope we expand it to an inner journey as much as a physical one. Our version of safari is one where you can explore your roots, from millions of years ago, and interrogate your relationship with the other creatures here, our history with them, our very profound and interwoven dependancy. For example there was an ancient cat called Dinofelis that stalked the caves we sheltered in 3.5 million years ago, and possibly forced us out into the grasslands more where we discovered fire and bone marrow that gave us strength, intelligence and the ability to no longer fear large spotted cats. Today we seek out leopards to marvel at their beauty rather than shy away in fear, but we’ve walked this journey of the safari together.

BJ: What does the resonance of meditating at a waterhole with elephants nearby as they rumble do to you? How can we each for that creative energy that the early philosophers and poets sought out in the wilderness, uncluttered and pure. In the style of our camps, we try to add detail and story telling like this in design, in service and as an experience.

HK: What is the current narrative in Africa?

BJ: The Covid-19 death rates in the USA is at about 800 per million people. In Botswana it is 2 per million, so the safety and risk are worlds apart. The outdoor experiences reduce the risk dramatically, but no matter what the rates are, the closed borders have obviously collapsed tourism.

What is evident is that we’re in a cycle of demise that can cause spiralling circles of pandemics. As a result of our nefarious relationship with wild animals placed in captivity in cages in wet markets (in this case), we have sparked an economic crisis, global shutdowns that will lead to a recession, closed borders, and tourism, that communities rely so heavily on in Africa and other places.

DJ: The loss of income has led to many turning to nature to feed themselves at a time when game wardens and anti poaching patrols have been cut back. This perfect storm has led to a second pandemic of destruction of wildlife and a renewed trade in illegal wildlife and bush meat, that find their ways into the wet markets again. So we are seeing a second and third wave of new unexpected viral pandemics as a result. We have to shut down wet markets and the trade in wildlife. We have to review and renew the ways we engage with all animals . We started Project Ranger to support rangers who have been furloughed and keep wildlife areas intact and protected. We have to ensure that there is actually something for travellers to want to seek out when this is all over.

HK: What makes your cast of 660 employees special and unique?

BJ: It is an ensemble cast isn’t it?! I think that the way we work at Great Plains is as a small family business, with a family of employees who do more than just show up. Hospitality in general requires skills that are more involved than that any way – much close to the work as performers – each day to smile and engage in a pleasant way no matter what is going on in your life. I recognise that, so we are sensitised to this and have a policy of support. If a guide is having a bad day, another is primed to reach out and ask him or her what is going on and to step in. Managers do the same to their staff and actually this starts at the top and someone who just joined our EXCO meetings pointed out that I start each session asking each Managing Director what we can do as a whole group to help each week. I know the names of all our staff and most of their families and I don’t want to grow it beyond that point where it becomes impersonal and corporate.

 

HK: Can you talk us through the filmmaker process of storyboarding each scene/camp?

DJ: Each hotel or in our case, camp, is a story. I start with an overall direction and message. In the Selinda camp, for example, I wanted us to re-evaluate our relationship with elephants. The camp is in the heart of the highest density of elephants in the world, but in the past, early explorers like Livingstone and Selous travelled through these areas with guns and a desire for ivory. Selinda was a hunting concession for decades and when we took it over we stopped all killing.

Our relationship with elephants is symbolic of our loss of harmony, so therefore harmony was the solution to ’the question’ the area and the elephants themselves impose on us.

Now I obviously didn’t want to simply populate the décor with elephant images – that would be too easy and cheap. Instead, I designed and cast two life-sized bronze skulls of elephants including bronze tusks but in the forehead of one I had the words “homo nosce the Ipsum” cut in, and in the other “homo nosce  pe Ipsum”, which is Latin for “man know thyself” and “man forgive thyself”. The sculptures are placed on either side of the main entrance with the intention to stimulate a real conversation that starts with us understand who we are and what we have done over the centuries to their peaceful animals, but then  to forgive ourselves (and our ancestors) for who we are.

But that is just the first act, and I wanted to design this with a longer and deeper path towards harmony which in Eastern teachings leans towards the laying out of five fundamental elements the first being the metal skulls, but then you enter a chamber with blue touch of furniture, to represent water and often our guests arrive by boat so I imagined them dragging that element with them, like a smoke trail from the river. Next, you enter for a welcome tea; an open space with a flowing white silk roof to represent air. Beyond that you pass through an open dining area with brown tables, where we serve fresh largely plant based food from the earth, and then to the fire and off to the third act and your resting place, in your room, presumable in perfect harmony and balance.

Only once we understand who we are, and forgive ourselves will we be able to cross a threshold, as one does in this camp, into a new unburdened relationship with both ourselves and elephants, like stepping through a vortex.

It’s not just a story though, I believe that most people arrive and feel that tranquility and settle because of the balance we have created, and so many arriving guest actually sign deeply as they enter this story, this camp. If I can I will briefly describe Mara Plains, that I felt should be an architectural and physical meeting place, also in harmony between three often opposing cultures: The Maasai, the Swahili, the colonials.

But as explorers for National Geographic, we wanted to be the glue as one is behind the lens. So I oriented the camp based on a single and lone tree five km away, drew a line through the camp, and angled it all around this tree. Then I drew a Fibonacci proportion in the ground and had the tent makers make the main tent exactly to those proportions, representing  the ideal gold rectangle one uses in a 35 mm picture frame.

Inside the camp, we imported 75-100 year old railway sleepers as recycled wood (teak) and brass from the original Blue Train 120 years ago. Reds from the Maasai culture represent this very visual association and it didn’t have be head handed because we are in Maasai world so it is everywhere anyway, but the coastal Swahili culture has in influence here so the large Swahili doors behind the showers are a not to them, associated with the sea and water. Each tent fits the Fibonacci proportions creating a film set styled ration that takes you back to the romance of the 1920’s adventures but hopefully without the embedded racism and in appropriate colonialism of that time.

“I added my own collection of campaign furniture as templates and samples for cabinet makes to replicate, which happened at the time of the Indonesian Tsunami where thousands of artisans were left without work.” – Beverly Joubert, co-founder, Great Plains.

HK: How and where do you source your props/artefacts?

BJ: In some cases, we design and make them ourselves, like in Zarafa, in Botswana, which is based on the story of the first giraffe to be seen by westerners as it went on a journey to Paris as a gift to KingCharles X.

Here, I added my own collection of campaign furniture as templates and samples for cabinet makes to replicate, which happened at the time of the Indonesian tsunami where thousands of artisans were left without work, and where tons of mahogany used for houses were smashed down from house scale to ideal furniture scale. So we used the reclaimed mahogany and hired the artisans to make this campaign furniture that is now unique to Zarafa camp. In other cases we just come across something in a market or antique store that we love and can’t live without, so we don’t!

HK: How has your approach on sustainability helped the local community?

BJ: Well, we have delivered something like 6,000 solar lanterns to families that have perviously been off grind, and an amazing addition to that was that the principal of the local school wrote to  thank us because school grades were going up because kids could do their homework after dark. I don’t think the kids liked having do that but… We send nine ladies with very little education from Botswana to India to learn solar circuit board manufacturing technology for six months and to return and develop local businesses from this. We’ve planted more than 5,000 trees and started tree growing initiatives. We have a Great Plains Academy to teach people about hospitality and who to bridge the gap from high school to university.

HK:  It’s clear that, as wildlife filmmakers, you allow nature to call the shots – can you explain more about how guests can give back to nature during their stay?

DJ: To nature, our guests and followers get involved in help fund a rhino calf by naming stand securing its protection on the wild, or supporting Project Ranger to keep front line conservationists at work to avoid this second pandemic. We have a need for $20 donations towards solar lanterns for kids learning at night, as well as $45,000 to move a rhino and indeed, we need an army of ambassadors who don’t donate but lobby against the extraction of wildlife (via hunting or poaching and trade) with their local representative. Everyone can do something.

HK: What major lesson has this journey in hospitality taught you so far?  

BJ: We can all learn from hospitality because it is all about kindness and care; paying attention to details and I find myself taking a lot more care just to find out how someone (even in my team) is doing, randomly, as if I am hosting the world.

HK: 2016 was a pivotal year for you both. Beverly you survived a fatel injury after being attacked by a buffalo while filming your latest materpiece. Dereck, did that event and your recovery change your relationship with nature?

DJ: You know the buffalo attack didn’t really change that relationship, as much as it changed our relationship with ourselves, in that I promised myself not to waste another moment, day or month not totally enjoying my life with Beverly (if I got her back, which I did four times).

HK: Has designing hotels changed your perception at all as wildlife filmmakers?

BJ: Interesting, probably in that it has made me (both of us, I think) understand story telling more, because if you base the entire design of a hotel on a story, as I do, and that is going to be its story for decades it had better be well researched and thought out. So our films have probably evolved into more layered and in depth stories and while I had not connected the two careers in many way, I can see yah prior to this, where I am designing spaces based on a deep philosophy like our relationship with elephants, or intersecting cultures there is more depth to our films.

“I think that all journeys are stories and we are all the heroes of our scripts.” – Dereck Joubert, co-founder, Great Plains.

DJ: A good example is the Okavango film/s where the story is about a river from end to end. But that wasn’t enough, so I re-read Dante’s Divine Comedy partly while Beverly was in hospital recovering from the buffalo attack. And in it, I found two parallels, one of our or my journey and Dante’s as he wove his way from purgatory to parade to find and be reconnected with his love (as I did, over nine months as Beverly slowly came back to life.) Regarding the journey of the river, I flipped the story in the theatrical release to start also in Purgatory (in the desert) and wind our story back to Paradise at the source. Those are the kinds of stories one tells around a campfire about the design of a hotel or camp, not always in a natural history documentary for National Geographic!

I think that all journeys are stories and we are all the heroes of our scripts, (why write yourself in as the bad guy) and we are the storytelling ape. But to us, as much as we love lions and elephants, there are opportunities as films to tell parables that hold up  the mirror to our lives, so we can advance in our relationships, and in our new and renewed contract with nature.

HK: In a sentence, can you explain the synopsis’ of your next masterpieces/camp openings?

BJ: As I walked the banks of the Zambezi River, under spreading pod mahogany trees, I saw a movement in the shade; a herd of elephants ambling towards me chasing their thirst, right passed me and out onto the plains, sliding into the water, leaving me with the name for the new camp on this exact site; Tembo Plains: (elephant in Shona.)

Main image credit: Great Plains

Idle Rocks Hotel, St Mawes, Opening Day, June 24th 2013

Checking in: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes, Cornwall

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes, Cornwall

During the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, editor Hamish Kilburn managed to escape briefly to check in to The Idle Rocks, St Mawes in Cornwall – a hotel that knows a thing or two about battling adversity – which shelters an unmatched personality, character and style…

Idle Rocks Hotel, St Mawes, Opening Day, June 24th 2013

Being close to the water’s edge – so close you can hear shrunken waves break on the shoreline – does something to us, mentally. Not only does it send a reflux through our bodies to sharply loosen our shoulders to allow for a deeper exhale from a life that feels constantly left on fast-forward, but it also enables us to find a different perspective (something we could all benefit from, I’m sure, right now).

If like me you grew up by the coast before diving into the deep end of city life, then you would have also felt the magnetic pull, like gravity, that regularly drags me back to the edge of the land. My recent nostalgic fix came when I travelled down to Cornwall, to check in to The Idle Rocks, St Mawes.

Image of exterior of The Idle Rocks St Mawes

Image credit: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes

The hotel, which is the brainchild of husband and wife duo Karen Richards and David Richards, was originally opened in 2013. Two years prior, the pair fell in love with the building that now shelters the hotel. It’s position right at the water’s edge of the harbour, inspired the name of the hotel as well as its quirky, contemporary and stripped-back luxury style. “Our aim was to create a hotel that was young, fresh and relaxing,” explained Karen in an interview with Hotel Designs. “We wanted to make it a home-from-home, eliminating formalities and in this way, differentiate ourselves from our more traditional competitors.”

Image of door opening in St Mawes hotel to see the sea

Image credit: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes

Karen, who lives and breathes design, envisioned the boutique gem with its own identity, when she fell in love with the property. But for David, whose career within motor sport has led to great acclaim in a wide range of disciplines from F1 to Sports Car racing and rallying, hospitality was a new adventure, which (it turns out) shared similar traits to the motor sport industry, such as forming the ‘dream team’ – from housekeeping to chefs, front-of-house staff to savvy marketing – in order to find that sweet spot of personable luxury hospitality.

With the current Covid-19 crisis dominating headlines and sadly bringing hospitality to its knees, it would be easy to forget other storms that The Idle Rocks, St Mawes has weathered over the years – but we must not as it forms an integral chapter in the property’s history. Less than a year after first opening, a 90-mph winds hit St Mawes combined with an extremely high tide. The impact of the storm destroyed the ground floor of the hotel. “The following day, I was on site with the team and we did what we could to board up the smashed windows,” Karen painfully recalls. “Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, that evening another squall came in and caused even more damage.”

It took the team just two months to definitely repair the damage before reopening once more, with more soul and purpose than ever.

Seven years later, following the hotel being the subject of major broadsheets for its unparalleled hospitality offering, I arrive to check in to the boutique legend that is The Idle Rocks St Mawes.

Walking through the front door evokes the same effortless, refreshing coastal vibes as the destination itself has done for centuries, which has allured the likes of writers, artists and even royalty alike. No other hotel can match Karen’s home-from-home style, which in the lobby/lounge area is complete with deep, comfy sofas and furnishings that come in every shade of blue.

“In a coastal hotel, it is all too easy for the design to be predictable and something I worked hard to avoid.” – Karen Richards, co-owner, The Idle Rocks, St Mawes.

The art is a story in itself – framed traditional woollen swimsuits and abstract pieces that depict boats painted in primary colours. “We have very consciously focused on local Cornish Artists throughout the hotel,” explains Karen. “In a coastal hotel, it is all too easy for the design to be predictable and something I worked hard to avoid. I love visiting antique shops and fairs, which is where a lot of pieces within the property came from.”

Although the design inside the F&B areas is impressive, with wooden bucket-like chandeliers and vibrant art that hangs on a rustic wall, it is the view that stretches over the working harbour, seen from all perspectives in the restaurant, that is this hotel’s wildcard and offers guests a window into the community outside.

Colourful and vibrant restaurant

Image credit: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes

Acting as an ever-changing backdrop as storms come and go, the restaurant, which presents young chef Dorian Janmaat’s locally inspired menu, is the beating heart of the hotel.

Upstairs, each of the 19 guestrooms and suites have been individually designed to sensitively inject a meaningful sense of place. Naturally, the colour scheme is toned down with just a few flashes of colour to allow the view over the water to become part of the hotel experience, which it does very quickly.

Through a translucent sliding door, the bathrooms include a deep, freestanding Victoria + Albert bath that is positioned right next to the window. Quirky nods to the hotel’s coastal location, such as shells that act as soap dishes and distressed wooden framed mirrors above the sink. A Rainfinity shower from hansgrohe with Axor fittings takes this wellness scene to a new level, and is positioned in such as way at the back of the bathroom so that you can see outside through the window but people cannot see in. The bathroom is completed with a quality Villeroy & Boch toilet with Geberit push button panels.

Light and minimalist sea-themed bathroom

Image credit: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes

Considering Cornwall’s etched reputation in the history books for delivering quality hospitality time and time again, The Idle Rocks St Mawes stands out from the crowd as being something different on the luxury scene in the westcountry. It’s colourful and vibrant personality makes it hard for any guest to check out of what feels very much like a home away from home. And with my tastebuds teased, body rested and state of mind recovered I reluctantly check out of this boutique jewel, taking one last look at the postcard perfect view of St Mawes, a town I will no-doubt be returning to shortly.

Main image credit: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes

An image of a pool outside a villa

RAKxa, a revolutionary wellness retreat in Bangkok, opens its doors

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
RAKxa, a revolutionary wellness retreat in Bangkok, opens its doors

The new ‘integrative wellness and medical retreat, RAKxa, has opened its doors to guests in Bangkok’s ‘Green Lung’. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes… 

Set in Bangkok’s preserved ‘Green Lung’, a protected jungle-clad island on the Chao Phraya River, RAKxa is a 60-key retreat (27 villas are currently open), which shelters tailored wellness programmes designed by certified medical doctors.

An image of a pool outside a villa

These programmes combine advanced medical treatments with revered holistic therapies alongside renowned Thai hospitality, resulting in a world-class medical destination.

A mix of traditional materials and crafts have been used in a contemporary styling to create a medical wellness retreat that has avoided the ‘spa’ look whilst ensuring the crisp, neutral tones are not associated with a hospital. Traditional materials include rattan, bamboo, reclaimed wood, earth-wear, ceramics, brass, jute, mulberry paper and water hyacinth. Light colours of teal and gentle greens are used throughout the premises to soothe and restore an element of calm. Showcasing the serene location next to the river, traditional river boats decorate the gym area as well as elements such as old balers used to decorate the walls.

RAKxa uses objects throughout the premises that may not traditionally be considered art, such as teapots, chairs and stools. These all have a sense of place and are considered as traditional Thai decor, based on the countries’ history. One area proudly displays 72 teapots along a shelving unit, all made from a local southern Thai pottery maker and each unique to one another. Using local artisans to create the rugs and woven wall decor, RAKxa exemplifies traditional Thai styling, creating the ultimate wellness retreat where Thai hospitality oozes through the design.

This ground-breaking enhanced wellness retreat is the first of its kind in Thailand and promises a fully transformative experience through personalised three-to-fourteen day programmes with long-term health goals in mind.

Main image credit: RAKxa

A london bus outside Sofitel London St James

Weekly briefing: a London review, a Japanese gem & re-living the drama

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: a London review, a Japanese gem & re-living the drama

Just in time for the weekend, here’s your weekly briefing, featuring the hottest stories of the week. This briefing includes our video review of Sofitel London St James, a boutique bombshell up for sale in Bordeaux and how you can re-watch all the drama from The Brit List Awards 2020…

A london bus outside Sofitel London St James

As we gear up to dive into our ultimate throwback, when we will revisit the hottest product launches from the last 11 months, the editorial team at Hotel Designs has been busy publishing the latest news and engaging original features. We appreciate that you may not have time to read all the hot content that Hotel Designs has been published this week, therefore, here is our ‘editor’s pick’ of what we believe are the juiciest stories from the past five days.

Inside Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto, A Luxury Collection Hotel & Spa

Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto, A Luxury Collection Hotel & Spa, has opened in the heart of Japan’s ancient capital – sheltering design by an international team of renowned architects and designers including Akira Kuryu, André Fu, Shunsaku Miyagi and Yohei Akao.

Read more.

Boutique hotel, La Vue, in Bordeaux region goes on sale

An outdoor pool iun between barns in La Vue

Image credit: La Vue

2020 has proven itself to be the year of distressed assets, with characterful hotel properties around the world being sold to the chains. However, there is nothing distressed about La Vue, a perfectly placed boutique hotel that has potential to be something incredible on Europe’s independent hotel scene.

Situated right at the centre of a triangle drawn between three major cities in France – Bordeaux, Cognac and Angouleme – La Vue is a luxury boutique gem set in one acre of land, which is surrounded by vineyards and spectacular views.

Read more.

Hotel review (in video): checking in to Sofitel London St James

Sofitel London St James bathroom

image credit: Sofitel London St James

17 years after first unveiling the original designs for the Sofitel London St JamesPierre-Yves Rochon returned to London to breathe new life into the 183-key lifestyle luxury hotel. Editor Hamish Kilburn, along with a production team to film his response, checks in find out more.

For Sofitel London St James, a flagship for the global hotel brand that is positioned in between Westminster and Mayfair, the decision to invite legendary designer Pierre-Yves Rochon back to redesign the guestrooms and suites was one that came naturally. And it was his ability to combine English décor with refined French elegance that gave this hotel’s interiors a new and somewhat an unexpected personality.

Read more. 

Re-live all the drama from The Brit List Awards 2020

Image of the Sterling Suite with Brit List logo

Hundreds of designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers tuned in on November 12 to watch the awards ceremony that crowned the winners of The Brit List Awards 2020. But if you missed it, you can watch the full ceremony here, on demand.

Adhering to social distancing measures and the latest government guidelines, this year’s awards were produced by CUBE Video and filmed from inside Minotti London’s Fitzrovia showroom, which will host The Brit List Winners’ Party/MEET UP London on April 29, 2021.

Read more.

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: The revival of smart tech post-pandemic

Main image for Hotel Designs LIVE Session 4

In the final session of Hotel Designs LIVE, editor Hamish Kilburn was joined by global industry experts to discuss the revival of smart tech after he checked in to a completely contactless hotel experience.

The final session that took place during Hotel Designs LIVE was entitled: The revival of smart tech post-pandemic – and was sponsored by Grohe, a bathroom manufacturer that is clearly leading the way when it comes to utilising technology to create innovative bathroom solutions.

Read more.

Boutique hotel, La Vue, in Bordeaux region goes on sale

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Boutique hotel, La Vue, in Bordeaux region goes on sale

The family-owned La Vue, a luxury hotel and wedding venue that is sheltered inside a former 17th Century Cognac distillery, is up for sale – and Hotel Designs, for the first time in the publication’s history, is keen to find a buyer for the family…

2020 has proven itself to be the year of distressed assets, with characterful hotel properties around the world being sold to the chains. However, there is nothing distressed about La Vue, a perfectly placed boutique hotel that has potential to be something incredible on Europe’s independent hotel scene.

Situated right at the centre of a triangle drawn between three major cities in France – Bordeaux, Cognac and Angouleme – La Vue is a luxury boutique gem set in one acre of land, which is surrounded by vineyards and spectacular views.

The 15-key property, which was refurbished in 2018 and reviewed in The Telegraph shortly after where it was described as a “tasteful, secluded little gem” and dubbed the “Tuscany of France”, is home to five three-bedroom self-catering gites, which are attached to a spectacular Manor House with en-suite guestrooms, bar, bistro and staff accommodation.

The hotel and wedding venue is located in a small village called Birac, which is roughly 1 hour and 20 minutes from Bordeaux, 30 minutes from Cognac and 25 minutes from Angouleme. Previous guests have often tied in trips to La Vue with visits to St Emilion, Pauillac and other famous wine making domaines. Cognac lovers are well catered for too in the eponymous city – with tours of Remy Martin, Martel and Courvoisier available. Adjacent to La Vue is an organic Cognac maker called Jean Luc Pasquet who supply the hotel and offer tastings and tours.

“The hotel has recently been granted preliminary approval from the local authorities for a further 50 beds.”

La Vue itself is a former 17th Century Cognac distillery, and is architecturally very typical of the Charentes region. The current family who own the property acquired it in 2017 from a British couple who had been running it as a wedding venue for many years, primarily catering to British guests. In 2018 it underwent a complete overhaul to bring it up to a standard where it could be relaunched as a high-end wedding venue. 

An outdoor pool iun between barns in La Vue

Image credit: La Vue

Outside, there are two swimming pools and a small spa and wellness area that is complete with sauna and steam room, plus staff accommodation facilities. The landscape has a beautiful lawn to the rear surrounding the pool deck, and a pergola that is suitable for outdoor dining. At the rear there is an observation deck with views that stretch across the valley, and that frames spectacular sunsets.

What’s more, the hotel has reported a strong pipeline of bookings running into 2022, and it has recently been granted preliminary approval from the local authorities for a further 50 beds – the site for the proposed expansion is a currently disused cognac barn.

To find out more details about this boutique hotel, and to be put in touch with the owners, please email us on the editorial desk. 

Main image credit: La Vue France

(In video) Watch The Brit List Awards 2020 – the awards ceremony

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(In video) Watch The Brit List Awards 2020 – the awards ceremony

Hundreds of designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers tuned in on November 12 to watch the awards ceremony that crowned the winners of The Brit List Awards 2020. But if you missed it, you can watch the full ceremony here, on demand…

Hotel Designs’ nationwide search to find the top designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers operating in Britain came to a head last week when the winners of The Brit List Awards 2020, sponsored by Crosswater, were officially announced.

Adhering to social distancing measures and the latest government guidelines, this year’s awards were produced by CUBE Video and filmed from inside Minotti London’s Fitzrovia showroom, which will host The Brit List Winners’ Party/MEET UP London on April 29, 2021.

Editor Hamish Kilburn hosted all the drama, which included an engaging panel discussion with the international judging panel, the unveiling of The Brit List 2020 and announcing this year’s individual winners.

You can watch the action unfold below:

Since you’re here, why not read The Brit List Awards 2020 winners’ story, referencing the judges’ reasons behind this year’s seven worthy individual winners.

Thank you to our partners:

Image of Little Emporers propertys and Rebecca, the company's founder

Industry insight: booking travel through a tech-savvy app

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: booking travel through a tech-savvy app

Hotel Designs learns how one company is using innovative tech to target its audience in the best way possible. Rebecca Masri, Founder of Little Emperors, writes…

Image of Little Emporers propertys and Rebecca, the company's founder

Following my 10 years working in the city at Goldman Sachs, I learnt the importance of purchase power. Following the financial crash in 2008 I decided to set up a hotel club, Little Emperors, based on my experience and using the contacts I had acquired. 11 years later this established hotel club offers its members affordable luxury with exclusive access to incredible hotel rates and benefits.

Little Emperors advanced forward-thinking technology and optimised search engine helps members find bespoke hotel trips and experiences perfectly suited to their requirements and personal preferences.  The technology allows the company to target its members with bespoke marketing and knows what its members want even before they do. Using a sophisticated technology we can track our 35,000+ members search and booking patterns, and engage in tactical suggestions with an easy to use app and website. With access to booking search engines, we are in a unique position of being able to access what travellers are looking for and can therefore predict future travel trends, always being one step ahead of the curve.

We save time and money – both valuable of course, with our quick thinking app where members can complete a booking within just four clicks, and our hotel partnerships which offer our members both corporate rates or leisure benefits, guaranteed to save money on bookings. We also have a ‘Lowest Rate Guaranteed’ with all our hotel partners, so if a member finds a comparable rate cheaper elsewhere, we will match the price and add a benefit to the booking such as a room upgrade or hotel credit.

As well as allowing members to book easily, our app also provides access to live availability and detailed hotel & room descriptions at any time. I believe it is our innovative tech that has allowed us to grow into a members club which truly looks after its members. This is why we have a 98 per cent retention rate of members and each member on average will refer at least three more who join.

The last six months have been particularly challenging and have shown us the importance of connection and booking holidays through a trusted source. Members clubs are not only safe, but they look after members, and will work around the clock ensuring all members needs are met. As travellers are increasingly waiting until the very last moment to book holidays, the desire to book using a smart and efficient system is becoming more popular than ever. Thankfully Little Emperors was created with our members best interests at heart, delivering the very best service through our user-friendly app, and we hope we can help more and more aspiring travellers to once again reach all corners of the world through travelling with us.

Main image credit: Little Emperors

Image showing collage of projects and The Brit List Awards 2020 logo

The Brit List Awards 2020: how to gatecrash!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Awards 2020: how to gatecrash!

With The Brit List Awards 2020 taking place this Thursday (at 14:00 UK time), there is no need to gatecrash, as it is completely free to attend this year’s virtual award ceremony…

Image showing collage of projects and The Brit List Awards 2020 logo

You won’t hear phrase “if you’re not on the list, you’re not coming in” at this year’s The Brit List Awards 2020 as Hotel Designs’ nationwide search prepares to go live with its virtual award ceremony, taking place this Thursday at 14:00 (GMT).

Although this year’s award ceremony is free to attend, you do however still need to register in order to secure your complimentary seats in the audience.

DESIGNERS/ARCHITECTS/HOTELIERS/DEVELOPERS, CLICK HERE TO ATTEND (FOC) 
SUPPLIERS, CLICK HERE TO ATTEND (FOC)

Following the unveiling of the shortlist, which referenced more than 120 individuals and projects, this year’s virtual awards ceremony will be broadcast from Minotti London, which is where the winners’ party will be sheltered on April 29, 2021. Following a catch up with this year’s global juding panel, editor Hamish Kilburn will unveil The Brit List 2020, which is Hotel Designs’ annual publication that references the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers. Following this, he will be joined by a number of the event’s sponsors to unveil the individual winners of the following categories:

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

Following the virtual awards ceremony on Thursday, Hotel Designs is inviting the industry to come together on April 29, 2021 for a spectacular winners’ Party. To attend The Brit List Awards Winners’ Party, click here.

Over the last three years, The Brit List Awards has becoming a significant event in the design, architecture and hospitality calendar, as Kilburn explains: “The Brit List Awards was born out of the concept to celebrate Britain as a major design and hospitality hub,” he says. “Arguably, it is more important this year than any other year before to mark that success while celebrating the talented individuals who are continuing to design innovative spaces on the international design scene. It is therefore my pleasure to host this year’s event, albeit virtually, and I cannot wait to personally congratulate the winners when we all meet again in April 2021 for the winners’ party.”

Meet our Partners:

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Reassuring the post-corona consumer

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Reassuring the post-corona consumer

In the third session of Hotel Designs LIVE, editor Hamish Kilburn was joined by hoteliers from around the world in St Lucia, France, Zimbabwe and the UK to ask how we will reassure tomorrow’s travellers in a post-pandemic world…

In the second edition of Hotel Designs LIVE, sponsored by Technological Innovations Group in association with Crestron, editor Hamish Kilburn returned to host a number of panel discussions and interviews with the aim to keep the conversation and the industry connected.

With the pandemic on everyone’s agenda, the third session of the day – sponsored by Room To Breathe UK – was a hotelier special that virtually checked in to hotels around the world to understand the impact Covid-19 is having on global hospitality and possible solutions when re-engaging with tomorrow’s travellers.

On the panel: 

The session, followed recent studies that suggested that the post-corona consumer will be hesitant to re-explore the hospitality scene, looked at how tomorrow’s hospitality arenas can effectively and sensitively reassure modern travellers that hotels are safe spaces.

Within this session, the audience heard PRODUCT WATCH pitches from Room To Breathe UK, Bushtec Creations, Air Revive and Bromic Heating.

We join the panel discussion as Kilburn introduces the session sponsor and speakers (the conversation starts at 02:26 in the video)… 

 

While you’re here, why not tune in to Hotel Designs LIVE’s other sessions on discussing sustainability with Bill Bensley and adding personality in public areas.

The recording of the final session, The revival of smart tech post-pandmeic, will go live shortly. 

SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a third edition on February 23, 2021. Session titles and speakers will be announced shortly. Once these have been announced, tickets for Hotel Designs LIVE will be available. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused PRODUCT WATCH pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

Weekly briefing: lighting confessions, new arrivals & a contactless check in

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: lighting confessions, new arrivals & a contactless check in

Only got a minute? It’s been a busy week on the editorial desk but we have have compiled our top stories, including a confession of a lighting designer, multiple hotel debuts and a panel discussion on the future of public areas…

As we gear up to unveil the winners of The Brit List Awards 2020 on November 12, the headlines this week have been flooded with positivity – from new hotel arrivals and new lighting solutions to eco and conscious design brands unveiling new products. We appreciate you may not have time to read all the content that Hotel Designs has published this week. Therefore, here is our ‘editor’s pick’ of the juiciest stories that have been covered this week.

Checking in to a contactless hotel (with touchless tech from TIG)

Technological Innovations Group (TIG) has played a key role in helping BLOC Hotels develop and implement new ‘touchless’ hotel technology. In an exclusive video review, editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to discover what the contactless hotel experience is all about.

“You may already be familiar with Bloc Hotels, but you haven’t seen anything like Block Hotel Gatwick’s recent renovation…”

Read more.

Banyan Tree unveils first luxury resort to open in Krabi in 11 years

Nestled on a verdant hillside with spectacular vistas of limestone cliffs rising from the sea, Banyan Tree Krabi has opened. Owned by Asset World Corporation (AWC), the new luxury resort backs onto a lush national park and Naga Crest Hill, granting three ultra-exclusive beachfront pool villas, 10 beachfront pool villas, and 59 pool suites — each of which has its own private pool — a westward-facing view of sunset over the Andaman. A natural spring flows downhill into the property where it is transformed into a flower-fringed canal ferrying spring water to the sea.

Read more.

Virtual roundtable: lighting solutions for tomorrow’s hotel

Following a number of recent roundtables where lighting was unintentionally put under the spotlight, Hotel Designs collaborates with innovative lighting expert Moritz Waldemeyer and a number of designers to understand lighting’s role in tomorrow’s hotel.

Read more.

Confessions of a lighting designer – sparks and relationships

In the second editorial of the ‘confessions of a lighting designer’ series, Gary Thornton, senior project designer at neolight global, explores lighting relationships.

Following our previous article, the hotel guest experience can be considered as being framed physically by the architecture, informed by the interior design, and reinforced by the service that you receive, but transcending across all of those to make it an outstanding experience is the intangible – great lighting design.

Read more.

How conscious design studio Harris & Harris was born

Founded in 2014 by husband and wife team Alexander and Sharon Harris, Harris & Harris emerged onto the design scene as a sustainable breathe of fresh air. Working internationally, the studio creates chic yet playful designs focusing on craftsmanship and quality whilst minimising the impact on the planet – and it was this unique blend that caught our editorial attention.

Read more.

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Adding personality in public areas

In the second edition of Hotel Designs LIVE, sponsored by Technological Innovations Group in association with Crestron, editor Hamish Kilburn returned to host a number of panel discussions and interviews with the aim to keep the conversation and the industry connected.

Following on from the inaugural Hotel Designs LIVE where an expert panel questioned the very existence of lobbies in the wake of Covid-19, Hotel Designs was back to put public areas back under the spotlight.

Read more.