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Hospitality

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

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
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

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
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!’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
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)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
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!

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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.

Virtual Roundtable: health & wellbeing in hospitality and hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual Roundtable: health & wellbeing in hospitality and hotel design

With a question mark on what the future of health and wellbeing will look like in tomorrow’s hotel, editor Hamish Kilburn, in collaboration with HDR | Hurley Palmer Flatt, asks industry’s experts to decipher what’s fact and what’s myth when predicting tomorrow’s wellness scene…

One of the major challenges that hotel designers and architects are facing globally at the moment is how much emphasis to put on Covid-19 when making decisions that will impact the future look and feel of hospitality. The pandemic has no doubt changed the demands of modern travellers, no more so arguably than in what will be expected in the wellbeing and wellness areas of tomorrow’s hotels.

In an attempt to define realistic solutions, we speak to leading designers, architects and developers from around the world – and ask about the future of health and wellbeing in hospitality and design.

On the panel: 

Hamish Kilburn: We have never seen this before; every single hotel around the world putting together a reopening strategy. How has the pandemic, and the reopening of these hotels, changed the mindset of operators when it comes to health and wellbeing?

Chris Lee: Any operator will say that guest safety is their first priority. Obviously with Covid-19, that’s paramount. In times like these, the majority of travellers are leaning towards brands they can trust.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts set up a working party back in March. We looked across the whole spectrum of the business, including all brands and hotels, to identify what we needed to do to get ahead of this pandemic, all the time with the aim to keep our guests in a place where they trust us, whilst feeling safe and comfortable.

As a result, we launched an initiative called ‘Count on Us’, which is a long-term initiative with the emphasis being on additional cleanliness to address the characteristics of Covid-19 . We have had to adapt certain procedures, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing and it has allowed us to enter into partnerships with new suppliers. For example, Ecolab is supplying the EPR-approved cleaning chemicals and products for our hotels across the region. As part of that deal, they have offered product training to our staff. These team members are, bit by bit, becoming ‘Covid safety officers’.

HK: How will Covid-19 impact how hotels are designed?

Mark Bruce: The truthful answer to that is that our clients are all trying to figure that out themselves, which is why this discussion is very timely.

Six Senses arriving in London is a good example, with its core focus being wellness. What I will say, strictly architecturally, is that there is a wider emphasis on indoor/outdoor spaces, which I think makes sense to us. On the luxury end, customers want things to be the same but with more space. On the more lifestyle and budget end of the scale, travellers want confidence.

Image caption: Rendering of Six Senses London, slated to open in 2023

Working closely with our mechanical and engineering suppliers to understand the practical aspects, such as air conditioning systems and finding ways to bring in natural air, has been fundamental in order to understand our limits as architects.

Matthew Voaden: We are finding that working more closely with architects from early stages of design is beneficial in not only addressing the concerns of enhanced ventilation to the space, but also to the architecture/interior design as integrating the services from outset does not later compromise the initial concept.

Tom Bishop: From a project management perspective, we usually get operator and design feedback far too late (usually during stage three or four). Do you reckon that this support system will bring forward when we are able to have these discussions?

MB: Yes, I think it’s a good point. 50 per cent of our clients are owner/operators, developers, which means from day one you can have good conversations about it. This is a huge challenge for operators – and you’re right, these conversations do not currently happen early enough.

HK: Covid-19 has amplified the need for service and design to work in harmony, something that the lifestyle sector was already very good at. What are the new challenges in lifestyle hotels? 

TB: Ruby Hotels is a great example of a lifestyle hotel that shelters design working with service. Typically, guests checking in to a Ruby hotel are looking for a bed for the night. You check in to ‘lean luxury’ ­– it’s clean and well designed and you are not spending that much time in your room. The public area space is minimal, cool and trendy while the F&B offering is limited – so they are almost already designed for the post-pandemic world and naturally cater to new demands from travellers. It will be interesting to see what the hotel group does next. I know the brand is looking for sites still, and it’s an exciting time for them.

Image caption: A playful interior design scheme inside Ruby Lucy, London

There is definitely a difference in demand from guests checking in to a five-star hotel than travellers checking in to a three-star hotel. On the luxury end, the question is now how to create the same atmosphere pre-pandemic in a space that now limits how many people are in that area.

“We are trying too hard at the moment and, dare I say it, over reacting.” – Ivalyo Lefterov, Hotel Development Director, Miris.

HK: Ivaylo, talk to us about SVART. How is this project challenging conventional methods of wellbeing and wellness?

Ivaylo Lefterv: That’s a very wide question, I have to say. I’m addressing this situation having worked on both the design and operational side. From my perspective at least, we are trying too hard at the moment and, dare I say it, over reacting.

First of all, we have no idea how things will evolve six months from now, so making any assumptions or drastic changes could be quite damaging. But equally, with SVART in particular, sustainability and wellness were already key pillars of that project. So, Covid-19 has somewhat brought attention to what we were already trying to achieve, which is a positive.

Image caption: SVART, which is slated to open in 2022 as the world’s first ‘energy-positive’ hotel

The building itself, sheltering a new F&B concept, is part of the wellness journey. We have been discussing how we activate the building, and our conclusion is that we want the guest to be in control. We are talking about touchless without losing human interaction. That is an important balance. We are trying to allow the customer to be guided intuitively but also using technology as a tool to allow us to measure the condition of their stay and be able to adjust their experience accordingly. I do believe that lighting will become much more of a focus in the post-pandemic world.

 MV: I agree, having worked recently with a number of clients on integrating smart technologies into new and existing buildings, we are trying to strike a balance between introducing technology that benefits the development and not just an innovation that is an immediate reaction to the current Covid-19 situation, which ultimately might not be required.

HK: It’s a given that hygiene is creeping – no, leaping – up on the agenda for hoteliers. When it comes to Value Engineering though, what will fall off in its place?

Dan Curtis: We have seen a move towards less cluttered space. When you walk into a hotel room there is now more clean space with natural materials, focusing on the light and scenery.

“Value Engineering should not be a factor when considering safety” – Kobi Karp, Founder, Kobi Karp Architecture and Design.

Kobi Karp: I agree. Value Engineering should not be a factor when considering safety. Traditionally we have used copper pipes in buildings before we discovered the properties in PVC. I now see a movement that is drawing designers and architects back to raw materials, such as copper. In my firm we design a lot of restoration projects, and it’s very easy to convert those hotels into sustainable hubs as a result of Covid-19.

Over the last few months the focus has also switched to technology – it is evolving rapidly! To date, we have not felt the need to implement this. Now, we are taking another look at it technology’s role in a post-pandemic world.

HK: We can have all the best will in the world, but let’s realistic and talk about scalability – change is very expensive for global hotel brands that need to maintain branding across all hotels. Chris, how are you making these decisions?

CL: It’s such a difficult call! If I was in a developer’s position, and it was my money, I still wouldn’t know what to do.

We’ve had numerous discussions internally about reviewing our design standards. At the moment, we have to stay where we are because no one has the answers on timing. Like Tom said, if you double the size of your lobby then you are doubling the size of your real estate, which naturally reduces your ROI. I don’t think we are yet in a position to fix these financial and design issues.

Image caption: Wyndham Introduces new hybrid meeting concept at Dolce Hotels in Europe

TB: Let me explain this from a refurbishment approach. An owner has an asset. It was worth X in January 2020 and it’s now worth Y. If they are trying to loan against the asset, that value has reduced. This means your refurbishment budget has reduced along with occupancy levels (for example, from 85 per cent to 65 per cent) and a lower room rate. Ultimately, you are going to see, I believe, more QS-led design in the four-star and below market because ultimately there is more of a budget constraint that has to be adhered to. There is a delicate balance between health, design (to ensure that the hotel is competitive within its market), increasing room rates and overall yield.

Image caption: Minimalist design-led guestrooms inside Ruby Hotels’ properties

Veronica Givone: In the last six months, I have been talking with a lot with investors. My conclusion is that the last decade has already seen a shift in what brands wanted to provide. 10 years ago they were designing for their brands. Now they are designing for the people checking in to the hotel.

“We now need to avoid designing hotels that look like hospitals.” Veronica Givone, Managing Director, IA Interior Architects.

I believe that the pandemic will just amplify this. People are more aware when it comes to wellness and wellbeing. We now need to avoid designing hotels that look like hospitals. It’s the balance the find when applying tech and keeping service fresh. We need to understand how to make our staff feel confident and comfortable to use the space. We need to make short-term solutions, and I hope that social distancing will not be a long-term hurdle. In 15 years from now, who will be the guest? That’s what we now need to think about.

HK: Matthew, HDR | Hurley Palmer Flatt Group has its ear to the ground when it comes to identifying and utilising new innovations that will improve building quality. What have you seen emerge recently?

MV: When cultural changes happen, it always results in a lot of discussions around new innovations and products.

UVC Lighting, and air purification systems are really interesting, but would be better and easier to cost, if they were disguised in the foundations of a new build. Upgrading filters in maintenance, CO2 monitoring, modification to the Building management system to extend fan runtimes etc and other factors are constantly being analysing as part of our teams initial response to the pandemic.

I would say, it is easier to integrate new innovations into budget hotels. It’s more challenging for luxury properties and brands in order to not disrupt the familiar luxury guest experience and journey.

IL: I can see the industry moving forward towards the guest designing their experience before check in. That will allow the actual hotel stay – take the arrival experience for example – to be more like a performance, a theatre if you like. The guestroom itself would become your butler to make it more personal without removing the human factor. Your reception becomes your living room, as opposed to being purely a practical and frankly unenjoyable element.  

“Gen Z want to be in control – they like choices.” – Chris Lee, Director of Architecture, Design & Construction, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.

CL:Hotels have changed in the last decade. Lifestyle didn’t really exist much 10 years ago. Gen Z want to be in control – they like choices. What better way to make a choice: on your phone, you have everything you need. But, regardless of the evolution of tech, hospitality is about people and you can get that interaction in all hotels. I just hope the pandemic doesn’t adjust the people factor in our industry, because that is so important.

VG: The key is balance all possible demands and offer flexibility, allowing the guest to decide.

HK: Can sound offer solutions in the post-pandemic world?

MB: I was really pleased that this came up as a topic. I have never really spoken about sound in a roundtable discussion, but it’s important to consider. Like many of the sub topics we have explored in this session, we were analysing sound in hospitality before Covid-19 was a thing. The pandemic has allowed us to refocus on new ways to create atmosphere, and one of the most impactful ways to subconsciously evoke a mood in pursuit of wellness is to consider sound.

A great example is Six Senses, and it is an absolute joy working with the brand. They talk about anti spaces, the moments in between moments. I believe that the spaces in between create the emotion and memories. We have been helping Six Senses to transfer their look and feel and their renowned focus on wellness into an urban environment, and sound has been a massive part of that.

The minute you walk in, sound from the outside is­ muted –  the perception of the city gets left behind and the focus turned to the naturally aerated lobby. As you move further towards the spa, the way sound is treated is going to be a very exciting part of the project. To see a leading brand like Six Senses embrace sound to elevate the experience is very exciting! I think it will add a lot of value to hospitality in the future.

Thanks to HDR | Hurley Palmer Flatt and all of our international experts, we have started the conversation around health and wellbeing in hospitality in hotel design. Now it’s over to you. Have your stay by tweeting us @HotelDesigns.

How luxury hospitality designers are adapting to the ‘new normal’

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How luxury hospitality designers are adapting to the ‘new normal’

To cut through the noise, Hotel Designs has teamed up with J Public Relations to ask how designers Rosendale Design, Nicola Harding, Goddard Littlefair and David Collins Studio are adapting to meet new demands from travellers. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

One thing that has become apparent as we stand in the eye of the pandemic storm is that no one yet has all the answers. From the number of panel discussions I have hosted recently, I have learned that designers, architects and hoteliers are adapting daily to new developments in the Covid-19 crisis, which is somewhat impossible when designing hotels that will open years from now.

In one discussion that took place during lockdown, Michael Bonsor, Managing Director of Rosewood London, said: “The concept of hospitality, which is third largest employer in the UK, has stopped. We are now questioning how long this will last for.”

In another more recent discussion, Mark Bruce, Director at EPR, gave a raw reflection of the international hotel design landscape. He said: “The truthful answer to that is that our clients are all trying to figure that [the impact of Covid-19] out themselves, which is why this discussion is very timely,” he said. “On the luxury end, customers want things to be the same but with more space. On the more lifestyle and budget end of the scale, travellers want confidence.”

While we can predict that the pandemic will change consumers views on health and wellness, there is not one solution that fits all. One conclusion that is fixed however is that it will be more of a challenge to implement social distancing in luxury hotels than it will be to adapt lifestyle hotels for the new demands of modern travellers.

Ahead of putting many of these questions forward at Hotel Designs LIVE, we asked a handful of hospitality luxury designers how the pandemic will impact the industry from a design perspective.

Rosendale Design (Norma, The Stafford Hotel, Jason Atherton’s restaurants and more…) 

Image credit: The Stafford Hotel, London

“Terraces and outdoor spaces are now highly requested,” said Dale Atkinson, Founding Director of Rosendale Design. “This was once a ‘nice to have’ due to the unreliable weather in the UK, but now people feel safer eating and drinking outdoors. 

“One material that will see a resurgence is copper, this is due to its anti-bacterial properties; it has a very warm appearance and used correctly can look quite refined, so can be easily detailed into various spaces.

“Internally, we must look to divide group of tables into their own ‘pods’ whilst still maintaining the buzz that people want to be a part of. Booth seating works well.”

Nicola Harding & Co(The Mitre Hampton Court, The Rose at Deal, Beaverbrook & more)

Image credit: The Mitre Hampton Court

“Now, I’m even more determined to create somewhere intoxicating, a place that will transport people from the stress and sadness of the last few months,” said designer Nicole Harding. “I’m thinking about more mini-bar provisions, more comprehensive room service offerings – e.g. we are designing little hampers for cocktails/breakfast/movie nights.

Goddard Littlefair — Jo Littlefair & Martin Goddard, Co-Founders — (The Mayfair Townhouse, Villa Copenhagen, Hans’ Bar & Grill, Principal Hotels and more)

 

Image credit: The Mayfair Townhouse

“We may consider planning of spaces more,” says Jo Littlefair, Co-Founder of Goddard Littefair. “For example, so that pendants are positioned at heights that then don’t dictate where a table should sit, giving operators more flexibility to reposition furniture without looking out of place. 

“Spa within a spa is a whole conversation around whether a spa is hygienic — whether people will want to embrace them,” adds Martin Goddard, Co-Founder of Goddard Littlefair. “I think we feel that health is something people are going to really concentrate on, and therefore wellness, and spas, and the facilities that they can offer, all strengthen that appeal.”

David Collins Studio — Simon Rawlings, Creative Director — (Nobu Hotel Portland Square, The Carriage House and Tack Bar at Adare Manor, Gleneagles & more)

Image credit: Adare Manor

“I think that we are going to see social and cultural attitudes and behaviours changing, rather than changes to the physicality of restaurants,” explains Simon Rawlings, Creative Director at David Collins Studio. “The times and places that people visit restaurants will change, for example, if people are working from home, perhaps they will clock off earlier for an early-evening dinner to fall in line with local curfews. They will likely stay local, meaning that neighbourhood restaurants will flourish whereas city centre restaurants may not garner the footfall they need – which I think very sadly is what we are seeing happen at the moment here in London.”

If you are a designer, architect or hotelier and would like to have your say on how the industry should prepare for the ‘new normal’, you can tweet us @HotelDesigns.

Main image credit: The Mayfair Townhouse

Less than 1 week until Hotel Designs LIVE

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Less than 1 week until Hotel Designs LIVE

Calling all designers, architects, hoteliers and developers: Hotel Designs LIVE is a free one-day conference that takes place on October 13…

On October 13, designers, architects, hoteliers and developers will virtually gather to attend Hotel Designs LIVE, sponsored by Technological Innovations Group in association with Crestron.

Whether you are in need of a guide to hotel design or you simply want to keep up to date with the latest conversations that are happening in the industry, Hotel Designs LIVE promises to keep the conversation flowing throughout and beyond the Covid-19 crisis.

As well as broadcasting thought-provoking interviews and panel discussions, the one-day virtual conference will also frame a number of dynamic PRODUCT WATCH segments throughout the day in order to identify the latest product launches and innovations within each of the four topics areas that will be explored.

“When we first launched Hotel Designs LIVE in June, we made a pledge that the event will cut through the noise in order to broadcast what we believe are the most relevant conversations happening in the industry right now,” explains editor Hamish Kilburn who will host the event. “We have worked incredibly hard over the last few months to ensure that our next broadcast of Hotel Designs LIVE does the concept justice. This has included filming a segment with our new videography partner CUBE Video, working closely with our sponsors and suppliers and inviting relevant leaders and visionaries from around the world to sit on the virtual sofa in order to add value to the conversations we are airing.”

Here’s what’s coming up:

09:20 – 09:30: EDITOR’S WELCOME

Editor Hamish Kilburn will open by acknowledging the success and highlights from the inaugural virtual conference, which took place on June 23. In addition, he will discuss the rationale behind the four sessions that Hotel Designs LIVE will position under the spotlight for the second edition of Hotel Designs LIVE.

09:30 – 10:30: Discussing sustainability with Bill Bensley
(Sponsored by Silentnight Group)

In order to definitively understand sustainability in international hotel design, while also highlighting new, unconventional methodology in the process, Hotel Designs LIVE will welcome Bill Bensley as the event’s headline speaker.

Affectionately known as the “Willy Wonka of Design”, Bensley is a dedicated eco-warrior and a highly qualified jack of all trades – gardener, fisherman, architect, interior designer, lover of all things natural, and most of all, a wide-ranging explorer of as many corners of the earth as he can.

The award-winning designer, who never fails to deliver innovative solutions when designing sustainable spaces, will join Kilburn to discuss how design, architecture and hospitality can coincide with nature.

Click here to participate.

11:00 – 12:00: Adding personality in public areas
(Sponsored by Falcon Contract Flooring)

Following on from the inaugural Hotel Designs LIVE, where the panel questioned the very existence of lobbies in the wake of Covid-19, this session will move away from pure sterile solutions and instead inject design back into the public areas. Kilburn will ask a handful of leading designers and architects how we, as an industry, can authentically create purposeful areas that evoke interesting first impressions.

Click here to participate.

12:30 – 13:30: Reassuring the post-corona consumer
(Sponsored by Room To Breathe UK

The industry may well be re-opening its doors, but recent studies suggest that the post-corona consumer is hesitant to re-explore the hospitality scene. In an engaging panel discussion, Kilburn will ask a number of leading hoteliers from all corners of the globe how tomorrow’s hospitality arenas can effectively and sensitively reassure modern travellers that hotels are safe spaces.

Click here to participate.

14:00 – 15:00 BST: The revival of smart tech post-pandemic
(Sponsored by GROHE)

To kickstart the debut Hotel Designs LIVE, tech-influencer Jason Bradbury, the former presenter of The Gadget Show, took us on a wild journey to understand the boundless possibilities when it comes to technology in hospitality. One of the main takeaways from the session was the importance of making technology invisible for the modern consumer.

Ahead of putting the spotlight back on technology, Kilburn checked in to a completely contactless hotel experience to understand tech’s role in tomorrow’s hotel. The full feature will be broadcasted to the audience attending ‘The revival of smart tech post-pandemic’. Here’s a teaser filmed and edited by CUBE Video.

Continuing this quest, but also grounding it in the context of hotel design in the wake of Covid-19, Kilburn will invite a number of expert designers to discuss, in detail, whether or not the hotel experience will ever be truly contactless, as well as asking how to authentically and meaningfully inject smart technology into a modern hotel.

Click here to participate.

Editor checks in: will design ever be the same again?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor checks in: will design ever be the same again?

Weeks ahead of celebrating the best British designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers in The Brit List Awards 2020, editor Hamish Kilburn warmly remembers a design legend, Sir Terence Conran, in his monthly column…

I have procrastinated long enough over writing this month’s Editor’s Letter. Perhaps it was a case of word block. More likely it was the anticlimax I experienced after my previous column didn’t achieve the level of engagement I had hoped it would. That’s not to say it wasn’t read – it was, and its context has emerged in many conversations since – but it seems people were afraid to ‘like’ and ‘comment’ on a topic that carries such heavy stigma in a desperate and lonely landscape. Not only that, but we are all operating with fatigued resources while not having the faintest clue about what tomorrow will bring – and yet our role in all of this is to offer solutions.

“He, the man who founded Habitat, the Design Museum and Conran and Partners, was very much that: a visionary.”

Just when we thought we had reached the pit of all lows – locked away from each other, and somehow busier than ever – our phones light up with a newsflash from the BBC. The headline reads: Sir Terence Conran ‘visionary’ designer dies at 88. He, the man who founded Habitat, the Design Museum and Conran and Partners, was very much that: a visionary; a legend in every sense of the word who during his near 70-year career revolutionised design in Britain and Europe. And we have everything to thank him for, whether we knew him personally or not.

Image caption: Sir Terence Conran (1931 – 2020)

Architect Thomas Heatherwick said it best in Dezeen. “For me, Sir Terence Conran was one of a small handful of amazing people who dragged Great Britain out of the post-second world war gloom and modernised the country by revolutionising how we think about our homes, the products we buy for them and even the food we eat and how we eat it,” he wrote. “His impact and influence is around us every day and has been so successful that we don’t even realise where it came from. Without Terence, there would have been no Habitat. Without Terence, there may still not be excellent food in the United Kingdom. And without Terence, there certainly wouldn’t be any Design Museum in London.”

Conran’s passing, especially in a year that has shaken the hotel design and hospitality industry on a global scale, begs the pertinent yet terrifying question which (let’s face it) is on all of our minds at the moment: will British design ever be the same again?

‘Yes’ and ‘no’ – not what you wanted to hear, I understand, but it’s the only honest answer we have at the moment. One could rightly argue that nothing will ever be the same as it once was. The industry will evolve as it always has done. And people, brilliantly talented and authentically charismatic people, will come forward to offer real-life solutions for the challenges we are currently facing.

“I think it’s safe to say that British design and hospitality is resilient and evolving quickly to meet new demands of modern travellers.”

There are no boundaries, and we can literally reimagine the world to design better and healthier cities, like WATG has done for the new New York concept it unveiled recently, transforming the concrete jungle into, well, a jungle!

GIF credit: WATG

In many ways, now is the perfect time to celebrate such innovative forward thinkers. Last week we opened the floodgates to unveil the shortlist for The Brit List Awards 2020. With more than 120 individuals and projects selected across eight categories, I think it’s safe to say that British design and hospitality is resilient and evolving quickly to meet new demands of modern travellers. We will proudly reveal and celebrate this year’s top designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers in our virtual awards ceremony, which takes place on November 12 at 2pm (GMT).

Aside from building up to our annual awards, Hotel Designs has also sheltered some thought-provoking conversations this month. In an exclusive roundtable discussion that will be published shortly, we heard from a developer who has become a distant friend of mine during the pandemic. He said that he can envision the day when travellers will design their own hotel experiences on their smartphones before they have even checked in. This will, he hopes, eliminate public areas being seen as clinical, functional and at times unwelcoming spaces, which they have unexpectedly become since the pandemic emerged onto the scene. Instead, this design concept will allow lobbies to be filled with personality once more and become, if you like, a sort of lounge area where guests can relax and unwind in.

“This month I had the opportunity to physically check in to a completely contactless hotel experience.”

Don’t underestimate technology’s role in the post-pandmeic world, is certainly a lesson I have learned during this turbulent time. As well as zooming in and out of virtual roundtable discussions, this month I had the opportunity to physically check in to a completely contactless hotel experience (the novelty was almost overwhelming). Following an opportune tech overhaul, Bloc Hotel Gatwick has been able to reimagine the hotel journey. With software from SymbiOT and hardware from Crestron, the hotel’s guests are now able to check in and operate their entire stay – everything from lift calls to light and temperature adjustment – by using their smartphones without even having to download an app. The video feature we filmed will be broadcast at Hotel Designs LIVE on October 13, and will kickstart our panel discussion on the revival of smart technology in the post-pandemic world.

Yet again, it has been an unstable and explosive month on the editorial desk at Hotel Designs. On behalf of the entire team, I would like to send our condolences to Sir Terence Conran’s family and friends. We have lost a British and world design icon, and his legacy lives on through those who were inspired by his immeasurable talent and class.

Editor, Hotel Designs

Main image credit: Dale Southfield Portraiture

Using UVC technology to help hospitality reopen safely

752 565 Hamish Kilburn
Using UVC technology to help hospitality reopen safely

The Safeology Tower leverages the science of UV light to inactivate a wide array of pathogens, including the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)…

As hotels and other businesses struggle to survive amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Safeology has released a video demonstrating new technology that will allow them to safely reopen, stay open and return to a time of normalcy

The UVC-disinfection product uses smart technology to eliminate up to 99.9 per cent of pathogens, which is the key to helping our economy thrive.

Image credit: Safeology

“We can safely, quickly and efficiently eliminate up to 99.9 per cent of surface and airborne pathogens, including the coronavirus, helping hotel operators create a clean, worry-free environment for guests,” says Safeology CEO Jim Mischel. “In fact, with this technology, hotels can actually be safer than guests’ homes.”

This video shows how the tower works in a hotel environment.

Designed, engineered and manufactured in Everett, Washington, the Safeology Tower uses UVC and loT technology to allow widescale disinfection of hotels, cruise ships, restaurants, commercial spaces, classrooms,  healthcare facilities, and other spaces with ease and unmatched efficiency. Far more than just a UVC lamp, the Safeology Tower was specifically created with smart technology, complete with wireless touch pad, remote-control functions, safety features, and data collection software useful for a wide range of hospitality and commercial industry needs.

Safeology has also brought together a team of national experts to navigate the UVC technology and its use. The team includes George Diaz, M.D., who treated the first U.S. case of COVID-19; chemical engineer Joseph Anderson, Ph.D.; microbiologist David Rockabrand, Ph.D.; and electrical engineer Rolf Bergman, Ph.D.

The Safeology Tower:  smart reduction of pathogens

The Safeology Tower eliminates up to 99.9 per cent of surface pathogens through the effective use of UVC disinfection – a well-studied germicidal technique gaining prominence in the fight against COVID-19 and other coronaviruses. Designed for both function and safety, the sleek Safeology Tower offers a unique and complete total-disinfection solution loaded with literally dozens of features, including:

  • Laser mapping technology to determine required UVC dosage to deactivate the virus.
  • Multiple safety features including PIR (passive infrared) motion sensors and AI (artificial intelligence) movement detection to ensure safe operation in unoccupied spaces.
  • Interactive 6.3-inch tablet with integrated wireless charger; Wi-Fi Cloud-based control and monitoring; multiple languages, and cycle-completion notification.
  • 74-inch height for floor to ceiling, 360o disinfection coverage; 6 high-output shatter resistant amalgam 253.7 nm UVC lamp emitters with 12,000-hour lamp life; handles and easy-roll wheels for fast deployment of unit, with self-locking casters for secure placement.
  • Full range of other supportive resources, including PPE equipment; complete marketing support; customer service for help with provisioning, set up, and questions; and a continuously updated online archive of related UVC information.

Review the complete list of features, and learn more about the advantages of the Safeology solution.

Main image credit: Safeology

The Brit List Awards 2020: entries close soon!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Awards 2020: entries close soon!

Calling all designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers: the deadline to submit your free entry for The Brit List Awards 2020 closes on August 27 (two weeks from today)…

Free to enter, The Brit List Awards 2020 is Hotel Designs’ nationwide search to find the top designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers who are operating in Britain.

As well as selecting the the top 25 designers, architects and hoteliers who will be profiled in The Brit List 2020, the campaign also selects 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

What’s more, the application process to enter or nominate somebody deserving is completely free – simply click here to apply/nominate.

Unlike previous years, due to the outbreak of COVID-19, The Brit List Awards 2020 will take place as a virtual event on November 12, with a live winners party scheduled for January 28 2021 at Minotti London. Katy Phillips, publisher at Hotel Designs, explains: “While we would prefer to physically bridge the gap between all of our shortlisted finalists by hosting a live awards ceremony, we have made the sensible decision to carry out this year’s awards ceremony virtually,” she explains. “However, in order to ensure that we are offering the valuable networking element of our event, we look forward to welcoming the shortlisted finalists, the winners and key-industry suppliers to our live winners’ party celebration as part of MEET UP London in January 2021 at Minotti London.”

Over the last three years, The Brit List Awards has becoming a significant event in the design, architecture and hospitality calendar, as Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs, 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 January 2021 for the winners’ party.”

If you would like to discuss various sponsorship packages available, please contact Katy Phillips via email, or call 01992 374050. Tickets to both the virtual event and the winners party will be available to secure soon. 

Sponsors of The Brit List Awards 2020:

Quintex announces financing support for affordable energy solutions

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Quintex announces financing support for affordable energy solutions

Quintex is always looking for new ways to support its customers and to make it even easier to benefit from its range of quality solutions for commercial kitchens. The energy-saving experts explain…

Quintex has announced QFinance, the company’s own financing support options to assist our customers when choosing Quintex solutions.

Our aim for QFinance is to give everyone the opportunity to purchase our solutions through a more affordable process, not only making things simple, but ensuring our customers see the benefits and savings from day one. It provides very little risk and enables our clients to keep on track with their energy saving and long term sustainability goals.

How can QFinance help you?

We understand that controlling and monitoring cash flow is now more important than ever. Operators will be dissecting all areas of their business to find where improvements and savings can be made. However, with tighter budgets some of these businesses’ may not have the capital needed to invest in long term solutions. This is where Quintex’s QFinance comes in.

QFinance will give businesses the option to utilise any of Quintex solutions, eliminating the upfront costs and ensuring that businesses can save money from the moment after installation.

Spread the cost of our professional, quality solutions

With low fixed monthly payments, it’s now more affordable to opt for our solutions. This will enable you to get up and running with our products whilst keeping your finances in check.

Eliminate upfront costs

Investing in something right now is probably not at the forefront of every business’ mind. Our QFinance options eliminate the need for those larger upfront costs and ensures that you can plan ahead for the future.

Reach sustainability/Energy Goals

We understand companies may be putting sustainability and energy targets on the backburner due to budget restraints. With QFinance we can get you achieving your goals from the get go with no upfront costs.

Straightforward options

With easy monthly payments and agreement terms, to suit you and your financial needs, you can easily plan your spend each month without worrying about a large cost. We offer a range of straightforward options to suit your current situation, so there’s no reason why you can’t benefit from our solutions as soon as possible.

Find out more about QFinance and how we can help you

As the industry returns to normal, many projects will be pushed aside due to budget constraints, but with our new finance options, we give businesses’ the power to see positive results and savings from day one.

If you’d like to enquire about QFinance or want to know more, get in touch with the team. We’re back in the office and are dealing with enquiries as normal. Call us today on 0118 973 9310 or email us at sales@quintex.co.uk.

Quintex 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: Quintex

Industry insight: 4 reasons why hotels need more mirrors

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: 4 reasons why hotels need more mirrors

Looking beyond pure aesthetics, Mirror Mania explores why all hotels of all styles and sizes need more reflective surfaces… 

As interior styles change and evolve, there are few interior features that stand the test of time like mirrors. Sure, the frames may change – but what never ceases is our love affair with the looking glass.

There is something captivating about mirrors. Bespoke mirrors in particular have that certain charm. A mirror that is designed for a specific space cannot fail to impress. But in case you need persuading, here are 4 reasons why your hotel or hospitality setting needs to make more use of mirrors.

All eyes on you

Let’s not forget how effective mirrors are at improving your ability to see all around an area. Mirrors reflecting busier areas, in receptions or hallways, can make it easier for crime detection – especially in areas where security cameras can’t cover. If you do have a physical security presence, they’ll be able to use mirrors to improve surveillance.

Image credit: Mirror Mania

You look fabulous

Let’s face it: our always-on culture (cameras, that is) means we always want to look our best. That means being able to check our reflection several times before we go out – in the room, hotel bar and before we head out of the door.

To make a lasting impression, shine

We can’t help but associate a beautiful mirror with opulence. To leave a lasting impression on our guests, we need to do exactly that – impress them. A bright mirror draws us in while amplifying the atmosphere of the room. A cosy snug, slick living room or minimalist bathroom – any space can be illuminated with the right mirror.

Light + spacious = clean

Light and bright modern interior space

Image credit: Mirror Mania

Light, spacious areas naturally feel cleaner. A well-placed mirror can go a long way to opening up a room, without risking the vast feel of an empty space. Reflections can be used to accentuate features, adding more grandeur to a reception area by reflecting ornamental pieces or even fresh flowers.

You may be looking around your space now and wondering how you can incorporate a mirror into the layout, or design. Integrating a mirror into the perfect surroundings isn’t always easy – so let the specialists at Mirror Mania do it for you!

In addition to our stock of beautiful mirrors, we can also handcraft mirrors and glass to your specific specifications. Made in our British workshop, our glass craft is shipped all over the world. We are proud to adorn the walls of some incredibly luxurious homes and hotels. Let us brighten up your space too.

Mirror Mania 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: Mirror Mania

Editor checks in: calling for intelligent hospitality

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor checks in: calling for intelligent hospitality

The measure of intelligent hospitality is the ability to adapt. In his latest column, editor Hamish Kilburn explores this statement while explaining the motives behind Hotel Designs’ upcoming events…

Earlier this month, the long-awaited good news arrived that hospitality businesses were serving once more.

While that was a monumental leap forward amidst the coronavirus crisis, the fact that businesses would be required to shelter new social distancing measures (not something our industry is naturally good at) meant that brands, as well as consumers, had to adapt quickly in order to prevent hospitality from feeling hostile.

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to adapt,” is a memorable quote from Albert Einstein. Putting this into the perspective of the industry we serve– though I am hesitant to edit a legend like Einstein – I would like to alter this quote to read: “The measure of intelligent hospitality is the ability to adapt.”

The reopening of hospitality followed our debut Hotel Designs LIVE, which was our answer to adapting during lockdown. The one-day virtual conference included a carefully curated panel of international speakers who came together from all corners of the world to put their perspectives on technology, public areas, sleep and wellness on the record. One of the many key takeaways was that, post-pandemic, (at least in the short-term) public areas will not feel the same. Adapting as designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers to meet modern consumer demands in order to create flexible and clean spaces, while embedding discreet technology to enhance the guest experience, was key for hospitality to reassure the post-coronavirus consumer to check-in once more.

Following the success of this virtual event, we are launching Hotel Designs LIVE part two, which will take place on October 13. To aptly continue where we left off, we are welcoming eco-warrior Bill Benlsey to become our headline speaker of the event in order to put sustainability through the editorial lens, a topic that has sadly suffered from neglect over the last few months.

The adapted fun doesn’t stop there. On November 12, after much internal deliberation with the team, we have decided that The Brit List Awards 2020 will be delivered in a virtual format. Though the event will be received differently this year, it will still mark the conclusion of our nationwide search to find the top designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers who are operating in Britain. That quest started just a few days ago, when we opened this year’s applications and nominations, which are (as always) completely free. However, as we appreciate that the networking element of the event is much valued, we have decided to host a Brit List Winners’ Party, which will appropriately gate-crash MEET UP London on January 28, 2021.

Click here to submit your entry for The Brit List Awards 2020

On reflection, having worked through the last couple of turbulent months, adapting isn’t so bad. Like many, if not all, I miss my team and I am starting to forget what having a normal daily schedule feels like. But most of all, what I miss most about pre-Covid life, are the live events that both Hotel Designs and Forum Events are able to deliver in order to help bridge the gap between designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers.

So, it is therefore my pledge to you – our loyal readers – that our events will be back, bigger and better than ever in order to aptly serve in this new era we are now well and truly living, working and evolving in.

During August, Hotel Designs will be putting ‘Hotel Concepts’ and ‘Beds’ under the spotlight. If you would like to contribute to these topics, please do not hesitate to email me.

Editor, Hotel Designs

The Brit List Awards 2020: meet the judges

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Awards 2020: meet the judges

Now that nominations have officially opened for The Brit List Awards 2020, we would like you to meet this year’s judging panel, which has been carefully selected to include international experts in design, architecture and hotel development…

Here at Hotel Designs, it has become tradition, after nominations and applications have opened for The Brit List Awards, for us to then announce the judges.

In previous years, these experts were selected from all corners of the industry, including respected associations, award-winning travel journalists, stylists and developers.

This year, as well as continuing our firm relationship with the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) by welcoming both the President and the Past-President as judges, we have taken our search global to find this year’s individuals who will sit on the judging panel.

To enter or nominate someone for The Brit List Awards 2020 (for FREE), click here.

Without further a due, the judges for The Brit List Awards 2020 are:

Lester Bennett, President, BIID

As a Chartered Designer with 30 years experience, Lester Bennett, who has recently started his presidential year at the BIID, has covered many areas of design from running his own practice to being Design Director for the residential development company Westcity. He has built up a stunning portfolio of high profile residential developments both in the UK and overseas.

Ahead of the announcement that the BIID has become an industry Partner for The Brit List Awards for a third year running, Bennett Commented: “In these extremely difficult times, the BIID, as the professional body for interior designers, is offering real support and advice to our membership and by once again partnering The Brit List Awards, this opportunity to showcase the wealth of talent we have in the UK will, I am sure, further encourage a positive future outlook.”

Harriet Forde, Past-President, BIID and co-host, DESIGNPOD

Harriet Forde, who was an instrumental judge last year for The Brit List Awards as has recently been named co-host of DESIGNPOD with editor Hamish Kilburn, is the founder and director of interior design firm Harriet Forde Design.

Ahead of this year’s event, Forde said: “On behalf of the BIID, we are delighted to partner with The Brit List Awards for the third year running. In these challenging times, it is important to look ahead to occasions when we will be able to come together once again, to network with fellow design professionals and celebrate the outstanding level of design within the hospitality industry.”

Alon Baranowitz and Irene Kronenberg, Co-Founders, BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERG

Alon Baranowitz is a guest professor at Shenkar Collect of Engineering and Design at the Rishon Lezion College, and frequently lectures at the Technion Faulty of Architecture and Town Planning School.

BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERG, which was co-founded and is led by Alon Baranowitz and Irene Kronenberg, consists of a group of talented architects and designers, all of whome have graduated from institutions around the globe, bringing their worldly cultural experience to the studio’s creative work activity.

The internationally renowned design studio, which operates from Tel Aviv, was resonsible for bringing to to life hotels such as W Amsterdam, Wyndham Grand Frankfurt, Sir Albert Hotel and Mendeli Street Hotel, and has just completed the highly anticipated W Ibiza, which will open later this year.

“We are so pleased to be joining the judging panel for The Brit List Awards 2020,” the pair told Hotel Designs. “With the future of the hospitality sector high on the agenda, we look forward to discovering the best of British talent and who will drive our industry forward into a new and transformative time.”

Erik Nissen Johansen, founder/creative director, Stylt

Erik Nissen Johansen is the founder and creative director of global award-winning hospitality design studio Stylt in Gothenburg, Sweden.

For more than 25 years, Stylt has combined concept development, interior architecture, design and branding to create unique hotel and restaurant experiences for clients all over the world. Under Erik’s leadership, Stylt has won a plethora of awards f0r his portfolio that includes more than 400 restaurants and 250 hotels.

Storytelling is Erik’s tool for bringing experiences and brands to life. Stories are always the red thread in creating the concepts, guiding every aspect of development, from brand positioning to setting of the table. This results in consistent, engaging and memorable design, which in turn creates consistent, engaging and memorable customer experiences. A Stylt story can leverage the guests themselves as marketers, creating word-of-mouth publicity. Furthermore, story-based concepts are well insulated against fluctuating fashions.

Stylt’s completed and ongoing projects include The ANDAZ by Hyatt Dubai, 25h Hotel Düsseldorf, Downtown Camper by Scandic Stockholm, Smoki Korean Marriott Dubai, LEGO House Billund, Huus Hotel Gstaad, Lydmar Stockholm, Spedition Hotel Thun Switzerland, Klaus K Helsinki, Sonya St Petersburg, Stora Hotellet Umeå, The Well Oslo, Le Rouge Stockholm, Le Pain Français Gothenburg, Creekside Villa Canmore Canada and Stenungsbaden Yacht Club Gothenburg.

Ivaylo Lefterov, Hotel Development Director, Miris

With more than 23 years of experience in the luxury hotel development and management industry, encompassing everything from site allocation and acquisition, hotel design and construction to operations and marketing/sales, Ivaylo Lefterov has an eye for quality design and hospitality.

His experience covers the establishment and development of small boutique hotels and large scale resort projects such as The Mirage, Cape Town and Umhlaba Wildlife resort, South Africa, The Cliff Beach&Spa, Bulgaria,  Cibola Vista Resort, Arizona, USA; Villas Del Mar Palmar, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. 

Currently, Lefterov is working as development director of the Svart Hotel — the worlds first energy positive hotel. 

Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs

Hamish Kilburn, who will act as head judge and will also host The Brit List Awards virtually on November 12 for a third consecutive year, is the editor of Hotel Designs, the leading international hotel design website.

In his role, Kilburn has travelled the globe, to far-flung destinations, in order to review some of the world’s most impressive hotels, and has interviewed the masterminds behind their creations. As a result, he has gained a detailed understanding as to what it takes to be at the forefront of the industry’s development and evolution.

In addition to being at the helm of the editorial desk at Hotel Designs, Kilburn is a regular speaker and host at international design, architecture and hospitality events, and is co-host of DESIGNPOD, a new podcast to serve the A+D community.

So there you have it, the judges of The Brit List Awards 2020.

To enter or nominate someone for The Brit List Awards 2020 (for FREE), click here.

The judges will be asked to select the final 75 most inspirational and influential people in British design, architecture and hospitality as well as selecting this year’s individual winners of the following awards:

  • 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

On November 12, the shortlisted finalists of designers, hoteliers, architects as well as key suppliers to the industry will gather virtually where The Brit List 2020 will be unveiled along with the individual winners.

If you would like to discuss various sponsorship packages available, please contact Katy Phillips via email, or call 01992 374050. Tickets to both the virtual event and the winners party will be available to secure soon. 

Sponsors:

Crosswater | Hamilton Litestat | Duravit | Aqualisa | Schlüter Systems

Aberdeen project trials NASA technology to purify air

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Aberdeen project trials NASA technology to purify air

A leading Aberdeen accommodation provider has become the first in its sector to trial an innovative system which uses technology developed for NASA to achieve the highest levels of hygiene and cleanliness…

City centre-based Skene House Serviced Apartments is currently trialling the innovative Room to Breathe cleaning process from Glasgow-based Insite Group as an additional level of cleanliness to maximise guest reassurance.

The ground-breaking, multi-step system is believed to be the only one of its kind and uses technology originally developed by NASA to purify air and apply antimicrobial coatings to surfaces.  Using non-toxic and environmentally friendly processes, Room to Breathe almost completely eliminates allergens, mould, germs, influenza, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and odours.  Testing and swabbing in collaboration with experts Andersen Caledonia ensure targeted application of the system, and the highest levels of confidence.

Charles Skene of Skene House Serviced Apartments said: “Delivering services of the very highest standard, including cleanliness, has always been central to what we do but it is important to constantly seek new ways of raising the bar and enhancing the customer experience.

Image credit: Room to Breath with Skene Group

“As lockdown eases, guests and clients are looking for as much safety and certainty as possible to increase their travel confidence, and we feel that the partnership of Room to Breathe’s innovative system and Andersen Caledonia’s testing protocol provides that.

“We were delighted to receive confirmation of the effectiveness of our own cleaning regime which, coupled with the installation of the Room to Breathe system, means that we really are good to go.”

“Being the first hospitality provider in Scotland to offer this service was irresistible.  It offers an augmentation of the deep clean and disinfection protocol that has been the standard hospitality ‘go to’ for reopening.  We are delighted that the test results evidence that we are a safe environment, the application of Biotouch prevents contact transmission via surfaces that guests come into contact with and the strategic placement of the sanifiers throughout the serviced apartments and public area delivers protection from airborne contaminants.”=

Gordon Bruce from Room to Breathe added: “The system initially came about to create a hypoallergenic room experience in the hospitality sector, spearheaded by the contaminants found in indoor environments.  At the beginning, it was seen as an opportunity for those who suffer from allergies or have immunity issues to buy a room which would match their needs and give them peace of mind.

“However, Covid-19 increased people’s awareness of the dangers that are present and, because our products kill Coronavirus and the system can work in any indoor environment, the interest in what we do has been significantly greater.”

Skene House Serviced Apartments is a locally-owned, independent and family-run enterprise.  It operates 49 four-star residences at Whitehall, 46 apartments at Rosemount and 35 suites at Holburn, all with free parking.  When Skene House was created in the 1970s, it was believed to be the first accommodation of its kind in the UK to offer fully serviced suites with hotel concierge service.

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

Main image credit: Skene House

Everything you need to know about hospitality salaries and staff expectations

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Everything you need to know about hospitality salaries and staff expectations

Salaries and conditions in hospitality can be a touchy subject. It’s sometimes hard to know exactly what your staff need — and expect — to do their jobs properly. Planday’s industry expert Jonne Tanskanen explains how you can get an exclusive look at what your staff want with the results of the largest hospitality salary survey…

If you asked your staff to rank the changes they would like at work, what would they say?

For 66 per cent of hospitality workers in the UK, the answer is better financial remuneration. Then it’s a better work-life balance and the opportunities for training, development and promotion. 

Image credit: Planday

So what — exactly — does that look like?

Discussions about salaries and conditions can be touchy and it’s a challenge to balance the investment you need to make in people to create quality experiences and keep your business plan on track. In a busy hotel, you can often schedule staff for the right number of hours but then reality gets in the way and your staff do more overtime, often with very little notice.

Smart businesses understand that the best possible investment any hotel can make is in finding, training and keeping quality staff. They create better experiences for your guests, keep loyal customers coming back and help you grow your business along with it.

But keeping quality staff longer takes investment and time for any HR Manager. And that’s why Planday recently partnered with the Hotel, Restaurant and Catering Show to hear exactly what more than 1,800 hospitality staff want. 

In an exclusive report that you can download today, you’ll get the data you need to help keep your employees happy and grow your business.

Join the hundreds of hospitality businesses around the world with the insight they need to keep quality staff for longer.

  • Understand the importance of employee benefits
  • View what benefits are available and used throughout the industry
  • Learn about other drivers that keep employees in their role
  • See the average annual salaries of hospitality workers
  • Find out how many extra hours are usually added to contracted amount per week
  • Read what hospitality employees feel about their work-life balance

Make a smarter investment in the staff that help you stand out from the crowd. Get the insights you need today. 

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

Main image credit: Planday

The Brit List Awards 2020: applications are open and FREE

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The Brit List Awards 2020: applications are open and FREE

FREE TO APPLY: Hotel Designs’ The Brit List Awards is back for another year to identify the leading interiors designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers operating in Britain…

Following last year’s spectacular event, The Brit List Awards is back for another year, and the nationwide search to find Britain’s leading interior designers, hoteliers and architects starts here.

Nominations for all categories are now open – and, what’s more, the process in which to apply or nominate someone deserving for The Brit List Awards 2020 remains completely free.

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

Once all nominations have been received by the closing date of August 27, the judging panel – made up of figures from across the hospitality, design and architecture sectors – will select the final 75 most inspirational and influential people in British design, hotels and architecture, as well as selecting this year’s individual winners of the following awards:

  • 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

“The Brit List Awards 2020 will take place as a virtual event on November 12, with a live winners party scheduled for January 28 2021 at Minotti London.”

Unlike previous years, due to the outbreak of COVID-19, The Brit List Awards 2020 will take place as a virtual event on November 12, with a live winners party scheduled for January 28 2021 at Minotti London. Katy Phillips, publisher at Hotel Designs, explains: “While we would prefer to physically bridge the gap between all of our shortlisted finalists by hosting a live awards ceremony, we have made the sensible decision to carry out this year’s awards ceremony virtually,” she explains. “However, in order to ensure that we are offering the valuable networking element of our event, we look forward to welcoming the shortlisted finalists, the winners and key-industry suppliers to our live winners’ party celebration as part of MEET UP London in January 2021 at Minotti London.”

Over the last three years, The Brit List Awards has becoming a significant event in the design, architecture and hospitality calendar, as Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs, 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 January 2021 for the winners’ party.”

If you would like to discuss various sponsorship packages available, please contact Katy Phillips via email, or call 01992 374050. Tickets to both the virtual event and the winners party will be available to secure soon. 

Sponsors:

In Conversation With: Penta Hotels’ new MD, Rogier Braakman

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In Conversation With: Penta Hotels’ new MD, Rogier Braakman

In February 2020, weeks before the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a pandemic, the new Managing Director of Penta Hotels Worldwide was announced. Following what we can only imagine was a turbulent start to his role, Editor Hamish Kilburn catches up with Rogier Braakman to understand his plans for the lifestyle hotel group…

It’s hard to recall that a few months ago, before the words ‘furlough’ and ‘pandemic’ were being splashed across the daily news channels, the industry as a whole was feeling rather optimistic about 2020. New colour trends were being predicted, hotel groups were expanding, and, in February 2020, the news broke that Rogier Braakman would take over from Eugène Staal to become Managing Director of Penta Hotels Worldwide, marking a new era for the group. 

As regions were seeing record-breaking levels of development, Covid-19 sent its shockwave through all industries – arguably hitting hospitality the hardest – which decimated sales and marketing strategies as businesses went into survival mode. “It is the biggest burden of every business owner being forced to suspend operations for an undefined time,” explained Braakman in a press release that was released at the time. “Since opening, we have operated our hotels 24/7, 365 days a year, and hadn’t had to close for a single day. Yet, instead of carrying out our initial plans, we have been working around the clock to temporarily suspend operations in many hotels, restructure our processes and ask for many intense sacrifices from all team members and stakeholders. Despite all this, we have been putting a lot of effort in bringing in new innovations and improving our product throughout all hotels.”

Following the lockdown, and after what can only be described as one of the most challenging months for all hoteliers, I sat down with Braakman (virtually) to understand more about his role.

Hamish Kilburn: Where were you self-isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic?

RB: I make a weekly commute between our family home in the Dutch forest and our Frankfurt Penta office, always adhering strictly to all Covid-19 regulations. I feel privileged to be able to enjoy my family life and the positively contagious Penta-spirit!

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Berlin

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Berlin | Image credit: Penta Hotels

“But what sets us apart from other lifestyle brands is that our ‘neighbourhood’ promise extends to the wider community and environment, which we have committed to protecting through various initiatives and our goal of being carbon neutral by 2030.” – Rogier Braakman, Managing Director, Penta Hotels.

Hamish Kilburn: What makes Penta Hotels a unique lifestyle hotel brand?

RB: Penta Hotels are characterised by our lively neighbourhood brand that emits a happy camper ambience. The positive attitude of our staff and our unique interior design makes us a model host. We have created a comfortable environment for our guests with a relaxed atmosphere centered around our buzzing Penta Lounges in every hotel, which function on a 24/7 basis where all our guests’ needs are catered for in one space. But what sets us apart from other lifestyle brands is that our ‘neighbourhood’ promise extends to the wider community and environment, which we have committed to protecting through various initiatives and our goal of being carbon neutral by 2030. In keeping with the Penta spirit, we don’t ever do single acts of charity, but instead offer ways that our guests can take part in giving back so that they too can feel a part of our community. However, lately we have had the tendency of exchanging the word ‘lifestyle’ more and more with the word ‘lively’, which we believe nowadays is more spot on.

Hamish Kilburn: Can you explain a little bit about Penta Hotels’ plans for expansion?

RB: Our focus is to grow our brand in prime locations in secondary cities or secondary locations in primary cities across Europe. Expansion should arise as a result of our strategy, rather than the other way around.

Image caption: Suite inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Image caption: Suite inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: You mention that lockdown has allowed you to look at new innovations and improving your product throughout all hotels. Can you elaborate on this?

RB: With the pandemic we’ve had to adapt quickly to the new normal, or as I heard an entrepreneur recently say, a ‘temporary abnormal’. In just over a month, we managed to think up and execute our Between Us campaign, based on the notion that although Covid-19 has forced more physical distance between us, it can be seen as an opportunity for bonding and creating solidarity between people. Through this campaign we are allowing our guests to feel comfortable, safe, but also have fun with social distancing. It includes the VIP Rock Star Service where we’ve mapped out routes guests can take around the hotel and Penta Lounges that limit interaction with others, cashless payments, and introduced excellent hygiene training for our staff members that includes no housekeeping, but also exciting perks like free Take Care package on entry, and free bag of snacks every morning at your door.

The campaign sets us apart from our competitors because it shows we are seizing the pandemic as an opportunity to learn how to better accommodate our guests, by finding new ways to create a safe and comfortable space. So far, guest feedback has been really positive.

Image caption: Meeting room inside Penta Hotel Paris | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: What advice would you give the rest of the hospitality industry at this time?

RB: Unfortunately, COVID-19 is a predator and it will stay around for a while, so we are having to take a real ‘don’t crack under pressure’ attitude as we adapt to new circumstances. In order to do this, we have to stay strong and try our best to turn this crisis into a success by playing to our strengths, as well as recognising which things weren’t working well even before the crisis. Our strengths have always been a positive attitude and creative approach, and we are making sure to always be direct with each other, not beat around the bush, and take immediate actions to make our hotels safe.

Hamish Kilburn: How will lifestyle hotels, which typically focus heavily on utilising public areas, differ post-pandemic?

RB: This predator is going to remain for a long time – so we’re going to need to work with it. We have revisited our business operations and figured out how best to safely and securely reopen, and although we do not want our hotels to serve as extended intensive care units, we need to make sure that all hygienic measures are in place and that people feel safe. Luckily, we don’t have small lobbies and most of our Pentalounges are extensive spaces in which we’ve been able to encourage social distancing with our Between Us campaign, by mapping out distanced routes and introducing cashless payments.

We do not want our brand standards to vaporise due to all these extra precautions, so we had to redefine our new operating standards within the ‘temporary abnormal’. This means taking serious precautions that alter the Penta experience, including no more housekeeping, and training our staff on additional hygiene procedures. For example, when you check in, you’re given a ‘Take Care’ bag from Penta, and we’ve even made our own ‘Penta Pointer’ which is similar to a keyring that can be used to open all access points within the hotel, therefore reducing the risk of being contaminated. We’re also doing trials with heat cams to see how our guests are responding, and introduced the Penta Hotel app, which isn’t fully in place yet, but it means everyone can check in from home using their own device, or even chat to our reception team.

Image caption: Fitness area inside Pentahotel Leipzig | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: What does lifestyle in ‘lifestyle hotel’ mean to you?

RB: A lifestyle hotel means ensuring all our guests are happy campers, and however brief or extended their stay, they are made to feel part of our community. Instead of custom reception areas we have created social spaces in every hotel called the Penta Lounge, areas with 24/7 service where guests can check in, but also chill out, do some work or play on our games consoles. At our hotels, there is always an initiative that guests can take part in that benefits the wider community and environment, and our social staff members are always willing to engage with any problem a guest has

Hamish Kilburn: What do you love most about the hospitality industry?

RB: What I love best about hospitality is working with people, and I was drawn to Penta because it is an appealing and distinctive hotel brand centered around people, with a buzzing community spirit. I believe success comes from guest satisfaction and high-quality service, which is only possible when you have a team of brilliant staff members that communicate well with one another and our guests. I share Penta’s vision for a modern approach to hoteliering, where giving back to the community and providing a relaxed, neighbourhood feel is at the centre of its brand. Penta has had a rocky climb in the last year or so but our positive staff with their can-do attitude, have really helped with recent difficulties. Their team spirit and desire to truly make Penta a success has made me feel extremely supported and inspired my confidence that we will continue to succeed in the future.

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: Can you explain Penta Hotels in three words?

RB: Relaxed, positive, friendly

Hamish Kilburn: If money or development were not obstacles, where in the world would you like to open a hotel?

RB: Every self-conscious city with a sustainable, interesting and appealing backcountry deserves a Pentahotel.

Penta Hotels, which has 28 operating properties across Europe and Asia, represents a new generation of neighbourhood lifestyle hotels offering modern-minded individuals and business travellers comfort and style in a relaxed atmosphere. Known for its unique interior design and attitude, the lifestyle brand stands for true innovation in the industry’s upper- midscale segment.

Main image credit: Penta Hotels Worldwide

FEATURE: To mask or not to mask – will you ask your staff to wear one?

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FEATURE: To mask or not to mask – will you ask your staff to wear one?

Following the positive news that hoteliers can now begin to welcome guests back into their establishments, there also comes a heightened responsibility for hotel managers to ensure they are creating Covid-19 policies to protect both their guests and their staff. The Fine Cotton Company’s Jane Robson explains…

Along with social distancing requests, sanitising stations and increased hygiene methods, a popular approach is to ask staff and guests to wear face coverings whilst on site in some areas.

Many hotels are choosing to offer them as welcome gifts for guests to use long after their stay and encouraging them to wear them whilst moving around their hotel such as in communal lobby areas and lifts.

But what makes a good mask and, as we write this, with no formal rules on the wearing of face coverings required should you ask your staff and guests to wear them?

It’s a dilemma for hoteliers who quite understandably want to return to normal as quickly as possible and make their guests and staff feel comfortable.

Professor Sir Venki Ramakrishman, president of the UK’s National Academy of Science recently said that coverings should be worn “whenever you are in crowded places” and that there is evidence that shows they protect the wearer as well as those nearby.

With this in mind hoteliers need to consider their customer experience more than ever as they encourage guests back. If quality face masks can give them confidence in their stay then it seems a logical and simple way to reassure them. And many hoteliers and restauranteurs seem to think so.

Traditionally supplying bed, bath, spa and table linens to clients such as The Newt in Somerset, The Fine Cotton Company have turned their textiles expertise to mask making during the pandemic and have seen a huge demand for their washable, quality three-layer masks. 

Made exclusively in Portugal in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations the reusable masks have been designed with a breathable, cotton lining, a crucial outer layer of polyester which does not absorb droplets and a polyurethane membrane sandwiched between the 2 layers of fabric. And reassuringly, unlike many fabric masks available, they are certified by Citeve in Portugal as a Level 3 Social Mask. They are available in both adults and children’s sizes so hoteliers can accommodate for their VIP younger guests too.

For discerning hoteliers who want to maintain their brand through these unusual times, The Fine Cotton Company are also offering bespoke face coverings, which may be printed with your own brand colours and logo, thus ensuring your staff look smart but your guests can also take home something from their stay.

The Fine Cotton Company’s personalised masks are available from just 50 units. For preferential trade pricing for face masks please call the helpful team on 0345602 9050. 

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

Main image credit: Pixabay

Meet the team behind hotel design community, Design Equals

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Meet the team behind hotel design community, Design Equals

With a unique model based on bringing a network of creatives together, Design Equals is a community transforming hotel interiors. BAHA in The Lake District is just one of many examples…

Founder Katie McCarthy has an extensive career history including a long stint as Interior Design Director at The Resort Group. Here, she managed projects such as Midland Hotel, The Grosvenor, Michelin Star boutique hotel Hampton Manor and several 5-star resorts in Cape Verde.

With a lifelong ambition to operate her own design studio combined with a deep passion for supporting up and coming creatives, she founded Design Equals in December 2018 from her kitchen table.

With a uniquely holistic approach to interior design for hospitality and residential industries, Katie and her team exist to implement the power of design to make a business-critical difference. Katie said: “I founded Design= to capitalise on the freelance design community which in and around the UK, is incredibly talented and diverse.

“We believe that making interior spaces look fabulous is just the beginning; the end result should be nothing less than a transformed and multi-sensory customer experience, delivering your desired commercial outcome.

“We blend exceptional experience, deep knowledge and a wealth of resources to solve our clients’ business challenges. We back this up with dedicated support at every stage of every project. We are here to help you maximise your profitability and grow your business.”

One of the team’s first project after being founded is a fond memory and now, a huge success story.

Bar and restaurant BAHA. The team transformed a local bar in the Lake District to a must visit destination which jaw dropping interior, reflective of its surroundings with a modern twist and the ability to transition its atmosphere as the day goes on.

Floral eye-catching wallcovering in pink restaurant

Image caption: Asian Fusion restaurant, BAHA in the Lake District designed by Design Equals.

The business, BAHA, now boasts a unique offering of Asian Fusion food in surroundings you would expect to find in the heart of London. However, it is in the centre of Bowness-on-Windermere, a town usually known for its glacial ribbon lakes, rugged fell mountains and historic literary associations.

McCarthy said; “The concept for BAHA came from its surroundings. The Lake District is renowned for magical tales, wildlife and beautiful landscapes. We wanted to capture this whimsical feel with a modern twist for BAHA. Something quirky and fun you would find in a bustling city with a nod to the culture and heritage of the local area. The venue has three floors and offers everything from casual drinks to dining and events and the interior is suitable for each cycle of the day, from morning coffees to late, lively evenings.”

“Design Equals’ vision for us allowed us to be unique and different from the typical Lake District bar or restaurant which can be a little dated,” said owner Owner Stephen Hargreave. “We knew if we were to create a fresh exciting place to go in the lakes with good music and great food – creating the best atmosphere – then tourists, locals and passing trade would be drawn to us. Since the refurbishment we’ve seen an increase in footfall by 25 per cent.”

Birds and nature inspired interiors in restaurant

Image caption: The creative and characterful interiors inside BAHA, designed by Design Equals.

McCarthy added: “Since the start of our journey as Design Equals, we have been fortunate enough to work on some great hospitality projects.

“Working with Design= means joining the creative community that is right for your project.  A community in which everyone, supports each other through the good and the bad – and feels empowered to deliver the best outcome for you.”

Finding the right creative design solutions for you is the essence of everything we do: inspiring our community of professionals, making the difference every client desires, so you get a single source of outstandingly creative interior design solutions.

At Design = we blend exceptional experience, deep knowledge and a wealth of resources to solve our clients’ business challenges. We back this up with dedicated support at every stage of every project. We are here to help you maximise your profitability and grow your business.

To speak to the team about transforming your vision visit www.designequals.co.uk.

Design Equals 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.

Image credit: Design Equals

FEATURE: Hotel staff demand smart hospitality post-pandemic

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FEATURE: Hotel staff demand smart hospitality post-pandemic

As hospitality businesses across the UK prepare for a safe reopening from tomorrow, an exclusive survey shows exactly the wages, conditions and training hospitality workers want. Planday’s industry expert Jonne Tanskanen explains…

Did you know 81 per cent of people frequently or always consider hotel reviews before booking? 

Do you want to get an edge over your competitors? Do you want prospective customers to see that staying or dining at your hotel will be just the experience they are after post-lockdown?

Now — more than ever — the investment you make into creating memorable experiences will define your success going forward. It’s clear that as your hotel plans its reopening, competition to offer consumers the best-possible experience will only intensify and that means hotel owners and HR departments must step up to keep the people delivering those experiences for longer.

So what can you do to make your reopening a success and look after your people?

Smart businesses start by investing in keeping good staff. By embracing flexibility, transparency and open communication with your staff, you can keep quality staff for longer, creating better experiences for your customers and helping grow your business.

To help you do just that, we recently partnered with the HRC Show in London to deliver the UK’s Largest Hospitality Salary Survey.

We spoke with more than 1,800 hospitality professionals from around the UK — at varying levels of seniority with a range of experience — to get a deeper understanding of exactly what they want from work and how smart businesses like yours should invest in getting the best results out of them.

And now it’s ready in an exclusive report you can download today.

We dive into the details of the annual salaries of hospitality professionals. We share insights into how many overtime hours workers in businesses like yours actually do each month.

And we have the list of what hospitality workers want to stay in the industry longer.

Hear exactly what your employees expect in benefits. Read about the drivers that keep them in their roles. See the training and development UK hospitality staff want to take their careers — and your business — to the next level.

Make a smarter investment in the staff that help you stand out from the crowd. Get the insights you need today. 

Planday is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Planday

 

OPINION: “Now is the time for your interiors to ‘WOW’

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OPINION: “Now is the time for your interiors to ‘WOW’

For anyone or any business about to reopen to the world, here’s Interefurb’s Gary Crosbie ‘hints and tips’ checklist on how to make your interiors sparkle post-pandemic…

There have been some interesting and engaging articles on Linkedin and teleconferencing discussions about ‘out with the old, and in with the new’.

Two that spring to mind are the musings of Graeme Hinde of LFX Network and the likes of Sarah De Freitas (interior design) and Chris Chadwick (space transformation).  The common message appears to be, quite rightly, that as we start to release ourselves from this economic cloud, that has been coronavirus, not only will we be relieved – but for a real chance to succeed, there will need to be changes to practices.  These could be branding, interiors, sustainability, infectious protocol and cleanliness etc.  Well, here I just wanted to share some low-cost, quick fixes that operators in leisure, especially hotels, lodges, theme parks, hospitality, pubs and leisure operators might want to consider as we leave the ‘dark side’.

In previous articles and posts, we have spoken about safely closing and re-opening your hotel, bar or restaurant with the pandemic upon us. Now we are getting closer to re-engaging with our customers, owners need to be focused on presenting the very best version of their businesses and interiors. Some refer to it as ‘putting your best foot forward’.

Over the last few months, I have worked with several operators, who fall in to two definitive camps. 1) Those who are nervous about the future and have been so shocked by the disruption, that they are almost paralysed to make a decision; and 2) those who are relishing the opportunity to reopen and take advantage of the widely predicted boom in autumn staycations. Naturally, I’d like to share some case studies to the former, and work with both and the latter especially on the forward journey.

In business generally, we have either a product or service to sell. The hotel and hospitality sector has the added twist of selling both. In delivering great hospitality service, we need a great venue in which to attract guests over our threshold. First impressions really do count. Following the Covid closures ‘every penny is a prisoner’, we don’t all have a bottomless pit of money to spend on refurbishments, so where can we easily make a difference, without it costing a fortune?

One of the biggest barriers to carrying out any interiors refurbishment work is perceived to be loss of revenue whilst rooms are out of service. Maybe there are parallels or lessons that can be learned from this study: following 9/11, several canny operators took advantage of the quiet period and competitive prices in the supply chain, to bring their properties bang up to date and steal a lead on the competition when the market returned.

What, in my opinion is money wisely spent, and importantly how much will it cost? So some quick fixes to the interiors that might just resonate with you, starting outside with first impressions. Spruce up the area around the entrance. New door handles and entrance mat, decoration of the door and frame from around £200.

Signage – cleaned-up and make sure the lighting works. Again can be as little as £200, up to £500 dependent on specification. Little things, arguably money well spent without breaking the bank.

The interiors in the lobby – every guest spends time at your reception counter. It should therefore, be seen to be clean and smell nice. Create the ambience as they step in for the first time, or newcomers get that first experience. Fix any loose trims, refinish the worktop, don’t forget any shelving or storage units that are on view also. Make sure that all the lights have the same shade of bulbs. Take a look at the furniture, do you have tatty cushions or seating that can be spruced up with the additions of new ones. The same rules apply to restaurant and bar areas, especially with musty smells arising from long periods of not being used.

Image credit: Pixabay

Doors and frames – these normally get damaged with constant use and look tired very quickly it’s a very easy solution to make them look and feel more presentable with a repaint and change over of any damaged door handles.  I’m a stickler for ensuring that all door handles match, unless a varied characteristic of disparate rooms is part of the sell and branding ambience. From only £50 per door.

Quite often corridors and public areas have a dado rail.  The area below the dado can often be scuffed from baggage and trolley knocks.  Why not think, that rather than paint the whole corridor a lick of paint to sparkle below the dado makes a great improvement.  A little bit of that “WOW” which we encourage.

Image credit: Pixabay

Going in to the bedroom, your housekeeping is make or break, I’ve stayed in brand new properties which are badly cleaned and on the reverse I’ve stayed in older rooms where the house keeping is meticulous. Personally, I’d always choose content over style. So lets look at a typical bedroom and see what we can do to make some quick changes?

Image credit: Interefurb

Case goods – dressers and bedside tabletops take some hammer. Back painted glass tops are an easy fix and cost around £100. Whilst we are looking at case goods for around £5 each you can change the handles, and a couple of hours with some furniture stain will spruce up any minor scratches. So for around £200 you have another few years life span.

If you don’t want to go to the expense of a complete room redecoration, we have on many occasions, painted out or put a patterned paper on the headboard wall, this works out at less than £150. If you have wall lights maybe just change the shades, don’t forget matching bulb! And make sure the seam on the shade is hidden at the back.

There are many ways to add personality and style into an interior scheme, and what will work for one property will not work for others. If you would like to discuss your project with Interefurb’s team, please get in touch.

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

Main image: Pixabay

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: F&B Design changes post-pandemic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: F&B Design changes post-pandemic

Now that hospitality is beginning to open its doors once more, we asked Federico Schilling from Flair Studio to explore the challenges of designing F&B areas in the post-pandemic world…

With restaurants and pubs in UK set to reopen before the end of June/beginning of July, there is still a great deal of uncertainty about the measures and trends to be followed to provide a safe, yet engaging experience.

Everybody knows the Coronavirus outbreak is going to change the way we eat in restaurants but, while some of these changes will be short-lived, others will probably endure by becoming either a necessity or just good habits; In this short article I am about to explore how these challenges can change the restaurant design as well as how this can become an opportunity to generate new creative ideas through good design.

In the very short term, for those who have an outdoor space this will be highly valuable but also for those who haven’t, special initiatives so the business can spread outdoors can become very helpful.  In this direction, the temporary pedestrianisation of high streets or neighbourhoods can be seen as an occasion to enable people to socialise again while keeping safety measures into place. The Soho Summer Street Festival can be a great example. It was announced last week by Soho Estates with the aim to ban cars from entering key streets of the area and to request a relaxation from Westminster Council for the licensing of the public highways.

Now l would like to shortly explore what are the restaurant design changes which are probably here to stay by looking into space planning, technology and trends.

It is common sense that initially, the internal layout of medium to large size Restaurants will be revised by reducing the number of tables and by promoting smaller tables, which can be more easily distanced and are more flexible than large banquettes or communal tables. But it is also likely that from early 2021 the layout density will slowly revert back to the pre-lockdown arrangements level with minor changes aimed to provide a safer experience.

On the other hand, costumers will want to avoid touching things which are seen as un-necessary for a longer time: things such as menus, salt and peppers and other shared items will probably disappear and costumers will especially be reluctant to enter toilets unless these haven’t been equipped with adequate measures. If contactless solutions as well as anti-microbial materials can be easily implemented, it is desirable that human interaction with the staff will slowly come back to normal after an initial reduction. Open buffets and food sharing concepts will probably suffer the most and for a longer term, with hotels being the most affected with their large venues for breakfast and business lunches. Also, materials and finishes will change in direction to easily washable, anti-microbial surfaces, sometimes muted from the cruise ship fit-out industry, sometimes from the outdoor furniture collections.

Whether the above will become game changers or not, I believe that we as designers have a duty of care to the end user so that these measures can be implemented without compromising on the quality of the overall guest experience and the design outcome. If safety and well-being are paramount, we also shouldn’t forget that an essential part of eating out is about sharing that experience with the other dining guests, including the importance of the spaces and the atmosphere we share with them. Differentiation through design will then become even more important and this can ultimately help generate new creative ideas.

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

Main image credit: Pixabay

PRODUCT WATCH: Energy-saving Cheetah by Quintex

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Energy-saving Cheetah by Quintex

It has been described as “Europe’s leading on-demand energy saving control”, Cheetah is a high-impact smart technology for a busy hotel kitchen. Hotel Designs explores…

The Cheetah system by Quintex has been saving energy and making a huge impact in hotels across Europe for more than 15 years – Claridges in London reported a reduction of 30 per cent in its kitchen ventilation energy costs after installing it.

The technology not only boasts financial savings (thousands per annum) but dramatically reduces a properties carbon footprint and improves the kitchen environment by reducing noise levels.

Cheetah is designed and manufactured in the UK and takes great pride on its robust ‘best of breed’ sensor technology and ‘proof in the pudding’ energy saving credentials.

What it does

Extract and supply fans in commercial properties are two of the biggest energy consumers in commercial kitchens and Cheetah offers one of the only proven technologies to effectively reduce their consumption while still offering the necessary level of performance.

Cheetah takes full control of the extract and supply fans in the kitchen and sensitively modulates them in relation to cooking activity; the higher the heat, smoke, or steam level the faster the fans will run and vice versa. Thus, meaning during periods of inactivity on the cookline the fans speeds will lower, reducing energy waste and therefore monetary waste. This is called demand-controlled ventilation (DCV).

How the technology works

After more than a decade of engineering and more than 8,000 systems in action worldwide, Cheetah were the first in Europe to patent the high-end optic and sensor components. This give the very best identification of variables in the canopy such as, steam, smoke, gases, and precise temperature changes to command the fans to act accordingly within seconds.

One of the systems unique selling points is its ability to remotely dial into the system to identify how it is performing and give energy savings data without the need for personnel to visit the site.

Is Cheetah suitable for your kitchen? 

The beauty of Cheetah is that it is versatile in many ways. The system can be fitted into already existing kitchens that could even be decades old but can also be integrated with state-of-the-art HVAC designs in new build projects, the options are endless.

The manufacturer Quintex Systems offer a free site survey as part as the initial process. One of their qualified and knowledgeable HVAC engineers would attend site to carry out a full 360-degree report on the safety, suitability, and savings opportunity in that particular property.

In the last three months, Quintex Systems have made it even easier to purchase and implement the system, offering clients their Q Finance option. This allows new and existing business to explore the option of a financing deal to spread the overall cost and lower the initial capital outlay.

Cheetah has saved clients like Hilton, IHG, Radisson, and Marriott thousands of kilowatts and therefore thousands of pounds while also reducing their carbon footprint to achieve their sustainability goals. Will you be the next to make the step forward to a carbon neutral world?

Quintex 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: Quintex

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Getting ready to reopen your hotel

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

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

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

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

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

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

1) Protecting the guestroom on arrival

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

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

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

Washable reusable three-layer face masks

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

Slippers to greet them at their door

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

Luggage mats to protect your bed linen

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

2) Protecting your beds and mattresses

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

 Choose encasement mattress protectors

Image credit: The Fine Cotton Company

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

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

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

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

Washable duvets and pillows

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

Opt for cotton throws you can wash at 60°C

Image credit: The Fine Cotton Company

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

3) In the bathroom

Image credit: The Fine Cotton Company

 Lighter-weight towels and bath robes

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

Image credit: The Fine Cotton Company

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

The Fine Cotton Company is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: The Fine Cotton Company

Why luxury spa linens need a lighter touch to be sustainable

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Why luxury spa linens need a lighter touch to be sustainable

With less than two weeks until it explores ‘wellness post-pandemic’ in Hotel Designs LIVE, Hotel Designs asks The Fine Cotton Company to explain what hoteliers and spa managers should consider when purchasing sustainable linens…

When choosing linens for luxury hotel spas, there’s a lot more to consider than just colour and quantity.

In an environment with oils and creams, pool water and frequent washing requirements it’s crucial to select the right towels and blankets that will perform well and last. That’s why leading luxury hotel spas like The Newt in Somerset Spa and The Spa at Carden come to  hospitality linen suppliers The Fine Cotton Company to source sustainable bath robes, towels, throws and blankets that work for the demands of a spa environment.

The challenges when choosing spa linens

The linens used in spas need to be practical, as well as sustainable, but crucially for luxury hotels, emulate the same qualities as the luxury bath robes and towels found in their suites. No mean feat when they have to go through far more rigorous use in a spa than a bathroom.

And with aesthetics key to many hotel spas’ guest experience, hotels will often want linens in a bespoke darker colourway to match their brand, so when washed regularly at high temperatures, must retain their colour for as long as possible.

The solution

1) Lighter-weight cottons to save energy and laundry time

Bearing in mind the high turnover and use of spa linens, The Fine Cotton Company’s team recommend a lighter-weight robe and towels. For The Newt in Somerset Spa this was engineered to match the design of the towels and robes they supplied to the hotel guest rooms for a consistent guest experience.

A huge cost and time saver, the specially designed lighter-weight robes mean laundry time is reduced as the laundry team can fit more robes into a single wash and a lighter-weight product will dry quicker too meaning less stock is required with faster turn-around times.

2) Washable coloured linens at higher temperatures

Traditionally, coloured bath robes and towels generally can only be washed at 40°C to keep them colour safe.

Working with their expert dye house in Portugal, The Fine Cotton Company used a newly formulated dye which had been specially engineered for use in Spas in Europe to enable spas to wash towels and bath robes at 90°C

In a spa environment, where linens are exposed to treatment oils and creams being able to wash them at a higher temperature from time to time will help remove residual oils and keep the towels feeling fresh, soft and looking good for far longer.

The products

Bath Robes designed to last

Image credit: The Fine Cotton Company

The Dark Grey Rimini cotton velour robes The Fine Cotton Company supply luxury spas are the same design as the company’s Luxury Ravenna 420gsm robes used in boutique hotel rooms, but specifically created in a lighter 380gsm.

These robes are a generous fit, mid-calf length  with a shawl collar and an  integrated towelling lining which offers great absorbency and a gorgeous cosy feel.

All seams are  flat-felled welted which give a very neat finish and adds to the strength and durability of the garment, which is especially important when investing in linens for any business.

Treatment towels that stand up to regularly hot washes

From jumbo spa towels for the treatment beds, bath mats to spa mitts, Th e Fine Cotton Company team supply lighter weight Amalfi 100% Cotton Spa Collection towels for spas which have been designed and engineered to withstand the rigours of spas use.

A simple narrow edge border design and lighter 450gsm weight contribute to a faster drying time and double stitched side seams strengthen and maximise durability in industrial laundering.

Light-weight spa pool towels

So that the design of pool towels match the rib detail of The Fine Cotton Company’s Como towels that are used in hotel bathrooms the team created a bespoke pool towel range, as they needed to be a lighter-weight than the Como 700gsm hotel towels, and are available in a popular dark grey colour which is forgiving in a spa environment.

The Como 550gsm pool towel with  the rib edge is  a combed 550gsm cotton with double stitched side seams for extra durability and are soft, strong and made to last.

Supplied together with a Como Dark Grey 800gsm bathmat they give pool and spa areas a consistent feel and are easy to maintain.

Cotton throws for treatment couches

For treatment couches, comfort and quality are at the forefront of hotelier’s requests when it comes to blankets. The Fine Cotton Company team create bespoke sizes of their white Kensington Floral Trail Matelasse designs, a light-weight and reassuringly tactile cotton blanket.

Made in Portugal, stonewashed for extra softness, they are pre-shrunk and washable to 60°C which reassuringly is the recommended temperature to wash hospitality linens to kill dust mites and allergens.

Portofino washable cotton throws

A popular new addition to The Fine Cotton Company’s spa range are their cotton waffle stone washed throws. These lightweight blankets have been designed specifically for use in Spa’s and Hospitality relaxation areas like The Spa at Carden.

Image credit: The Fine Cotton Company

Made with a fine cotton yarn to guard against snagging and designed with neat hemmed edges, these are no fuss throws that can be folded and put straight back into use as they come out of the dryer.

Being washable means it doesn’t matter if they get wet so they are ideal for use around pools, outdoor hot-tubs, or for use in relaxation areas both indoors and out.

“The Portofino waffle throws are an absolute joy to have in the Spa,” said Stephanie Parry, spa manager at The Spa at Carden. “Our clients love the soft cosy feel of the stone washed waffle and because the throws are washable it doesn’t matter if they get wet so they are ideal for use around the swimming pools, vitality pools as well as our outside seating areas, in the pods or around the firepit.

“The throws are wonderfully easy to care for.  There is no creasing and they maintain their shape so can be folded and put straight back into use as they come out the dryer.”

The Fine Cotton Company is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: The Fine Cotton Company

Helping hotels heal: The service bringing re-opening advice directly to the door

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Helping hotels heal: The service bringing re-opening advice directly to the door

In the wake of editor Hamish Kilburn interviewing Katie McCarthy, the founder and design director of Design Equals, Hotel Designs asks the firm to explain more about its Design= in a box

In the absence of government guidance Design Equals, an agency network of creative experts for the hotel industry, has launched a new support service which will provide on-going business advice to the industry as it navigates the roadmap of re-opening.

The recovery package consists of initiatives – including a monthly subscription service to expert advice – to aid recovery of the hospitality industry, helping independents and small chains to rebuild their business, attract high-value guests and optimise cash flow.

Katie McCarthy, founder and design director at Design Equals, is behind some of the North’s most well-known hotel interiors, including the Lake District’s Storrs Hall and Cheshire’s boutique Ryland’s Hotel.

Image credit: Design Equals

She said: “The industry has unexpectedly evolved, almost overnight, due to Covid-19. The way our customers must experience hotels and short breaks will not be the same for some time, maybe never even the same again. We are working with our community, our partners, leading experts and from our European and are cascading that information to businesses in a simple, creative way – through Design= in a box.”

With a recent survey from Design Equals finding that 72 per cent of businesses saw increased footfall and 54 per cent saw a rise in profits following a refurbishment it’s now more important than ever to ensure that whilst hotels are adhering to new social distancing rules, they are retaining an appealing interior.

“There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for recovery.”

Image credit: Design Equals

There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for recovery, however with their eclectic team of creatives the company are able to offer a tailored approach to businesses, ensuring their unique core values are met and creative concepts of venues aren’t compromised.

There are three options for businesses to choose from, each offers different levels of guidance and addresses the main areas of priorities such as safety, space and style.

The most popular option is the ‘Back to Business’ subscription box which retails at £59.99 per month and will keep you up-to-date of the latest guidance and advice regarding Covid-19. It will also share details of design ideas, products and discounts to help you prepare for your re-opening. As well as interior design advice you will also receive operational guidance and insights into individual business’ plans, the Back to Business subscription box will ensure you’re well informed and prepared for the big open day.

‘The Essentials’ support box (RRP £180) is a one-off purchase which provides an extensive guide on preparing and prioritising your space for re-opening.

This includes a one to one consultation with a designer to discuss space, cost effective solutions such as revised use of seating arrangements, flow of operation safe spaces and flexible partitions for creating safe distancing.

The full-service ‘Invest In Your Future’ support kit (RRP £999) is a fully personalised business solution which is developed with you by a team of experts. Customers will receive three meetings with a dedicated DESIGN=creative team specifically selected with skill sets considered to the venue type.

The five biggest benefits seen by the hospitality industry from an interior design refurbishment have been revealed as:

  1. Increased footfall (72 per cent)
  2. Increased turnover/ profits (54 per cent)
  3. Ability to increase prices/ improve margins (37 per cent)
  4. Attracting a new, more desired customer base (36 per cent)
  5. Attracting competitors customers (33 per cent)

The team are set to reveal the latest addition to their support package with their ‘S is for Safety Book’ in the coming weeks. The documents will explore how businesses can meet new safety measures while not compromising on style.

Katie added: “We wanted to launch a solution that would help hotel owners prepare for re-opening, including being ready to open their doors whilst adhering to new guidelines. We need to act now to be ready to successfully re-open. Our message to outlets is whilst your doors are closed be open to change.

“We have an army of creatives who are working together to provide sensible, educated and affordable ideas for the industry which will arm them with the knowledge and products to a successful re-opening.

“These Design Equals packages are the first step in our long journey to rebuild a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable hotel industry. We are all incredibly eager to return to this new normality awaiting us but we have to be responsible to protect yet survive to thrive once more.”

Design Equals 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.

PRODUCT WATCH: Blueair Blue Pure 411 air purifier

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Blueair Blue Pure 411 air purifier

Compact, energy-efficient and decorated with awards, the Blueair Blue Pure 411 is the ideal air purifier for bedrooms, office spaces and travelling. Simply plug in on the go and breath clean air indoors, as Hotel Designs discovers…

Indoor air pollution can be up to five times higher than outside so it’s important to invest in an air purifier and avoid the effects of air pollution. Blueair’s compact 411 is the perfect size for smaller spaces up to 15m2.

Indoor air pollution is made up of not only dust, but also particles and gases from everyday household products such as cleaning supplies, candles, paint and varnish to floors. Airborne traffic pollution can also get inside your home and pollute your indoor air. Breathing in this fine dust or PM2.5 (also known as fine particulate matter) can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause respiratory difficulties, heart and lung problems and a host of other diseases, studies show. Particles in the air can also contribute to anything from colds and flu to determining how well you sleep.

The Blue Pure 411, thanks to Blueair’s proprietary HEPASlient™ technology, removes at least 99.97 per cent of airborne particles as small as 0.1 microns in size such as viruses, pollen, dust, pet dander, mould spores, smoke, and allergens. Blueair’s compact air purifier kills 99 per cent of the 12 most common bacteria with thanks to its high CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) which measures the volume of clean air that is produced by an air purifier each minute. This is a great indication of how well bacteria, viruses and pollutants are removed from the air.

Alexander Provins, Director Europe, Blueair says: “Air purifiers have so many health benefits all-year round. It’s a common misconception that air purifiers are only for allergy and asthma sufferers. Anyone and everyone can and should enjoy the wonderful effects of cleaner air.”

Thanks to its unique 360-degree air intake, the 411 draws air into the filter from all sides, making it fully efficient wherever you place it. It has optional colourful pre-filters which catch larger particles and extend the life of the main filter; you can gently vacuum it or put it in your washing machine when it requires cleaning. Blueair’s compact air purifier is simple to operate, thanks to its one button speed control and easy to change filter.

What’s more, the Blue Pure 411 can refresh even your busiest rooms thanks to the combination filter with active carbon that’s effective against odours, gases and VOCs.

Blueair 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: Blueair

PRODUCT WATCH: USM’s take on ‘screen time’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: USM’s take on ‘screen time’

USM introduces protective attachment screens that are suitable for USM Modular Furniture

The hotel landscape has changed, and the design of the reception area needs to evolve to support this. Organisations are already investigating how they can make hotel spaces safer, effective, and efficient whist still adhering to government guidelines of social distancing.

One of the challenges that many hotels will have is how to ensure that their guests and employees feel protected at the reception area. Protective measures are essential so that employees feel safe and valued in these challenging times, whilst also reassuring guests.

Due to the spread of Covid-19, hygiene and protective measures must be treated with the highest priority. To protect employees and guests from mutual contact, devices are required that form a physical protective barrier against the transmission of bacteria and viruses through coughing, sneezing and human contact.

In keeping with the elegant clean design of USM Haller modular furniture there are different solution orientated variants with which you can quickly upgrade existing reception desks.

USM Modular Furniture 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: USM Modular Furniture

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Managing a hotel after lockdown

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Managing a hotel after lockdown

In the wake of the forced hibernation the industry has experienced in recent weeks, hotels are now making plans to re-open. But what will the ‘new normal’ look like? Rocco Bova, the general manager of Chable’ Yucatan, investigates hospitality post-lockdown…

While I honestly detest the fact that we will now have to provide a personalised, luxury experiences while wearing masks, gloves, shields and possibly even protective clothing, we so however need to get used to this new normal, at least until we will have more relaxed guidelines from the respective government’s health authorities.

The provision and wearing of PPE for staff is a minimum standard as it is the increased frequency of cleaning and sanitising to provide a healthy environment to guests, however my focus as a general manager will be more towards enhancing soft skills, EQ (emotional intelligence) and empathy, as part of my training and supervision of my team.

I forecast a higher level of concerns from our guests when travelling and therefore we will need to be ready to read their behaviour already at the arrival or even before, should we receive, for example, detailed email on what procedures we are using to sanitise our premises.

This means that they will come with much higher expectations, and we will need to manage them if we want to succeed in having them as ambassadors once more.

Image caption: Guest expectations will be higher in all areas of the hotel, but particularly in the F&B and public spaces. | Image credit: Chable’ Yucatan

The risk of losing the reputation is too high, particularly when the health and safety of a person can be at risk. Therefore, now is the time to show to our guests what and how we are doing to protect their health and overall wellbeing.

Here is where the EQ comes into action, where we listen and observe with empathy and we respond kindly to give comfort and respect. What do we know if this particular guest lost a loved one to COVID–19? If so, their response is quite normal and we should not dismiss them as exaggerated or overreacting. We need to know what, when and how to do it. Regardless of the rate paid, the new normal is an expected readiness and professional response from all us hoteliers globally.

In addition to the operational precautions and adaptive protocols, now more than ever, management needs to be visible for both staff and guests.

Staff need directions and supervision, as well as encouragement and motivation, and this can only be done in presence, face-to-face (maintaining the due distance) and with a positive behaviour, so that they can transmit it to the guests.

Guests, too, need to see management around and they want to make sure there is enough supervision and control over the new standards and ensure the correct procedures are applied all along their stay beside being able to speak to a senior member of the hotel in case they will encounter something inappropriate.

To us, it will offer the opportunity to check the pulse of the guests, continuously, watch their body language, ask with subtlety what their expectations are and how we have been doing so we are prepared to change the course of actions if needs be.

While I am preparing for all this as we tentatively look to reopen in June, I am also reflecting on something. Why did we not do anything like this to protect our staff and guests alike during SARS, MERS, ZIKA, malaria and other transmissible diseases? I don’t have an answer, but I am encouraged that the industry is taking action so that we can once again provide exceptional experiences for our guests.

Main image credit: Chable’ Yucatan

Hotel Designs becomes media partner for EHMA

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs becomes media partner for EHMA

Hotel Designs has proudly become a media partner for the European Hotel Managers Association (EHMA) in a bid to further connect with its hospitality readers in Europe…

Hotel Designs, which is the leading international hotel design website, has become a media partner for the European Hotel Managers Association (EHMA).

EHMA currently has 421 members in 27 European countries, corresponding to a market share of approx. 10 per cent, and is committed to growing this valuable network with the help of the meaningful exposure that Hotel Designs can offer. “EHMA is the most relevant Hotel Managers Association of European four and five star deluxe hotels,” explained a representative for the association. “The number one platform for collective intelligence, education, networking and professional development among its members whose objective and mission is the professional improvement to better serve the industry pursuing excellence. The Association thus establishes relationships with privileged trade and media partners such as Hotel Designs.”

Today the association promotes Europe as a whole through its members in individual countries, encouraging training and job exchanges. The organisation has developed a modern and progressive approach, promoting an expansionist outlook that adapts renowned European know-how to the demands of the rapidly changing international hospitality industry.

“Our new-found relationship with the EHMA is invaluable as we recognise Europe’s growth in hotel development – a report in February 2020 from Lodging Econometrics showed that Europe’s hotel construction pipeline was up by 19 per cent in projects,” explained editor Hamish Kilburn. “Therefore, we are excited to start meaningful conversations with more hotel managers in Europe who are on the front line of this important development in hospitality.”

Main image credit: Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hotel Designs/Design Equals

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Should business hotels go ‘FIFO’?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Should business hotels go ‘FIFO’?

No, it’s not a rendition of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ “Hi ho hi ho it’s off the work we go”. Instead, designer Peter Mance, the director of MAAPS Design and Architecture, explains how hotels in the hospitality industry could adapt the ‘Fly in/fly out scheme…

FIFO (Fly In/Fly Out) is a common workforce rostering concept employed by the gas and mining communities.

With the move into our “Stay Alert” phase in the UK it may be the opportune moment for business focused hotels to explore and offer a FIFO business model to corporate and institutional teams. Expanding and adapting the concept of a family “Social bubble” to a new “Corporate bubble” which allows a way out of lockdown and a return of business to city-based hotels.

I see three converging drivers that may open up the concept of city FIFO arrangements for business travel and workforce accommodation in the short to medium term:

  • Workers desire from an emotional and financial well-being perspective to return to work. In this I am noting Salesforce’s Marc Benioff recent remarks that the general anxiety about the coronavirus coupled with the isolation of being alone at home took an emotional toll on their workforce, with 36% saying they were experiencing mental health issues.
  • The ongoing concerns around the control of virus spread, reduced public transport availability, concerns about environment pollution and the promotion of walking and cycling.
  • And to ensure that teams, personnel, and wider social networks are kept safe throughout their day.

Perhaps the other question to be explored at this time is whether brands that operate off a smaller room footprint will be at a disadvantage because of this pandemic.

Return to work

You may have already noticed that five weeks into lockdown there has been a noticeable drop off in remote working productivity, incremental erosions of morale and collegiate purpose. Something is missing. Our experience with remote working has seen colleagues using Microsoft Teams and WhatsApp to keep a constant chat lines open throughout the day. A casual desktop presence so that colleagues can simply spend time (albeit virtually) close with one another, aware and sharing the incidental routines of the day, the coffee break, the toilet break, the cat wandering across the keyboard. Whether it is due to lack of decompression space at home, or anxieties piled on by housemates, parents or partners, I know that some of our younger staff are noticeably itchy to return to their desks and are asking “why isn’t our office our home as well?”.

Image caption: A model of what fly in/fly out could look like.

Image caption: A model of what fly in/fly out could look like.

With the likely staggered returns, staggered days, and rotation of previously furloughed staff FIFO working methods could well become an effective way for institutional and corporate businesses to safely rebuild and reconnect teams over the evolving “Covid Secure” protocols which will be required until a vaccine is available.

Location, location, location

If we are to accept scientific and government advice, then Covid-19 will remain a continuing risk for many months to come. Given that this will be a slow and cautious readjustment I can readily imagine a scenario where both business and budget hotels or hostels can provide collegiate “Bubble Bookings” for companies. The same logic that has anchored many hotels to key transport nodes may for the short term provide the ideal FIFO workforce dormitory location. Allowing what are effectively “quarantined” staff to walk or cycle to their place of work and retreat at the end of the day to a secure, controlled, safe and hospitable environment.

We must anticipate that there will be a mixed degree of workforce acceptance or willingness to return to work. Many anxieties will remain about protecting loved ones at home. Over and above the basic guidance from our government, companies will be speaking with staff to agree how they can safely work, protect themselves, protect colleagues and families while starting to re-engage and drive our economy back to life. My sense is that the offer of a trusted hotel room for key staff can be one of the ways that we can bring people back to work, allow an appropriate level of protection and keep vital businesses going.

In know that hotels, in the absence of prescribed government guidance, will define their own pathway back to accepting guests. As has always been the case, it will be the operators and owners that carry the risk and responsibility for guest safety and will therefore look to transform and lead the way forward from the front foot. Happily, one of the paradoxes of the pandemic is that it will be an impetus for, not an impediment to, innovation.

Covid protocols

Hotels have already demonstrated they can successfully operate within the Covid climate and maintain impeccable hygiene standards. The first wave and initial lock-down saw the likes of Best Western, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Travelodge, Whitbread’s Premier Inn, Ibis, Mercure, Novotel and Adagio opening their doors to the NHS and other government mandated key workers, in addition to working with local and national government agencies during the repatriation of Brits returning home to the UK. Let us pivot this capability and knowledge to reassure future guests and demonstrate that business hotels remain an attractive option to businesses.

As a result, there may be future development opportunities for hotel operators to utilise their collective hospitality and logistical capabilities to provide “pop-up” accommodation within larger offices. Perhaps converting a couple of floors, or dormant retails spaces, and bringing in housekeeping resources and cleaning expertise to keep things in order.

Hotels will have already focused on upgrading their hygiene skills. Working with AHCP (Association of Healthcare Cleaning Professionals) to certify staff and institute improved procedures and protocols. I’m also aware of the many examples of patient hotels in Scandinavia and their expertise in maintaining a healthy comfortable environment with impressively low incidents of infections. Much as I am suggesting for FIFO work rostering to help the UK’s return to work, many of the patient hotels provide accommodation for doctors on six-month training periods at adjacent hospitals. It is therefore clear to me that the necessary level of preparedness and resources within the hospitality world already exist to keep guests and staff safe.

The size of rooms

It will not be about size of the guestrooms. It will be about the journey to it.

In my opinion hotels with compact room forms and long-stay options will be adept at welcoming guests back business guests. They will in fact have the advantage as their essential mode of operation is their studied efficiency, often with a stripped-down aesthetic, which will be eminently easier to clean and protect.

Image credit: MAAPS Design & Architecture

Much as it is being explored in the workplace arena, strategies for safer hotels and hostels post-Covid, will be using simple and cost-effective measures such as staggered room allocation to reduce density and the redesign of circulation routes to allow for one-way directional movement through the hotel. Adaptability will be key, with the ability for spaces and guest rooms to flex to accommodate perhaps a duel use – part guestroom, part office. With Club Quarters Hotel LIF Club Level guestrooms, we have explored similar transitional room concepts which are achieved through creative, yet uncomplicated, design solutions. Where shuttered internal windows between rooms and corridors provide visual outward connections. Now might the very moment that these experimental guestroom thoughts find traction.

Initial hotel concerns will focus on improvements to increase ventilation capacity and filtration, along with enabling one-way guest circulation through the hotel and guestroom levels. While there will be a reluctance to drop room count, hotels will have to reduce density for operational reasons. While we may not be able to stretch corridors, and until the pandemic passes, it should be feasible to identify new stacked cores through which to tread a new stair and ductwork network. With lifts then designated for upward distribution and stairs are down.

Closing thoughts

As I mentioned above, our younger design team members are craving for the incidental connections of life and a return to work. They would like nothing better than for us to provide the means, accommodation and safety of our own “Corporate bubble” close to work. Life in lock-down has thrown many things into relief. Among them the spaces in which we work, stay, and how they are purposed. Particularly, and in some instances painfully realised, as many of us have asked homes to carry the combined weight of work, sanctuary, school and gym. The FIFO accommodation model may help both business and hospitality transition back to an integrated life and foster lasting connections with location and community.

Oh, and you’d be well advised to plan for lots of additional bike storage!

MAAPS Design and 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. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: MAAPS Design and Architecture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1) Pay people properly

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

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

Image credit: Planday

2) Invest in training and development

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

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

Image credit: Planday

3) Flexibility is your friend

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

Image credit: Planday

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

Image credit: Planday

What does this mean for you?

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

Register here to get your free copy of this exclusive report

Planday is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Planday

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Coming back from COVID–19

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

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

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

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

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

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

Basic safety items

The following should ideally be evaluated by property experts:

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

Re-commission the property – prepare for opening

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

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

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

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

FF&E OS&E

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

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

Back-of-house areas

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

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

External

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

General

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

Finishing touches – attention to detail.

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

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

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

Interefurb is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image: Interefurb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quick-fire round:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image caption: Philip Hammond, the Florist at The Dorchester

Image caption: Philip Hammond, the Florist at The Dorchester

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

Main image credit: Dorchester Collection

Rosewood launches relief to support communities during pandemic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Rosewood launches relief to support communities during pandemic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Rosewood Hotel Group

The hospitality social media campaign sweeping the nation

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The hospitality social media campaign sweeping the nation

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

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

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

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

How to join the campaign:

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hospitality 4 Heroes

Getting a sense of Hotel Indigo’s new explorer initiative

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Getting a sense of Hotel Indigo’s new explorer initiative

IHG’s Hotel Indigo recently launched a new initiative to allow travellers to unlock the best experiences in Hotel Indigo destinations. To explore more, editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with Meredith Latham, Vice President, Global Hotel Indigo at IHG and Henry Reeve, Interior Design Director at IHG.

Hotel Indigo, which currently has more than 100 properties worldwide, has launched Clues to the Neighbourhood, which is a new concept that allows guests and locals to discover authentic experiences.

The new hospitality concept is a collection of items and artefacts that have been curated in partnership with historians, creative directors and artists, which are brought to life through artfully presented installations integrated into the hotel’s design. The clues allow travellers to explore a neighbourhood’s off-the-beaten-path experiences, whether that be a local museum, an unparalleled view, a music venue, a local boutique or a place where locals eat and drink.

Image caption: Clues to the Neighbourhood co-curated by Hotel Indigo Laura Mvula, Cloudy Zakrocki and other musicians, artists and local experts to provide off the beaten path experiences

To get more of an understanding into the new approach, and to find out more about the brand’s expansion plans, we sat down with Meredith Latham, Vice President, Global Hotel Indigo at IHG and Henry Reeve, Interior Design Director at IHG.

Hamish Kilburn: Can you explain how this concept marries up to Hotel Indigo’s brand values?
Meredith Latham: The purpose of Hotel Indigo is to ‘discover the world within the neighbourhood’, and each and every neighbourhood has a unique story. We deliberately launched Clues to the Neighbourhood in Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of one of the greatest storytellers of all time, William Shakespeare.

HK: Henry, I know the depth of research that goes in to designing new Hotel Indigo properties? Is Clues of the Neighbourhood a way of giving guests that same information?
Henry Reeve: As you know, we spend a lot of time learning about cultures and what makes a destination special when designing a new hotel. We do want to ensure that those stories are relayed to our guests authentically. Therefore, we spend a lot of time in the design department explaining to the front-of-house staff why we have made certain design decisions, such as the lighting, the carpets and so on. Also, we want to create these hotels not just for our guests, but also for locals, because we want to create spaces that truly reflects the destination they are built in.

HK: How is Hotel Indigo ensuring it keeps its boutique status during the huge expansion?
ML: We have a tremendous amounts of new openings on the horizon. Each time we renovate or create a new hotel, we look at the local culture to ensure that everything is coming to life in the right way.

HK: Why is it so important for a brand like Hotel Indigo to ensure that design and service work in harmony?
HR: You simply can’t have beautiful design with terrible service, and design will only get you so far. Ensuring the two elements to work together is critical. I believe we have some of the best staff in the business that really truly reflect the brand and the area.

HK: When you are scouting for new properties, what are you looking for in an neighbourhood?
ML: We are looking for a place that will allow us to provide a Hotel Indigo experience, that allows our guests – the explorers – to find curated and special details. Generically speaking, city centres tend to have very rich stories.

HK: What’s been the most interesting thing you have learned so far about a Hotel Indigo neighbourhood?
HR: Stratford is fascinating, and not just for Shakespeare. For example, Pashley Bikes were made here, and we have taken the vernacular of the bike and integrated it into the hotel’s design.

ML: For me, the internet aborts the opportunity to find things out in person. We are hoping to take our guests the extra mile to learn something new about the area.

HK: What’s the most challenging part of curating something like this, on this scale?
HR: For all of our neighbourhoods, we want to go deeper into the community to find something that perhaps stands out, such as a local distillery or authentic craftsmanship. This obviously requires a lot of detailed research, which can perhaps be challenging but also equally rewarding.

Main image credit: Hotel Indigo

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

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: COVID–19 pandemic is forcing an evolution in wellness

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Room to Breathe

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

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

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

Family on bed

Image credit: Room to Breathe

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

What can be done?

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

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

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

Image credit: Room to Breathe

A cleaner solution

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

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

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

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

Step One – deep clean

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

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

Fogger in room

Image credit: Room to Breathe

Step Two – Anti-microbial coating

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

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

Step three – Bedding and soft furnishings

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

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

Step Four – continuous air sanification. 

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

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

Certification

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

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

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

Cost 

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Room to Breathe

Editor Checks In: The hospitality industry fights back

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Editor, Hotel Designs

How the hospitality industry is responding to COVID–19 pandemic

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

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

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

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

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

Offering free rooms to the NHS

Image credit: Stock Exchange Hotel

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

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

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

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

Transforming hotels into hospitals

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

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

Donations of food and space

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Pixabay

Talks for hotels to be turned into temporary hospitals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image: Pixabay

Petition for Government to support UK hospitality industry

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

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

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

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

You can support the campaign and sign the petition here. 

It asking for a review of the following:

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

Main image credit: Pixabay

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: How guest behaviour is changing hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: How guest behaviour is changing hotel design

To understand how important it is to react to changing guest behaviour, Paisley Hansen identifies some of the drivers that have significantly evolved the hotel experience globally…

Hotel design has evolved in the past decade. With the rise of technology and growing social awareness, designs need to incorporate new ideas and reflect the growing aesthetic demands of both the traveller and the hotel operator.

Following on from identifying interior design trends that are expected to shine this year, as well as hospitality trends that are emerging, here are some of the consumer catalysts that are dictating the future design of hotels everywhere.

Making a Reservations – there’s an app for that

From apps to websites, technology is transforming how customers are selecting their hotels. To understand how this trend will develop, take the time to research which are the best apps are being used to book hotels. Customers are looking for the best deal as well as hotels that offer more than just a simple room. “Instagrammable” hotels pull in a younger crowd, while those offering seclusion and privacy attracts a different demographic. Paying attention to how your consumers are utilising technology and social media will help create an innovative hotel design to attract more guests.

Redesigned check-in areas

In 2020, lobby design trends are expected to evolve to reflect the changing needs of the customer. The traditional check-in counter is disappearing in favour of residential-like lounges that incorporate exciting interior design ideas to welcome guests. Hotels are including simplified check-in spaces that offer perks to add a touch of luxury to the process. The use of bold colours and patterns are creating a welcoming dichotomy of hues and textures. These changes all come in to create a check-in experience that relies less on the traditional service and more on creating a relaxed atmosphere as guests transition in and out of the hotel.

image of child reaching out to touch arm of robot

Image credit: YOTEL

Interacting in a personalised guestroom

Smart technology is taking its place in hotel rooms. From finding ways to incorporate streaming TV services to smart controls, hotels need to innovate how guests are interacting with their room environment. Hotels that fail to modernise will feel the impact in the years to come. Outside of technology, the most important part of any hotel room is the bed. If the history of beds tells us anything, comfort and design will win out in the years to come. Creating an environment where guests can enjoy control over their room while relaxing will lead the way in room layout. Comfort and innovation need to be at the forefront of any design plans.

modern guestroom

Image credit: Freepik

Creating unique, one-off experiences

Travellers are looking for new ways to capitalise on their time away with experiences. Hotels can embrace this trend by utilising personalised services with artificial intellige