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Hotel Designs LIVE - speakers

Speakers announced for Hotel Designs LIVE in August

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Speakers announced for Hotel Designs LIVE in August

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

Hotel Designs LIVE - speakers

Hotel Designs LIVE, the one-day conference which is free to attend if you qualify as a designer, architect, hoteliers or developer, will return on August 10 to serve up a series of online panel discussions with the aim to keep the industry connected and the conversation flowing during the on-going pandemic.

The four topics that have been confirmed for the virtual event, which was recently shortlisted shortlisted in the ‘Best Webinar Series’ category at the Digital Event Awards, are senses, sleep, surfaces and social.

Editor Hamish Kilburn will host the event from the comfort of Minotti London’s Fitzrovia showroom. “For more than a year now, Hotel Designs LIVE has been meaningfully serving the international hotel design and hospitality community by simply keeping the conversation following,” Kilburn explains. “It feels very fitting, considering our previous networking collaborations the luxury Italian furniture brand and its relevant to all of our four panel discussions, to welcome Minotti London as our headline sponsor.”

There are limited spaces available. Simply click here to secure your place in the virtual audience (booking form takes less than two minutes and entry is free for designers, architects, hoteliers and developers).

Meet the confirmed speakers (so far): 

The agenda: 

1st session Hotel Designs LIVE

Click here to participate.

1st Session - Hotel Designs LIVE

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Hotel Designs LIVE - sleep session

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Hotel Designs LIVE – surfaces session

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Session 4 - Hotel Designs LIVE

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

Main image credit: Oladimeji Odunsi/Unsplash

The June April Brown and Srah Sklash

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

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Meet the women who are pioneering a new wave of design-led motels

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

The June April Brown and Srah Sklash

What started as a side hustle turned into a full-time passion project in 2016, with April Brown and Sarah Sklash converting their first rundown roadside motel into a boutique hospitality destination. Centered on bold feminine design with a retro twist, the two properties, located in Ontario’s Prince Edward County and Sauble Beach, are both set amongst beautiful landscapes that inspire their aesthetics.

To achieve the balance of beautiful design with a plant lady personality, the best friends started by tapping into the epitome of North American motel culture: neon signs, bright coloured doors, and retro Solair chairs. Collaborating with other female-founded businesses, creatives, and makers from their local communities and beyond, The June brand look quickly came together. Everything from the custom bathroom tiles, terrazzo countertops, bespoke wallpaper, and perfect paint shades like Apricot Beige and Palladian Blue set the mood and transform the spaces from roadside motels to places of refuge.

Hamish Kilburn: Tell us a little bit about yourselves. What is your background and how did you get to where you are today? What made you decide to open The June?

April Brown: Simply put, we’re two best friends who took a risk to do something we love. My background is in PR, and Sarah’s is in government, but we both have this love of travel and boutique hospitality, and wanted more than our corporate jobs in Toronto. On New Year’s Day 2016, we finally decided to work together and develop a sort of side hustle. Originally, we wanted to create a weekend “wine camp” for adults, setting up camp at a roadside motel in the Prince Edward County countryside. It didn’t take long for us to realise that there was a bigger idea there, so we visited a dingy, roadside motel and decided to purchase it. It was exciting to take that leap, but what followed was a lot of hard work. We renovated the property entirely ourselves – except for the plumbing and electric – and learned so much along the way. The result is something that we literally built, and we’re looking forward to growing the brand.

HK: What was the inspiration behind The June? How would you describe the style of The June?

Sarah Sklash: The June is a little old school, high-spirited, eccentric, good vibes – and we like to personify that throughout the properties. To achieve all of that, we really focused on the designs, putting a lot of time and attention into every detail. The Prince Edward County property features pink doors, statement palm wallpaper and serious plant lady vibes; Sauble Beach has sun-bleached wallpaper in every room, a retro colour palette, and an idyllic 70s motel pool. Both properties have a balance of North American motel culture (neon signs, bright coloured doors, and retro Solair chairs) while also pulling inspiration from the beautiful surrounding landscapes. The results are visually stimulating, but also feel like you are in a very cool friend’s house. In addition to the design, we like to throw in other nice touches, like a free glass of rosé at check-in.

HK: The June is a big supporter of Female-led businesses, after all you have created one yourself. Tell us about the creatives and makers you have collaborated with for the two properties.  

AB: Wherever we can, we love to partner with like-minded, female-founded and owned businesses in our communities and beyond. The June wasn’t built by us alone; we leaned on a lot of family and friends to help make The June the success it is today, so we really believe in that sense of community. We have a long list of collaborators, having worked with partners on everything from our branding to our custom wallpapers.

Here are some examples of the incredible women we work with:

  • Jackie Treitz, The Paper Bakery, who helped us create and design The June brand
  • Candice Kaye who designed our perfectly sun bleached wallpaper in the guest rooms in Sauble Beach
  • Melissa Condotta of Sunday’s Company, who created our signature scent and in-room apothecary products (body oil, soap and linen spray).

Image of pool in motelHK: How does The June stand out from other hotels and motels in the industry?  

SS: We believe a good amount of our success is because we’re so hands on and everything is from our points of view. We believe ourselves to be the target audience, so there’s an authenticity in everything we do, and luckily it resonates with our guests. Our approach is also very casual, informal, and friendly, which is exactly what people want when they’re looking to escape and unwind.

HK: Earlier this year you launched your e-commerce business. Tell us more about The June Shop and the collections available…

AB: Since we opened our pink doors in Prince Edward County four years ago, our followers have been messaging us and asking where some of our most iconic items are from, and how they can create The June aesthetic at home. We finally decided to reveal our sources and created a destination where our community can shop The June look and find inspiration. Also, with the pandemic and everyone stuck at home for the past year, we wanted to create an opportunity for our guests to bring The June’s iconic vacation vibes home.

Image credit: Kassandra Melnyk Photography

Image credit: Kassandra Melnyk Photography

The Shop features our Core Collection, a small curated selection of our most asked for items and iconic decor accessories that make The June uniquely feminine, like our pink neon signs, bold wallpapers and signature body oil. It’s dedicated to highlighting bold and visionary female founders, who each took a chance on themselves and pursued their dreams to build creatively fulfilling lives on their own terms.

HK: You opened your Sauble Beach property during the Covid-19 pandemic. How do you think this has impacted the business – and have there been any other challenges you’ve had to overcome?

SS: We learned a lot from launching the Prince Edward County property and in the four years since, so we went into the Sauble Beach project with some key learnings and a strong sense of our brand. In terms of opening Sauble Beach, it was actually very satisfying; it was challenging and rewarding at the same time. The project was so much bigger than PEC, including a swimming pool, 24 rooms, and an indoor/outdoor restaurant. When the pandemic hit we of course were concerned, but we stayed flexible and open to learning. We accommodated staff schedules, implemented new policies, relied on government subsidies, and overall made the best of it as much as we could. Being a small business you have to stay proactive and reactive. We did and it worked. 

HK: So what’s next for The June? 

SS: Right now, we’re looking forward to opening our doors again once Covid restrictions in Canada lift. As for the future, we’re hoping to grow the brand and bring The June to more communities, continue working with inspiring brand partners, and beyond. We’re proud of what we created, and want to deliver as much good vibes and good wine to all as we possibly can.

Main image credit: Lauren Miller Photography

inside Hotel Indigo Warsaw

Designing Hotel Indigo Warsaw inside an antique tenement house

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Designing Hotel Indigo Warsaw inside an antique tenement house

Hotel Indigo Warsaw is sheltered under a spectacular architectural shell. We spoke to the team at Kulczyński Architekt Workshop to understand the challenges and triumphs of designing the city’s latest boutique hotel…

In the Warsaw City Centre, in the tenement house at Smolna 40 Street, there is Hotel Indigo Wasaw – a boutique hotel that HD has followed from concept to completion – which is now visited by guests from all of the world.

inside Hotel Indigo Warsaw

They are being enchanted not only by a perfect location but also by the building itself – its elements have been carefully restored and also improved by skilfully adding modern architectural solutions, which together appear uniquely attractive. Bogdan Kulczyński, from Kulczyński Architekt Workshop, was responsible for the revitalisation of the tenement house.

The history of the tenement house goes as far as the beginning of the 20th century when count Ksawery Branicki, owner of properties adjacent to Branicki Palace (at Nowy Świat 18/20 Street), decided to divide them into six parcels and build buildings on them, facing Smolna Street. Branicki entrusted a project of five tenement houses (the sixth parcel went to another owner) to Bronisław Brochwicz-Rogoyski. In the corner house, at the number 40, came into existence a summer residence of Branicki family – the construction was finished in 1903. More than 40 years later, during the Second World War, the tenement house was bombarded and plundered. In October 1945 Bolesław Bierut decided that the house was going to become a state property. The building was reconstructed again according to remaining plans and photographs. For a short time it was a main office of the First Secretary of Polish United Workers’ Party.

Up until the 1970s, when the building was regained by Branicki family, it was the headquarters of the Polish Socialist Youth Union. At the end of the 1980s, the tenement house was listed as a vintage building. In 2014 the building was bought by an investor who envisioned creating an elegant, boutique hotel in this place. The renovation project was entrusted to Bogdan Kulczyński who is an architect and has a lot of experience in this type of projects. Three years later Hotel Indigo opened its doors for guests.

Image credit: Hotel Indigo

In search of tracks

Eclectic and heavily adorned elevation of tenement house at Smolna 40 Street, which was supposed to inform about status of Branicki family, was in a poor state. The original roof also did not survive – the highest floor was destroyed by bombs and fire. “One can say that the tenement house was scalped and the roof, which was reconstructed in the middle of the last century, did not match at all with the whole building,” said architect Bogdan Kulczyński. “We knew that initially it must have looked differently. A conservator agreed to some little adjustments to the roof but did not agree to add an entire floor.”

The architect and his team were forced to look in libraries and other historical sources for some hints how the original construction looked like. “At first we found a layout on which the roof was present, next we saw a movie, which was recorded from a plane but unfortunately after Warsaw Uprising,” says Bogdan Kulczyński. “Luckily, the walls, with traces of fire, were still standing – and based on them, we managed to reproduce a real height of the roof. This gave us an opportunity to acquire an immediate approval of the conservator to bring back a historical character of this building.” In order to point out that the roof is new and restored, it has been completed with lucarnes made of glass. They are not the only one modern aspect of the front of the building, but also introduce more light into hotel rooms. A modern, completely glazed annexe was built at the back of the tenement house. Connecting an original style with modern materials and elements is one of hallmarks of Kulczyński Architekt Workshop.

Adjustment to modern functionality

At first, the building was suitable for habitation but after the war it transformed into an office and with the passing of time its condition continuously deteriorated. – Patio was dreadful, one could here make movies about the end of the world – mentions the architect. In the revitalisation project every wall, ceiling and staircase were preserved. Interior patio, which today serves as a hotel lobby, is finished with a glass roof on the last floor and there is also a restaurant on high floor. In the underground part of the building there are conference rooms, technical infrastructure and kitchen. 2KUL Interior Design Workshop provided the refreshed hotel with interior design. “From an apartment building it transformed into a hotel, so its function is the same, the only difference is the time period for which people stay in,” Bogdan Kulczyński sums up. Hotel Indigo is an outstanding example of how an idea by an architect living and working almost one hundred and twenty years ago can be effectively merged with modern elements and functions.

Main image credit: Hotel Indigo/IHG

Locke Zanzibar guestroom

Home-meets-hotel brand Locke opens first hotel outside the UK

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Home-meets-hotel brand Locke opens first hotel outside the UK

Following what can only be regarded as dominating the home-meets-hotel market in lockdown with several openings of design-led properties in London, pioneering hospitality brand Locke, which joined Hotel Designs LIVE in October last year to explore adding personality in public areas, has opened its first hotel outside of the UK. Zanzibar Locke overlooks Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin…

Locke Zanzibar guestroom

Zanzibar Locke, the latest property from home-meets-hotel brand Locke, is strategically positioned in Dublin’s city centre. Overlooking Ha’penny Bridge, Zanzibar Locke is the brand’s sixth property and first outside of the UK, featuring 160 studio apartments, an original food and beverage offering, gym, and a locally-led cultural programme. 

Brick wall in lobby in Zanzibar Locke

Image credit: Locke

Locke leads the way in a hybrid travel concept that combines the space and comfort of home with the experience and thoughtful design of a boutique hotel. Each of Zanzibar Locke’s studio apartments come equipped with fully fitted kitchens and living space. Generously-sized rooms create a sense of freedom unique to the Irish market, where guests can enjoy the option of a short stay in a City Studio (average 25sqm) or retreat to a larger premium River Suite (average 40sqm) for a long term stay. 

“We are very excited to finally be welcoming leisure travellers into our first property outside of the UK,” said Stephen McCall, CEO of edyn. “It has been a great experience familiarising ourselves with the local Dublin market – and early indications show that our unique aparthotel concept is something new and exciting that the city needs at this pivotal moment. With a second opening in Dublin later this year, we are delighted to be able to welcome all guests in time for summer.”

The aparthotel will house new food destination BARAZA, operated by Dublin foodie favourites NolaClan (House Dublin, 9 Below and Xico). Located on the mezzanine floor, BARAZA will serve coffee and light bites in the morning, before transitioning into a lively restaurant serving seasonal small plates and craft cocktails.

Situated on Ormond Quay, with views overlooking the River Liffey, Zanzibar Locke draws on its rich architectural heritage to inform its design. Formerly site of the infamous noughties’ hotspot Zanzibar Nightclub – which inspired the property’s name – the Georgian building has been sensitively restored and developed by Dublin-based interior design studio O’Donnell O’Neill Design and C+W O’Brien Architects. Working with local contractors, joiners and artists, O’Donnell O’Neill retained the original character of the building, while combining the stylish design, contemporary fittings and custom furniture synonymous with Locke.

From its interiors to music playlists, the brand has worked extensively with Irish partners and suppliers to create Zanzibar Locke, including O’Donnell O’Neill Design, sustainable fashion brand GROWN, and DJ and founder of creative collective Gxrl Code, Mona Lxsa. In doing so, the brand aims to build a unique, inclusive environment that is deeply embedded in the social fabric of its neighbourhood.

Locke Zanzibar lobby

Image credit: Locke

“Locke’s forward-thinking aparthotel concept has shown resilience throughout the pandemic,” added Osgur Ó Ciardha, Country General Manager. “In an exceptionally challenging year for Irish hospitality, we were able to remain open throughout the national lockdown to house essential stays largely enabled by the self-contained apartments. We are looking forward to welcoming back leisure travellers.” 

Alan Clancy, Founder, NolaClan, commented: “We’re excited to partner with Locke on its food and drink offering in Dublin, and bring our new restaurant and bar concept, BARAZA, to Zanzibar Locke. Our ambition is to create an all-day dining experience in a vibrant, beautiful environment that locals and travelers alike can enjoy.”

As the world continues to navigate travel over the coming months, Locke’s self-contained studio apartments provide safe, clean, and flexible accommodation for business and leisure travellers, as well as short-term residents. Zanzibar Locke’s opening to leisure travellers follows an extended soft launch period where the property housed guests for essential stays and those in need of an interim home during lockdown, which was possible due to the self-contained design of the apartments. As a result, Zanzibar Locke experienced an average of 27 days length of stay, with an average occupancy of 40 per cent occupancy – considerably outperforming the Dublin industry average of 10 per cent.

Main image credit: Locke

Four Seasons Forte Lauderdale, designed by Tara Bernerd

Four Seasons through the eyes of designer Tara Bernerd

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Four Seasons through the eyes of designer Tara Bernerd

From one iconic brand to another, to celebrate the upcoming arrival of Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Fort Lauderdale, we take a look back at Tara Bernerd‘s design journey with the hotel group – from London to New York – in order to understand how the designer and her team created such interesting design narratives…

Four Seasons Forte Lauderdale, designed by Tara Bernerd

Long-time design collaborators for Four Seasons, designer Tara Bernerd and her team have created a plethora of typologies for the brand, from urban hotels, including the interior design for the hotel’s guestrooms of Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane and also the Empire Suite in Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown, to resorts such as the Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Fort Lauderdale. Bernerd is currently working as the lead creative for the 148-bedroom property as well as 50 condo rooms and private residences, opening later this year.

Throughout all three hotels, the studio’s aim to embody the aesthetics of the Four Seasons brand whilst simultaneously creating meaning and connection through a distinct sense of place. By balancing the studio’s refined design principles with Four Seasons signature style, Bernerd and her team create something entirely new for each region.

Speaking about the design of each Four Seasons project, the designer says: “It’s very much a part of our philosophy to make every property unique, with its own story to tell. As we create custom projects for each hotel, we try and refrain from bracketing ourselves into a particular style. However, there is a common aspiration found behind all our work through the themes of colour, topography and geography. Fusing these touchpoints, we create individual experiences in each location.”

Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane

Image credit: Philip Vile

Last month, the hotel welcomed back guests to experience its newly renovated, re-modelled Superior and Deluxe Rooms and Junior Conservatories in partnership with British designer Tara Bernerd & Partners.

Designed to bring a freshness to the hotel, the studio’s holistic approach and their use of bespoke design, lighter colours and materials, were specifically chosen to create a more spacious feel for guests on entry. Each room displays Bernerd’s signature handsome style of approachable luxury with a timeless elegance and the Hotel’s prestigious location situated between three of London’s Royal Parks was an immediate source of inspiration for Belgravia-based Tara Bernerd & Partners, with hints of green incorporated into the classic colour palette to add a modern edge.

As with each of the projects Bernerd and her team undertake, the location and geography in which the hotel is set was a key source of inspiration. This thread runs throughout the furniture and finishes, indeed extending to the art. Greeting the guest in the entryway to the deluxe room are two prints created from old tailors’ suit patterns, a nod to the sartorial history of Savile Row which resides in close proximity to the hotel. A triptych over the headboard depicts deconstructed photographs and sketches of London from the turn of the century. Found in old picture books in a Notting Hill antique shop, these pieces are particularly special. 

The art in the superior rooms take inspiration from the iconic views over Hyde Park. Three abstract pieces hang above the bed, one of which loosely explains the layout of the park, with another having been painted by a Four Seasons employee. Not only does the piece fit perfectly within the room’s palette, but the hotel’s connection to the artist creates a meaningful story behind each piece.

Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown

Image credit: Joe Thomas

Having recently reopened, this Tribeca based Four Seasons presents its reimagined Empire Suite by British interior designer Tara Bernerd. In the updated design, Tara and her team focused on optimising the layouts and furniture placement within the suite to take advantage of the unparalleled views across the city, while simultaneously providing larger spaces for entertaining and more intimate, homely cocoons. Providing essential versatility, the home office/study was redesigned to make the most of the natural light and give guests the option of using the space as a second bedroom. The Principal Bedroom was designed to provide the ultimate sleep sanctuary with soft silks and hand painted de Gournay wall panels to add a touch of drama.

Featuring a living room, dining room, media room, study, walk-in closet, two bathrooms, master bedroom and a full catering kitchen, the Empire Suite offers the ultimate sanctuary and comes complete with a $25,000-per-night Empire Suite Experience that includes helicopter airport transfers, limousine transfers, daily breakfast for two, a personal spa retreat and  more.

Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Fort Lauderdale

Render credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Render credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts/ Tara Bernerd & Partners

Opening later this year, Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Fort Lauderdale sets a new standard in contemporary living, set in a prime location on Fort Lauderdale’s desirable North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard.

Complete with unparalleled views across the Atlantic Ocean to one side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other, Tara Bernerd and her team have taken inspiration from the natural beauty and quality of light in Fort Lauderdale – the pale silver sands, blue seas and stunning Floridan sunsets. Known for its yachting heritage, the studio have sought to encapsulate the elegance of a previous design era of Chris Craft yachts and Capri pants to create an approachable luxury with a timeless quality.

Main render credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts/ Tara Bernerd & Partners

Lobby Arrival

Construction begins for Omni Hotel & Resorts’ new resort in Frisco, Texas

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Construction begins for Omni Hotel & Resorts’ new resort in Frisco, Texas

SB Architects is celebrating the official groundbreaking of the new Omni PGA Frisco Resort, mixed-use development in Frisco, Texas, which will include a 501-key hotel. Scheduled for completion in 2023, the design for the destination golf course, 501-key Omni PGA Frisco Resort and premier golf and retail experience, will usher in a new era for the sport. Let’s take a look as to what we can expect…

Lobby Arrival

Construction has official started to create Omni PGA Frisco Resort, setting the tone for the future of modern American golf with Texas modernist architecture. “We are thrilled to play a role in the repositioning and modernising of golf in America,” says SB Architects senior vice president and principal, Bruce Wright. “The design goal was to create a destination that could service the elitelevel golfers of the world, as well as make the sport fun and approachable for families, beginners and all levels of abilities. By coupling a hospitalitydriven design, inspired by Texas Modernism, with stateofthe-art golf courses and technology, we’ve created an inviting and accessible resort that will introduce the sport to a whole new generation of golfers and serve as an exciting benchmark for future development.”  

Render of Omni PGA Frisco Resort

Image credit: SB Architects

After PGA of America’s 56 years in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, the move to Frisco, Texas signals an exciting change. Frisco, one of the fastest growing cities in America, is the ideal place for this golf lover’s paradise. Named the “2018 Best Place to Live in America,” Frisco will be transformed with this development, bringing new vitality and economic growth to the local community. The inspiring architecture of the Omni PGA Frisco Resort complements the vision for this bold, state-of-the-art development, set to bring in a new chapter for the future of golf in America. 

Inspired by Texas Modernism, the architecture is timeless, contemporary but signature to the area, to reflect the future-thinking approach of the development. Arranged in a campus-style format, SB Architects, in collaboration with Robert Glazier Architects, has developed an amenity-driven site-plan that focuses on maximising views and capturing the ‘look and feel’ of a destination golf resort.  

To help create a human scale for the architecture, SB Architects created a direct connection to the outdoors, drew natural light and ventilation into each space and used grading, trees and the landscape to break down the scale and reflect an intimate ambience with all the perks of a larger, resort hotel. The landscape and use of local materials are indispensable within the design. The built environment is broken down into a series of courtyards, and an infrastructure of trails and networks respectfully lead guests through the development. A promenade connects the entire development; linking Omni’s resort lobby, all-day dining restaurant and spa and fitness facility; creating a pedestrian-orientated, walkable environment.  

Golf Villas_Ext

Elegant architectural forms and natural materials are utilised to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The use of stone, both horizontally and vertically, large overhangs, wood detailing and ironwork all work together to create a modern contemporary feel that is layered, textured and accessible. Every location feels cohesive with a distinct, iconic architectural element to distinguish. With golf as the focus of the design, the rooms at the Omni PGA Frisco Resort are positioned to prioritise views of the championship courses. In addition to the 501 guestrooms, golf foursomes, families and groups who are looking for a more personal, residential feel can stay in one of the resort’s private four-bedroom golf villas located along the promenade, with private putting facilities.  

Guestroom inside the Omni hotel in Texas

Render credit: SB Architects

 The signature development will feature two championship 18-hole golf courses designed by Beau Welling and Gil Hanse; a lighted 10-hole short course and nearly two-acre putting green and practice areas, totalling 46 holes; a clubhouse; coaching centre; a 501-key Omni Resort with seven 4-bedroom golf villas and 127,000-square-feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space; a technologically advanced retail village; parks and open space along with several miles of trails.  

Main render credit: SB Architects

Weekly briefing 4th june

Weekly briefing: Sleep masterclass, award winners & art outside the frame

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Sleep masterclass, award winners & art outside the frame

Allow me, Hamish Kilburn, to walk you through this week’s top design and hospitality stories. The weekly briefing was designed with busy on-the-go designers, architects, hoteliers and developers in mind – so kick back, relax and scroll down to read a snapshot of this week’s happenings…

It’s been a turbulent week – in fact year – for the travel industry, as the UK government continues to play chess with tourism boards that rely heavily on UK tourism.

Weekly briefing 4th june

With the latest ‘check’ against Portugal now being moved off the ‘green list’ it’s becoming more and more likely for the industry to lose yet another season due to new variants of Covid-19.

However, that hasn’t stopped or hindered plans for brands to re-open showing solidarity and strength – as can be seen in our latest VIP arrivals story, which takes a closer look at this month’s hottest hotel openings. It also hasn’t affected young designers’ creativity, as seen in this year’s shortlisted entries for the Accor Design Awards, which concluded this week.

To round off yet another week, while the sun is still shining the UK – good news for staycation businesses – here are what we believe are this week’s top stories…

Accor Design Awards – and the winners are…

Overall winner: Nomadish

Overall winner: Nomadish

Our most-read story of the week comes from Accor’s spectacular, global campaign to find the world’s most talented design students. First launched in in 2016, the Accor Design Awards aim to rethink the future of hospitality in collaboration with design students the world over. Their creativity blended with Accor’s know-how, provide unique solutions and new concepts for the hospitality industry. I had the privilege of sitting on this year’s judging panel – and what an experience it was… Finally, we can now announce the winners.

Read more.

VIP arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in June 2021

White room inside OMMA Santorini

Image credit: OMMA Santorini

A few weeks ago, restricted by green, amber and red lists – it’s as if we are at a junction and the traffic lights are broken – we on the editorial desk at Hotel Designs unveiled the best design hotels to visit in Portugal. But, as you know, we are a global platform and have over the last few months been publishing our VIP Arrivals series, which takes a closer look at the latest hotels opening on the hotel design scene.

For the June edition, things are hotting us as the summer season approaches. Although (for the time being, at least) many desirable destinations remain untouchable, we thrown down the metaphorical towels on the sun loungers for you at the new hotels we have recently added to our own travel bucket list. Here’s our editor’s pick of the must-visit hotels opening in June.

Read more.

Judges have been announced for The Brit List Awards 2021

The Brit List Awards judges 2021

Now that the free nominations/applications process is open for The Brit List Awards 2021, it’s time to meet this year’s judges. The 2021 panel consists of respected travel journalists and international experts in the design, architecture and hotel development arenas. The judges will gather to select the winners ahead of the awards ceremony on November 3 at PROUD Embankment, London.

Read more.

EXCLUSIVE // Virtual hotel design masterclass: The science of sleep

Image credit: YOTEL

In a recent article exclusively published on Hotel Designs, Hannah Shore, sleep expert at Silentnight Group, shared an ‘experts guide on the science of a good nights’ sleep’. In this article, she explored the optimum environment to enhance the best sleep performance, which included looking at temperature, lighting and comfort – or ‘TLC’ as she puts it.

Following this insightful piece, it felt natural for us to extend an invitation out to a cluster of designers and hospitality experts to explore with the professionals at Silentnight Group, the science of sleep.

Read more.

(in video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Art outside the frame

Following two engaging panel discussions looking at a new era of lifestyle and bathrooms beyond practical spaces, the third debate virtually sheltered under Hotel Designs LIVE was around challenging conventional portrayal of art in hotel design. Sponsored by Elegant Clutter, which prides itself on offering a professionally different approach to art consultancy, this chapter of the event addressed new demands from public areas and clever ways to inject branding and sense of place in hospitality establishments.

Read more.

M Social arrives in New York

M Social NY terrace night view

Image credit: M Social

Ever since checking in to M Social Singapore, designed by the one and only Philippe Starck, a few years ago, I was convinced that this brand would thrive in the concrete neighbourhood of Manhattan. With the opening of a 480-key hotel located at 226 West 52 Street  –literally in the heard of Times Square to you and I – it’s about time (and it’s better late than never).

Read more.

In Conversation With: Alex Tredez on designing The Lost Poet

Image credit: The Lost Poet

“We felt that there was a gap in the market for accommodation which offers high quality service, attention to detail and professionalism synonymous with the hotel experience – but also offering an authentic local experience which guests love about Airbnb-like residences,” Alex Tredez, lead designer of The Lost Poet, explains to me as we start to discuss one of West London’s most anticipated hotel openings this year.

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Roundtable - sleep

Virtual hotel design masterclass: The science of sleep

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual hotel design masterclass: The science of sleep

In late May, 2021, Hotel Designs invited a handful of designers and hotel experts to speak at a virtual roundtable on sleep performance, in association with Silentnight Group. Editor Hamish Kilburn, who moderated the session that naturally turned into a masterclass, writes…

Roundtable - sleep

In a recent article exclusively published on Hotel Designs, Hannah Shore, sleep expert at Silentnight Group, shared an ‘experts guide on the science of a good nights’ sleep’. In this article, she explored the optimum environment to enhance the best sleep performance, which included looking at temperature, lighting and comfort – or ‘TLC’ as she puts it.

Following this insightful piece, it felt natural for us to extend an invitation out to a cluster of designers and hospitality experts to explore with the professionals at Silentnight Group, the science of sleep.

Key panelists

Also on the panel:

  • Angela Moran, Product Strategy Director, Silentnight Group
  • David Lawrenson, Sales Director, Silentnight Group

Hamish Kilburn: Angela, could you just kick us off please with a bit more context on Silentnight Group and what the brand is currently working on from a product perspective…

 Angela Moran: Where do I start? Silentnight Group is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. We’re the leading consumer brand in the UK and the largest bed manufacturer in the UK. We mainly operate out of our site in Barnoldswick in England and we also have a partnership with Comfy Bedding – and we can do a whole sleep package with them including air filtration systems within the bedroom.

Sustainability is one of our pillars at the brand, and one of my deep passions in my role. We are really pleased that we make all of our products in the UK and 70 per cent of our raw materials are also come from the UK and many are within two hours of our HQ.

In terms of product design, our key principles are:

  • Comfort – looking at how we can offer the best nights’ sleep
  • Cleanliness – everything from antiviral treatments
  • Durability – we want our products to stand the test of time without a decrease in comfort
  • Sustainability – we do a lot of work in this area. One area we are really focused on is recycling. We have a 97 per cent recycle rate.

In all the research that goes in during product development, we are always balancing those four areas.

HK: Jeremy, given your expertise in this area around sustainability – assembly to dissemble mind-set on all your projects – how difficult has it been in the past with beds at the end of their life cycle?

 Jeremy Grove: We think about that in relation to every product and beds were a problem. Over the last two or three years we have started to find solutions. I think it’s something like 13 million mattresses go to landfill every year. Currently, it’s very limited to what’s out there, but I do see that changing.

Joanna Knight: I think it’s very important. We are working on a large project at the moment where we are changing out 614 beds and mattresses and we are very keen not to send the old products to landfill – and we are working with Silentnight Group on how we best do this.

Emma King: Hygiene and materiality are both so important right now. And by that I mean the whole sleep experience, what is happening when it comes to recycling duvets etc. From a brand point of view, the first thing to be removed when Covid-19 hit was the soft furnishings and cushions because everyone, it seems, wants a clean, white bed right now. I believe the consumer will want to be more informed, from now on, about where materials have come from and what they are sleeping on.

Image credit: Kimpton DeWitt Amsterdam Hotel. Interior Design. Photography. Laure Joliet

Image credit: Kimpton DeWitt Amsterdam Hotel. Interior Design. Photography. Laure Joliet

HK: Does what bed and mattress you specify change depending on where the project is geographically?

Ariane Steinbeck: To a certain extent, yes. Interestingly, we find that the Asian market prefers to specify a firmer mattress. I remember travelling in mainland China not so long ago and wherever we stayed in a non-internationally branded hotel the mattress was rock solid!

Frank Esmeijer: At YOTEL, we call our rooms ‘cabins’ and we believe they are very unique. The bed in each of our cabins takes a leading role. Our model is very different, and our bed has to have the functionality to fold up.

Image credit: YOTEL

HK: So often when we future gaze to what the hospitality and hotel design landscape might look like in the future, the bed is often depicted as something out of a sci-fi movie. And yet we today are grounding the conversation around materials and sustainable methods. Where do you then draw the line between what’s a gimmick and what’s meaningful?

AS: I try to stick to the science and when I am travelling, I would like things to be simple and clean. If we are working with someone independently and we have more of a voice on what gets specified, all the information available is very helpful as decisions are easier to make when they are informed. Personally, I want to know whether or not sleeping on material that is ‘natural’ is better for you…

HS: We always have this argument over natural vs synthetic. Every material that goes into a mattress has its pros and its cons. Natural materials, for example, have really great thermal regulatory properties and are extremely breathable. However, the downsides to natural materials include that they might settle a bit more and generally be less durable. On the other side, synthetic material is probably more durable but does not offer as good breathability. So, as you can hear, it all just completely depends what the end consumer wants.

“The reason why polyester is such a valuable material is that it is arriving as someone else’s’ waste and is approved by the Global Recycled Standards (GRS).” – Angela Moran, Product Strategy Director, Silentnight Group.

Image credit: Silentnight Group

AS: Has it been proven that there is off-gassing by using non-natural materials?

AM: I recently had a call with leaders from the bed industry and we are looking at how to move the industry forward for the societal good. In terms of foam, I have completely changed my view. I initially thought that it may be durable but it is an oil-based product. However, I have now realised, due to the work that Hannah has done, that the mattress is a sustainable option because it just lasts so long. And, at end of life, synthetics are very easy to recycle over the natural materials that, while they are compostable, there is no infrastructure in place to recycle so they are unfortunately going into landfill. The reason why polyester is such a valuable material is that it is arriving as someone else’s’ waste and is approved by the Global Recycled Standards (GRS). In five years, I believe that every mattress material will be able to be recycled, at scale!

“We were finding that many mattresses were passing durability tests in the lab and yet failing in real life scenarios.” – Hannah Shore, Sleep Expert, Silentnight Group.

HK: How do Silentnight test their latest products?

HS: Let me introduce you to Robbie, he is our climate machine who was created as a result of a widespread research collaborations between ourselves, universities and institutions. He heats up to about 75 per cent humidity. We did a bit of research under the duvet, creating our own microclimate. Using Robbie, we can apply heat and moisture in different ways. We can manipulate the settings to match realistic climates in the bedroom. We were finding that many mattresses were passing durability tests in the lab and yet failing in real life scenarios. If you add heat and moisture, as you would have in a real setting, then the fibres were collapsing more. As a result, that can decrease the lifespan of a mattress by up to 30 per cent. So, although we test everything in the lab, we also use Robbie as an in-depth testing method. Another way we can use Robbie is to measure how quickly that heat and moisture goes through the different layers of the mattress. The key finding we found was that the heat and moisture management was in the top five centimeters of the mattress.

Daniel Englender: When it comes to sleep performance, I think everyone has been interested in the science over the last few years especially. What I am interested in understanding more about is the on-going maintenance of the mattress, as in how much they need to be turned etc?

AM: Our learning has been that in a hotel environment it has be easy care and there are a few things to consider. A lot of mattresses these days can come single-sided, so that you don’t have to think or worry about ‘turning’ the mattress continually – and again, that’s where foam really rates highly.

On the other side, the piece of kit that Hannah referred to has allowed us to completely reinvent our fibre specifications. Some of the innovation in the polyester front has been, instead of just horizontally laying fibres, we can now vertically lap them so that they mimic foam more. It ensures that fibres are more long-lasting. From all of this, my conclusion would be that single-sided mattresses are best suited for hotels because you can put more on the top.

Image credit: RPW Design/Marriott International

DE: What’s the magic formula for a zip and link bed to feel like a regular mattress?

David Lawrenson (Sales Director, Silentnight Group): It’s interesting because the zip on a zip-and-link product is a hugely contentious topic in the hospitality industry. Depending on where you have the zip, it can cause the materials to separate and if it is too high up then it becomes uncomfortable for the user. We are working on new technology and products that offer a solution.

“Interestingly for us to fall asleep, our core temperature needs to drop 1 degrees. A lot of people think that wrapping up warm and cosy is the answer, but science has exposed that to the be a myth.” – Hannah Shore, Sleep Expert, Silentnight Group.

HK: Hannah, in a recent article we published from you, you said that 75 per cent of Brits admit to not having good nights’ sleep. 30 per cent of those asked rated their sleep as ‘bad’ Why is this stat so high? 

HS: We live in a 24-hour world at the moment where we don’t shut off with our phones and a zoom call never too far away. These scenarios emit a blue light, which is not conducive for sleeping. It depresses melatonin, which is fundamental for us to fall asleep. Something that I do mention in the article is ‘TLC’, and by that I mean temperature, lighting and comfort. Interestingly for us to fall asleep, our core temperature needs to drop 1 degrees. A lot of people think that wrapping up warm and cosy is the answer, but science has exposed that to the be a myth. Lighting is fundamental, and comfort is a big factor. There are lots of people who are not sleeping on the right mattress. From a hotel perspective, all you have to do is go onto the TripAdviser website to see the amount of comments that reference bad nights’ sleep.

HK: What are your clients’ thoughts, and concerns, when it comes to specifying the bed?

JK: Most of our clients are focused on providing a good sleep experience and it is beneficial to get repeat business. We are led by brand standards, when working for brands such as Radisson Blu and Hyatt, and these standards are generally very high.

HK: When it comes to lighting when talking about sleep performance, there is a lot a talk on circadian rhythm. Are there affordable products out there that offer a quality solution?

JK: I think the price will come down as products become wider developed. To be honest, it [circadian rhythm technology] is not something a lot of the brands who we work with are looking at the moment, but I think it is a very interesting concept. In 20 years alone, there have been a lot of innovations that started being only accessible for luxury brands with deeper pockets that has filtered down into other sectors of the market. So much technology has become widespread now.

Cozy bedroom

Image credit: Silentnight Group

AS: What is the single most element for good sleep, is it the mattress or is the pillow?

HS: You need to get a good combination of both. Both the mattress and the pillow contribute to your spinal alignment. Comfort is subjective – what one person finds comfortable, another will not. So, when we measure comfort, we try where possible lead with objective science. An important factor I look at is spinal alignment. Your mattress provides a lot of support, but if you sleep with the wrong pillow, this can affect your alignment in your neck and down your mid spine.

And that brings me on to talk about Zoning. Working with our partners, we were able to test for optimum spinal alignment. We looked at soft, medium and firm and there were differences. What is more important when looking at a large group of people of all different shapes and sizes to cater to is the zoned part of the mattress. If the centre-third of the mattress is slightly firmer it supports our hips and our lower back. That part of the body needs that little extra element of support. So, a well-zoned mattress with the right pillow is key for sleep performance.

FE: I think there could be an opportunity there. We all remember the days of pillow menus. Ultimately, how do you. There are levels of comfort that you can customise, such as lighting and sound – and as a guest you can optimise your experience. But there are some elements in a room, like a mattress, you cannot customise.

EK: I think we need to bring the pillow menu back. If we are specifying an average mattress (depending on brand), then we can make the pillow the individual differentiator that I had not necessarily thought of.

JK: Does the base and having a sprung base have any baring?

AM: Yes, because it affects the softness. Whatever you are specifying you should always try it on the base that is also being specified.

HK: How do you create a cosy and calm setting in bedrooms that are awkwardly sized?  

JG: We’ve never been a company that really disrupts the conventional bed. It’s an element within the room that is generally based on comfort rather than appearance, depending on the hotel. In awkward spaces, it’s about trying to sprit back to the bare minimum so that you can have a bed that doubles up to be a bedside table. It’s about making these spaces easy to navigate. For mid-level brands, it’s about getting the basics right such as full black-out curtains. These are the annoying details that end up on trip advisor if not thoughtfully implemented.

FE: Space has become a premium these days and I think it’s important to draw out the important elements of the design and try to inject them in first. We are constantly trying to figure out new ways to utilise the space without compromising on comfort and experience.

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

M Social arrives in New York

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
M Social arrives in New York

“It’s about time,” editor Hamish Kilburn reacts to Millennium Hotels & Resorts opening of M Social New York, which marks the brand’s understated yet very dynamic arrival in the United States…

“Ever since checking in to M Social Singapore, designed by the one and only Philippe Starck, a few years ago, I was convinced that this brand would thrive in the concrete neighbourhood of Manhattan,” says editor Hamish Kilburn. “With the opening of a 480-key hotel located at 226 West 52 Street  –literally in the heard of Times Square to you and I – it’s about time (and it’s better late than never).”

M Social NY terrace night view

Image credit: M Social

The hotel’s distinctive, contemporary rooms are designed for all types of travellers to rest and re-energise in style with guest’s practical needs in mind. We’re told that each room has unparalleled Times Square, river or city views and each comes equipped with modern workspaces and ergonomic chairs, Serta mattresses and streaming-capable 4K smart TVs.

Guestroom inside M Social New York

Image credit: M Social

A hub for explorers, M Social features spaces that are designed to be accessible, comfortable and practical, including outdoor venues with some of the best views of the city. M Social New York is home to the vibrant bar and lounge, Beast & Butterflies, a private oasis perched above Times Square boasting unobstructed views of the city and the perfect vantage point for the iconic Times Square Ball Drop. Guests of Beast & Butterflies can indulge whilst eying New York City’s sparkle on a 7500 square foot wrap around terrace adjacent to an indoor glass perch. Beast & Butterflies is designed to be a vibrant space with a highly curated cocktail menu and light bites.

The hotel is adorned with an eclectic art collection and pairs its unique architecture with contemporary, avant-garde designs that illustrate a story based on New York City’s main characteristics. The lobby showcases a digital art installation which combines architecture, contemporary art and technology to create an unexpected and dynamic experience. 32 digital screens continuously display a curated library of digital art, transforming the space into an immersive living narrative that incorporates elegant display pieces throughout the area. Specialised art consultants also helped inject their own quirks throughout the hotel with installations such as the 600 sq ft lobby art wall, designed to enhance the aesthetic and spatial designs of the Times Square property.

The M Social brand was launched in Singapore in 2016. Millennium Hotels and Resorts is exploring ways to grow the brand in more cities, to capture diverse stories and build up a community that shares itself with authenticity, an open mind and giving heart.  M Social New York will be the third location for the brand with other outposts in Singapore and Auckland. 

Main image credit: M Social

In Conversation With: Alex Tredez on designing The Lost Poet

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Alex Tredez on designing The Lost Poet

In an exclusive interview, editor Hamish Kilburn meets Alex Tredez, the lead designer of The Lost Poet, a new boutique hotel that shelters oodles of quirky and local personality. Ahead of it opening as a ‘modern interpretation of a traditional guest house’ on London’s Portobello Road, we took a sneak peek inside…

“We felt that there was a gap in the market for accommodation which offers high quality service, attention to detail and professionalism synonymous with the hotel experience – but also offering an authentic local experience which guests love about Airbnb-like residences,” Alex Tredez, lead designer of The Lost Poet, explains to me as we start to discuss one of West London’s most anticipated hotel openings this year.

Deeply rooted in its surrounding area, The Lost Poet, a hotel that is expected to open its doors this month following much anticipation, comes from the team at Cubic Studios – a local property design studio, born and bred in Notting Hill. The townhouse, located at Number 6, Portobello Road in London’s quaint Notting Hill neighbourhood, is a poetic love letter to the area, celebrating its creativity and dynamism through four individually designed bedrooms. The design harnesses the colour and playful curiosity of Portobello Road and takes inspiration from the market, mixing the old with the new. I was lucky enough to see beyond the colourful sketches to get a sneak peek and interview with the project’s lead designer.

The Lost Poet illustration

Image caption: An illustration of the exterior of the hotel

Hamish Kilburn: How will the hotel’s design challenge conventional London hospitality?

Alex Tredez: The Lost Poet is a modern interpretation of a traditional guest house. As far as we know, there is nothing quite like it. 

We felt that there was a gap in the market for accommodation which offers high quality service, attention to detail and professionalism synonymous with the hotel experience – but also offering an authentic local experience which guests love about Airbnb-like residences. 

It’s a concept that we thought is perfect for a city stay as it gives the traveller the best of both worlds. The guest house is an experience / destination on its own but it’s also very much rooted in the local area. The idea was to create accommodation for those who want to explore and experience the neighbourhood but also want a comfortable and characterful space to retreat to and relax in. Notting Hill is such a lively area with so much to offer we’d like to think we can encourage guests to explore it and enjoy. 

The small scale of the property and technology used through-out give the guests maximum privacy and flexibility. For example, the online check-in feature allows the guests to submit necessary information ahead of their stay, keyless access enables them to open the accommodation simply using their mobile phone. No matter what time the guests arrive at the property they are able to just walk in straight into the room. The receptionist and online support are there to answer any queries and provide assistance. The guests are free to have as little or as much face to face contact with the guest house staff as they choose. 

 We believe it is The Lost Poet’s unique mix of qualities is what will challenge the conventional hospitality. 

HK: With so much history in that area of London, how did you narrow down the interior design scheme?

AT: Embracing the rich history and character of the area was a huge part of the brief and a challenge we very much enjoyed. We felt it was important for this rich mix of culture and history to translate into the interiors. Our other objective was for the scheme to feel coherent and polished and have the same attention to detail that we strive to achieve on our residential projects. Having worked in Notting Hill for many years, this project is close to our hearts.  

The iconic pastel terraces of Portobello and nearby roads definitely inspired us. For this we drew from the classic proportions and timeless elegance of Georgian buildings in Notting Hill. Their construction uses a limited palette of materials such as yellow brick, stucco and stone and is what gives these streets coherence and harmony. However, instead of using a complex multi coloured palette throughout the property we decided to use different palette for each room. Our objective was to convey the vibrancy and playfulness of the area in The Lost Poet as a whole but have each bedroom feel more tranquil creating for the guests a welcome break from the surrounding bustle.

Using the colour as the tool adding individuality to the rooms also allowed us to use same architectural features and a similar overall design approach in each room so that they all feel like they belong in the same property but also have individual character. 

“We opted for mid tone and dark wood to add warmth and really tie the antique and retro furniture together.” – Alex Tredez, lead designer, The Lost Poet.

For eclectic and layered interior we used a mix of elegant classical inspired detailing and proportions, luxury traditional materials, modern forms as well as contemporary patterns. We opted for mid tone and dark wood to add warmth and really tie the antique and retro furniture together. Reclaimed and natural  materials add comfort and create domestic/ informal feel. Asymmetrical balance adds playfulness, visual interest and relaxed vibe. 

HK: How do you predict the pandemic will change the way modern travellers explore? 

AT: The pandemic has made many people really think about the way we travel and why we travel. We suspect it will change the way we explore. For starters, customers will put extra value on smart solutions such as online check-in and keyless access which can add the feeling of safety as well as flexibility. Travellers are looking for a more personal connection which values quality over quantity. Bespoke and meaningful experiences will be even more valued and by a wider portion of the market – the discerning traveller will make conscious choices, people having to really research and plan, less impulse decisions. Travellers may be willing to stay in one place for longer. For us this means longer stays, taking things at a slower pace which in turn means more time to explore the area. Guests are more conscious about sustainability, and we expect to see an increase in eco and wellness tourism.

I also think that we may see an increase in last minute bookings – still considered plans but confirmed shorter lead times than what the industry standard was in 2019.

HK: What’s the scene like on Portobello Road? 

At the moment? We are happy to see many restaurants and bars are and have been adapting well. We are seeing increased number of al-fresco dining and dining options. Some businesses have been burned though the pandemic and have since blossomed (just one example is Buns from Home). 

In general? We love that there are so many small businesses and restaurants on the street. You can wine and dine here for a week and not have to go to the same place twice. You can find everything from Moroccan sweets, through to Michelin starred restaurants as well as highly specialised vendors (vintage glasses, unique blends of tea, bespoke perfume etc). 

HK: Now more than ever design and service must answer each other. How is this the case inside The Lost Poet? 

AT: The Lost Poet thrives on its attention to detail. Since the inception of the design phase of the project to the thought put into the guest experience, the devil has been in the detail. The Lost Poet is Cubic’s love letter to Notting Hill, it’s part of the community, in the coolest neighbourhood in London. We want our guests to experience that, to feel and love the quirkiness and the friendly embrace of Portobello. The design of the rooms is intended to feel like home, we want our guests to be able to come ‘home’ to The Lost Poet and the end of their day. The service will be reflected in that. We only have a few rooms so which allows us to provide a much more personal experience and adapt to ever-changing guest needs. Everything from toiletries to our seasonal breakfast offering has been carefully considered.  

“We know how we arrived at the name but feel that just like with poetry sometimes it is best to leave these things open to interpretation.” – Alex Tredez, lead designer, The Lost Poet.

HK: How do the bathrooms inside the property go beyond just being practical spaces

AT: We have put a lot of thought into making sure they are very special, each bathroom is as unique to the room (different finish on the sanitaryware, different wallpapers, different layouts). We have closely considered how guests would get ready and added seating where possible and wall lighting to help elevate this experience, creating a beautiful space where you can still enjoy your daily rituals. We wanted to create that ‘wow’ moment and the special feel you’d expect from a luxury spa with loads of added character to match the feel of the property.  

HK: Who is ‘the lost poet’? 

AT: Notting Hill is said to have had an artistic association since the end of 19 century, we feel it’s still very prominent. You can feel it in the area and we love it and think it is one of the things that makes it so special. We know how we arrived at the name but feel that just like with poetry sometimes it is best to leave these things open to interpretation…  

Main image credit: The Lost Poet

The Brit List Awards judges 2021

The Brit List Awards 2021: Meet the judges

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Awards 2021: Meet the judges

Now that the free nominations/applications process is open for The Brit List Awards 2021, it’s time to meet this year’s judges. The 2021 panel consists of respected travel journalists and international experts in the design, architecture and hotel development arenas. The judges will gather to select the winners ahead of the awards ceremony on November 3 at PROUD Embankment, London…

The Brit List Awards judges 2021

Right on cue – and continuing tradition – the next step after nominations and applications have opened for The Brit List Awards is for us to announce this year’s judging panel.

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 also included an award-winning travel journalist and a cluster of respected hospitality and hotel design experts to join this year’s panel.

(Free to apply/nominate) To nominate/apply for The Brit List Awards 2021, click here.

Without further a due, the judges for The Brit List Awards 2021 are:

Lindsey Rendall, President Elect, BIID

Image credit: Rendall & Wright

Lindsey Rendall is the soon-to-be President of the BIID. After graduating Lindsey Rendall worked for Designers Guild, the internationally renowned home furnishing brand before continuing her design career with Cameron Broom, based in south London. During her five years with the company, Rendall became principal designer and designed a wide range of projects including more than 90 domestic properties, five offices, three commissions for The Hurlingham Club and the complete renovation of 28 Portland Place, a beautiful historic building dating from 1775.

Rendall enthusiasm, attention to detail and ability to identify with her clients has ensured repeat business and many recommendations and referrals. In 2010 Lindsey was granted full membership of the British Institute of Interior Design. Lindsey joined forces with Helen to set up Interior Design practice Rendall & Wright in 2006. This dynamic duo, bring together design expertise and seamless project management, providing a personal and professional service.

Lester Bennett, President, BIID

Image credit: BIID

As a registered interior design with more than 30 years’ experience, Lester Bennett will be the Past President of the BIID during the judging process of The Brit List Awards 2021. Joining the panel for a second year, Bennett 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.

Lisa Grainger, Deputy and Tavel Editor, Times Luxx magazine

Image credit: Twitter (@LisaGrainger4)

Viewing this year’s entries from a different perspective over the likes of design and architecture professionals, Lisa Grainger is an award-winning travel journalist who has worked for The Times – from the arts and news desks to The Times Magazine and LUXX – since 1995. Grainger, who has become a well-known figure on the luxury travel scene and an influential voice which is amplified regularly in her authentic reviews, is a regular contributor to panels on conservation and luxury travel.

Frank M. Pfaller, President, HoteliersGuild

Image credit: Frank M. Pfaller

Image credit: Frank M. Pfaller

Frank M. Pfaller, the Founder and President of Hoteliers Guild joins the panel with his ‘no two people are alike’ attitude. Impressed by the accessibility of The Brit List Awards 2021, Pfaller believes that  while every property must meticulously reach and maintain highest standards of quality and personalised guest services, none should have to bear the dull stamp of conformity. HoteliersGuild was created with this mentality, and has become a private and independent society of active luxury hoteliers with the aim to connect the best of the hospitality community in a place that encourages the exchange of ideas and personal friendships.

 

Dereck & Beverly Joubert, filmmakers and owners, Great Plains

Image credit: Great Plains

Dereck and Beverly Joubert are world-renowned wildlife filmmakers and are the founders of Great Plains, an authentic, unique and iconic leading tourism conservation organisation. The pair will capture this year’s entries through their unique lens to capture, hopefully, the hotel projects that push boundaries in architecture, design and hospitality. Great Plains consists of 16 prestigious owned and partner safari properties in Botswana, Kenya and Zimbabwe – and offers exceptional safari experiences built around bespoke, caring, meaningful and considerate values.

Ngahuia Damerell, Senior Design Project Manager – Premium & Luxury Brands Design Solutions, Design & Technical Services, Accor

Image credit: Accor

Ngahuia Damerell, on the Board of Directors for the NEWH Paris Chapter, will join the panel to assist in the judging for the Rising Star Award, following Accor’s commitment to support young talent with the Accor Design Awards.

Damerell earned a bachelor’s degree in textile design with a focus on interior textiles from Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand. Her professional journey has taken her to Sydney, London, New York and now, Paris, where she works as the Global Senior Design Project Manager for Accor’s Luxury & Premium brands, including Raffles, Sofitel, Pullman and Movenpick.

Hamish Kilburn, Editor, Hotel Designs

Editor Hamish Kilburn headshot

Image credit: Hotel Designs

Completing this year’s panel, Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs, will return for a fourth consecutive year to act as head judge for The Brit List Awards.

In his role on the leading online publication, Kilburn sensitively narrates the industry’s development. As well as travelling the globe, to far-flung destinations, in order to review some of the world’s most impressive hotels, he has also interviewed the masterminds behind their creations. “The Brit List Awards has become a valuable tool for the industry to understand who the real leaders and visionaries are among us,” he said. “In our meaningful search, we are looking for people and brands going beyond what is conventional – and in the four years I have held this position, the industry has never disappointed in showing us projects that are, quite simply, incredible.”

Most recently, Kilburn become the host of DESIGN POD, a new podcast for the A&D community and was also part of the team who masterminded Hotel Designs LIVE, a series of virtual online conferences for designers, architects and hoteliers in order to keep the industry connected and the conversation flowing. 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.

So there you have it, your judges for The Brit List Awards 2021.

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

If you would like to discuss various sponsorship packages available, please contact Katy Phillips via email, or call 01992 374050.

Headline Partner: Crosswater

VIP arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in June 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in June 2021

From re-imagined landmarks to Portobello boltholes and new hospitality hotspots, here’s your ultimate guide on the hottest, must-visit hotels that are opening in June 2021, just in time for the summer season to start. Editor Hamish Kilburn continues our VIP Arrivals series as international travel and hospitality open up once more…

A few weeks ago, restricted by green, amber and red lists – it’s as if we are at a junction and the traffic lights are broken – we on the editorial desk at Hotel Designs unveiled the best design hotels to visit in Portugal. But, as you know, we are a global platform and have over the last few months been publishing our VIP Arrivals series, which takes a closer look at the latest hotels opening on the hotel design scene.

For the June edition, things are hotting us as the summer season approaches. Although (for the time being, at least) many desirable destinations remain untouchable, we thrown down the metaphorical towels on the sun loungers for you at the new hotels we have recently added to our own travel bucket list. Here’s our editor’s pick of the must-visit hotels opening in June.

Proper Downtown LA

Proper Downtown LA: Hotels opening in June

Proper Downtown LA

The visionary herself, Kelly Wearstler, is preparing to unveil her latest masterpiece. With city lights and vintage brick as backdrop, Proper re-imagines and updates a landmark in the heart of the Fashion District into a 148-key destination hotel. Here, the creative vision of Kelly Wearstler seamlessly blends past and present with compelling design, vintage influence and local art. Essentials include two restaurants led by James Beard Award-winning L.A. chef Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne (Lucques, AOC, Tavern); an intimate lounge, and a city-view rooftop pool and lounge-bar-restaurant. Especially Proper are two singular, one-of-a-kind suites fashioned from the basketball court and indoor pool of the building’s sporting club past.

Moxy Bergen, Norway

Moxy Bergen interior public areas - Hotels opening in June

Image credit: Moxy Hotels

Located in Norway’s striking Bergen, a World Heritage City with picturesque outdoor life, Moxy Bergen’s prime waterfront location offers unbeatable views overlooking Norway’s famed fjords. Moxy is an energetic alternative to the typical hotel experience in Bergen, proving that choosing affordability doesn’t mean sacrificing style and comfort. The hotel’s playful design is inspired by its destination; the exterior is coated with rails in a pattern mimicking the surrounding waves, and inside there is a focus on natural elements with wooden furniture and installations. Fun hunters can soak up local scenery throughout their stay with each of the hotel’s 199 guestrooms providing Instagram-worthy fjord or mountain views. Down in the lobby guests will find quirky creations by local artists, including a Norwegian folklore figure from the forests of Norway. The Now Lounge has pulled the hotel’s harbour setting inside with anchor ball lamps and rope decorations, telling the story of local life. Moxy Bergen also holds leading sustainability certificates, a perfect match for the eco-conscious traveller.

Kuda Villingili, the Maldives

Arival jetty Kuda Villingili – Hotels opening in June

Image credit: Kuda Villingili

Recently published on Hotel Designs as one of the most highly anticipated hotels opening in June, Kuda Villingili is a Maldivian jewel. Conceived with nature in mind by the Maldivian architectural firm GX Associates in collaboration with the Singapore-based interior design company URBNarc, Kuda Villingili boasts 95 luxury villas – 36 overwater and 59 beachside. All are inspired by the sprawling nature of the Maldives and offer panoramic views of the pristine ocean, allowing for the natural sounds of the sea to awaken the senses.

The resort’s interiors authentically reflect the natural beauty that surrounds the island. Traditional Maldivian art pieces and textiles are dotted throughout, and the expert use of natural materials enhance the harmony between water, light and wind. Inspired by the ocean and local fauna, interiors feature custom, eco-friendly furniture and fittings (including carpets manufactured from recycled plastic bottles). This mixed-use resort development also offers a variety of accommodation types to meet the needs of all – groups, couples, solo travellers and families.

The Lost Poet, London 

The Lost Poet - Hotels opening in June

Image credit: The Lost Poet

Deeply rooted in its surrounding area, The Lost Poet comes from the team at Cubic Studios – a local property design studio, born and bred in Notting Hill. The townhouse, located at Number 6, Portobello Road in London’s quaint Notting Hill neighbourhood, is a poetic love letter to the area, celebrating its creativity and dynamism through four individually designed bedrooms. The design harnesses the colour and playful curiosity of Portobello Road and takes inspiration from the market, mixing the old with the new. Guests will find modern art, bold wallpapers and bespoke furniture sitting in juxtaposition with antique trinkets and reclaimed wood panelling created from old school science labs.

Accessible to guests arriving at any time of day or night, the concept offers the independence of rental property with the design, housekeeping and concierge elements synonymous with a luxury boutique hotel. 

OMMA Santorini

White room inside OMMA Santorini

Image credit: OMMA Santorini

Epoque Collection, a new luxury boutique hotel management company, is opening the brand’s first meticulously selected five-star property, the beautiful and breathtaking OMMA Santorini. After a soft opening in 2019, the much-anticipated stunning and secluded hilltop hotel with no surrounding properties in sight, is set to officially open in June. From the outside architecture to the interior design, OMMA Santorini offers a journey of discovery through all the senses. With just 25 intimate rooms and suites and five villas, organised amphitheatrically around the element of water, OMMA Santorini provides an intimate hideaway for couples and families alike. Each of the five beautiful villas is blessed with a private swimming pool and sprawling sea views overlooking the Aegean Sea. The contemporary and timeless style throughout the hotel balances crisp white walls and clean-cut spaces against charcoal sun loungers and furniture to create a design that oozes luxury and elegance. Cycladic white buildings surround the extraordinary double infinity pool which is set across two levels and is amongst the largest pools in Santorini. For that reason, it makes our top picks of hotels opening in June.

Hotel Lou Pinet

A yellow stripped vibrant public area

Image credit: Hotel Lou Pinet/Mr Tripper

Just like its sibling hotel, Le Cou Cou in Meribel, Hotel Lou Pinet is a piece of art, if you like, painstakingly designed to celebrate something different on the hospitality scene in Europe. And although it’s not new – the hotel first opened in 2019 – its style is as fresh today as it was then. Taking design cues from the rich Mediteranian gardens, the hotel, which re-emerges in June from its forced closure, is a peaceful abode away from hustle and bustle of Saint-Tropez. While its design remains timeless – and flawless, if we do say so ourselves – Lou Pinet has introduced a new offerings and treatments in the spa, as service and design work in harmony in what is a modern treasure. Lou Pinet is an intimate hideaway echoing the vintage Saint-Tropez spirit of the 60’s and 70’ where loved-up couples will dance the night away in the magical gardens, as the live music transports them to this vintage era.

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Main image credit: OMMA Santorini

Hotel Designs: round up 27 may

Weekly briefing: Maldives opening, bathroom trends & IDAS line-up

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Maldives opening, bathroom trends & IDAS line-up

Editor Hamish Kilburn here – right on cue – to round off your week with a low-down of the most-read hotel design stories from the past few days. This week’s edition of the Weekly Briefing includes our sneak peek inside the Maldives’ latest design-led hotel about to open, a video panel discussion on bathroom trends and our in conversation with the wonderful Noami Heaton, CEO of The Other House…

Hotel Designs: round up 27 may

Where do we start? The challenge this week, now that UK hospitality is on the mend, following a rather bleak coma, has been sifting through press releases to select the most interesting and impactful stories for the international hotel design scene. In addition, of course, we have published a handful of our own crafted features and interviews that we believe answer questions regarding new challenges for the future of hotel design landscape.

So, before the weekend – a long weekend if you are based in the UK – can official start, here are our top stories from the week.

Island life: Kuda Villingili in the Maldives prepares to open

Arival jetty Kuda Villingili

Image credit: Kuda Villingili

In just a few days time, luxury travellers will be able to check in to Kuda Villingili, a much-anticipated luxury island retreat in the Maldivian archipelago. The remarkable five-star property located in the North Male Atoll, Kuda Villingili is the Maldives redefined; a unique, experience-driven concept, home to an impressive line-up of gourmet dining options, an idyllic beachfront spa, and an azure, spacious 150-metre pool, encircled by stylish sunbeds, cabanas and bars – take it from us, it’s stunning! 

Read more.

(in video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Bathrooms beyond practical spaces

Following the opening seminar on ‘a new era of lifestyle‘, which was no doubt the session that set the tone for the rest of the day’s panel discussions, session two of Hotel Designs LIVE was sponsored by bathroom manufacturer Grohe. For this chapter of the one-day conference, Hotel Designs decided to focus the lens on an area of the hotel that has been at the centre of the wellness conversation over the last year.

Welcoming leading designers and architects to join him on the virtual sofa, the panel looked at all five senses to understand how bathroom design and wellness areas are evolving in order to cater to new demands from modern travellers. Understanding bathroom spaces in all colours, shapes and sizes, the panel started to ultimately establish trends and major talking points for wellness spaces in 2021 and beyond.

Read more. 

In Conversation With: Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House

Naomi_Heaton_CEO_TheOtherHouse

Image credit: The Other House

Having just unveiled The Other House, a new lifestyle hospitality brand that is said to ‘revolutionise hospitality’, Naomi Heaton’s two new hotels that are planned to open in the next few years are expected to make unapologetic and bold statements on the hotel scene in London. But what else has Heaton got planned? We caught up with the visionary herself to find out more.

Read more…

Interior Design & Architecture Summit: Speakership line up finalised

Speakers for IDAS and projects they have worked on

There is still time for designers and architects to sign up to attend the Interior Design & Architecture Summit (IDAS) on June 30 at Hilton Canary Wharf, London. The one-day event, which launched in 2019, is designed to dynamically bridge the gap between senior designers, architects and key-industry suppliers.

The Summit includes pre-arranged face-to-face meetings, a networking lunch. In addition, Hotel Designs has curated a captivating seminar programme that will run throughout the day, inviting leading industry figures to discuss a range of relevant and thought-provoking topics.

Here’s what to look forward to…

Read more.

What we know about Britain’s largest cruise ship, designed by Jestico + Whiles

Britain’s largest and most environmentally-friendly cruise ship is named in a record-breaking virtual ceremony. Britain’s largest and most environmentally-friendly cruise ship, P&O Cruises Iona, has been officially named in a very contemporary ceremony with a record-breaking virtual audience. Iona, powered by liquefied natural gas, ground-breaking for the UK cruise industry and one of the cleanest fuels in the world, arrived for the first time into her home port of Southampton this morning ahead of tonight’s official naming ceremony. The ship was officially named tonight by Dame Irene Hays, chair of Hays Travel, Britain’s largest independent travel agency, in a glittering quayside ceremony by the bow of the ship. The event, held at sunset, was hosted by Jo Whiley and broadcast to a “virtual” audience of over 25,000 guests. The highlight of the show was a rousing set from Iona’s music director Gary Barlow performing two iconic Take That hits “Greatest Day and “Rule the World” against the backdrop of a spectacular laser show. A specially produced Nebuchadnezzar (equivalent to 20x 750ml bottles) of Alex James’s Britpop cider smashed against the hull of the ship in spectacular style to bring it good fortune in the future. There was also a special performance by The Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir and Mica Paris singing Believe, a song which was composed by Simon Haw MBE and was dedicated to Her Majesty The Queen, head of the Commonwealth, for its 70th anniversary in 2019. Picture date Sunday 16th May, 2021. Picture by Christopher Ison. Contact +447544 044177 chris@christopherison.com For further press information please contact: Michele Andjel, michele.andjel@carnivalukgroup.com 023 8065 6653 / 07730 732 072 Laura Tattam, laura.tattam@pocruises.com 02380 656651 / 07771 283 845 Jenny Hadley, jenny.hadley@pocruises.com 023 8065 6650 / 07825 120 088

Image credit: P&O Cruises

Britain’s largest and most environmentally friendly ship, powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) will accommodate up to 5,200 guests. Iona was named in a spectacular ceremony broadcast to a virtual audience on Sunday May 16 and the ship’s maiden voyage will be on August 7, sailing the UK coast and up to her namesake island.

The award-winning interior design and architecture studio, Jestico + Whiles, which recently took part in a panel discussion on the new era of lifestyle at Hotel Designs LIVE, has designed most of the food and beverage spaces throughout the ship and the most spectacular space of all, the soaring triple-height Grand Atrium which captures unprecedented panoramic views across the ever-changing seascape, as far as the horizon.

Read more.

The role of wellness in the new era of ‘lifestyle hospitality’

Image credit: The Cottonmill Spat at Sopwell House

Image credit: The Cottonmill Spat at Sopwell House

Following on from the virtual roundtable: ‘Raising the floor in lifestyle’ and our Hotel Designs LIVE session entitled: ‘A new era of lifestyle’, it’s safe to say that we are putting a lot of emphasis on understanding lifestyle hospitality in 2021 and beyond. To continue the theme, we asked Beverley Bayes, Creative Director at Sparcstudio, to look at the role that spa and wellness has to play in the new chapter of hotel design.

Read more.

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

 

Island life: Kuda Villingili in the Maldives prepares to open

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Island life: Kuda Villingili in the Maldives prepares to open

Located in the North Malé Atoll, in the Maldives, Kuda Villingili is preparing its international entrance with what we are told an impressive line-up of gourmet dining options – including a take on the famous Singaporean Hawkers street food market – an idyllic beachfront spa, and world-class facilities for those with a penchant for an adrenaline rush. As demand for hotel development in the region soars, let’s take a look…

In just a few days time, luxury travellers will be able to check in to Kuda Villingili, a much-anticipated luxury island retreat in the Maldivian archipelago. The remarkable five-star property located in the North Male Atoll, Kuda Villingili is the Maldives redefined; a unique, experience-driven concept, home to an impressive line-up of gourmet dining options, an idyllic beachfront spa, and an azure, spacious 150-metre pool, encircled by stylish sunbeds, cabanas and bars – take it from us, it’s stunning! 

Conceived with nature in mind by the Maldivian architectural firm GX Associates in collaboration with the Singapore-based interior design company URBNarc, the resort boasts 95 luxury villas – 36 overwater and 59 beachside. All are inspired by the sprawling nature of the Maldives and offer panoramic views of the pristine ocean, allowing for the natural sounds of the sea to awaken the senses.

The resort’s interiors authentically reflect the natural beauty that surrounds the island. Traditional Maldivian art pieces and textiles are dotted throughout, and the expert use of natural materials enhance the harmony between water, light and wind. Inspired by the ocean and local fauna, interiors feature custom, eco-friendly furniture and fittings (including carpets manufactured from recycled plastic bottles). This mixed-use resort development also offers a variety of accommodation types to meet the needs of all – groups, couples, solo travellers and families.

Gastronomy

The diversity of cultural expression is celebrated throughout the resort’s gourmet offerings. With views of the idyllic beachfront, the resort’s signature dining establishment – The Restaurant – serves the freshest, handcrafted food for breakfast and offers three menus at dinner: Fire, Earth and Ocean. Inspired by the traditional American Steak House experience, Fire explores the art of grilling meats to perfection. Earth is an Asian-inspired concept that celebrates organic ingredients to enhance classic dishes like noodles and dim sum creations, and Ocean is a fine-dining experience championing seafood specialties, prepared with a European sensibility.

Arival jetty Kuda Villingili

Image credit: Kuda Villingili

Relaxed, flavoursome and social, The Hawkers is an upscale three-stall street food market that sits poolside and serves up soulful, sharing style options. The open kitchen dishes up Indian-Arabic inspired flame-grilled kebabs, charcoaled tandoor, and mouth-watering shawarma, along with Thai-Japanese delicacies such as robatayaki grill and sushi, and Italian-Mediterranean favourites like savoury wood-fired pizza.

A South American take on the classic lunch beach menu is available at The Beach Club, together with daily live DJ sets and an extended list of refreshing frozen cocktails and rosé wines. The resort’s two bars, the Main Bar and the Poolside bar, both offer classic cocktails, mocktails and hand-crafted beers. And overlooking the lagoon, the resort’s cosy Cigar Lounge offers the finest international whiskies and cognacs and a wide selection of premium cigars in a warm, sophisticated and sumptuously leather-decorated ambience.

Over in the spa

Featuring oversized stone baths, organic and plant-based products by VOYA, the spa at Kuda Villingili is rooted in self-love, self-discovery and wellness. Boasting eight self-contained oceanfront spa villas, each promises a holistic journey to reclaim self-connection, self-care and balance through an array of therapeutic and mindful practices.

Image credit: Kuda Villingili

Restorative leisure pursuits include an elevated yoga pavilion, Technogym and a recreation centre with table tennis, billiards, karaoke & table games. There are two state-of-the-art tennis courts, beach volleyball and island excursions that range from surfing, scuba and stargazing to wildlife encounters, sandbank dining and big game fishing.

The hotel opens on June 6. As the Maldives continues to be on the ‘amber list’ for UK travellers, the opening has given modern travellers something to look forward to when non-restricted travel opens once more.

Main image: Kuda Villingili

Render of luxury rooftop property

Industry insight: Transforming leisure spaces with innovative tile design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: Transforming leisure spaces with innovative tile design

As public spaces begin to re-open, now more than ever business owners are looking for new ways to entice potential visitors. In addition to high-performance and functionality, aesthetics are key to designing a stylish pool or spa environment fit for purpose. We speak to CTD Architectural Tiles to learn more about the brand’s latest tile design collections…

Render of luxury rooftop property

When it comes to designing spas and leisure spaces, tiles can have a real visual impact on the overall look of the space. An integral part to any scheme, tiles allow designers, architects and specifiers to experiment – to create eye-catching designs for all to enjoy.

From marble-effect finishes to industrial inspired porcelain, CTD Architectural Tiles’ expansive collection of tiles not only looks impressive, but it also conforms to the highest technical standards to provide a solution for any leisure design brief.

Provide peace of mind with aesthetic anti-slip tiles

Health and safety is of utmost importance in any commercial sector, especially high-traffic leisure spaces or swimming pools, where excess surface water is likely. These spaces demand a tile solution that offers peace of mind, with anti-slip properties that meet the necessary safety regulations in order to deem the environment safe for public use. Yet, functionality doesn’t always mean compromising on aesthetics, CTD Architectural’s tile collection is specially designed to deliver on both style and performance.

Petra exudes a classic appeal and combines the beauty of natural stone with the benefits of an anti-slip ‘Class C’ porcelain surface. With three colours available, Petra allows designers to create a cohesive scheme, from swimming pool surrounds to outdoor patio flooring – the design possibilities are infinite.

For a more timeless look, business owners should opt for Milan, this beautiful tile can be specified in three soft tones: Sand, Grey or Marengo. Pairing natural beauty with the hardwearing properties of porcelain stone, these tiles are ideal for achieving a calm and tranquil ambience whilst fulfilling all of the anti-slip properties required for safe pool environments.

YDRAY-AMBIENTE-MILAN-GRIS-PISCINA

Image credit: CTD Architectural Tiles

A forward-thinking antibacterial surface solution

As our attention turns to hygiene and the importance of safely re-opening hospitality spaces, antibacterial tiles have increased in popularity. The perfect surface option for heavy footfall areas, antibacterial tiles benefit from groundbreaking Microban® technology in the form of a specialist coating applied directly to the tile surface.

Anthology is available in five muted colours; the porcelain wall tile is suitable for application on both the wall and floor and aims to depict the natural shade variations and inherent veining of stone and marble. With its enhanced antibacterial coating and high-quality visual appeal, Anthology is the perfect tile to breathe life into spa environments and luxurious poolside areas.

Comprehensive tiles designed for swimming pools 

When designing for a swimming pool there are extra considerations that need to be accounted for – stairs, overflow systems and even a skimmer need to be factored into the design scheme to help create a seamless surface throughout.

CTD Architectural Tiles’ Opera collection skilfully blends concrete and stone to create a range of industrial-looking porcelain tiles. Developed in large format, with surface finishes for both indoor and outdoor use, the stunning avant-garde slab can be specified in four colourways: Ivory, Light, Iron and Silver. An ideal choice for the leisure industry, the Opera range is supported by specialist pieces designed exclusively for swimming pool use.

As the leisure industry continues to evolve and bounce-back after a year of uncertainty, it’s clear that by creating stylish yet functional schemes, business owners can deliver unique swimming pool environments that guests will want to spend time in.

CTD Architectural Tiles 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: CTD Architectural Tiles

Naomi_Heaton_CEO_TheOtherHouse

In Conversation With: Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House

760 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House

Having just unveiled The Other House, a new lifestyle hospitality brand that is said to ‘revolutionise hospitality’, Naomi Heaton’s two new hotels that are planned to open in the next few years are expected to make unapologetic and bold statements on the hotel scene in London. But what else has Heaton got planned? Editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with the visionary herself to find out more…

Naomi_Heaton_CEO_TheOtherHouse

In a place like London, where quintessentially British tradition seems (on the surface, at least) to take precedence, anything new and disruptive to what convention on the hospitality scene needs to arrive fully packed with substance if it is to survive, let alone thrive. For Naomi Heaton and her team, there was no other place in the world to set the scene of a new brand that has been brewing for what, I am told, has been seven years in the making.

Heaton, who recently joined me in a panel discussion at Hotel Designs LIVE to debate the topic of a new era of lifestyle, is now ready to share the details of her new brand, which is expected to “blur the lines” that pre-exist in hospitality, in order to instead create a cutting-edge type of new accommodation. The Other House – ‘your home for as long as you’re in town’ – will disrupt the traditional sectors of hotels, serviced apartments and private rentals, effortlessly and elegantly combining home comforts with hotel style facilities, whatever the length of stay.

The plot thickens, as Heaton and her team recently shared that The Other House will launch with the bold opening of two hotels that will be sheltered in two very different but equally majestic buildings in London – one in Kensington (opening in 2022) and other in Covent Garden (opening in 2023).

“Our aim was to create a second home for our residents for as long as they were in town – quite simply to be their other house.” – Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House.

To understand more about how The Other House was born, and what we can expect next, I caught up with Heaton…

Hamish Kilburn: We love the new branding – can you tell us a bit more about the creative journey to finalise the name?

Naomi Heaton: We have been on an amazing journey which started many years ago when we first recognised the need for a whole new approach to hospitality. This all started to become a reality when we teamed up with our joint venture partners APG, the Dutch pension provider and acquired our first asset in South Kensington in December 2019. One of our early appointments was the award-winning branding agency Design Studio who we had enormous fun with, working out exactly who our target audience was, what their aspirations and convictions are and the kind of environment they wanted to live in.

The core plank was to provide a sense of place that was in tune with our guests needs coupled with an ability for them to access hotel style services 24/7 but only as and when they wanted. We came up with literally hundreds of possible names but the answer was very simple. Our aim was to create a second home for our residents for as long as they were in town – quite simply to be their other house. It was just a short step from there to arrive at the The Other House!

Image caption: The exterior image of the Wellington property, which will shelter The Other House's Covent Garden hospitality offering.

Image caption: Prime location. The Wellington property, located in Covent Garden, will shelter The Other House’s second hotel, expected to open in 2023.

HK: Covent Garden and South Kensington shelter very different vibes. Why did you choose these locations for the first two properties?

NH: As a company we have always specialised in central London generally acquiring assets which are in need of refurbishment and reorganisation. This way we can create exactly what we want as well as minimising the environmental impact.  We also love the heritage architecture and the relative scarcity of such buildings. It is probably a harder task than building new but the end result is something unique with embedded history.

Central London is made up of many ‘villages’ with distinct personalities and as you say vibes. They are all convenient but different people want to be in different locations and have different requirements. Covent Garden and South Kensington are poles apart but equally attractive and exciting and we have managed to acquire beautiful properties in both locations. Our intention is now to fill in the ‘gaps’ between them in equally exciting places such as Mayfair, Sloane Square, Notting Hill and Marylebone. We are always on the lookout for opportunities but have set a high bar.

“We have approached The Other House through a residential lens rather than a conventional hotel perspective.” – Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House.

HK: You recently joined our panel on ‘the new era of lifestyle’ at Hotel Designs LIVE. How does The Other House open the door for a new era of lifestyle?

NH: The Other House aims to disrupt the traditional sectors of hotels, serviced apartments and private rentals, combining home comforts with hotel style facilities, whatever the length of stay – from a day to a year (or even longer).

We recognised that the needs of travellers in these sectors are merging. Our background is private rentals (the PRS). We could see they were all looking for a real sense of place and space that this sector provides combined with the services offered by traditional hotels but only as and when they want them.  Technology will play an important role in delivering this but making a positive social and environmental impact and ensuring health and wellbeing will be at the core of the offer as well.

We have approached The Other House through a residential lens rather than a conventional hotel perspective. The brand will be a ‘second home’ for its guests – their other house – and they can live like a resident, for as long as they are in town. As a new hospitality concept, we are creating a new sector of Residents Clubs.

It will be a club of likeminded people who know what they want, seeking style, positive social impact and experiences to remember, without a hefty price tag. One of our principal design requirements is to provide micro apartments throughout – club flats not bedrooms – and private areas for residents to enjoy a quiet glass of whisky or relax in their favourite chair – as well as public destination areas. It is a club which is inclusive, that everyone is a member of, for as long as they are staying.

Our guests also want to be in control of their stay and limit touch points. The brand connects guests with on-demand services through an exciting bespoke tech platform and App from the moment they book and check in to when they check out and pay.

HK: How important is tech in this new era and how will The Other House properties use it meaningfully?

NH: Extremely important. In many ways the pandemic has served to accelerate the move towards technology that was happening anyway, albeit at a slower pace. Guests are increasingly seeking to be in control through technology with a seamless journey from booking, checking in to managing their stay with limited touch points and human interaction.

Our bespoke app which is in development will enable guests to manage their entire stay and experience, from booking, checking in, room entry, room cleaning, laundry, messaging, booking and paying at any of our restaurants, bars and other amenities.

The good use of technology will enable many of the mundane interactions to be kept to a minimum. This means however that the human touch has to be much more nuanced and sensitive, recognising guests are independent and discerning rather than just visitors or tourists. We are giving residents the tools and the space to  organise and manage life their way.

Tech is important too in expanding the sense of community far beyond the stay itself, by creating a platform which shares common interests, news and views about what is going on at the Other House and beyond, so people can always feel like a local.

HK: Can you give us an indication on the interior design schemes for both properties?

NH: Design studio Bergman Interiors, winners of course of your eponymous The Brit List Awards 2020, have been appointed and will showcase the best in British design at both properties. Bergman is creating iconic designs cleverly combining a sense of home with stand-out exciting spaces in our club flats and in the public and private residents’ areas. There will be bold interiors, with a contemporary twist and rich colours and textures combined with carefully designed lighting. Spaces will be original but relaxing and individual.

Image caption: The property that started it all. This building, Harrington Hall, will shelter The Other House’s debut hospitality offering, and is slated to open in Spring of 2022.

HK: What will The Other House offer that isn’t already available in lifestyle hospitality? 

NH: The residents’ clubs will combine the strengths of hotel offerings with the sense of place and place-making residents get from the private rented sector. It is a far more embracing offering than serviced apartments, hotels or the private rental sector as they exist today.

As well as an entirely new concept, where you can stay for as long as you want, there will be seamless technology through our bespoke app, which means guests are in control, an integral part of the new way of living we have all adopted.

The Other House takes a sustainable approach to renovating existing buildings and is committed to making a positive impact on the community, our employees and the environment. Our residents will be a part of our environmental journey so they can make a measurable personal difference.  There will be a focus on health and wellbeing at all the guest touchpoints and we will be using, for example,  recyclable packaging, healthy, sustainably produced food and British made furniture.

HK: Where are you in the design stage at the moment?

NH: We have had a fantastic journey with architects Falconer Chester Hall and Bergman Interiors creating exactly the right product for our guests. It has been a real period of learning as we rethink the use and look of the space to complement our offering.  Works in the South Kensington property are well underway – having been completely stripped out behind the historic façade and the reconfiguration now taking place, with a planned opening late Q1 2022.

The Wellington block, an island site close to Covent Garden’s famous piazza is now fully designed architecturally and at planning stage. We have started working on the interior design concepts for all the spaces, inspired by Covent Garden’s rich and vibrant history. We intend to start work towards the end of 2021, opening in 2023. The story will of course continue with further acquisitions in central London and then internationally. Watch this space!

Main image credit: The Other House

Hotel Designs LIVE - session 2

(in video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Bathrooms beyond practical spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(in video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Bathrooms beyond practical spaces

In the second session of Hotel Designs LIVE on May 11, 2021, the editorial lens focused in on the hotel bathroom. In an exclusive panel discussion, editor Hamish Kilburn welcomed Nick Hickson, Co-Founder and Creative/Technical Director, THDP; Gabriele Chiave, Creative Director, Marcel Wanders Studio and Christos Passas, Director, Zaha Hadid Architects, to explore bathrooms beyond practical spaces (scroll down to watch full video)…

Hotel Designs LIVE - session 2

Following the opening seminar on ‘a new era of lifestyle‘, which was no doubt the session that set the tone for the rest of the day’s panel discussions, session two of Hotel Designs LIVE was sponsored by bathroom manufacturer Grohe. For this chapter of the one-day conference, editor Hamish Kilburn decided to focus the lens on an area of the hotel that has been at the centre of the wellness conversation over the last year.

Welcoming leading designers and architects to join him on the virtual sofa, the panel looked at all five senses to understand how bathroom design and wellness areas are evolving in order to cater to new demands from modern travellers. Understanding bathroom spaces in all colours, shapes and sizes, the panel started to ultimately establish trends and major talking points for wellness spaces in 2021 and beyond.

On the panel: 

Here’s the full video of the panel discussion (on demand), produced by CUBE, which includes Product Watch pitches from Grohe, Christopher Hyde, Crosswater, Schlüter Systems, Laufen and Villeroy & Boch.

We have also published the full recording of session one from Hotel Designs LIVE. The full recordings of the other two sessions (‘Art outside the frame’ and ‘Workspace design trends’) will be available on-demand shortly.

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

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Weekly round-up of the latest stories on Hotel Designs

Weekly briefing: Portugal’s finest, London unveils & going Gaga for DESIGN POD

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Portugal’s finest, London unveils & going Gaga for DESIGN POD

Editor Hamish Kilburn here, rounding off your week with a throwback to the hottest stories published over the last few days. In this edition of the Weekly Briefing, we amplify Portugal’s best design-led hotels, go Gaga for episode 4 of DESIGN POD, tease you with the latest London unveils and share the full recording of our panel discussion on ‘a new era of lifestyle’ that was filmed at Hotel Designs LIVE. Enjoy…

Weekly round-up of the latest stories on Hotel Designs

What a week – we’ve product news from the likes of hansgrohe, Ideal Standard, Atlas Concorde and Bette as well as keeping our ears to the ground on the latest news in the hotel development arena. In addition, we dropped episode 4 of DESIGN POD which welcomes Jack Irving as our special guest. In fact, why not read this round-up while listening to that episode, to here myself and Irving discuss fashion highlights, collaboration goals with Lady Gaga, Paris Hilton and The Spice Girls and the result of his debut interior design project.

Here are your top stories of the week: 

“Shoreditch’s hottest unveil of 2021.” What we know about Mondrian Shoreditch

Mondrian Shoreditch Bar view_Daytime - Credit_ Goddard Littlefair (1) copy

Image caption: A render of the bar sheltered inside Mondrian Shoreditch London. | Image credit: Goddard Littlefair/FRAMED Visualisation

Considering the building’s reputation for sheltering a vibrant, modern and contemporary hospitality space, the pressure was on for interior design firm Goddard Littelfair when they were asked by Accor to completely redesign the hotel for when it reopened as the Mondrian Shoreditch. But as always, following the deep design narrative that was unveiled in their latest project, The Mayfair Townhouse, the design firm has delivered and we are excited to share with you our sneak peek inside what we are calling Shoreditch’s hottest unveil of 2021.

Read more.

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

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

Read more.

A new level of wellness: The Spa at 45 Park Lane

Image of the pool and relaxation area at The Spa at 45 Park Lane

Image credit: Dorchester Collection

Leaping into a new era, the hotel has launched The Spa at 45 Park Lane as part of guests’ hotel experience. And unlike other London hotels that’s spas are the size of oversized shoeboxes, the new wellness facility inside the 45-key boutique hotel is, by all accounts, expansive compared to some of its London neighbours. The 10,000 sq. ft. spa features Park Lane’s longest pool at 20 metres, as well as a personal training room and spacious state-of-the-art gym.

Read more.

An expert’s guide on the science of a good nights’ sleep

A modern and minimalist room

Image credit: Silentnight Group

With 75 per cent of Brits admitting to not having a good nights’ sleep and 30 per cent of people rating their sleep as “bad”, chances are you know what a bad nights’ sleep feels like. We’ve all had one, and most of us will have had at least one nights’ bad sleep in a hotel, but why? Sleep experts from Silentnight Group Hospitality, Hannah Shore and Angela Moran, explores your ultimate sleep guide.

Read more.

Miniview: Inside The Carlton Tower Jumeirah – now open!

Contemporary lobby inside The Carlton Tower Jumeirah

Image credit: Jumeirah Group

We have waited an agonising 18 months, but we can finally celebrate the opening of The Carlton Tower Jumeirah, a masterpiece the international design studio 1508 London that has allowed what was a tired and worn down hotel to prosper in London’s Knightsbridge neighbourhood. We have been following the story since day dot.

Read more.

And finally… the best design hotels to visit in Portugal

Rooftop bar in Portugal

Image credit: Lumiares, Lisbon

With Portugal being on the ‘green list’ when it comes to travel from the UK – for now, at least – Hotel Designs shares some hotel gems, from Lisbon to Porto and everything in between, that you may or may not be familiar of.

Read more.

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

The Carlton Tower Jumeirah lounge

Miniview: Inside The Carlton Tower Jumeirah – now open!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Miniview: Inside The Carlton Tower Jumeirah – now open!

We have waited an agonising 18 months, but we can finally celebrate the opening of The Carlton Tower Jumeirah, a masterpiece the international design studio 1508 London that has allowed what was a tired and worn down hotel to prosper in London’s Knightsbridge neighbourhood. Editor Hamish Kilburn has followed the story since day dot

The Carlton Tower Jumeirah lounge

For a hotel group that shelters the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, which is a internationally recognised jewel of luxury, the challenges that are associated with designing other hotels in the portfolio are some what obvious. Operating a luxury hotel in London, however, is a different task altogether that requires a sensitive and dynamic approach from concept right through until completion.

For whatever reason, despite Jumeirah being one of the world’s most reputable luxury brands globally, its portfolio in Europe and the UK is somewhat lacking. In 2015, I was invited to one of the group’s press days, which started with meetings with GMs from hotels around the globe in the contemporary atrium of the brand’s Grosvenor House Suites. Disappointingly, though, the day ended with drinks at The Carlton Tower Jumeriah. I say ‘disappointingly’ because the hotel was, unlike the brand’s reputation, tired and was in desperate need of a makeover!

Cue the arrival of 1508 London, the design studio that saved the day. Following an 18-month closure for refurbishment, the hotel has undergone the most extensive – not to mention, most timely – transformation in its history, at a cost of more than £100 million.

Every nook of the 17-storey building, that sits majestically in the Knightsbridge neighbourhood, has been redesigned, creating a new foyer and reception, 186 new guestrooms and suites (reduced from 216 to offer larger accommodations), a fresh health club and spa with London’s largest naturally lit swimming pool, a restaurant, lobby bar and lounge, ballroom and meeting rooms.

The term ‘modern classic’ springs to mind when entering the building that was originally designed by Henry End, also responsible for the interiors of the Plaza Hotel in New York. The design team have drawn on the hotel’s glamorous heritage and location to create a modern classic with a timeless, refined interior and sense of grandeur.

Contemporary lobby inside The Carlton Tower Jumeirah

Respectful of the building’s original, clean modernist style, 1508 London has layered the eclectic mix of the architecture of the surrounding mansion blocks and homes, adding soft curved edges, pops of bright colour and organic inspired forms throughout.  The hotel’s enviable position overlooking Cadogan Gardens, the private gardens designed in 1804, is further reflected throughout the hotel, reminding guests of their unique access to this covetable green space and tennis courts, normally only open to residents.

Heralding its arrival and marking the hotel’s position as an important modernist building in London at its opening was the commissioning of a large external sculpture by Dame Elisabeth Frink (1930-1993), a sculptor at the beginning of her career in 1961 and now acknowledged as one of the most important English artists of her era. This sculpture has been retained and restored, a highlight of the ‘porte cochere’ entranceway that continues to the redesigned turntable glass doors. Through these doors the design echoes a classical British grand hall with the creation of a striking double-height space.  Within it is suspended a bespoke fluted chandelier which incorporates an abstract interpretation of a chrysanthemum, inspired by Cadogan Gardens’ history as a botanical garden.  Accessed from the lobby is ‘The Chinoiserie’, the hotel’s much-loved all-day dining area, now transformed with an elegant and light design. With the innovative Cake-o’clock concept serving patisserie all day, as well as a wide range of international favourites and an extensive beverage list, this lounge will reclaim its rightful place in Knightsbridge’s social scene. Additionally, a newly created lobby bar offers a refined experience in glamorous surrounds.

The 186 beautifully appointed guestrooms have all been renovated to the highest standard, designed to offer a sense of tranquillity with an emphasis on light and space. Almost 50% of the keys at The Carlton Tower are suites, reflecting the hotel patrons’ historical preference for increased space and longer stays.

87 of the rooms and suites have the fantastic benefit of a balcony, taking advantage of the stunning views across London. Combining a modernist aesthetic with minimal style, the accommodations feature textured wall panelling, furnishings in softer forms and accents in a warm colour palette influenced by British heritage hues in deep blue, green and maroon as well as floor to ceiling marble bathrooms with toiletries by Grown Alchemist. Newly created is the Royal Suite, the hotel’s most exclusive residence featuring three bedrooms with the option to privatise the entire floor for the utmost in security and discretion.

The hotel’s destination restaurant ‘Al Mare’ offers a sophisticated, welcoming dining experience imbued with all the charms of Italian cuisine, both familiar and luxurious.

Restaurant that is stylishly designed by 1508 London at The Carlton Tower Jumeirah

Image credit: Jumeirah Group

The restaurant allows a convivial, gastronomic experience, taking guests on a journey through Italy and features a theatre kitchen, private dining room and al fresco dining. The hotel’s Executive Chef and Al Mare’s Head Chef is Italian native Marco Calenzo, who joined the hotel from Zuma where he was Executive Chef. Prior to this Marco worked for Four Seasons Hotels internationally as well as the Lanesborough in London.

Elsewhere, the hotel’s famous health club ‘The Peak Fitness Club & Spa’ is uncommonly enormous compared to other wellness scenes in other London hotels. Set across three floors, the whole areas has been completely redesigned. New treatment rooms have been created at the Talise Spa on the second floor and the swimming pool area revitalised. The pool is London’s largest in a hotel with natural daylight and its bright interior is complemented by views through its double height glass ceiling, lined with poolside cabanas for relaxation.  

Large pool inaside the Jumeirah hotel in London

Image credit: Jumeirah Group

Additionally, The Peak offers studio classes, and a gym featuring bespoke ‘Technogym’ equipment on the ninth floor which overlooks The Peak’s light-filled cafe with breath-taking panoramic views across the capital.  With its new design and features as well as a strictly limited membership, The Peak looks set to retake its position at the forefront of London’s luxury wellness world. 

Welcome back to London, The Carlton Tower Jumeirah – you look fantastic!

Since you’re here, why not read our interview with 1508 London’s Hamish Brown?

Main image credit: Jumeirah Group

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

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

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

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

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

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

On the panel: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

The swimming pool at The Spa at 45 Park Lane

A new level of wellness: The Spa at 45 Park Lane

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A new level of wellness: The Spa at 45 Park Lane

Designed by Jouin Manku with the aim to shelter an elevated sense of wellbeing and luxury, The Spa at 45 Park Lane has opened and features the longest pool (20 metres) on Park Lane. Editor Hamish Kilburn has the story…

The swimming pool at The Spa at 45 Park Lane

Park Lane has long been regarded London’s ultimate address for unparalleled luxury. Among the quintessentially British hotels that sit on the fridge of Hyde Park, The Dorchester, which recently celebrated its 90th anniversary, is arguably the most famous, with its classic English residential design stylishly seeing it through many decades. The 250-key hotel may be London’s ‘Mother’ of hospitality, but it is the younger sibling in the Dorchester Collection portfolio, which incidentally is situated just a few doors down from The Dorchester, that has raised eyebrows recently on the hotel design scene.

45 Park Lane, which opened 10 years ago, radiates a different kind of style to that of its older family member. Throughout the intimate-sized hotel, luxurious and contemporary interiors by New York based designer, Thierry Despont, provide a club-like feel offering all guests – international and locals alike –  a smart, central environment from which to enjoy London.

Leaping into a new era, the hotel has launched The Spa at 45 Park Lane as part of guests’ hotel experience. And unlike other London hotels that’s spas are the size of oversized shoeboxes, the new wellness facility inside the 45-key boutique hotel is, by all accounts, expansive compared to some of its London neighbours. The 10,000 sq. ft. spa features Park Lane’s longest pool at 20 metres, as well as a personal training room and spacious state-of-the-art gym.

“The wellness space has been specifically created to bring a sense of the outside in.”

Image of the pool and relaxation area at The Spa at 45 Park Lane

Image credit: Dorchester Collection

The wellness space is part of Mayfair Park Residences, the recently completed development delivered by ultra-prime developers Clivedale London located next door to, and serviced by, 45 Park Lane. Guests of the hotel have full use of the facilities as part of their stay experience, which include separate sauna and steam rooms, a hydrotherapy pool and private changing and shower rooms.

Designed by Jouin Manku, the wellness space has been specifically created to bring a sense of the outside in, referencing artistic flora using traditional Roman style mosaics from Venetian artisans. Taking design cues from the rest of the hotel, natural timbers and light coloured stone bring a sense of calm and tranquillity; while timber slatted ceilings have been integrated to create better acoustics within the pool, gym and relaxation lounge. The entire space has been generously arranged to maximise the sense of spaciousness.

Timber changing room at The Spa at 45 Park lane

Image credit: Dorchester Collection

With the hotel’s strong tie to the world of art that goes beyond its four walls, 45 Park Lane’s art curator Lily Ackerman has selected works by American fine art photographer Jin-Woo Prensena and British sculptor Jill Berelowitz to adorn the space.

The relaxation lounge connected to the pool allows guests to unwind before or after a work-out, spa treatment or swim. Within the lounge is an open fireplace with a menu of healthy dishes by 45 Park Lane’s Executive Chef Jamie Shears.

Tailored personal training programmes can be created for guests, with both one-to-one and family group sessions available to book in advance. The expansive gym features the latest Technogym equipment with dedicated ‘cardiovascular’ and ‘strength’ areas.

John Scanlon, General Manager of 45 Park Lane who was recently profiled in The Brit List, comments: “For almost a decade, 45 Park Lane has stood amongst the best hotels in London. As we look towards our next chapter we are thrilled to be introducing luxury wellness into the guest experience to create one of the finest spa facilities in the capital.”

Christopher Cowdray, Chief Executive Officer of Dorchester Collection, adds: “Marking our first venture into private residences, the completion of Mayfair Park Residences is a pivotal moment in our company’s history. Our heritage focuses on the best of design in prime locations, making Clivedale London a natural partner with shared values. These new residences will benefit from the services of  The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane, while the proximity of Park Lane and Hyde Park further elevate the location to one of the best real-estate sites in the world. We look forward to offering Dorchester Collection’s treasured way of life to the new residents.”

With the addition of the hotel’s new spa and wellness facilities, 45 Park Lane continues to stand as a vibrant, luxurious and welcoming ‘club-like’ hotel that is the London home of an international crowd.

Main image credit: Dorchester Collection

Editor checks in: Tomorrow’s themes in hotel design and hospitality

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor checks in: Tomorrow’s themes in hotel design and hospitality

In his latest editor’s letter, Hamish Kilburn addresses the four S words that will help us when exploring and understand tomorrow’s hotel design and hospitality landscape – and in the process, he unexpectedly comes up with the themes that will be put under the spotlight in four engaging panel discussions at Hotel Designs LIVE

As I write this, I am on a train for the first time this year. It’s May. The sun is struggling to flex through the clouds and, to be honest with you, I would rather be working from home. My mandatory mask is fogging up my glasses, so what I am thinking and what is appearing on the screen could be two completely separate things entirely.

I’m on my way into London, having just pressed the green light to launch The Brit List Awards 2021 application process. I’m heading to Shoreditch, home of some rather interesting hotel development projects, to record our next episode of DESIGN POD – it’s a big moment for the brand as it’s the first time we are recording the podcast in person as opposed to over Zoom with a struggling Wifi connection.

“If anything, we gained access into new studios and made new long-lasting relationships with brands.”

We could have waited until now to launch our podcast but I feel it would have taken an entirely different lane if we did. There was something organic and exciting about launching a new brand in the middle of a pandemic – while we were all locked up in our houses and the idea-generating process was incubated.

Since you’re here, why not read the rest of this article while listening to our latest episode of DESIGN POD, which welcomes designer Jack Irving as our special guest?

We can look at the current situations in both positive and negative ways. Yes, it has been frustrating not boarding a plane to actually review the projects we have followed for years. But it didn’t stop us. In this time, we utilised our contacts around the world and still reviewed hotels in person. If anything, we gained access into new studios and made new long-lasting relationships with brands. Our viewpoint over the industry became more meaningful and by zooming out (see what I did there) we are able to establish which topics are the most impactful.

Following now four successful Hotel Designs LIVE virtual conferences, it brings me great delight to share with you our next four topics that we will explore at Hotel Designs LIVE in August.

These themes are:

  • Senses
  • Surfaces
  • Sleep
  • Social

Senses

Following our successful session at Hotel Designs LIVE (in February) on sound’s role in hotel design and after reading a mountain of press releases recently that all reference sound, touch and even smell to evoke a deeper meaning of wellness and wellbeing, it feels fitting to position the editorial spotlight on the sensory experience for our next event. It also comes as the industry, albeit slowly, is starting to reopen and reconnect.

Sleep

For those of you who have joined us on this journey, you will know that we have already hosting a panel discussion on sleep performance at our inaugural event. But we feel as if, given the role of sleep in any hotel experience, we have only just scratched the surface of this topic. With new innovations and technology taking bold leaps as each day passes, we will explore the science behind getting the best nights’ sleep.

Surfaces

More than ever, as a direct result of the Covid-19 crisis, surfaces have come under question in the debate around hygiene. But, in our exclusive panel discussion, we will go beyond the clinical to explore interesting and vibrant surfaces that we hope will give all areas of the hotel more personality and meaning.

Social

It took a while and a few thesaurus searches before we eventually found our fourth and final panel discussion title. Following several failed brainstorm attempts, an email pinged into my inbox from our publisher Katy Phillips with the subject line ‘found it’. The email was just one word, ‘Social’. With all the noise around ‘social distancing’ and regulations against human interaction, we and many of the industry’s leaders believe that tomorrow’s hotel scene will be a celebration of human connection. While we are at the T-junction on the road out of Covid-19 lockdowns, we will invite world-renowned designers, architects, hoteliers and developers to understand challenges and considerations to bear in mind as we move to open the doors of hospitality, to be social, once more.

Like many of the decisions we make on the editorial desk at Hotel Designs, we have found that these sessions work not only as individual sessions but also as a cluster of talking points – with sessions on senses, sleep, surfaces and social – that together really challenge conventional thoughts around hospitality and will, we hope, clearly define once more the definition of international hotel design.

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

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Mondrian Shoreditch The Rooftop. Credit_ Goddard Littlefair copy

“Shoreditch’s hottest unveil of 2021.” What we know about Mondrian Shoreditch

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
“Shoreditch’s hottest unveil of 2021.” What we know about Mondrian Shoreditch

One of Shoreditch’s most bohemian and quirky hotels, the Curtain Hotel, will re-emerge from the pandemic in July under a new brand. Mondrian Shoreditch (owned by Accor and sbe) will open in July following a major overhaul by leading interior design firm Goddard Littlefair. Here’s what we know…

Mondrian Shoreditch The Rooftop. Credit_ Goddard Littlefair copy

Considering the building’s reputation for sheltering a vibrant, modern and contemporary hospitality space, the pressure was on for interior design firm Goddard Littelfair when they were asked by Accor to completely redesign the hotel for when it reopened as the Mondrian Shoreditch. But as always, following the deep design narrative that was unveiled in their latest project, The Mayfair Townhouse, the design firm has delivered and we are excited to share with you our sneak peek inside what we are calling Shoreditch’s hottest unveil of 2021.

Image caption: Exterior image of the hotel. | Image credit: Accor/sbe

The lifestyle hotel, owned by The Reuben Brothers, will open its doors July 2021. The news comes on the heels of Accor’s acquisition of sbe’s hotel brands in Q4 2020 and its planned joint venture with Ennismore, which will see the creation of one of the world’s largest and fastest growing lifestyle operators later this summer.

“We are very proud to collaborate with Jamie Reuben and his family in bringing the iconic Mondrian brand back to London,” sbe Chief Operating Officer Chadi Farhat said. “The city has been and will continue to be a thriving hub for our lifestyle offerings, and myself and my team are excited to re-establish Mondrian as one of London’s most innovative destinations for lifestyle, hospitality, culinary and mixology experiences for locals and travellers alike.”

“Mondrian Shoreditch will be a go-to luxury lifestyle brand for culinary and culture-seekers from all over the world.” – The Reuben Brothers.

Reuben Brothers added: “We are delighted to be partnering with Accor and sbe to open a European flagship Mondrian hotel which will enhance Shoreditch’s already thriving artistic contribution to our capital. Mondrian Shoreditch will be a go-to luxury lifestyle brand for culinary and culture-seekers from all over the world.”

The 120-key property – including 13 suites – will sit in the midst of Shoreditch, East London’s creative and cultural hub: an area that captivates the energy and playful DNA of the Mondrian brand. As a leading lifestyle brand, Mondrian recognises the cultural vibrancy of a place and elevates it – intertwining guest offerings with local highlights and bringing the essence of East London to the hotel and vice versa. Mondrian Shoreditch will collaborate with local personalities and brands to highlight their lifestyle approach to hospitality, via partnerships including artistic pop-ups and live performances in The Screening Room, a private room and bar. The property will also offer a premium co-working space, visionary dining and mixology concepts and boasts a rooftop pool and lounge by an award-winning team, just in time for the summer – a rarity for Londoners and always in high demand.

Mondrian Shoreditch presents a host of truly enriching and elevated experiences via its portfolio of diversely distinct luxury brands. On the lower ground, world-famous chef Dani García introduces BIBO, a Spanish kitchen serving tapas with courtyard seats and Garcia’s first outpost in London. Mondrian Shoreditch will also be host to a new all-day café and cocktail bar – Christina’s Shoreditch. Christina’s Shoreditch will only source products from local independent suppliers (farmers, growers and community bakeries), start-ups and brands with social impact. Guests will also have access to the exclusive Altitude Rooftop for breakfast. The space will otherwise be exclusively for members of The Curtain, the hotel’s private members club. Mondrian Shoreditch’s culinary venues are a testament to the hospitality hallmarks of the Mondrian brand.

“It is an honour to open our first UK based restaurant alongside our amazing partners Accor and the Reuben Brothers, and we are excited to establish the property as the heart of the Shoreditch food scene,” said García. “I have always been fascinated by the vibrant energy of London and look forward to welcoming guests to our restaurant in the Mondrian hotel which is sure to become a true icon in the district of Shoreditch.” 

The Curtain Members Club

The well-known Curtain Members’ Club will re-open at the hotel. A co-working space will also be available for members on the ground floor – The Design Studio – and will provide a world-class offering with a newly scheduled and diverse range of weekly events – from panel discussions, to live music and club nights with local talent. The Design Studio will be a prime location for corporates and local creatives looking for a luxury day-office away from home-working. Members also enjoy exclusive access to Altitude Rooftop, The Lounge, Rose Bar, and the event space.

Image caption: A render of the F&B area in the hotel. | Image credit: Goddard Littlefair

Image caption: A render of the F&B area in the hotel. | Image credit: Goddard Littlefair/FRAMED Visualisation

Goddard Littlefair led design for Mondrian’s guestrooms, public spaces and food and beverage venues. The hotel has been significantly refreshed in line with the upbeat and individual spirit of Mondrian hotels. The reception and lobby are playful and reflective with significant artwork installations for guests to discover, typical of the Mondrian design portfolio. The double height ground floor bar showcases large-scale artwork hand-painted onto concrete by Fred Coppin and the rooftop bar dressed with striped and festooned shade structures will appeal to the guest and locals alike. The new BIBO restaurant by chef Dani García was also designed by Goddard Littlefair who dovetailed the identity of Mondrian spirit with García’s culinary legacy. The guestroom refurbishment encapsulates a luxurious, theatrical aesthetic with fresh white brick walls and artwork selections that invite witty appreciation. Dakota Development, a subsidiary of sbe, led by President Joe Faust, provided technical service support for the entire development process.

Image caption: A model room inside Mondrian Shoreditch London. | Image credit: Goddard Littelfair/FRAMED Visualisation

The opening follows the company’s recent launch of Mondrian Seoul Itaewon, and announcement to open Mondrian Bordeaux and Mondrian Cannes in 2022. The return of the Mondrian brand to London reflects the continued strategic expansion of the brand’s international footprint, which will include soon-to-be announced Mondrian properties in Australia, the Dominican Republic, Germany, the Maldives, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Main image credit: Goddard Littlefair/FRAMED Visualisation

Lobby-Bar crop Hyatt House Tampa

In pictures: Inside Hyatt House/Hyatt Place Tampa Downtown

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In pictures: Inside Hyatt House/Hyatt Place Tampa Downtown

Tampa in Florida welcomes a new dual-branded development, which shelters Hyatt Place and Hyatt House, to its thriving hospitality scene. Editor Hamish Kilburn takes a look inside both hotels that were designed and recently unveiled by Stonehill Taylor

Lobby-Bar crop Hyatt House Tampa

In the heart of Tampa, directly across the street from its historic City Hall sits the new  dual branded hospitality development that features the 230-key Hyatt Place and the 115-key Hyatt House. In addition, the complex encompasses 3,200 square feet of ground-floor retail space and 4,000 square feet of meeting space. All public space is shared by the guests of the two brands, and guestrooms are integrated throughout the new 17-story building.

Leading architecture and interior design firm, Stonehill Taylor, which recently took part in Hotel Designs‘ latest roundtable, was charged with the design of the guestrooms and public spaces. Using a complementary colour scheme of jewel tones and citrus shades, the hotel features bright, sun-kissed spaces, and high-contrast patterns that create an ambiance that is uniquely Tampa. The design pillars explore concepts of indulgence; exoticism; and majesty—believed to capture the city’s longstanding allure to travellers looking for a tropical, yet culturally diverse escape.

Since you’re here, why not read Stonehill Taylor’s thoughts on the new era of lifestyle?

As soon as guests enter the lobby, they are greeted by an oversized gold textured piece depicting an abstract scene with birds and leaves. Panels line the wall behind the reception desk and feature tropical leaf-infused patterned artwork, while the reception desk is decorated in tropical leaf tiles.

Image of lobby in Tampa Florida Hyatt House/Hyatt Place

Image credit: Taggart Sorenson

Adjacent to the reception area is a bar and lounge complete with a mix of citrus colours and blue tones. The bar’s backsplash features an array of bohemian tiles. The surrounding dining areas have tables with metal detailing and a range of seating from banquettes to freestanding chairs. A series of vintage Cuban movie posters grace the space.

The ground floor also includes a business centre with a gallery and pre-function space, and several meeting rooms. The art throughout this area includes a wall sculpture made with rattan circles in varied sizes and a series of embroidered vintage postcards from Florida.

The business centre has pendant lighting and eclectic inset floor patterns and partitions the space using screens. The adjacent gallery space, meanwhile, has plush love seats, side chairs with ottomans that double as tables and acoustical ceiling panels. The carpet in the meeting rooms depicts leaf patterns—a theme also echoed by the leaf patterned walls with wainscoting. Custom geometric pendant lighting illuminates these ballroom-like spaces.

At the elevator lobby is a custom artwork featuring cubed versions of Florida maps mounted on a linen background and framed in a shadowbox frame. The elevators further provide an artful moment with bold black-and-white tiled flooring, blackened steel door frames, as well as a back-lit ceiling concept. Guestroom corridors have carpets with hidden tropical elements, such as bees and panthers. A graphic printed map of Tampa covers the walls familiarising guests with the city’s focal points. Hidden elements also surprise in the Hyatt House guestrooms. When lit, these rooms show a violet-hued wall with tone-on-tone patterns. Furnishings are all custom and feature two-colour finishes and extra trim to elevate their aesthetic. A kitchenette with decorative tiles accentuates the layout of these rooms.

Close up of bed and floral artwork in guestroom

Image credit: Taggart Sorenson

In the Hyatt Place rooms, there are exuberant green tones. Similar to the Hyatt House rooms, there is a tone-on- tone wall covering, this time featuring light leaf patterns. The carpeting similarly plays with the fun colours of Tampa.

Pool at Hyatt House in Tampa

Image credit: Taggart Sorenson

On the fifth floor is the outdoor pool with tangerine and lime-coloured furnishings and neutral tiling—the pool deck is framed by a painted mural. A fitness centre, located on the fourth floor, has a playful custom mural featuring bold, brightly coloured patterns with a motivational text component that forms of a centrepiece of the room.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels/Taggart Sorenson

Image of guestroom in Mama Roma

Mama Shelter arrives in Rome

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Mama Shelter arrives in Rome

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

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

Image of guestroom in Mama Roma

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

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

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

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

Redner of restaurant in Mama Shelter in Rome

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

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

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

Main image credit: Mama Roma

Image of calm water

BREAKING: Rosewood Miyakojima to open in 2024

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
BREAKING: Rosewood Miyakojima to open in 2024

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts has been appointed by Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd. to manage Rosewood Miyakojima on Mikayo Island in the Okinawan archipelago, opening in 2024…

Image of calm water

Rosewood Hotels is just the gift that keeps on giving us new destinations to look forward to visiting once international travel bans have lifted. Following announcements of new hotels arriving in Rome, Sardinia, Amsterdam, Madrid and its second hotel in London, the luxury hotel group has just announced that it will take on the management of Rosewood Miyakojima on Mikayo Island in the Okinawan archipelago, which will open in 2024. 

The 55-villa, ultra-luxury resort represents the first Rosewood property in Japan, in a destination acclaimed for its exquisite beaches with several of the country’s most scenic locations.  

Miyako Island and nearby isles offer miles of soft, white sand with endless vistas of turquoise-blue sea. Aquatic adventures range from snorkeling at Yabiji, the largest coral reef expanse in Japan, to diving through underwater caverns teeming with marine life and outstanding deep-sea fishing.  

Approached through verdant sugar cane fields, Rosewood Miyakojima will occupy a secluded peninsula surrounded on three sides by white sand beaches, dramatic rock formations and stunning ocean vistas.  Arriving visitors will feel the sand beneath their feet within a 20-minute drive from Miyako Airport and 30-minute drive from Shimojishima Airport which receives direct flights from Hong Kong and major cities in Japan.

The resort’s 55 villa accommodations will feature private pools, landscaped gardens and unobstructed sea views. Conceived by Netherlands-based Studio Piet Boon, the architecture and interiors are seamlessly designed to immerse guests in the natural surroundings and express harmony with the island through the extensive use of local materials. Mitsubishi Jisho Sekkei Inc. is providing local architectural expertise and support in realizing the design vision.

Four restaurants and bars will include relaxed beachfront concepts showcasing fresh seafood, prized island-raised beef, locally distilled spirits and craft beer. With a stunning seascape as a backdrop, the resort’s indoor and outdoor event venues will host unforgettable destination weddings and private celebrations. 

On-site recreation will include a standalone Rosewood Explorer’s Club, Rosewood’s program for younger guests designed to inspire creativity and imagination, encourage adventure, discovery and social responsibility through unique experiences attuned to the destination. Asaya, Rosewood’s pioneering integrated wellness concept, will offer treatment rooms set amid private gardens, indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy facilities and a menu of programs and services influenced by local healing traditions.

Beyond the resort, guests will discover an abundance of vividly picturesque sites, from the majestic natural stone arch of nearby Sunayama beach to the perfectly poised lighthouse at Higashi-Hennazaki Cape (a nationally designated “Place of Scenic Beauty”) and the seven-kilometer stretch of Yonaha Maehama, regularly ranked as Japan’s best beach and renowned for its cinematic sunsets.  Even a brief sojourn will reveal distinctive customs, culture, dialects, cuisine and crafts as well as the beguiling ways of the Okinawan uchinanchu (“sea people”) who inhabit the island.  

“We are tremendously excited that our first presence in Japan will be in this exquisite location, where Rosewood’s signature A Sense of Place concept will be expressed amidst such a spectacular setting and rich culture,” said Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group.  “We are honored to have Mitsubishi Estate as our partner and very grateful for the trust they have placed in us to offer this exceptional experience.”   

“Rosewood’s sensitivity to its locales and its dedication to the highest levels of hospitality excellence, which are perfectly in line with our philosophy of urban developments, inspired us to appoint them to manage this very special resort,” said Atsushi Nakajima, senior executive officer, Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd.  “We are fully confident that Rosewood Miyakojima will become one of the world’s most coveted vacation destinations when it opens its doors.”

Main image credit: Rosewood Hotels

The Dubai EDITION Final Rendering Hi Res- Edition_Lobby_R4

EDITION to open 8 new hotels by 2022

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

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

The Dubai EDITION Final Rendering Hi Res- Edition_Lobby_R4

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

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

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

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

The Reykjavik EDITION – launching mid 2021

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

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

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

The Tokyo EDITION, Ginza – launching late 2021 

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

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

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

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

The Rome EDITION – launching late 2021 

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

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

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

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

 The Dubai EDITION – launching late 2021

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

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

The Madrid EDITION – launching early 2022

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

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

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

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

The Tampa EDITION – launching early 2022

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

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

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

The Riviera Maya EDITION at Kanai – launching mid 2022

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

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

The Doha EDITION – launching late 2022

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

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

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

image of Dubai skyline

SLS announces first hotel in the Middle East

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SLS announces first hotel in the Middle East

SLS Dubai is the seventh SLS hotel – the first SLS property in the Middle East – with 11 additional properties to open internationally over the next five years…

image of Dubai skyline

Accor has announced the expansion of the international SLS Hotels & Residences brand to the Middle East with the opening of SLS Dubai. Developed in partnership with World of Wonders Real Estate – the new property is one of Dubai’s tallest buildings. The highly anticipated opening is a testament to the SLS brand’s longstanding reputation and experience in creating and delivering extraordinary, unforgettable and timeless experiences.

This news comes on the heels of Accor’s latest phase of expansion following its acquisition of sbe’s hotel brands and its planned joint venture with Ennismore, which will see the creation of one of the world’s largest and fastest growing lifestyle operators.

Using the SLS Hotels & Residences’ global perspective gained from its expanding network of hospitality properties, SLS Dubai presents a host of truly enriching and elevated experiences via its portfolio of diversely distinct luxury brands. From Fi’lia, the entirely female-run restaurant that celebrates food & identity, to Carna by the award-winning Italian butcher Dario Cecchini’s contemporary steakhouse, SLS Dubai’s culinary venues are a testament to the hospitality hallmarks of the SLS brand.

Chadi Farhat, Chief Operating Officer, sbe states: “We are happy to announce the official opening of SLS Dubai. We are excited to deliver culinary concepts like Fi’lia, our Italian concept, which will at this specific location focus on empowering the incredible leadership team of women, from our chefs to mixologists to managers. We truly believe that the property will be a highly sought-after destination for global travellers and locals alike.”

Located in the Downtown district, SLS Dubai offers incomparable 360-degree views over the city, with unobstructed views of the iconic Burj Khalifa, along with a clear overhead of the calming Dubai Creek. The impressive 75-storey tower makes SLS Dubai one of the tallest hotels and residences in the region. Developed in collaboration with international architecture firm Aedas, SLS Dubai features 254 expertly designed hotel rooms by acclaimed designer Paul Bishop, 371 residential units, 321 hotel apartments and in true SLS fashion, contemporary art, sleek accents & exceptional  fittings that are unique characteristics of the brand’s DNA. Bishop, along with his team at Bishop Design, are responsible for the design of the hotel in its entirety, including all of the F&B venues, public spaces as well as the rooms.

Dakota Development, a subsidiary of sbe, provided technical service support for the entire development process including partnering with Bishop Design on SLS’s public spaces and food and beverage venues.

Hotel guests will enter through the ground atrium, take an express elevator to the opulent Sky Lobby on the 71st floor, giving them panoramic views of the city’s skyline. Floor-to-ceiling windows and a grand marble bar highlight S Bar, a lounge area where the menu is playfully divided between healthy, angelic options and sinful, decadent ones. Take your pick.

On the 75th floor, sits Privilege, a lounge and nightlife venue, featuring the region’s highest two infinity pools offering coveted and unobstructed views of Dubai. Privilege is also home to the iconic SLS brand duck, placing it at the top of Dubai’s most Instagram-worthy destinations.

A modern yet sophisticated coffee brand, called EllaMia, greets guest on the ground floor. Promising a sensory and sensual experience, 12 Chairs is a caviar bar that showcases the very best of caviar exclusively reserved for only a few select guests.

SLS Dubai also includes sbe’s signature Ciel Spa, the epitome of luxury with treatment rooms, plunge pools, a hair and nail salon, a fully equipped gym and two outdoor terraces.

Ultimately, SLS Dubai Hotel & Residences is a locale that celebrates what it means to be part of a global community – one where likeminded individuals seek connection, inspiration, wellness, art and lively conversations – essentially, the pulse of the SLS experience. Residents of Dubai and travellers of the world, it’s time to let the magic begin.

Main image credit: Accor

Image of modern restuarant inside Hyatt Recency Zurich Airport

Hyatt Regency touches down in Switzerland

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Regency touches down in Switzerland

The opening of the 255-key Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport The Circle marks the brand’s debut property in Switzerland…

Image of modern restuarant inside Hyatt Recency Zurich Airport

Hyatt, which recently opened its 1,000 hotel worldwide, has announced the opening of Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport The Circle. The 255-key hotel, which becomes the first hotel under the Hyatt Regency brand to arrive in Switzerland, is located directly at Zurich’s brand-new hub the ‘Circle’, boasting an innovative mix of retail shops, offices, health facilities as well as restaurants, all situated on more than 180,000 square metres and alongside an almost 80,000 square metre park with greenery and running paths. Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport The Circle will be joined by the planned opening of a Hyatt Place branded hotel at the Circle hub. The Circle Convention Centre which will be managed by Hyatt as well is expected to host its first events in late spring.

Directly at Zurich Airport and with direct access to The Circle Convention Center, one of the largest conference venues in Switzerland, Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport The Circle is situated at one of the most well-connected locations.

Public area inside Hyatt Recency in Zurich Airport

Image credit: Hyatt Regency

“Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport The Circle has been designed to meet the needs of travellers who seek flexible and energising experiences, and will offer intuitive and seamless experiences to business and leisure travellers alike,” said Benno Geruschkat, general manager of Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport The Circle. “The Hyatt Regency brand fosters the connections that matter most, and we are excited to offer our guests the perfect place to work, engage and relax.”

The 255 guestrooms sheltered inside include 16 suites, one Ambassador suite and one Presidential suite with a terrace overlooking the park. 

Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport The Circle features a range of culinary experiences that meet various dietary needs and preferences. Guests can discover Middle Eastern flavours in a contemporary setting with an open kitchen at Restaurant Babel. Bar Iris is a social hub at the hotel with views overlooking the main square and offers Swiss inspired dishes and signature drinks. The 24/7 take-away, Zum Mitnäh, offers refreshments and an extensive selection of gourmet sandwiches and healthy snack options, as well as freshly brewed coffee.

Image credit: Hyatt Regency

Image

Suitable for large events and meetings, as well as galas, fairs and product launches, Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport The Circle will have direct access to The Circle Convention Centre, which is set to open in late spring 2021 and will be home to more than 2,800 square metres of event space divided over three levels. The Circle Convention Center will offer pre-function spaces and 18 meetings rooms, all featuring floor-to-ceiling windows.    

At Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport The Circle guests can relax between meetings or after a busy day at the complimentary 24/7 fully equipped fitness centre. To reenergise after a busy day, guests can also explore the relaxation area with sauna.

image of low lit sauna

Image credit: Hyatt Regency

Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport The Circle joins Hyatt’s Park Hyatt Zurich and Alila La Gruyère which is expected to open in 2024. Hyatt Place Zurich Airport The Circle will open when the situation permits.

Main image credit: Hyatt Regency

Interior visualisation of ADP's new hotel in Kyiv

Should hotels do a better job of reflecting their communities?

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

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

Interior visualisation of ADP's new hotel in Kyiv

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

image of guestroom overlooking city of Madrid

INNSiDE by Meliá Madrid Gran Via opens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INNSiDE by Meliá Madrid Gran Via opens

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

image of guestroom overlooking city of Madrid

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

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

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

image of large modern suite

Image credit: INNSiDE by Meliá

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: INNSiDE by Meliá

VIP arrivals: Hottest April hotel openings

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP arrivals: Hottest April hotel openings

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

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

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

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

Iniala Harbour House & Residences

Image of bar in curved tunnel-like structure

Image credit: Iniala Harbour House & Residences

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

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

Kalesma Mykonos

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

Image credit: Kalesma Mykonos

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

Ca’ di Dio, Venice

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

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

Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

Sophisticated deluxe room inside Mandarin Oriental Madrid

Image credit: Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

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

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

W Algarve – look out, Portugal!

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

Image credit: W Hotels

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

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

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

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

Berkeley Park Hotel, Miami 

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

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

Main image credit: Iniala Harbour House & Residences

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

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Image of villa overlooking sea from bathroom

MINIVIEW: Finolhu, where Ibizan style meets Maldives hospitality

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

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

Image of villa overlooking sea from bathroom

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

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

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

Image of beach-side reception in the Maldives

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

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

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

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

Image of luxury pool in the Maldives

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

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

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

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

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

Image of stylish Ibiza style suite in the Maldives hotel

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

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

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

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

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

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

Image of western style interiors inside restaurant in the Maldives

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

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

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

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

Main image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

Image of luxury Marriott f&b arae

Marriott signs agreement to bring three new hotels to Saudi Arabia

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

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

Image of luxury Marriott f&b arae

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

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

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

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

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

Image of Riggs Wet bar

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

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

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

Image of Riggs Wet bar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Registration now open for Hotel Designs LIVE in May

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Registration now open for Hotel Designs LIVE in May

Hot off the heels of the success of Hotel Designs LIVE in February – and following being shortlisted in the ‘Best Webinar Series’ category at the Digital Event AwardsHotel Designs’ one-day online conference will return on May 11, with world-renowned designers, architects and hospitality specialists confirmed in the speakership line-up…

Hotel Designs LIVE, the one-day conference which is free to attend if you qualify as a designer, architect, hoteliers or developer, will return on May 11 to serve up a series of online seminars with the aim to keep the industry connected and the conversation flowing during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This time last year, Hotel Designs, which is known for organising exceptional face-to-face networking events, made the decision to adapt its delivery in order to adhere to new guidelines and restrictions that were put in place as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” explained Katy Phillips, publisher, Hotel Designs. “It was during this confusing time when the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE was born. Thanks to the support of the industry we love to serve, the event has been able to amplify important topics and continue to be the bridge between designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers worldwide.”

“In order to really and confidently define these answers and possibilities we called upon world-renowned design, architecture and hospitality experts in order to inject personality, perspective and flair into the discussions.” – Hamish Kilburn, editor, Hotel Designs.

In what will be the brand’s fourth online conference, the topics explored throughout the day will include understanding the new era of lifestyle, bathrooms beyond practical spaces, art outside the frame and how workspace trends will impact hotel design. “Due to the flexible concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, we have the luxury of being extremely selective when deciding upon the topics for each event,” explains editor and content curator for the event, Hamish Kilburn. “Each seminar, therefore, will amplify meaningful solutions around areas of design and hospitality that are drastically evolving – and in order to really and confidently define these answers and possibilities we have called upon world-renowned design, architecture and hospitality experts in order to inject personality, perspective and flair into the discussions.”

Click here to secure your complimentary ticket for the online event (designers, architects, hoteliers and developers attend free!)

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

The agenda for the day and confirmed speakers (so far) are:

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

Main image credit: Oladimeji Odunsi/Unsplash

Render of guestroom inside Alila Hotel

Hyatt opens 1,000th hotel worldwide

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

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

Render of guestroom inside Alila Hotel

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

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

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

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

Planned 2021 Hyatt property opening highlights

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

Alila

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

Andaz

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

Destination by Hyatt

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

Grand Hyatt

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

Hyatt Centric

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

Hyatt House / Hyatt Place

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

Hyatt Regency

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

JdV by Hyatt

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

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

Park Hyatt

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

Thompson Hotels

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

The Unbound Collection by Hyatt

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

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Main image for virtual roundtable on bespoke possibilities in luxury design

Virtual roundtable: Bespoke possibilities in luxury design

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

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

Main image for virtual roundtable on bespoke possibilities in luxury design

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

Meet the panel: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mayfair Townhouse peacock entrance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blue co

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

striking bar with marble surfaces featuring distressed mirrors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dernier & Hamlyn, the sponsor of this roundtable, is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Image of luxury design hotel guestroom at MarBella Elix in Greece

Early check in: MarBella Elix, a design hotel inspired by the sea

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Early check in: MarBella Elix, a design hotel inspired by the sea

The latest design hotel to arrive in the MarBella Collection portfolio, MarBella Elix, which is about to open on the mainland of Greece, is the brainchild of Konstantinos Kydoniatis and Dimitris Thomopoulos…

Image of luxury design hotel guestroom at MarBella Elix in Greece

MarBella Elix, which Hotel Designs first took a sneak peek of early last year,  is an inspirational and to many extends a timeless design hotel situated in a previously undiscovered area of Greece. As the third hotel to join the MarBella Collection portfolio – and the brand’s first property outside of the island of Corfu – MarBella Elix is perched above the beautiful Karavostasi Beach in the Parga region, looking west towards Corfu and Paxos.

Arial view of MarBella Elix design hotel

Image caption: MarBella Elix is unique to the current MarBella Collection properties as it uses typical Epirus traditional architecture, where the buildings follow the natural landscape. Image credit: Heinz Troll

The 146-key design hotel was built into the sloping mountain with every room looking out over the uninterrupted sea. The architecture is designed to reflect the natural location, mirroring the sandy cliffs and the surrounding area of astounding natural beauty. The interiors meanwhile lend themselves to a family-friendly resort, with expansive communal and dining areas and comfortable resting places, perfectly situated to admire the unspoilt surroundings.

The project was spearheaded by Konstantinos Kydoniatis whose idea was to blend the existing landscape into a premise built with tiered levels.

The architectural inspiration behind the design hotel was to create a hotel with contemporary simplicity, paired with breathtaking views. The project was spearheaded by Konstantinos Kydoniatis whose idea was to blend the existing landscape into a premise built with tiered levels suitable for couples and families alike. The existing traditional Greek building was radically redesigned, in order to serve the contemporary needs of a five-star hotel. The designers used high-end technology to ensure the building was constructed with the needs of a luxury traveller in mind, whilst at the same time achieving a high level of sustainability.

The overall brief for Marbella Elix was to redesign and recreate a traditional Greek property into a luxury, modern resort for families and couples, upgrading both premises and amenities seamlessly transition between the traditional and modern.

The transformation has been meticulously planned to play on the outstanding views of the Ionian Sea, ensuring the property is fully equipped for for its guests who expect premium luxury standard. Designed and created by Dimitris Thomopoulos and Kydoniatis, the style focuses on three key elements; the breathtaking, sea-view scenery; the proximity to the once-inaccessible vast coastline, which is now easily reached by a small path and the local architecture elements of stone, marble and wood.

“The inspiration behind the design comes from the breath-taking view of the infinite sea and the surrounding environment,” explained Thomopoulos. “The design of this five-star hotel is now a reflection of the existing materials and styles of traditional Greece, combined with a constant reminder of the beauty of nature.”

The lobby and dining area was conceived as a viewpoint. An uninterrupted line of vision flows directly from the entrance of the restaurant to the vast sea views, with a green filter created through a structure of plant life, to emphasise the natural synergies and surrounds.

Lounge/lobby inside design hotel by the sea

Image caption: The lobby and public areas carefully injects biophilic design into a contemporary space. | Image credit: Heinz Troll

The main restaurant follows the design approach of the lobby area, with natural light and plant features throughout. The à la carte restaurant is unique with its luxurious and distinctive darker tones, creating an elegant and authentic feel.

The distinct nod to nature continues in the guestrooms, with the entire design scheme including, floor-to-ceiling windows, working around and framing the unparalleled views of the Ionion sea. The designers have added a twist of something rare and unique to the area by redefining the traditional architecture of Epirus through minimal and clear lines.

Image caption: The use of natural elements adds a sense of place throughout the 146 spacious and contemporary guestrooms and suites. | Image credit: Heinz Troll

MarBella Elix is unique to the current MarBella Collection properties as it uses typical Epirus traditional architecture, where the buildings follow the natural landscape. Marbella Elix blends into the surroundings using built-in tiered levels that appear to come out of the steep slope landscape. This creates unobstructed views to the forest and Ionian sea. The rooftops have been used to create large 25 – 30 square-metre private pools for guests staying in upper-level rooms, tying in natural elements such as stone claddings to reflect the architecture of nearby towns.

Image of sunset from luxury pool

The hotel’s coastal location makes it an ideal spot to catch the sunset. | Image credit: Heinz Troll

The MarBella Collection currently boasts two unique properties in their portfolio, the iconic family 5* resort, MarBella Corfu Hotel located and in Agios Ioannis Peristeron and its adjacent sister, adult-only suite hotel MarBella Nido Suite Hotel & Villas which opened in May 2018 and is a proud member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. In 2021, the highly anticipated MarBella Elix will be added to the collection, a design hotel curated for travellers seeking true luxury experiences.

Main image credit: MarBella Collection

Render of lounge inside Soho Beach House in the Caribbean

Soho House: A sneak peek of upcoming openings

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Soho House: A sneak peek of upcoming openings

Soho House, which shelters members-only Houses targeted towards ‘creative souls, has unveiled renders and details of projects that are expected to open this year. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

Render of lounge inside Soho Beach House in the Caribbean

Following a challenging year for all sectors in hospitality, Soho House, which was founded in 1995 by Nick Jones, has emerged from the pandemic with a teaser that showcases an optimistic year – with six new Houses that will soon become part of the members-only brand’s ever-growing footprint.

Aside from opening its first property in 1995, key milestones include the brand’s first countryside property (Babbington House in 1998), its arrival in the US (with the opening of its first property in New York in 2003), the brand’s venture into Europe (with the opening of its Berlin property in 2010) and the brand’s first opening in Asia (both in Mumbai and Hong Kong in 2019).

Fast-forward to the present day, and as the brand’s 27 Houses are awaiting the return of modern travellers, we take a look at the new destinations and Houses that are expected to open this year.

The Strand, London – coming soon

Just down the road from the original House – 40 Greek Street, Soho, London – 180 House, which will be located on The Strand, will become the brand’s 10th property in London. Just a short walk from Somerset House, the property will shelter a club, three floors of co-working space, and a rooftop pool with views of Westminster and St Paul’s Cathedral.

Canouan – opening Q1, 2021

The opening of the brand’s property in Canouan will mark its arrival in the Caribbean region and will be located on the secluded island of Canouan, which is part of St Vincent and the Grenadines. The renders of the 40 bedrooms and a gym show a paired back design that celebrates barefoot luxury and the authentic charm of the Caribbean.

Tel Aviv – opening spring, 2021

Located in a former convent in the historic Jaffa neighbourhood, the property will feature a pool, terrace, and 24 stylish bedrooms expected to reflect the life and soul of the destination.

Rome – opening summer, 2021

In recent months, there has been a lot of development interest in Rome – with brands such as Rosewood and Bvlgari Hotels also announcing debut arrivals excepted in the next few years. Located in the San Lorenzo district, the debut Soho House property in Rome – the brand’s seventh property in Europe – will shelter 49 bedrooms and 20 apartments, with unparalleled views stretching across the Eternal City from its rooftop, terrace and pool.

Paris – opening summer, 2021

For a brand that is known for amplifying creatives (connecting travellers and locals alike) in thriving neighbourhoods, it makes a lot of a business sense for the members-only lifestyle brand to expand its portfolio with a property in Paris. In the former red-light district of Pigalle – steps from the 19th-century cabaret Moulin Rouge – the brand’s property in Paris will shelter 35 bedrooms, a gym, and a courtyard garden overlooked by a pool terrace.

Austin – opening summer, 2021

On South Congress Avenue, Soho House Austin will become the brand’s first property in Texas and the 10th Soho House territory in North America, and will feature a rooftop pool, 46 bedrooms, and a members screening room.

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Main image credit: Soho House

Image of panelists for first session of Hotel Designs LIVE

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: The hotel experience 10 years from now

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: The hotel experience 10 years from now

To kickstart Hotel Designs LIVE on February 23, editor Hamish Kilburn hosted a panel discussion with leading designers and architects entitled: Floor 20, room 31, which virtually checked in to the hotel experience 10 years from now…

Image of panelists for first session of Hotel Designs LIVE

On February 23, 2021, Hotel Designs‘ editor Hamish Kilburn returned to host the third instalment of Hotel Designs LIVE, which launched last year with the aim to keep the industry connected and the conversation flowing during and after the Covid-19 crisis.

The one-day conference welcomed world-renowned interior designers, architects and hoteliers to discuss the future of our industry in four engaging panel discussions, which were:

  • Floor 20, room 31, checking in 10 years from now
  • Sustainability, beneath the surface
  • Safe & sound hospitality & hotel design
  • A new era of wellness

The production of Hotel Designs LIVE took place while adhering to the current lockdown regulations and kickstarted with an editor’s welcome from Kilburn who explained the need for the virtual event. “The industry’s new swear word, Covid-19, has temporarily brought hospitality and tourism to its knees, but in these challenging times we have seen the real power of designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers all working together to invent and implement meaningful solutions,” he said. “Hotel Designs LIVE was born in those confusing times, and our aim is simple: to create conversations unlike any other and keep the industry connected.”

The first session of the day, which was sponsored by Hamilton Litestat, was designed to look ahead towards what hospitality and hotel design will look and feel like one decade on from today, and was curated to confront recent cultural shifts that have smudged the sketches, so to speak, as to what the hotel of the future will look like.

On the panel: 

The conversation began with Kilburn asking the panel how accurate previous predictions were regarding the ‘hotel room of the future’. It was concluded that the word ‘experience’, in all sectors of hotel design, was used 10 years ago in order to meet the then new demand among modern travellers who were expecting a deeper and more purposefully driven hospitality journey. Related to this, a new era of luxury lifestyle brands started to emerge to blur the lines in luxury travel, which, following the most testing year the hospitality arena has experienced in modern times, takes us to where we are now.

When the conversation turned to technology, interior designer Martin Goddard led the discussion to argue that moving forward, he expects modern travellers will be burnt out by technology and hotel design in many areas will encourage human connection once more as well as injecting meaningful sense of location, which was evident in Hotel Designs’ recent hotel review of The Mayfair Townhouse, which Goddard Littlefair recently completed steering clear to reference obvious clichés in the design. “One of the best pieces of feedback I’ve received from that hotel is that it always felt like a cosy winter’s day,” Goddard said.

Interior designer Albin Burglund was able to offer a unique perspective when it came to predicting the future of hotel design from both a luxury design as well as a wellness perspective. “I agree with Martin that the industry will be cautious to inject technology,” he explained, “and this will largely follow consumers putting more of a focus on their own personal wellness and wellbeing.”

Chris Lee injected qualitative research into the discussion following a campaign he and his team completed last year for Sleep & Eat, which involved collaboration with Chalk ArchitectureHotel Hussy and students from the University of West London, presenting an interactive render for a ‘2035 guestroom of the future’ based on the groups prestigious upscale Wyndham brand. As well as the project “capturing the imagination” of the modern traveller, the guestroom design and layout challenged conventional hotel rooms – and despite the focus being largely on the ‘Gen-Z traveller’, the product was actually carefully designed for all generations as it allowed guests to select their own scene settings to reflect their mood or preferred environment. Following research into understanding the DNA of the hotel guestroom experience, technology had to be seamlessly blended in to the design scheme.

The discussion soon veered towards Covid-19 and specifically the pandemic’s impact on future design and hospitality. Rob Steul, with more than 20 years’ experience in architecture and design, used the upcoming luxury hotel in Leicester Square, The Londoner, as a prime example of how the industry’s already high standards put hospitality design in good stead for when hospitality and travel returns in the post-pandemic world. “Long before Covid-19, we had already considered elements such as air flow,” he explained. Burglund agreed while also questioning the short-term purposes of event spaces and questioned how these could be utilised and used during what has no-doubt been a testing time for hospitality worldwide.

Here’s a highlights video of the panel discussion, which includes Product Watch pitches from Hamilton Litestat, Chelsom, PENT Fitness, Blueair and Yeames Hospitality.

The full recordings of the other three sessions (‘Sustainability, beneath the surface’; ‘Safe & sound hotel design’ and ‘A new era of wellness’) will be available on-demand shortly.

SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a fourth edition on May 11, 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.

Image of Balony king inside Hotel Nyack

Joie de Vivre brand by Hyatt welcomes Hotel Nyack

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Joie de Vivre brand by Hyatt welcomes Hotel Nyack

Hyatt Hotels and Juniper Capital Partners has announced the opening of Hotel Nyack, previously The Time Nyack Hotel in New York’s Hudson Valley…

Image of Balony king inside Hotel Nyack

Following the hotel group’s debut property opening in Cambodia, and its Unbound Collection making an entrance in Sweden, Hyatt Hotels has recently announced that Hotel Nyack in New York has joined the group’s Joie de Vivre brand, which consists of a collection of boutique hotels offering ‘unique accommodations’ that reflect the neighbourhoods they’re located in.

Recently acquired by Juniper Capital Partners, Hotel Nyack now joins Hyatt’s Joie de Vivre lifestyle brand today inspiring the spirit of playful travel through neighbourhood connections. Located in Hudson Valley’s Rockland County, Hotel Nyack will provide picturesque views of the Hudson River and newly reconstructed Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, and is primed to welcome guests and locals with the Joie de Vivre brand’s joy-driven service.

In addition, Juniper Capital Partners has appointed international hospitality management company, Real Hospitality Group, Inc. (RHG) to oversee the operations of Hotel Nyack. RHG brings its comprehensive management services to create success and deliver a memorable and enhanced guest experience.

“At Hotel Nyack, guests are able to immerse themselves in the vibrant town that offers art, culture, history and nature,” said Lawrence Bain, Managing Partner of Juniper Capital Partners. “With a commitment to the Nyack community and our guests, we were drawn to Hyatt’s Joie de Vivre playfulness and deep respect for its neighbourhoods and Real Hospitality Group’s industry leading performance. We believe installing these two groups as an extension of our team will bring a bright, successful future for the hotel.”

The 133-room hotel with loft-style accommodations housed within the framework of a four-story, former factory, has plans to renovate several portions of the hotel including its culinary offering. An open, industrial feel and reflection of the urban neighbourhood within the property’s contemporary design lends itself to the overall heartfelt and inclusive spirit of the Joie de Vivre brand. An urban stopover, less than an hour drive from New York City, all guests will notice touches of greater New York influence throughout the unprecedented level of excellence and service at Hotel Nyack.

Hotel Nyack also joins the World of Hyatt loyalty program, providing members with opportunities to enjoy valuable loyalty benefits on qualifying hotel stays, dining services, meetings, events and more as a part of their unique stay experience.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

A modern interior design of a kitchen

How surface design can elevate guest experience

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How surface design can elevate guest experience

With public healthcare in the spotlight like never before, the Covid-19 pandemic is challenging hoteliers to rethink the entire guest experience. Here we hear from Harris Jackson on the role of surface design…

A modern interior design of a kitchen

From bringing the outside in to focusing on building a sense of community, wellness is high on the agenda for many brands as they look for new ways to connect with their customers and rebuild trust. And for good reason – according to a variety of data, consumer trust is at an all-time low.

Last year a study by End of Tenancy Cleaning Company, which surveyed almost 2,000 British travellers, found that 50 per cent of people do not trust hotel hygiene and over a third would avoid international travel for the next 12 months. Almost half of the people surveyed also said they would clean a hotel room themselves before using it. Research like this demonstrates the lack of confidence guests currently have and just how important safety and security is as a key message.

There are many ways hoteliers can respond to this and instil a sense of trust far beyond placing hand sanitisers in lobbies and installing perspex screens in the reception area. One way to elevate the customer experience and improve health and safety is through the design of surfaces.

Form and function

Beautiful design is about more than aesthetics, it’s about responding to customer needs and the current climate. There are a number of surface trends to look out for in 2021 (and beyond) that explore both form and function; sustainability, ventilation, flexibility and connecting to nature are all taking centre stage alongside technology that can improve public health.

Wellbeing is at the top of the agenda when it comes to design and we have seen this impact design trends before. In 1918, influenza impacted design by throwing more emphasis on light and air, and more minimal interiors (with heavier more cluttered interiors thought to be unhygienic). And now due to Covid-19 we are going to see another shift. It’s long been known that the surfaces we interact with can be transmitters for bacteria and some, such as E.Coli, can last for months on surfaces.

So how can hoteliers invest in surface technology to improve public health and the overall guest experience?

It can purify air

Some technologies are focusing on purifying air, such as Pureti’s photocatalytic applications. It utilises the natural process of plants. As well as purifying air it can also be applied to surfaces to help them stay cleaner for longer. Apparently this treatment has even been used by NASA! We know that air quality is so important for guest comfort and with many people seeking out less urban environments and a stronger connection to nature, technology like this could have far reaching benefits.

Pureti air purifying in a modern kitchen

Image credit: Pureti

Texture can limit transmission

The texture of surfaces can play a key role in not only the aesthetics of a room but in helping to eliminate viral transmission of bacteria. The Imperial College London looked at different textures and coatings and found that copper surfaces provide antibacterial protection, killing 99.9 per cent of bacteria within two hours. This raises some interesting ideas around materials used throughout the hotel environment, especially within heavy traffic areas such as lobbies and doorways.

Fabrics for more than comfort

New technology extends past hard surfaces and covers soft furnishings too; Aguaguard365 is an example of an antibacterial protection system for fabrics that helps keep textiles free of bacteria. From bed linens to towels, technology is constantly evolving.

A lounge that has been annotated to show furniture

Image credit: Aguaguard365

So as travel restrictions begin to lift and consumers consider staying away from home again, it’s clear that surface technology can do more than just elevate appearance – it can help to instil trust and boost confidence, something that’s crucial in the current climate.

Since you’re here, why not read Harris Jackson’s article on bringing the outside in & reconnecting with nature?

Harris Jackson 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: Harris Jackson

A guestroom inside Six Senses Botanique showing nature through floor to ceiling windows

In pictures: Inside Six Senses Botanique, Brazil

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In pictures: Inside Six Senses Botanique, Brazil

The latest hotel to open in the Six Senses portfolio lies at the confluence of three river valleys in the heart of the Mantiqueira Mountains in Brazil. Hotel Designs takes a sneaky look inside… 

A guestroom inside Six Senses Botanique showing nature through floor to ceiling windows

Bookmarked by our editorial team as one of 2021’s hottest hotel openings, Six Senses Botanique, Brazil, which has been built from indigenous materials such as jacaranda and chocolate slate, has opened in the heart of the Mantiqueira Mountains, which is known as the “mountains that weep” due to the abundance of springs and rivers.

Image of the main building at the Six Senses Botanique hotel in Brazil

Image credit: Six Senses

There was never any question that the merge in 2019 between Six Senses and IHG wouldn’t distort the integrity and much-loved personality of the leading wellness hospitality brand. And Six Senses’ latest luxury hotel is no exception. In fact, guests checking in are being told to expect “out-of-the-ordinary experiences and emotional hospitality”, with the Six Senses integrated pillars of sustainability and wellness at the heart of the operation.

A private garden inside the hotel in the wilderness

Image credit: Six Senses

The first phase of the resort evolution are most notably gastronomy and wellness – with new menus at Restaurant Mina, a new Fire Side lounge menu, an exclusive eight-course gastronomic journey paired with wines from the resort’s select Adega, a reconnection experience with an artisanal outdoor picnic, and pioneering therapies at Six Senses Spa.

The property currently offers seven suites in the main hotel and 11 private villas dotted in the hills around it. A further 16 villas are planned, constructed off-site in a modular manner using local materials and sited to minimise their impact on the surrounding flora and fauna. There will also be 37 branded residences, again constructed using an eco-friendly modular approach, available for purchase off-plan.

Through the ‘Eat With Six Senses’ philosophy, Six Senses Botanique will bring out the best of the region’s cuisine and seasonal produce, starting with “Farm to Table” herbs, fruit and vegetables grown in the resort’s own organic gardens and farm.

Mina, the resort’s signature restaurant, offers modern, contemporary Brazilian dishes and 180-degree views of the mountains and valleys, with the suspended fireplace warming the dining room and rich wood floors underfoot.

The new Fire Side lounge meanwhile features a variety of drinks prepared with home-grown probiotics and a tonic with ingredients harvested from the surrounding vegetable gardens. 

The Adega (Wine Cellar) journey begins in the fireplace lounge, starting with a toast of bubbles with Chef Gabriel Broide as he himself explains the custom eight-course menu for the evening.

Reconnection Experiences offer guests the chance to reconnect with themselves and loved ones while exploring the local flora, fauna and timeless ways of living in tune with the natural world.

A luxury villa that shows a indoor private pool with stone surfaces

Image credit: Six Senses

Nowhere is the local influence more evident than in the spa, which currently features four treatment rooms, a beauty salon, floatation pool, isotonic pool, sauna and steam room with rainforest mist.  New treatment rooms, relaxation and wellness areas, as well as a fitness centre will be added later this year.

Six Senses Botanique will appeal to guests seeking an eco-retreat in nature along with authentic Brazilian design, culture and cuisine. The property is blessed with seven water springs providing guests with their own mineral water. There is a water treatment station to return clean water back to nature. Mindful of making responsible decisions, the resort team also works with community members to see how they can contribute to a better quality of life for everyone, while preserving and celebrating local traditions and culture and the beautiful natural environment surrounding the property.

Image credit: Six Senses

Six Senses, which is clearly leading the way in innovative wellness travel, now manages 18 hotels and resorts and 29 spas in 21 countries under the brand names Six Senses, Evason and Six Senses Spas, and has signed a further 27 properties into the development pipeline, including the highly anticipated Six Senses Ibiza which should arrive this Spring.

Main image credit: Six Senses

Headshot of Saar Zafrir

5 minutes with: Interior designer Saar Zafrir

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: Interior designer Saar Zafrir

Amsterdam-based interior designer Saar Zafrir joins editor Hamish Kilburn to discuss his latest project to redesign The ReMIX Hotel in paris as well as his wider mission to ’boutique-ify’ large corporate hotels…

Headshot of Saar Zafrir

2012 was a pivotal year for Saar Zafrir, who changed lanes from a 12-year career in finance to take a year off. The next 12 months prepared him to ‘get into the game’, taught by his own passion to become an interior design, at first starting small with friends and family but soon being offered a pathway into the hotel design arena. With a new focus on hospitality and F&B design, Zafrir’s approach was born; to transforming established corporate-style hotels and hospitality groups into fun and lively boutique brands that speak loudly to the growing demands of the modern traveller.

A rich narrative told in the interior design inside Sir Savigny Berlin

Image credit: Sir Savigny Berlin

In fact, in less than a decade, the designer has catapulted himself as a unique creative and developer of hospitality projects throughout Europe, including the award-winning Brown Beach House Croatia (a former tobacco processing plant on the Dalmatian Coastline of Croatia, transformed into a signature Brown Hotels property) as well as Max Brown HotelsSir Savigny Berlin and Gekko Group’s Provocateur Berlin Hotel.

Image credit: Provocateur Berlin Hotel

Through savvy attention to detail, Zafrir creates more than simply beautiful spaces. His work gives spaces a second life, thus generating a new audience that can optimise revenues for hotel chains. The latest example is The ReMix Hotel in Paris., a new hotel that was slated to officially open this month located in Paris’ 19th arrondissement and a longtime property of Schroder’s Group. 

Schroder’s hired Zafrir to develop a new brand to revamp the pre-existing 259-key hotel property in Paris’ Parc of La Villette. With a colourful and eclectic design influenced by the retro and abstract flair of the 1980’s, The ReMIX Hotel is a far pivot from the previous concept behind the original Schroder’s property. Inspired by the 1980’s pop song ‘Forever Young,’ Zafrir has worked to reminisce the essence of the 80’s tune into a modern day design style. The result is a playful yet sophisticated atmosphere with vivid colours, mix of patterns and textures and custom-made furnishings. The ReMIX Hotel will be an anchor for drawing in new breaths of culture, art, entertainment and dining in Paris’ 19th arrondissement.

A bold bar with green and gold explored in the interior design

Image caption: Interior designer Saar Zafrir explored a distinct, loud ’80s interior design theme when redesigning the F&B areas inside The ReMIX Hotel in Paris. | Image credit: Marvin Gang

 

Hamish Kilburn: First things first, what inspired your career change from finance to enter the hotel design landscape?

Saar Zafrir: After 12 years within the capital world, I decided to take a year off. I used my shares to buy an apartment in Tel Aviv. During my year off, I decided to work on design and renovation. Whilst getting familiar with design, I taught myself how to use Sketchup, AutoCAD and congeneric software and I totally fell for it. The design was so brilliant that I began to design for both my family and friends. Two years later I bought partnership within the hotel industry and I sold my apartment. That’s how I got into the game.’’

HK: You’ve become known for modernising corporate-style hotels into fresh new brands. Is there any transformation project that you’re specifically proud of?

SZ: “Yes, ReMIX. ReMIX used to be an extremely dull cooperate hotel. We managed to transform it into a very exciting, fascinating hotel people love to visit, even just to take pictures.’’

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

HK: What is one trend that you wish will never return?
SZ: Terrazzo, for sure.

HK: What items during lockdown could you not have lived without?
SZ: “I would say both my oven and stove. I can’t choose.’’ 

HK: What makes a good design team?
SZ:
“Working together as a team to inspire each other along the way.’’ 

HK: Who is your interior design hero?
SZ: “Philippe Starck! He was the first to create something that really went out of the box.

HK: Tell me about the concept for your latest project: The ReMIX Hotel in Paris.

SZ: “The client presented us a very large building that needed total renovation. The building was built in the 80’s.

I had always dreamt of designing a hotel 80’s themed. I have always been a fan of the song ‘’Forever Young’’ by Alphaville. The design pitch was shared with the client and the investors of the project and they liked the idea very much. We wanted to bring back the 80s with the roller-skates, the pop, the neon and the rubiscos. The initial idea was to not just open one ReMIX hotel but more of them.’’

HK: What challenges did you face with this project?

SZ: The big challenge was to transform a very old and dull building into something that’s very exciting to look at. It has also been a challenge to convince the client of our initial design. Additionally, we were tied to a very tight budget. It has been a challenge to meet the client’s needs whilst taking the budget into consideration.’’ 

Image caption: a clever seating/bed in a guestroom inside The ReMIX Hotel in Paris. | Image credit: Marvin Gang

Image caption: a clever seating/bed in a guestroom inside The ReMIX Hotel in Paris. | Image credit: Marvin Gang

HK: Finally, can you tell me about some exciting projects you have in the pipeline?

SZ: “Yes, so we created a new brand called Cardo. Cardo is an autograph collection. It will appear in Rome (640 rooms), Paris (300 rooms) and Brussels (540 rooms). Cardo is a cooperate hotel that is characterised by super cool brands, an amazing F&B concept and Spa. I am convinced that it will soon become an evolutionary concept within the hospitality industry.’’

Main image credit: Saar Zafrir

A render of an open air suite in Seychelles

Seychelles debut for Waldorf Astoria and Canopy by Hilton

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Seychelles debut for Waldorf Astoria and Canopy by Hilton

Hilton has announced to bring its iconic luxury brand, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, as well as lifestyle brand, Canopy by Hilton, to the Seychelles in 2023…

A render of an open air suite in Seychelles

Things are heating up in the development team at Hilton Hotels after the company has signed for two hotel brand debuts in the Seychelles. The properties – a Waldorf Astoria and a Canopy by Hilton – are scheduled to open in 2023 and will build upon an already impressive Hilton portfolio on the archipelago, in addition to the soon-to-be-opened Mango House Seychelles, LXR Hotels & Resorts.

Carlos Khneisser, Vice President, development, Middle East & Africa, Hilton believes that these properties mark a sigificant milestone in both brand’s expansion.“The Seychelles remains unquestionably one of the world’s most desirable destinations for the discerning traveller, ” he said. “We are proud of the role our teams have played in the sustainable development of the Seychelles, and these new additions, coupled with Mango House Seychelles, LXR Hotels & Resorts, will give our guests an unprecedented range of world-class experiential options to choose from when planning what is sure to be an unforgettable visit.”

Waldorf Astoria Platte Island

A truly exclusive luxury experience, the resort will offer a collection of 59 seafront villas all equipped with private pools. Guests will have access to six restaurants and bars, a spa, kids’ club, outdoor observatory, tennis courts and a marine conservation discovery center – all within the sanctuary of Platte Island. The island itself lies just more than 130 km south of Mahé and is renowned as a nature lover’s paradise, covered with palm forest and surrounded by a coral reef and lagoon. A small airstrip allows for access to the island from the main airport of Mahé. In an effort to create and use renewable energy as part of the resort’s operation, many buildings throughout the grounds will be equipped with solar-paneled roofing.

Canopy by Hilton Mahé

Located on Mahé’s Anse à la Mouche beach, famed for its calm and shallow waters, this resort is set to bring a new sense of vibrancy to the oceanfront community.  Significant investment is going into developing the facilities of the surrounding beach, including a boutique shopping village. The resort will offer 120 locally inspired guestrooms and space to accommodate more intimate meetings and events.

Hilton operates six brands in Africa and the Indian Ocean and recently reached the milestone of 100 hotels trading or in the pipeline across the continent. Hilton remains steadfastly committed to the sustainable development of travel and tourism across the region and has implemented several award-winning sustainability measures at its three operating Seychelles properties. These range from the removal of plastic straws and bottles to the use of locally sourced produce through to wildlife conservation and community engagement projects.

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: Hilton Hotels

Inside the F&B areas of W Melbourne

Inside W Melbourne, the brand’s second opening in Australia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside W Melbourne, the brand’s second opening in Australia

In the heart of an eclectic dining and edgy fashion district, W Melbourne arrives, with design by Hachem, to shake things up a bit. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

Inside the F&B areas of W Melbourne

W Hotels, part of Marriott International, is on a roll and has officially opened the doors to Melbourne’s first W Hotel. Situated in the heart of the city’s eclectic dining and edgy fashion district, W Melbourne brings the community’s iconic laneway culture and emerging music scene to life. Inspired by the contrasts of the city, the hotel slowly reveals itself to visitors as guests peel back layers to unearth the unique personality of each space.

For W Hotels, the synergy between the brand and its new home in Melbourne is one that makes a lot of business sense. “Melbourne is the perfect locale for the playfully luxe spirit of the W brand and we could not be more excited to unveil this highly anticipated hotel to the world,” said Jennie Toh, Vice President of brand marketing and brand management, Asia Pacific, Marriott International. “From its unique, locally inspired design to its eclectic lineup of restaurants and bars, W Melbourne is destined to redefine the luxury hotel scene here and become a must-go destination for travellers and local scene-stealers alike.”

Igniting endless possibilities

Australian architecture and interior design firm Hachem brings innovation and brand storytelling to life through their evocative approach to W Melbourne. Drawing on the city’s diverse and contrasting character, W Melbourne’s design inspiration is translated into vignettes of Melbourne’s streetscapes, letting guests uncover the dynamic city’s past from behind the scenes.

Upon arrival at W Melbourne, guests are introduced to the neighbourhood’s iconic laneways, famous for their graffiti street art and offbeat, eclectic characters. Victorian bluestone tiles connect the Living Room to the laneway, blurring the line between the exterior and interior, where the Welcome Desk stands ready to greet guests. A vast lenticular art installation by local painter and digital artist Rus Kitchin immerses viewers into a canopy of Australian flora and fauna growing above the famed Hosier Lane. The illuminated glass and wood of the Flinders Lane entrance is juxtaposed against the shadows of the hotel’s foyer.

W Melbourne has 294 luxuriously stylish guestrooms and 29 suites, with design details curated to reflect Melbourne’s fascinating history and culture. The hotel’s Wonderful, Fabulous and Mega category rooms are inspired by the neighbouring street-level newspaper kiosks that back to the 1960s.

Fabulous King suite inside W Melbourne

Image credit: W Hotels/Marriott International

Each room features floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning skyline views. The Marvellous rooms feature a vibrant wall graphic of a fairy wren, a bird native to Australia, pulling back a layer of fabric to reveal a colourful Melbourne scene. The graphic pays homage to the city’s roots as a fashion hub, with Flinders Lane at the centre of its textile trade. The 175-square-meter Extreme Wow Suite (W Hotels’ modern interpretation of the traditional presidential suite), is on the hotel’s highest floor at Level 15, and features a large balcony with expansive views of the Yarra River and an interactive music station – a fresh take on an old-school jukebox.

Celebrating the city’s eclectic F&B scene

W Melbourne’s distinctive restaurants and bars are all set to amplify Melbourne’s dining landscape with innovative, original takes on the city’s multicultural cuisines. All-day dining restaurant Lollo, under the culinary creative direction of celebrated chef Adam D’Sylva, offers a menu that’s designed to be shared and celebrates the chef’s mixed heritage. At the centre of the action and pulse of the hotel is cocktail bar Curious, with its design as impressive as the evocative cocktail list. The bar welcomes guests into a cocoon-inspired space formed by its overhead timber beams in a parametric sequence with low lighting and muted colour palettes. Signature Japanese restaurant WARABI focuses on the freshest seasonal produce with seating for only 30 diners and a private dining room for ten. Culprit channels Melbourne’s café culture into an original bar concept that adds a new twist to the dining experience with a sophisticated floor-to-ceiling charcuterie display and a Vermouth tasting tray.

Mixing work with play, guests will be captivated by 830 square metres of ultra-modern conference, meeting and event space at W Melbourne, setting the stage for spectacular events with fully adaptable conference equipment, world-class audio-visual facilities and contemporary cuisine from the expert in-house catering team. The jewel in the crown, the Great Room, is a 426 square-metre pillarless ballroom with an abundance of natural light and 4×5-metre LED wall. To celebrate the region’s diverse seasons and autumn as a popular time to visit, Melbourne-born visual artist, Ash Keating utilised soft pinks and violets to light up the Great Room ceiling for an enchanting experience for guests.

Meanwhile, FIT and WET on Level 14 will inspire the W ‘Detox. Retox. Repeat’ brand signature wellness philosophy, offering spectacular views alongside an ultramodern fitness facility, gold-roofed indoor pool, poolside bar and DJ booth.

It’s an exciting time for the W Hotels brand. Having already established itself as a leading disrupter to the conventional hospitality scene, its latest openings in both Melbourne, Ibiza and Nashville are statement examples of the luxury lifestyle brand marking their territory in new and exciting travel hotspots.

Main image credit: W Hotels/Marriott International

Outside luxury pool and spa

Weekly briefing: Tech talk, art escapes & beyond the surface of trends

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Tech talk, art escapes & beyond the surface of trends

‘Ey-up’, Hamish Kilburn here to deliver your weekly briefing. Over the last couple of days, we have showered our readers with exclusives, the latest news and insightful features. For those of you on-the-go, here are this week’s hottest stories in one easy-to-consume story…

Outside luxury pool and spa

If you only read one of our stories this week, make sure it’s this one! This week’s stories that have dominated the Hotel Designs website include an exclusive sneak peek of a major hospitality project in Silverstone (UK), a feature that tackles how the pandemic will affect hotel development, an inspiring interview about a hotel in Italy that will simply take your breath away and two – yes two – trend forecasts around surfaces and technology. Oh, and we also take a glance at some of this month’s hottest hotel openings. Are you sitting comfortably? Let’s begin.

FEATURE // How will the pandemic affect hotel design and development?

Modern and clean interiors inside Ruby Lucy

Image credit: Ruby Lucy

Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room: the pandemic. To help us separate fact from fiction, Tom Bishop, Director of Project Management at Concert, is here to offer some clarity and perspective on the current Covid-19 situation. We wanted him to answer the fundamental question to understand once and for all how the pandemic will impact the hotel design community. Here’s what he had to say…

Read more.

INTERVIEW // Meet the visionaries behind Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Pascale Lauber & Ulrike Bauschke on steps

Image credit: Katja Brinkmann

This feature was a strange one for me because, if Covid-19 hadn’t entered on its wrecking ball last year, it would have followed my review of the hotel under the spotlight.  Almost a year after my flight was cancelled, plans to review the luxury lair are unsurprisingly still on hold. While we wait patiently, though, it felt fitting to catch up with Pascale Lauber & Ulrike Bauschke in order to understand the context and challenges that come with such a magnificent project…

Read more.

TECH MAD // CES 2021: Best hotel design tech trends

Image credit: Samsung/TOTO/Kholer/Care OS

Technology’s role in hotel design has arguably never been so relied upon. If you happened to miss CES 2021, fear not as myself and wellbeing expert Ari Peralta – together, an editorial dream team – are here to share the best hotel design tech trends that emerged from the show…

Read more.

EXCLUSIVE // Inside flagship hospitality development at Silverstone

Villas overlooking the Silverstone Racecourse

Image credit: Escapade Living

When we were told that we were going to be the first to publish about Bergman Interiors – the design firm that cleaned up at The Brit List Awards 2020 – teaming up with Twelve Architects and Escapade Living on a new hospitality development in Silverstone, we were so excited. And then we saw the renderings of the luxury villas overlooking the iconic racetrack and that took the anticipation up a level. Take a look for yourself in our exclusive feature that takes a glance at what this hospitality project will look like…

Read more.

HOTEL OPENINGS // VIP arrivals in February 2021

Render of NoMad London

From where we are sitting, most new hotels that are expected to open this year are holding off until later in the season, but there a handful of gems are expected to arrive early to the party. Without further a due, here are some of the hottest hotels that are opening this month.

Read more.

FEATURE // Virtually escape into the world of art in hotel design

A blue abstract art installation

Image credit: Melia Rhodes/Elegant Clutter

Are you swooning over staycations or dreaming of distant lands? We are all feeling the desire to escape from it all. I started the week in search for that holiday away from my thoughts by catching up with Elegant Clutter’s Creative Director Harry Pass to find out how art in hotel design can be a wonderful way of elevating a sense of escapism…

Read more.

TRENDING // Surface trends for 2021 & beyond

Image credit: Lindsay Lauckner

And finally, here’s a meaningful and relevant trends forecast that goes way beyond the surface… “Strict pre-pandemic industry standards mean that hospitality design is well-placed to weather the storm without a major supply-side rethink,” says Meghann Day, partner, HBA San Francisco. In this exclusive feature, the designer walks journalist Oriana Lerner through what’s ahead for surface design trends in 2021 and beyond…

Read more.

That’s your lot! Join us next week when we will take a look at W Hotels’ latest opening in Australia and we share our in conversation with Amsterdam-based designer Saar Zafrir. Also, keep one eye open for our podcast DESIGN POD, which will drop with episode one shortly…

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Main image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Render of NoMad London

VIP arrivals: Hottest hotel openings in February 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP arrivals: Hottest hotel openings in February 2021

Hot off the heels of our two-part series on hotel openings in 2021, Hotel Designs is serving up the hottest, most spectacular hotel openings to expect in February. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Render of NoMad London

For many of us, the idea of checking into a hotel in February 2021 is an unrealistic expectation. The UK hospitality sector is feeling the brunt of a third national lockdown, while Europe and many other regions around the globe are also restrained from large gatherings. The world may look very different now from this time last year, but behind the scenes designers and architects are putting finishing touches on tomorrow’s hotels.

From where we are sitting, most new hotels that are expected to open this year are holding off until later